- O L O G Y I S S U E F O U R S E P T E M B E R 2016
C O A L E S C E
-ology: the prospective science of; a series of experiments or informalities; a possibility without ultimate solidity. journal: your thoughts in ink and tears; a gathering of certainties; a collective of personal poems and odysseys.
- O L O G Y Electronic Journal of Poetry and Prose No 4 | September 2016
Executive Editor and Creative Director Avery Myers
COALESCE Managing Editor Paola Bennet Managing Editor Alex Beightol Prose and Poetry Editor -Ology Journal is an independent publication that does not belong to any collective group or association. No part of this electronic journal may be reproduced without prior consent of the owners of the individual works contained within the journal. All copyright remains with the individual contributors. Additional content and submission guidelines for future issues can be found at ologyjournal.com. Connect with us on Twitter at @_ologyjournal. Cover photos by Avel Chuklanov, via unsplash.com/@avelchuklanov
Anthea Yang Prose and Poetry Editor Elisabeth Hewer Copy Editor Nora Hill Art and Graphic Design Director Adrien Mooney
FROM THE EDITOR Many of you have asked us what took so long. The truth is, I waited to publish this until I knew what it meant to coalesce. In choosing the theme for this issue, I chose an aspect in my life where I needed to grow. How many of us have felt like a stranger in our own homes? This is a time where we know our world has people who care for us, but more than anything, we just want to go away. Several times over the past few years, every ounce of me wished for nothing more than to disappear. And suddenly, violently, the rug was ripped out from beneath me. I struggled to realize that the Disappearance of Avery Myers didn’t lead to the freedom and intrigue I thought it would. I thought having a home base wasn’t important. Thankfully, we grow. I think the theme of home is closely correlated with the action of coming together. This is what it looks like to come together. When you realize no other city or planet or imaginary person you could be in the world has a heart and soul like you. That you are a piece of a puzzle and we couldn’t complete this without you. That we stand together, but as Kahlil Gibran says:
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow. (To the people I consider my family: you know who you are. If you even for a second think, “is she talking about me?”, yes, I am talking about you. Enjoy this gift. I love you.) Sometimes I wonder if we are enough. I wonder if I can give to you all that I want. I wonder if we’re leaving the world a little brighter with each issue we make. I know we are small. I know we have such a little glimmer. But we thank you, all the same. I’d give anything to know all of you personally. —Avery Myers Executive Editor
CONTENTS Letter from the Editor 5 A Conversation with Alex Beightol 8 Living Imitations Camille Sibel 10 Fizzle Yin Xzi 12 Regression to the Mean Sydney Shavalier 14 The Drowned Lament Sabina Holzman 15 My Sister's Hand Yin Xzi 16 All I Hear Is Thunder Caroline Kinsella 18 Dharma Talk Ariel Kusby 19
When We Come Together We Cassandra Neigh 20 Seeking a Fence Victoria Cheff 22 Gestation Ariel Kusby 24 Restoring Holy Ground Caroline Kinsella 25 Metaphor Aishwarya Nair 26 All That I Birthed Kateri David 27 Reincarnation Yin Xzi 28 Contributors 30
To ring in four issues of -Ology, I sat down and did an over-email interview with our newest editor, Alex Beightol. Alex and I have known each other for a very long time, with our friendship beginning sometime in 2005 or 2006, but we really truly got to know each other over the last few years. She's a wonderful light in the dark—an open, glimmering soul—and I'm very pleased to introduce her to you. Avery Myers: Alex, let's start this off with an easy one. What is beauty to you? Alex Beightol: This question makes me somewhat anxious, in the sense that I immediately tried to pin beauty down to the definitive, when it really enchants in the infinitive. It cracks through what we have deemed bad and it blinds in biology and art and living. I have experienced this sense of wholeness, rightness and awe looking at both paintings older than my great-great grandmother and muddy, sun drenched cousins. The aesthetic and the spiritual definition of beauty encompass the theological and the physical. Maybe it's when we see the truth of something, like the color of a lily, the description of pain, the redemption work taking place. How else is it found in bombed out towns and blood stained birth? It hangs on walls and runs through tears and points us home. We have time to figure it out, thank God. AM: Wonderful! It's something that takes a long while for us to decipher, ourselves. But we're young, and it's good to start young. Is there any advice you'd give yourself when you were younger, like fifteen? AB: Alex five years younger: You know absolutely everything and nothing. Believe them when they tell you it will hurt, unclench your small fists, and know you will be saved multiple times. You will pay attention to life and that will hurt, like Ms. Doyle said. Holiness is not found in closing up to humanity and you'll find it when you lose your excess certainty and break. Everything will heal, because grace does that. Your people will find you or you will find them, and none of you will remember how it happened, but it doesn't matter. AM: You say right here that grace heals everything. Do you consider yourself an optimist? AB: I believe I am, but in the realest sense of the word. Optimism sometimes is portrayed as a sort of unrealistic, never ending glee that no self-respecting grown up would admit to. Everyone performs liturgy or rituals—whether they recognize that or not—and I think it's difficult for me to have a faith that calls you to see the life in everything that's dying and keep planting and not learn to practice hopes in all sizes. Optimism affirms/accepts both the presence of the painful and pleasurable in life, and is a lot more generous about applying the label "good" to things. AM: Wow. That's precisely how it is, amen. And it's true, most of the time optimism is associated with ignorance and innocence. But you prove it's not necessary to be a troubled person to see the world for how it is. Our theme for this issue is coalesce. It's your signing-on issue. What does that topic mean to you?
