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THE

C I RC L E Auburn University Contribution Magazine Vo l u m e 3 7 . 2

Spring 2010


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR A Personal Note from Our Chief of Staff

Vicki Johnson Editor-in-Chief

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War Eagle!

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Here we are again! I am proud to bring you the 2010 Spring issue of the Auburn Circle. It seems like just yesterday we were distributing the last issue around Auburn’s campus and time has really flown by this semester. It’s been a busy one for all of us here at the Circle and we received the most submissions the magazine has ever had. The magazine has grown and improved each year that I have been on staff and I believe this to be our strongest issue yet. I am so pleased that more and more of the Auburn family have been exposed and are responding to the Auburn Circle with interest. Being on the Circle staff for four years has truly been a blessing. I have learned more about publicity, production and publishing then I ever thought necessary and have enjoyed getting to see the amazing works produced by our Auburn family. There is nothing like the Circle on Auburn’s campus and it is with pleasure that we get to take the talents that Auburn University has to offer and then share it with you. Thank you to everyone that helped make my time here at the Circle a memorable one. My friends and family have supported my goal to make this a great publication and I probably owe them a lot of apologies for driving them crazy this past year! This publication would not have been possible without the help and long hours of my managing editors and entire staff. They have all worked very hard to select the best quality pieces of design, photography, literature and art. I would also like to thank everyone in Student Publications, the students, faculty and administrators of Auburn University and you the reader. Thanks for your support and feedback. It is with great appreciation that we are able to continue to present this magazine to you and hope that you will continue to support it in the coming years.


AUBURN CIRCLE STAFF 2009-2010

EDITOR IN CHIEF Vicki Johnson

MANAGING EDITORS Stephanie Cashin Alyssa Rachels

ART Editor - Kathryn Cooper Kelsey Hayes Glendinning Johnston Katie Smeraglia

FICTION Editor - Daniel Chadwick Carey Massey Carley Muschara Kristie Tingle

NON-FICTION Editor - Robert R. Irwin Holly Hereth Matthew Walker Lindsey Wilkins

POETRY Editor - Will Fargason Sarah Craft Kathryn Johnson Brittney Pike

PHOTOGRAPHY Editor - Sarah Pillips Hilary Barringer Hilary Johnson

FASHION Editor - Ashley Jennings Rebecca Sheehy Rebecca Simon

GRAPHIC DESIGN Editor - Tara Baker Audry Matthews Elise Pace

INTERIOR DESIGN/ARCHITECTURE Editor - Lindsay Mercer Rebecca Burslem Kristina Tanner


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1. “Ominous Keeper” : Canon Rebel Xsi, JENNA McPHERSON 2. “Breakthrough” : pen/watercolor/Adobe Photoshop, LISA TRINH 3. “Handle” : Canon Power Shot Sx110is, LAUREL SCHWEERS 4. “Self Portrait 1” : oil, wood, modeling paste, KATHRYN COOPER


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5. “Just Around the Bend” : Canon Rebel Xti, MEREDITH ANN JONES 6. “Scarred” : oil paint, ALLISON HUTTO 7. “Chicago Housing” : model, NICK PAOLUCCI


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Brothers Twin sons born of different hearts, The poet and warrior are brothers. Two halves that make a whole, while born of different mothers. A warrior who can’t turn a rhyme has no reason to join the fray. A poet who can’t handle a sword, has nothing he needs to say.

eks and ter for two we on Drink tap wa have spent uld wo u ney yo ans. donate the mo water to Afric an cle ide n. help prov ter to 1 perso beverages to wa an cle of ides 1 year 1 dollar prov . d they need you We need you an hope and care. this journey of Please join us on visit: on how to help, For information rmission.com www.bloodwate

1. “Blood:Water Mission non-profit poster” : Design CS3 InDesign, AMANDA CLAYBROOK 2. “Marc Jacobs Interior Perspective” : Google sketchup, hand rendering, ELIZABETH DAVIS 3. “Brothers” : poetry, KEITH CUMMINS 4. “Looking Up” : Canon Rebel XT, JOSHUA BRINKERHOFF


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5. “Columbus, Georgia” : digital photography edited with Photoshop, KRISTINA TANNER 6. “One for One” : Canon Powershot sx110is, LAUREL SCHWEERS


Stone Floors and Strip Mines

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You’ve heard me once but read me twice, All along you were the person Of my low kept love affections, Never as kind as you are nice— We both walk under the same sun To a different direction. I’ve got more faith in you than I Believe; we’ll wake up to Glory— We die for one resurrection. My fault for silence and your lies, Our carved out, abandoned story, I do this for your protection. You’ll attack with warm, lonely looks— My best defense leaves a gory Sight of bleeding hearts on stone floors Waiting to forgive wounds we took, Laid bare like a strip mine quarry— I’m still asking the Lord for more… Harlot in my favorite book— God called the prophet to marry You in grace for all your murders. Tempted like Jonah was a crook; I want your bright city buried In whitewashed, rain-rusted girders.

1. “Stone Floors and Strip Mines” : poetry, PAUL BULLARD 2. “Beautifully Untamed” : Canon Rebel Xsi, JENNA McPHERSON 3. “Square Project: Portrait of Alberto Misrachi by Frida Kahlo” : water color, ELIZABETH DAVIS and AMANDA EUBANKS 4. “Depression” : acrylic painting, CLAIRE ADELE WOOD


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Pollen Water On the dash to the car I kept my new striped outfit mostly dry and clean. Hannah’s rainy day birthday party was bubble-themed, but the rain diluted the soap water. We were inside whining while mother nature made suds, and we watched a superhero movie. All the way home, the water flowed, yellow creeks ran down my driveway. My foot found it ankle-deep. In the time it took Mama to lock the car, my new canvas keds became buttered popcorn.

This or That In the magnetic attraction of binary opposition I realize the simple fact that love does not exist to make one happy. The point is not this. Or that. The definition assigned is misconstrued due to what pain and sadness drive the horizontal beam of the even scale to mirror. But no, the homeless exist to show us what a home is. Where is home when home is never an actuality? It, with love, is the sacrifices of a noble spirit against the backdrop of pleasurable circumstances. But no, you should see, if you shake the scales too strongly, expect modern measurements to disagree.

5. “Button Up” : laser printed on Neenah linen paper, SARAH STUTTS 6. “Auburn Hotel Conference Room Rendering” : Google sketch-up, AMANDA EUBANKS 7. “Pollen Water” : poetry, MARY QUINCE DOUGLAS 8. “This or That” : poetry, WILL FARGASON


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“Comfort” Hot tears and wet rain make for a lonely night; Ah! The Son will dry them!

1. “Shimmer” : Canon Rebel, BETHANY DONALDSON 2. “Comfort” : poetry, MEGAN CLARK 3. “Rug Design” : Illustrator/hand-rendered, SALLIE KEENE 4. “Album Cover: Transientiem” : acryllic on wood, EMILY QUINN


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5. “Alice in Wonderland Spread” : Adobe InDesign, TARA BAKER


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1. “Quilt Illustration” : pen/Photoshop, ABBY SHERRILL 2. “Métro Garden” : Canon Rebel Xsi, JENNA McPHERSON 3. “Redesign” : prismacolor markers, ELISE PACE 4. “A Cathedral by the People and for the People” : Canon SD960 IS, MARGARET KLOESS


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5. “Branches” : old wooden doors, oil, modeling paste, KATHRYN COOPER


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1. “Mr. Macaw” : Canon Powershot SX110 IS, LAUREL SCHWEERS 2. “Stunting” : Canon Rebel XT, WILLIAM NOEL 3. “Coach Retail Design: Shibuya Japan” : colored pencil, marker, Photoshop, KATE FLEMING


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A VERY

c CHRISTMAS ac tus

c i n c o de m ayo CELEBRATION

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c aAFFAIR ctie Dog Tags

Come join us for festive cocktails and appetizers to celebrate the opening of the Christmas Cactus Exhibit!

Come join us for festive cocktails and appetizers to celebrate the opening of our Cinco de Mayo Exhibit!

Come join us for festive cocktails and appetizers to celebrate the opening of our New Years Exhibit!

Opening Reception December 1 at 6:00 pm Exhibition December 1 thru December 30

Opening Reception May 5 at 6:00 pm Exhibition May 5 thru June 30

Opening Reception December 31 at 6:00 pm Exhibition December 31 thru January 30

for tickets call 505-791-0537 or visit our website at www.cactusmuseum.com

for tickets call 505-791-0537 or visit our website at www.cactusmuseum.com

for tickets call 505-791-0537 or visit our website at www.cactusmuseum.com

cac us

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Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe, New Mexico

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I cover them up, feeling the metal coolness under my palm. I can’t see it, but it feels so sharp and dark and tense. Your disappearance for a year maybe forever more than that covered up; so I close my fist about their edges and crush them.

* Black tie required

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Santa Fe, New Mexico

4. “Bowl with Holes” : ceramics, JIM PLASTER 5. “Jordan-Hare on Game Day” : Canon EOS 40 D, STEPHEN WALTON 6. “Cactus Museum Ads” : InDesign (Adobe CS3), CHRISTY WYNNE 7. “Dogtags” : poetry, MARY QUINCE DOUGLAS


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1. “Delicate Arch” : Nikon D80, ELIZABETH C. BARNES 2. “Hotel Pool” : Prismacolor and Photoshop on paper, JENNA HOLK


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3. “Self Portrait as Feral: Part 3” : mixed media, EMILY QUINN 4. “Experience” : photograph, HILARY JOHNSON


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Kitchen Scene Would you like a glass of water, he politely asked. No, she mumbled, her eyes glued to the cool blue tile, the floor. Hopelessly, helplessly he tried to lift her heavy eyes from gravity’s kiss, but the weight of silence was too great as she dragged her eyes thoughtlessly across the topography of the stone floor, noting every crack and every crevasse, in vain.

1. “Carousel at Honfleuer” : Kodak Easy Share M1033, KELSEY HAYES 2. “Dimensional Quilt” : cotton fabric, JIM PLASTER 3. “Kitchen Scene” : poetry, EVAN DODD 4. “Paved Paradise” : Nikon D50, JOSHUA OLIVER 5. “Constructivism House of Cards” : Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, TARA BAKER


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6. “The Glass Glows” : Adobe Illustrator, Google Sketchup, ELIZABETH DAVIS 7. “Girl’s Best Friend” : oil paint on canvas, AMANDA EUBANKS 8. “Haitan Smiles” : Nikon, HILARY BARRINGER


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Sidewalk Chalk For hours we would lay sprawled across the cement pouring out our hopes onto the smooth, cool driveway. The lines smeared along the gray stone, smudged all over our hands, stained our once white skin. Then I would sneak subtle kisses against your clean cheeks with your eyes closed and you would hold my hand in yours, leaving little prints of rainbow across my happy palm; I refused to wash them at dinner time.

Trapped They walk in endless circles, Fingers gently brushing the edges of the dewy morning grass, For which they forgot the sweet crisp scent. Drawing dated lines that connect in the sand, They call it an urbanization of the mind. But they say it is part of the evolution, The natural selection of it all. So they take pictures with a Polaroid camera, And paste them to their wrinkled brow with super glue, Covering their eyes. Blinded by the past. Trapped in a year, a decade, or two. And the memories fall slowly from the trees, Only to be brushed off their padded shoulders.

1. “Sidewalk Chalk” : poetry, EVAN DODD 2. “Male Nude” : charcoal, LIZZIE JOHNSON 3. “Cook Out” : Canon Rebel Xsi, CHRISTOPHER HENDON 4. “Trapped” : poetry, KATY GOODMAN 5. “Tower Bridge” : FinePix Z5fd, PHILLIP M. DAVIS


Eggs Memoir

Her visit home is welcomed first by the gray cat racing out the back door and secondly by her daddy who will scramble breakfast in the morning while her brothers sleep and she assesses every corner of the house only to discover that her mama has thrown Easter up all over the usually familiar rooms. That day around noon hot-flash mama wishes nearly hot-flash friend on the phone a “Happy First-day-of-spring” and leather-face daddy pulls out one of the few eggs left over from the morning feast and stands it on its end.

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The rain was hitting the windshield softly but persistently. Its soft pattering was the only noise present for a three minute period. I shifted in my heated seat, considered switching the seat warmer off, but ultimately decided to remove my jacket. I sat with it shoved awkwardly behind my back since the rest of the space was filled to the brim with drums and cymbals, dirty napkins and forgotten French fries. The fight we were having was probably the fight we always had about our relationship, or lack thereof. He would argue that I started this one, but in reality it was his nonchalant stance and these silent car rides that triggered me. In December we had broken up. Now, here in April, we were watching the rain fall in his big green van, both too afraid to say anything. He did not want to have this conversation again. I did not want to have to have it again. The streetlight shone right above us, providing the only light in the neighborhood considering the late hour. If I left him, if I went back to my house and crawled into my window, I thought for sure I would die. My life was intimately attached to this boy. When he moved an inch to the left I would adjust to match. It was like when you have a sore in your mouth and you know if you could just stop messing with it, it would heal, but instead you keep touching your tongue to it and feeling the familiar pain. I fought with him on purpose, in case a lack of fighting meant he would vanish altogether. I grasped to every angry word and uncaring silence he gave to me as if it could be the last. The next thing I knew I was being dragged out of his car by my ankle, my fingers grasping at the door handle and elbows getting burnt across the seats, trying to break the inevitable fall. I guess the fight had happened after all. He held my frail wrists in front of his face as I tried to retaliate, my little fists shaking emotionally. My hands ached in this position; I was not a fighter. He held my arms to prevent annoyance and not actual pain. The rain hit my forehead and rolled down my cheeks as I looked up. His eyes are surprisingly green; even in the dim, rainy light I could see their shocking color. • • • •

inhale/exhale the soft up-down of your breast in the dawn light rolls this sheet like the ocean; an endless sea of white, in which I am drowning; and as the choppers whiz by, I shove my head under, for just a split second. just long enough.

6. “Memoir” : non-fiction, ASHLEY M. SMITH 7. “Eggs” : poetry, MARY QUINCE DOUGLAS 8. “Inhale/Exhale” : poetry, EVAN DODD 9. “Chewacla Water” : Nikon FE2, CHRISTOPHER HENDON


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From A Sojourner’s Journal The Morning I breathe in and my throat dries. I rub my arms and feel the tiny bumps brought on by morning chill. A t-shirt would suffice because soon it would be hot again, but I usually took my scarf out with me. The air of Africa absorbs me. Like stepping out of a car and into a field after a long a drive, like coming downstairs at first light when I awake, I’m found in a place that seems oddly bigger than itself, bigger than is conceivable, giving new meaning to the word “getting out.” My chest swells: In Kenya, I am out. The wide plains stretch out before me with steady rhythm and uncalming voice, running beside the very river of Mankind’s birth and beckoning me to come and witness. And yet, a young man from the west can never become a part of Africa, he can only stand and listen, run and dance to that rhythm as it goes on, heavy on the one like the hoofs of wildebeest in early August, and seek to understand the land and its people. But he will never understand. At the mouth of a cave he sits and dares to venture in, but like a cave that gets deeper and deeper the further in you go, the heart of the African people remains a mystery. I am he this morning. Soon I will walk down into Nairobi and take public transit past the crowd of middle aged man at the Nakumatt looking for work, the baboons marinating in the grass next to Kenol, the children at Uhuru Gardens playing futbol, and come at last to the slum. The day ahead, a nation smiles and extends its hand to me. But first to breakfast; I wrap my scarf around my face. The Church in the Corner We walk from Langata, the long road from Karen to Nairobi, to the edge of Kibera, the world’s second largest slum. We pull together about 400 shillings for the ride and give it to the driver; the dust blows around my feet, and I turn to see what lies before us. Wire walls and rickety roofs, the smoke of meager morning meals and burning trash rising, a jungle crawls across the hills to our feet. To my left there is a mound of garbage with two boys standing on its apex. They cheer at us as we walk by, western heroes, mysterious trespassers, bearers of sweets and piggy-back rides. There’s a building made of mud and old logs in the eastern end of Kibera. It is a church for the poor, a home to displaced boys, and it is where we are going. People turn and look as we make our way. Everyone is selling or cooking, buying things at low prices from an old plastic basket carried around by a man on drugs, sitting on rocks with their oldest friends or closest neighbors and pushing small beans around large stone pots. They glance as we pass and I shake their children’s’ hands. They offer me a bite to eat. I wonder how they will afford it and yet I can’t turn down such sacrifice, so I accept gratefully, and pass the food on to a child a couple hundred yards down the path toward the church. We come to it at last. I smell the dust swept from the concrete floors on the inside and listen for the low mumblings of Swahili from the corner, the Pastor coming to greet us. Seven years this modest building has stood, it has mourned many deaths, welcomed countless faces, grown to love some, grown to miss some, felt the stamp of wild joyful feet dancing like giraffe on Sunday mornings, listened to the tired yawn of a sixteen year old boy named Kamao who moved in after his parents’ kicked him out of their house. And there is the Pastor, Imbumi. He stands before me, leaning forward to find my height, and takes my hand and welcomes me home. The Luya, the Door, and the Girl with Rickets

