Pinocchio Wisdom

by Elizabeth McGinn on April 22, 2021


crowd of people
Photo courtesy of

by Sam Ward ’21

Doubt clears the brain, let the stains come,
And let the words fabricate themselves.
The slippery slope between hope and certainty,
Muddled by the inbetween.
We get a glimpse of a panoramic view,
What you see says more about the flaws in you
Then it does about reality,
Strength to those who question,
Cursed are those who self-reflect. 

It gets easier to fade to another place,
Why stay?  

Condensed images of buildings collapsing,
With people on the fringes selling matches,
Cracked seed left out,
Who declined the sunshine,
Who lives their life on borrowed time,
Who worries about the perfect rhyme,
And splits it, rather said than wish to say,
So focused, so focused on just getting by,
Chasing bygones with bated breath. 

Peaceful, I am, when the rules of the game,
All remain. 

Picking up a signal, these are
Visions of palette colored by
Doubt. I feel the footsteps coming,
I can feel all my walls just closing in,
Can’t leave the bed, there are ghouls in
The attic and a strange hand pulling all the strings.  

Who would have thought that we all live in fear,
We all just call the brave ones crazy.
Disregard the steps it takes to create
An imperfect lifetime, filled with regrets,
Worrying about inconsequential things,
These schemes, this wisdom. 



Some Words on Distant Histories

by Elizabeth McGinn on March 4, 2021


Photos courtesy of and graphic design by Elizabeth McGinn ’21

 by Sam Ward ’21

Patience, we feel,
These lies write for
Themselves. Pay homage
Or pay the price, we
Play for numbers,
Not for keeps,
Raise the bar.
This entry cost is steep.
Invaders in the pantry,
The enemy hangs wreaths
On your own front door.  

Distracted, gaze fixated on
Screens. How can it be true?
At once so literal,
In a self-defined landscape,
Where beauty paces the meek,
Checks the balance on
Burdened precepts,
Like kite strings cut,
Sunny day. The rain
Doesn’t care who they are
Or how they got there.   

Emphasis on significant hours judged
Only by a thousand year convention,
Trained into recognition,
No choice, even if
The absurdity of truth or
superstition is in arm’s reach.
Expectations, this will be different,
Any time around the sun,
Another maze we have to run
And there’s no slowing down.
And of course we’re all lost. 

Bad days frequent,
diseased brains seeking
Refuge in the rest.
Flourish if we’re nourished,
But the hand that feeds,
Craves our hunger,
Sustains on it, stained.
Ambivalence is the cost
Of finding peace, so to speak,
We settle for it.
If we bite, they’ll bite back. 

Gaslit or seppuku,
Addicts on the coast who
Pander to middle.
Riding out on guerillas,
Or dragons, Adidas, winged victory.
Conquering collective’s riches,
They are not their own,
We are not our own.
Heathens on the bench
Scream, treason on their



Cargo → Flight → Crashing → Demigod

by Elizabeth McGinn on February 25, 2021


starry night sky

by Sam Ward ’21


The captive in the cargo hold

Was the captain of a space vessel, Captured, or so we’re told,

With ancient symbols superimposed On her chest, classic bodies,

What are they worth,

With no cause or effect?


Do you hail from a distant star? Some planetary figure,

Where foreign tongues scratch Alien fibers stitched up in the skins Of strange beasts, like some Rudimentary interface for Pre-space faring communication.


The creative impulse embedded in creatures, To conceive, to birth, to raise,

Has released sources of energy,

Unfit for the hands of their makers.

I still think of her, or what was told, Clutching her possessions, Crashing to the surface.


You skirted evolution,

Caught not in space,

But some time lost

To the atoms of enlightened matter. Your cursed tombs will burn,

When we break through the atmosphere. Down, down, down, down, descent.


First Place

by Elizabeth McGinn on February 11, 2021


tattered ribbon
photo courtesy of

by Sam Ward ’21

Love is strange, strangers turn
To best friends and back again
When the feeling is less intense.

Still, you left a mark on my heart
Like an indent, and we typed the keys
That codified the sequence. 

“The sun still sets in paradise” 

Even butchered Maroon 5 lines
Reflect memories of moonlit eyes.
Tell me why, tell me why. 

Finally home but feeling withdrawn,
Take my hand, lead me too far.
Where has it gone? Where has it—

They had me living in a pit
I have one lofty wish:
Fix this glitch, fix this glitch. 

One day an eternity,
From two to three, all for just five,
That I wish you’d spend with me. 

Opened like a locked box,
Trifled for my jewels,
I gave it all away, I’d give it all away. 

This heart heals quickly,
The brain feels forever.
Conditioned to take it with me,
Where there’s always never. 

Sabotaged to start with,
Finish line or just quit,
Ego death or panic,
I am losing and I’m in first place.


