Issue #1 April 2014
DEAR AVID READERS AND WRITERS,
Welcome to the first publication of Untitled Magazine,
Untitled Magazine is a place where SAIC students and alumni can have their written work published. It is meant for anyone interested in reading and writing creatively. Written work can include poetry, short stories, artist interviews, prose, script excerpts, or serve as a way to get an event publicized. Untitled Magazine wishes to include all types of readers and writers from every department and artistic background. Lastly, the Untitled Magazine community would like to thank and acknowledge the student government for all their enthusiasm, generous contributions and whose funding made this first publication possible. We would also like to thank all the students who submitted their work.
Thank you, Untitled Magazine
Feel free to submit work for the upcoming issue by contacting us here: firstname.lastname@example.org You may also visit our engage page: https://engage.saic.edu/organization/Untitled_creative_magazine
SONGS OF LOVERS Ariel Chan
(WE WILL COME BACK TO THE HEART LATER)
WHEN THE WIND COMES TO YOU
A WINTERS DREAM
THE TONGUE OF THE BULL
PALE RED LADY
LESSON LEARNED ON VERNADAS
Ludia (Hyo-Hyung) Kim
Mitchell E Mittelstedt
Ji Su Kwak
Ji Su Kwak
SONGS OF LOVERS “Lovely” He called her one night she froze and glowed at the very sound “Beautiful” She told him was his soul and he turning away did not want her to see his smile in that sheepish way
Ariel Chan Junior Animation www.ariellionchan.blogspot.com
,AND, ,and, You will receive a phone call and the person on the other end will be crying, and you will calm them and they will tell you the news and you will cry and they will cry (and they will not calm you because they don’t know how, and even if they did, they couldn’t because something inside them has broken and the reassuring words are trapped under the fragmented bits of what once held them together), and if you are lucky, someone will reach out and hold your hand, but if you are alone, you will hold the space between your neck and shoulder in a comforting way that reminds you of your mother, and a commercial on the television by the window (that you forgot to turn off before you fell asleep) will be selling insomniacs anti-depressants, and you will try to laugh at the irony but the sound will become clogged in the collapsible hole of your throat, and you will crush the skin of your eyelids together until the dark behind them pulses with pops of light, and you will breathe deep, the oxygen expanding your lungsv in a way that isn’t comfortable, and you will ask the person on the other end of the line if they are okay (you mean okay for you to hang up, not okay as in they are), and they will answer with an audible nod, and you will drop the phone away from your head, and you will curl into yourself, and you will try to understand. There are things in this world you just can’t forgive, and you haven’t yet decided if this is one of them.
(WE WILL COME BACK TO THE HEART LATER) If you slip your thumbs beneath the ribcage of a lab rat â€“ the flesh of its chest peeled back and pinned â€“ it is almost surprising how quickly the delicate bones will break outward, exposing the pale grey-pink of preserved organs. Removing the heart is just as simple (do this slowly and carefully so that you do not cut more than is necessary). And when holding the dead heart (anatomically identical to the one pressing against your own unbroken ribs) try not to think how it would be if we could all so easily be broken open and examined.
IT HAPPENED It happened. I am still unsure his preference. A. Men. B. Women. C. It still happened. That is to say- it was not ideal. But can we spell real with out the id (eal) in ideal? It happened, that is to say, the trains were loud above us. It was that time of day. When the yuppies go home. They leave their damn work place the same damn time every damn day and I blame the yuppies more than the art students because I am an art student. I blame the yuppies for making it less than ideal. But the less than ideal was still very id (real). My lighter was faulty. That is to say- I am faulty at lighting cigarettes. That is to say- He saw me with an almost lit cigarette in my mouth. He saw. That is to say- “I didn’t know you smoked?” I was to say- “Sometimes. My lighter is faulty.” That is to say, “I have a theory that only men and prostitutes light their own cigarettes.” His lighter wasn’t faulty. That is to say, I still didn’t light my own cigarette. He lit my cigarette. I am a little nervous that I threw the finished cigarette on unholy Chicago sidewalk. It is ok. I am ok. What would I do with a cigarette bud anyway? It would just be a memento. That is to say- a cigarette bud both his lips touched and then my lips touched and then he asked me kindly, “How is your semester.” There was sincerity in his voice. And he said it was good gimmick. My gimmick. My party gimmick I told him. I told him that I meet people at parties that way, sometimes. And sometimes it wasn’t the most ideal way. “My semester has been great. The first month was great. I came here and I didn’t know I could make art. After my first drawing project, I had a rush of adrenaline. Now things are very busy.” There was something said after that. That is to say- I don’t quite remember. That is to say- “What are you working on now? Before I came here I went to state school (it wasn’t right for me and I was just studying English) and now I am here and the first month (a more than ideal first month) I couldn’t get over that everyone is making stuff.” I remember him smiling. His smiles are hidden behind his beard. May I go on about his smiles. That is to say he smiled. A project in Haiti over Thanksgiving break. I was to say- have you done international work before? That is to say- “In Prague before, but this is the only other one.” He was to say about his sound pieces. I was to say, “You like sound pieces.” That is to say he has a sound piece down the road. That is to say, I was consciously showing my interest. But I was also blowing smoke out my nostrils. Which is to say- I was conscious of not showing too much interest. He said he does all sorts of things. I was to nod my head and smile. I hid it behind my un-rouged lips.
