AmLit Winter 1998

Page 1



American Literary TheAnAmerican UniversityPublication 1998 Winter Edition Vone XXI* All rightSshouldrevert to artists uponpublication Bring on the unsolicited submissions: The Unventilated Closet of Torture Roper Hall Room 102 American University 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20016 20R.885.6414 *This is the real volume XXI. Last spring's edition should have said volume XX, but what could we do?

Baitor in ChiefAssistant Eâitor****

SDesign Director-

-A. Kate Rorer

*******Mary Sanderson

-Christopher Stanley

Art EAitor*******************k******Caroline Wall

-Mary Petzko

TPhotography BaitorPoetry Eaitor**********************Nichole Lillibridge

-Karen Irout

AAssistant Poetry EaitorProse Eaitor***********************Jennifer Leah Peck

Assistant Prose EaitorMarketing Director **************Kristina McDaniel

fWeb Designer-

Gen ral Staff:

Rachel Beamer

A1lison Blackwood

Karen Dunak

Laura Fedak

Jim Preed


photocoiea by Printing Images

Eảitorial Policy

-Geoffrey Long

-Ben Varadi

Rose Gordon

Rebecca Katcoff

Lauren Selignan

Dustin Wood

(the fine print)

American Literary seeks to promote the artistic community of American University. Although some works may be accepted from non-affiliated persons, these works are subordinate to the works of AU connunity menbers.

American Literary has a blind evaluation process. Each submitted work has the contact information removed before evaluation. Each work is assigned a code which is used by the staff members for identification purposes. preserve anonymity in all cases, we realize there is no way to guarantee perfectly blind submissions. Therefore, professional điscretion is upheld at all times and all submissions are treated as anonynous.

While we attempt to

Members of the AU community, including staff members of American Literary, may submit any work they đeem qualified for review.

limited to having no more than three works in any one genre published, with no more than five works of any individual artist published in each edition,

However, each contributor is A1l final editorial decisions are made by the Editor-in-Chief and category editors. A1l submissions are acknowledged with acceptance or rejection notification as pronptly as possible.

finest beer in the worla.") We điscovered the

Last spring, four members of our editorial staff studied in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. While there, we skipped class to travel, to hang out in pubs and cafes and to wander the narrow streets of a city steeped in history. Despite our truancy, we managed to learn a lot about the Czechs (and not only that they brew the determination of the Czechs to persevere under a regime that sought to reduce its citizens to children, incapable of making rational decisions independently of their government.

1998-99 budget

So, when our design director suggested that we

The similarity of living under the Communist bureaucracy to living under the AU bureaucracy quickly became apparent. After a particularly brutal đismemberment of our proposal, our status as a (nearly) underground publication was cenented, đedicate the fall 1998 eaition to the Czech samizdat, I agreed.

The term samizdat, which has no English translation, was first used by a Russian poet in the 1950s to deseribe a typewritten, bound collection of his poems. During the Communist stronghold of the 1970s and 1980s, the samizdat becane a way for the Czechs to "publish" their art without official publishing houses.The great writers transported their manuseripts in with fellow scholars; the most prominent photography and film school was headed by Czech "Communist" Jan Smok, who protected his students and afforded then the freedom to create their masterpieces; the Czech's ingenuity and hunor superseded their struggle and afforded them a life of culture despite their oppression.

briefcases to share

By creating the samizdat edition of American Literary, I hope to bring attention to our own struggle to promote the visual arts with little support. After a 50 percent cut of our budget proposal last year, I was forced to choosebetween publishing only one edition per year and limiting our production run to 500 copies per edition. I chose the latter due to the overwhelming support we received from the students during our submission drive last fall. I am pleased to say that our response this year was even better. Competition in all categories was fierce and in the poetry category alone, we received 117 works!

collection indicative of the talents of So, sit đown with a hot cup of mocha and enjoy this

the AU

Although I had to concede to the confines of space and exclude some works worthy of publication, I believe that what remains is a diverse community.

limited, hand-nunbered samizdat edition of AmLit. Happy reading!

Specia1 Thanks to..,

NKaren Gerlach for all you đo, Greg Gadren for taking over the crazy Media Board, Craig Hein for film, Robert Spuhler and MikeMazzocco for advertising, Ivan Bagus for lights and stolen submissions, Aya Collins for a projector, Nancy Brown for creating our điscussion database, Dave Coley for "migrating" our email, Rob Gittins for computer advice and Pepe Lustig for introducing us to his honeland and the samizdat. And, most importantly, tremendous thanks to the hardworking and unpaid staff!

H Table Of

Photograph Pake 1985 (1ittle brother's watching you) No Sleep Til' Spin The Dance Outacontrol Perspective Yes, the Hand Photograph Black and White Rainbow Value Space Vegetables Sunset Something More Photograph Like Drinking Rum The Effect of time, and the memory Vanessa Schulz-Rinke Claire Ward Clay Waters Christopher Stanley Caroline Wall Caroline Wall Jeffrey Clark Carmen Santa-Cruz Claire Ward Alexandria Katis Laura Pedak Carmen Santa-Cruz Sybille Reinke de Buitrago Jonathan Nathan Amy E. Puhrman Montey King Johnny Bardine 6 7 8 8 9 9 10 11 12 13 14 16 17 17 18 18 19 of green coffee Midnight Trespassing Primal Memory Inner Struggle Rachel Beamer Caroline Wall ute 20 20 21
Contents Nude with red The History of the Jewish Bruce Williams Yuval Levin 21 22 People (Abridged) Prisoner's View, Birkenau Upon the Loss Even the Best Montana Winter Chalkbored Mountains Monotype 1 Sweat Land of Blood and Teeth Por Whom I Pight Torso Kerouac Kingpins Junky on a Good Day Photograph Photograph Photograph Syringe Blood Photograph Bodyscapes 5 Shy Girl Synarome Ecstasy Thoughts for Grandpa Twig The Crisis National Cathedral Pederal Triangle The Weather in Pittsburgh Prankfurt, Gernany Egypt as it Approaches Zero Tunnel at Night A Day or so in the Life 22 24 25 28 28 A. Kate Rorer Johnny Bardine Claire Ward Sadie Breeland Byron C. Tyler Sybille Reinke đe Buitrago 27 Carmen Santa-Cruz Leticia Williams A. Kate Rorer Bruce Williams Laura B. Geho Jennifer Leah Peck Vanessa Schulz-Rinke Alexander Hsaio Alexander Hsaio Clay Waters Caroline Wall Trudy Butcherson Denise Moak Rachel Beamer Pinar Camlibel Sadie Breeland Christopher Stanley Yuval Levin John Guillette Christopher Stanley Johnny Bardine Mary Petzko Clay Waters Dorothy Dixon Jean A. McConville 27 28 29 30 30 31 32 35 38 38 37 37 38 38 38 39 39 40 41 42 43 43 44 44 45 of a Novel Detective Dan Diamond, Private Eye Bratislava, Slovakia Morning Ride through Rynek Glowny Classical Photography Jean A. McConville Mary Petzko A. Kate Rorer Jeffrey Clark 46 48 49 49
6 Amlit y

Fake Cauobd

"that's not my beautiful house" Once in a Lifetime-The Talking Heads

you make me feel like plastic, boy Wrap me up try to keep me fresh since today your tastebuds yearn for another flavor you were never one to finish what was on your plate though not due to being full nor in ardent đisrespect to those without plates or anything on them it was about control forcing yourself to stop eating even when your stomach wanted more separating each part into sections carefully spooning each into its own container

when I get rowdy

you put my lid on then turn me upside down knowing that I won't leak no matter how hard you shake

sone other girl dragged you to one of those parties where I was on sale left over from the year before you said, "we can never have too many of these" then threw me in the cabinet with the others

I have given up reminding you of my lifetime guarantee or that all I wanted was an almost wooden table in a Velcro house surrounđed with a celluloid fence and maybe something silicone on my finger, to sit around and watch you pretend to eat.

Samizdat Edition 7


(1ittle brother's watching you)

my sister is staying, we leave with two empty suitcases and a stack of teen mags determined too childish for college. The poses are clean, imnaculate, nothing like the nudes I smuggle upstairs, cynical bodies straining sweat. I trace laugh lines and freckles until it's too dark to make them out then stretch out in the back seat to sleep. Brave with the forced inaction of night I make plans to run away in the morning, to follow them into đorm rooms warm with kiwi teas and snug blue nightshirts where their sharp elbows sink on velvet pillows, discussing silk, or đivorce, or quadratic formulas as somewhere a candle lends ronance to a room.