1. “From a Sojourner’s Journal” : non-fiction, GEORGE HAMM

His face is deep, filled with the wisdom of 60 years, and yet lit with the wonder of a child. His smile is wide under large lips, glasses resting on the rim of his nose. My pastor is a Luya from Western Kenya, is stocky and thick, strong as a bull, soft as the katt in Kikuyu territory. He meets me in the hallway on the south side of the church. The walls are of packed dirt, lined with garbage, and there is no roof. There is a door at one end, a slab of rusted sheet metal hanging on some nails, a gateway from the dusty lane in the church to the squalid slum beyond. I always felt a sting of pain when from the inside I saw that door slam shut, guarding me from the open path and keeping out the children that ran the local streets. But this day, as I kicked the dust of that pain from my sandals, there comes a rapping from behind the door. I look over at Pastor; he is already at the other end of the dusty hallway. He turns toward the doors, leans back as he does, and with a loud exhale nods to a young man named Wycliffe, who is standing at the door end. The rapping continues. Wycliffe grins widely; his Luya stature seems to grow a bit, and he bends down and unlatches the lock. The old metal door cracks open and a thin hand wraps around it and pushes hard, and a small, beautiful girl peers from behind the corner and sticks her tongue out. She is nervous and excited as she locks eyes with me. “Oh!” says Pastor, a grin spreading across his face. He slowly extends his hand, palm down: The little black girl, almost completely bald, laughs a high squeaky tone and pulls herself from behind the door. There’s a board of wood across the bottom of the doorway, and she crawls over it and into the threshold of the dusty, safe church. As she stands, her back straightens, but her legs stay bent, bowed at the knees. She has rickets. Pastor is delighted, and as the girl reaches up and pats my knee, she bolts forward. One leg at a time, left, right, turning, waddling as she makes her way down, grinning teeth still filling her face, she runs toward Pastor. They meet near the end of the hallway, and with a squeak of laughter and bewilderment she is high above the dust and flying in his arms. The Night It was the wee hours, well past the stroke of midnight, the sun only yet considering waking up. The air is chilled at that time, stilled but for the sweeping breezes high above the hair of the trees, and it feels as if though the night had already left, the morning had a previous engagement and had not yet arrived. For a moment, Africa was left alone. Nothing moved about, and yet I awoke. At least, I thought I had. It seemed to me that I was indeed waking, and to the sleepy sound of voices on the wind. A reverent lament it may have been or a cheerful hello from an old friend, a passing meeting in a dream. Perhaps it was a whisper of voices that I heard, a steady crescendo of words: It was a din, the sounds of dogs barking about by our flat’s night guard. Their howls found me still dreaming, and as I lay there in semi-sleep, the sounds surrounded a more linear noise: A shrill scream, tearing the night to shreds, brilliant and terrible as the first light of dawn. I played with the sound in my dream, then winced and fully awoke in my cot. It was still there, the cold voice of a woman in the distance—or right outside our window—screaming in terror, crying for help. It was only then, fully awake was I that I realized how loudly I was breathing. My friend (with whom I shared the room) and I sat up and stared at each other, completely helpless. The voice of distress filled our hearts ‘til they began to burn, and in the midst of chaos we knelt and prayed earnestly, loudly, pleading with God that he would spare this woman, and


2. “Modern Renaissance Thumbnail Sketches” : pen/ink, RACHEL THILLEN 3. “Greene & Greene” : Illustrator/hand rendered, SALLIE KEENE

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spare his two helpless pilgrims in this foreign land. And the scream persisted; my friend and I prayed louder, I longed for home, my friend for his wife. And the scream grew, our three voices built upon each other, and as they reached their climax, as our prayers became more personal…the voice was hushed. The dogs’ calls to arms ceased. The air was choked, and again sat lonely, waiting for morning. The Feast There is a nation on the Eastern coast of Africa. It is the home to countless huts of mud and metal, breathtaking wildlife, daily walkers filling the streets, quiet nuns laughing in kitchens, vans stuffed with commuters, and for the last two months, me. I see the same faces every day, eat the same food. I take the same walk every morning, and every day around two I meet the same children in the slum. As the world goes forward swiftly, Kenya calls its people back, back to the family, back to good tilled earth and warm tea. It welcomes me to the comfort and simplicity of its natives and begs me to sit, talk, and have another cup. And yet, that is was they prize: sharing the load, taking a break from the work and resting together. We come together for an afternoon meal in the small sanctuary of the church. Thick Ugali, steamy sukuma wiki and stewed beef are dropped onto our plates, and in the quiet, we take our daily bread. We talk seldom, and yet, Kenyans find take great honor in hosting a westerner to their cooking, and sharing it with them. I am overwhelmed in humility, proud as a Lion, as fortunate as a man can be, and yet am falling in love with this building of packed mud, garbage, and the people who built it. We eat for at least an hour. Afterward, we pile the plastic dishes into a tin bucket, and Beatrice takes them away as we all break away to go back to our work. As I am leaving the meal, I am caught by a flutter of tiny voices, skipping their way through a jungle of stacked benches in the corner and meeting me, still in the center of the sanctuary. I follow the sound, and in giving in to my curiosity, I come upon a scene: That which I see is, and will be, the most wonderful thing I have ever seen. There sits, on the ground behind a stack of benches, about seven homeless children from the street. There is little Mary, and her younger brother Victor, wearing his signature green toboggan that covers his whole head, Marm, the girl with rickets, Ronaldo, the boy with HIV, Charlie, my daily piggyback appointment, and a few others I had not met. They don’t even notice me, because as they sit there on their knees, before them is a large silver platter stacked and covered with food left over from today. They roll on the ground, eating by the greasy handfuls, laughing, shouting, smashing it into each others’ faces and cheering as they feel it warm they stomachs when they swallow. Seven children, leftover food, and they could not be happier. I sit and watch, no doubt Caroline from the kitchen brought out these leftovers for them to enjoy. And they do it enjoy, probably more than I have every enjoyed anything. A dirty platter, mounds of old food, and seven beautiful children, laughing and shouting and having, for a second, a childhood. And tonight, for the first time this week, they will sleep with tired eyes and full bellies. • • • •


My toe ventures out across the line, and I can feel the emptiness below. The flavor of it makes my blood run wild. The rest of my foot follows the leader out in to the air, and I drink in the feeling of nothingness.

All darkness. Just as I knew it would be. It only makes me crave the emptiness more. There are things undiscovered out there, sensations and feelings only known by those who fly. My breathing quickens as my longing increases. It is almost painful now, an ache in my chest that can only disappear if it is replaced with nothingness. I need those wonderful, glorious particles of limitless energy to gently sweep away the knot inside of me. Then I will be free. Just like the birds. Just like the fliers.

My eyes are closed, but there is nothing to see and no need to open them. I know exactly what it looks like. Oblivion always looks the same. Every time I come to taste it, it looks the same. Twisting and stretching my foot in all directions, I probe out into space, feeling the air and nothing else. Every particle is electrifying and filled with freedom. Oh, how I crave that freedom. It is just before me, but how do I obtain it?

I feel like an arrow strung and quivering, ready to be loosed. I am so close now to my target. I need to be released, but who holds the bow? It is just in front of me, everything I want, everything I wish for, everything I need. I reach out to grab it, yet it eludes me, and my hand comes back to my chest, empty. I know why it’s empty. I cannot have it standing here. I want the wind in my face. I want freedom.

The Flier

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I have always wanted to fly.

Bending my knee, I swing my extended foot down and up again, nearly losing my balance. The adrenaline is exhilarating. Resisting the temptation to do it again, I tentatively set my foot down on the ledge. The concrete is cold and rough and solid against my bare feet, so unlike the warm night air that blows past my face. If I could fly, it would blow so much faster, feel nearly solid, almost like the concrete. Every inch of my skin would tingle with the feeling. Just imagining it sends a shiver up my spine that spreads all the way to my fingertips and toenails.

I take a step. I feel the wind rush up to embrace and welcome me. And I smile. I am not a jumper. I am a flier. • • • •

My body sways slightly back and forth; towards the void, then away, towards the void, then away. But, I am not really swaying; I am not moving at all. It is only an illusion, a trick my mind plays on my body. I sense myself steadily rocking, but only because I know the edge is near. Only because I know that freedom is near. Gently, ever so gently, like a ship at sea or a padded rocking chair. I part my feet, reaching a hand out, palm down to test. How far down is it, I wonder? Between my hand and the end? The end. No, not the end. My heart beats faster, still steady, but faster. Everything is steady: my breathing, my heartbeat, my hand. I feel loose and calm; my shoulders hang like a shirt on a hanger. I might sink into the concrete, my limbs feel so heavy, almost as if they are filled with sand or water. If I slowed my breathing till it stopped, I might not notice at all. Time could stop and I might not notice. Nothing would alert me. Except the wind. The wind would always tell me. Every inch of my skin is sensitive, and I feel each breath of wind that caresses my body, but my face savors it most. My cheeks drink in the rich feeling of the warm, dry breeze, and I cherish each kiss it bestows upon my brow. My lips are chapped, yet this too I covet; it only further proves the wind’s love for me. Oh, how I long to fly! To be weightless like the birds who ride the drafts and soar with the ecstasy of those who know no shackles, earthly or otherwise. I lift my arms out to my sides, parallel with the ground. Like a bird, just like a bird. I sway forward slightly, feeling my center of gravity slip forward and nearly disappear downward. Sucking in a breath sharply, I pull back and open my eyes.

1. “The Flier” : fiction, SUSAN MATASSA 2. “Capture” : 35 mm Nikon, LAURA JORDAN


Futility

I found myself in terrible place walking down aisle twelve yesterday, filled with pumpkins and witches hats, when there among the orange but right in my way was a four foot square crate piled with strings of sparkling white lights meant to hang from gutters, but now were formed in rows and packaged tight. My fury heated on the surface first, and reached down to the part of me that hated seeing red and green so early – all commercial, no heart. Stop starting the season in mid October! There is a some sense in all of this, it was a baby in a manger, or at least the feeling of a family knit together for one special day. So, that is why I tore that clear wrapping to shreds and started Next on the cardboard with a fearsome Face. Clawing and grabbing the splintering wood, my rampage somehow spread to the Halloween décor, sitting innocently on sale so close to its timely end, anyway. I’m sorry you had to come save me from prison; I just had to teach that K-mart manager a lesson.

3. “Arts and Crafts” : Copic pens and markers, SAVANNAH ROBERTS 4. “Futility” : poetry, KIERSTEN WONES 5. “Blue Light Special” : poetry, MARY QUINCE DOUGLAS 6. “Fingerprint Rickman” : ink, CANDACE McCOLLOUGH

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Blue Light Special

• • • •

There is a trench carved into the ground between a land called Life and another called Death, a scar dragged across the arms of a world that doesn’t know how to live and doesn’t know how to die. It is a tunnel of safety, filled with the blood of a dream that laid himself down for the sake of the crown, for we are kings of hypocrisy, sitting on thrones of freedom but clinging to our chains. We have the night to blame, marching across the sky like a warrior who doesn’t know what he is fighting for, and we cower against the walls of our broken reflections like stars without light, our souls lying limp across the palms of our hands, awaiting a day when we are no longer travesties but thieves of the night: heroes, stealing darkness and bringing the dream back to life.


Justice Someday those stairs will grow weary. Creaking and aching with each and every step, they will wince softly with clinched brows, no second glance spared.

24

Those wooden boards won’t last forever with furious strides of pressure; having been stomped they lose their sheen and luster. • • • •

Someday those steps will grow thirsty. Parched, they will whither away, crumbling to a powdery demise; they will give way and busy folks will stumble.

Drunk Thoughts Scream, “Backwards!���

The Gold in Me I want that gold Infused in my marrow I know it’s there, I’ve seen its Rays underneath the sidewalk cracks I reach for it when I see you Especially Help me – no, I can do it! The marrow will not wait— And will flow into my bloodstream Like drops of youth Into a hot summer pool Splashing innocently, indecently Within my tin fragments of thought

Hastily, you ask me to open the jar. I take it from you and start to work on it. I think all love starts off in Spring regardless of when it starts. It de-thaws to begin. Eliot, I know all about April. But I’ve seen the progression of time hold its keen lens on love— and everything is the time. The sky, the trees, the sudden realization of each when they meet for the first time when the air changes— and everything is the time. The jar is empty, I say. It holds the air you say. It slips from my grip between sweaty palms and crashes when it falls. Fast, you start to cry. I cordially tell you there is no need to—for the jar landed and broke on my feet, not yours.

Love Love without pain Simply superficial Like a fabric rose Nice but artificial Authentic to the eye Seemingly so real Only true difference Found in the feel

1. “Justice” : poetry, EVAN DODD 2. “Looks for a Night in the City” : ink, CAITLYN SHEEHY 3. “Santa Maria in Campitelli” : ink on paper, JONATHAN MEADOWS 4. “Drunk Thoughts Scream, ‘Backwards!’” : poetry, WILL FARGASON 5. “Nostalgia” : drawing, CLAIRE ADELE WOOD 6. “The Gold in Me” : poetry, CHLOE HOBDY 7. “Love” : poetry, B. SHAYE BAKER


“Autumn”

The Violent Hour

She Smiles (for MKT) And your lips roll back like curtains, to reveal those dazzling players, shining bright, reflecting light, just as the full moon, high overhead. And all dance, under the trance of the big white globe, bewitched by its beauty and captivated by the unknown, praying to steal a glimpse of the darkside. And the show ends while the moon hides away, as I beg for the gates to unfurl once again, patiently knocking to incite the unlocking, and to press my own against your lips.

There’s something beautiful about broken glass; nothing more like a lie that sparkles in the shine of everything gone wrong. It might be a comfort to lie abandoned in the middle of the pavement, all your jagged edges finding light before the world, light in the face of darkness that may or may not be real, until the darkness softens over your face so that only your teeth are left in place, leaving the scratch on the skin of the feet that dare to stumble over you with beloved broken haste. Thin blood paints you like a mural on a city wall, and every artist leaves a little bit more with which you can tell your story, their story, the story of the streets of this city, lying, foolish city, may it be. It sounds quite perfect to me— I think I’ll take up my residence as a liar in the middle of the street, so excuse me while I dance out my seventh floor window— my friends await me down, down, down in the cracks below.

8. “Autumn” : poetry, BRIDGET PARDUE 9. “The Violent Hour” : poetry, JILLIAN STEPHENS 10. “Grand Central” : Canon Rebel Xsi, CHRISTOPHER HENDON 11. “Tennis Looks” : ink, CAITLYN SHEEHY 12. “She Smiles (for MKT)” : poetry, EVAN DODD 13. “There Are Cracks in Everything” : poetry, KIERSTEN WONES

25

There Are Cracks in Everything

• • • •

In the cool wind blowing off the plains There is a mystery that blooms in the violent hour Everything dances. When my hands are tangled in your long, sweet hair Fallen leaves – little homely belles And the air grows thin, til your gasping for air Dressed modestly in their best yellow and orange Skitter and step across the lonely pavement. There a sparsely covered tree grows, with long dark limbs Climbing kudzu – that intrepid colonist And on it booms a mystery scent from heaven Got up in his best handsome green Scents that are rich like cedar and fresh rain drops Sways on his roots in time. That taste like ash bark, Half-grown shrubs – little innocent babes With a beauty like smoke on the wind All blushing verdant, the cherubs, Here a flower blooms, for a short while Rustle and chatter from the sidelines. And is crushed in the fall The tongues of those passing by – birds too fine to be seen But heard singing all around Chatter and dance in the fresh sunshine. Even I – heiress to this charming kingdom Draped in widow’s black that is not mine Spread a flowing skirt and loose my cares. Everything dances.


26 • • • •

1. “Wisconsin & M Hotel Room Floorplan” : Auto Cad, hand rendered, ALEXANDRA BRUEMMER 2. “This Way” : Nikon D90, TAYLOR GUNTER 3. “Mom’s Garden” : oil painting, LIZZIE JOHNSON


• • • •

27

Two Pillows Why are there two pillows On a bed made for one It seems a bit redundant But I leave it just for fun Someday it may be useful Should the other I misplace Meanwhile it’s good to hold And at times dry my face

4. “Night Lights” : Canon EOS Digital Rebel Xsi, CHRISTOPHER HENDON 5. “Giants Indeed Spread” : Tempura paint and Adobe programs, BETSY MUNGER 6. “Two Pillows” : poetry, B. SHAYE BAKER 7. “Tree House” : architecture model, NICK PAOLUCCI


Tennessee River

• • • •

28

Hold your breath and fall in, digging toes into the gross algaemud seven feet deep and stay still enough for the minnows to nibble at your warm skin. Pull yourself along by the dock posts that are rotting so slowly, but come up for air sometimes. Or the posts will bar you in, the catfish will become your friend, and the mud, your bed at night. The dirty river makes no judgments, expects so little, and cares so much it’s too comfortable not to stay.

View Pouring out onto the already soggy soil, crowds of people peered out my eyes to view a Priest and a Satanist, exchanging clothes against a peppered firing range wall in the middle of the Sahara beneath crumbling top hat crest moons. I stood near by, holding a smile, and asked the sky, is this why? Why?

1. “Waiting” : Canon Rebel XT, WILLIAM NOEL 2. “Tennessee River” : poetry, MARY QUINCE DOUGLAS 3. “Jamaican Mind Control” : acrylic, JAMIE MERRYMON 4. “View” : poetry, WILL FARGASON 5. “Columbus Community Bank Trust Office” : Prismacolor on paper, JENNA HOLK


• • • •

29

6. “Petal Pushers” : Illustrator (Adobe CS3), CHRISTY WYNNE 7. “Smoke House” : photography, MARGARET JOHNSON 8. “An Old Beauty” : Canon Powershot SX110is, LAUREL SCHWEERS


Another Cold Rain I have traded in my sword, for an old man’s walking cane. Such is the lasting legacy, of old wounds, and a cold rain.

• • • • 30 • • • • 30

Clearly what I had intended, did not come to pass. They say if you’d hear God laugh, just tell him of your plans. So, I tend the flowers on the mounds. I’ve not much else to do. And I have measured for my spot here, in paces, three by two. Will this be another field of battle, or a final resting place? Will brimstone fill my nostrils, or will I see my loved one’s face? I hope for the sweet reunion, for I have already paid for my sins. And I have a few things to discuss with God, as eternity then begins. Wrap me in my tartan, when that day comes. Put my sword by my side, and on my other, put my sons. And I have one last request, to close the circle with my pain. If it fits the season, then bury me in a cold rain. There is a cold rain falling. Can’t you hear the bugle calling? There is a cold rain falling. There is a cold rain falling.

Action Trim. Cut. Edit. Splice Fingers dance to make it nice. Send the signal through the ground. Capture. Render. Shut it down. Hurry up! The TV screams. Popping, popping, snowy scenes. Buttons on remote control Shoot alive like whack-a-mole. Screen goes black, and by the light An accent mark of sluggish white. Go back. Previous. Last. Recall. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Smash the class, roll the dice. Trim. Cut. Edit. Splice.

1. “Another Cold Rain” : poetry, KEITH CUMMINS 2. “Seattle Space Needle” : Nikon D80, ELIZABETH C. BARNES 3. “Meditating Nude” : mixed media, LIZZIE JOHNSON 4. “Hotel Floorplan” : AutoCad and Photoshop, JENNA HOLK 5. “Action” : poetry, KATHRYN JOHNSON


• • • • 31 • • • • 31

Jelly Beans Pink stained fingers and nails reach into my jelly belly cup and pull out complete meals. Junk food dinners filled with popcorn, root beer, and too much fruitti. Strawberry shortcake, pear, green apple match my dress. And plum, caramel, and watermelon complement my going-outfit from last night. Where tangerine and lemon-lime help me sleep cozy at night and wake up to the sunshine. Our Easter clothes, colored fingertips, and bunny-nose sized candies make us feel like children.