It would have been more ideal if they were rouged. That is to say he would have noticed the pink on the cigarette when he lit it. He is a well-rounded man. He talked about his lack of proficiency in illustrator and Photoshop. He said- “This stuff is important! I know it is!” I wasn’t to say how I agree. I wasn’t to say my best friend is a viscom major, and it is important. I wasn’t to say about our collaboration. Hallelujah. That is to say, I will bring that up next time. Ideally. He was to talk about his canary, I was to say I wanted to buy a bird over the summer. He was to say- “I’m interested in pets. We do really fucked up things with our pets” He doesn’t say fuck in class. Earlier he said he felt bad because no one in our class smoked. I smoke. In a faulty kind of way. He said- “I’m going to record my canary whistling a song.” “What song?” I hoped for intimacy. He said- “A Frank Sinatra song.” I smiled in a way that had nothing to do with his beard. I smiled because I was to say- “My favorite thing to do is light a cigarette (this was to say that I can light my own cigarettes) and listen to Frank Sinatra and walk around the city and look at the buildings.” That is to say that was ideal. I was to ask if he heard the canary singing Frank yet. He was to say he heard snippets of it. I almost said (wishful thinking). But the man beat me to the punch. Which is to say it would have been more ideal if I beat the man to the punch. I had a punch later. So it was ok. He was to say- “I’m not sure if it’s just what I want to hear. We want to hear love and sometimes we don’t hear it.” I was to say, “Do you know the song The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel?” He was to say yes and I was to say Paul Simon was to say, “Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” I was to say, “That’s a great concept.” His cigarette was finished before mine was even half way done, which is to say he was standing and talking to me and I wasn’t sure if it was ideal. Which made it real. He was to say, “Have a great weekend.” He was to say he liked his concept. He was to walk away across the street. I was to look at the buildings above me. The trains I didn’t notice after he left. I was to finish my cigarette. I lit another. Megan Eskoff My lighter is not that faulty.
WHEN THE WIND COMES TO YOU An-usual day Chilly and dry air penetrates my lungs It is cold and grey-blue I am shivering with indifferent silence before another sunrise No one can hear my wandered mumbling and humming Greasy and sweet sound tickling my neck No one can see my sudden laughter and anger I swallow my inner and exterior noise I am becoming a mute with ceaseless talk before another sunset Shaky and murky light twists around my eyes
Ludia (Hyo-Hyung) Kim Painting Sophomore
UNTI TLED Lying on my couch, I observed the one observable star in a lighter navy-blue Chicagoan sky. I can reclaim and reassume a familiar, all-encompassing childhood emotion, That is now long since forgotten. I feel the drag of another week’s futile effort looming ahead of me. As a kid, around this time of year, an autumn’s restlessness would take over I would yet again try to settle into a regular schedule. This is something I simply am not capable of. The need to do something outside of standard events always takes over. Something kids often feel. A brief three o’clock trip through the window into a nearby school’s soccer field would usually sate this harmless desire. Alas, this was not long lived considering this prewritten emotion drives other complimenting feelings. Often these impulses led to a trip to the principal’s office or no dessert. A cold breath of autumn air either carries restless guilt or the highest form of excitement It is a very bizarre and potent mix of catalysts. Surely, action must come of it or tireless inaction will keep a person from sleep And I have class at nine.
