Milken embraces the arts


Alexandra Orbuch
Community Editor


On Friday, October 16, Milken students gathered in the library to celebrate creative expression in Milken Arts Combine. Charlene Malekmehr ‘19 was featured as the spotlight artist. First enrolled in a summer drawing program during her sixth grade year at Milken, Malekmehr told the audience that she has taken art every year since. As a senior, she is currently participating in an independent study where she can explore her passion freely without the constraints of AP guidelines and a set curriculum.

“As an artist, one of my favorite techniques is showing expression,” Malekmehr told listeners. “I use it as a lens to portray myself.” After seeing the exhibition of her art, it became clear that Malekmehr’s prime inspiration comes from music. “Piano is more of a controlled expression, while art is free,” Malekmehr explained. “I use that control and express it with artistic freedoms. I have found that I can break barriers creatively with my pieces.” After graduating from Milken, she hopes to study visual art in college and delve into cubism and abstraction.

Painting by Charlene Malekmehr ‘19

After taking questions from the audience  and an exhibition of Malekmehr’s art, Spotlight Poet Michaela Baxter ‘20 began to read her work. As the rhythmic tones of Baxter’s poetry swirled in the air, paired nicely with the soft Jazz backdrop, all in attendance listened intently.

“You command the stars
They are eager
to pour out their light for you
So it spills unabashedly
From your coy smile and knowing eyes

You alone
Have the allegiance of the stars
With this divinity
Imagine what else you can do.”

This excerpt is just one of many Baxter shared on Friday. Her easy, comedic rhyme scheme was instantly accessible.

Beginning with her short, pithy poetic pieces, like Last Supper, she then transitioned to her short story, detailing a protagonist crushed by a “lack of variety” who desires adventure.

After the reading came audience interaction with the poet. Listeners had a litany of questions for Michaela.

Which piece was the hardest for you to write?
The Last Supper. I had to focus the entire poem around one central image while also staying true to the rhyme scheme.

Which poem was your favorite?
Burning Home.

Where did you get such a large vocabulary?
Membean definitely didn’t hurt.

How much of your works come from your imagination and how much of it comes from your life?
I try to stay really true to my own voice; If I wouldn’t say it, it won’t go in my story. I will take an idea that I have an put myself in that situation.


Michaela Baxter’s poems:


Lucifer lies
entrapped in a frigid icy capsule
Damned eternally to a relentless chill
And lungs forever breathless and frail

Wipe away the wet film
Atop his ice prison
Peer inside and see him plainly
As the withered shell of a fallen angel

Scars from his treacherous dive
Are etched in his skin
He is charred into black
his ghastly form hollow
All but for the fury
Rattling in his chest

Burning Home

Whose home this was I think you knew
it settled in the grass and dew
For it was always warm and still
Alone except for your old mill

One night you came with blackened eyes
To generate my home’s demise
Afar you stood at point blank range
Who knew how much a match could change

With ease it danced within your grip
It teased me  “please flame”
I begged it not to trip
but with your flick it struck the grass
The rampant blaze, the race alas

How quickly it did catch my porch
And all my rooms it soon did scorch
the price of your crime was soon due
As you fell victim of it too

A once old mill eluding crash
Is now nothing but a hill of ash

Your Stars

This feels like a glinting memory
Of a dim warm night
the milky moon reflected
in the sleepy midnight waters
below the brick canal

Your suave fingers graze the water
Which stirs and ripples
Now aglow and humming still
from under your touch
you saunter along the bank of the water
As if you aren’t a walking vessel of magic
with the wave of your hand

The sparkles sewn into the black sky
Break away from their rightful spots above
Down and down they soar to you

You command the stars
They are eager
to pour out their light for you
So it spills unabashedly
From your coy smile and knowing eyes

You alone
Have the allegiance of the stars
With this divinity
Imagine what else you can do

The Last Supper

Rushing rushing in my ears
And that’s all that i can hear
My heart is climbing in my throat
I hate to leave on this grim note