6. “House in the Woods” : architecture model, NICK PAOLUCCI 7. “Pods” : Canon Rebel, ALLISON HUTTO 8. “Jelly Beans” : poetry, MARY QUINCE DOUGLAS 9. “Sunset Through the Trees” : Canon Powershot SX110is, LAUREL SCHWEERS


• • • •

32

Impression of a Broken Mirror Shards of hoary glass, broken, lay at my feet. The once elegant vanity tumbled to the ground, shattering the visage of every caller she ever knew. Each old pair of eyes cast across her face smashed on the cheap carpet, oh so far below. The sharpness of each point, of every new corner, catches my eyes, and where they lay, reach up and slice through my cornea, as far back as my retina and into my frontal lobe. I fall to pieces and hit the floor, scattered about the room, broken, laying at my feet.

1. “Debilitation” : Pentax Program Plus 35mm, KALLI FULLER 2. “Impression of a Broken Mirror” : poetry, EVAN DODD 3. “Cube” : Bainbridge 1000, CANDICE McCOLLOUGH 4. “Roman Columns” : Canon SD 960, CHRISTY WYNNE


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33

Post Marked It was in the letter I wrote her, in the ways the words composed and arranged themselves on the page. It was in my syntax, my diction, my tone of voice without a speaker. In the way the sentences sat on the blue lines like I was back in grade school. It was in the way her eyes must have scanned back and forth, repeat twice, maybe more, back and forth. It was in the way the envelope seal was left slightly cracked at its cornered edges, like the light in the hallway you can see from your darkened bedroom. It was in the way her tears must have smeared the ink and how she must have gotten angry. It was in the way she crumpled it up in her fist, felt guilty and sorry, then smoothed it back flat again. It was in the way her mother’s voice must have changed pitches once she had read it, and when they sat in the kitchen in the misted fog of that April night, she gave her quotes of broken hearts by broken hearts for broken hearts.

5. “Sophie and Byrne” : design print/identity, LAURA JORDAN 6. “Wedding Day” : photography, LAUREN WILKINS 7. “Foyer Study” : ink and Prismacolor, LISA TRINH 8. “Post Marked” : poetry, WILL FARGASON


• • • • 34 • • • • 34

The Land of the Bored and Boring Boredom is a disease worse than death. I believe it. Those that don’t have never driven across Nebraska. Nebraska boredom is in a stratum all its own. The silence and openness of the flat, never-winding Midwest roads is almost spiritual. Being able to see for miles made me think I could see past the horizon. Contained in that post-horizon zone would be God, sitting in a rocking chair, shucking corn and staring at his fields. He would be proud. “I made this,” He would tell me. I would nod. “You sure did, God.” I would stand there for 15 more minutes. God would continue staring, doing his job, helping people get laid, deciding high school football games. All the usual God responsibilities. “Well… I am going to get going now, God. See you around?” No answer. God’s such a brooding little bitch. “I like corn. Corn-on-the-cob, corn chips, sweet corn, corncob pipes. Corn’s great,” Will says. “Statements like that are why I hate you. Your forced optimism makes me want to get raped by fire,” Chan says from the front seat. I’d called tails. It was heads. “You know where pessimism gets you? Alone in the bathroom with Buttman, that’s where,” Will says, making no effort to hide the laughter in his voice. I laugh too. Goading Chan was our only entertainment. “I am going to murder both of you if Buttman is mentioned again,” Chan says. “I just want to look at it. I am a butt-connoisseur myself. Do you have any Sir Mix-A-Lot, Will?” “I paid the $9. It’s mine. Seriously, I will physically attack the next person who attempts to grab my Buttman.” “That last sentence is a lot funnier if you add a pause between butt and man.” “Shut up.” I look out again. The triangular shape of the backseat window adds fresh geometry to the endless lines. God in his chair is no longer visible. He must be done shucking his corn, I think. “How are we on gas?” Chan asks. It’s his turn to pay and he doesn’t want to let it get too low. I understood. I’d been doing the same thing. Cash rules everything around me/ Dollar, dollar bills ya’ll, goes the WuTang Clan in my head. “Bout half a tank. We’ll stop at the next gas station,” Will says. My bladder is angry. Me full, it says in simple, base-level language, wanting to weep all in some rundown truck-stop toilet. We pass a sign. The next town is 20 miles away. My bladder sighs. I get bored. I think about boredom and the lives of Nebraskans. This is a common theme for me — thinking about boredom while bored. It’s a circle without end. My brain is a snake eating its own tail for eternity. “I’ve got to piss.” “Stick your dick out the window,” Chan says. “I’m in the backseat. There is no window.” “Not with that attitude.”

1. “Land of the Bored and Boring” : fiction, BEN BARTLEY

I laugh. Sometimes Chan is funny in a cynical, “I’m going to go crazy and kill everyone” kind of way. “We’re only 10 miles away,” Will says, looking at his GPS. “Think about Buttman.” I think about Philip K. Dick. I’d been on a Dick reading spree lately. Corn and Dick — The Great American Road Trip. His craziness has transcribed itself on my brain in big, bold capital letters. Soon the KGB would be digging through my garden, looking for Cthulhu, who is hiding under the turnips. I don’t think anyone would classify Dick as boring. He made sure of that. After three Dick books I felt as if I’d spent a month in a small, poorly-lit Vietnamese basement being intermittently electrocuted by a car battery, the clamps attached to my nipples, as an Asian man screamed “Reality is a myth! Reality is a myth!” I imagine the angry Asian man to be Jackie Chan. I mock his accent. He electrocutes me again. I insult his member size. More electrocution. “Do you think Jackie Chan has ever tortured anyone?” “Have you seen Rush Hour 3?” Will asks. I laugh. Will laughs. Chan chuckles. My bladder is not amused. Boredom is a modern malaise. Before MTV, Twitter, Buttman and constant stimulation it wasn’t a problem. Like most of our modern problems it’s manmade. I think back to simpler times: planting, tilling and the like. I picture myself as a 1800s farmer. Standing beside me is my comely wife. Down and to the left is my son Benjamin. Sitting beside him is our faithful hound Skip. That sounds nice. And boring. The kind of boring that makes you want to inhale Walmart spray paint from a gray tube sock. Maybe boredom has been around since time began. The Garden of Eden had to be boring. I would’ve eaten the apple first just to spice things up. Here you go Eve. Here’s a nice, shiny red delicious. Enjoy. Let’s get on with this eternal damnation business, God, I’d had said. I’ve got shit to do. “Five miles,” Will says. I prepare myself to bring the ruckus to this lifeless Nebraska town. Bring da mother, bring da motherfuckin ruckus/ Bring da motherfuckin ruckus, the Wu-Tang Clan reminds me. The plain old ruckus is not enough. We’re going to need ruckus of the motherfuckin variety. “I’m starting to think all women are the same.” “You read too much dick-lit,” Will says. “Bukowski and Tucker Max and all those other narcissistic douche bags are rotting your brain.” “Maybe. Or maybe they realized something about human nature. We’re all basically the same. Especially women. Especially American women.” “You’re turning into a misogynist just like them.” “Bah. Misogyny gets thrown around too much. Bukowski and the rest get mislabeled. All they were saying is that a lot of women are boring and predictable.” “Misogyny.” “And they use that to their advantage to have sex with them…. Is that so wrong?” “Yes.” “Yeah. I’m going to have to work on that argument.” I think about the banal things girls have said to me. I think about the banal things I have said to girls. Neither side is guiltless.


• • • • 35 • • • • 35

The modern relationship is a bond against boredom. That’s the crux of bars and hookups. I’m lonely and bored, you’re lonely and bored. Let’s go be lonely and bored together at your place. “Shell or Exxon?” Will asks. Chan looks up from I, Cladius. “Which one is cheaper?” “Both the same,” Will says. “Shell then.” My bladder perks up. The time has finally come. Will pulls into the gas station. He chooses the pumps farthest away. Chan gets out and lifts the seat. I slither out, ducking to avoid the front seatbelt. I scamper inside. I imagine I look very much like a goblin from Lord of the Rings, shoulders hunched, my gait a shuffle. I locate the restroom in the back left corner and relieve myself. It’s borderline orgasmic. I buy a bag of Doritos and a Mountain Dew. The cashier, a pudgy lady in her 20s with dark, poofy hair, gives me the “you’re not from around here look.” I preempt her question and tell her we are on a road trip across America. She looks bored. I try not to be an asshole. I regain my seat behind Chan. Heads again. That’s three in a row. “What should we listen to?” Will asks, grabbing his M.C. Escher covered iPod. It’s the one with the stairs going everywhere. I think of Dick. “Girl Talk?” Chan asks. “I’m Girl Talk-ed out,” Will says. “Tiny Dancer” “I could go for Tiny Dancer. Chan?” Will says. “You fucking love that song,” Chan says, turning his head in my direction. “Hold me closer tiny dancer.” “I hate you.” Will’s index finger twirls. I look out the window. It’s night. I see my own reflection. I reach for the Doritos. • • • •

Old Wives’ Tales The wisest woman known, Debated with the weatherman, Who was walking sideways, Across our TV screen. He said the lack of red, Predicted no precipitation, Every radar reading, It wasn’t going to rain.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese Ingredients: 2 cups shell or elbow macaroni (or other small pasta) 1/4 c each grated sharp Cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Provolone cheese 1/2 cup sour cream 1 (15 ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes, drained 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 2 teaspoons fresh oregano Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook macaroni according to package instructions, drain and transfer to a 4-cup casserole dish. Stir in remaining ingredients and bake until bubbling, about 30 minutes.

She wandered to the window, Without peering at the sky, But saw that caws were resting, Under silver-sided leaves. Her old joints ached the rhythm, Of every step she stepped. I smirked as she informed me, Of the impending rain. Running late, I grabbed my keys, My wallet, my iPod, my phone, And an umbrella. Just in case.

2. “Sydney Opera House” : Lomographic Fisheye Camera, KYLE HUMPHREY 3. “Baked Mac and Cheese ” : culinary recipe, HILARY BARRINGER 4. “Old Wives Tale ” : poetry, CAREY MASSEY


• • • • 36 • • • • 36

You Do It Out Loud The air was cold and tight that night and felt like Mother Nature herself had turned on a statewide humidor. With each breath inhaled you could almost taste December on your tongue, the slightly decayed leaves damp on your lips. We were both in college. I was a freshman in grad school; she was a senior finishing up her undergrad. And Alabama was in hibernation for the next few months, holding its repressed desire under a mushy layer of rare snow. God himself must have been sweating out a fever that turned cold against the pine trees that surrounded my back yard. His temperature dropped down, freezing His sweat that fell for hours before it crystallized. The rain, it falls all over everything. Three days ago it had rained. Not a sprinkle, not a fan-misted haze, not something minute. It was the kind of rain where everything got wet, even the normally dry patches beneath the boughs of the trees. Your house didn’t have to have leaks to get wet inside. The droplets were the size of marbles, and looking the same, pelted the tin roof of your house. I mean, my house. I’m getting ahead of myself. “That’s just it,” she says with a slight whip of her head, mid-sentence. This was three days ago. “What’s just it?” “They are not the same thing, and not meant to be together like that.” She took a drag on the cigarette, all the way down to the S—printed upside down letters of TURKISH BLEND. The flame lit her face afire and I swore I could read her desire. “So, what you’re saying, if I have this right,” I say, pausing for a moment to stare at the ceiling, trying hard to act like I’m thinking deeply, “is that love and sex are two separate things, all the time?” “Yes. I mean—no. I mean—come on, Mark, you know it’s not that simple.” “But of course it is, it always is, with you at least.” “What’s that supposed to mean?” she says, forgetting her ash that falls on the patio table. The roof over the porch blocked any light that would have strayed through the dark clouds. The ember burned in her hand—a miniature sun between the only two planets swirling in its smoky orbit. “Give me one of your cigarettes,” I reply. This is the last one today, I tell myself. “Look, Ava, why are we even talking about this?” “Because I told you for the last time, please don’t yell ‘I love you’ during sex anymore. It just bothers me. You know that I don’t like it. It just doesn’t feel right.” Her eyes held a soft glint towards the bottom of them, the blue-green center sealed in by white. You could tell she was really thinking, for when she did, her eyelids did a soft flutter and fixed upon you in a gaze. They would very slightly bounce up and down, almost like she was too tired to hold them open any longer—an involuntary movement that kept her eyes completely unique and fascinating to watch. Draped around her tan neck was her silver music note necklace. She always wore that. And following it up her face I saw her petite and fitting chin. She had soft lips that were full and the color of bubble gum after it had been in your mouth for a few hours. And under her lips she kept the freckle that she brought back from Costa Rica last summer. I readjusted my position on the plastic green chair, zipped my grey sweatshirt hoodie up tighter, and held my feet against each other, crossed underneath me. “I know you don’t like it. I know that. But I believe

1. “You Do It Out Loud” : fiction, WILL FARGASON

you can reach a consummation in love making, where you actually make the love, and feel the need to say it.” Upon saying this I realized how ridiculous it sounded and held down the urge to laugh. “When you do that, I feel like you just love me when we fuck. I like it better when you just tell me—” “—when we’re not doing anything physical? But that’s just another extension, don’t you see? We’re not kids. Hell, I’m 23. I don’t know much about love, but I know enough to know I love you, and that it’s not just because of what we do in bed.” “Look, Mark, I have work in the morning, and it’s got to be—“ “It’s 2:45,” I say. She usually wore a watch on her right wrist, even though she was right handed, but tonight, her wrist was bare. She started to hum a tune. She had a beautiful voice, even muffled and held down during a hum. Her pride in her voice was her perfect pitch. Her head bobbed with the beat in her head, and with it her dirty-blond ponytail. Her petite ears showed; she hated me each time I made fun of her for them. “So, what are you singing?” I asked, genuinely interested if it got her this distracted. “Just a song by Elliott Smith.” “…and…what’s the name of it?” “2:45 A.M. It seemed fitting. You know how he killed himself, don’t you?” “I know the song. ‘…I’m tired of living in a cloud, if you’re gonna say shit now, you do it out loud…’” I sung. “He stabbed himself in the chest twice with a kitchen knife after he got in a fight with his girlfriend. Some people thought his girlfriend killed him, but the guy was pretty depressed, so I wouldn’t doubt it one bit if he himself did it.” She had taken out another cigarette by this point, lit it, and took a deep breath. “You never answered me. I told you there is a difference; you never responded.” “I’ve told you before. I have a friend who is a psychologist. She tells me that all guys feel pleasure, or love, through the physical. So I get it. I just don’t like it.” “Look, I can’t separate the two. They’re one and the same. They can be separate, but they’re just not meant to be.” I slid down in my seat, my ass hurting from sitting down for so long. The lights of Madison Street, the street she lived on, lined up to lead into the Tuesday darkness. They normally had bugs pelting them, but it was much too cold now for that. “Just don’t cheapen it.” “What—the love or the sex?” Just then it started to rain. No thunder, no lightening, just rain. It caused the snow on the ground to turn to mush, and the tin porch we were under to yell loudly with each drop. It picked up speed, and beat off in separate patterns, pouring off the metal edges of the roof. “Isn’t it nice,” I said again after the brief pause of my last unanswered question, “how the rain washes away everything, keeping the whole world clean, and pure, and disguised under the water?” “Yeah,” she says, looking off into the dark woods of the backyard, “but it makes everything so messy.” • • • •


King Mutt We see today a rich sort of breed One that need not problems heed Dogs of a pure, high class seed Those to whom the poorer plead But flea-bitten mutts have long since grown Strong and flourished without much moan In lands once rough then rich from rain And see their land torn again

The Things We Can Believe In Amor est Fides: Love is Faith. If I was the kind of girl comfortable with a tattoo, this would be it. Love means I trust you, love means amen-- I believe, I believe you, I believe in you-- love means you are my faith. Love means I am not afraid: “There is no fear in love, for perfect love drives out all fear”. 1 John 4:18. To say it’s everything doesn’t even come close. I’ve found that it helps when you say it in Latin. We are comforted by things older than us. We cling to the things we can believe in. We dig our nails and teeth into things we know, because we are terrified by all things cumulatively less than the greatest fear of being alone. Maybe it’s not fair of me to say “we”; maybe this is only just my acute terror projected onto the screen that is every person I have ever known. Maybe there are people who die happily and blissfully alone because they have lived a life of dignity, because they have made it through the great Struggle that is existence without the battle wounds of calls unreturned. Maybe they never had a One Who Got Away because to them there was never any place to run from. I have to imagine that, for some people, that is a happy life.

fully against our will. We attempt in all good faith to avoid the things that harm us, but we are made of more than that. We are designed with more beautiful things in mind than our own safety allows. The truth is this: we live in a series of miraculous moments. We manage somehow-- by a glorious cocktail of hormones and divinity and an instinct to survive-- to create meaningful relationships with the people who go through this particular existence shoulder-to-shoulder with us. This is why we pursue empirical knowledge: this is why we immerse ourselves in psychology and biology and history, and it is the same reason why these things will never fill us up. There is simply an x factor to what creates our behavior that cannot be explained by neural pathways or the eternal fight between id and ego and superego. Whatever this x factor is-- whatever the truth to that unknowable variable in human cognition-- it is what creates and sustains beauty. It is what leaves me, at the end of the day, eternally delighted with life. • • • •

This is the word: leaving. To leave. To be left. If there has ever been fear or panic, it is folded inside this word. What is it that makes us embrace this prospect of failure? What is this unidentifiable thing that makes us run forward in bravery to the arms of others when we have everything to fear? Maybe this is the divinity inherent in us. Love in any form is nothing short of a miracle. It’s easy for us to forget these truths: it is easy for us to stop being astounded by the brilliance of everyday life. This sort of thing drains us, after a while. Honesty is hard. It would be inaccurate to say that being overtaken by any kind of feeling is inevitable: affection is nothing but a giant game of “Risk”, and at the end of the day the heart is just an organ. I have always been of the singular mind that love is a decision that we make. It is a thing we choose to suffer or savor. We cannot, in an honest sense, fall in love

2. “Citgo” : Sony-Cyber Shot, DEDE CARROLL 3. “King Mutt” : poetry, SAM BROADWAY 4. “The Things We Can Believe In” : non-fiction, JOSIE FINK 5. “Ariel Floorplan of Hotel” : pen, LAURA GILES

• • • • 37 • • • • 37

Born up tough and used to pain They knew to cope with all life’s bane. And when across the Pure land salt is blown Onto the mutt’s head the crown is thrown.


