Botticelli Magazine Number 11

Page 1

Art & Literature

Cover art by: William Arnold



Claire Title of Art Chris Artist DeRose

BOTTICELLI MAGAZINE Faculty Advisor: Editor-in-Chief:

Events Committee: Literary Staff:

Art Staff:

Design Staff:

Submission Inquiries:

Ariana-Sophia Kartsonis Tracy Powell Samantha McLaughlin Bethany Carman Brandie Cox Tracy Powell Jake Wise Crosley Frankenberry Alanta Rakae Slone Edosa Omoruyi Samantha McLaughlin Beth Yancey Heidi Clifford Aaron Shields Tyler Davis Chris DeRose Jake Wise Anthony Damico Heidi Clifford

Published by Columbus College of Art & Design



If We Didn’t Mean Anything, These Words Would’ve Become an Echo


Regina Zehner Discordia


Alan Alanis Of Greater & Lesser Fears


Annie LaHue Poem to My Father, With Hurt Lungs


Leah Nielson Clean Theory

Redacted at author's request


William Fargason The Cost


Tracy Powell Disassociation


Annie Noelker Seance


Annie Noelker Ghosted

Laney Norman



Language Spreads Like a Patch Of Oil


Hannah Bates Savasana


Jessica Cornelson Storm To a Dog


Jessica Cornelson Black Beauty


Alanta Rakae Slone Atom


The House, Weathered by the Rain


Jason Gray

Jake Wise Before My Body Broke


Leah Nielson Outpatient


William Fargason Interview with a Poet


William Fargason & Leah Nielson Tie The Rosary Around Your Wrist,


Jake Wise


Because these blankets are not tidal waves


like I wish they would be.

Jake Wise Newfangled Demons


Mariah Holmes Trophy


When I Am A Woman Grown


Mariah Holmes

Mariah Holmes The Tears of Things


Kristina Marie Darling The ‘Girl’ Page Torn From the Analysts’



Kristina Marie Darling The Fortune Teller Knows She’ll Never



Kristina Marie Darling The Architect’s Version has Nothing to do


with Light

Kristina Marie Darling Heart Home

Jared Sanford



Inherit Silence


Jared Sanford New Terrain


Megan Earley Fire


Betsy Corcoran Lung Song


Leah Nielson Open Letter to the Past


William Fargason I’m Afraid I Will Forget Who My Mother



Jake Wise The Things my Momma Never Told Me


Alanta Rakae Slone & Arianny Josearys Damian Birthday


Summer Joys


Roy Bentley

Allison Richmond-Leeth The Heath Drive-In Theater is Closed


Roy Bentley 5


Betta Carolyn Brausch

Betta Carolyn Brausch


Congratulations to the following winners and finalists of Columbus College of Art & Design’s Second Annual Red Wheelbarrow Creative Writing Award Series: Prose (Fiction/Non-Fiction) First: Anne LaHue, “Of Greater and Lesser Fears” Second: Heather Miller, “Walking Pots”

Poetry First: Regina Zehner, “If We Didn’t Mean Anything, These Words Would’ve Become an Echo” Second: Jared Sanford, “The Butcher”

Screenwriting First: Alan Alanis, Discordia Second: Janet Lundeen, Robot Tot

Our prose judge was Steve Fellner; our poetry judge was Erica Bernheim; and our screenwriting judge was Jeff Butler. The staff of Botticelli extend sincere thanks to these judges for their time and effort, as well as the students whose work made the contest so challenging and the decisions so difficult. Excerpts from each of the first prize winners appear here. The full texts appear online: docs/botticelli_spring_2017 Special thanks to Bob Redfield for supporting the Second Annual Red Wheelbarrow Creative Writing Award Series


If We Didn’t Mean Anything, These Words Would’ve Became An Echo Regina Zehner

1. Funeral for the Empty Soup Bowl R.I.P 2015-2016 and this is a funeral where the only thing that is buried today is every intention you had on loving me but it never fleshed out. it’s a rotting lifestyle you’re in bed with; the flowers wilting, the body becoming cold. “are people supposed to live this way?” you don’t know the answer, but it does remind you when your mother took you to church and all the prayers got stuck in your throat. you don’t know the answer, but it does remind you of the alphabet soup you never finished as a child. and this gravestone here, that you murdered in cold blood on a Sunday. i remember you said you’d never hurt me and yet, you never said my name in the way my tongue had made you holy. i remember you said you’d never hurt me and yet, you


set our house aflame, and you broke my picture on the nightstand. i’m telling you this because i care no, because i cared. past tense is the evidence of the murder, past tense is the ghost that lingers. the funeral is over now, the soup gone. and the prayer has disappeared because you don’t have the words for it.


Discordia Alan Alanis 1 INT. RESTAURANT - DAY Arturo and Hugo sit in a traditional Mexican “puesto de comida”. Picture a cart where food can be cooked, old and dirty, half broken stools. They drink coffee around empty plates. Arturo stares at an old lady. She sits on the street, only a shawl and dirty clothes cover her, overworked. She can barely open her eyes, hardly rattles a can with coins. Her kids, maybe grandkids, play with a broken beer bottle. Arturo stands and walks to where the kids play. The kids don’t mind him. ARTURO You’re gonna cut yourself with that. He takes the bottle and throws it away. Gives them a few coins. ARTURO (CONT’D) Vayase. Get some food for you and your mother. The kids go inside a nearby store. Arturo returns to his seat. Hugo’s face doesn’t change expression, but he notices what just happened. Emotionless. HUGO Y’Should call child services. Hugo takes a sip from his coffee. HUGO(CONT’D) That money means shit. Arturo looks up with an ugly grimace. HUGO(CONT’D) Yeah (beat) that won’t change anything either. Frustration is all we see in Arturo’s face as he looks up.


ARTURO Why (beat) why won’t anything change? I mean (beat) why the fuck are you a cop even? Aren’t you the one that makes shit change? Hugo’s face lights up slightly. Hugo takes a pack of cigarettes and hands one to Arturo. CONTINUED: 2. HUGO Y’smoke (beat) right? Arturo hesitates to answer. HUGO (CONT’D) Don’t worry, Sofia doesn’t know. Arturo, annoyed, takes the cigarette...and the lighter. They start smoking. HUGO (CONT’D) I only say this because I believe that (beat) people who are willing to accelerate the process of their own death know something that those who don’t seem to neglect. Something I saw on your face the day we met. Arturo makes a movement with his head. Now he looks curious. Takes a long drag from his cigarette. HUGO (CONT’D) We’ve seen how truly empty this world is. What are you saying?


HUGO But, you, nah you’re different. (beat) For some reason, you haven’t abandoned the notion that things will change for you. Hugo speaks to the empty space. HUGO (CONT’D) Otherwise, why don’t you tell Sofi about your smoking? (beat) Figure you’ll quit someday right? Yeah, see humans have what I call an inborn error. We are so fucking certain that eventually we will be happy. That things will change, that you will be a better person, with a better job, better friends, better love (beat) but happiness (beat) realization, those are illusions. The only real things is that biologically we are looking for reproduction, and dissolution (beat) death.


CONTINUED: 3. What the fuck. Arturo narrows his lips, eyebrows down and together. HUGO (CONT’D) Many have not seen that the end of this is just a giant fucking black wall, nothing else. Hugo looks toward the old lady. HUGO (CONT’D) There is a reason why that old lady’s face (beat) tired, meager (beat) looks just like that of every other old person (beat)by the time you are eighty you bet you’ve seen that fucking wall. One last drag from his cigarette. HUGO (CONT’D) Some of us just (beat) crash into it earlier. Hugo’s face turns towards Arturo back again. HUGO (CONT’D) You’ve seen it, but you choose to ignore forget. ARTURO Well...I don’t think the way you do. I wake up looking forward to better things. has to get better...right? Other wise, I mean, what’s the point? No answer. ARTURO What about love? Don’t you have someone? An expression of pain can be seen on Hugo’s face. HUGO Arturo, Love...Love is the sa-He is interrupted by loud STATIC coming from his radio. D.E.A. AGENT 1 (V.O.) Officer Ladden requesting immediate backup, shots fired.


