brushfire literature and art
61 vol. 2 Ashley Noel Hennefer, Editor
First copy free, additional copies $5 each Special thanks to Amy Koeckes, ASUN, the Submission Review Committee, contributors and everyone who submitted. A huge hug and thanks to the fantastic Brushfire staff - Rebecca, Ash Dodge, Jake, Emma, Andrew - for working so hard and bringing so many great ideas and insights to the publication. Special thanks to Wayne and Paula Hennefer for their support. Published by the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, Reno. Opinions and viewpoints expressed are not necessarily those of the ASUN, faculty, staff, student body or administration of the University of Nevada, Reno. Copyright ÂŠ 2009 Brushfire and the individual contributors. All rights are reserved by the respective authors and artists. Original work is used with expressed permission of the artists. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. Cover design and layout by Ashley Noel Hennefer with input and assistance from the Brushfire Staff Fonts: Violation, Mayflower, and Chanticleer Roman Violation from KIWI MEDIA, Inc. http://www.kiwi-media.com/fonts.html Printed by Registered Ink Printing Co. www.registeredink.com
table of contents Editor’s Note - 4 Notes from the Interns - 5
brushfire 61 vol 2
The Market (story) - 60 Eve (painting) - 63 The Sky (photograph) - 64 Inauguration Day (poem) - 6 You Have Never Really Crossed My Sometimes (photograph) - 6 Mind (poem) - 65 Snow Falling in May (poem) - 7 Pink Toes (poem) - 65 Autothysis (poem) - 8 True Religion (story) - 66 Playing on the Beach (photograph) - 9 How I Used to Be (painting) - 69 Blotting Out Our Childhood (story) - 10 Moonlight Waltz (poem) - 70 Daphne’s Shade (poem) - 12 Pearl (painting) - 71 Moon (drawing) - 13 True Romance (story) - 72 Spotlight On: Ben Reynolds - 14 View (photograph) - 77 Highway 50 (poem) - 16 Beacause a Sonnet is Too Long (poem) Day 25 (photograph) - 18 78 Blue (story) - 19 Oregon Coast (photpgraph) - 79 The End Was Nigh (poem) - 21 Rachel 1, 2 and 3 (paintings) - 80 314 Jubilee (story) - 22 Stare (poem) - 82 Exodus (poem) - 26 San Francisco Light River (photograph) - 27 Thumbing Through My Sophomore Yearbook (poem) - 83 The Preacher (poem) - 28 Mary Knew (photograph) - 83 Called Up (story) - 30 Whim (poem) - 84 Dreamer A (photograph) - 34 Flora (photo manipulation) - 85 Five Moons (poem) - 35 Wire (photograph) - 86 Coming Full Circle (story) - 36 Green Reflections (photograph) - 86 Never Again (poem) - 38 Depreciation 1 (photograph) - 87 Pear (poem) - 39 Instituition Man (story) - 88 Untitled Diptych (photographs) - 40, 41 Infatuate (poem) - 90 Omagh in Fragments (story) - 42 Broken Bottle Thing (photograph) - 92 Redwood (photograph) - 47 Black Prism Road (poem) - 93 Upon the News of Your Father’s We Have You Surrounded! (painting) Death (poem) - 48 94 Reflection 3 (photograph) - 50 Cassandra (drawing) - 95 Lover’s Lunch (poem) - 51 The Perils of Being a Woman (poem) - 96 Spotlight On: Aukai Almeida - 52 Shadow Lovers (photograph) - 97 Becca’s Pieces (photographs) - 54, 55 Michelle (photograph) - 56 How to Submit - 98 Webe (poem) - 56 Thank You - 99 Row 1 Seat 3 (prose) - 57 Staff Page - 100 The Month of My Exile (poem) - 58 Hands (poem) - 59
Ashley Noel Hennefer, Editor Spring doesn't always feel like Spring in Northern Nevada. Somedays it will feel like the middle of summer - hot, still air and stifling classrooms. The next day there will a snowstorm like in the dead of winter. The weather in our state is unreliable, ever-changing, and spontaneous. Every semester, the Brushfire receives hundreds of submissions from all over Northern Nevada. It is both a challenge and a blessing as Editor to be able to see all of the amazing work created by students at UNR. The issue that you now hold in your hands is a testament to the progress and creativity of the artists and writers in our community. This is a very personal edition of our publication. The poetry, stories, photography and other pieces in this book are straight from the hearts and minds of students from all walks of life. This issue is about challenge. Challenging the concepts of stereotypes, religion, family, love. And most importantly, challenging our deepest secrets and thoughts. Spring is about renewal and growth. But it is not always flowers that bloom in our lives. It is up to us to use our creativity to hold onto ourselves in both a drought and a storm. Thanks for such a great year of art and writing! Ashley Noel Hennefer
Emma Schmelzer Intern
It has been incredibly exciting to me to discover the arts community within our university and city through the Brushfire, and I think that the journal itself is becoming more and more representative of the great talent that is all too often covered up in the area. Every issue is a fascinating psychological portrait, and this one in particularly has unearthed some fantastic and profound pairings of visual and written words to create something even deeper than either of the mediums alone. May you find a connection in this issue today, and find even more when you return in the future with new eyes.