38 • • • •

Deception Paving, raising, build it up Ripping, stripping, never enough, Cranes and drains keep us cuffed, Tied to this calamity.

Dents I have misplaced the night walks That we shared so long ago When the cusps of our hands held each other Like so many rain gauges in February The tips and taps of the pearl dew Crowning our heads – for we were royal then, and great Running splendidly along the closed lids of night

Further, further, progress stings, Making fools of you and me. Red brick looks so clean and neat. Sensible calamity.

“Your Words, Recycled” An empty mind drained, As its memories roam Down these dirty streets stained By words searching for home. Like thoughts of you I’ve recycled Once again through my mind, Wanting this to mean something Though I keep it confined.

These memories have remained only as a breath lasts on a hot July window I slink now upon these hallways that call themselves my world I suppose they are, and yet I am Deafened by the hollow sighs of sadness, The cold embraces of Mondays Hear me laugh when the loss of my days Stretches the screen of my red calculator Because such a number is too much for it Run from the knowing! the block boxes of my daily planner – blood red with times and texts! I shot them myself, but never again Because the gun lies smoking on those tiles That once knew my shadows Come, let us break the buckles of our books and births And fill once again the warm dents made so long ago By our bodies on the soft, wet earth

1. “Fashion in the Big City” : pen, CAITLIN SHEEHY 2. “Plastic” : Canon Rebel, ALLISON HUTTO 3. “Dents” : poetry, CHLOE HOBDY 4. “Deception” :poetry, ZACHARY THORNTON 5. “Your Words, Recylcled” : poetry, KARISSA WOMACK 6. “Annie and Marrianne” : photography, MARGARET JOHNSON


Hello, 2009. Goodbye, Sanity.

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7. “Hello, 2009. Goodbye, Sanity” : non-fiction, ROBERT R. IRWIN

• • • •

By the time you read this, it might actually be consistently warm enough to go outside in shorts. But alas, the day during which I write is a cold, dreary one in January. It is an afternoon filled with cold weather, Twitter updates, and girls who wear leggings under shorts, over shorts, heck, as shorts. It’s the time of year where we look back at the previous year in order to see what we did right and what went horribly, horribly wrong. By now, you have probably already supposed that this is going to be a cozy, sentimental piece about the past and how we ought to be thankful for the present. Well, here’s your wake-up call, people. America, I would just like to say that I love you, but you have certainly changed more in the last year alone than perhaps in the last decade. I miss the good old days when I was about eleven years old, people called each other on the telephone, and neighborhood kids still played baseball at the top of the cul-de-sac. Not so, anymore. A few good men by the name of Gates, Jobs, Simon Cowell, Mike “The Situation” and others insured that for the rest of time, a sunny summer day could be better spent behind a television screen, a computer monitor, a cell phone keypad, or better still, staring at the all new iPad (insert feminine product jokes here). What’s even more awesome about all of this is that in more ways than one, technology has made us increasingly more stupid. The relationship between how much useless information we store in our computers and how much practical knowledge we possess inside our heads is inversely proportional. Yes, I do still remember tenth grade algebra. Thankfully, the Auburn Circle is not solely electronic. We still have the luxury to be able to hand you a “hot-off-thepress” copy every semester; even if the weather is not-so-hot. Therefore, in honor of a new year, the closing of a decade, the demise of paper-based information, and my awesome ability to make you laugh, we’re going to take a little trip back in time and relive some of the best moments of the year 2009. We’ll revisit a sequence of events (not necessarily in order) after which you can ask yourself, “Too soon?” I shall now take the role of one Joel McHale (from television’s “The Soup”) and take a charmingly sarcastic look-back at a not-so-intelligent year. Sit back, grab a low-calorie “Vitamin Water,” munch on some organic popcorn, and enjoy. Let’s go back to the beginning, shall we? It was the birth of a new age: the age of babies. BABIES! Everywhere! Jon and Kate were hitting their stride, the Duggars took out yet another mortgage on their house for baby number 19, and “Octo-Mom” was the best thing since, well, Jon and Kate. However, it just simply wasn’t meant to be as our favorite guy to hate the husband of Kate (does this rhyme make you irate?), Jon Gosselin, decided that Kate’s rocket-exhaust haircut was too much for him. Fast forward ten months, ironically soon after the birth of the largest baby ever recorded (a 19-pound Indonesian bundle of joy!), and the rumors started flying. Divorce was certain. It was a sad situation that was made only slightly better when rumors began flying around about a possible “OctoMom” movie. In light of this idea, I have taken the liberty of throwing out a few name suggestions for possible movies/books: “Spider Man IV: Octo-Mom and the Rise of Welfare.” “It’s All in the Haircut: How to Tell if You’re a Gosselin or a…er…Octo-Baby.” “Go Read a Real Book and Stop Watching TLC.” Again, these are mere suggestions. The political world was a fantastic place for poking fun.

History was made when our 44th President, Barack Obama, was inaugurated in January. As historic as that was, nothing quite made history like the not-so-fresh cabinet that he brought in with him. Nancy Pelosi almost cried at the ceremony, but the dried-up silly putty that is her perpetually smiling face couldn’t take it. Joe Biden tried to get another handicapped man to stand up and applaud, but alas, he could not. And let’s not forget about Supreme Court Judge Roberts’ goof-up of the oath of office. I suppose Elmer Fudd wasn’t available, nor was Foghorn Leghorn, or perhaps Porky Pig. Come to think of it, why do so many Bugs Bunny characters have speech impediments? Perhaps even better than the verbal gaffes, however, were the blunders that made Democrats everywhere shake their heads in embarrassment. There was Barry’s little Air-Force One photo op; could he have picked a worse time and place for such a titanic risk? Of course, the only thing that might have fallen faster than a camera out of a plane window was perhaps the President’s approval rating. Yes sir, fell just about as fast as the nationwide blizzard that just recently pummeled public schools everywhere. Except for Alabama, since we aren’t scientifically allowed to have snow (thank you, Mr. Gore). Ice, yes (just ask the kids around good old Lake Guntersville). Snow, no. But I digress… We all know that political blunders make the news, but who could live without the priceless moments that the entertainment industry brought to the table? That’s right, while Susan Boyle was dreaming her dream, I was dreaming about a world in which people could live and not hear about Michael Jackson anymore. I mean, that cat could dance, but five-plus months of coverage? Come on, America. At least you didn’t have your pants on the ground, since, apparently, you would be looking like a fool in doing so. If 2009 was truly a recession year, the graphic tee-shirt business certainly didn’t feel any effects. They sure didn’t run out of material, anyway. Kanye’s “Imma let you finish” became the default phrase to insert into your favorite YouTube video mash-up. It was even funny when South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson screamed it out during Obama’s healthcare bill speech to Congress (er, at least, that’s what the mash-up made him say, right?). Ah, YouTubers…. On a positive note, the cotton canvas that is the graphic tee became the message board for America’s youth in revolt nationwide. Conan O’Brien’s ratings sky-rocketed as that loveable, ginger-haired face appeared across every young person’s chest on college campuses everywhere. Meanwhile, Jay Leno’s chin won the bragging rights as he sealed the deal to go back to NBC. Elsewhere, David Letterman’s private life opened up more than the gap between those goofy two front teeth of his. At least none of those guys are named George Lopez. Never have I seen promotions ten months in advance to watch an unfunny man make unfunny jokes at an unfunny hour (did I mention he isn’t funny?). Never still have I ever debated my bedtime of 11:00 pm more than in the last year; not with all of this late-night drama. And how about celebrities and their dating life? If I had a nickel for every breakup/get-together/second breakup/ separation of 2009, heck, I might have enough nickels as Tiger Woods has mistresses. 2009 wasn’t just a time for exposing people, however; it was a time for the merry-go-round of celebrity relationships. I’m not going to beat it into the ground (let Chris Brown do that); you all know who dated who. To list all the couples would be a waste of your time and mine. Besides, I already mentioned the greatest TV relationship ever: the Gosselins! How could you not like Jon? Speaking of useless sacks of dirt…well, never mind. Finally, there was the grand, exponential rise of the soul-sucking, brain-melting, mind-numbing, fat-producing, jolly


40 • • • •

old fad we call the internet. There is truly no such thing as a private life anymore. With Facebook and Twitter fighting it out for top spots, there is simply no limit anymore as to what everyone knows about each other (if you want proof, just look at both of my profiles, respectively). I mean, is there even such a thing as a good reason to have a Facebook? Obviously, I still have one (see last semester’s “Facebook Diet”). Maybe there’s a way I can rid myself of all the useless information I’ve received and put out over the last year. Is there an app for that? (On a side note, I should mention that as a T-Mobile user, I do not promote either AT&T or Verizon. Naturally, I don’t like confrontations, which is what those two companies are all about at the moment. All this talk about apps and maps and caps and childhood relapse…it’s really starting to hurt my head. T-Mobile is the obvious choice for me since nobody cares enough about their general awfulness to start an ad-war with them. Again, I digress…) If the internet was Tiger Woods’ private life, then YouTube would be the Cadillac Escalade that rammed into that tree in his yard. In other words, it’s all a giant “epic fail.” If you didn’t dance like a fool down the aisle at your sister’s wedding to some fresh dance music, perhaps you should reconsider for your brother’s ceremony. Maybe you were just pre-occupied with that little boy in the back seat named David who, for some reason, didn’t seem to understand the effects of ether. It’s good to know that parents aren’t embarrassing their kids just for the sake of embarrassment; they’re now getting fifteen minutes of fame for it (and by fifteen minutes of fame, I mean 1,000,000+ views, of course). Now that’s the kind of America I can believe in (that and fuzzy little kittens with uncontrollably bad grammar and syntax)! Now, stop. Do you feel the “stupid” running through your veins yet? Have you had enough? I could go on and on, but alas, there is not enough time, nor is there enough paper, nor do I care to torment myself with such cases of mental collapse. I am sure that anyone reading this can fill in the holes with another dozen stories of similar “failblog.org-ness” and embarrassment. America has changed; that much is certain. The question still remains: can we ever go back to the way things were before social networking? Before the dawn of the reality show? Before Nancy Pelosi’s first Botox procedure? Perhaps that ship has sailed. Perhaps we have become so obsessed with what our neighbors are thinking that we have lost sight of a few things. Technology and a socialized (as in “connected”) America might not be bad things in and of themselves, but we are human beings. We don’t let things stay the way they are. Sure, there are cases where we lead the charge in innovative advances, yet it’s another two steps back for every ridiculous television quote, Facebook status, Twitter update, or YouTube video we wear out. There is hope, however. I like to think that my generation (those who were “made in the 80’s”), can change everything. Sure, we have plunged deep into the abyss that is the world of celeb-reality, social networking, and useless knowledge, but we’re Americans. Heck, for most of you reading this, I’ll take it one step further; we’re Southern Americans. We eat hamburgers and ice cream. We blow stuff up on the Fourth of July. We go to college to get degrees. We spend four and a half hours watching 22 men beat the crap out of each other on a field. That’s the America I know and love; and no iPad will ever take that away from me. You see, when it’s all said and done, you and I will be remembered for the positive difference that we made upon society; not the countless internet moments that we witnessed. No matter where computers and television take us, I believe it was the great regional manager Michael Scott who said, “…people will never go out of business.” Because after all, at the end of all things, you don’t want to be looking like a fool with your pants on the ground. • • • •

The Thief’s Knife The motel we were staying at was located off the I-12. It was one of those places that you see in horror movies, you know the place, cheap comforters, cheap beds, but most importantly, cheap fees. Around ten thirty on one particularly boring night, my owner picked me up off the faux-wood nightstand and slipped me into his pocket. Around me I felt lint, spare change, and a peppermint from some restaurant he had went to last week. The stiff cotton that separated us muffled the details but I still heard when he started the ignition of his beat-up, used-to-be-red ’87 Toyota E90. The car always drove like it was in no hurry to get anywhere and it sputtered as if was laughing at its annoyed driver. Somewhere between the lights of midtown and the slow traffic of downtown, I heard him talking in whispered tones to his partner, Craig. “Did you make sure the she wouldn’t be here tonight?” “Don’t worry about it, amateur.” Next thing I know, I could hear him busting the window. I figured he was at the store around the block again. The security on the old place wasn’t like the new shops on Donnelly. This place was easier to get in. The trouble he would be in if he got caught would be tremendous. But he never got caught. They slipped into the dark store, not bothering to turn on the lights. They already knew where the necklace was. At the back of the store, Mrs. Higgins kept a glass case filled with her most valuable pieces. The necklace was on the third shelf. The two robbers slowly opened the glass case and took the necklace. Until this moment, my owner had never had to use me. I always stayed safely in his pocket. But as the robbers look the necklace, Mrs. Higgins appeared in the doorway and my owner pulled me from his pocket, my sharp, silver blade shining in the rays of moonlight coming in through the busted window. • • • •

1. “The Thief’s Knife” : fiction, APRIL HALL 2. “Big Blue” : photography, Nikon 35mm, LAURA JORDAN


Alone Together

Ingredients 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese 1/2 cup mayonnaise 4 ounces grated swiss cheese 2 tablespoons green onions, sliced thinly 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled 2 whole wheat pita bread 3 tablespoons butter 1/2 cup sesame seed, toasted Directions Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In microwave safe bowl, soften cream cheese on medium (50%) for 30 seconds. Mix cream cheese, mayonnaise, swiss cheese, green onions and bacon until well blended.

Place on cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until crisp.

3. “Alone Together” : fiction, CARLEY MUSCHARA 4. “Hot Bacon and Swiss Dip” : culinary recipe, HILARY JOHNSON 5. “Modern Renaissance Concept Board” : Photoshop, RACHEL THILLEN

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Spoon mixture into 2 1/2 cup casserole dish or 9-inch pie plate(or use tiny crock pot). Microwave on high for 4 minutes or until heated through, if using crock pot, just pour mixture into it and turn it on.

• • • •

She returned early from her long two-week vacation, only to have another week left before she had to go back to school. The campus was quiet, dead still. There was nobody in the streets or sidewalks to run into. However, he was there, down the hall. She ran into him in the kitchen, it was quick, but after a day she realized that she and him were the only ones on the dorm floor. He held the spotlight in her mind. Being alone on the floor with him was strange. She felt drawn to him. However, she would never find herself at his door. Why would she ever risk the degradation of going to his door? How could she chance being humiliated? There would be moments when their encountering would be inevitable, and she could make her move without the risk of shame. Those times would be breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Those were the optimum times that she knew she could “run” into him. She had to let him know she was interested without letting him know she was interested. It was a completely impossible notion, but it was the only possible way in her mind that she could escape losing face if he didn’t feel the same. He heard the door close as she entered the hall. He thought, “I’ve got to make noise, let her know I’m here too”. He turned his stereo up, hoping to inform his neighbor down the hall of his being there. However, she was already in her room, and turning her own stereo up, before he even had the chance to turn his up, so she would not hear his attempt to make himself known. She returned from her walk in the park a few days later. She felt like she had gone on a hike up Mount Kilimanjaro, but it was only a reflection of the little amount of exercise she had done lately. So she jumped in the shower, to shake the “work out” off her. “Who knew a two-mile walk could have such effect?” she thought. Little did she know, nor hear the sound of her neighbor’s abnormally loud music raging from down the hall that began as soon as she turned the shower to hot. He heard her door open and shut as she exited her room, and entered the hall. He thought he should conveniently be making his way out at the same time. He wanted to run into her, without making it obvious he was interested. “Oh hey!” She said as she saw him exit his door. “Oh hey, it’s you! I haven’t seen you round,” he replied to her, “what have you been up to?” “Just busying myself, nothing to much. You?” She answered him. “Oh, I have this big paper I’m trying to work on, so I don’t have too much to do when we get back to school,” he answered. “Yeah I get that, where you off to?” She asked. “Going for a run, got to stretch my legs, I’ve been inside all day,” he answered. “ I know the feeling,” she replied, “well I guess I’ll see ya later then.” “See ya!” he ended. So she went into the kitchen and found some crackers. And she thought to herself, “Was he trying to run into me, or was it just mere chance?” He exited the dorm, and made his way to the street, and he thought, “WELL DAMN, I didn’t realize it was her coming down the hall, what a waste.” Meanwhile, in the kitchen she was talking to her other neighbor Jenny, whom she didn’t realize had been back. • • • •

Hot Bacon and Swiss Dip


From Saul to Solomon I. Dreams

• • • •

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Dreams, they are for old men. Empty shells who never Lived a life of vision, They were born without eyes. Dreams are the memories Of younger days wasted, Chasing songs in darkness Too cold to feel its lies. Muscle beats twice on beat, And the third time’s a charm; Where rhythm misses heart To steady sound—then dies. These veins run through your soul, Carrying its spent life From weak mind to starved heart. What makes strength for the wise? II. Vision I’m a young man, I know So much. I’ve read and heard; Seen life as all I’ve lived— Like art on canvas skies. Desires from my depths beat Passionately. I know No strength is in myself; I will meet no demise. David had a smooth stone To throw—the giant to His death. Enemies fall On sights by loves that rise, Heaping fire for warm thoughts. A man after God’s heart— A life lived with vision Until his best goodbye.