Of Greater & Lesser Fears Anne Lahue I learned very early on in life that Timber is a city full of numerous secrets, legends, and superstitions, one of which is the legend of the Irrefutables. The Irrefutables were a people who possessed the uncanny ability to discern truth from lie, though not by regular means. They claimed they were able to feel if someone was lying, sometimes through auras only visible to themselves, or through physical reactions such as headaches or migraines, some even stated that lies simply left a foul taste in their mouth. And despite an endless barrage of attempts from critics to disprove the Irrefutables’ powers, none were successful. But unlike sorcerers or hedge witches, born with innate talent that was then honed through a lifetime dedicated to the arcane arts, Irrefutables were normal people until their abilities manifested suddenly and without warning. Some became Irrefutables as early as five years old, others as late as eighty-nine. Skeptical scholars theorized that their abilities were merely a bastardization of modern magic while temple priests claimed that the Irrefutables were a gift from god. Regardless, no one truly understood the origins of their power. And just as no one knew how they came to be, no one knew how or why they disappeared. One day, they were there, the next, gone. It’s rumored that the Emperor himself organized their demise, though no bodies were ever found. Others argued that the Irrefutables abandoned the city in favor of forging their own society. While most believe the story of bloodshed, I prefer the latter theory. I never did care for violence, especially not after what happened. It was my eleventh birthday, and among the many beliefs that the people of Timber hold, they fiercely believe eleven is a lucky number that represents new beginnings. They also say that all good things come in threes, and just as I stand in opposition to their stance on the Irrefutable’s disappearance, I stand opposed to these notions as well. You see, on that fated first day of my eleventh year, a gift that would bring me many sorrows awoke within me, the second day, I pulled back the curtain on my broken family, and by the end of the third day, my home was in ashes.


Betta Carolyn Brausch



Allegiance Alayna Smith


Poem to My Father, with Hurt Lungs Leah Nielson Your party was a flop. Though not a marvelous flop. Just an ordinary landing of the body in the pool without the good guarding of firm arms and hands, just a bicycle tire gone down from lack of use, hidden in the corner of the garage between the spare fridge and the extension ladder and chainsaw. The spare fridge that isn’t even plugged in. We downed shots of Jim Beam, but mainly to stave off our coughs. Having fallen to a cold and perhaps bronchitis, we thought it best to cancel. I like to think of it as tuberculosis, call it consumption, my lungs clouded in arrow-head shapes and my days spent lounging in an asylum where I befriend Kafka or Keats. So there was no meal of green beans and German chocolate cake. Just endless hours of crime dramas and college baseball, where the ping of the ball against the bat falls somewhere just shy of a fork against teeth on my scale of annoyances. I’m wired for 3 a.m., shelling beans in one hand and wishing with the other. Despite our weeding, the garden looks rough. The peas devoured by some critter. The kale gone to the same, I assume. The weather wavers between too hot and too wet. The dogs roam


right through the fence. I am too tired to argue. In the 33 years since your death, I’ve fallen to lung fatigue over 100 times. Today was the first day I thought— all the branches of my lungs crepitating in a fire of their own making—this is how you felt as you died. This is the way it is with grieving. You package and repackage it. The box may be big enough but it’s not right in shape. And where is the shipping label and the roll of clear tape.



Longhorn Cattle Minnie Lucas


Clean Theory William Fargason Every morning, you were supposed to light a candle, look at the flame, and think of nothing else for a whole minute. Every night, you were supposed to sleep. This was mindfulness training. But every time you see a flame, you think water. • You walk the edge of the ocean, jeans rolled up, wind rippling your shirt. Here, the best glimpses of yourself, and here, you erase them. All the ways you tried to love but couldn’t. How once you were good enough. How endless alone has been. Broken glass cuts the inside of your left foot, the blood smearing on your skin like watercolors with every step you take.


You didn’t show

and I looked down

at my untied shoes

looking back up

And I couldn’t remember

if it was Wednesday if I was 16 or 9 or 24

Untitled Crosley Frankenberry


The Cost Tracy Powell America, the land of the free Forty acres and a mule Still waiting. Emancipation Proclamation Promises of a better nation Who decides if I live or die? This world needs a healing. How much can I take? Capitalism, ethicism, ism’s, smism’s Is I or aren’t we free? Waiting for the ax to fall The righteous and the unjust are debating on the fate of American’s and the state of our healthcare. All the while, my friend is sparring for her life. Denied by the “Powers that Be.” Denied her basic human rights to be seen. Oppression, by a false doctrine that still believes that segregation is legal. You do know that it is, right? Covered up by rules and regulations, vetoes and sanctions. Neighborhoods divided, families broken, suburbs rising like concrete jungles, banks redlining, bank subpriming, but this is only the precipice of a greater problem. This must be what my ancestors felt when they were forced to row ashore to lands


unknown. The faint smell of Iron ore on my wrist and feet began to rise in my soul and I began to feel claustrophobic, gasping…….. weeping…...wheezing……… and praying……. for freedom. Is I, or aren’t we free? Waiting for the ax to fall You see, the box on the form must be checked, below poverty it says. Oh, you must know that there is a qualification for your freedom. Below poverty, is that your answer? You see the working poor are slipping through the cracks like loose change. Loose change that rolls from your pocket on a train. It rolls and rolls until it finally stops at that place where you dare not stick your hand, for if you do, you may find the unthinkable. Some coins fall so deep that you just never pick them up, forgotten, without a second thought. Ironic, that the souls of some folks are just that……. Forgotten. Waiting for the ax to fall. So she waited. Pain like a thunder clap from the heavens roared in her head until she could wait no more and even still she worried about her bill. That defiled box, it now has her laying in wait. Tubes, EEG’s, beeps and clicks. Two at a time please. One moment please. The gracious nurse must smile to keep us at ease. All the while she knows what we don’t want to come to grips with, that the outcome looks bleak.


Where is the justice? Is I or aren’t we Free? I am praying for a miracle Who decides our fate? Do I live or do I die? The prognosis was not good. Systolic and Diastolic was not normal. Just one more day I asked, but the trumpets are blaring. The call came. A Daughter….A Mother…. A sister….A friend No more beeps, No clicks, No boxes to check, No poverty, No income guidelines, No bondage, The Ax Fell You are now free. America, The Land of the free ……...Aren’t we? What box did you check?


Chasing Freedom Marisa Mann



Title of Art Artist

Mina Jared Sanford Previous Page Untitled 4 Tyler Davis 29

Disassociation Annie Noelker Sometimes my shadow sleeps in the cracks between my floorboards. When she can’t sleep, she blushes pink on her cheeks and pulls socks over her toes and leaves my keys in the door. The night swallows her whole and the streetlights pull her out of alleyways and she dances in the red glow of black city cars, unafraid. She dreams of wax-dipped houses and balloons in the attic. At four a.m. she returns with the smell of night in her hair and we craft paper moons and string them across my mirror and pull at the reflections that glare back at us, unafraid.


Seance Annie Noelker I know you keep Mary wrapped in robes with the letters of her name, her date printed on the back in the folds of your wallet. I know that if you hold her up to the light “Rosella” fills her lips. Maybe she’ll kiss you again like when you were four and afraid of the night. She’ll tell you about the glass nuns and how she fills their bellies with her laugh and you’ll picture her walking down cobblestone streets with flushed cheeks. Sometimes I talk to her in my sleep and she’ll send your Saint, the one that shares your name, to tell stories of when you were young. He’ll whisper how you now hide behind white button down shirts and the smell of gasoline. Do you still dream of little red candies and far way places and mud in the cracks of your hands, dried down with the sun? And I’ll whisper, I know.