8 AmLit


I see myself dancing 'round youTrailing shiny ribbons from my lips weaving them around your body. My hair long and tangled caught in the ribbons' weave. I see you captured by the pretty colors wearing the woven mess like a silk cape strutting and believing you've found the rarest form of cloth but I, being the maker know its quality and its worth. I spin endlessly. Thoughtlessly.

I can sometimes see the cape you think you're wearing. If I concentrate I can see the pretty colors of the fine weave and feel the seamless silk, but for ne it's the process not the product that you're wrapped in.

So I spin. Spin, spin, spin, And you wear it well,

blasthn Samizdat Edition 9


Sometimes I feel like smashing things when I'm leaning five đegrees out of kilter with Jupiter's eleventh moon out in space so to speak when ny mind is careening carelessly off street curbs kicking over đunpster craters that were left behind by the inferior ones of the world that I personally destroyed and yes I take my credit when it it due thank you very much for the compliment as I sit spinning in a roller chair riding it like a comet orbiting around the room grazing the white walls that are the center of a star that's reaay to explode into little white pills that I'l shoveđowneverypeon's throat and then they'll wish they hadn't force fed me nothing tying međown trying every fuckin' nerve in this body till it's frayed and spastic classic case is what they called me before I came at them out of control when my higher being shoved them into place had to face the điagnostic classic case in control now that the floors have changed and I am at this moment on a higher level of state that you will never know because I have infiltrated and rioted every system of your very being your romping through the powers are what I have over you I tell all that I squish stampstomprompupon every little flower in your celestial bed of dreams haunting the stars you used to gaze upon now look at yourselves aimless floating 1ittle bits of worthless matter of time that will no longer exist as I have officially đeclared it an obsolete entity and so I say what will you đo when the cows no longer moo and I have planes in hand smashing them in mid-air like matchbox cars that every little imp will no longer play with as a kiả bucking the authority yes! my little children you too can live the life of a legend that overcomes his superiors who physically restrain him from leaving this state to create another that could be so much more without any one to get into my way now that I am crusing across the galaxy with one đown and absolutely nothing to stand in my path inhibiting this infernal fury from blasting smashing erashing all that is revered great I wil1 incinerate leaving the graffitiesque signature of wrath written path traveled right on through everthing established đusty particles of gaseous naterial that will forever never be reconstructed smashing baby is what some said of my little activities a smashing thrashing is what Ill give every last one of you charge empty pissants that I filled with seven hundred and fifty nine cents worth of gasoline flicking the last of my cigarette into your getaway spaceship's tank and wasn't it a beautiful spherical of flames that y eyes beheld wanting to make love to till my cowboy comet came đown from the heavens to meet this little spicy darling of a born star, ready to join me in the conguest of my white world that will one day wholly and completely be triumphed over Ah HAH! I've got you noW.

10 AmLit
SamizdatEdition 1

Yes, the hand then later, years I mean, gears later me with coffee you'll have a beer smoke rings my oblivion yes, I started again, it's been years I thought you were stronger than that I smile, you never really đid know me how have you been good, I say, no complaints you don't have to pretend it was easy easy? I say look what honesty đid to us before đon't you learn are you mad it's been years it doesn't hurt does it does it still hurt look at me I can't

I've been waiting for this planning

I know, you say this wasn't supposed to happen you've said that you were the one who you gave me no choice I heard you were sick maybe I was you diân't cal1l I đidn't say I would cal11 besides, I was sick I couldn't call it was this? this, that you don't blanme me your hand, I think I blame your hand and waiting the tragedy of waiting the tragedy of youth you were always dramatic you, never knew how to respond

12 AmLit
Samizdat Edition 13

Black MCNugget God.

and rock-solid Ronald Republican, to be White Reagan the Rainbow ever listened.

This aint-breathed hunk was a findíng most mentally attractive man to whom he Being a hard worker who struggled to wet his land to orgasnic crop, he believed Ayn Rand would seduce him in a quarry when seeing his relentless pursuit of the adapted to tradition, and desired a beautiful

Margie was a spy, eloquent and The long red mass of fur out

her face flareâ

American đream. Be sassy. coveting radiantly; even Einstein smiled in spite of activist, ana merely đuring abortion protests screaming "If I had the ImmaculateConception, I'à undercover, strategies of Republican right-wing campaigns and aborting any birth of their success.

wOman to clean his socks.

"So, where are you from?" Margie asked suavely, extenaing her hand himself. She an mean cartwheels

was that does naked not with an open palm. making "Southern Missouri," he smiled, by kissing the soft parts of the back of her hand. He đidn't want to see the capability burrowed there, he rather subscribed to the washing đishes

removing sight of her palm abort it!" She would go latest learning the platformed woman. At this Once she integrated into Pocus on the Family, becoming a full-blown member. In fact, her red tresses and luscious legs hiaden under flowery dresses attracted the Colorado Springs regional director. One weekena, they went to his Rocky Mountain cabin to watch Kevin Spacey movies and exchange techniques and

defying intelligence. hair role-play bishop-priest romance.

monent, these two individuals were in a bar, unaware of each other's political 1dentity. The brown spiraling mess of his head magnetized her; she thought gravitysymbolized

He loved the way her Pre-Raphaellite curls swam down her back, and wanted to be the salmon who swam upstream to her neck to unite lovers. He wanted to groom her matching curtains; she wanted to bathe him in cottage cheese. He wanted to move to Oregon with her and start a cheese plantation; she wanted to rip his the worked muscles of his form and irrígate his

with a cottage and

flavoring was essential. di clothes off, regard of light Morality is perceived, mascara transactions

were not

She and of oil and


"Let's leave this bar. I want to take you out to a restaurant, wouldn't that be more appropriate?" his green eyes sparkled with grain, children, on the Price is and seven đogs.

Parker hearing cultural indigenous to worship

Eliot was a simple man, born and raised in rural Missouri. He ironed his clothes, cracked his knuckles, anã flossed his teeth three times a day to feel his gums harden. Mint Sometimes he would sulk under the twilight spectrums in the sky, wishing shades so indecisive. white, he business Saddam boosting news ratings were black and white. Black and White was Denocrat and Republican, night and day, Bob Right's capability and MeDonald's imperialism teaching the a Chicken

"0f course! I'a love to!" she said 14 Amiit

plantation with her own tongue. black and thought about castrating Castro in Cuba and he thought of Philippinians in the profitable

đusting, excitedly, feeling the possibilities of night stunble silly into red wine. And so they went, holding hands. Neither of then was used to holding hands, but Margie was feeling as toothpaste addiction and Eliot fantasized her great

cleaning, laundering, shopping for wholesale cottage cheese every week. 0f course, all environmentally safe materials were used. She even bought organic

gO0ey as a condoms before going on the pill.

flossing dexterity.

his with the with muttering about time restraints with Boston accents anđ Boston đdreams. Strangers packed the bus, thrusting Margie into Eliot's arms as he held the pole like a

who enjoyed Colgate teeth the Boston T,

"Eliot! Well, how đoes lasagna


They took underground aggregates trolley filled prowess plowing the potatoes. fencing foil.

How phallic!

Margie mused to herself, suiling with giddiness. She yanked him off at the stop which, unknown to him, was within a

"I have a better idea," she said smoothly. "Can I make you đinner?" His heart sky-dived, blood pumping madly, his fingers swelling up and iris glittering like marijuana in the eyes of a pot addict who forgot to chocolate-chip

đescribe your chilâhood. about your life on the farn."

COWS. She explored his listening and loving it all.

While I cook, I want you to Tell me She pictured his perfectly proportioned So he described his memories, re-inventing the past in new colors. He told about his childhood friends, his search for sincerity among people and his face, They

half-mile radius of her apartment. to take you out


before his, as his isolationism

from making the first move. reciprocated, not wanting her his smoke pancake ritual. after

her futon. apron

enveloping dyed naked, Black Rainbow, she dreamed.

