Cymbals 2020

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Art/Literary Magazine

2019 - 2020

Shoreham-Wading River High School

250 Route 25A

Shoreham, New York 11780


Table of Contents

1. Cover and title page photographs

by Sophia Han

3. "She Walks Like the Ocean"

Victoria Mburu

Photograph by Sophia Han

4. "Out in the Forest" Alex Tumilowicz

Painting by Yusra Rashizada

5. "The Song Wrote Itself Upon the Wind"

Chloe Schiff

6. “The Lovely Unresolved”

Jillian Laper

Painting by Yusra Rashizada

7.“Owning What I Can, Letting Go

of What I Can’t” Jillian Laper

Illustration by Nina Kelban

8. "Work" Haley Puntillo

9. “A Light Blown Out” Alex Tumilowicz

Photograph by Sophia Han

10. “My Life is a Storm” Victoria Mburu

11. “I Crawl in the Dark Side” Haley Puntillo

Illustration by Caroline McDowell

12. Time to Try Again!!! Laura Marino

13. Painting by Yusra Rashizada

14. “Illusion of Perfection” Chloe Schiff

Painting by Yusra Rashizada

15. “Chewing Gum” Alyssa Murtha

16. "My Life at Five" Melanie Hagen

Illustration by Yusra Rashizada

17. "My Life is a Mountain" Jiliana Luck

Illustration by Lauren DeRosso

18. "Ladybugs" by Emily DesRoches

19. Painting by Mollie McMullan

20. "Space" Mika Misawa

Illustration by Caroline McDowell

21. "Kindness" Mika Misawa

Illustration by Lauren DeRosso

22. "Red" Liza Undrus

Painting by Lilly Rettman

23. “I’m Wearing Death

in My Favorite Color”

Jillian Laper

"Goodbye" Kristen Tortora

Illustration by Anna Baumeister

24. Illustration by Madeline Rutkowsky


She walks like the ocean.

Back and forth, back and forth.

A Nubian beauty,

Her skin shines for the world to see.

But what the world doesn't know,

Is that behind her gleaming skin,

Is a girl whose confidence dims.

Her complexion has turned nations against each other,

Carrying away her self-love, too.

Oh, she is a woman,

and how beautiful she is!

For she has a country full of dark-skinned beauties just like her.

Waiting for her to return home.

By Victoria Mburu

Photograph by Sophia Han



Out in the forest, in the dark of night,

With a rock to his left, and a tree to the right;

All he could do was keep on running,

For tonight his enemy sure was cunning.

Closer and closer to the river they drew,

The mouse ran, and the owll flew.

Down came the owl, from up above,

As fast as a falcon, as soft as a dove.

The mouse looked up, and then hit a bump,

After tumbling around, he fell on his rump.

The mouse felt despair and looked to the skies,

But there in the shadows shone two yellow eyes.

The eye gave a wink,

And faster than he could think;

The fox grabbed her prize,

As the mouse jumped with surprise.

Then later that night,

The fox laughed in delight,

And thought to herself over her feathery dish:

“Somewhere out there, there’s always a bigger fish.”

By Alex Tumilowicz

Painting by

Yusra Rashidzada

The music whistled as a traveler,

Wandering the world to live his dream.

It hushed as a kind mother

Calming her child at twilight.

It spun as a dancer,

Sweeping and twirling into lives and hearts.

The notes poured out of the instrument,

Coming to rest at your feet.

Jumping and hopping,

Pawing at your legs,

Igniting smiles and tears, laughs and sobs.

The beat blew around the chamber,

Bouncing off the ceiling and walls,

Flowing out of the doors and windows,

Delighting the ears who heard it.

The tune pounced onto your lap,

Snarling and snapping,

Grabbing you by the collar and pulling you down.

The melody dripped down,

Pooling upon the ground.

The song wrote itself upon the wind.

The melody tasted sweet,

Softening the cruelest hearts.

The tune was like a river,

Flowing in and out of souls,

Capturing minds within its current.

The beat was a pacing lion,

Waiting to escape,

To break free,

To have the full ability to roam.