AB: It's something I have always been hungry for. I do not know what is like to not long for any sense of togetherness. It came in snatches through homeschooling, being constantly asked to explain oneself, the fringe and all the people camping out there. High school and college have taught me how intentional one must be in creating community, and how much I treasured that coming together. There were times when I would look down the long dining table and count the heads of these new loved ones from every walk of life. If I'm for you and you're for me, we can muddle our way through all the disagreements and hard parts of living. Calling out becomes calling in, and that is so desperately important for figuring out how to live together as countries, humans and tribes. AM: Calling out becomes calling in. What a beautiful statement. Thank you, Alex! Just one more question: Name me a poem or story that has so beautifully and violently affected you. AB: I'm fighting against a handful come to mind. There are poems by famously famous writers like ts eliot and Maya Angelou that have stopped me in my tracks and told me who I was as a brown/female/human being. Poems like "Minority" (thank you, Imtiaz Dharker) where I couldn't breathe after reading. It just hit me now that possibly the most life-changing was rereading The Chronicles of Narnia and the Gospels together at Smith College and realizing that this is the only story where God dies. God is killed, and I'm ok with that. The entire thing is so subversive and insane. I got up and wanted to wave my reading packet around because for the 800th time, me, a Sunday school veteran, finally got smacked upside the head with this choice. I went to Easter service that semester and couldn't stop beaming. This is how Death dies? The losers win? My life is and will forever be reeling from that eucatastrophe, and I'm perfectly happy with that.
Photos by Abigail Kromminga
LIVING IMITATIONS Camille Sibel there’s a clatter of hearts; crashing into each other with every beat. a tangle of limbs are the alleyways for the blood racing smoothly like nectar through veins. this mess of a body, this conjured illusion, sits on the stairs of a carpark tapping fingers on legs not waiting, but watching. it leaves a slight wisp of a trail whenever it shifts in its place; as if someone’s taken a picture in motion, a blurred smudge of the past clinging to the air. and that air, the air, it’s insidious, almost the oxygen seems turned to wine, a thin film of breath stays coated on the lungs it is addicted to breathing, a desire for just one more inhale exhale. inhale. exhale. in, out, in, out, in breathing is by far the best part of being alive.
the backdrop for this, the carpark, is nothing too special grimy city scum cakes the concrete. there's a smell of faint rubber, tire tracks lace the ground and the stairways must exude urine, as much as there is. still, it sits. still, it watches. until still, no more. it moves; joints roll and muscles slink, down the stairs it goes liquidly approaching someone fumbling for their keys it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have a solid shadow; instead, the space behind it shifts and twists. the person drops their keys they clatter loudly on the ground the human doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get to look up as themselves again instead, when it does straighten up, keys in a much steadier hand to look at the shifting and twising shadows behind, it isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t a person anymore. it is it.