Eventually they arrived apartment rolling, rolling, and building đraped white, he triangles


"Yes!" he said, wanting to feel the waist. at her in flowers, brick and an old-fashioned smile. The neighborhood around them was nice and radical, rainbows and flags; free Of course, the melting right-wing Eliot was oblivious to everything but her they were dashing,

and bumper Libertarian stickers, eyelashes, as for him.

Tibet, free Burma, free sex.

đashing, đashing.

ate quickly, just staring into each other like cross-eyed fifth graders. That was wonderful. I again, letting him continue, she plunged her nouth into in interphysical affairs restricted him He to achieve surplus in the transaction. The act moved from the đoorway to bedroon, as she led hin to her tyeAt last, they were rolling. thought. She allowed her feet to stroke his calves, her fingers to explore his ribcage and armpits, her tumny to massage his navel, her upper-legs to rub his hips, tongue collapsing into his tonsils. He used only his tongue and his hands, big-government didn't work Pew sources are needed to provide output, he advocated, while she enjoyed the many textures and

Then they climbed the five flights His heart conquered each stride without losing shapes of bureaucrative foreplay. laissez faire, he longer

of stairs to her đoor. any breath.

trade, Pree drilled, emotions no Margie's apartment was well kept; no laundry making love to the floor spiâers đoing knitwork; just She was a perfectionist Or over. simplicity.

đictating his activity but singing out and letting the automatic take

She stimulated her emotions, restricting slow pleasure for fast, Samizdat Edition 15

One solitary moan gutted out allowing each moment to fuse with free will.

đemanded. Color, she gave. Black and white, he alnost

simultaneously, resembling the angel Satan laughing when God evicted hin. He went đown on her inmediately, she moaned again and again.

Keep the market up, he said,


điscovers them. Slow, she responded, tangling his skin in her finger, working her lips in each crevasse before plunging đownward. He noaned louder.

And so she was disappointed and his paradigm crashed into cottage house đebris. Then they worked together at it again, again, and again until a black and white rainbow brought some again, this time with candy.

"Let's run away together and start a cOmmune. governnent anyway. us all."

resources before another understanding. They came "You know?" he asked silently. Defense, he bellowed, locking up his body in fetal awareness. Global dependency, she chanted, fitting her body by hollowing him out.

fucking It brainwashed I hate the

"Yeah, you're right. Everything is Iradition, he chorused, merging them in the missionary madness. Primal, she exerted, taking reign of his body.

Harder and harder, faster and faster. He wanted to privatize her, she wanted hi public, naked fielās and singing loudly to planets so thicker around, around.

political, nothing is untainted." And so they ran away together, and finding many partners combinations until their memory of the Constitution subsided into the

notion Government total and ināividuality, status in of were forgotten until the United States will shudder a Around, their moons visible ring. Plag had more spaces than stripes.

16 AmLit

SomethingMore Jonitatn

Is there something more you'd like? she said, I implore you to declare your honest needs, be they words or deeds, or even just sone air.

And as she asked she pushed her hand on through her short, đark hair.

You haven't yet replied, she said, I'm waiting for your mindSay anything, say everything, I know I can provide.

And as she looked upon me I moved closer to her side, I want it all, I said, I want the clouds, the birds, the trees, not rings of gold, nor fancy clothes, all simple, if youplease.

And as we interlocked our hands the time đid seem to freeze. With racing thoughts and patient hearts the monent đid we seize.

Samizdat Edition 17

Like Drinking Rum

Hot water spills, fills up the tub, scorches my toes. back feels the edge-cold and sere.

Shadow body floats on the screen of your curtaincovered with pictures of angels and clouds.

Clothing đrops đown, a đoor clicks shut, silence fades up. the sound of rushing water stops.

Seented candles breeze from their perch, snoke blends with steam and perfume like sumners and oceans and trees.

Half open mouths, wet like water, sweet like soda, it makesme drunk-like đrinking rum.

18 AmLit

You wiped the last of your đouble kiwi mocha from your lips, hesitantly, needing to taste all of it to be content,

the sane way I'1l wipe you from my heart, hesitantly, needing to riđ me of you to be Content.

Deathly afraid of forgetting đetails, anå only being left with snells, and songs, and sapPy poetry, I know it's best to forget the specifics that made it real. This state of "almost over" is easier that way.

Everything is easier if you đon't assign meaning.

This, a year later, the sumner will brown my face and đim my heart. This, a year later, we are, again, in the same state but you are the farthest you will ever be from me.

And now with the same boldness with which you ordered kiwi mochas, (you, the only one who ever ordered them) I will let you leave me and offer this in hopes of it really being my last poem to you.

The effect of time, and the memory of green coffee

Samizdat Edition 19

Ro nMidnightne Trespassỉng

you visited me last night whíle I vas sleeping, 11ke a burglar yon stole the key to ay subconscicus and vanđalized Dy đreams when I woke up every thonght that had ever belonged to me was no longer my own, every aspect of ay solitude, every fragnent of y psyche were contraband goods that yon had plandered away-too far away from me to ever fully locate, I đared to forget you and gou came back to reaind me, to haunt me, to stalk me, in your clever innocent way, with you beautiful, sturây hanâs, alvays touching my hair, stroking it, pushing it out of my face which you said I kept hiaden, but I coulan't hiâe it froD you, I still therecan't. are traces of you in every follicle of ay hair, I could sheve 1t and you'd stil1 be there, yourmouth is still pushedagainst the nape of o neck, your nose, your raspy breath, your spooth forehoad are all warming me you'll never go away, you'll never let De forget, you're lurking in a corridor of my mind, waiting patiently, striking when I least expect you, forcing me to remenber.

20 Amiit

Inner Struggle

My subconscious is crazy about you, And I must admit I'm a little jealous

When I wake up in the miadle of the night

To feel her smiling so fondly upon you, Kissing you fervently before I fully awaken.

You tell me of chats you have at night After I've đozed off in your arms. How she hangs upon your every word And sweetly encourages you to go on While my head rests on your chest like a cannon ball,

I know she's always thinking about you. She sings our song over and over again in my head, Stirring up memories of đancing under tiki lamps and stars, Until she persuades me to call you Por the fifth time today.

Whenever we're apart

She impatiently plays with my ring, Shifting it from finger to finger. The ring I bought at the beach

The đay I first told you I loved you.

I had wanted the words to come from me. Every time you held me close, She'd scream out, "I LOVE YOU!"

The words would echo through my skull, And I'd have to bite my lip to stop them from escaping.

I love you just as strongly as she đoes Stronger.

Long after the newness erodes into pattern

And her raging passion begins to calm, My love, patient and steady, will remain true.

Samizdat Edition 21

The History of the Jewish People


It all began on the night of Saturday, September 11, 3761BC, when God, at long last, become bored with the vacuum. With a swift wave of His God-type wand sort of thing, He created the heavens and the earth. Pleased with himself, He proceeded to create water and land and plants and menacing fish of all sorts. To prove that even God is not perfect, He then made đogs, but the next day He made up for it by ereating man. The first man was a gardener, but not a very good one. He ate the prized show-apples, and was promptly dismissed from his position and thrown back into the job market. In time, man populated the earth, begetting all sorts of people with crazy names

A great flood threatened man's dominance for a time, and presented the possibility of a return to the first Wednesday (9/15/3761 BC), when the fish happily ruled over the earth, but luckily one man heard strange voices telling him to build a boat, and (not for the last time) schizophrenia saved the human race.

like Tubalcain and Mahalaleel, Unfortunately, đogs were also saved.

Then, one fine day in the town of Ur (a đirty seamy little desert shire whose name means light but whose countenance suggested the deepest of đarkness) a man called Abram heard voices too, They

22 Amiit

told him he had been living a life of sin. "Praying to little đolls is stupid, you prick,' the voices told him, "instead, you should pray to us." Abram listened and obeyed, and when the voices then said "Go west young man," he đidn't think twice. He brought his family to Canaan, a nice enough spot, where he settled đown and changed his name to Abraham.

Abraham was tolà that he would be the first member of a new religion, a new way of life. Sounds good enough, but Abraham did not know that God was setting hin up for the sickest joke in al1l creation, And so, from that time on, Abraham and his descendents have had a lot of trouble, while God has looked upon them laughing merrily and eating cheetos.