The notes danced and twirled,

Weaving in and out of your heart and soul,

Winding up and winding down,

A cascading wave of emotion,

Spinning and spiraling into bliss.








By Chloe Schiff

The music whistled as a traveler,

Wandering the world to live his dream,

It hushed as a kind mother

Calming her child at twilight.

It spun as a dancer,

Sweeping and twirling into lives and hearts.


Painting by Yusra Rashidzada

The Lovely Unresolved

Maybe the nights have the roughest waves because even at its

fullest, the moon is not good enough.

Maybe the sea is the sky’s rebellious twin;

refusing to smooth herself for the sun’s love,

but misses his heat enough to glaze herself

in his tangerine glow.

I write infinity into the sand and watch the ocean

swallow time.

In that moment I realized that if the water can erase the


I can do the same with you


By Jillian Laper


Owning What I Can, Letting Go of What I Can’t

Illustration by Nina Kelban

I can confidently say miscommunication

was never on my part.

I at least owe myself that.

You are okay.

You are breathing and alive,

Look how pretty you still are.

White roses bleeding red

are still just flowers

blossoming from the empty bedside,

Your heart’s lessons

tucked into the creased sheets.

They did not break you.

You do not owe them that.

I will make anyone a ship out of driftwood.

Notice all their crooked lines

and that is how I fall for floorboards.

The first thing I have claimed is my silence,

The second is my word.

I am sorry, to myself, for being the bourbon,

Something to escape in,

Something to leave on the kitchen counter.

I am not sorry to anyone who still has me

on their breath.

Your selfishness will never find a place in my best


The mile walk to sun-dripped skin,

Phone calls to someone who is everything you


My love’s illuminessence,

in spite of the time I could not see her.

I am so much more without you,

and isn’t that the best part of leaving?

By Jillian Laper




Sitting wide eyed as I look from my perch,

A wave of people before me, waiting to lurch.

I raise my hand, signaling one to come,

A man walked forward, with the disposition of a bum.

“Hello Sir, how can I help you today?”

“Got any discounts? This place is expensive, they say.”

I list them all out, and he shakes his head,

Yet the determination in his eyes filled me with dread.

“I got four adults, three kids, and one under two,

There must be something that you can do?”

“I’m afraid not, Sir, I’ve done all that I could.”

I prayed for this to blow over, and knocked on wood.

His face got red, and his eyes narrowed to a slit.

I knew at once he’d soon start a fit.

“Are you serious? It’s your job to help!”

His sudden fury almost made me yelp,

“I can’t give you a sale, it’s part of the rules,”

Yet my comment did nothing but give him more fuel.

He looked at my eyes, his face starting to smirk,

“Can I speak to a manager?” Ugh, why’d I come to work?

I took a deep breath and straightened my back,

“Yes, of course.” I said, his dumb face I wanted to smack.

I walked across the room, all eyes were on me.

I hate this job, I wanna be free . . .

I walked to the office and told my tale,

Then I walked back, my manager hot on my trail.

We reached the register, and she took a seat,

then the man began to talk, not missing a beat.

“I want a discount, these prices are absurd!”

He continued to whine, and his words became slurred.

My manager repeated the words I once said,

Then the man standing before her tilted his head.

I watched them both carefully, and to my surprise,

The man started to nod and soften his eyes.

“Oh, okay, I understand, I’ll pay right away.”

I stood there in shock. What a waste of my day!

My manager glared at me, and I soon felt ashamed,

I had no idea how this man was suddenly tamed.

After he left, I slumped back down,

I really felt and looked like a clown.

I closed my eyes; I wanted to leave

Because at home in my room is where I will grieve.

By Haley Puntillo

A light blown out,

The ideas out of mind;

A face left with a pout,

And a smile unkind.

The memories that flowed through,

Became curled up and twisted.

Fantastical thoughts that once flew,

Now blocked by problems unlisted.

Photograph by Sophia Han

But out of the darkness flies a face,

Somebody to help, and to set the pace.

Then suddenly, the ideas once again start to flow,

They start out small, and from there they grow.