FIZZLE Yin Xzi i am hurtling through time and space and darkened air there is a tangible, pleasant, steadfast and sure surprise a brilliantly glowing yellow streak through all of this opaque space a hurried brush stroke acting as a blade of grass, shooting this is all the shattered glass baubles to which we attach infinite care the thin, soapy, iridescent layer of a bubble molding itself around us we have tried to keep it safe, to make sure that it does not pop breaking the illusion with a single drop of a pin, a barbed word thrown i am starting to realize just how much the steady blink fluttering-steady heart beat and upturned smiles, no longer upside down i wish i could fizz right into existence out of thin air with a hug and a soft smile, and something to color you gold with -
the planets above us are still turning, spinning, constantly on show we have our eyes tilted up towards them, the sky, the stars, space there is a lack of air, of color, of light up there and yet is it infinite and we are infinitely small against the backdrop awash with glows of ethereal blue i have forgotten when i stopped rhyming with most of my words all of this that has happened, all that will happen might one day all disappear dandelion tufts drifting on the wind, wishes being made, lost, made again told, unfolded stories, secrets hiding behind a haloed heart of golden green i do not want to fizzle out of existence not now not ever, and i am so incredibly anxious this is all of the false hurt in the world trying to hide in something beautiful,
REGRESSION TO THE MEAN Sydney Shavalier Do your fingers get blue and cold when I forget your name in the street? I only pretend to now. The nostalgia is too warm and it refluxes too gently. I am glad that the universe let us exist at the same time, just two coat arms brushing now, jacket faces turned up. Let me know when you are safe so the flowers can blush in tandem. Godspeed to the rain petering out above you let it clean your chest and the malaise that nested there. The fields around you will become blonder for it.
THE DROWNED LAMENT Sabina Holzman When you died, I threw your copy of The Iliad into the sea, and cursed Odysseus and all that keeps people who are loved from home. I found it again twenty years later, the scent of rust and brine and homesickness poignant as a pierce behind the heels. I dreamt of you that night, dreamt of you whispering into my ears sunken gospels, your voice that I could not differ from the murmuring lull of the ocean. You said Odysseus had a son who never existed, whose name meant born far away. You said when people go mad they make up things, people, dogs, places, even mythologies sometimes, and I thought that perhaps every tragedy was like that: that the Greeks spent so much time by the sea that they went mad from loneliness.
MY SISTER'S HAND Yin Xzi holding your sister's hand is different from holding a boy's hand. this time she's gripping it - knuckles turning white, slowly, quickly, fingernails digging into your skin as if you are the only one anchoring her to this world right now and you cannot, can't ever, ever, never let her go. the wild panic the screaming, suffocating pain you know she must be feeling right now. ignore that in favor of the mickey mouse printed across a yellow plastic ball that you grabbed in a desperate attempt to relocate her message of pain somewhere else, anywhere else apart from your own twisted fingers and curved wrists. holding your sister's hand is different from holding the hand of the boy you like. this time it's oddly familiar - fingers interlocking, thumbs gently tucking under each other. he's holding a butterfly and you a live wire both trying to be careful, not trying to hurt each other but also desperately avoiding any pain that you might cause to yourself. pinkies twitch together in a half-promise - this is new, but this is new the way each sunrise is new. it looks different but feels the same - the same warmth that envelops you with a sip of green tea. you want to stay here forever, in the small safety that a hand can provide, stay here and hide from the awful, awful reality that not everything is as safe, familiar, or warm as you or anyone else would like it to be. 16
holding your sister's hand is different from holding his hand. she's pulling it towards her chest her lungs are hurting from this never-ending inhale exhale inhale inhale inhale - she can't breathe and you don't know what to do because you're just there, offering all you can - an arm, a wrist, a finger, a smile, a funny story, you cannot make her breathe anymore than you can chase away the storm that lingers inside your head. he's pulling it towards his heart his head is hurting from trying to figure out whether or not to make the jump but his feet have long since decided for him and he is plummeting off the edge.
ALL I HEAR IS THUNDER Caroline Kinsella tell me about the pink cities you've dreamt in and the fuschia skies you were born under, screaming early into the void. teach me how you refused to let it swallow you even when the earth groaned beneath your feet. did you fight back against the hollow hips of the sky? did you take your fists up against the impetuous sea? tell me how the fire in your gut breathes on when you feel you have no oxygen left. tell me how you have bled rivers and lived to paddle the diluted waters. this is a pink city under an endless sky. this is the void, and the lofty prayers, and the bloody hands. tell me that we live to see the shades of blue again, or if we want to see them again anyway. that our prayers are reborn as blessings. that our hands cup something whole.
