The Young Usurper

Consumed by delusions of grandeur to the very end, King Joffrey Baratheon departs Westeros in the only way that he knows how, by spreading chaos and uncertainty all around…

Editors note: This piece contains spoilers for “The Lion and the Rose,” the second episode of the fourth season of HBO’S “Game of Thrones.”

For years now we have waited in eager anticipation for the loathsome King Joffrey’s death. And in that time, we have fantasized over the thought of it. Who would be given the honor? How gruesome would it be? And, most importantly, how good would it feel? Admittedly, we here at Across the Margin are not up to speed on the Game of Thrones novels, but we were well aware of the fact that King Joffrey would meet his demise at his wedding. And with the passing of each season the fantasizing around his demise bloated, becoming the sort of eager talk that bound fans of the show together. Every snark or sadistic comment from the entitled pre-pubescent king strengthening the case for his undoing. Each cruelty heaped upon his faithful followers becoming another reason why his death should be as viciously repugnant and nauseating as that which he doled out during his reign upon the Iron Throne. Well, this past week we finally got what many of us have been waiting for. And although his demise was gruesome, and exceedingly humiliating, it was curious how watching him take his final choking breath made us feel.

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Nirvana, Then and Now

by: Michael Shields

Nirvana brazenly enters the annals of rock and roll history, pushing boundaries while staying true to their ethos….

A week ago this Thursday, Nirvana, along with Kiss, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, Cat Stevens and Linda Ronstadt were inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. The ceremony, which took place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, marked the first time that the remaining members of Nirvana would play Cobain’s songs together since his death, just over twenty years ago. While the fact that one of the most influential bands in modern rock history was being canonized amongst the rock gods is surely significant, the way in which they chose to do so was exceedingly inspiring.

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Twenty Years Later: The Blue Album

by Michael Shields

Twenty years after its release Weezer’s self-titled debut still persists as the crowning achievement in geek-rock…..

Roughly one score ago this day (c’mon – how often do you get to appropriately use the word score!), an album was released that instantaneously changed the face of indie rock. An album whose identifiable and honest anthems, paired with the eccentric nature of the artists behind them, convinced an entire generation of rock fans that they too had hope. An album, christened by the band’s fans as simply ‘The Blue Album’, served as an introductory course for many into the genres of indie and emo rock. That album, Weezer’s self-titled debut, remains one of the most influential and important albums of the past two decades.

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Toxic Shades

by: Lola Dune

An offering of poetry that cuts straight to the core….

watercolor tattoo.jpg

If I was stripped bare.

Each mosaic veined layer peeled away,

I’m terrified by what would remain.

My past haunts me every day,

a looming shadow following me from the time I wake.

Would the self-induced scars

and battle wounds of my youth

leave me a prisoner?



A broken body too young to justify the wear.

They say it’s not impossible for rebirth

but I am nobody’s fool.

The damage seeps through faded bandages

holding back something too toxic

to spawn anything pure.

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Game of Thrones: An Epic Fan Experience

by: Chris Thompson

An advanced screening of “Two Swords,” Game of Thrones first episode of the fourth season, provides a glimpse into what is shaping up to be a truly epic season…

“If you have a cell phone, laptop, tablet or camera you must surrender them to security before entering the venue!” A husky security guard clad in black and a woolen cap emblazoned with the letters GoT across its front, shouts loudly to the crowd. “There are no exceptions! Barclay’s will not tolerate unauthorized photography or recording of tonight’s event.” Immediately after this exclamation a wave of chatter breaks out amongst the crowd surrounding me. “No cellphones, wow!” a youth exclaims to my left. “Gonna be an analog experience tonight babe. Can you handle it?” a tattooed hipster says to his equally tattooed girlfriend to my right. As I scan the eager faces of the multitudes queuing about me, I try and tap into that vein of childhood excitement reserved for the birthdays and Christmases of my youth. I close my eyes and try to feel the buzz. To merge with the collective exhilaration pervading the participants of tonights event. To my excitement, I find it envelops me with ease. This is going to be a great night I think.

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The Devil Inside

by Christopher Rockwell

Why the media coverage of Malaysian Flight 370 has me feeling exasperated with the the 24 hour news cycle, and with myself…..