Eddie Cronin Sophmore Painting and drawing
A WINTERS DREAM A dream Like a dream inside a dream. I cant ice skate, But was skating. With others Also skating Tracing the sides of the rink We kept to our fish bowl When tall trees and grass took over. A brook replaced the ice beneath our feet. Unbothered by the hex We continued to skate As one-by-one The others disappeared Without me. Trees grass sky and snow became one In shades of winter. They spun, Then faded. All went white.
I came to stop. Still, ear popping silence. Only the sound of creaking From under the sheath of ice Covering the pond. Freezing, I felt warm, Nonchalant. I couldnâ€™t breath. In gasping desperation I let out one last breadth And dropped down Beneath the ice Like a falling feather To sand Soft as silk. My body submerged, immersed, covered, Continued Beneath the dark blanket Where I hit the hard floors of a room. There, sleeping I saw myself.
Lily Rosen Junior Animation www.Lilybunny.com
PART I Man and woman on stage, standing in middle in spotlight. No other light. Man stands slightly behind the woman facing stage left while the woman faces audience. Man slowly lifts a hand and places it on the womanâ€™s left shoulder. The moment their bodies come in contact with each other 1030 voices back stage start screaming. Backstage screamers must coordinate breathing so that there is no silence for four minutes. At the four-minute mark, screaming stops abruptly. The woman reaches up to her shoulder across the front of her body with her right hand and violently pushes the hand off her shoulder. She walks off stage right. The man contemplates his left hand, lifts it to his face, breathes in. Then whistling he saunters off stage left.
PART II A loud, authoritative, voice broadcast throughout performance location: THIS BOOMERANG IS USED TO DESCRIBE THE CURRENT STATION AND ITS TRANSMISSION IN TIMPANI TO A SECOND STATION BECAUSE THE USE OF CHANCE IS SO INHERENT IN WHAT IS DESCRIBED DIFFICULT THOSE WHO USED THIS BOOMERANG DO NOT TO BELIEVE IN FAUCET HOWEVER, FOR ME, IT SIMPLY OFFERS GENERAL WISTFULNESS TO BE APPLIED TO MANY SKELETONS THERE IS IN MOST CUPBOARDS A RELIABLE WITCH TO KNOW THE FUTURE. THAT WHICH IS UNKNOWN IS THE SCARIEST THIS IN OUR LIVESTOCK AS HURRICANES
Marian Thompson Senior Writing (Part I and Part II for performnace)
REFRACTIONS 1 As if the swarm of sirens, citywide, were in fact surrounding him, and him alone, he stubs the butt of his cigarette, sufficiently faint, and goes up the wooden fire escape two flights to his apartment and, doffing boots and coat and hat in the hallway, continues to his bedroom and there, on the edge of his bare mattress, sits cross-legged, and actually waits, motionless, electric light through the window slanting wan on his heavy eyelashes, he waits, motionless, for an image, to seize him, an image whose meaning will be lost on him, and only then, once any and all meaning is entirely lost on him, the gravity of it gone, does a kind of silence also enter his bedroom and eradicate that racket outside, and only then, freed of meaning, does he attempt not so much to seize that image as to reconcile it by devising the following likeness, a trick: Door lowered, the garage is dark this sunny morning, darker because of the tetragon that blinds, approaching the eastern window till noon and arriving there and then, first down the wall a rectangle then across the concrete a trapezoid, just in time, the tetragon that blinds me, or is it a quadrangle. I walk across the concrete to the window and, standing before it, overtake the quadrangle, still descending the wall. Before me, motes hesitate in midair, and I look back at them, some of whom, by descending, as though to settle, direct my attention to the already settled—dead ladybirds on the sill, a writhing heap once, crawling on crawling—picturing which I flinch and grimace as if sickened by a good friend’s secret, told me in my confidence. If I am there and then gawking, mouth half-open, eyes half-closed, it is because time, like quicksand, drags more and more the longer you linger at the window. Timer ringing, nostrils flaring, the desire to gorge on greasy reheated pizza overtakes my base curiosity and carries me out of slow muck, just in time. So begins his story, arbitrarily, the story that he is compelled already to leave briefly, in order to leaf through a series of photographs not only taken of him unawares, but into an envelope stuffed and under his door slipped while he was asleep. Much earlier this morning than his usual alarm, a loud knocking on