DHARMA TALK Ariel Kusby While he spoke about the circumnavigation of souls through the earthly plane and the quest to forsake dukkha and self for bliss, I watched his lips come together and apart. I pictured him back then, as a soldier dead and rotting in foreign mud. I saw a Pekinese dog resting on a rug, a hunter unaccompanied, a patient locked up twice with the voices of him and the voices of them, a Kenyan girl walking step by step through the manyatta in heat, a messenger, a moth. The ghosts heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d been and seen while taking his turn again and again, the baby traumatized by light, the grandmother in her bed, the golden touch, The Arctic Tern, the widow, me, you, the Sea-Worlded whale and the one still â&#x20AC;&#x153;free,â&#x20AC;? the medicine man, the vicar standing before us all, the monk who sat and spoke with us and chanted to our breath.
WHEN WE COME TOGETHER WE Cassandra Neigh when we come together, we are afraid lost tired confused reeling. like trees, our hearts clothed in bark, growing from the outside in because we have been hurt too many times for anybody to see our raw, vulnerable skin. our lungs rattle in our ribcage, charcoalblack smoke we breathe in, but never out. we bleed crimson red, leaking from our eyes, blubbering from our mouths, running like rivers down our neck, our arms, our backs, forming puddles in the ground where our feet now stand, soaked. and.
innocent white and midnight purple and sunshine yellow and pastel pink, reaching for good things: sunlight and water and blue skies. and we are like flowers. growing out of the bloodbrown ground, hope. our eyes are oceans of blue diamonds, and caves of green emeralds, and liquidcenter brown jewels. deep treasure. white nails tickling skin like feathers, music so loud we are crushed, late night drives through a city of wonder, early morning drives through a vast, empty landscape. sensations. hopeful deep treasures sensational, beautiful chaos and wonder. we come together, move as one, past tragedy. afraidlosttiredconfusedreeling and hopefuldeeptreasuressensationalbeautifulchaoswonder.
SEEKING A FENCE Victoria Cheff Once a flower grew Spreading its roots among the scattered gravel A junkyard flower It curls its way around the burnt rubber and shattered glass and permanent echoes of the metallic crunch when it met the telephone pole it spiraled up the side, clinging to the splintered wood, together they became inseparable life, poised, where you almost died -
now in the pale light of January everything should be dead here the rain should be harsh and the winds should be rough but the garden is blooming relentlessly under my childhood window around that telephone pole too and the morning glories are seeking fences so that they may bloom â&#x20AC;&#x201D;the briefest of blossomsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; as close to their sky as possible this flower is growing around your ankles because you are still standing so as to remind you to bloom now like the sun won't rise tomorrow.
GESTATION Ariel Kusby Silver and exposed rings unfurling like stretch marks hold me above fire ants and mud. My light drips wax like lengthening fingers curling between tough hips. The darkness is layered like clenched strips of bark, but I am a candlelight leech barely here. The moths circle us, huddled birds of prey, while I wait, rasping fallopian incantations.
RESTORING HOLY GROUND Caroline Kinsella I am thinking of sun, of warmth: of the slow drawing of a curtain in a dark room, a gradual flood of light; of a door to a garden bathed in early-morning gold. "Lift the dams: we're coming home," they say from their tucked-away corners, from behind their closed doors. Feel the dampened hues and heaviness lift themselves lightly from soft skin and fall through your fingers like sand. We bled away the winter. Now, we open our curled fists to collective restoration.
METAPHOR Aishwarya Nair “Think of it this way,” he said, “if hope is a light, then the darkness we feel is only a shadow. One cannot exist without the other. Shadows exist because of light, darkness exists because of hope.”
ALL THAT I BIRTHED Kateri David i. Sometimes, the apartment stairwell back-lit. Hallways laid bare for miles. A woman presses her palms to the floor in gold light. Feels for pulses, comes up empty every time. On the other side of the wall, blue noise: the dead end of a telephone, someone thumbing a bruise. Too much on either end. The glow & pulse of the tongue. My mouth as wide as this room & just as empty. ii. You walk into my dreams in marrow light. A sky froths and quakes over children skating on a frozen pond. Falling, they call out in voices that curl and shrink like dying birds. You walk past me & the rims of my eyes bruise until I'm blinded & the scene repeats. Memories of your finger on my lip. When we were children, your sled crashed and you bled. I couldn't blink & maybe I screamed your name. Now, here, it is my body splayed over the ice, bood spilling river-thick, palms sacrificing themselves to the sky. People hover over me until the sky furrows dark & they retreat into the orange-lit doorways. You're the last to leave, I watch you sink mute & unblinking into the snow-covered hills. Who were you here, did I ever know your name?