notes from the Brushfire interns...
Jake Carey Intern
This is my second issue of the Brushfire that I have helped create and I have to say that I truly enjoy doing it. Working on the book this semester has been interesting; but in the end, the final product makes it all worthwhile. It has given me new ideas and shown me the magnificent talent of the artists that attend this school. I can't wait until next semester to start the new issue and work the amazing staff again.
Inauguration Day by Kim Norton
Claiming brighter days But the times are not easy It is still winter
by Kelly Bridgegum digital photograph
Snow Falling in May —for Jessica by Michael Witowski
The snow began to fall in the late afternoon, in the middle of May. We made angels in the forming drifts, we drew our heart—her, my name inside, ate from fingertips, threw white that clung to dark eyelashes— then ran inside. Our eyes danced majestically, our lips chapped and unsure— by the firelight burning, warming the white to water. While lips pressed the water traced lines down our cheeks. When I walked her home, we wanted fresh white again, but the snow had stopped falling & melted, while we were inside.
by Scott Godine The sky is gray today, and in my mind the sky swarms with dark intent snarling wrath and the rain it holds will crash down with meteoric force and crush all until the vault of heavens itself cracks and throws all into chaos And the howling wind is cold, and the wind is the keening cry of the pain in the hearts of men, and deeper, the steaming breath of the beasts gnawing at the holes in the hearts of men, and it is a sharp wind, edged with hooks and barbs and razors and each gust is a new and graceless coup de grace But still I walk to see you, and the wind rips at my flesh and the sky locks me hard in ice, and though i fall to my knees the moon melts the ice and regrows my raw flesh For I love you. and you are the moon
and you are the moon
but you are the wind
but you are the sky
playing on the beach by Jon Criss
Blotting out our Childhood by Allyson Patton
The beach is black as obsidian. Tonight, in the late light of chill December in British Columbia, we stand upon the shore of Smugglers Beach. Flecks of ice cling to our skin, our pale pink skin, absorbing into our pores as falling snow freezes our faces. We haven’t been here in years. Childhood games have a way of disappearing for sisters who have passed puberty. We took the soggy path through the forest behind the house where Grandpa used to live. We pushed through the dense trees, overgrown maples and prickly pines, until we arrived at the end of the trail. Here. We burst forth from behind two deciduous trees, with Katie shoving past Shannon to hit the beach first (Katie always compensates for being the younger one). We know it’s too cold to enjoy the beach as it is intended, with sunburns, baby oil, beach towels, boys, and picnic baskets. But we step out onto the sand anyway. Beneath our boots, the thin layer of ice coating the sand breaks, cracking and giving way to our weight. We don’t want to break the ice. We step up onto the fallen logs and mess of driftwood near the tree-line at this edge of the beach. One foot in front of the other, we trudge across the rotting logs, covered in two inches of fresh snow. Snow like powdered sugar. Remember that powdered sugar French Toast Grandpa used to make us every morning before school? We think: Yeah, that was real good. We look up to watch the sky, and Shannon loses her footing, slipping off the log and falling into a patch of ice-encrusted seaweed. Far above, charcoal grey bleeds into coral pink, shades of the northern night sky. Fog blots out the islands beyond. Only bright red lights shine through, pinpricks of steady color on the starboard side of ships that sail the sea into the west. Near where we stand by the logs, as far from the water as possible, many thick growing trees outlined with white snow contrast with the dark night sky. A lone arbutus tree struggles against the elements. We ponder how it sprouted up from amidst rocks, how it is now completely twisted and bent over. Its branches reach for hope, though dressed with winter. We glance at each other, and Shannon shoves her hands into her jacket pockets while Katie rubs her chin. One day we’ll be old too, all twisted and bent over, with hope of our youth long forgot10