the other side of his door—that he had made sure to close and lock—awoke him, knock knock knock, which din he would have attributed to a dream had he not, upon raising his head and opening his eyes, seen the fat envelope on the floor. Only then did he know, rightly or wrongly, that he did hear knocks and that it was those knocks that awoke him. He has set them aside in the same order as found when a gunshot cuts through the earstwhile silence the story that he sets out now to goad into a confident stride. Start somewhere arbitrary, he repeats to himself, Start somewhere arbitrary, as a mantra, so arbitrary where you start that not so much you start it as it starts you, by chance, the story so begun, that it carries you onward, imperceptibly, the laziest kind of business, like making your bed or better yet thinking it already made. See, the merest notion of narrative scares him, he prefers to think of those developments,
Incidentally, no later had he found them, taken them out of the envelope, than he heard two stupid footsteps recede, then a single door slam, the intruder, it must have been, no less, and he was about to open the door but thought twice and decided, before acting, not to act, not to open the door, lest the stranger be on the other side ready to strike and then strangle him. Only after a long restful nap, up to his usual alarm, did he finally open the door and leave the room and wince, having not received a bludgeon to the head.
those sequential variations in particular, as music rather, frivolous, perfunctory, than as logic, his strictest enemy, as he has decided of late, the enemy most taciturn and, yes, in the end, arbitrary, despite what long-winded explications it spells out upon suddenly failing, just like that. Start somewhere arbitrary and, to keep things light, that they may keep on going, play a game, cursorily, no need to go over, over and over, rules that believe in themselves, despotic criteria that bring about their own credence, as the mussel secretes its own shell. He has set them aside in the same order as found when a gunshot cuts through the erstwhile silence and the sirens resume. Goes over to his window and sees there through the frost and across the street, in the dirty electric light, a ragged figure, homeless it looks like, lighting a cigarette, or trying to despite unwieldy gloves, and ultimately failing. Faceless ill-lit, the form removes one glove the better to light up but in so exposing digitsâ€” frozen immediately, cold as it is out there, so dry no snow even, wind indiscernibleâ€”cannot sufficiently flick to ignite, then watches as the unlit cigarette plummets from lips numbed, So fucking cold. The destitute sends from belly to the wind an indignant laugh and crushing it underfoot damns the piece of shit to hell. Another gunshot retorts.
Mitchell E Mittelstedt Junior Film/Video/New Media
DISHES I was washing dishes and my mom came to mind with these delicate hands like hers, I shone the dishes from dinner tonight Mean while, Ethan lays effortlessly on the couch He is supposed to be studying now Then his lazy back suddenly seemed so ugly and fat I wanted to slap it as hard as I could with these two hands evil just like my momâ€™s.
Ji Su Kwak
THE TONGUE OF THE BULL He has a tongue of a bull. Thick and clammy warm clammy Papillae softened out with goo Slopping water gentle and tender Endless pool the cave echoes resonance of his roar.
Ji Su Kwak
PALE RED LADY Darkness cloaks these black, black streets, As the moon hides herself behind inky clouds, Pushing away the feeling of defeat, I tear down the way, heart beating loud. Closing in on the edifice, Pushing aside the horde, While the rain fell down as if to kiss, I burst through the door, I register only the scent of her perfume, Interwoven between the tang of blood, The presence of Death strong in the room, Blood pounding in my ears, a heavy thud. I stagger into the next room, in a daze, Blood splattered photos thrown about, Numb do I feel, floating through a haze, Wanting to do nothing but shout,
Glass crunching under my feet, I lurch on following only fate, Feeling as if I will collapse, so weak, Knowing I am, as always, too late, There she lay, as if in sleep, Only the gaping wound in her head, Makes me want to weep, As my vision turns oh so red, I glance down, hand shaking, Softly touching her hair and skin, Once all mine for the taking, Oh, she was my only sin! So full of life she once was, Laughter and warm embraces, But now she lies cold and dead, because Death, the only thing we cannot outrace.