REINCARNATION Yin Xzi my parents believe in the death and rebirth of all living beings; the soul, the spirit, of each and everything will pass on when it dies, to be reborn remade once again into another living being. there is a jacaranda tree, living, blossoming lilac on the road up the hill to my house; it is so much like the trees that lined the street to school as a child that things seem to be remade once again. a yellow bird, fluttering wings - all feathers and a fluted tail, has been sending itself, flying, into its reflection in the window, maybe it recognizes something that i can't comprehend, as i watch it jump from window to branch, branch to window. i am infinitely scared of jumping over the cool, gaping crevasse that marks the difference between here, and what everything could be; and so i hold on as tight as i can - grasping to what marks now.
shadows and light spill and play with the golden-brown strands of his hair as we sit in complete, and comfortable silence - the both of us learning three different languages simultaneously; we have yet to be fluent. with the dropping of rain into the stillness of the pool; i wonder if that shakes, or completes the equilibrium of the world - if everything creates a ripple, and we create ripples all at once, how does the world keep up? my parents believe in the death and rebirth of all living beings; perhaps once, under an orange jacaranda tree, on a gray-bricked road, on a breezy summer evening - we stood in these exact positions, breathing. he whispers that he doesn't believe in reincarnation, doesn't believe much of anything, really - you wonder if he believes in love; in a silent answer he pulls you closer to kiss your forehead and you feel him smile into your hair. perhaps the yellow bird sees what it used to be - perhaps the difference between me here and what i could be is what i have been discovering all along;
CONTRIBUTORS Aishwarya Nair Buddhist. Poet. Silver Lining Idiot. Adventure seeker. Lover of all things living. More musings: tumblr | aishwaryanair Ariel Kusby Ariel Kusby is a graduate of UCLA, where she studied creative writing. Her writing has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Luna Luna Magazine, Bone Bouquet, Devilfish Review, Umbrella
Factory, Chaparral, and elsewhere. Camille Sibel Camille Sibel is a writer-in-progress from Fresno, California. She spends her free time wandering around and texting insignificant things to her patient friends. In the future, she hopes to live in a large city with two cats and lots of flowers. Caroline Kinsella Caroline Kinsella is an East Coaster, engineering student, and lover of language. She can't smell, but she'd like to imagine the mornings always smell as beautiful as they appear. Cassandra Neigh Cassandra Neigh is a reader, writer, cuddler, and recoverer, living in a beautiful chaos. She has a passion for words, music, new cities, people, and ultimately, for life. Kateri David Kateri David is a chaotic writer and a junior in high school with a taste for the biting and milksweet. Her work in both poetry and prose has been recognized regionally by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. In between playing tennis and fan-girling over TV shows, she can be found blogging at kateristheories.wordpress.com.
Sabina Holzman Sabina Holzman is a literature student who likes mythology and the roots of languages. She grew up in Southern California. In her spare time, she hoards books of poetry and pets dogs. Sydney Shavalier Sydney Shavalier. 20. Studying chemistry at Grand Valley State University. Previously published in -Ology, the University of Michigan's Oleander Review, and the 2014 and 2015 Artprize
Anthology. Victoria Cheff Victoria Cheff grew up in a small town in central New Jersey where she began writing stories and poems at a young age. She now attends Colby College in Waterville, Maine, where she studies French, Creative Writing, and Russian. She hopes to become a travel writer one day and maybe run her own literary magazine, but she's not exactly sure what she wants out of life yet. Yin Xzi Yin Xzi is a seventeen-year-old girl living in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, who wonders what color she feels like today and takes careful care to watch the sky whenever she can. She found her love of writing through her suffering in life and never wants to stop. She has a home in more than one place and loves to pet cats.
- O L O G Y Electronic Journal of Poetry and Prose N o 4 | September 2016 COALESCE