Initially, my head was in the right place. When news came down of the loss of an airliner with over two hundred people aboard I immediately thought of their families. I thought of their pain, and confusion, and their futile endeavor to grasp onto hope, even in the face of certain tragedy. I then thought of the passengers themselves. I shivered with uneasiness imagining the unfathomable terror engulfing their final moments. I hoped it was quick, and that it was easier than my anxieties presume it to be. And I took a moment in silence to bid them farewell, reminding myself how lucky I am for every breath I am granted.

And then suddenly, everything changed.

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by: Michael Shields

A new book whisks us behind the curtain of a fascinating era in basketball, a period simply known as Showtime…..

I remember it like yesterday. I was late. Well as I saw it, Mom was late, I had been ready for hours. This was Game Day after all. I had my jacket on, hat, scarf even, and was waiting patiently by the front door as my mother fished around for her keys, sniffed out her purse and otherwise just carried on without a care in the world. The only way to express my objections over our tardiness, and my mother’s lack of concern, was by flaunting a steady wave of fidgetiness. I squirmed and slithered, and certainly complained, on the way to the car, in the passenger seat, and en route to our destination. We were on our way to a family’s home whose three sons I was very close with. An Indonesian family where all three boys had those race car style beds, a source of devastating jealousy for me for years and years to come. I was set up for a sleepover, but all I had on my mind was The Game!

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Snow Days

by: Alice Kaltman

Worlds collide, as the heavens unleash their fury upon the unsuspecting…..


The kids were already getting on Kristin’s nerves and they’d only been in the car for five minutes.

“Mommeeee,” whined Larissa, “Dash is kicking me.”

“Am not.”

“Am too.”

“Am not, you stupid.”

“MOMMEEE! Dash called me stupid.”

A rustling in the backseat. An audible inhale. An ear piercing wail.

“She bit me,” cried Dash. “Mom, look,” a scrawny arm speared forward obstructing Kristin’s view out the snow-speckled windshield.

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Touching the Universe

by: James Delacroix

An author ponders the age old question – why write?

Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup, they slither wildly as they slip away across the universe. – The Beatles

In our increasingly futuristic world where concepts, ideas, and entertainment are omnipresent and constantly battling for our attention – why write?  With the ability to worship at the omnipotent oracle of the Internet and have all of our questions answered, and the ability to become silent voyeurs into the hearts, minds and souls of the world – why write?  With everyday objects becoming digitized, sanitized, and saved for posterity – why write?  In a world with an attention span fading out of the blue and into the black – why write?

Formulating an idea and committing it to paper or screen is a little piece of one’s being freed and released into the wide open realm of the conscious world. That thought may be little more than a flickering line on a computer screen or fresh ink on paper, but from those humble beginnings a little part of your being is released. Free to either fly or crash and sink beneath the murky waters of obscurity, where only the bravest divers go in search of pearls.  Even the lost parts of one’s being as expressed through writing are of value, as even the most poorly thought out and written idea is a piece of someone.

There are countless little pieces of myself scattered throughout the world by way of notebooks, journals, the internet, and poetry anthologies. Each one of those writings is an element hurtling through open spaces and synapses, waiting to connect and form a chemical bond with a reader who in turn I can only hope will expand upon that little piece of me and add a little piece of themselves to continue the interconnectedness of the chemical chain.  Writing is science; ever changing, dynamic, and it allows us all to be the voice of our own deity.  I write to be one with the Universe.

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Point / Counterpoint: Terrariums

by: Chris Thompson

The value of terrariums are debated in a smattering of enthusiastically disagreeable point, counterpoint…

Point: Fuck your terrarium man. I mean seriously. Just fuck you. What the hell is it supposed to be? Is that a plant? Or a moss-covered rock impersonating a plant? I can’t tell because it looks to me like you’ve created a tiny menagerie of chaos and uncertainty. A damp, suffocating, glass-enclosed ode to insanity. Like someone took a handful of lawn clippings and threw them into a bowl with some water and tumbled river stones and exclaimed “Viola’, terrarium!”

And what are those? Is that a tiny family of porcelain deer figurines? They look scared shitless. Honestly, I would be too if I was thrown into this enchanted forest of deranged greenery and told to live out my days. I can only imagine the caliber of monsters that come out at night in this ecosystem. Shivers. Wait! Seriously, is that a cactus? When the hell have you ever seen a cactus growing besides some moss? I mean, they’re from entirely different geographical regions for christ’s sake, one semi-arid to dry and the other more moisture-prone and temperate. What’s up next for you? You planning on opening up a zoo where lions of the Serengeti sleep with cute little lambs? Where jackrabbits and red-tailed hawks have playtime hour in the sun?

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