ten. “My chin is freezing!” Katie announces and we pull up our scarves around our necks to cover the lower half of our face. We laugh. We look like little bandits. Remember when we pretended to be smugglers, transporting treasure troves of pinecones from the forest to hide in the tide pools, trusting the crabs to watch our bounty until we returned? Ice, thick and firm, seals off the tide pools that pepper the sandy shore. We turn instead to gaze at the great sea beyond. No crashing waves tonight, just a steady lull as the water calmly laps against the frozen shoreline. A fair light flickers in the distance. Harsh yellow buoy lights blink in the bleakness, fighting the fog. We stare for a while, watching and wondering. Fighting our own fog, we try desperately to remember, to cling to what we recall from our time spent here ten years earlier. The darkness of the beach is trying to overcome our hopes, dreams, and recollections. We are losing our childhood. We wish the memories would flood back to us. Katie waves to the wet waves, and Shannon sniffles, trying not to cry. This is our place. This is where we could be kids together. Sisters. When mom and dad were fighting, when we got shipped out to Grandpa’s old house near the beach, when we tried to forget that our family was falling apart, when we knew we only had each other, we always came here. Upon the shores of Smugglers Beach, we smuggled back our happiness and discovered what it meant to be innocent. Tonight, in the late light of chill December in British Columbia, we stand upon the shore of Smugglers Beach. Sisters. When winter comes, we won’t forget what this place really meant to us. We smile. This is our place. Here, there was no snow, no cold, no sadness, no struggles, no death. This is our place. Even tonight, in the physical reality of winter, that remains true.
Daphne’s Shade by Allison Hilborn
thick skinned, her pale-white bark is solar, storing the heat from the afternoon I place my palm upon her, as magnets I press my forehead to hers, we are like lovers hiding from commitments in the tension of a grand affair. of all trees with long, swaying branches I find her, having come to claim love the etching of her skin that she can hold the secret I cannot carry alone. Humbly I ask her, as my eyelashes glaze her skin in this, our affectionate confidence, can you carry these secrets for me? the moon comes in for the night’s act and reveals these ancient lines upon her, scars up and down her thin frame, the scrapes and bruises of all too many demandsin the darkest part of night I am of her, bird resting in the nest made of her root, soil, and trunk- as the sun rises her spirit rests, she dissociates while children running round her tell her mysterious things, or pull irresponsibly on her arms climbing like monkeys, arm foot arm foot up up up her thin trunk, the pain may be immeasurablestill, she comforts them, holds each and absorbs the questions of child to mother confessions of lover to beloved bird’s mating flight, beach’s tired reverieonly a laurel might be so tolerant
to be silent in the wake of summerâ€™s infidelities these short, harsh words; she collects the tarnished works of the woods, paying a dear repentance for wanting to be of the forest, not the maid within it.