At various tines, in various ways, they have been pestered, the threatened or Abaddonites, the Achazites, the Alexandereans, the Amokites, the Amorites, the Cypriots, the Dagonites, the Eglonim, the Egyptians (ancient and modern alike), the Ashkelonites, the Gazantines, the Gezerites, the Gilboaites, the the Phoenicians, the Ishmaelites, the Jezereens, the Amalekites, the Labanites, the Laishim, the Lyddites, the Meggidoans, the Malachites, the Tyrians, the Siddonites, the Turks, the Syrians, the Jordanians, the Iraqis, the Iranians, the Kuwaitis, the Sauais, the Qataris, the Yemenites, the Lebanese, the Libyans, the Algerians, the Tunisians, the Moroccans, the Palestinians, the Samaritans, the Assyrians, the Greeks, the Mongols, the Ottomans, the Spanish, the Prench, the British, the Austrians, the Romanians, the Catholics, the Muslims and various others.

attacked by the Cannanites, the Eamoites, the Azorites, the Babylonians, the Corinthians, Goshenites, the the Hamatines, Horebites, Hermonites, the Heshbonites, the the Philistines, Hittites, the Obedeans, the Rakkonites, the Sacarites, the Palaheen, the the RomansS, the Persians, the Mamluks, the Abbasids, Italians, the Crusaders, Czechs, the Nazis, the the the Soviets, the Polls, the Russians, the Hungarians, A tough time, to be sure, but in time, it became a sort of game for them. What inbred pigny bunch would try to kill us this time? Once you've outlived the Philistines, or the Persians, the Romans, the Phoenicians or the 0ttomans, how can you possibly respect some whitetrash

Dagonite with a wooden arrow? Jordanians? Please!

Palestinians holding stones, oooh, very frightening, kind of like those l2 legions the Romans sent to kill us.

These folks just aren't a challenge. Lybians and Lebanese, We need a challenge. Syrians and Sauais, it's all terribly boring. Who's next?

Yual oin

Samizdat Edition 23

Upon the Loss

It was the night that he heard the sound too seldom, the finality at the bottom of the net. The period at the end of the perfect sentence.

It recalled sumner nights years agO, in the đriveway Dad up, 18-16, two to go. It was sealed then, beyond his ability. Ee was defeated.

This time was đifferent, the opponent lesser. Pought him, well. Beat him, square. When the ball fell on eleven for the second time, the opponent walked away, well, as winners are accustomed to đoing. He stayed on the court alone, while she watched. He shot angrily, breaking đown his mistakes, themechanics, the fundamentals of it all. It was all fundamentals.


It's in the legs, he thought to himself. Bend the knees, feet shoulder-width apart. Pop.

Elbows in, above the head. The shooter's window. Plick the wrist. Extend the forefinger. Pop. On defense, move. Watch the man's chest. Slide.

When the shot's up, turn. Get your butt in him. Push hin. And for God's sake, man, hustle.)

Just one more. And then I can leave. I've never left on a miss.

The woman he was with knew about competition, having been a competitor herself. Knew that too many words ruined đefeat. Knew how men got when they lostembarrassed, angry, insulted, quiet. Didn't speak at all, knew what he was thinking. She watched him on the court.

So now, he turns to this, his second love. Empties the first into thesecond. It makes it easier that way. And he waits for tomorrow, when the court will have forgotten his defeat, and he will haveremembered it.

24 Amlit

Tonight I watched a simple failure something in you that wasn't working how rare those monents I see you lose how perfect to see the shot you đon't make how loud everything in me wants to seream in 80 in you aren't hitting

Even the Best go long today

how silent I keep my devastation that you are human how real it makes me feel to see someone so weak unable to compete edge a victory over you

and then, yes, he walked from the court proud reveling in a ma jesty he has yet to taste you can't stop (he will hit this g0 in slow realize your oWn power test the ball

he has to hit this one feel it in your fingers go in

đon't underestimate what frustration đoes only tease the rim step back before you shot this one mean every second of it the step the crouch put the power in your legs let your hands guide go in hit this one he has to hit this one)

both of usI will do this all night if I have to

I pity him

gouropponent believing it is easy every time you raise your arms and arch towards the goal I grab my stomach thinking this time this time

then not again oh god not again thinking I won't know what to say I đon't know what to say

then knowing đefeat myself many times and feeling đefeat looming ahead tasting it in my mouth

defeat by lesser opponents and by greater I know not to speak that words will burn the pit of your stomach as mine burned from competition.

Samizdat Edition 25

Montana Winter Belnd

On flannel nights the cold floats đown in arifts of white, white glacier shavings. My feet numb under Mount Blanket and the gritty warnth of an old German Shepard, The moon bounces off the snowbanks through my half-cracked window, so all light is blue and honest.


I was really bored, so I locked myself in this room with nothing but a box of chalk, an eraser and a chalkboard, I could only đraw stick people. Stick people, who rode white stick horses on grassy white pastures in front of squared white houses. But one had a gun, and his face was similar to mine. He was wearing a foldea paper hat propped left. His eyes were glossy, wide. He had intentions. Stick people disappeared one by one. I erased the board, before he got to me.

Samizdat Edition 27

Sweat Land of Blood and Teeth etiua Bllan

I.Promthe black gritty soil of Plorida to the deep orange haze of oldGeorgia.

If I can'thavemyhistory

I'll visit theplacesthat it hasbeen

I'll go toAlabamaand let the soil gather between my toes before movingNorth. I'll stand in defiance of theHawkon the Great Lakes. Bundled up in snow gear, wind repellent hood

I'll stare him in the eye and say,

I fed you. We all đid,

If I can'thavemyhistory

I'll gowhere it was I'll travel the states anå kick up ancient đust

Everywhere my history is America

My cells aremeshed within the blood red of the flag

I claim these stripes for me and mine. Mine.

My folks who are dead and đust- they built it up and cut the roads out

I1l drive theselands--

My country, back countryover their bones. Their Bones.

28 Amiit


You don't know this country is mine. This land is my land. This land is my ancestor's land.

I claim the right to sit or stand when the band strikes up the American chorus: This land is my land This land is my land

My country tis of me Sweat land of blood and teeth of thee I sing

My backbone against your mountainside Land where my family's đied, Of thee I sing.

Samizdat Edition 29

Kerouac Kingpins Cun B.Hho

They were all around searching for god on Smooth pine floors rolling their faith

đown empty alleys hoping to become Kerouac Kingpins in a world created under empty faith and lonely destinies

30 AmLit

Junky on a Good Day

The crystal meth began to sweat out of her body. She took a codeine pill hoping to pass out and miss the unfortunate experience of the meth's đeparture but that didn't help at all. She picked up the phone to cal11 him but it was busy. He inevitably wasn't home anyway and she knew that he was most likely going through the same torturous hell she was at the time. The meth seemed like a good idea at the time. It kept the night going. It was fun. And it definitely improved the sex. She was convinced, though, that they weren't a chemical couple. 0r perhaps they were. But, she knew, the sex could, it would, continue. Minus the meth. The weed. The aciả

"Hey," her advisor said to her one đay. "Your writing is a lot nore..." his voice đropped off. "It's a lot more dark lately. With a lot of..." he paused.

"Adventures." He had that look in his eyes. That I could get you arrested/I know what you đo l00k in his eyes. But she wouldn't be arrested, You don't arrest your writer in residence for narcotic abuse. Look at William S. Burroughs.

She was going to end up back in Philadelphia. No matter how hard she fought it, she knew that was what was going to happen. And she hadn't get figured out if that was a good thing or not. It was Thursaay. The meth was gone. It was substituted by a lame attempt to eat well and a few joints smoked before going to bed. A few joints that provided an natural high accompanied by the beats on her stereo. The letters of acceptance front of her. They taunted her but the one that was accompanied by an offer of scholarship money was the one from Philly. Sure, it was five or six months away. She had time. She needed to finish her time here in bumblefuck before returning. But she had wanted to go out west, maybe. Or New York

London at the most. Boston. Even Chicago, Maybe

all slept on the table in City at the very least. Seattle. But she The with their


"Undertones," of Chestnut Street's Pirst bike he said, Church. The "I miss WaWa," she had said earlier that đay to whoever was sitting next to her in their weekly seminar. Jack Kerouac. Even

Ginsberg. Life was boring without the occasional trip. The flight. And she knew what she was đoing. It was midnight on a Saturday night. She hadn't slept in đays. eaten. She hadn't seen đaylight in over forty eight hours. But she had it all under control.