A Portrait of Erica in Watercolor Denise Lancaster

Ghosted Laney Norman You flatterer, you alloyed tongue, my chest tightened over you. For what? Unlocked the birdcage and the flock poured out slowly, then all at once. Your hand the noose at the base of my skull pull away, and feel the delicious yank But there is no hand, no rope, no pull. Just an empty cage and a tongue stuck in my ear.


Language Spreads Like a Patch of Oil Hannah Bates Dry water to loosin’ joints and invigorate lips, hands tremble, vibrations echo in the blood of the beholder. Shaking in breath, bones, tremors of stimulation, the flux between zen and anxiety (it’s perpetual) Hands, lingering scent of garlic on fingertips, prints engraved with oil metal shavings, Scummy scalp, and greasy hair rests of forehead like sweet exhaustion. Gas fills the air as sparks fly, unsafe while touching, moving, turning and spinning and twisting bending, burning, and finally, sleep. Dreams swirl like honey, thick relaxation, but sometimes they poke, aggravate deep rooted neurosis, manifested in repetitious motions of the day, over and over a sharp pain in the spine over and over.


Is this everything, eternity? Awaking to sweet beans, an energizing elixir to tighten up and speed through. Electrified heat, melting into spontaneous forms, unnatural bliss, connection is necessary for production, producing moments of pure intuition understanding: I can control lightning It vibrates with caffeinated blood, the power in dirt-fingers (I can see my ancestors through my fingertips) Dancing in rhythm with steel and gas and heat the mysterious inner workings of machines. In the air the taste of rust, feeling micro particles graze skin, abrasive but craving the itch of heat, the pain of the push the satisfaction of seeing. I wonder about the things I do not know, they tumble around inside the skull, gather and form into a landscape of fantastic visions. Aware of the air movements of ghosts melt in a silent tension, stretch in relaxed, smoky air.



Master Arthur Norman


Savasana Jessica Cornelson I steal this moment from the other me, the one whose days are debts owed. I name it Wind. I name it Memory. I name it Sand Storm I Have Never Seen and Fast as a Small Bird’s Heart, Warm as Sunned Mud. I name it Self, Small Armor against One Day After Another. Sun, Sun behind the Moon, Sun Backside of Earth from Me, I name it against the darkness my closed eyes flutter against, my quiet heart that swells with my smallest fears. I open my hands, my arms, the whole hand of my body to the darkness and name the darkness that waits to unname me, that will steal me back from the light.


Storm to a Dog Jessica Cornelson I’ve never seen a vacuum cleaner drag my mistress around the house in the dark, but I don’t doubt such sneaky creatures would hide inside a nightmare. For when the sky’s water bowl run’s over, first stealing sunlight, then giving it back in frightening flashes, I hear the rumble of a mountain-sized Hoover in the distance. The neighbor dogs howl about the dark Dyson that makes the sky a bath drain, sucking up more trees than I could piss on, draining whole houses up into the night that comes in day inside the bath there is no hiding from. I’ve heard the neighbor dogs howl of dropped houses become dog piles of sticks and bodies. How can my mistress, whose hands produce so many treats, let this small cousin of the dark upswelling drain, of the sky-flashing rumble stalk so silent in the corner, its tail wound round itself, waiting?


Black Beauty Alanta Rakae Slone Before I begin let me just state this is out of my comfort zone. Because I may offend some people, but I’m tired of just leaving it alone. Take time to process what I say before you comment. If you thought before you spoke, I would have never wrote this.. My skin is different, it’s darker, but it still hold beauty. You say “you’re pretty.... for a black girl.” but what do you mean truly? I can’t just be pretty, I have to be categorized by my ethnicity.. And basically you’re saying us black girls are simplicity. But my black is beautiful, you’re just unaware. I tried to conform the curl in my hair. Damaging my own skin. All for the pure “ joy” of fitting in. I was still different, and still wasn’t accepted. My black is beauty, you’re just a skeptic.


Untitled 6 Tyler Davis


Atom Jason Gray [atom]

You have to start Somewhere. A nearly empty ball at everyone fetches.




A sunbather takes The current And pinks. We keep calling Space an ocean.




To stay even-keeled, A rocket Over the water adjusts Its nozzles. The sea Turns to emeralds.




The sun: An umbrella— How much Could it absorb before A shut down?—blooms.

The wind’s clean sweep.




To stay even-keeled, A rocket Over the water adjusts Its nozzles. The sea Turns to emeralds.



Self Portrait Annie Noelker


The house, weathered by the rain Jake Wise Robin songs and Sunday morning church bells rung, the second house from the end of the street began to rise. Bikes pushed by, and snoring drunks retired from their stoops, recognizing the rain beginning to fall. The gold leafed ‘1300’ reflected honey in the pools of autumn storms, the mouth carved from oak, tired bell molded in it’s throat. Two steps in and the warmth from the stove and the knowing that this is much more than just a home, bodies shared on sofa cushions and gathered chairs buzzing from heady slips of quiet talks and constant conversation. Butter sizzled in a black pan, poured the batter in and flipped; again the laughter from the living room like a door creaking poured into pan, syrup glazed and simmering. Smothered yawns and chairs groaned, as they joined the table. Half lidded eyes and sleep not yet divided from them. There were sunflowers beside the cluster of home magazines sat on top the hickory table which had not yet been weathered by the rain.


I never belonged there, a seat at the table was never my place. However much love was spread (like butter), somehow never reached my plate. Splinters sprang from those brick and wood walls, casted glass among the room, in my memory I swept away the shards, dust coated floors instead of glass. Honey stained shirts instead of paint, and the silence never followed me.



Euridyce Acheron Evangelia Philipidis


Before My Body Broke Leah Nielson I was a hauler of hay bales and firewood, a 30-pound pail of water on each arm, hefted from creek to garden, and rained one gallon at a time over perfectly straight rows. I was the cookie maiden, enough for 12 dozen students. Every. Damn. Semester. From scratch. I was The Hostess. Gerald Stern performed Makin’ Whoopee in my living room. Li-Young Lee rode in my truck, asked why I needed such a vehicle, left me explaining the rural life I’d left behind for poems. I was poems. Sonnets as ironed out as my Battenburg lace shower curtains, blank verse dust-free as my baseboards.


I was the A++ Everything with a great rack and size 4 jeans. I was two hours a day at the gym. I was all Ann Taylor and Clinique. I could shoot tequila and a .410 and I could shoot my mouth off like I’d never left that small Virginia town where my Daddy taught me to haul and heft and weed and mow and mulch and never, ever whine, even if I were hurt or spent, even if the sun struck like Logi and my muscles burned in the flames.


Outpatient William Fargason For a short time, days at most, fawns don’t recognize predators or danger— and I walked right up to them, held the bleating thing in my arms. The creature seemed of another time, and here I was, a stranger in its sanctuary. Its ear already tagged with a number, its tiny heart beating twice as fast as mine, its white-spotted coat, still new. I was coming off a new medicine, or maybe I was starting another, so most things only felt half-real. But its shallow breathing wasn’t a hallucination. Its eyes didn’t know what to do with mine yet. I was on leave for the afternoon, halfway through the week of Moving Forward, the mental hospital program back home. After a few minutes the fawn started to kick, the other deer all looking at me, the outsider, as if I was


causing the small sounds of pain— I the oncoming headlights, I the rifle barrel, I the bear trap or bluetongue. The fawn kicked until it was out of my arms, struggling at first under its new weight, its legs no thicker than my wrists. It ran toward the trees, the other deer, its mother. I stood up from the plastic chair. My chest was still warm from where the animal had once been.