by Jamie Swift pencil drawing
spotlight on: musician
name: Ben Reynolds major: Sociology medium: Music -guitar playing/songwriting/singing
Ben Reynolds began playing music five years ago; however, his desire for performing is virtually non-existant. “It seems like an unnecessary hoop i jump through to impress unblinking crowds. love would be much better,” he says. A self-proclaimed “romantic” and “musical naturalist,” Ben finds inspriation for his lyrics in nature. He says, “I find the best negative metaphors come from nature. The only subjects more uncaring and indifferent to suffering than human beings themselves are the environments that sustain them.” Ben used to play the violin, electric bass, and drums, but now sticks exclusively to acoustic guitar. Ben cites the Pixies, Tom Waits, Elliott Smith, the Shins and Leonard Cohen as some of his favorite artists and musical influences. “I appreciate any artist with the talent to sound pretty and the guts to sound caustic,” he says. To listen to Ben’s music, visit his Myspace profile at www.myspace. com/benreymusic. Story by A.N Hennefer. Photo provided courtesy of artist
uprooted (bonds are tied to sever) by Ben Reynolds
Verse: Dearest suspect, face in the crowd, miss stilted lover. Armored aspect, you have health to laugh aloud. Nobody’s like you, clear your own path, just like any other. Brush your bangs back, love, and be proud. Cast your shadow, make a mistake, nothing lasts forever. Even flowers need to steal some light to grow. Don’t sprout a conscience, everything’s fair, bonds are tied to sever. The soil can fold your wounded below. Chorus: Decomposition at your heel, the sun in your eyes, Birds waft by but they don’t sing for you. Float far away and make your difference: flirt with the sky. The clouds you chase will rain and you’ll fall too, And I won’t wait for you. Verse: It’s catching up now, don’t come undone, it’s the way things happen. Your spoiled petals fall to help the dirt to grow, Because sometimes they love you, or just love you not; it’s the vise you’re trapped in. You know I learned it long ago. We all anchor roots to the depths, chained in brute substance. You can protest or explore the life within. Uprooting skywards seems like adventure or naive avoidance Finding meaning before you begin.
by Paul Boone
Full moon spotlight propelling my all night high desert lonely road driving jag pushing me to THE next turn summit town West to San Francisco towards THE woman THE mad, crazy love THE joy kicks darkness kind of love transcendent of sex and possession love residing in the immediate No sleep, No need Highway 50 THE loneliest road straight-ahead-America road land stretching out as far as you can see horizon meeting ground no fences, no people just land Saint Jackâ€™s and Brother Nealâ€™s road or is it? do I just want it to be? connect the dotted lines from me to them
They say THE road was Brother Neal’s canvas well, tonight I lay claim to THE brand new road deep black pavement is my roll of paper like Saint Jack’s stream of consciousness typewriter I write my life on this road THE loneliest road No distractions pure thought No breaks 80 miles per hour dive into THE turn 90 miles per hour in high, out low 100 miles per hour laying it down the straightaway following the snake bisecting the page leading me West to San Francisco to THE City to THE woman
800 miles keep moving 600 miles No stopping 400 miles and I can taste the bay on my lips 200 miles full moon aura from the East Buddha light showing me THE way Jesus light letting me through and I am coming through I’m coming through 17
by Lauren Randolph digital photograph
by Ashley Noel Hennefer My name is Blue and I have never been called anything else. I am called this because when I was born I was not alive, and the doctors had to push air into my feeble, underdeveloped lungs. Ever since then the world has had to give me back my breath. I lift the box of old books and clothes off the back of my bicycle and set it on the ground. An old woman greets me and I smile, shaking the hair out of my eyes. The length of my plait now reaches the top notch of my spine and I enjoy the feel of it brushing the back of my neck. The air has a chill but the sky is clear and too bright and the sleeves of my sweatshirt are too short and my fingers have become numb. Winter is my favorite season but its warmth is artificial and the beauty of it is in the ice. But ice can bite. I slept last night in a stranger’s car outside of my apartment. The scent of the seats – old musty smells of cologne and sweat and cigarettes – are more soothing than the clean, soft smells of my empty sheets. And when I woke up this morning shivering uncontrollably I felt so close to this city. Sometimes I think that I am alive solely through contact with strangers. And that is why I’m here today at the free market, the small gathering that happens once a month in the park next to the river. I do not have much to offer but I brought what I could, and I cherish the thought of others touching the pages on which I’ve written, wrapping the scarves I have knitted around