1. “American Apparel Blue, Green, Pink, Purple” : AutoCad Revit/Adobe Illustrator, LISA TRINH 2. “From Saul to Solomon” : poetry, PAUL BULLARD 3. “Summer Rain” : Cannon Powershot SX110is, LAUREL SCHWEERS 4. “Fish” : photography, LAUREN WILKINS


• • • •

43

neve rmin diti stim efor icec ream yeah ilik edth atal bumb utit wasw eird hows oith adan aked baby onth ecov erih aven tsee niti nyea rsih avei tinm yroo mdoy ouwa ntto seei tyes plea seah itsj usta sire memb eryo ubet ters huty ourd oors othe ydon thea ruso kiwi llwo wyou rbed isso ftye ahit sgoo sedo wnoh myyo urth atfe elss ogoo dikn owdo esnt itah myha iris caug htin your brac elet whoy ours ormi neyo urso hmyi dont know ifib elie vein GODb utif soyo uare theb igge stte mpte reve rwha tyou temp tmei know sodo youi thin kGOD only sees uswh enwe rena keda llar enak edah yest hatf eels sogo odso good like noth inge lsei want tosc ream butc antd ontw eall

5. “AJ” : oil on canvas, KATIE GONZALEZ 6. “Vintage Bloom Flat Sketches” : pen, ink RACHEL THILLEN 7. “Yoga Ananda” : JPEG Poster Sketch-Up, pencil, rendering, LINDSAY MERCER 8. “neve rmin diti stim efor icec ream” : poetry, WILL FARGASON


44 • • • •

The Baptism I stood over some rippled silhouette, stark white eyes and a muddy frame. Caked head to toe in that reeking filth, I commanded you to stand up and soak me, to douse away this malodorous eighth layer; yet you just lay there motionless, as trunks began to anchor themselves in the ground and stand firm, restraining me. Roots grew deep and bark became bitter as that reflection remained my form, gnarled and knotted, patiently waiting for you to stand and envelop me, which you just couldn’t do. So I did. And as I gave myself to your aquatic arms, I scraped away folds of cellulose and a thick crust of mud; leaves, twigs, and adobe clogged the drain as I swam through the crystal fountain. Aah.

1. “Blue Whale” : mixed media, LIZZIE JOHNSON 2. “Lilly Pulitzer Dressing Room” : sketch-up, SALLIE KEENE 3. “Blue” : Nikon D300, TAYLOR HENDERSON 4. “The Nature” : Kodak EasyShare M1033, KELSEY HAYES 5. “The Baptism” : poetry, EVAN DODD


• • • •

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6. “Heavenly Lights” : Sony Cybershot, CLAIRE ADELE WOOD 7. “Radio City” : Canon Rebel Xti, MELISSA HAZELDINE 8. “Personal Logo” : Adobe Illustrator, AUDREY MATTHEWS 9. “Craft Starter Home-Living Room” : sketch-up, markers, colored pencils, LINSEY GRACE


46 • • • •

1. “Fermé à Clef dans l’Amour” : Canon Rebel Xsi, JENNA McPHERSON 2. “Knox Residence Kitchen Perspective” : sketch-up, colored pencils, DANAE WILLIAMS 3. “Layers” : mixed media, LIZZIE JOHNSON 4. “Birds of Prey” : model, NICK PAOLUCCI


• • • •

47

e x p e r i e n c e

m o n t a n a

Mountain Bluebird Blue

Ponderosa Pine Green

Justus Roman

OFF THE BEATEN PATH a Montana travel agency

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Off the Beaten Path invites you to discover the people, places, and heritage in Montana. We want to help travelers know the richness, diversity, and history of our own country by visiting rural communities and the great outdoors. Our goal is to connect travelers to the western mountains and rivers, ranchers and Indians, lodge owners and outfitters, and back roads and towns. At Off the Beaten

Justus Bold

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Path, we create the kind of experience that has the potential to change a traveler’s life. Often times the journey is more important than the destination.

We believe that some of life’s greatest memories are about travel, and we take seriously our role in helping you create those memories year after year. We encourage you to find yourself “off the beaten path” this year and experience Montana.

e x p e r i e n c e

5. “Laundry Lounge” : sketch-up, SALLIE KEENE 6. “Breathtaking” : photography, LAUREN WILKINS 7. “Weathered” : Sony Cybershot, DEDE CARROLL 8. “Off the Beaten Path” : laser-printed logo board, SARAH STUTTS

m o n t a n a


• • • • 48 • • • • 48

1. “Koben” : Canon Rebel XS, HILARY BARRINGER 2. “Futurism Deck of Cards” : Adobe InDesign, AUDREY MATTHEWS 3. “Troops” : Sony Cyber Shot, DEDE CARROLL 4. “Father” : oil paint, HILLARY FLOYD 5. ”Absorption” : toilet paper, JIM PLASTER


Remembrance of May

6. “Remembrance of May” : Poerty, SAM BROADWAY 7. “Ski Mount Hood” : Nikon D80, ELIZABETH C. BARNES 8. “Float” : photography, COURTNEY CREW 9. “Boston Bank- Lobby” : Sketch- Up, marker and colored pencils, LINSEY GRACE 10. “Isola Bella” : Canon SD 960, CHRISTY WYNNE

• • • • 49 • • • • 49

My eyes droop and wonders my mind To lake’s edge and smooth rocks to find For skipping will at leisure and play Which comes only now at such rare a day Oh how odd it is that love enters in When the mind is busiest playing at sin We cherish too little when rushing around And music is noise, never more than a sound That hums in our ears when we in suits rush Ties flying back, hair fresh from the brush Clean shaven faces that frown and forget The times when we laughed and had time just to sit And talk to each other about our heart’s wants Armed with smiles without formal fronts. May those days come back and may we remember The warm beauty of spring after cold harsh December Let us laugh again and good will fill our hearts As new life begins so should our new starts Lets us shake off our leaves and grow our hair long Giving once more our blessings, singing once more our song May we whistle that tune for times not forgotten May our hearts grow anew and never go rotten Shedding our ties, our hustle, our bustle Stopping to hear the Autumn leaves rustle As warning to we who’ve cut off our locks To drop every thing and start skipping rocks


• • • •

50

A Mind Astray The monotony. I awake, shave and shower. I dry, brush, and dress. I eat, check and watch. The monotony. The jacket goes on and the light by the desk goes off but the light by the door stays on and one glove is applied. The other glove and notebook are placed under the left arm. I fight off the cat and exit the door. I lock it and place the keys in my left pocket. Then I put on my right glove and move my notebook to my right arm and walk. The methods. I walk staring at the sidewalk mostly; memorizing the cracks and shapes to teach my feet at which angle they should be when they reach each new square. The excitement. I enjoy my classes but hate them all the same. Low level courses feel like high school but high levels feel too stiff. The argument in philosophy class was whether stealing was morally right or wrong. That’s a question I don’t care to debate because most of the discussions in that class lead people to eventually discover that there are always certain situations. Do I feel that the Haitians that are murdering each other for food and water are correct in doing so? No, but is it ok if they simply steal it which eventually leads to another’s death? I’m not sure. I don’t know if it was coincidence that the monotony was getting to me at the same time a morality debate on stealing was observed but I’ve never looked for signs, they just reveal themselves, often times too late. I had come to notice that every Wednesday on my walk to class I would see a police car pull up to the same spot and an older gentleman along with an officer would walk into what we know as the hall of Mrs. Martin. I had only been in that particular building once before but my obvious assessment was that the envelope the older gentleman was carrying either contained or would contain something quite valuable. I observed this little clockwork routine for a few weeks time before my curiosity began to take over me. On one of these particular Wednesday’s I was on my way to class as normal when suddenly I decided to check my syllabus to see what drug we would be discussing that day only to realize that class was cancelled due to a conference or some such crap. I looked up in disbelief that I had wasted my morning awake and once again watched the cop car pull up and the two men exit and enter the hall. I decided to take a seat nearby and waited. About ten minutes later the officer and the gentleman returned to the vehicle with the envelope noticeably larger. My heart raced with sudden excitement though I wasn’t sure if it was because I was correct or because I knew then that I had to obtain one of these envelopes. Was I in a situation that required more than I had? No, I ate well and had clothes. Then why risk the already lack of a reputation and my freedom for what could possibly only be a handful of twenties? The monotony. The next couple of Wednesday’s I sat in my spot outside of the building observing the time and the two gentlemen. I had gotten it down to the two to three minute range in which they arrived and left as well as the pace I had to walk to still make it to class on time. It slowly became an obsession like the best movie I had ever seen. I wanted a poster on my wall of “The Officer

1. “A Mind Astray” : fiction, RICHARD PRICE

and the Gentleman,” the twenty minute masterpiece from the minds that brought you, “Unattractive Guy Walking Adorable Dog!” I had stared at those envelopes for several weeks and had several of my own to make sure they looked identical. The most difficult thing was trying to match the amount of money in the envelope to give it the right amount of bulge. Seeing as how the amount changed from week to week, I figured up an average and hoped when the time came I would be correct. I started to get a particular clip stuck in my mind of how I would go about making the switch. I imagined it over and over. I would bump into him and momentarily trap his right hand, the hand in which the envelope was in, between my side and arm and then pull the envelope from him. Startled he would think that he had just lost his grip and I would produce the copy hidden in my right sleeve, hand it to him, apologize deeply and be on my way. The day finally came when I would carry out this plan. I sat in my usual spot but soon discovered a giant work truck parked on the sidewalk blocking my view. Cursing, I got up to move closer for a better view. Moments later the police car pulled up and out stepped the gentleman and then a cop I’d never seen before. My heart sank and my adrenaline evaporated. The cop was a younger one than usual and was quick to get out of the car and follow the old man inside. I figured that unlike the regular cop, this one would not linger inside the building for very long, not giving me my opportunity. I backed off. Today was not the day after all. The following Wednesday proved to be the same and I began to wonder if I should call the whole thing off. I began to rethink things and decided that I had achieved my original goal of ending the monotony and didn’t need to pursue this any further. I went back to awaking, shaving and showering as well as all the other daily activities I succumbed to. Walking to class became yet another chore and nothing more. Wednesday came and the cop car pulled up as usual and out stepped the gentleman and to my surprise, the original officer. The officer took his time as he had always done, allowing the older gentleman to enter the hall first. Suddenly my adrenaline pumped and my mind raced and prepared itself. I had for some reason or another, one of my fake envelopes in my folder and prepared it hastily. As the older gentleman stepped back outside I began walking quickly towards him to meet him at just the right angle. As I neared I quickly found that my journey had stopped and I was now falling toward the street. Just before the car struck me, I remembered the giant work truck that had parked on the sidewalk so many weeks before. It had apparently broken part of the sidewalk and caused it to have an incline my feet were not accustomed to because I had somehow overstepped this spot all the weeks since the truck. Darkness. I came to on the asphalt and my head felt warm. The tiny loose rocks had become stuck to my skin and my body ached. Flashing lights had surrounded me and the world grew deafening as bystanders looked on perhaps in hopes


of witnessing a death. The hospital was as I remembered them, understaffed or just crappy workers. I was visited by those you might expect and then a representative from the university. She informed me that because I was struck on campus that my tuition would be fully paid. I couldn’t manage a word because I was thinking about the differences between liability and moral obligations and different situations like that of the Haitians. • • • •

2. “Drama” : pencil, KATIE SMERAGLIA 3. “One Sentence” : fiction, MICHELLE TESLIK 4. “The Naming Day” : fiction, KRISTIE TINGLE

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Marcus loved those days when the sun would lay shine on the green hills set in the hidden horizon while the rain toppled out from the clouds above him and cleansed him of all his disappointments and reminded him of the hope in the distance, reminded him that the sun never stops shining, that we’re the ones who keep moving and spinning and falling into darkness, that we’re the ones who leave; so every time he found himself standing in the rain-unmoved and soaked, unburdened and free- he knew he was in the right place and he felt sure that he belonged there: among the hills, among the treasured souls of the swaying Cedars, among the beauty and power of the place he promised to leave behind someday, even though he secretly knew he couldn’t because his memories were there; the memories of his children’s laughter still echoed in that place: where his heart ran through the sweet grass and wild flowers with his Arabian horses, where his hope floated on the rivers, swooshing and slamming and slipping forward with the rainbow trout, and never stopped moving toward that end, toward what was waiting, toward tomorrow’s morning when the Montana sun would burst through his window and wake him up with its warm hugging embrace to sweet-talk him into another day full of the many reminders that grief can be eased in all its insufferable realities. • • • •

The Turtle saw grass. At first, he walked through just a few blades, scattered in the mud and pebbles near the river. Then, as he climbed a small hill, the mud turned to hard dirt, and the blades of grass grew closer together. And finally, when he reached the top, he saw nothing but green. Thick, tall grass in every shade imaginable stretched as far as his universe could possibly reach. This was what he had wanted. To see everything. So, without stopping to take a second look, the Turtle turned around, and began to walk. He walked back down the hill, across the pebbly embankment, and stepped into the river. The water was cool, refreshing, and the Turtle was content. The Turtle pulled himself out of the water, pausing to let the sun warm his back. He felt the familiar breeze of wind across his wet shell, and was reminded of home. He decided to hurry so that he might return by nightfall. After a while, the Turtle came to the foreign black surface his mother had warned him against. Having hurriedly crossed it the first time, the Turtle wanted to examine it, to find out its dark secret. After all, he had seen the world. What danger could this narrow piece of ground hold? The Turtle took a defiantly slow step. He paused. Nothing happened. He stomped out to the yellow line, with each step daring the surface to do its worst. When he reached the line, he sat down, his fear and curiosity replaced by skepticism. The minutes past and he remained untouched. “How great am I!” The Turtle thought, “When I tell this story, everyone will cheer!” Lost in his thoughts, The Turtle didn’t see the young boy walking towards him. He didn’t see the boy crouch beside him, timidly reaching his tiny hands out. But suddenly the Turtle was flying, three feet off the ground, and found himself staring into the brown eyes of the child. “Sam,” the boy said. “That’s what I’ll call you.” And then the Turtle was turned around, and went soaring towards a house. He flew through the door, up the stairs, and into a room. Then, as suddenly as his flight had begun, he landed, deposited into a large white basin. A terrifying waterfall began at the other end, and a pool of water rushed towards him. The Turtle braced himself, but the warm water felt good on his tired feet. The boy placed a few pieces of lettuce next to the Turtle and stared at him expectantly. “Eat, Sam!” “Sam,” the Turtle thought. “He calls me Sam. How peculiar.” The Turtle sniffed at the food, then carefully took a bite of the lettuce. The boy cheered. Suddenly an angry-looking woman loomed above the Turtle. With a disgruntled noise, she picked him up, holding him as far away from her as she could manage. The Turtle flew through the room, down the stairs, and out of the house. The woman deposited him by a stream near the house, and quickly stomped back to the house. Alone, the Turtle went to the edge of the stream to drink. He paused, above the water, and realized that he had found something better than universal illumination on his voyage. The Turtle had a name. “Sam.” The Turtle thought. “That’s me.” He paused and looked back at the house. Then Sam smiled, and continued his expedition home. • • • •

• • • •

One Sentence

The Naming Day


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Outside the Bars, and Into the Mind The Story of the Alabama Prison Arts and Education Program In a world where captivity and nonconformity is suspect and creativity is suppressed, the ones being held behind the bars are looking for a release. “Only you can make today the first day of the rest of your life.” This is one of the several signs that greet inmates and visitors as they walk down the blue and white, impersonal hallways leading to the control entrance at the St. Clair County Correctional Facility. St. Clair is a maximum security prison to the northeast of Birmingham that holds more than 2,000 inmates behind its razor wire fences and guard towers. Close to 400 of those 2,000 inmates are men serving life sentences for violent crimes. In the prison yard, men are herded like cattle to and from the gym, dining hall and their dormitories. Considerate of outsiders some prisoners try to make small talk with visitors as they welcome them into their home, the prison. Some prisoners sit, backs against walls, looking out into nothing. However, inside the library classroom at St. Clair, the inmates there take on a different look. In a white room, walls lined with law books, the attitude seems different. For two hours a week these inmates become students and are allowed to step outside of the bars and inside their own minds by becoming immersed in writing, drawing and reading classes. “I get outside of a place I know I am never going to get out,” says one of the inmates in the classroom. “When I read a book or draw a picture, I ain’t me no more, I am somebody else.” These inmates are participating in a program called the Alabama Prison Arts and Education Program. The APAEP is a program based at the Center for Arts and Humanities at Auburn University and has been funded since 2003 by the National Endowment for the Arts. The program director, Kyes Stevens, said she never saw this opportunity coming. Kyes was only just out of graduate school when a friend called and asked if she wanted to be a part of a new grant to teach literature classes at Talladega Federal Prison. “At first I thought she was just BS’ing me,” Kyes said, “I quickly learned just how serious she was.” Since then, this small grant program has grown to cover classes at 10 rotating facilities in the state. Teachers for the program come from all across the state. “All of our teachers love teaching in the prisons. Even if the program disappeared one day they would still want to do what they are doing. I think the education experience is unlike any other classroom experience you walk into,” said Kyes. According to 2007 statistics from the Alabama Department of Correction, coming into prison the average inmate’s education level is at 10th grade. Eighty seven percent enter without a high school diploma, which comes out to 18,739 inmates. Out of those 18,739 inmates, 11,400 of them are black and 6,949 of them are white. “There is an injustice in our education system,” said an inmate at Staton Correctional Facility who was attending a literature class taught by Stevens. “It is just unfortunate because it seemed like nobody cared about me until I was already in prison. I ain’t using that as an excuse for anything that I have done, but it seems like folks are set up to fail.”

A Cry From the Victims Because there are inmates filling prison cells, it means also somewhere there are victims. There are groups dedicated to making sure that these victims are not forgotten. “We did not ask to be victims. When did we agree to have our lives forever changed by this?” This is from Miriam Shehane the director of the state organization VOCAL, or Victims of Crime and Leniency. The organization’s purpose is to ensure the equal and fair treatment of victims of violent crimes and their families. Shehane, whose daughter was murdered in Birmingham 30 years ago, still holds onto the feelings of being victimized. “It changes you forever. It has affected my other family relationships with my husband, my other children and my grandchildren.” Shehane said she believes too much thought is given to the well being and care of the inmates and the victims seem to get lost in the court process. “I do believe that everybody should be given a high school education. We provide it for them for free. After that though, anything they receive should also be given to help the victim.” Shehane said it would not bother her so much if she didn’t feel like there was always something being done for the inmate. Shehane said she thinks the problems start in the court room. “They sit and they say, ‘well they haven’t done any worse than the next person so why send them to jail?’ “ The group, and its members, have their own views for what the sentencing process and prison time should be. Christopher Peterson, director of the VOCAL Selma chapter, said, “Prison should be designed to punish people for violations of the rules of society.” Peterson said he thinks that a person should serve all the time on their sentence meaning no parole and no probation. Like Shehane, Peterson also believes in providing education to some extent. He said that a portion of the sentence should be punishment only and another portion should be dedicated to learning how to exist in society. “Before being released, one must demonstrate that they have the desire and capacity to live in society and abide by the law.” It’s not about vengeance, said Shehane, it’s about justice she feels the victims and their families never receive. “Absolutely there is an injustice. There is an attitude that we are just supposed to be victimized.” One of Shehane’s biggest complaints is that there are no numbers, no statistics about the validity of the program. She asks to see the number of people who were reformed by the program. “If we are going to just throw money at a program, I want to see if it’s working.” Current statistics provided by the U.S Department of Justice shows the national average for recidivism, a relapse into criminal behavior, to be an estimated 67.5 percent. Those in that percentage were rearrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor within three years of their release. When asked how many reformed inmates would indicate the education program was successful, Shehane said, “I don’t really know, but I would hope more than a quarter.” Shehane said that she, and VOCAL, are not trying to take rights away from offenders, but simply demanding equal rights for the victims and their families. A Mutual Understanding Stevens said she knows that there are people who do not agree with what she is doing, and she has learned to accept that.