Interview with a Poet William Fargason & Leah Nielson I first encountered Will Fargason’s poetry in Rattle. I was so struck by his poem “Upon Receiving My Inheritance,” that I went fishing for Will online. I found his website,, read more of his work, and reached out to compliment him. I am forever grateful that he understood my enthusiasm for his work was just that, not the musings of a crazy poet stalker. Will and I extend our thanks to Ariana-Sophia Kartsonis and the students on the staff of Botticelli Literary Magazine for making this interview possible. • Will, your manuscript Ash on the Tongue is comprised of personal, seemingly autobiographical poems about relationships, mental illness, family, masculinity, faith, and loss. I wonder if you can begin by telling us about the origins of the manuscript and about your writing process for it. I would like to believe that anyone putting together a first book has been writing those poems their whole life up to that point, but the earliest poems in the manuscript were written a little over five years ago, and they’ve been gaining a shape ever since. I didn’t fully realize the shape it would take until I suffered a mental breakdown in the summer of 2013. Then, everything in my life took a different shape; I had to readjust my vision just in standing up and looking forward. Inevitably, so did the poems: they became not poems just about loss, but about rebuilding after loss. And anytime you collapse in on yourself, you have to take responsibility for that collapse, and what led to it. The arc I was looking for in the poems became present in my own life.


• Many of the poems explore isolation and the desire for intimacy. This seems like a concern that threads through all the themes listed above. Could you speak to this? Poems have always been a way to bridge spaces between people. Mine are no different, in this regard. Except, I often saw my poems as my only way to reach out to anyone—a lover, a God, family. The poems act as channels to reach out, but the reaching out is always futile: I am talking to myself in an empty room. For many years I thought I deserved isolation. My depression and anxiety would tell me this, and I listened. I listened a long time. Then, I opened my mouth. This is how the poems came to be. Eventually I had to evaluate whether or not I deserved isolation and if intimacy was ever in the cards. Most of the poems in the first section explore this. I wanted the isolation to feel claustrophobic and the intimacy to always be just out of reach. As in life, in art. • The poems are clearly exploring a cultural definition of masculinity— one that involves guns, hunting, alcohol abuse, and an imposing father figure. I wonder if you find this to be a particularly Southern definition of masculinity and I wonder what it’s like to write poetry in the face of that, and why you see that as important, vital even. Yes, you’re spot-on with this Southern definition of masculinity. I was raised around guns, hunting, and sports. I was walking that knife blade of masculinity that either sharpens you or cuts you. I learned these rules not because I liked them but because I wanted to survive. I never felt that I fit the Southern mold of a man that I was supposed to. This bothers me less now, but I can remember growing up feeling that I was some sort of failure as a man. I was never good at sports (but forced to play them). The acute sensitivity I had as a kid was seen as a weakness, rather than a strength.


Writing poetry became an act of defiance against those Southern stereotypes of what a man should be. Just by writing poems I felt I could emerge from those shadows much stronger than any man I was supposed to be. • Although the manuscript’s last section begins with a poem titled “Prayer,” it seems faith and religion are of little comfort in the face of the loss addressed in other poems. If you’re comfortable doing so, can you talk a bit about faith in these poems. Where does this speaker find hope? I always was told to find hope in God and in the routine of religion. I was raised Southern Baptist, and was told my early mental illness was a sign of a lack of faith. If I prayed harder, if I read deeper, I could get rid of my depression. This was not the case. I found myself more depressed and anxious the closer I tried to get to God. As any adult must reevaluate what they were told in childhood, I did so through my poems. Many of my poems try to come to terms with my adult Christianity, with a faith that isn’t as strong as it could be. I firmly believe all poems are an act of prayer, a communion with the self. I’m also interested in using biblical stories in my poems. In the poem “Fig Leaf,” I use the story of Adam in the garden hiding his nakedness behind a fig leaf. But all poems are fig leaves. In other poems, like “Love Song to the Demon-Possessed Pigs of Gadara,” I find solace with the creatures God punished, or who God made to suffer. I felt I could relate to them, and that they deserved a poem. • I find your poems musically soothing, in part because you have brief, conversational phrases you as tools for repetition. Can you talk a bit about your fondness for repetition and what you hope to accomplish by employing it?


I never want to be a thesaurus poet. I think the worst poems come from using a thesaurus, because it places the poet the furthest from actual speech. I love anaphora in poems I both read and write. Anaphora becomes the chorus of the song: it stays the same while everything around it changes. And by those changes around it, the meaning of the repeated phrase also shifts and changes. For me, repetition acts as a diving board: it allows me the momentum to move to another imaginative leap in the poem while not losing the path I’m following. Repetition is a solid tempo in the poem, and the leash with which to wander and return. When I write using anaphora, I always think, “this will be the last poem I use with anaphora; there are no more good phrases to repeat.” But then, I think of another phrase to use as an anaphora, and that phrase is the match that sets the whole poem ablaze. When those phrases come to me, I must write them. I have no other choice. • For me, the repetition becomes almost prayer like. How do you see that tying into the religious themes in the book? Prayer involves litany and litany can invoke a prayer-like state just by itself. So my list poems and my poems that use repetition hopefully become prayers themselves. Many of my poems are an attempt to speak out toward something, someone. Prayers are no different. • I find your speaker to be highly accessible. I don’t mean “relatable” in the way some current students use the word, but rather that you seem fully comfortable putting a version of yourself on the page. As a teacher, I find it a struggle mightily getting my students to do so. Sometimes I wonder if it’s their age. They don’t want to seem like a 14-year-old version of themselves. But they haven’t yet found their adult poetic voice. And so they avoid using “I” in their poems. I find myself begging them, “You have a good heart, can you please put a


piece of it in your poem?” Have you always been comfortable with a version of yourself on the page? And if not, how did you become comfortable? I like the idea of the person in the poems as a “version” of myself. The person in my poems is never fully “me,” which allows the real me some distance. But of course putting anything of yourself on paper is terrifying at first, and even after years and years of writing, if it’s not still terrifying, then you’re doing something wrong. I still don’t feel fully comfortable putting myself down on paper, but I’m glad the poems read that way. I want to always remain slightly uncomfortable with what I say in my poems because it means I’m being fully honest with myself. If not, the page can always tell. The poem will crumble under what you’re trying to avoid saying if you don’t say it. True honesty is always uncomfortable; it’s the lies that are comforting. What took me years to do, however, was to bare a part of myself on the page, to become vulnerable. Vulnerability here is linked to honesty—it’s a process that takes practice, one that always feels (and should always feel) like you’re running naked down the street. • The speaker longs for opportunities for Do-Overs in a lot of your poems. In “Collage of Memories that Forms a Box,” the speaker wants to “make a new map.” In “Clean Theory,” there’s a desire to erase glimpses of the self. And “Coffee After Some Time,” is a narrative about visiting the past, doing something over again. It seems to me that poetry provides us with an opportunity to do our lives over and over again. What do you see as the benefits or power of that? What are the drawbacks? There’s always power in being able to rewrite the past. Poetry is the history of the self, and as such, the poet always has the ability to fabricate that past as he or she sees fit. This comes with responsibility


to the past and to the larger, actual history surrounding it. I don’t get to create the dragon and slay the dragon. You only get one. The drawback is that there is a danger to changing the past—if you spend too much time rewriting the past, you just might believe it. • How do you see the speaker’s desire for Do-Overs in relation to his attention to arriving or entering vs. leaving or exiting? Altering the past through poems is always a way of entering. But I think those of us who write poems to process pain, such as I do, fantasize of leaving. The goal of writing a poem about pain is ultimately to leave the pain on the table, on the page, on the ink drying. But this is never the case. The pain stays, but the desire to escape it through poetry draws us back. • Let’s talk about the importance of the imagination to your speaker. Poems like “Aquarium,” “One Your Way to Work,” and “Porcelain Nocturne” seem linked to Wallace Stevens in the way they use the imagination to create a thing, a world. Yes! I love Stevens and his ideas of reality and the imagination. I’m thinking here of his poem “The Planet on the Table” and his essay “The Noble Rider and the Sound of Words.” I know that poems can create a reality, but what happens when you question the ability of poems to even do that, and do that well? This was a question I wanted to explore in those poems—how the reality we create with our imaginations is always backlit as fabricated, the seams exposed. I trust the imagination, I believe in the imagination, but I also know it isn’t true. Knowing that leads to questioning the imaginative realities I create, sometimes within the poems themselves.