their bare necks. Little parts of myself. I mean, the only thing I really have to offer to this world is myself, as fully, wholly, as I am able to give. I walk through the maze of belongings, rifle through an old box full of used paperbacks. The inscriptions inside of the front flap are my favorite part, and also the thing that makes me the most sad: old dedications ending up in a cardboard box on a tarp behind a baseball diamond, barely worth a dime. I set the books back into the box and look around. A father holds his daughter’s hand and picks a coat off the ground, a faded pink jacket. He pulls her arms through the sleeves. A group of middle-aged men and women stand talking, holding Styrofoam cups. A teenage couple analyzes an old cassette tape. And then there is you. Standing ten feet away from me holding a strand of broken Christmas lights. 19
You are wearing a red plaid flannel shirt and your hair is carefully disheveled and instantly I want to wrap my arms around you and hold you close against me but I won’t. What if I walked up to you and said, “Do you feel like the world is going to end today?” Because that’s the kind of day it is. And I am the kind of happy where it doesn’t even matter if the world is going to end because I have found a flame inside of myself after seeing you. But I am afraid that if I ask you that it will freak you out and I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. What if, instead, I asked you, “Are you the kind of person who falls in love with everyone they meet?” Because I am. And you are my newest lover and by far the most important because you will also be my last. If I asked you what your favorite color was, would you say blue? Or is it too deep, too much for you to fall into? Do you want a solid, passionate red, or perhaps a chill, calm green? Because I will tell you that I am not too deep for you to drown in unless you want to, and I would open my heart and my mind only for you. All of this I feel in less than five seconds. And I know that this is it. And when our eyes lock, my lungs are filled and I breath freely. You are what the world has given back to me. And when our bodies flow over each other in the waves of my bed, I will pull you into me, and together we will become invisible – a spinning, endless vortex of love. And when the apocalypse comes, I will find you.
The End was Nigh by Talia Hershewe
1346 The Black Death rises And everyone knew that the end was nigh. 1845 The Potato Famine strikes And everyone knew that the end was nigh. 1939 World War II begins And everyone knew that the end was nigh. 2009 The Sub-Prime Mortgage Crisis ensues And everyone knew that the end was nigh. 2010 The Other, Galactic, Cleverly-Named Catastrophe arrives And everyone knew that the end was still nigh.
by Wes Hoskins “314 Jubilee, this is it.” He put the Honda in neutral and stared across the passenger seat, over the achingly green lawn up the stoop, and looked at the door. It was stop sign red. His nervousness, his blasted stomach was shading everything gray with confusion. He sat locked up with fear. He watched the lines of his palm like he might find an alternate route around the heavy door. From the passenger side she leaned over and touched his knee. He had forgotten about her. How? Every brown hair was a stanchion of support. He was in the driver’s seat even though she had sailed him to the mouth. The waters and the wheel were now his. “Do you want me to go with you?” she asked. “No, I have to go by myself.” When he was a young boy, his mom, Cynthia would wash his hair and put her palm on his forehead, tilting his head back so the shampoo wouldn’t sting his bluer-than-blue eyes. “Let’s not get clouds in your blue skies, my love.” Her hand was always kind as it pulled and parted, but Cindy’s eyes were green, and her husband Jack’s were brown, and around the time he began to bathe himself he knew that he was a wraith, alien to their little farm. “I just don’t know.” He turned to his right; she sat light, nothing she touched was ever dented. She watched and did not blink. “What do you not know?” “If this,” he waved his hand towards the house, “if this is the right idea.” Her hollow, avian weight pressed in, fluttering against his face and body. He wondered why he had followed her so far and why she wasn’t with her husband. When he was 9 he began to wait for Cindy or Jack to tell him about his adoption. It became his secret, a fragile egg, and it consumed his thoughts. It grew wobbly as the years passed and the furtive white shell thickened as Cindy and Jack gave him everything except their truth. He often thought about the yolk of it. The sliminess of what his existence should have been. If somebody had wanted to give him up, they must have been swimming in something dire. Give away a person? He hoped 22