One by one, the lights turn back on.

What once was a block is now magically gone.

By Alex Tumilowicz


My Life is a Storm

Silent but mad, I flash like lightning,

Angry enough to yell like thunder,

Sad enough to cry like rain.

My life is a storm:

Sometimes it’s easy for a storm to pass,

To let my tears roll away and see me smile:

My rare blue sky.

My life is a storm:

It’s very easy for my weather to change into

A violent disturbance in the atmosphere of family and friends.

And after my passing, you are very wary

Of when I’ll act up again.

By Victoria Mburu


I crawl in the dark side of the moon

that is their brain.

A scaly noose

coiling around their neck,

turning their vision dark,

and lungs red.

I’m what emerges in their mind

when they hear the word “monster."

The non-lethal substance

killing them like a poison.

Invisible to others

but inside a flashing red.

I make them weak,

make others think they’re weak.

What would hurt more?

The pain I cause,

or the embarrassment they’d feel

if the world knew my power.

Yet, I lurk in everyone’s shadows.

Numerous grey grains of rice

being knelt upon, drawing black blood

in their deserted deserts,

but the whirlpools of sand

leave them too blind to see.

Illustration by Caroline McDowell

By Haley Puntillo


Time to Try Again!!!

How do you write a poem?

One with meaning!

With voice and sound!

I can make it fly!!!

I can make it soar!!!

Or will it fall?

Endless fantasies!

So much to say!

Is it too short?

Or is it too long?

Stories I can't wait to share!

Will they like it?

Will I?

Should I scrap it and try again?

Something new and exciting!

I can't stop typing!

Another project collecting dust.

Maybe a new idea will come?

How should I finish this thought?

Just keep thinking...

With a happy ending?

Maybe not.

No wait, I’m good.

No, I’m not.

Am I done yet?

Should I go on?

Forget it!

I'm spent.

By Laura Marino


Painting by Yusra Rashidzada



artfully styled my blonde curls, gathering them in

my hands and tying them with a white hair tie. The

end of the ponytail brushed just beneath my

shoulders, tickling my bare back. I used to wear my

hair in a ponytail when I danced with my best friend.

It felt refreshing to be able to have it up again.

I took a breath and began to mentally prepare for

what I was about to do. Outside, the breeze chilled

my bare shoulders and back, the faint glow of candles

illuminating my heavily made up face. The stars

dotted like pinpricks in a black shade. Fireflies danced

around me and crickets accompanied the sound of

my voice.

Before me will be thirty-two

perfectly wealthy people,

each person perfectly sitting

with perfect posture,

everyone dressed in their

absolute best: carefully

tailored suits in varying dark

shades scattered amongst the

lavish gowns hued on the

lighter side of the rainbow.

The women will be dripping

in jewels that so perfectly

match their attire. I can almost

hear their careless chatter that

no one will remember by

tomorrow. Their endless

glasses of champagne will be

delicately held in the hand of

each person. Suddenly, I

wished that it would rain.

“Oh, Lilly darling, you’re on in

five,” Cordelia said as she

slithered into my dressing

room. She didn’t glance up

from her clipboard as she

spoke to me. “You look lovely, as always. How do

you feel?”

Illusion of Perfection

dresses like the one I had on now. The dark violet

was elegant, the open back dipping low enough to

be beautiful, yet modest. The fabric beneath my

arms was itchy and much too tight. Without the sun

to warm me, I would surely freeze, but my comfort

was never Cordelia’s top priority. I faced the mirror

and tried to reposition the dress so it didn’t pinch


Finally, Cordelia looked up from her clipboard. “Oh

darling, we can’t have you looking like that. Your

hair looks like a blind rat styled it.” She wrinkled her

nose at her own statement. She gently placed her

clipboard on the vanity and

tugged my hair out of its

ponytail, adjusting my

immaculate curls onto my

shoulders until she gave a

satisfied nod. Pouring a

peanut-sized amount of

styling gel on her palm, she

started to smooth out the

top of my poor hair. I felt it

stiffen under her hands as if

also repulsed by her touch.