đidn't think she wanted to go back. 0f course, it was cheap. And it was home. Home was the Ben Pranklin Bridge. briefcases and running shoes going in and out of Liberty Place. The trendy teenagers hanging around the steps Unitarian messengers cursing out traffic. The homeless men begging for change outside of WaWa.

"WaWa?"he had responded to the girl who hardly ever opened her mouth. "What's a WAWA?"

She hadn't "It's a replied. "A What?" "A convenience store," she replied,

convenience store," she

*There's a hole in my arm where all the money goes," the stereo shot out.

They would probably take her back at the store.

freelance again at the magazine. She could spin at the club again. But would he take her back? Would they?

They would let her "Amen," she said. And then she passed out.

Samizdat Elition 31

She thought of the life that went on without her now. Without her because she had left. She had left them. Without a singer

for the band, Without

Without a girlfriend. Without a best friend., Without a dealer. the eight hundred đollars that she owed them. Jay would take her back, though. Wouldn't he? He đid last weekend. He did when he showed up at the rural train station with liquid meth and open arms. But would those arms be so open when she showed up again. Records anå books in tow?

When she got the tape in the mail, she almost cried. Actually, she đid cry. He knew she would. "Alex," she said when she called him. "Come home, anything. She was half sad that she missed her Alex and half angry at him. She was angry because she knew that he knew that the tape would trigger this conversation.

he said. She đidn't say

"You're my best friend," he said. "I miss you."


"I gave Paul the money."

"What?" She had heard him clearly. He knew that she had heard him. She stopped around her hair like she had been đoing đuring the phone conversation.

twisting her pencil

"You what?" she asked.

"Now you can come home," he said.

Where did Alex get eight hundred đollars to pay back the money she owed Paul? And n0w, she was in worse shit than she was before. Now she owed her best friend eight hundred đollars. Howcome Jay didn't tell her what Alex had done?

It was useless. As Alex talked of the tape and reminisced about the time spent in the studio which she had tried to hide in the back of her mind, she decideđ it was useless. It was useless to conbat these feelings.

the shows, the clubs, the

She đid want to go home. But asmuch as she missed Philly with its buses, used bookstores, playing the keyboard until four in the morning after she and Alex and Uris had smoked up and become giggly or philosophical or both, falling asleep half nakedin Jay's arns wrapped in flannel sheets at three in the afternoon whenthey both should be at work, she also wanted to make it here. She did not want to give up. But she đid want to

go home.

"I đo want to go home," she told Alex. "But," she ađded. "I'm running avay from home."


"I'll think about it," she said into the phone. And into the mirror that was on the table in front of her. She reflection amidst the white powder. But it was there. She looked at it. Portunately

could hardly see her

32 Amiit

heroin look is in.

for me, she thought to herself, the "I heard you were in a band back in Philly," Ryan said but she đidn't hear him.

heard her.

"Ill think about it," she replied.

"What?" he asked. She knew he had "Oh, and Alex?" "What?" "Thank you."

The gum had lost its taste by her second class, so she spit it out only to step in it on her way to the she muttered to herself trying to get the gooey substance off of her new black shoes. This process, the gum itself and her own stupidity was enough to give her a nervous breakdown so she sat đown on the bench closest to her and started crying. Ryan showeđ up at that moment. He plopped down next to her, lit a cigarette and blew it out in clear, precise circles before acknowledging her presence on the he

"I heard you were in a banã back in Philly, " Ryan said a bit louder but she still hadn't heard him.

"I heard you were in a band back in Philly," Ryansereamed but she still didn't respond.

"I heard that you dealt this stuff back in Philly," Ryan time, he was quiet.

đining hall. Damn. Damn, said. This "Really?" she answered. "Where did you hear that?"

something in some

those new shoes?"

wasn't sure. And she đidn't bench. "Are asked, not yet looking at her.

"Let's go into town," he said.

"I have a meeting and stuff to read over and I have to go find a job, talk with my mentor and I have this god đamn fucking gum stuck on my shoe," she started in with her excuses but he

Write up my resume, that beat any bloody

a Scottish accent and a stopped her.

"You aren't going to feel good,* he long sleeve shirt over her said, "until you get off your ass."

Three hours later, she chewed a stick of gum from the same pack as the one that stuck to her shoes only this time she savored it. The vibe that the gum gave her made her try and stand up but the music from the coffee house bar pounded through her and she couldn't walk straight. It, the music, vibrated her whole body. she wanted to đance. She wanted to run. She wanted to make love to somebody. who was offering her another pill. She shook her head. The music was loud. She

had read She story. It was in sone story from the Best American Short Stories of some year. She đidn't know which edition. She had them all. She thought, or perhaps, it was the 1998 edition but she remember the author. Or the story. Something about đrugs. And love. Or maybe suicide. What it said, though, was that when you put the needle in your arm "it's like your head is an organ and someone plays a chord." To her, Trainspotting choose life and heroin with bestsellling novel/novie/sounatrack bullshit metaphor. She pulled on a tight t-shirt to cover the track marks on her arms and stepped over Ryan and his friend Lewis to get her pack of cigarettes.

"Let's make a toast to all wasted years," the stereo shot out. of the "Amen," she said. And then she passed out.

She knelt over her notebook. Partly she did this to block her eyes, which were framed by đark circles, from the sun and partly she did it to avoid Ryan or Lewis or any of their kind

She looked over at Ryan walked by the bench she had claimed. And finally in case they could feel it.

Samizdat Edition 33

she was trying to get out what was inside of her. She felt like it was the alien Whatever it was or whatever it was trying to say, it had found itself a host in her, And it stayed there for a while without her knowing about it. It stayedthere until it wastime to come out and then it fought its way, spilling fake blood on a Hollywood studio floor, but through her pen and onto the blank page in front of her. These through the nation," shouted KRS-One through Hearing that, she decided she needed music. She found her walkman and searched fingers pens, lipsticks and tampons, for a tape.

stories collaboration and stood u. She looked around, realizing there really was nowhere to go get coffee,

herself. She decided to go home and

"I miss WaWa," she said out loud to

from the Alien movies. Damn. Damn. Damn, she muttered to roll a joint. nobody in particular.

"WaWa?" said the man who was sitting on the same bench as she was before not through her stomach she had stood up.

"What's a WaWa?"

a convenience store," she are poems eirculating "A What2" someone's car stereo.

"It's replieđ. "A convenience store," she replied.

about red eyes, blue through her bag, her floor. beautiful repeating. tripping over pencils and matches and pill bottles, day," the voice

"Jesus, where are you when I need you?" she asked.

Someone in her stereo was singing skies and junkies getting high on thebathroon "It's a beautiful beautiful kept beautiful beautiful beautiful day," it said. "It's a beautiful beautiful beautiful day," she sang along. "I wish the sun

she could find was the tape would, sun would go away."

A1l labeled in Alex's handwriting. She would even settle for some old-school 1988 đo it yourself New York City hardcore arounã backpack and took out one of her copies of the Best American Short Stories editions. Good, she muttered. Now, metaphor. She had forgotten about her notebook, the blank page and the alien.

messea her then. She the pockets of telephone. the month's And she bill. utility

I can find that heroin

Her nentor had cornered her this morning needed to show him a draft of what she was working on residency. "I'm looking forward to reading it," he said. He had that look in his eyes. That I know you đon't have anything finished/I coula expel you from this program look in his expelled. You đon't expel your writer in residence. Coffee, she muttered. I need coffee. She đismissed the short

She had paid back

Alex. Paul had been paid back. But now, later, she had Lewis to deal with, Lewis and the threatening messages he was leaving on her machine causing her to unplug had this And next month's rent. Don't most schools with an in-residence program give you a place to live, she asked herself. And then there was the credit card.Damn Damn. Damn, she muttered to herself as she slammed shut the refrigerator

reminding her that she door. There nothing in the was fridge except the remnants of a half pound bag of weed. She wasn't hungr) went to the medicine cabinet and there was nothing theres either. This is why I owe Lewis s0 much money, she said to the enpty shelves staring back at her. They

đuring her anyway. She

But she woulan't be āidn't anything back. She eyes. say washed her đishes, threw out the out the trash, beer bottles, took cleaned out the bong anå đid her

34 AmLit

got stamps

Then and she the out her and laundry. checkbook finished with that business. Then she laid đown on her bed.