Nancy Lin Junior Video, animation, new media
LESSON LEARNED ON VERNADAS My grandparents live in Takoradi—a coastal city west of Accra—the capital of Ghana. Takoradi was famous for its harbor, fish and railway system back in the old days of colonialism. Its coast is strewn with black rocks jutting from white sand, with coconut trees obscuring the view of these monolithic guardians. This is a sharp contrast to the bustling commotion that you will find in the city center. But my grandmother’s house was far away from the chaos of city life; and in the shelter of her veranda, you could find a sense of peace and quiet, although when I say ‘peace and quiet’ I mean a relatively lower decibel of noise because when you’re in Ghana I assure you that this notion of ‘peace and quiet’ is almost non-existent. My grandmother’s veranda is not very different from any other verandas you are likely to encounter along the vast variety of Ghanaian landscape. In fact, this architectural feature is very common, because it allows Ghanaian’s to bask in the pleasures of the outdoors while still enjoying the comforts of the home. That is what verandas essentially are—houses without walls. However, because my grandmother had a small farm, you could often observe the local wild life busy about doing their thing—maybe even staring at chickens clicking and clucking close by. One obtains a strange understanding of the meaning to life staring at chickens while trying to figure out which came first: the chicken or the egg. One time, while brushing my teeth on the steps of the veranda, I witnessed the final minutes of a dying baby chicken. I assumed most of its’ bones were broken because it’s wings were oddly bent and it’s tiny yellow body heaved and collapsed with every painful breath it took. It could hardly walk—but it crawled to me, clinging foolishly to life. It was snatched from its mother and had fallen from the clutch of a black crow in mid flight. And so, it had plummeted to the earth like all baby chickens do—helplessly. I rushed back to call my grandmother and after her inspection, she calmly said something about how unfortunate the little chick was, before tossing it into a sewage gutter to die. I went back to the veranda and stared in the lush green leaves of plantain trees. I wondered about that pathetic creature with its young desire to live. I suddenly felt a deep stab of pain, which slowly ebbed away with each wave of emptiness.
A lot of conversations took place on that veranda. My mum would always narrate our escapades in foreign lands whose names were exotic to Ghanaian ears. My grandmother had only been to the Ivory Coast you see, never to Europe or across the ocean. My mother would explain how we sped along the free-for-all highways of Germany and why you could drive from Sweden to Denmark or from France to England. My grandmother would listen, wide-eyed, chewing her chewing-stick, giving shouts of surprise, random commentary with tangential stories. Sometimes, she would even produce a bout of laughter! If I weren’t busy at the time, I too would inject my comments to garnish my mother’s seasoned tales. Sometimes we had more serious conversations. My grandparents would hold political meetings, where they rallied support, organized events and plotted the success of their particular political affiliation. My grandfather would mutter musings about the decline of a generation and how there is nothing new under the sun—according to him everything had become an appropriation. My grandmother’s veranda was also the site for many wars. One such battle that took place was between the local fly population and me. I hate flies and they probably hated me too. My hate for flies originated a few years ago on a hot midsummers day. I decided to eat lunch, as I always liked to do, on the veranda of my grandmothers home. I was feeling rather relaxed and the meal I was about to enjoy consisted of fried plantains and black-eyed beans. To the untrained eye, plantains may look very much like bananas but I assure you— they are not. Plantains are the savory and firmer versions of bananas. They are not eaten raw; rather they are cooked or fried and eaten as a staple dish or as a dessert. When I rest my plate on the wooden table I set out, you can guess what happened. Lo and behold, flies were already busy frolicking between the contents of my meal. I tried to push the flies away but failed miserably. I shooed and spat yet these flies would not so much as give up. And with this increase of activity, I soon gained the attention of a whole host of flies, which came with speed to investigate the commotion surrounding my lunch layout. My reaction was fated. In my enthusiasm for destruction, I partially spilled my food and angrily returned my plate indoors. But I came back—with a vengeance and a mind ready to shed blood. I immediately engaged my opponents with a zeal and ferocity unbeknownst fly-kind, and after countless shattered bodies and a scattering of purple, black and crimson, I came to myself and realized that there were still many more flies to be killed. Tired, frustrated and profoundly unsatisfied, I sheepishly returned indoors to finish my now cold meal, hoping that the wind would whisk away my sins.
Kekeli Sumah Senior Visual Communications