• Now that we’ve ventured there, please tell us about your poetic influences. You’ve picked up on my fondness for Stevens, but I also love his contemporary William Carlos Williams just as much. More contemporary poets that influence me (not just in poems but in my view of the world) are: Sharon Olds, Richard Siken, Frank Bidart, Elizabeth Bishop, Frank O’Hara, and Robert Creeley. Each of these poets taught me something—about how to make a poem, about what a poem could do, about who I was or could be as a person. I owe them each more than words. • You have more than a handful of poems that are at their core list poems. I’m thinking of “Collage of Memories that Forms a Box” and “Open Letter to the Past.” Tell us a bit about your fondness for lists, the energ y of lists. Litany poems allow me to put everything into the poem. There is something very freeing about that, about letting yourself allow anything to enter into the mix. And yes, there is definitely an energy that comes from list poems. The energy comes from the speed of the images and the connections that form between them. I want those images (as disparate as they may seem) to fire like synapses in the brain or a nerve from fingertip to elbow, from elbow to shoulder. A litany should excite, a litany should surprise, and ultimately, a litany should never be boring. And after putting all the parts in, you should be able to step back and see a new whole. • These poems are not formal in a traditional sense. “The Day” comes the closest, but even it’s a broken, broken sonnet. And yet, your lines are neatly compressed, as are your stanzas. Can you speak a bit about your concept of the poetic line and your use of stanzas?


I used to scan each line I wrote and stick to a consistent beat. Now I try to listen closer to where the lines want to end. I pay close attention to line breaks, because every line break should make an argument. Creeley is the master of this. In regards to stanzas, I’m recently been hooked on tercets and their ability to formally convey a sense of unresolve. But not all poems need tercets. I usually write the poem in a big block (Sharon Olds-style) before going back later and placing stanza breaks. To be bothered by where to place a stanza while writing a poem would be like looking at your partner’s feet while dancing. You must look ahead. You must always look ahead. • In the past 10 years or so, the lyric has grown in popularity. It’s like kudzu on the narrative trees. Many of these lyric poems are quite short, under 20 lines. Your work, much of it leaning towards what we’d consider long poems, seems to me an amalgamation of the lyric and the narrative. How do you see yourself fitting into this current poetic landscape? Both lyric and narrative are tools to use, and I believe neither should be discarded for the other. I like to think of my poems as lyric narratives, or narrative lyrics. The trick is knowing when to when to sing and when to be silent, when to expand a scene and when to cut it short. Lyric relies on silence to heighten the little that is there; narrative relies on building a path to follow. I don’t want to ever limit myself to only using one or the other. And I’d hate to be classified as just one type of poet. No one is ever just one type of poet. Poetic styles change, both on the macro and micro levels. If I look around too much while I’m dancing, I’ll get embarrassed and stop dancing. I don’t ever want to stop dancing.



When we would go for a drive, 1952-2016 Kayla Holdgreve

1971 Kayla Holdgreve


Tie The Rosary Around Your Wrist, Jake Wise and sway, like a chorus line our bones make home in this bed. Two timid palms entwined, hands trace truths on my jawline find salvation among the thread. Sway, like a chorus line. Fingers script hymns in the waistline confessions unsaid. Two tangled fingers entwined, fists grip wrists combined, prayers, instead. Sway, like a chorus line. Nails digging nooks into spines the preacher said, “Two timid palms entwined, make sin of the glory in his mind the punishment for these two is death.� We swayed, like a chorus line, Two tied palms entwined.


Because these blankets are not tidal waves, like I wish they would be. Jake Wise Neither armor or comforter. They are closer to water, gently drowning me in the scent of the room and the wine we spilled. And the seas’ winds that dragged this scent from ships on their waves was of oak and gunpowder. Navy tides meet silver thread, silver thread meet the hem of a white shirt, and my fingers fiddle with it. “You know I love you right,” pressing my palm into my smile, “but we can’t be what you want.” These blankets made of gunpowder and hope, are now where I sleep, and I should’ve known. The three feet that separate us is an ocean. And no matter how many boats I send, the ocean will always swallow them whole.



Disparate Alayna Smith


Newfangled Demons Mariah Holmes Dawn threatens high despite a sky of blackest pitch where the sun left with an innocence, softly pining and begging to be shattered, parallel to a ground that was waiting to be moved. We are the erosion, the wails at dusk. Because we are meek and bleak and merciless, Clever, cunning, keen, and oh so willing… Bred for existence, procreation- a pitiful purpose! Coached for the kill, risking it all for the sustenance of pride. We are the erosion, the present tense. Cracking twigs and frozen static, on a night through which you’d surely thought you’d sleep, the faintest noises clang out- proving a prowler’s presence perverted from inception, pulling you under, no omission.


Trophy Mariah Holmes behind cork-rimmed glasses I made out of mason jars I see through the candlelight, You, divine, but you look too bright and too soft standing there. And how has your hair not yet caught aflame? You’re standing too close…you’re too far away All the things I’d like to say muffled by the fabric of your wedding dresses train, your wedding dresses train And I’m slain, left to hang above the fireplace


When I Am A Woman Grown Mariah Holmes This night lays gauze upon My crimson knee, my arm Retracting, expelling the sounds It left to haunt me I grow frail and wary, As the refrain coddles me, An infant appropriately Oblivious to the nature of the beast. This chance gathering, A burning pile of brush, warm colors That could only exist, only exist Suspended in this place and time. I am Hester and I am swallowed by The sins of the ones who damned me. By design the breeze begins To methodically graze my Exposed nape, leaving behind A string of skin that won’t forget. They look like pearls and I wear Them like a rosary, But they feel more like a lariat.


Title of Art Artist


Compassionate Zaleg Lewis Cade


Previous Page Scanogram Sidney Gale Shaffner

The Tears of Things Kristina Marie Darling I thought you’d never ask about the flowers. You see, the gatekeeper’s ardor has begun to fade. I trace sweetheart letters you’ve sent by post, count little stitches on the sleeve of a shirt. This is how I sharpen the needle. Then you cut the thread. Now the leave-taking, the carte de visite. You’re always cruelest when I arrive with gifts. So what do you like better, my dress or its shadow. What do you like better, the velvet box or the nothing inside. What I meant to say: The field is just a field. The snow is just snow.

When I say your name, all the world goes out—


The ‘Girl’ Page Torn From the Analyst’s Dictionary Kristina Marie Darling When he sketched a little diagram of her sorrow, he did not see any next pale palace. There would be no a silver gate ushering him out of the garden’s stone enclosure. It should have been easy, he explained, to define the borders. The vastness of the terrain, with its boarded-up factories and fields of dead poppies, posed logistical difficulties, to say the least. When his pallid hand met the edge of the paper, he would shatter the frame and began again. The clean lines of his rendering seemed aspirational, in the sense of pure mathematics or coloured underthings. Yet she continued to trace the path of his hand. Days later, the miracle did happen: (Though he wonders if the scale is right, he never thinks to ask.)


Title of Art Artist

The Fortune Teller Knows She’ll Never Marry Kristina Marie Darling When I failed to understand his joke about women, my silence was actually a much larger failure, a The view from the room is the same in winter. You see, I live alone in a large house, which means weather acquires a more significant beauty: What I’ve been trying to say is, I could never comprehend the things he loved. The field was just a field. The snow was just snow. Now there will be no poems on rice paper, no flowers arranged in white boxes. At night, my perfect teeth fall into all states of disrepair. At night, my body is a bright dying thing and there is no one to wake me.