"The drugs đon't work. They just make you worse," the stereo shot out.

But she was already asleep.

Chris answered the phone.


Chris," she said. She was

comforted by a familiar voice. "Is Alex home?"



"Who is this?"


Alex got on the phone.

"Chris? It's me." "Who?" She had procrastinated long enough. Two packs of cigarettes, three pints, four needles and a McDonalds đinner later, she sat đown and called her parents.

They weren't home. She hung up the phone after leaving a message and her number. Doing the latter made her cringe after she had sWOrn to herself she would never do so. She picked up the phone again and called Alex.

"I'm coming "Hey Alex," home." she said.

Pause. "I thought you were running away fron home. "I was," she said.

"But now, I'm running back."

Samizdat Edition 35


what if the glassy skyscraping needles lost their gravity and suctioned their skin-tight packets of blood to the sky? Would the vacuum spurt pleased semen and a stranger's spit on carpets in clean, conguered buildings?

Shaking off finally the stubborn concept of oxygen trailing the acrid stocking scents that bring textures and form to đreams of raw knees?

36 AmLit


And so it begins with bleeding Pain from within showing through The cracks

A slippery silk almost tasty Blood letting Slowly building pressure

Pushing out the useless old Building towards ful1l on flow Making the worlà feel threatened And exposed

To anger and suffering A reminder of the forces held Inside.

Like mountains exploding Letting lava burn

Everything in its path

We are helpless The cycle must go on The moon must pull the tides And we have to let out The blood inside

Samizdat Edition 37

Shy Girl Syndrome RedB

there is an elephant in my throat when you pass by, it chokes me and cruelly devours my words, leaving nothing but empty silence--as anansve to your sinple openness, it will go awaysome daybut by then, you will too.

38 Amlit

Thoughts for Grandpa Baclad

He didn't know you as I đid but he turns his collar backwards and earns the right to send you off into the Sound,

I'd like tell about your faded yellow armchair where you gathered us, singing Johnny Smoker and acting out the instruments with your lips, miming a trumpet, wiggling your fingers, đoing the trombone slide, fooling five year olds with shining eyes.

That's the way a eulogy should be.

Samizdat Elition 39

The Crisis Yual eti

It was early evening when the news arrived. It seems that aprogresstye politician, one of the good guys, had đone the unthinkable. He had dared to violate a tab00 of Washington society. capital, a city which đefines good behavior as an unbending willingness to participate in its on-going carnival of self-congratulation. Perhapshehad pointed out the obvious, or maybe he passed by a cigarette advertisement without spitting in đisgust, or maybe (most serious of all) his public relations proved less than perfectly capable of covering up his behavior, Be is a progressive politician after all, and so they were willing to excusethe fact that he haâ broken sone laws in his youth or that he seemedincapable of telling the truth.

His actions shocked the nation's

But noW, he seems to have đone something which-for

whatever reason--they are taking seriously. As this story breaks, the crisis begins.

A story is "broken" when a reporter who is a member of the club, a participant in parties and a holder of the right set of falseassumptions, confirms-albeit with hesitation-what the "lesser press" (you know, the rags) have reported for a week. At this point, when one of their own (a personwhose integrity is unguestionable because he volunteered for McGovern once and is shocked by all the right things) reports the story it turns from aridiculous runor-proof that the loonies are loony-into an anazing exception to the rule that smart progressives never falter. Journalists who the previous weekhad held up this story as evidence that the yellow rags are simply appalling now hold it up as evidence that they themselves are honest and impartial; just look how balanced they are in reporting this story. realize that this means they themselves were wrong. the first time that such a thing has ever happened, and so this particular event must surely be the most amazing thing that has ever happened. Tes, it must be.

They slowly come to It must, of course,be

The networks interrupt their programs, and thoughtful anchors, well dressed but bevildered report with unrepressed shock that the mostamazing thing that has ever happened has just happened, and we have a correspondent on the scene.

Turning to the intrepid reporter, who is standing in a

trench-coat in front of a marble building, the anchor says "John, isn't this the most amazing thing that has ever happenedp"

"Yes, Peter, a high ranking official in the marble building behind me tells me that this is in fact the most amazing thing that has ever happened. It has the potential of leading to the greatest constitutional crisis in histor, and perhaps the trial of the century." The anchor, remembering to thank the intrepid reporter for his informative confirmation of the anchor'sgreatness, now looks đeep into the camera ana declares with a stern and elevated voice that 'that's all we have for now, we'll be back with further details as events develop." At this point his face is replaced on the screen by a laxative comnercial, or an ad for the Washington Post which informs us that 'If you đon't get it, you đon't get it."

Oh, but this mind-bending comedy in the theater of the absurd has only just begun. The next morning's paper, under a full page width headline which

40 Amlit

screams "The Most Amazing Thing that has Ever Happenea," shows us N a photograph of the accused politician walking to his car. The bastard. The story repeats news of the previous night, but also includes charts detailing the politician's career and the extent of his crime against humanity. Throughout the đay, reporters recount the three or four known facts. An army of experts, kept in reserve for just such an occasion, pull their suits from the closet and iron signature ties. They then join the anchors in the studio, and the caption under their name (with a cute especially identifies them as the foremost experts in their field.

the b! informative Lii. some


"Hell with they exclaim burning the are

By the evening of the second đay, the međia window on our world has begun its slow transformation into a mirror, and reporters have started to report on how reporters are reporting the story. The final step in this conversion into a mirror will come when the analysts tell us what we, the viewing public, think of all this; but for now we shall have to đo with watehing reports about the media.

By the third and fourth đay, the politician-having been found guilty by a jury of his forner admirers-begins his trip back from oblivion, It is a slow and careful trip, but the đirection is unquestionable. It turns out the person making the allegation against the politieian was once seen bowling, and his best friend reports hearing him praising Ed Meese in 1983. With this new information in hand, is it not our duty to reconsider our views on the matter? The parade of self-congratulation now shifts the focus of its awe from the media's anazing ability to examine everyone with equal avarice to its heart-warming proclivity for being fair even when all others are not. The politician, it turns out, is really not all that bad. He's even considering making a statement to the press later, which is surely not the act of a guilty man.

Samizdat Edition 41

Peter, pomposity, "I would bet that his advisors midnight oil tonight, they really have their work cut out for them." e aGc
little forgraphic designed crisis) this
"Ha, ha," laughs the anchor, "you can say that again Dr. Bearlstein." Having shared their wisdom with the world, anå been đuly thanked by the anchor for joining him, the experts now retire to their home to think up more clever cliches.
On the sixth ay, the politician agrees at last to do an interview with everyone's favorite thoughtful anchorman, the one that did that great report

of the accused


graphic for designed crisis) this

screams "The Most Amazing Thing that has Ever Happened," shows us a photograph politician walking to his car. The bastard. The story repeats the news of the previous night, but also includes charts detailing the politician's career and the extent of his crime against humanity. Throughout the đay, reporters recount the three or four known facts. An army of experts, kept in reserve for just such an occasion, pul1 their suits from the closet and iron their signature ties. Theythen join the eR anchors in the studio, and the A caption under their name (with a cute little especially identifies them as the foremost experts in their field. Peter," pomposity, "I would bet that his advisors midnight oil tonight, they really have their work cut out for then."

"Well with they exclaim are burning the "Ha, ha," laughs the anch0r, "you can say that again Dr. Bearlstein." Having shared their wisdom with the world, and been duly thanked by the anchor for joining him, the experts now retire to their home to think up more clever cliches.

By the evening of the second day, the media window on our world has begun its slow transformation into a mirror, and reporters have started to report on how reporters are reporting the story. The final step in this conversion into a mirror will come when the analysts tell us what we, the viewing public, think of all this; but for now we shall have to đo with watching reports about the media.

By the third and fourth đay, the politician-having been found guilty by a jury of his forner admirers-begins his trip back from oblivion. It is a slow and careful trip, but the đirection is unquestionable. It turns out the person making the allegation against the politician was once seen bowling, and his best friend reports hearing him praising Ed Meese in 1983. With this new information in hand, is it not our đuty to reconsider our views on the matter? The parade of self-congratulation now shifts the focus of its awe from the media's amazing ability to examine everyone with equal avarice to its heart-warming proclivity for being fair even when all others are not. The politician, it turns out, is really not all that bad. He's even considering making a statement to the press later, which is surely not the act of a guilty An.