“There we are, darling. We

couldn’t have you looking

like a monster, could we?”

Cordelia smiled broadly. She

gestured for me to stand up,

and I obliged. We began our

walk through the halls to get

to the stage, and all the while

she fussed about various

things around me. Her voice

cut away at me, telling me

again and again what I could

and could not do. All for the

sake of my reputation and

career, of course. Her hands

moved about in a flourish, changing and arranging

things until I felt like a doll a child was playing with.


I said nothing to her. Instead I glanced away to the

rosebush that grew so close to the window its petals

brushed against it.

Cordelia continued, “you know you’ll do fine,

darling.” She highlighted something on her papers in

bright pink.

I spared her a moment's glance before taking my

black Christian Louboutins from beside my chair and

putting them on. Cordelia always made me wear

Eventually we arrived backstage. In a steady

crescendo, the classical tune commenced. A violin

and cello played a duet of beautiful sorrow. Cordelia

breathed out. “You have just a minute. Okay,

remember darling, these people paid a lot of money

to see you. There were only thirty-two seats. Do you

understand? Don’t mess this up, darling.”

She turned my shoulders toward the stage.

By Chloe Schiff

Painting by Yusra Rashidzada

Chewing Gum

There and ready,

I unwrapped it slowly...

Discovering ripe colors and pure savor;

A little taste of everything,

Everything he had to offer me.

The flavor swirled and sparked,

Fresh, yet soft and mushy.

Everything ever desired was there;

I had it all:

Everything he had to offer me.

But nothing that great lasts.

Perfect becomes plain,

The sweetness fades,

Replaced by dry conversations

and displaced anger,

Everything he had to offer me.

So I spit it out.

Right on the sidewalk

Where it attaches to someone else,

So he can give them

Everything he has to offer.

By Alyssa Murtha


When I Was No More Than Five

My Life at Five

When I was no more than five,

I thought to control the world,

Have it wrapped around my finger,

Amazed at the power I could unfurl.

I wielded my curiosity,

And stuck my finger in a hole.

But that one day,

The world said no,

And trapped my finger in this hole.

The ring-shaped round

Wasn’t planning on letting go.

It grasped my finger

For as long as it could hold.

The ring began to tighten,

And my finger started to grow.

Its color changed from pink to blue,

As I tried to loosen its hold.

Illustration by Yusra Rashidzada

Suddenly it came loose,

And deciding to call a truce,

It dropped my finger into open space,

Back to where it was in the first place.

But then, to my dismay,

I quickly learned that day,

That not everything in the world,

Can be curled,

Around my little finger.

By Melanie Hagen


My life is a mountain;

The sky sits above me like a dream.

Breathless, I reach up through the

clouds to touch it.

I rise.

As autumn ends,

I’m alone, abandoned, longing for life;

Loneliness covers me with

an icy blanket.

I mourn, as my reflection in the lake

freezes over.

Few climbers approach;

The starry sky lingers on.

My Life is a Mountain

As the cold retreats,

The trees are alive, and so am I.

Flowers emerge around my base;

The sun warms me, and I grin.

Life returns rapidly; the melting snow

flowing down my hills.

When night approaches,

I befriend the stars.

Because, it is only sometimes,

That I truly feel


By Jilianna Luck

Illustration by Lauren DeRosso 17


When I heard the story of the ladybugs,

I stood there in awe;

My mind soaring,

Staring at two red specks

Sitting atop a wall.

They are part of the family,

Is what I’ve been told,

Visiting every summer.

The protectors of the home;

The missing piece

of our puzzle.

They are little things to cherish,

Connected to family,

Kept inside a pocket-sized box,

That we labeled:


By Emily DesRoches


Painting by Mollie McMullan 19

hehe, Space.

what a funny place.

where gravity is wonky,

and our lungs stop working;

where the stars are closer,

and the Universe farther:

an inescapable dreamscape.

By Mika Misawa


Illustration by Caroline McDowell


Flowing atop the city smog,

And dancing to a private song,

These thoughts drift through a dying world.