Title of Art Artist


The Architect’s Version has Nothing to do with Light Kristina Marie Darling When asked, I describe my loneliness as a cathedral, in which only wives may enter the innermost room:

You see, it’s iron that holds the stained-glass panels in place. Here none of the sisters speak the same language. When we sing, it is impossible to understand one another’s sorrow. One by one, we kneel at the altar, hands too heavy for gloves or a ring. One by one, we tend the same fire. The prayer books are exactly as we remembered them– I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry


Title of Art Artist

Untitled Kyle Benson


Heart Home Jared Sanford Perpendicular to the train tracks Memory house with the door that cracked Where grandma forgot and grandpa’s heart stopped For silence is a lonely impact


Inherent Silence Jared Sanford passed down from grandfather to son and grandson there is no talking in the car, a peaceful meditation under perma-grey overcast Midwestern winter



Room 29 Lawerence Mitchell

Highway to Hell Freddie Crocheron



Killer Lizard Freddie Crocheron

Bi-pedal Snake Freddie Crocheron


New Terrain Megan Earley Your skin is a soft sand desert, that stretches miles Dry from a painful drought, I carry muddy water I tread across you, letting the sand slip between my fingers the bottoms of my feet press against the hot earth nervously prancing as to not stand still too long when the sun sets, I melt into you a mirage on the horizon quivers in spontaneous rhythm my mind swings like a small child clinging to a rope over a shallow creek in early spring


Peaceful Sailor Lawerence Mitchell



Cheesy Han Donovan

Fire Betsy Corcoran

I don’t remember my first experience with fire. If I sat in awe of the sparks as they ascended higher and higher from their humble forge. I do remember the cabin in the mountains, my family and I sitting around the fire pit, our personal font of rejuvenation. I remember how the flames licked the wood, leaving dark welts that pulsed golden red in the center. The smell, a branding incense that burned our eyes. Our voices rising like those first souls who sat around these flickering flames, the crackle of the dry wood becoming a mantra before the silence eventually took back its hold. The velvet pitches of the night a solid nothingness. All that was in existence: the night and the enveloping presence of the fire.


Lung Song Leah Nielson a branch and a decantation, a decade of thinking the dying was over and over, over again you find yourself in January, nothing new but the calendar lending itself to nothing but reminders, January no nuance, just January

reminding you of January

and the maple branches bronchial through another ice storm, street lamp backlit into a spider’s web a web of childhoods by the living room window the sill so high you needed a sofa elbows on the sill


dreamed frangible frail rail brittle little light stay up all night no school no school no wizardry but an act of god a real one a conduit sent that divides and divides like fourth grade math and boys at a gym dance and seas in the stories the dead father told he smelled like the sea not of branches left unraked for the year (had you lost your way) and not of the spring burn pile seething and too its meager ashes and the sky senescent if it were any color, the sky splitting ash into ash thrush surge dirge organ bellows swollen compressed, the rest that might be meditative,


the pause the place where the meditative voice says imagine your happy place— root and alveoli— though those too are terminal you are tired of imagining and the beauty of trachea is little consolation in the face of nebulizer and divide all you want—bronchioles bronchi conch spiral marker on heron isle

where coquinas root their lavender

and yellow relic wings the things children make into art lobe by lobe clam flesh loosened and pried loosen listen a choir (no, you’re confused) what gets chosen should be tightly wrapped and not in decoupage slob and longing—Noel Noel Noel Noel— born is another almost-January you see only in birches and bundles of grapes—January pulmonary sob and the ribs, you swear even they ache.


Nyotaimori Han Donovan


Open Letter to the Past William Fargason To the grandmother who left me eight voicemails in the past five days as she sat alone in her modest town home chasing her Valiums with red wine: I’ll call you back tomorrow; to the squirrel nervously waiting to dart across the sidewalk: I don’t see you; to the woman in tears on the couch next to me whose leg won’t stop shaking: it’s not you,—it’s not me either; to the car behind me wondering why I didn’t wave thank you: you didn’t let me out, I let myself in; to my mother napping in a beanbag chair beneath a wall of taxidermied animal heads: don’t be afraid to wake up to the pair of mountain goats staring at you from either side of the room; to the therapist who fell asleep during our session that one time: I had run out of important things to say, mostly; to the girl with leaves in her hair who took me one summer behind my house in that field with the spruce pines lining three sides: you didn’t know you were my first, did you? to the eighth-floor beach condo balcony railing I could barely look over: I wanted to jump; to the woman in Starbucks who caught me looking over the edge of my laptop at her and initiated conversation: I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t know what to say; to the ambulance drivers who came after the call about a heart attack: it was just a panic attack, there’ll be another one; to the Bengal tiger separated by a moat from the spectators at the DC zoo, who gave a bellow that resembled more of a moan than a roar: I understand;


to the window that leaks every time it rains: I’ve run out of clean towels and sheets; to the raccoon trap my father assembled out in the barn: you weren’t meant to catch our neighbor’s cat; to the woman who threw up in the doorway of the Metro last Thursday before she had time to fully exit: I support your decision; to the young boy who almost drowned in the Olympic-sized diving well because he thought the stairs at the edge led all the way to the bottom, that he could just walk them up because he couldn’t swim: I was there, but didn’t dive in; to the younger sister I had to buy a pregnancy test for: I hope that narrow grey strip reads only one faint line; to the grandfather who by the second stroke only had use of his neck, head, and left arm: you had more faith in me than me; to the afternoons that slipped away because I was too distracted trying to locate the real reason why she left: I won’t miss you (once I forget you); to the friends who carried me up the stairs, into the car, and into the E.R. because I was too drunk and high to stop throwing up all over myself: really sorry about the Persian rug; to those recurring dreams of earthquakes and tornadoes, the ones where I have no choice but to flee with others by going underground, deeper and deeper: you are the ones I remember; to the waiter I ran into after rounding a corner too fast, who spilled a tray of crab cakes, mashed potatoes, and soup all over me: thanks for the excuse to leave early.



Indifference to love and Indifference to hate, the world in itself Alan Alanis


I’m Afraid I Will Forget Who My Mother Was. Jake Wise I see you there, dancing in a sequin dress. Your body swaying, like a candle flame. The grays and golds shimmering, like pools of light. You’re barefoot, and singing out of tune. I see you there, asleep on the couch. The fifteenth midnight shift in a row. I will never know how heavy your bones are, Or how plum your eyelids can be. Or what you are dreaming of when you talk in your sleep. I see you there, Holding my brother’s hand, The frozen steel burning your wrist, his orange jumpsuit reflected in your glasses. Behind them are the tears you have held Since the last time we’ve seen him.


I see you there, Swaddling my niece, One hand wrapped around her back The other folding linen sheets. The basket on your hip and the baby On your heart, never looked more at home. I see you there, plucking the flowers beyond the trees. Bent double from the heat, you swipe the summer from your brows and fix the shoes falling from your feet. Who knew, daisies were weeds too?


The Things My Momma Never Told Me Alanta Rakae Slone & Arianny Josearys Damian 1. My mom never told me that I was once a blank canvas, and now, look at me! She never told me my stretch marks would show proof of where my body has grown, bruises would mark where I have fallen and risen again, or that I could paint art to mark my skin as I please. She never told me that the marks across my physical being showed the story of life- rather, she gave me various lotions to wipe away my story, so I could look like the models on the television. 2. My mom never told me that when I become older, I become less naive and things such as doubt and uncertainly would corrupt my mind with evil thoughts and take away my eye for the beauty in the world. She didn’t teach me about the corruption in the world, and that with sunshine there’s always darkness. 3. My mom told me stop, take a deep breath, and recognize all the beauty in the world. To slow down and look for the idealization life and find my own incentive for living. She never taught me theres more to living besides money and other riches. 4. My mom never told me to express myself as I needed. To be mind, body, and soul, a connection of my own existence, not just a by product of the work around me. 5. My mom never told me that it’s ok to believe in the impossible. She taught me to play it safe and to never expect anything. She taught me to never get my hopes up, that way, I’d never be let down.