1. “Outside the Bars and Into the Mind: The Story of the Alabama Prison Arts and Education Project” : non- fiction, ANDREW SIMS


Where it All Stands Now Standing inside her literature classroom at Staton Correctional Facility, Stevens tells the men, some of who have been with her for years, that funding for their class, a project called Big Read sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, is at risk to be cancelled. “It’s up to you to tell them that you need this,” she tells them. “They need to hear from you that this program is worth saving. That there is a reason to fight for this class. A reason to fight for you all.” Some of the men go around the room telling stories of being skeptical of the class at first. Some told stories of never having been given a chance to go to school before and how this class had taught them the value of an education. Others tell about how this class had helped them begin college classes while incarcerated and the education they looked forward to upon their release. “The problem is that we are just getting this now. We already in prison and now we getting the chance to learn in a safe environment. For some folks it’s too late, but for us, the ones in here, we care,” one student said. This intense desire to learn and change is what fuels Stevens every day. She says that it is the courage of these students, the bravery they show in trying to be something different than wheo they were when they walked into the classroom that day. “The fact that there are people longing, begging for this knowledge and to learn is what keeps me coming back. Changing one life, that is a success. When one person is released and then goes to college and makes something of their life, that’s a success.” One of the students in her literature class at Staton is scheduled to be released in June and hopes to continue with his college courses to become an engineer. “We may not have thousands of people knocking down our doors to help teach,” says Stevens, “but the ones we have now will tell you that this has been something that has changed their life forever. They want to come back year in and year out to teach these men and women. This is the mutual

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“Guys come in not really having a clue about themselves and that is what this program is about. It not only allows a dialogue with other students, but more importantly, a dialogue with yourself.” Cash says that the mutual relationship between both sides is the next piece of the puzzle. “I can understand where groups like VOCAL are coming from, and I respect them. But they have to realize not all of us committed a violent crime. In fact, most of us have to get out and rebuild our lives at some point.” One former inmate, who chose to remain anonymous, feels resentment towards groups like VOCAL. “Where were they to represent my daughter, my wife and my mother when I went to prison? My crime didn’t have a corpse. My crime didn’t have a rape victim. My family was the victim of my crime and who helped them when I went to prison?” The inmate claims groups like VOCAL only work at one portion of the spectrum, a portion this inmate was not a part of. However, both Cash and Stevens said feelings like these are not part of the next step that needs to be taken by the program. Stevens said to continue to fuel the animosity only further divides people from coming together to solve the bigger problem, which is stopping the victimization before it happens.

• • • •

“Their fears are based on ideas of vindication. They honestly believe that all the people in prison are horrible, and that they should rot there.” Stevens agrees that there are individuals who have committed horrible crimes and deserve to remain incarcerated, but she says many people have a distorted view of the truth. “What the majority of people don’t realize, or refuse to realize, is that majority of inmates are going to get out of prison,” she said. According to 2007 ADOC statistics, the average sentence is almost 15 years, with the average time served at 4.75 years. During the 1960’s alone the inmate population doubled and is now sitting at two million incarcerated individuals. American prisons are now releasing more than 600,000 inmates a year. How are these men and women being prepared to enter back into society? Stevens realizes these numbers. She sees a fraction of these faces weekly. “I’m doing what I do because I believe in it. I used to just think and trust I was doing the right thing. Now I know I am doing the right thing.” Stevens said these misunderstandings and stereotypes are where the problems start. She says prisons are not a delicate part of our society. It is a dark, depressing and uncomfortable thing to think about. Stevens said she respects the people who disagree with her. She accepts that people must agree to disagree, and says she has not made it her mission to “change peoples’ minds”. However, she says there is still work to be done on the communication and dialogue front. She said she believes there needs to be a better foundation to the mutual relationship that is forming. “We, both sides, agree what we are doing is the right way to do things. And that’s fine. I’m not sitting here telling them they are wrong. I just do what I do because I know it’s what’s right for me.” This same vision of a mutual relationship is deep in the mind of William Cash, or “Cash” as he prefers to be called. Cash was incarcerated during Stevens’s first class she ever taught. He said he saw the program at its most unstructured level there, but knew that it was a step in the right direction. Speaking directly about the program, Cash said that many people can benefit from that kind of intense educational experience. “Being in prison allows oneself the time and space to dive into the educational process. On the outside, the distractions of life get in the way and you never learn to appreciate it, or even have the desire to go through the process.” Cash said it’s hard to get everyone on board though. Many prisoners, he says, come into the program from different mindsets. Some come for simply a change in pace from everyday prison life. Some are seriously looking for any means provided to better themselves. But most come in unsure about what the program will do for them, he said. “This program was a real freedom I was afforded. I saw it as a way to improve and better myself while serving my time. Just the dialogue offered is liberating, the safe environment in which to communicate about ideas and yourself is a gift in prison. You don’t get that kind of safety in prison much.” Since being out of prison, Cash describes himself as a success story. He now works managing three businesses and some 200 employees. He contributes his success and his new perspective on life to what he learned while he was in prison. Cash said the program demands responsibility from its participants. It’s a responsibility that is forced onto inmates.


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relationship we are working towards. This is the point where our program takes off.” The Alabama Prison Arts and Education Program is still growing. Its history is not old, but it is rich and meaningful. The stories of inmates, the books of poetry and drawings done by those serving time for crimes they have committed are just the physical products of this program. “It is a quality thing, not a quantity thing,” says Cash. “It’s about the change you spur to happen in peoples lives. That’s where the beauty is, and it is beautiful to see that transformation in a guy.” What will the future hold for this program? Will the bridge of communication ever be completed between the two sides? The future is not important to Stevens. She is too busy planning classes for the spring semester and putting teachers where they long to be, in prison, with the inmates who want to learn. As long as there are people locked up, behind bars, Stevens doesn’t mind freeing their minds. Even if it is just for a few hours a week. • • • •

A Hard Mile to Where You Don’t Belong This problem passed by a year; A few times I almost Forgot about your smile, The voice I couldn’t hear, But you live like a ghost No one’s seen in awhile. My dear, nothing to fear, Raise a toast to the host— It’s a mile down the aisle. Little spark to the forest Made from the farmer’s grain, Your heat caught me off guard. I never would’ve guessed Through the smoke, black and plain, That you like your hearts charred. Dear, get dressed in your best, Press down strain on the stain— Skin scarred isn’t so hard. Next to me in pictures I never wanted to take, You’re the answer that’s wrong. You’re the lies I’ll endure Like blush turns color fake, I’m not as weak as strong. Dear, so secure—not my cure For back aches and hard breaks, I know when songs don’t belong.

Thrice Torn There exists in one three worlds to tame Two forgotten for the chosen game But all for one live in the same He who chooses is not to blame It may not do well to follow one’s heart Or to follow thy brain instead of love’s art For perhaps to guide with logic one’s passions One will lose desired rations Must we who choose suffer great loss In walking hard to the beat of one cause Or remain undecided to avoid the moss Of unbendable fate by unwilling coin toss For I stand shaking at a junction of roads My soul or mind to several goads Heading for many uncertain abodes Each calls with the croaks from many toads How shall I relieve myself from demise? To choose the reward not knowing its size Seeking forever a better advice Sitting split, torn not once but thrice

1. “Ocaso de la Vida” : Canon Rebel Xsi, JENNA McPHERSON 2. “A Hard Mile to Where You Don’t Belong” : poetry, PAUL BULLARD 3. “Thrice Torn” : poetry, SAM BROADWAY


Where are the paper clips?

AND

greene

/DXUD*LOHV  AuburnInteriorDesign   Sophomore,2009 Thecloud liftmotifisanelementincorporatedintotheArtsandCrafts movementfromtheinfluenceofAsiandesign.

4. “Where are the paper clips?” : fiction, CARLEY MUSCHARA 5. “Arts and Crafts Design” : Adobe Illustrator, LAURA GILES

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greene

• • • •

“Joon have you seen the paper clips? I looked everywhere in the supply room, but I can’t find them,” asked Sandy. “I have a couple if you want some,” replied Joon, “but I don’t know where the box is. You should ask Erica. She is responsible for inventory.” “Right, yeah, maybe we’re out of them,” answered Sandy. Sandy went down the hall. “Hey Erica, do you know, are we out of paper clips, I can’t find them in the supply room?” Sandy asked. “Well,” replied Erica, “I just ordered them and I’m pretty sure they already came in the mail, I got a new box out for myself, and then I gave the big box to Robbie, he needed a bunch for something, ask him what he did with them.” Sandy replied dully, “Hmm, ok.” Sandy really didn’t want to go talk to Robbie. They went out on a date last week, and it went pretty badly. At the end of the night Robbie walked her to her door, and then tried to kiss her goodnight, but she was talking about the gum she stepped in earlier in the night. At the very moment she looked down at her shoe, he gave her nose a big wet kiss. She thought it was so embarrassing. She’d been avoiding him since. This would be the first time she’d be talking to him since that interesting goodnight kiss. Well she did encounter him once in the elevator, when they both got in at the same time, but he mumbled something like, “ Hey, how are you?” and she didn’t understand because she was thinking to loudly in her head about the fact that they were both in the elevator together. She just looked up at him and grinned quickly and then darted from the elevator as soon as it hit the floor they were getting off at. Sandy walked down the hall and knocked on Robbie’s door and entered his office. He was busy at the computer and when he noticed Sandy. He grew a big grin on his face

and then asked her, “Hey, Sandy how are you? Can I do something for you?” Sandy just decided to get straight to the point, “ Yeah, do you know where the paper clips have gone off to? I need them for a large amount of paper work I’m trying to sort through and organize, but I can’t find them anywhere?” Robbie replied quickly, but then his face turned disappointed as if he hoped she had come in to talk to him about something else. He said, “Oh, they are right over there, to your right in the corner. I keep forgetting to put them up in the supply room, sorry about that…” “ Oh great,” said Sandy, “I’ll just get some then, and I’ll put them up for you myself.” As she said this Robbie stood up, and as if to help her, “ Oh, Sandy you don’t have to do that, just take some and I’ll put them up right now.” So Sandy took a box for her self and handed the big box of paper clips over to Robbie, and then she said, “ Ok, well… thanks” and she turned around to exit his office. But before she could make it out the door he asked, “Hey Sandy, I was just wondering, I haven’t talked to you since our date last Friday, and I’ve felt like you’ve been avoiding me, but I don’t understand cause I thought it went pretty great?” Sandy looked at him inquisitively, and said, “Oh?” He then proceeded with, “ I had a great time, I’d love to go out again, how’s this Saturday?” All week she’d been avoiding him, because she thought she’d made a fool of him and herself at the end of their last date, but now she understood that he didn’t care, because he really liked her, “He must after that kiss?” she thought to herself. So she calmly gave him an answer, “ Perfect.” She then slowly turned around and made her way down the hallway with her paper clips in hand, thinking to herself, “I wonder if he knows he kissed my nose?” • • • •


Bottle Caps In a smirking sandwich bag in my closet sits an enclosed pile of bottle caps. A beautiful grey one with little stars encircling the edges, with a badger’s face in the center, another golden

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plated one with red cursive letters, and yet another unconventional one written full of conclusive symbols yet unrecognized— I’ve saved them all for you. I knew you collected them, in an dingy pickle jar with the remnants of a label hastily ripped off; it’s almost filled up. Or, by now, it must be. The tops that hold back and invite inside every one of the bottles they decorate. No, that can’t be right. They repress. I found you underneath every one, hiding from me, from the glass that splitters and cuts, that holds all your desires up on a shelf, that helps you breathe, that lets you see.

MUSEO

TOP

“[AN] ENSEMBLE [THAT] CONSTITUTES A KI N D OF TOPOGRAPHY I N ITSELF.” -ZAHA HAD I D

PERSPECTIVE

SECTION

S I DE FRONT

1. “Chicago Bean” : Nikon D80, ELIZABETH C. BARNES 2. “Reflections” : colored pencil, CLAIRE ADELE WOOD 3. “Museo” : Adobe Illustrator, DANAE WILLIAMS 4. “Bottle Caps” : poetry, WILL FARGASON 5. “Searching for Grand D’s Name” : Canon Rebel Xti, MEREDITH ANN JONES


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WI L D FLOU RS Aqua: Pantone Process Gold: Pantone Process Tangarine: Pantone Process Red: Pantone Process Kabel L t St B ook:

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNO PQRSTUVWXYZ1234567890 WILD FLOURS a wacky wild cupcake bakery WILD FLOURS provides the daring and fearless consumer with a variety of original flavored cupcakes along with impeccable service and a welcoming atmosphere.

6. “Summer Crush” : Canon Rebel XT, WILLIAM NOEL 7. “Wild Flours” : print, LAURA JORDAN 8. “Habitat House” : digital model, NICK PAOLUCCI 9. “Sunset” : Canon Powershot SD, BECKY MERCER


• • • • 58 • • • • 58

Pandora, Part Two Maybe I’m a crack in the sidewalk, a crevice deepening with every step, step, step. Maybe I’m a vast hole in the window of the world, or maybe just a little slice of glass, forgotten in the gray or black of night. Maybe I am a color in a sea of black and white, but what color to be— the blue of beauty, the red of fight? Maybe. But maybe I am lost beneath the sirens in the mirror, flashing blue and red but nothing, nothing to see here except the silhouette of a body carved open for traffic to see, and the stars, they pour out of the hole in her chest where the medics say her heart should be, and as they search the street I see her face, and she is me— the strangest dream—isn’t that the strangest dream? They say your heart is the size of your fist, but the strength of my hand? That is nothing, and the size of the land, it is nothing. Maybe my heart is bigger than the lie that there’s something beyond the wounded sky— maybe my heart is bigger than the box that was built by you. Maybe my heart is the size of the box that all the universe fits into, and maybe my heart is full of cracks and stitches and torn-up weeds, but maybe when they ask about the body in the middle of the street, they’ll point and say, “She fell—that hole there is where she lost her feet,” so maybe I’m a crack in the sidewalk—step, step, step.

1. “Costal Back Floor Plan” : Auto CAD, hand rendered, ALEXANDRA BRUEMMER 2. “Pandora, Part Two” : poetry, KIERSTEN WONES 3. “Window of Opportunity“ : Cannon SD960, MARGARET KLOESS 4. “Speak Easy” : Canon Powershot sx100IS, TAYLOR GUNTER


• • • • 59 • • • • 59

5. “Cooper River Bridge” : Canon Powershot SX 110 IS, LAUREL SCHWEERS 6. “The Door” : Canon Powershot sx100, TAYLOR GUNTER 7. “Light as Energy” : Parafin Way and matches, JIM PLASTER 8. “NOLA Kitchen Perspective” : colored pencils, KATE FLEMING 9. “Chicago Modern” : Nikon D80, ELIZABETH C. BARNES 10. “Louvre” : Nikon D80, ELIZABETH C. BARNES


60 • • • •

1. “Natgeo” : Prismacolor markers, ELISE PACE 2. “Raw Rejection” : acrylic on wood scrap, KATHLEEN CHANG 3. “Don’t Walk Out On Me” : Cannon Rebel Xsi, JENNA McPHERSON 4. “Mallie Scream” : collage and oil, KATHRYN COOPER


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61

6. “Hope” : Canon Powershot SX100 IS, TAYLOR GUNTER 7. “James Taylor” : colored pencil, LIZZIE JOHNSON 8. “Spanish Smoothie Jungle” : Cannon SD960 IS, MARGARET KLOESS 9. “Prisma Light Design” : Google Sketch-Up and Adobe Illustrator, KALLI FULLER


• • • •

62

My Old Hairbrush Faded and worn, my old hairbrush lies Bristles broken, At odd angles pokin’, My scalp as it flies… My hair is my glory, (I’ll not lie—I’m vain) These dark tresses mark who I am And give meaning to my name. Once long and silky, with hints of red; Yes it charmed many a lad, (Surprised most is still on my head!) But time has passed, (As time always has) And my hair, I’ve noticed, it changing fast! Grey flecks have taken over, where red use to be It’s coarser now, it no longer defines me As that sassy young girl, with boys all in tow, But as a stoic old woman—Now eating her crow!

1. “Samford Reflection” : Nikon D5000, LAUREL SCHWEERS 2. “Auburn Hotel Pool-side Conference Lounge Rendering” : Google Sketch-Up, AMANDA EUBANKS 3. “My Old Hairbrush” : poetry, JILLIAN STEPHENS 4. “Luck Upside” : Nikon Digital, KALLI FULLER


Reader hobbies and interests: writing, golf, painting, drinking, helping, baking, flirting, laughing, petting my cats, reading. reading: books, poems, magazines, nutrition labels, articles not about Puritans, short stories, too much into things. too much into: text messages, greetings, salutations, timing, outfits, circumstances, that look, a joke, what you say when you are drunk.

5. “Reader” : poetry, MARY QUINCE DOUGLAS 6. “Untitled” : Canon AE-1, KYLE HUMPHREY 7. “Reflections” : Nikon D90, TAYLOR GUNTER 8. “Untitled” : ink and oil on canvas, KATIE GONZALEZ

63

real: You may be sloppy, sideways, and sappy. I may be overanalyzing every bit of it. but it’s out there. it’s real and you said it. I heard it and, I read it.

• • • •

what you say when you are drunk: truth, exaggeration, playful, sad, slurred, mostly incomprehensible, scary, but real.