Maybe i should raise a toast
I’m sure its you i hate the most
But this i’ve known for several weeks
I bought that pistol
Im playing for keeps

This faulty dinner a last hoorah
To keep you mine but now I’m raw
You should’ve said you liked my roast
But now your ass I have to toast

I now unsheath my silver friend
And with you gone my heart can mend
My shaking hand it tightens grip
Now i’m ready
let her rip

Click then boom then break
Red and more red than i can take
In the end you ducked away
My only victim a prized cabernet

The look on your face
I could almost laugh
Never have i seen you more baff
I sit back down in buzzing haste
no way is my roast going to waste

Michaela’s Short Story

It’s another Tuesday morning and I’m wide awake long before my alarm. Today I have a sharp pain behind my right eye, and I slept weirdly on my shoulder, so I have a crick in the neck. Oh. and I haven’t seen Wynn in 3 months. So I guess I could add that to the list. For the past 2 months, I’ve felt like I’m floating. You know the little speckle that lingers just out of your direct view after you rub your eye hard? That’s me. I just can’t get myself grounded or motivated, because I still have another 3 months to go until I have something worth being grounded for.

I didn’t expect anything different than the norm this year: 9 months blurred together to create one long, mundane afternoon. But after the summer that changed everything, I thought people would be able to see the difference all over me, like I’d decided to wear pink all the time to reflect the colors I’ve changed into. But that was pretty stupid in hindsight; now I face the reality that everything about school and my life is excruciatingly familiar. I know every car I’ll see on the road before I’m driving and I know every conversation I’ll hear before they happen. It’s always “she hooked up with him at blah blah’s party” and “what did you get on that physics test” and “We should try and get our Coachella tickets now”. Sometimes it’s all too much: the crushing feeling of a lack of variety. I’m young and healthy and have so many things I want to do, and I feel myself decaying under the AC behind a wooden desk.

When the weekend rolls around I don’t feel any particular excitement, because I’ve decided to get a jump on my homework this fine Saturday night. My phone lights up, and it’s a text from my mom:

“Out for dinner with the girls– earthquake money in the drawer, you can take some for pizza xo ;0)”

She must’ve already started drinking because she just told me where I could find a load of cash that she never checks on.

I went into my mom’s office to take a 20 for pizza; when I opened the envelope I couldn’t stop myself from taking out the whole stack and brushing it through my fingertips. I imagined what I could do with that money. I could go see Wynn. “That would be insane,” I thought. “I would never be allowed to leave home ever again” was my next thought. And then I looked around and realized that it was a Saturday night and I had no plans of leaving home anyway.

I grabbed the 20 and slipped the rest of the money back in the envelope.

I was deep in history notes when my phone started buzzing. Wynn was calling. For some reason, I felt a giggle start to rise in my throat. I picked up and out came the giggle along with an overly enthusiastic “hey!!!”. While we talked my toes were curled and my lip was bit and my dimples were dancing. And I just felt better. She told me she had to go and that she loved me. Ending the call felt like taking a blow to the chest and literally left me heaving, and I was crying. Not weeping, but big dramatic tears that would stop for no one, except maybe Wynn. And the crying wouldn’t stop, not for sleep either, apparently, as I woke up red-faced and wet-cheeked. I sat nauseous in bed the whole morning; it felt “EARTHQUAKE MONEY” was underlined and bolded inside my head and in even bigger bold was “FOR WYNN. FOR YOU”.

These words nagged at me. They tugged at the dangerous ideas that pounded at the walls of my head. And they didn’t leave me for the following week of school. I was only half conscious during the days and felt myself going through the motions: sit, quiet, work, sleep. Reset. Monday.Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday. They all become Shitsday.

But Friday was different.

It started the same as any other Shitsday, and I was in History when she texted me that she needed me there. That really I should just drop everything and go.

“Ha” I said.

Why did I say “ha”? Why wouldn’t I? Why can’t I? And Jesus, what am I scared of?

I don’t think I’ve ever broken a rule. I’ve never been grounded. So can’t I cash in all the petty rule breaking I’ve never done for one big stunt?