6. My mom never told me that if someone falls over, pick them up and hug them, if someone looks lonely, to kiss the. She never told me that I could be the difference that stops the malice in the world. 7. My mom never told me healing comes in all forms, and I would not be a criminal for whichever method I chose. 8. My mom never told me about sex. She didn’t teach me how to intertwine my soul correctly with another... you don’t really get taught that.. but she never explained the depth of what was done and how me, myself, would forever share my soul with another. 9. My mom never told me that it is okay to be maddeningly in love at an age that comes with nativity, and that being young and dumb is not “stupid.” 10. My mom never told me the difference between love and lust or how I should watch out for someone who is in love with the idea of me. Someone who can know me better than anyone else. but never know me at all.



Animal Mistreatment Sidney Gale Shaffner


Birthday Roy Bentley Houses on Chester Avenue in Cleveland look like an army had finished with the place and withdrawn. Winter wind grazes rooftops. Boarded-over windows. January abrades the down-turned faces of the walkers. Out of the wind on the sixth floor at Cleveland Clinic you overhear the thorasic surgeon say He’s fighting for his life—meaning that your loved one is dying. The surgeon steps out. His voice is consummately professional. Like a pilot before (and until) impact. Plenty of the right-stuff sheathing a heart that beats. Facing a wall of screens whose green LED readouts dissolve like Etch-A-Sketches, you lie Looks good. Nonetheless, the patient knows it’s bad. Especially if you’ll drive Chester to Euclid to Cleveland Clinic on your birthday. After, what you’ll have is what you have most days: The White Lie That Works and lots of hushed voices peeling and letting fall the windfall fruit of a truth about time and bodies, bodies hiding the ephemeral in a shoebox under a bed of gratitude for a succession of sunsets. 104

Summer Joys Allison Richmond-Leeth I don’t remember if I had just finished riding my bike across the neighborhood, or if I had brought it outside to play with later, but I remember the thickness of my dog’s fur as I patted her back, the late afternoon sunshine and dotted clouds, the trees near my home slowly becoming silhouettes. It was summer break, the bar across the street played loud pop music and red-faced men enjoyed their drinks. My dog lead me to the side of our brick townhouse, sniffing and searching for the perfect squatting place. The front door of my neighbor’s house closes, a sharp sound, and I smell grass. Flowers line the side of my house, their names I never remember, but my dad tells me them all the time. I do remember seeing my sister in the house, she would never join me outside on days like this. She always complained about the summer heat that I love so much. My clothes were loose, blowing in a soft breeze that was warm on my skin, my fingers smelled of dog fur and playground equipment. My curly hair piled up in braids on either side of my head. I remember searching for what was hidden within the grass, the dirt beneath my dog’s wet nose filled with potato bugs and ant hills. I remember I would poke at the tiny dirt hills and watch in awe as a bunch of ants scurry in front of my eyes. I remember wondering when my father would call me inside, and I wished that the summer air could follow me in when that call would come.



The Wheel Kept On Turning Lewis Cade


The Heath Drive-In Theater Is Closed Roy Bentley Revenant concrete receives the motorcycle’s chrome kickstand and he is striding across the lapsed meadow, searching out where he parked on that first drive-in date. He threads speaker wire through fingers as if it were hair— the cry-call of a certain species of hawk is in the treeline. The concession stand/projection booth/Ladies and Gents is, above all, stands of sumac and honey locust leafing up and through roof that Ohio sky is beating its whole body against. See the small raised hills. Summer-brown grasses. Deer browsing inside fence, munching the droughted tufts. They couldn’t care less he has come to stand at a distance and become part of what’s harmless and doesn’t register. He takes a breath and exhales, remembering her curfew, a double feature of Shaft and Summer of ‘42—how silly it felt to pay and leave before the end of both features. Say that the woman he married—Sherry—came here (with him) to see Mandingo. Ken Norton is parboiled in an antebellum cauldron for fucking a White woman. In memory, he sees her getting pissed. A caring soul. The-heart-of-the-biosphere kind who believes things


must get better, give or take some amount of torture. He hears her car door—Bang!—like a detonation in service to narratives about warfare, though it was only a car door to announce she’d walk the six miles, if need be. Alone and in the dark. There. In localities the deer have all but reclaimed. He pulled out to follow. Said, Get in. Please, Sherry. In the lot he throws a leg over the summer-warm seat. When he goes, his tire kicks up a fume of gray gravel in salute to defunct kingdoms of really-blue nothing.


Betsy Corcoran is a sophomore photo major with a creative writing minor. She is the youngest of a large creative brood that give her plenty of material for both mediums. She enjoys consuming red meats and oak aged whiskeys while discussing the finer points of her latest Netflix binge.

Roy Bentley is the author of Starlight Taxi (Lynx House: 2013), which won the Blue Lynx Poetry Prize. Books include The Trouble with a Short Horse in Montana (White Pine: 2006), winner of the White Pine Press Poetry Prize, Any One Man (Bottom Dog: 1992), and Boy in a Boat (University of Alabama: 1986), which won the University of Alabama Press Poetry Series. Recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the NEA, six Ohio Arts Council fellowships, and a Florida Division of Cultural Affairs fellowship, a manuscript called The Hour Things Start to Move is in search of a publisher.

Kayla Holdgreve is a photographer and visual artist originally from Lima, Ohio. She received her BFA in Photography from the Columbus College of Art and Design. Holdgreve explores the potential memoires of the landscape as a means of self portraiture. She photographs herself, family and her surrounding environments using traditional and digital processes, as well as incorporating found imagery and collage. She currently resides in Columbus, Ohio.

Allison Richmond-Leeth is a graduating senior at CCAD with a minor in Illustration and a minor in Creative Writing. She has written many Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, and Poetry pieces in her last semester. As an illustrator, she loves to use storytelling to convey positive emotions in her readers.


Evangelia Philippidis Born and raised in the shadow of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, Evangelia Philippidis follows the storytelling tradition of her ancestors. Her stories, however, are not only about mythical heroes and Olympian gods, they depict the essence of modern man’s continued struggle to find balance within himself and the world he inhabits. As an editorial features illustrator for The Columbus Dispatch, she spent 22 years presenting visual stories of humanity and hubris, technology and spirituality, passion and pathos. Now as a fine artist she continue that journey through images that reflect both her Greek heritage and modern influences. She strive to bring visual life to social and spiritual issues and draw the viewer into the image – to be moved, to be amused or provoked, or simply to stop and reflect. She is a 1981 graduate of CCAD in Illustration and a Adjunct Instructor for Illustration. Her work can be seen in various national publications and book covers and is part of the permanent collection of the National Hellenic Museum in Chicago.

Alan Alanis is a freshman in CCAD, majoring in Illustration with a minor in Creative Writing and Advertisement and Graphic Design. He was born and raised in Mexico City, the source of his inspiration. The pain, death, corruption, poverty and crime that this beautiful place exhales become the subject themes for his writing and his art; as well as the unavoidable pessimism and absurdism that comes with it. He likes to stay in his room, and his enhanced sense of guilt pushes him to make art hoping to make empty people, no, all people, accept that we create in the dessert, maybe not. This year, he won first place for CCAD’s Second Annual Creative Writing Award Series for his screenplay titled “Discordia”.