that his abandonment was an altruistic gesture. That the lady behind the door wanted for him what she could not give. No, he shouldn’t have grown up on a quaint farm, dealing with eggs and udders. He should have been living in a tenement somewhere; leaning over a hot plate, washing in cold water, and listening to his neighbors bang the headboard against the wall to widen the circle of loss. He gripped the hot knob on top of the stick shift. He wanted to see lips that pulled down to smile like his, and blue eyes to shine his face back. But the egg shackled him in the perfect cage of the hatchback. Why break something formed so complete and so smooth? He wanted to hold onto it but if he never saw the woman behind the red door the what-ifs would pull him apart. He would super-nova from theory and conjecture. The Other woman in the passenger seat put her hand on his. Veins rode around her knuckles drawing an atlas on her papery skin. “I think you are doing the right thing. Do not be afraid of her.” “I don’t think it’s fear.” “I think it is,” she said. “Goddamn it!” He pulled his hand away from hers. She was watching with her head cocked to one side, a curious Starling darting in and out looking for scraps. “You’re always pushing, always…touching!” She clasped her hands and looked straight out the windshield. The sun was high. The asphalt shimmered, no weeds had grown and no cracks had formed. The road was a perfect black tongue lapping out from under them. Sweat was beading on her shiny forehead. “I never put a gun to your head, honey,” she said. When he was 18 he had been walking along a hedgerow on the southern tip of Cindy and Jack’s farm after a hard winter rain. Pock marks cratered the trail. He came upon an almost-born fetus that had fallen from an apple tree. The chick lay curled. Its claws made little fists, and its legs pressed into its translucent-blue body. He hunched closer and saw that it was terribly deformed and had no beak. The mother must have pushed it out. What was her reason, instinct or kindness? The bird, the abortion pointed inwards showing where it had lived, where it had died, and how it had grown broken from the inside out. It said: Look at me sweets, you and I have been kissed by the same hammer.
“You know, you are just like Dale.” She looked straight ahead. 23
“Yeah?” “No feeling.” “How’s that?” “It’s your crustiness,” she waved away a fly, “It’s taking over the softness–I guess you call it– yeah, the softness that everybody starts with when they are little.” “A shell.” “Huh? I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you. Don’t look at me like that, I don’t know exactly what it is, maybe you’re just not tender anymore. I’m no thinker.” “But you thought that little nugget up,” he added. He needed to go. The car was gripping his calves and beginning to stroke his neck. “A bunch of splinters thrown together a 2 by 4 doesn’t make.” She said. He saw her at the supermarket, he saw her at work. He knew Dale, her husband, a good man who had grown an uneven van dyke. Who was this bird? She had appeared suddenly. Her eyes were on his at a barbecue and poof, she was in his bed. Poof, she was in the car. He thought it ironic that he might break the gripping shell of the egg today; and with him was the thinnest person he’d ever been with. Yes, it was time for him to walk. He would cast aside the door that said Stop, and before him would stand the true womb, and her smile would look like his. “Go,” she said. He looked at her, he had one hand on the door handle but he let it fall. She had a slanted mouth, wrinkled from a lot of pursing and clucking. It was a mouth that made him keep the kitchen knives sharp just in case. Her eyes were bulging and her chin was jutting and if she had been standing her arms would have been akimbo. At that moment he answered his own question. She wasn’t with her husband because she had been re-assigned. Dale had gotten a reprieve and since mass and energy cannot be completely destroyed only pushed to different locations she would have to exist somewhere. There was no free lunch and the framer in the sky never lets a nail hang loose. “Okay, okay,” He heaved the door outward, its groaning bass stopped the neighborhood, the maple he was parked under leaned in closer and its leaves rustled and rested. He scanned the sidewalk for children; they would be coming soon, their necks slick from running in the 24
heat. They would ask him what he was doing in front of 314 Jubilee. It was so heavy. Not only the door or the egg, but a throbbing in his stomach that made him feel unstrong, the air was as yellow as in the hatchback. It made his legs soggy and untenable. The blue, the white and the green of suburbia were like Cynthia’s laundry. Everything was starched, and the sharp corners were folded inwards so the towels never touched the washcloths and the v-necks never met the crews even though they were only one drawer away. He walked around the Honda, the passenger door almost caught his knee. “I’m surprised you’re finally facing her.” She said, stepping up to him. “You shouldn’t be, we’re here, and it would be a waste for me not to knock.” “This is it?” “It is.” Their walk over the creamy cement, to him, was a gliding thing. Closer to a hawk than a human the only anchor he felt was her talon in the soft belly of his wrist and the blood dotting the walkway to the perch of 314 Jubilee.