On the sixth day, the politician agrees at last to đo an interview with everyone's favorite thoughtful anchorman, the one that did that great report

Samizdat Edition 41

the plight on of impressionist painters in Burma (n0 one saw the report, but all heard it was great) "Well Jim,' the politician sighs, "1t hasn't been easy for Natalie, but we knew when we got into public life have t0 accept these kinds of

me and that we'd intrusions into our lives. If you want to serve your country and make this world abetter place for children, you have to take the pain that comes with it.

"That's a good point, sir," the anchor replies, "and tell me, what do youthink about the way the press has covered this whole thing?*

A week and a half has now gone by and the scandal is on the third pageof the paper and is no longer the top story on the evening news. It hasbeen replaced by the gripping story of Timny Dreslin, the young boy who felldown a mine-shaft while picking up litter on his way hone from school. Be is trapped and firefighters from across the nation are converging on Texasto rescue him. His plight has turned the nation's attention to the horrible đanger of mine-shafts. A nationwide coalition is forming to pass"Timny'sLaws banning mines in all 50 states.

The old scanđal is now an ancient and uninstructive memory. The only lasting lessons for the Washington crowa are that the press is wiseand logic is always right in the end. Loca. universities host expert panels on the question of "Were we wrong to be s0 quick to believe that we could be wrong?" At these panel discussions, retirea mid-level bureaucrats quibble with perfectly groomed young reportersabout the precise extent to which they are both correct, and then the twoshare2 laugh when some loony fron the boondocks dares to suggest that one of theit

powerful, and that Washington cherished prejudices is slightly


So, the great crisis in history has ended. It turns out they were right atter all. The great progressive politician is just a good guy in a tough spot justice prevails in the end, and the lawyers have all beenhandsomelypail Recovered fron this monumental quake, our pristine echo chamber ofgibberis4 can now resume its tranquil existence on the banks of the Potomac.And8 the while, the greatest nation on earth has hardly noticed the tremors city that claims to be its heart and its mind, but is in fact itsappendix-e useless organ, and harmful when overly active.

in 8 42 AmLit

The Weather in

Occasionally, when I'm bored or tormented by the nuisance of thought, and the consistency of its findings, I'1l check the weather in Pittsburgh half out of curiosity, half out of spite,

and find đisappointment in mostly sunny, highs around 80, light winds out of the northeast, and bitter justice when it storms. Because it should. Because I want it to. That city must never see the sun again, 1ike me, Because it has her and she doesn't mind.

I want it to rain, constantly, every time my mind finds herrain, to drown the city, to đarken it because any sun, even a little, would be too much. They have enough light already, even for photographs. I want it to rain, to wash away their happiness to avenge my storm, to couple it, make it bearable.

Punny how both her and that place were once mine, separately, but their union made them estranged forever.

I can never go back to either.

So I'1l welcome the rain in Pittsburgh and đirect its hardest pelts to an obscure little row house on Lockhart, second floor, first đoor on the right.

Samizdat Edition 43

Perhaps the Brussels tubeway is surfaced with glassy patches of lustrous brights and đarks to remind us we can now choose đay or night. A small world leaves you big thoughts.

Egypt As It Approaches

Zero Claywstty

The transit schedule is smug with pregnant 8s and 9s roundly quivering for the next clean birth of history the big reset of tubeway world, a culture candy box in easy pieces: crackling Brixton, creany Brugge (taking one word from each place to keep the worlâ sensical). I've put my hand around all of them but Egypt. Egypt I know just from the pure geometry gleaned as a boy: yellow drawings under museum glass, pristine pyramids over flatline horizons of eternal sand that shimmeredeven while still,

Like the last electrician dreamt of wires more silvery and shiny and colã than the ones he'd once unsnarledI know Egypt.

44 Amlit


A Very Short Novel Aan aGoni


William Joseph Lynch wanted to experience the romance of sitting in front of a typewriter with a blank sheet of paper staring back at him. He wanted to be surrounded by mounds of crumpled paper and have clumps of them spilling out over the top of a wire basket; a bottle of cheap bourbon in the bottom drawer of his desk; a đirty glass leaving rings on a pile of notes seribbled on a variety of cocktail napkins. he thought to himself. "Just like the old-time movies,"

All he had for ambiance was a blank computer screen with a cursed blinkin' blinking cursor. Nearby was a fresh pot of vanilla coffee. The waste basket was filled with gum and candy wrappers; the ashtray was filled with paper clips and rubber bands. Instead of a đisarrayed stack of notebooks, cocktail napkins, and scribbled ideas from recent adventures scattered all over, reference books were neatly arranged on the bookshelves behind him. To make matters wOrse, he couldn't think of a darn thing to write. Joseph Lynch couldn't even come up with a good pen name. Life was too ordered; đevoid of scandal, mystery, intrigue. All of his bills were paid; the đishes were done; the bed was made.

The whole đay had been spent not tracking đown a story, not bugging the police chief, not sitting in a bar studying suspects, not waiting for the next crime to solve, not contemplating various solutions for his next novel. whole đay had been spent sitting in front of that confounded computer wondering what the heck he would write next.

His Nuts! Be wondered if life was worth living. He went to bed at a decent hour that night.


When William Joseph Lynch woke up the next morning, he made a decision to change his life.

He gulped a cup of cold coffee left over from the previous

day, dressed in an old suit and tie, grabbed a hat, and pulled a rumpled trench coat out from the bottom of his dry cleaning pile. As he walked out he l0oked in the mirror by the front door and wondered if he should tilt his hat like Bogie or Gable.

Lighting one, he

The first thing he đid was buy a pack of cigarettes. coughed and choked his way to a real đive of a diner. He called the waitress "Toots" and in a husky but muted voice ordered: "Two eggs, fry 'en in grease; coffee, hot, strong, black." A big change from the fresh squeezed orange juice and whole wheat toast (no butter) that he was used to, but he felt he was starting to get into the right mood. When he was done eating he lit another cigarette, threw the match on his plate, and said, "see ya, Toots!" to the startled waitress who had served him several days a week for as long as she could remember.

He walked to the liquor store and bought two bottles of bourbon -a fifth to bring home, and a half-pint for his coat pocket. He didn't really like bourbon (or cigarettes, for that matter) but he aidn't think a vintage Bordeaux would create quite the right atmosphere.

Back home, he found his old college typewriter neatly boxed and labeled in the corner of his hall closet and put it on the kitchen table, poured a glass of bourbon, and started crumpling up sheets of paper and throwing them on the floor next to the chair. By the time he finished his bourbon he had gone through a half a ream of paper, was sick as a đog, and went to bed, He smiled to himself as he passed out.

Samizdat Edition 45


william woke up (0r rather, came to) about six that evening. Be ew name would be "Dan Diamond" (Spade was taken, and neither Rea dhis nor Club art reflected the image he was after), grabbed his at with the half-pint a saa notebook and a leaky fountain pen (well, it was a new ball point, but Williaa had imagination), put on his hat, and left for đinner,

He chose Ming's Rathskeller as one of the biggest đumps in townbodet food, cheap waitresses and crooked bartenders (I told you he had ina usy When the waitress came over to take his order he pinched her (actual1 ke pinched the fold of her skirt; he had never gotten the"knack), y apologized out of habit. dangle from the corner of his mouth as he mumbled, "steak, blood-red rare; fries; gimme a bourbon, straight."

He remembered to light a cigarette and let it

When she brought the drink, he asked her to sit đown and he pulled herclose as she đid, She đidn't smell cheap, and upon closer inspection, he noticedshe đidn't look cheap, He also noticed that she looked a little familiar, na7be too failiar. all the dime đetective novels. He liked that.

He decided she looked like all the dames on all the coversof

"What's your name, Toots?"

Got it? If anyone wait.

"And Hehadtothinka ht.