64 • • • •

1. “Quilt 2 Illustration” : ink and Photoshop, ABBY SHERRILL 2. “Sarah in a Green Bonnet” : water color mosaic, DANAE WILLIAMS 3. “Summer Love” : acrylic painting with pen and ink, CLAIRE ADELE WOOD 4. “Winter Night” : Canon 2500, LAURA JORDAN 5. “Parallel Lines” : Canon Rebel Xti, MEREDITH ANN JONES


The Spirit of the Auburn Individual

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65

I want to ask you something. In the years you have been a student here at Auburn, have you ever felt discouraged, unimportant, useless, or just plain insignificant? I know I have. It’s easy to look around and feel intimidated. Didn’t you leave high school behind for that very reason? To get away from the cliques and the social groups? It seems that in the three years that I’ve been here, I’ve actually felt more like I’m in high school than in my actual high school years. Think about it. How many different groups are there on campus? Cheerleaders. Athletes. SGA members. Actors and musicians. Fraternities and Sororities. The smart people, the really smart people, and the people who are so smart that Auburn literally had to create twelve different clubs just to keep all of the them from killing each other. Those guys and girls who are involved in every big group under the sun. Do you sit in your apartment and feel intimidated by these “Titans of Involvement”? I’m here to tell you that I’ve been there. I’ve lost sleep at night trying to figure out why I’m not as involved as some of the people I know. In fact, for first two and a half years of my college career, I was involved with a lot of things: I was in a fraternity, I reported for the television news station, and I even got involved with the Auburn Circle. But for a while, not a day went by where I didn’t have some small doubt about my impact. I’m also here to tell you that such a thought process is a waste of time. I’ve come to realize that it’s the “Regular Joe’s” at this wonderful campus that make Auburn what it is. Auburn, you see—it’s all about the people. It’s the guys who play ultimate Frisbee every Friday afternoon at the intramural fields. It’s the girls who spend every other day volunteering at local shelters, vet clinics, and food banks. It’s the architecture student who, while his friends are all getting together elsewhere, spends many a lonely hour in a dark studio room in order to add those finishing touches to his project. It’s the nursing student who studies every night, yet finds time to work part-time bussing tables to help pay for her education. It’s the English student who volunteers his free time to help his professor grade papers, distribute memorandums, and offer help to students writing essays. It’s the manager of the football team while he’s detailing helmets, washing uniforms, and standing in the pouring rain while his beloved Tigers go into overtime hungry for a win. It’s the Lebo’s Lunatic who gets to every basketball game an hour early just to get a seat near the press box so he can wave to his buddies through the camera. It’s the law student who gives up her social time in order to study for the LSAT. It’s those good guys and girls who give rides to their friends when they’ve had a little too much. It’s those students who ride their bikes to save the environment. It’s that girl on the dance squad who practices everyday until her moves are perfect. It’s the Senior who spends more time at the library writing his thesis than at the bars having a good time with friends.

It’s the good times with friends. It’s the road trips with pals. It’s the memories you make along the way. It’s the mistakes you make. It’s the lessons you learn from them. It’s the reason you came, the reason you stay, and the reason you’ll get hired one day. Auburn is more than just a bunch of cliques. It’s more than just trying to fit in. It’s more than feeling lost in the midst of a student body of over 20,000. It’s about you and me doing what we do best: being Auburn men and women. We believe in Auburn not only because we believe in hard work, but we believe in something bigger than ourselves. We believe that one day we will be able to sit down and tell our children of a time and place where we strived for excellence, where we rose above social settings to be our own person, where we were Auburn. And that, my friends, is what it’s all about. • • • •

“The Great Pretender” These lies are cunningly planned, and cleverly placed. They fall from the lips with such charisma, such style, such grace. This crowd is believin’ every line you create. You portray this facade of self-righteousness, while preying upon the less fortunate. Fabricating fables for the ignorant… And I can’t get my head around this. You draw them in with your charm and your wit. I can hear the foul play rollin’ from your lips And I can’t find belief in any of this….

6. “The Spirit of the Auburn Individual” : non-fiction, ROBERT R. IRWIN 7. “Self Portrait” : graphite, CANDICE McCOLLOUGH 8. “The Great Pretender” : poetry, CAITLIN WYNN


• • • •

66

Black Coffee “Black coffee,” said Ben Valery to the tired, messyhaired woman behind the counter. “Jo” her nametag read. She turned to fill the cup while he pulled out his debit card. Ben looked lazily to the left at the pastries behind the glass. They were showered with warm light, but Ben knew from experience that they were cold to the touch. The doughnuts and éclairs glistened seductively to distract customers from their price. Jo took his card and handed him the steaming cup with a stony frown. “Anything else for you?” she asked, nodding towards the glass display. He smiled wryly. “No thanks.” Ben took his receipt and sat down at the nearest table with his coffee. He stared out the nearby window and watched the rain fall. It was early autumn; not cold enough to snow, but enough that the rain felt like ice. Ben was twenty, in his second year as a psychology major at Penn State. He was wearing a long grey wool coat that suited his tall, thin frame and jeans. He carried his books in a leather satchel that we wore over his shoulder. His eyes and hair were jet black. “What? No cream or sugar, Ben?” Ben looked back towards the cash register; it was Sarah Fuller, a girl he knew from South Philadelphia High School. “No, I drink it black.” She smiled at him disbelievingly. “Do you mind if I sit with you, Ben? We can catch up. It’s been a while.” She stood next to the seat across from him with a strawberry cream freeze and slice of marble loaf in her hands. “No, I don’t mind.” Sarah dropped her backpack on the dark wooden floor and sat down. She was wearing a pink rain jacket and big pink rubber boots with little butterflies on them. Her eyes were brown and her hair had been too when he had known her, but she had streaked it with blond since. Her skin was likewise evenly tanned where before it had been light. “So what are you majoring in now, Ben?” Sarah asked brightly. “Psychology.” “Oh?” she sipped her frozen drink, “What are you going to do with that?” It was Ben’s least favorite question. “I dunno. Study people’s behaviors I guess.” She nodded, as if she understood. “What about you?” Ben asked. “Me? I’m in children’s education. Just a good easy one, in case my plan A doesn’t pay off.” She winked playfully at him. “And what’s your plan A?” “Marry a rich guy.” She giggled, but Ben stayed silent. “I hope you’re joking,” he said. “I am a little.” She broke off a piece of her marble loaf and Ben stared at it intently. “What? Do you want some?” He smiled sheepishly and shook his head. “No, sorry… It just reminds me of a Rorschach test, y’know? I wanted to see what I saw in it.” She looked down at her slice of cake and twisted her head slightly. “You mean one of those psychiatrist ink tests? Yeah… I can see that. Ha!” “What do you see in it?” “They look like two butterflies to me. See? This side and this side. What do you see?”

1. “Black Coffee” : fiction, JOHN HODNETTE

Ben glanced at the loaf for a moment and then answered quietly. “Nothing.” Sarah snorted dismissively. “Oh, it’s no fun if you aren’t gonna even try.” “No, it’s not that. I just don’t see anything in it,” Ben said, “They are just shapes. The same thing happened to me in the mega store last week. I was standing in the middle of the central aisle and I saw the sign above me with the arrows pointing to each section. I knew there was sports and food and kitchen appliances and medicine and entertainment and so on, but I couldn’t read it. They were just shapes. I didn’t want to admit to anyone about it, so I just wandered around until I found what I needed and by the time I got to the self-checkout I could read again.” Sarah leaned forward. “Are you messing with me? Did that really happen?” Ben nodded and sipped his black coffee. It was already getting cold; they didn’t want it to be too hot because people would burn their tongues and sue the company. At least by not adding milk I’ve kept it warm a bit longer, he thought. “That’s freaky. Why are you telling me this?” Sarah said. “I don’t know. I just did.” Sarah sighed hard and took a sip of her drink. “You’re just too stressed Ben! You should be less gloomy. I mean look around you! There are so many great things to enjoy. Look at my boots. Aren’t they cute?” “They’re okay.” “They’re more than okay. That’s just it! You need to take a break and enjoy yourself. I mean look at you, buying black coffee as your treat for the day. Spend a little more on something sweet!” “I like black coffee. There’s something more real about it.” She eyed him skeptically again. “When you say things like that! It’s like you think you’re in a movie.” “Well, it’s the truth,” he said. “Not really. You’re acting like the camera is on you and you’ve got to say these lines that mean something. It’s the opposite though—no-one is looking at you. You can do whatever you want! You’re as free as me, Ben. It doesn’t make a—” Ben gave her a piercing look and she stopped. “I know I’m free,” he said quietly, “I’m as free as I can be. Nothing is as simple as everyone acts like it is. Maybe it’s better to feel like you’re in a movie and to say things that have some sort meaning. My life is mine that way; it’s my choice anyway. How could I be free if I just do what you say? I like black coffee and that’s the truth.” Sarah took a deep sip from her drink. “The truth is you’ve been studying too hard.” Ben laughed weakly. “I feel like it’s not hard enough. And my major choice doesn’t exactly help. Not that many jobs out there for a psychology graduate, even a good one.” Sarah laughed good-naturedly. “That’s why you should marry rich like me! It’s the only way out in this bad economy.” He smiled. “Maybe you’re right about that,” he said. Sarah finished her cake and strawberry cream freeze and dropped her cup into the trash can. Ben took a last sip of his cold coffee and followed suit. “Well it was good to see you again, Sarah,” Ben said awkwardly. “I guess I’ll see you around.” “Sounds good, Ben. Oh, and you’ll be happy to


know that I’m passing biology.” She said this with a touch of feigned pride as she picked up her backpack and slung it across her back. “Only passing?” he asked. “Well this is my second go through, I thought you’d heard. Last semester I failed it because I didn’t go to class.” She waved goodbye and started walking towards the door. She opened her umbrella as she reached it. “Are you going this time?” he called out to her. “Sometimes,” she answered as she stepped into the freezing rain. • • • •

• • • •

67

Making Me Weak You’re making me weak now Under your eyes, right there under the Soft crush of your hands You’re crushing my strength Because if you can’t (Can’t!) be weak with the one you love And you can’t be strong with the one you hate Then the mouth gets weak holding back questions And I am here under your tires Asking you to drive over me Right now So I can breathe in your cologne With every whisper of “I love you, I love you” I feel alive and beautiful and I swear That if you wanted me dead Then I would be that too For you Just stick a pin in me and fix me to the wall And swear that you’ll see me from time to time While I wait for you to be me And me to be you Until we can be one, and I can let out the Gasp That I’ve been holding in all my life

if i had a piano if i had a piano i’d play my troubles away i’d play and play my piano right through the break of day and when the sun set low behind pink and orange clouds i’d play something slow, slow until the break of day

2. “Dining Room Perspective” : pencil, KATE FLEMING 3. “Making Me Weak” : poetry, CHLOE HOBDY 4. “Frank” : hand sketches, Illustrator, ANNA HUTAFF 5. “Look Up” : digital print, KATIE GONZALEZ 6. “if i had a piano” : poetry, JILLIAN STEPHENS


• • • • 68 • • • • 68

Grandpa’s Philosophy “What are you thinking about, Pap?” I ask him. He sits slumped in his black leather chair, in front of the fire-place made with the yellow brick that is native to Pennsylvania. We sit in the living room he added to the house thirty years ago. It hasn’t changed much since then. The shag carpet, full of yellows, oranges, and reds, still covers the floor. Dusty books fill the shelves on the windowless wall and mantle. Sliding glass doors make up the opposite wall and frame the hilly backyard and all of the seasons it wears so beautifully. Pictures of my dad and his brother and their wives and all of their children cover the wood paneled walls. Of all the images of my grandpa my mind has chosen to remember over my lifetime, a majority of them involve him sitting in that spot- in that chair. He slouches more than he used to. He doesn’t say much unless it’s to make a joke we’ll have to ask him to repeat, because his gruff voice is harder to understand since his strokes. And when our family lounges in the living room together, Grandma takes breaks in her stories and gossip only to turn, look across the little table that separates their two chairs, stores the TV remotes, and holds their drinks- and asks him if he’s falling asleep or just choosing to stay out of the conversation. We know she worries about him. She hears about other women’s husbands suffering from depression as they get older. “My Hun doesn’t do much these days and he just sits in that damn chair, barely responding to what goes on around him,” she will say to me in the kitchen several times during our holiday visit. What she doesn’t see is the slim smile slide across his face when she talks without stopping, or the twinkle of delight we see behind the big lenses of his glasses, or the gestures and facial expressions he makes when she’s not looking, making us laugh in agreement of the joke that Grandma likes to talk- all of the time- about everything. He doesn’t tease her because he’s annoyed; we know he means it in a playful manner. He adores her. We are certain of his appreciation for her because when he was hospitalized two years ago and unconscious, she talked to him and held his hand and his heart monitor beeped a bit faster as his heart pounded: still excited by the voice of his bride. “It’s a great life,” he answers. The blatant sincerity of his response shocks me. “Family, children…” He pauses. I had expected his response to be “nothing,” followed by a short, one syllable laugh and side smile. He continued, “It makes other things… unimportant.” He pauses again, thinking through his words, translating his thoughts. “It’s all so simple,” he lets the words roll slowly off his tongue and I realize I have been holding my breath; afraid to say anything else, afraid of chasing away the words he is willing to give me. I hope for more after each pause. Earlier in the day, the discovery of his old Kodak slide projector amused and excited us. After we stuffed ourselves with the dinner Grandma spent all afternoon preparing, we set the heavy silver screen up in front of the TV. Thousands of slides hidden in a cabinet for twenty years suddenly gave us a gateway to the past, all the way back to the Fifties when Grandpa served in the military. We laughed at slides from when my parents were first married. My Aunt was in tears at the stylish outfits of the Eighties. Dad enjoyed seeing pictures of old friends and telling us what became of them. I smiled as pieces of stories I had heard for years became real images. My sister came up with a game called, “find the Budweiser can and old green army blanket” that lasted through sixty years and a whole country worth of slides. I should have asked if they still had the blanket somewhere. After the slide show, my family spread from the great room through the rest of the house. Grandma and Uncle Nate did dishes and I could hear the clink of plates and muffled talk-

1. “Grandpa’s Philosophy” : non-fiction, MICHELLE TESLIK

ing drift from the kitchen. My cousin Keeley curled up on the red plaid couch for a short, post-holiday nap, and my sisters sat at a table in the corner of the room reading under a spot light hanging from the ceiling. The fire cracked and popped, finally heard once the room went quiet and the joy of the slide show was over. I sit in Grandma’s chair. The TV, which usually runs 24-hours, is off and the black screen reflects the lights from the Christmas tree. Snow covers the trees and ground outside and the moonlight bounces off the white cover. I watch Pap. I wonder how much of him I’ll never get to know or understand, I question whether Grandma’s fear of depression needs to be acknowledged and considered as a legitimate concern or not, and I work up the courage to ask Pap what he is thinking after seeing still shots of his life replay on a screen in his living room. We saw pictures of his time in the military when he was the second best sharp-shooter in the county, pictures of his wedding, of progress on their house as he built it fifty years ago and raised children in it, of the machine he designed and built for his company that is still used and sold twenty years later, of his sons growing up, of their marriages and children, and of four generations of his family spending summers at the lake house he remodeled. While watching the slide show, we spent most of the time laughing at the clothes and hairstyles over the ages, and getting excited about bringing back traditions we learned of, which had for some reason faded away, but he sat in his chair quietly, only speaking up to explain a picture every once in a while. “You don’t even have to see them every day,” he continues to answer my question, “just knowing they’re out there… is what it’s all about. Just knowing your kids are healthy… your grandkids are happy.” If his pauses are invitations to comment on his philosophies, I am not going to accept the risk of interrupting. I wait for him to continue. “You know, I don’t understand these people who don’t have or want children,” he said with furrowed brows matching the concern on his face and in his voice. He is moving his hands now as he speaks. “What an empty feeling it must be,” he says. It is the most he’s ever said to me, the most time we’ve ever spent alone, and the most personal thoughts he’s ever shared-maybe even the only personal thoughts he’s ever shared with me. He talks of the fulfillment of having children and the joy of grandchildren. His wise words are full of the knowledge that he will have to leave someday but he knows he will live on through the life he leaves behind. I want so badly to remember everything he says. I’ve never needed or longed for a tape recorder more than now. To him, the ultimate legacy is giving life and being a part of the happiness that it brings “There’s no greater success,” he is content in his knowledge that he has created joy. “It’s all about the love of family,” he explained, “and… the sharing of… time.” He wanted to say more, but Grandma came in the room and announced she wanted to take another a picture of her grandchildren. • • • •


Leaving

Christmas Villanelle The light bulbs twinkle brightly Christmas night From every rooftop, tree, and downtown store. The snow that covers town is pure and white. The magic disappears in the daylight, When trudging through the snow becomes a bore, But light bulbs twinkle brightly Christmas night. Children wait with patience by the firelight, Peeking though the window upon the door. The snow that covers town is pure and white. Their parents will soon make them say good-night, So Santa can begin his yearly chore. While light bulbs twinkle brightly Christmas night. The jolly man will land around midnight. Delivering Christmas cheer and gifts galore. The snow that covers town is pure and white. Old Santa must be gone before daylight, But he’ll be back next year for his encore. The light bulbs twinkle brightly Christmas night. The snow that covers town is pure and white.

The Factory There’s no movement in this box. It’s like my blood is sliding through the grasp of traffic whose radios scream “Let me out, let me out,” —let me out. Everything here is so unastounding; we are ruled by those whose hands are blank and uninspired and pounding: we cower as they build another box. Time trips across the clock, across my mind— fingers, stomach, chest, oh, the traffic beats as one. Who would know the difference if our veins were home to mud? The pounding fills my ears and winds its way around my chest; it falls into my prayers and there I find the pounding fills my hands. Oh, God, when did we become builders?