Illustration by Lauren DeRosso

Their task, of the utmost importance:

To remedy the plagues of the wasteland we call home.

Simple miracles, supposedly,

But the magic is fading in this world, you see.

A smile can no longer give hope to me.


They would attempt, but never succeed,

To revive a dead heart, that’s looking to bleed.

Filling the head but never staying,

Their flame flickers, an existence too fleeting.

The deafening noise of people too full,

Rip, tear, and shred,

These thoughts once so wonderful.

Now here lies a bone-dry wasteland

With ambling corpses scattered about:

The remains of the weightless words burdened by the weighted world.

By Mika Misawa



This red world,

This bloody world,

So gruesome;

Each murder,

Each gunshot,

Blood spewing everywhere,

Blood spreading

In this red world.

So much love being broken,

Torn into a million pieces.

A red rose being given,

Given to this special person,

And this person tears it apart.

Each petal swiftly falling,

Each petal landing loudly.

A noisy room,

Clouded with thoughts

About a bloody airplane

Hanging from the ceiling;

Swinging from side to side,




Painting by Lilly Rettman

Creating a puddle

Of mixed feelings;

I see it every day

That airplane swinging . . .

By Liza Undrus


I’m wearing death in my favorite color

If I were to die reckless and quick,

A carcass resembling my body lay still

on some troubled intersection.

How I would bleed out a cause,

A color names my death a shrine,

How invincible my purpose will become then.

If the slain get a say in this decision,

I would want the roads dressed in neon green.

I want everyone’s attire to be so loud this one time I can’t be.

My tacky hue plastered on every street from Coram to Islip.

And if color really does hold memory,

Then think of what I meant to you in the shade of Easter grass,

Long Island sunrise dancing at a nightclub,

The Northern lights using Facetune,

Emeralds covered in your older sister’s nail polish,

Do not replace me with a breaking story.

I will not take it personally

if “my fight” does not cause a revolution.

My last photo is not a campaign symbol,

Justice is not a substitute for grief.

Love me enough to know that.

Illustration by Anna Baumeister


So this is goodbye;

“Come on now, don’t cry.”

Look up at the sky,

At the stars up so high,

And look into those eyes,

Listen to their sighs.

Notice their refusal to wave goodbye;

Their unmoved gaze from your dull eyes,

A thumb wiping tears as it goes by.

And as time flies,

You wonder why:

Why must they die?

By Kristen Tortora

If anything, remember that

I am every fluorescent sign flickering,

Any glimmering thing in the clearance aisle,

The commuter’s traffic dim and glow,

And, let that be enough.

By Jillian Laper


Illustration by Madeline Rutkowsky

Patrick Carrier

Emily DesRoches

Lauren DeRosso

Amy Grohs

Sophia Han

Jillian Laper

Cymbals Staff

Laura Marino

Caroline McDowell

Mollie McMullan

Mika Misawa

Alyssa Murtha

Jessica Platz

Haley Puntillo

Chloe Schiff

Kristen Tortora

Alex Tumiliowicz

Liza Undrus

Faculty Advisers

Ms. Jennifer Nazer

Ms. Jean Branna

Mr. Gerard Poole, Superintendent of Schools

Mr. Alan Meinster, Director of Curriculum,

Instruction and Assessment

Mr. Glen Arcuri, Asst. Supt.

for Finance & Operations

Mr. Brian K. Heyward, Asst. Supt.

for Human Resources

Mr. Charles M. Althoff, Director

of Student Services

Mr. Angelo Andreotti, Director of Facilities



Special Thanks to

Mrs. Amanda Browne

Ms. Samantha Shepard

Mr. Mark Passamonte Director of P.E.,

Health & Athletics

Mr. Peter Esposito, Director of Technology

Ms. Catherine E. Lang, Data Safety Coordinator

Ms. Faith E. Caglianone, C.P.A.

Business Manager

Mrs. Nicole Waldbauer, Director of Humanities

Dr. Amy Meyer, Director of STEM

Mr. Frank Pugliese, Principal

Mr. John Holownia, Assistant Principal

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