Someone comes left for a - uh, wondered vegetables were,

William, the then where decided he could always eat some at home. After a his he lit dinner cigarette, choked

tell em to "Sure," Bonnie, rather "Sugar," replied. by what name will they refer to you?* 46 Amit

"Bonnie, but here they call me William,'Sugar."rather "Dan," liked that. "Okay, I'm'Sugar,' on a case it's andlike I đon't this.
want anyone to know I'm here. asks for me, you send 'em to the end of the bar and That way, I got a chance to size 'em up and find out who's tailin' me, and I can get out the back đoor. Got it?" ailed.
minute. wildly, brain - Spades,Hearts, Clubs, Bogart, Poirot, Christie, Agatha – Nuts! "The less you know, the better! for me, you'l1 know it." "Sugar" moment, and came back with William's "Dan's" - dinner. "Dan," rather,
He Spckingthoughthis ought Cly

wAYthrough part of it, and put it out on his plate, he waited for "Sugar" to bring his check.

"A smelly, messy habit," thought"Dan," uh, William. Right in character!" thought William, erh, "Dan." Hesuddernly realized he hadn't touched his đrink. He slowly sipped it while Still not feeling well after his earlier escapade, the drink was surprisingly settling his stomach and his nerves. He wanted to belt it down to stay in character, but was afraid it

wouldn't stay down.

When"Sugar" returned, he flipped her a twenty đollar bill, told her to keep the change, and made a mental note to find out the nickname for two ten spots. "Hey, 'Sugar,' what time you get outta this joint?"

"Sugar" got off around ten and William/"Dan" told her he'd meet her in the

alley behind Ming's. He went home, took a shower, and đecided not to shave.


William was dressed by 9:30 and left to meet "Sugar" behind the restaurant. Hewas wishing it was "a damp night, with the fog rolling in off the river," or, "a dark and stormy night." But the night air was pleasantly cool and the moon was bright; not to mention that downtown was 1it up 1ike a Christmas tree.

He made notes in his little book as he walked:

The fog was lifting, and - make that "but" -I could only see by the street lights and their reflections in the puddles left by that evening's rain, The city smelled 1ike the hole of a sewer rat as I groped ny way to the alley. I slipped into a đoorway to make sure I wasn't being tailed. Once in a while William did slip into a đoorway, but gave it up when he noticed a police car circling the block.

He approached Ming's and tried to find the alley that led to the kitchen đoor. He went around the block and finally slipped between two buildings. He was đismayed to find the back of the buildings lit up with flood lights and neon signs. All the garbage was neatly bagged and tucked into đumpsters. Nuts! What's this world coming to?" he muttered as he slumped against the building and waited for "Sugar."

She had changed from her uniform and looked terrific. He grabbed her hand and led her back to the William hailed a cab anå instructed the ariver, "Take us to the

"Sugar" came out of the back entrance at l0:15. street.

Moonlight Sonata Cafe."

"Sugar" protested, "Hey, what's going on? take a decent girl?"

"Look, 'sSugar,' I told you I was on a case. keep your trap shut and follow my lead."


They sat in a booth at the back.

What kind of a place is that to Something's come up, see?


William ordered a bourbon, straight, and "Sugar" ordered a banana daiquiri, Waiting for the drinks to arrive, William Wrote in his notebook; tilting it to hi@e the contents from "Sugar," he He didn't have much to Write, so he worked on a shopping list and made notes, 1ike reminders to

đeliberately glanced around with his head đown. gather up his laundry and call his mother.

The đrinks came and William lifted his glass and toasted, "Here's lookin' at

you, 'Sugar.'"

*Well, thanks, Mr. Lynch, but are you going to tell me what this is all about?

I've been playing along but I'm really curious." in on him.

"How đo you know my real name?" asked a bewildered William as reality set

"Don't you renenber me? I'm Bonnie. Bonnie Shalleross. Prom the steno pool

at your publisher's!"

Bonnie. Bonnie Shallcross. You're the one who always messes with my punctuation. I still think the commasbelong on the other side Why were you

"Oh, of course! of the quotation marks. waitressing at Ming's?" I thought you looked familiar!

"Oh, I just work there a couple of nights a week. I'm saving for vacation.

Samizdat Edition 47

Someday I want to go to all of those exotic, faraway places you write about in your travel guides, like Montana."

Suddenly William felt weak and self-conscious. They finished their drinks. He paid the bill and sent Bonnie home in a cab after promising to call her the next đay.

He stepped back into Ming's, grabbed A William đecided to walk home. handful of cocktail napkins, and stuffed them into his pocket. As he slowly started down the street, listening to the "click, heel-savers, he made some more notes in his little black book: Change publisher; ChangeSmokey's litter box; Change plans for vacation - invite Bonnie.


click" of his metal

Home again, William neatly stacked the cocktail napkins on the kitchen counter, put the hal f-pint of bourbon in a cabinet, threw his coat back onto the dry cleaning pile, fed Smokey, and popped open a can of diet cola to wash đown two extra strength non-aspirin pain relievers with the easy-to-swallow coating and a swig of liquid antacid.

He cleaned up the



papers on the floor, put the typewriter back into the closet, and put on his pajamas.

William went over to the

computer, sat đown and spun around on his swivel chair to face the rows of reference books.

He hađ information on

everything from Aachen to Zwolle, Alberta to Zimbabwe. He had so much information; he never had anywhere. As he resolved, once again, to change his life, he closed his eyes and ran his hand over stopped, grabbed a book, and opened his eyes.

"Hmnn.. Iravel the Rockies by Rail. The Rockies. WOnder?"

to actually go the books. He Montana. I He opened his little black book and made a note to order two tickets. William got up, changed the water in Smokey's bowl, anå brushed his teeth.

As he snuggled under the covers he thought of Bonnie and a trip out West. As he slipped off to remembered an early đentist appointment. William wished he had gotten to bed at a decent hour that night..

sleep, he suddenly

Nuts! 48 AmLit

A couple stand arms interlocked looking out over a black and white euro city landscape, perhaps after having sat for an hour over cafe, a dream world still 1ife of a moment solitary, where pigeons hover startled over calm waters of a city lake, and an artist poised with bow in hand serenades up from the street.

-Classical Photography

AN Akakfa
Samizdat Edition 49


Johnny Baråine is a budding philosopher, iđealist, moralist and poet. He would like to thank the past, which inspires him, and his future, Claire.

Sadie Breeland roams the tundra nursing her broken heart and trapping small furry rodents. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Pinar Camlibel was born in Ohio and raised in Turkey. She has lived for two and one-half years in Washington, DC and is a communications major. She plays the guitar and piano.

Jeffrey Clark lives in the jazzy red and blue lit đistrict, where cauffee, cigarettes and poetry are the required attire. At ten am, he makes love in NYC, while sone guy plays merengue on the radio upstairs.

Laura Pedak is a sophomore double-ma joring in International Relations and Journalism

who aspires to explain reality with metaphors. Generally

speaking, she finds that bonobos are largely more evolved than humans. Montey King likes letters, commas and the number 3. Sometimes in that order.

Denise L. Moak is very happy with this, her second career as a filmnaker and photographer. Formerly a computer whiz in the information systems inđustry, she wi1l complete AU's Master of Pine Arts film program in the year 2k.

Jean A, McConville is a transfer student from NCC-Monroe Campus in the Poconos. Majoring preservation, restoration and đisplay design.

in Studio Arts, she plans to đo hands-on museum

She has worked for the International Child Art Poundation and,

Jennifer Leah Peck is a College of Arts and Seiences and School of Eầucation senior. currently, The Shakespeare Theatre. She has a fondness for spacemen and vampires.

Sybille Reinke de Buitrago is a student in the Peace and Conflict Resolution program at Anerican University. 0riginally, she cane from the former East Germany. Painting is one of her passions.

Carmen Santa-Cruz doesn't believe in rules but... we need to follow them sometimes.

Chris Stanley is currently in a witness protection program. Leo the Greek will never find him now.

Ute cohorts with an omnipotent Algerian god. One đay, she hopes to be a squirrel.

Caroline Wall would like to say for the record that she is not a schizophrenic homocidal maniac as some have alluded to, and in her next life, she plans to be taller.

Claire Ward đoesn't accept things as they are and knows "oh, how mighty that little pen!" in this tragedy of youth she would like to thank Johnny, for perfection and for holding on.

Bruce Williams believes that art is to explore his inner soul and create with the mind's eye.

50 Amiit



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This is a liited edition of American numberLiterary. of 500.


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