Lewis M. Cade is a sophomore Illustration major and Creative Writing minor at CCAD. He lives in Beavercreek, but is in a constant state of traveling between his many homes: Columbus Ohio, Overton County Tennessee, Bayern in Germany, and many more. As a film and comic enthusiast, he hopes for nothing more than to be able to share his own stories with the world someday.

Jason Gray is the author of Photographing Eden (Ohio UP, 2009), winner of the Hollis Summers Prize, and two chapbooks, How to Paint the Savior Dead (Kent State UP, 2007) and Adam & Eve Go to the Zoo (Dream Horse, 2003). His poems have been featured in Poetry, The Kenyon Review, American Poetry Review, The New Criterion, and elsewhere. He is the associate editor of The Writer’s Chronicle.

Regina Zehner is a freshman at Columbus College of Art and Design studying Fine Arts. She is interested in writing as a form of narrative within her work and as well as visual aesthetics. She hopes to involve herself in critical writing, more poetry and curatorial practices.

Arthur Norman Jr. is a native of Dayton, Ohio and was raised in Columbus where he currently resides. He is a student at Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) studying Advertisement & Graphic Design with a minor in Illustration. Arthur works as a full-time Facilities Coordinator at Heavenly Kids Center for Learning. Arthur’s hope is to one day run his own community art studio to provide opportunities and resources for emerging artists to grow and impact the culture. To see more of Arthur’s artwork, follow him on Instagram,


Sidney Gale is currently attending CCAD full time for her senior year of high school through a program called College Credit Plus. Next year will be her first official year at CCAD, but she will have enough credits to be considered a sophomore. Despite not yet being a degree seeking student, Sidney has already taken part in the 2017 CCAD Art of Illustration Show and the CCAD Spring Art Fair. She hopes to pursue a career in 2D animation, preferably with Cartoon Network.

William Arnold was born and raised in Springfield, Ohio [the same home town as Bernice Abbott] and received his BA in Sociology while minoring in Art, from Otterbein University in 2006. After working as Program Manager with the Ohio AIDS Coalition for nearly eight years, Arnold was accepted into CCAD’s MFA program. Currently a second year candidate, Arnold has also been an artist in residence with Second Sight Project located in Franklinton for the past year.

Megan Earley is a sophomore illustration major at Columbus College of Art & Design. She enjoys hand-drawn illustration, hand-lettering, and learning skills in new mediums. She is currently in a writing poetry course that she enjoys very much. Megan would like it if her love for writing and illustration could somehow be combined in the future.

Sizzling Parsnip is a sad and tired art student originating from northeast Ohio. They like to think they specialize in digital illustration with a leaning towards the surreal. Visit them at their sizzlin’ website:


Marisa Mann is an Illustrator // Designer born in Toledo, OH who is currently working in Columbus, OH. While she enjoys designing and illustrating books, posters, and editorials, she also has a newfound love of relief and intaglio printmaking. Her style can be described as heavily lineand shape-based with a focus on storytelling. You can catch updates on her work at or on instagram @marisamann24.

Minnie Lucas Minnie Lucas is a photographer from Cambridge, Ohio. She became interested in photography as a nine year old in 4-H and has been taking photographs ever since. She enjoys taking photos of rural life from her native Guernsey County. Some of her favorite things to photograph are abandoned buildings, farm life, and nature. She likes to feature things that might seem ordinary to most people.

Alayna Smith is a fine art photographer working primarily in film. These images are a part of an ongoing self-portraiture series examining and deconstructing notions of self, memory, space, and how she fits into those spaces.

Han Donovan is a first year illustration major from Cincinnati, Ohio whose art is grounded in narrative. She enjoys consuming media, crafting stories and creating realistic characters who are just as imperfect as anyone else. She hopes to write and illustrate graphic novels and create concept art for movies, TV shows and video games.


Carissa Gooding is a Fashion Design major at CCAD in her sophomore year. Gooding primarily works with the construction of clothing, but enjoys experimenting with different textiles along the way. Gooding strives to have a green impact on the environment by up-cycling clothing or reusing materials. The Recycled Plastic Bag Dress has been featured in a recycled gallery exhibition at Brazee Street Studios as well as Chroma’s 2017 pop up fashion show.

Annie Noelker is a lens-based artist with an interest in creative writing and poetry. She is a junior at Columbus College of Art and Design. Her work centers and seeks out to explore family, tradition and femininity. Noelker also pursues high fashion, portraiture and fine art photography.

Denise Lancaster is a Fine Artist born 1984. Has over fifteen years professional experience of creating and selling freelance and commission art to clientele. She studied advanced portfolio and commercial art in her earlier years, later receiving a BFA in Fine Arts & Writing from Columbus College of Art & Design. Lancaster has exhibited extensively statewide throughout the Ohio region including The Ohio Governor’s Office, additionally she has received numerous prestigious awards and grants for excellence in the arts. Today Lancaster owns her own online eCommerce gallery where the public can view and shop for original luxury art within the marketplace at



Sweet Guiseppe Sizzling Parsnip

Brandie Cox is advertising and graphic senior. She love the study of skeletons. Brandie is on the events and glad to be here.

Chris DeRose is senior at CCAD and a character design artist who is pursuing his goal at working in animation. Chris is also working on his own comic, and enjoys pizza, walks, drawing people. Chris was on the art team, and did artwork for Botticelli, including his character designs found within this issue.

Samantha McLaughlin is a graphic designer in her senior year at CCAD. She loves ceramics, and spending her summers on Lake Superior. She is on the art staff and Editor-in-Chief.

Tyler Davis is a Fine Art junior at Columbus College of Art Design with a concentration in Printmaking. Tyler is a current member of the Black Student Leadership Association on CCAD campus and during his senior year will be one of three taking over as president of the club. Tyler will be having his first ever solo exhibition at CCAD alum run gallery Corrugated Studios this up-incoming May.

Beth Yancey is an Advertising and Graphic Design Major here at the Columbus College of Art & Design finishing up her senior year. She has a passion for plants and dreams of the day where she can be a stay at home dog mom.


Anthony Damico is a junior advertising and graphic design student and he assisted on the Botticelli design staff. He likes beaches and long walks on cats.

Heidi Clifford is a junior Advertising & Graphic Design major. For Botticelli, she was part of the Design & Layout team and helped to create the final layout of the magazine. In her spare time, she likes working on creative content and content creation for herself and classwork.

Alanta Rakae Slone is a sophomore in Fashion Design. Slone is apart of the Literary team on Botticelli. She recently grew a strong interest in concept design and is aiming to study Abroad at London College of Fashion this fall.

Edosa Omoruyi is a Junior Illustration Major and Creative Writing Minor. His interest consist of drawing comics and playing sports in his free time. He also enjoys reading and writing fiction as well.

Jake Wise is a second year, Design student. Along with graphic design and writing, he spends his time at school focusing on his photography. He spends his free time coaxing his friends into photography related excursions and attempting to pet every dog in the world. He served on the Literature and Layout staff of Botticelli this issue.

Aaron Shields is a young Advertising and Graphic Design student. In his second year at Columbus College of Art and Design. From Cleveland, Ohio.


Tracy Powell is a Junior Fashion Major at CCAD . Tracy is known for her High fashion and Costume aesthetics. Her desire is to create beautiful costumes for Sci-fi, Fantasy and Period pieces for film and television shows. Tracy will be attending SACI in Florence, Italy this summer to further her talents and she hopes to find a muse that will take her creativity beyond cosmic reaches. Spending time with her family is important to Tracy and when they are all asleep she loves to read and fill her journals with prayers, thoughts, dreams and funny tales of her daily chronicles. Tracy is on the Literary Staff and she is Editor-inChief at the Botticelli Magazine.

Kimmie Chris DeRose

Plastic Bag Dress Carissa Gooding

It’s a Persimmon Sizzling Parsnip

Cover art by: William Arnold

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