Among Us

by The Cowl Editor on October 29, 2020


galaxy with a red light
Graphic design by Sarah McLaughlin ’23

by Sam Ward ’21

What made you, killer?
Like some deranged son of Cain,
Primordial vision on predatory
Impulses pulled from your
Triune brain off kilter,
Are you reptilian or a person?

Who awoke you, monster?
Your limbic still intact
Except for the pleasure
Derived from bloodlust and
Philic for dormant urges,
That should remain latent.

Why are you, devil?
Kill the innocent but they are no
sacrificial lamb, just new followers
For your Church of Shadows,
Every body a trophy,
Everybody a victim.

What now, demon?
Made or unmade, just disappearing
Differences, scolding hot inside
The icy channels of our minds.

We all have monsters,
Under our beds and inside our hearts.
We have a lot to reckon with.
There is a killer in all of us.


“Writing in Stealth”

by The Cowl Editor on October 15, 2020


mask with handwriting on it
Graphic design by Elizabeth McGinn ’21

by Sam Ward ’21

Last gen not with it,
Sick blood so guilty.
Ten years no limits
Now just— 

Abandon sweetness,
It’s the consequence,
Of genes and failing images
Nobody wants to tell you what
The worst case really is. 

Is it self pity or stealth writing?
Truth hides behind stanzas,
Lies directly on lines,
Diatribes on lives

We all already lost.
Last chance reaping what we
Sow but gotta do it, no jokes,
Immature when close.
Rock the boat no row,
Floating forward, just winded.
Exhaustion means praying for remission.

These flavors frequent the frequency
Painting palettes, the decency
Is a face you wear.
While the sky rains sucrose
None of us care.
Hide behind pronouns but 

I don’t write to be heard.
I just write and share secrets.


The Etiquette of Regret

by The Cowl Editor on September 17, 2020


spilled coffee
photo courtesy of

by Sam Ward ’21

One misstep now I’m missing time.
My sun just rose but I’m losing light?

That pie is  halfway done
and under baked,
I’m overwhelmed?
What’s the answer if I question myself?

The force that animates life only moves forward.
So, salute the skies like a kite, soldier.

Rest or unrest, it’s all entropy.
So, trust or don’t trust your own recipe.

A kept tongue is a slit throat
‘Cause your wisest thoughts are never spoken.

One misstep now I’m giving time.
The sun just rose but I closed my eyes.


These Perishable Thoughts

by Connor Zimmerman on February 27, 2020


A winged shoe in flight
Photo courtesy of

by Sam Ward ’21

The only thing I fear are these perishable thoughts.

I grasp onto them like they are golden-tipped winged shoes fluttering above my halo’d mind.
I clutch them close like the cross my grandfather bore around his neck, falling gracefully over his beating chest.
I behold them like Eris’s apple, the idyllic piece, missing from the grandest schema.

I grasp. I clutch. I behold.

I grasp them until they float from reach, transcending, elevating, leaving this earthly coil.
Winged shoes become fabricated visions.
I clutch them until they melt into my chest, burying themselves deeper than Freudian wizardry could uncover.
Even silver crosses turn black.
I behold them until they become objects of fantasy, distant, sublime.

Golden apples must rot, too.

Careless, I would be, without these perishable thoughts.
So I continue to
grasp, clutch, behold:
and write it all down.

Below, a guide for writing a love poem to your sweetheart (or boogabear, snookems, or tootsie wootsie)

by Connor Zimmerman on February 14, 2020


A pile of rose petals
Photo courtesy of

by Sam Ward ’21

To better understand love and its treasures,
You must first reexamine your loyalty to vices.
You are not ready to love unless you take the right measures.
Would you keep caffeine in the A.M. if Starbucks raised its prices?

Wag your finger to rom-coms, even Paul Rudd ones.
Love has no place for a man who makes silly puns.
Say no to chocolate in bed, sugar for breakfast.
To forgo these things is to keep your heart the freshest.

A rose is still a rose, if you detest it,
And a bed full of petals is no place to rest in.
Flowery poetry makes you look like a sap,
Now say, “Valentine’s Day is crap!”

These Trying Times Are Stagnant.

by Connor Zimmerman on January 16, 2020


A mile marker that reads 10? in the middle of a desert
Photos courtesy of and Graphic Design by Sarah McLaughlin ’23

by Sam Ward ’21

I conquered moon cycles, fake news, reignited lighters
with no signs, nowhere to hide, huh.
It’s life, it’s all surprises,
we live; the vibe is priceless.
But when you rewrite the mileage,
you see, these times are stagnant.

I used to do this every day.
Now I cannot remember what I said yesterday.
Maybe it is complacency or that part of me rebelled,
Or there are greater forces at work, my chakras disassembled.
I used to turn my truths to fiction,
now just, solace in superstition.

If it is not nourished, we forget.
When trying times establish, we neglect.
If it is not tied together, what’s the point?
Let my attention see and my captivation seize.