2. “Leaving” : fiction, BRITTNEY PIKE 3. “Christmas Villanelle” : poetry, KATHRYN JOHNSON 4. “The Factory” : poetry, KIERSTEN WONES

• • • • 69 • • • • 69

Thinking back on it I can remember every detail about those months. I remember the empty feeling in the pit of my stomach, the way that the sheets always felt cold on that side of the bed, the fake smile that I carried around with me, as I lied to people and myself. Pretending that I wasn’t hurting on the inside, that I wasn’t lonely or scared. Knowing that I had to be strong and hoping that by pretending long enough it would happen. I remember how I carried myself, my back straight and my shoulders square, my head held high. I could do this. Plenty of people were in my situation, I was not special. I could handle being on my own for a couple of months. I could handle taking care of our new daughter, but a part of me, that empty part of my stomach wanted to lay down and quit living until he came home. I remember how the sun shined off his face on the day he left. We were standing in the driveway saying our goodbyes and his dark eyes were squinting into the sun. The expression on his face was a happy one, but his eyes looked pained. I knew he was sad, and although he would probably never admit this to me, scared. His shoulders were slightly slumped and he had a hard time looking me in the eye, until the moment he left anyway. The shiny, yellow cab was already waiting on the street, an unwelcome reminder that this was it, after weeks of preparing ourselves for this it was time for him to go. We had always known that it was a possibility that he may have to go, but it was still an unpleasant surprise when we received the call during dinner one night. The shrill ringing of the phone had interrupted our dinner conversation. He walked into the living room to pick up the telephone, and I could hear his tone turn from light to serious. He was only on the phone for a few minutes, and even after I heard him put down the receiver, it was a while before he came back into the kitchen. I knew he was trying to think of a way to tell me. He wanted to break it to me softly. He tried to compose his features and his mouth pulled too tight in the corners, like he was trying not to let his true emotions show through. I had immediately started to cry and he spent the rest of the night holding me, trying to convince me that the months we would have to spend apart would go by quickly. I didn’t understand how he could be so strong. The dinner dishes were still on the table the next morning; the cold chicken and shriveled up peas a reminder of the events from the night before. As I stood at the sink washing the dishes, I made the decision that I would shed no more tears while he was home. Even if I had to save up all my tears and cry straight through the next few months, I would not cry in front of him again. He was trying to be so strong and I knew that crying would just upset him. Over the next few weeks we didn’t really talk about him leaving, even when I was washing and packing his things. It was just easier this way. Instead, we talked about normal, everyday things, and went about our normal activities, eating meals together and maybe playing a game of cards at night. Secretly, we were both gathering up memories to get us through the next couple of months we were being forced to spend apart. We even did a few extra “fun” things. We took a family trip to the zoo one Saturday and watched our daughter press her tiny hands against the glass cages. Another Saturday we took a picnic in the park, sitting by the lake and tearing strips of bread from our sandwiches to feed the geese. As I stood at the end of our driveway looking at him now, I couldn’t help but wonder if it would be the last time. I made sure to take in every detail of his face. I let my hands trace the curves of his cheeks and the sharp point of his nose, I ran my hands through his hair as I kissed his lips, trying to gather up the taste. I pulled back from him and looked into the soft face of the man I had only been married to for a little over a year. It seemed so unfair that he was being taken away from me. I held

him for so long, hugging his body close to mine, taking in every part of him, even his smell; which was so soft and sweet I could have inhaled it forever. I didn’t want to forget anything and I didn’t know how long I would have to remember. I didn’t want to let go, but I saw that impatient yellow cab in the background, it’s meter counting our last few minutes together. • • • •


• • • • 70 • • • • 70

“Daddy’s Ghost behind You” He looked at her with contempt and passion. His dull black irises mixed with dark blob pupils trying so hard to connect with everyone they glazed. She looked back at him with her grass green eyes and straw hair. He asked himself if she could ever love him. She asked herself if those arms would ever hold her tight as his lips whispered through the night until she fell away into slumber. Then he swiped his credit card and she handed him the receipt. They were thoughts that were easy for the grocery store customer or clerk to sweep over. These daydreams were clouds in the shape of soft marshmallow castles that with a single sweep were gone and easily forgotten. The cigarette tasted good in his mouth. Grocery stores were depressing; too many attractive girls and not enough courage. Breath in and breath out, the smoke filled his lungs then softly lifted into the air. In an instant his depression just faded to an intangible feeling of inevitable insignificance. This world was too big and too much. The winter in the southeast was never snowy or even pretty. The trees were leafless and decrepit while the grass turned grey and the sun rarely shined. There is never enough warmth to go around when the winter rain drizzles the big city. He took his groceries home and unpacked. There was that constant reminder of his failed attempts at love sitting on the sofa. Do you have to work this evening? Yeah. They’ve got a midnight release going on. Okay. I was just wondering. What do you have going on tonight? Just going out with some friends. He knew what this meant. He’d be working at the Game Stop down the street and she’d be hanging out with his other ex-girlfriend. Living with your ex is easy when you’re sleeping. He didn’t mind so much that his two ex-girlfriends were gradually becoming best friends. It was the failure he hated. Five years at the university and a few thousand dollars later – he was working at Game Stop. 1AM – The drive home was peaceful. A little music with the window cracked and the heat blasting. He arrived home thinking to himself about a piece of art we wanted to work on. Some inspiration was building inside. Since graduating, art was uncommon and motivation was rare. All that training and time and money, but nothing to inspire or create. Home at last. And there he saw what was once the love of his life, leaving that tiny apartment being soaked by the soft seeping rain and engulfed by the fog. The depression settled back into its rightful home at the bottom of his lungs. She got in her car and drove off. Inside – No pain left to feel. The door knob turned. One shoe in, then the other. No warmth to go around, the apartment didn’t feel like a home. The girl sat there watching the news. He joined her on the sofa for a spell. No one ever means for it to end up like this. We all think I’ll be the king of the world one day - I am the king of the world today. Then we wake up, and we aren’t twenty two just getting along. We’re twenty eight barely alive or thirty grasping our last breathe with all the strength we have until our arms give out and we let go, falling into oblivion. She rested her head on his chest smoking one of his cigarettes. He never meant to sleep with her. Yet, they were both addicted to those few minutes where the entire world was drowned by something so pure and natural. He’d

1. “Daddy’s Ghost Behind You” : fiction, WILLIAM P. WARREN

gone west like they always say to do and it had done nothing but help him lose his mind in a place he couldn’t find. She swirled her finger in the ink on chest. I’ve always loved this tattoo. Yeah? Yeah. You going to do any art tonight? Yeah actually. I think. I um, I think I might. You think we still have a chance together? She sighed a soft sigh. It’s hard to ever really know anyone. And I came to you because I was cold, and I thought you’d warm me. You – Me. You – I saw your art and I listened to that passion. What you did – I thought you were warm. Whatever you did, you did because you were cold, and you wanted to be warm. You were cold too.. She went limp like a dead body and let one small tear fall from her eye. He got up, naked in the cold air and took in a deep breath so as to take the moment with him where he was going. Two days ago, university graduate and well known artist, [insert name] died of a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was 29. He is survived by his mother and father Mr. [insert surname] and Mrs. [insert surname]. As a young man he showed great potential and passion for art with his whimsical oil paintings and often controversial computer generated art. Showing great promise all through college, he had been greatly distressed by his lack of inspiration as of late. “He was such a good friend. I think in the end he felt like no one loved him at all, but that isn’t true. We all loved him so much,” wrote his friend and roommate, [insert name], in a letter to his parents. In one of his best known paintings a young girl sits atop her bed in her grungy room with her palm on the bedroom window staring intently at the ocean just beyond the glass. [Insert name] left a few final words in a note – “At that sound, so empty in the darkness, an astonishing delight sprang up in him, a wild and intoxicating contempt.” • • • •

Surprise Meringues 2 Egg Whites 1/8 tsp Cream of Tartar 1/8 tsp Salt 1 tsp Vanilla 3/4 cup Sugar 1/2 bag Chocolate Chips 1. Preheat oven to 300F and prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 2. Beat egg whites, cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla in a medium bowl until soft peaks form (the mixture should be white and able to hold itself if you turn the bowl upside down). 3. Gradually beat in sugar. 4. Fold in chocolate chips. 5. Use two spoons to drop about a tablespoon of the mix onto the baking sheet, leaving 1 1/2 inches between each of the cookies. 6. Bake for 25 minutes or slightly brown. Yields 2 dozen low fat, delicious cookies!

2. “Surprise Meringues” : culinary recipe, EMILY JONES


Window Displays

3. “Window Displays” : fiction, HANNAH TURNER

Sometimes I do this, watch them, because I’m afraid to become like them, but also afraid that they’ll slip away if I don’t watch for awhile. I stand outside the restaurant, waiting for my friend to arrive before I enter. Any interaction they shared is now distracted by the bustling people around them, a distant memory already in their minds. I hear him coming up behind me, his arms grab me from behind as he leans me into him and hugs me. He knows what I’m doing, he kisses my shoulder blade as I savor these last few moments. He’s ready for what’s next, he’s been ready. But it’s those two inside the restaurant that made me hesitate. As I watch them for a little longer, he kisses my neck, trails upward to my ear, and then once more on the corner of my eye. He sighs in my ear, making a chain with his arms that knot at my stomach. After one more glance at the two, I pull my gaze away and turn my head slightly to look at him. With a cute smile, (man, he’s adorable) he pecks me once on the lips and pulls me around, turning my back to the two. We kiss for a minute, the traffic noise morphing from the busy sharp sounds into just a soft hum in the background. After we pull away, I reach up to hug him. He’s taller than I am, thank God, so I can wear heels around him as much as I want without feeling like a tall ostrich beside him. As I let go of his neck, he kisses my forehead. I turn back towards the restaurant, the moment I had observed now long gone, The two were leaning away from each other, talking to complete opposite ends of the room. As much as they made me hesitate, they also helped me say yes. I hold Luke’s hand, and together we walk toward the restaurant. We walk inside, and I instantly see them again. It’s been fifteen years since my parents have sat so close, fifteen years since they sat together in our living room and told me they were getting a divorce. The woman beside my dad, my stepmother, smiles at me as I enter with Luke holding my hand. The guy beside my mom, my not-so-little brother, highfives Luke and smiles at me. I sit down, and start to enjoy my rehearsal dinner, the cold diamond feeling more like home than it ever has. • • • •

• • • • 71 • • • • 71

Inside the restaurant, the two are talking. Their seats are mere inches apart, far from an accurate representation of their lives. Completely unaware of the awkwardness that should exist between them, they talk quietly in the softly lit room. They are the first to arrive at the table, both wanted a moment to think about the gravity of what they were about to do, the night they were about to live. Their eyes never quite meet, but they don’t have to, the two already know what sits near them. She’s older than she looks, she lost some weight before this night. Exhausted from running many miles, she bought one of those hideous elliptical machines, only to have it glare at her from the corner of the bedroom. Instead she just took her dogs on runs. They had aged, yet so had she, so their strides matched. She had shopped for weeks for the perfect dress, the perfect jewelry. This was one of those moments that people don’t remember the food or the wine but the appearances of the people that matter. How they acted, were they sad, or were the elated? That’s what people noticed. But these two weren’t the stars tonight, just supporting roles, but all the same they mattered. They mattered to everyone in the room, but tomorrow they might been feeling a little less meaningful. He had lost weight too, just not for the same reasons. His had slipped off his frame without any urging on his part, but by the force of an enemy much stronger than self-image. His skin had paled a little, his waist had shrunk, his face looked hollowed out, as if he was a mere fragment of who he had been, well, who he had been before. His hair was still dark, while hers was deceptively blonde by agents other than natural blessing. Their hands, not as far apart as you’d expect, told their stories. His were worn from the constant compulsion to help, to fix. Hers were soft from the years she thought she didn’t need them, but had been growing strong since the day she realized she could, in fact, be on her own. For the others in the room, they would look good, for their age. But to each other, they looked good for any age. There must be a point where resentment turns to acceptance, and they had reached it. This night would mark the ominous end that had been looming for months, and the appreciated beginning for something else, something different than either of them had ever known. She was ready, he was accepting it. But that was how it always been, even when they weren’t as distanced as they were now. She had always been more open for change, and while he didn’t run from difference, he didn’t welcome it. Tonight would be the biggest change either of them had encountered since, well since that year. Others began to arrive. The two welcome those they know, introduce themselves to those that they don’t. Another woman sits beside him, she leans in to kiss his cheek. He compliments her dress, and the woman blushes, happy that he still notices. While he is smiling, he notices the younger man enter the room. He watches as the younger man sits beside her, kissing her temple. She fusses with his tie, he laughs and shakes his head at her, as to say You’ll never change. The younger man swats her hand away as she reaches to swipe a stray hair back from his forehead. She laughs, and he notices although he is supposed to be listening to the woman beside him. It’s not that he wants her anymore, he doesn’t. The idea of being with her is so distant and stale to him, he can barely remember the feeling. He’s happy, he has someone who was meant for him. But there is something about her that will always make him pause. More come to the table. Some they’ve known

for awhile, some they’ve met just because of this time. Everyone around them smiles at them separately, one smile for him, one for her. They are separate islands, only the fraying borders reminding them that they were once close.


72 • • • •

1. “Trainspotting” : Nikon D50, JOSHUA OLIVER 2. “Mutterland” : Nikon D80, ELIZABETH C. BARNES 3. “Parakey” : Prismacolored pencils, Rapidograph pens, GLENDINNING JOHNSTON 4. “Agrigento” : Canon SD960, CHRISTY WYNNE 5. “Scorpion” : foamcore, CANDICE McCOLLOUGH


Auburn Sestina In our neighboring state, way out in the country Where cows fill pastures, roads wind long, and the eagle Soars, there is a wonderful place that I believe To be the best. Only home at Auburn Do the rolling hills, rippling ponds, and the clear blue Skies set the perfect backdrop for the laid-back spirit Of the people there. This easy-going spirit Disrupted only when the power of Dixie country Dons the infamous jerseys of orange and blue To prepare for kick-off after the war eagle Flies over Jordan Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama. The students and townsfolk believe

The character and quality in the Auburn Creed reflect student morals like the clear blue Water of the fisheries and ponds in this country Setting that allows a man to fully believe In his dreams and forms an independent spirit In him brave enough to rival an eagle. With talented minds sharper than eagle Talons, its large size but southern charm labels Auburn As a big school with a homey, small-town spirit. God painted all of the sunsets orange and blue, Which all of the adoring fans like to believe Deems this small, southern town “God’s country.” Reigning in the country of orange and blue With its “War Eagle! Go Tigers!” spirit, I believe in Auburn and love it.

6. “Auburn Sestina” : poetry, BRITTANY CARMACK 7. “Rhythm in Klimt” : gouache painting with gold pen, CLAIRE ADELE WOOD 8. “God’s Canvas II” : Sony Cybershot, CLAIRE ADELE WOOD

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Despite the weather or score, tigers are never blue, And the creed that they follow states that they believe In the hard work and confidence of an eagle. They trust in a sound mind, sound body, and spirit That is not afraid. They support their country Because they have found their home there at Auburn.

• • • •

In their team even when everyone else believes That they, through defeat, can crush the tiger spirit. But the loyalty of the people at Auburn Can’t be destroyed, and despite the city or country, Wearing a tiger’s shirt rouses a “War Eagle” Cry from someone also belonging to the Big Blue.


74 • • • •

1. “Stars and Stripes” : Adobe Photoshop, Nikon D40, LISA TRINH 2. “Floridian Sunset on 30-A” : Canon EOS Digital Rebel Xsi, CHRISTOPHER HENDON 3. “Veins” : Canon EOS 40D, STEPHEN WALTON 4. “Just Around the Riverbend” : photo, KATIE SMERAGLIA


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75

5. “Abandoned” : Canon Rebel Xti, MELISSA HAZELDINE 6. “Denali” : Canon Rebel Xsi, JENNA MCPHERSON 7. “Untitled” : oil paint, HILLARY FLOYD


76 • • • •

1. “Duck Bottle” : porcelain slip casting, JIM PLASTER 2. “Theatre” : Nikon D50, JOSHUA OLIVER 3. “Glass Bottle” : Canon, BETHANY DONALDSON 4. “Meiko’s Restaurant”, Sketch-Up, LINSEY GRACE


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77

5. “The Secret Waterfall” : Nikon D50, JOSHUA OLIVER 6. “Form Magazine Cover” : graphic design, ERIKA BILBO 7. “Berry Beautiful”: Canon Powershot A430, MELANIE HYATT


78 • • • •

1. “Body Cut” : wood with various mediums, KATHRYN COOPER 2. “A View From Atop” : Canon Rebel XT, JOSHUA BRINKERHOFF 3. “Hail to the Cab” : Canon EOS Digital Rebel Xsi, CHRISTOPHER HENDON 4. “Coach Retail Design; Shibuya, Japan” : colored pencil, marker, Photoshop, KATE FLEMING 5. “Love Art” : mixed media, LIZZIE JOHNSON


AUBURN CIRCLE STAFF

2009-2010

EDITOR IN CHIEF Vicki Johnson Senior • Homewood, AL Journalism

MANAGING EDITORS

• • • •

Stephanie Cashin Sophomore • Madison, AL Language Arts Alyssa Rachels 5th Year Senior • Longview, TX Graphic Design

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INTERIOR DESIGN/ARCHITECTURE Lindsay Mercer - Section Editor Junior • Marietta, GA Interior Design Rebecca Burslem Junior • Simsbury, CT Interior Design Kristina Tanner Senior • Alabaster, AL Interior Design

GRAPHIC DESIGN Tara Baker - Section Editor Junior • Huntsville, AL Graphic Design Audrey Matthews Sophomore • Smiths Station, AL Graphic Design Elise Pace Sophomore • Fairhope, AL Industrial Design

FASHION Ashley Jennings - Section Editor Junior • Hunstville, AL Public Relations Rebecca Sheehy Junior • Memphis, TN English Rebecca Simon Junior • Atlanta, GA Computer Science

PHOTOGRAPHY Sarah Philips - Section Editor Senior • LaGrange, GA Journalism Hilary Barringer Junior • Marks, MS Psychology Hilary Johnson Freshman • Homewood, AL RTVF


• • • •

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POETRY Will Fargason - Section Editor Senior • Hoover, AL English Sarah Craft Senior • Cullman, AL Journalism Kathryn Johnson Sophomore • Eufaula, AL RTVF Brittney Pike Junior • Dadeville, AL English Education

NON-FICTION Robert R. Irwin - Section Editor Junior • Birmingham, AL English Holly Hereth Senior • Huntsville, AL Journalism Matthew Walker Junior • Enterprise, AL English Lindsey Wilkins Freshman • Alpharetta, GA English

FICTION Daniel Chadwick - Section Editor 1st yr Grad Student • Houston, TX MTPC Masters of Technical and Professional Communications Program Carey Massey Senior • Argo, AL English/Political Science Carley Muschara Junior • Auburn, AL English/History Kristie Tingle Freshman • Huntsville, AL English

ART Kathryn Cooper - Section Editor Senior • Birmingham, AL Fine Arts Kelsey Hayes Freshman • Guntersville, AL Zoology Glendinning Johnston Sophomore • Birmingham, AL Graphic Design Katie Smeraglia Sophomore • Birmingham, AL Psychology


the circle