by Whitney Herrera I pawn off a Sunday evening’s solitude in exchange for a barside retreat at 5 Star’s saloon. Revived behind the city’s motion sick curtain, I bathe in Newport ringlets rising and swatting away droplets of colored silhouettes. A silver T.V. raised in the corner screens a faded car chase down an empty road. Tides of clashing pool balls syncopate a lily-bouquet ribbon dancing between the bartenders lips. While, lopsided, a half-exposed dragon inked on a bicep bridges a Steve McQueen love affair with my mane, long and thick. Straws in my glass fall to the rim, ice shifts; church bells across the street scream over Madonna. Mass is over, I pay up and steal my way homeward along sidewalks dark and strange already.
san francisco light river
by Sebastian Diaz photograph
The Preacher by Tim Dufrisne
You can usually find him inside the old downtown train tunnel. At his feet will be a jug of water. In his hand, a Bible. He won’t rant about the end of the world Or ask for your money. This preacher will just stand in his tunnel singing hymns (which I’m positive he’s making up as he goes) and using the jug of water to baptize staggering tourists on their way to the Little Nugget. There’s a fanny pack under his protruding gut; its bright yellow color, a relic of the 1980s. No object, article of clothing, or hair dye will ever be manufactured with this reckless shade of yellow ever again.
The only thing in the entire physical world that shares this fanny pack’s hue are the lights lining each of the casinos here in Reno. And that’s when it finally hits me. This man. This town. They’re made for each other. It’s a leather-bound Bible with whiskey-stained pages And more quotable lines than The Big Lebowski. It’s a jug of holy water with a gallon full of hope And a blue Save Mart label on the side It’s a tiny yellow light that replaces all the stars in the sky. It’s a preacher who doesn’t want to save you. It’s a town that doesn’t need saving.
CALLED UP by Matt Smith
I got saved on an October Sunday. The gray morning was just crisp enough that you’d need a jacket if the wind picked up. A summer had trudged by since Nate gave up hounding me about visiting the church, and my ‘life of sin’ kept our friendship in a holding pattern. Enough time passed to convince myself I was coming of my own accord. It had nothing to do with the void left in Brenda’s wake. Progressive Life in Christ Interdenominational met in the conference center of a motel on Mercury Boulevard. That sounded to me like a nice way of saying ‘we don’t have a building of our own.’ I was skeptical even before I crossed the threshold, not that I was headed back to the Catholicism I grew up with. I still don’t get it: how can all the Sacraments be holy, yet you can’t be a married priest? In the parking lot, even my car was hesitant to release the key from the ignition. Maybe that’s a sign, I thought. Or maybe you’re afraid of what you’ll find. In all my shame, pride quickened my steps through the back door of the motel. Outside the first door on the right, a placard bore the name Progressive and a dove with its wings enfolded into a heart. Before my nerve could falter again, it opened. “Come on in, brother.” The warmth of his smile banished any excuses from my mind. Light glinted off of his glasses and caramel scalp, and as Minister O took my coat, I took in the scene. The room was twice as large as the congregation required, with perhaps a hundred chairs split by aisles down the center and sides. Several stacks waited behind, just in case the evangelism ministry had had an especially good week. An accordion wall divider poked out from its crevice, looking as curious and awkward as me. The carpet imitated regal tapestries half-heartedly, and might have come from a casino if this weren’t Virginia. The podium and coffee table were transformed into pulpit and altar by crisp purple and gold stoles. The worship leader was already warmed up. “Ah yeah, I feel the Spirit of the Lord in this place today. Even if you don’t do nothing else Lord I love you just for who you are!” Even when she wasn’t speaking, Minister J’s dazzling teal suit held your attention, and her slight frame belied the well-stoked fire inside. “Has he been good to ya? Did he wake ya up this mornin’?” 30
Thank you Jesus, yes Lord and ‘that’s right!’ punctuated each and every statement. Unlike St. Alexander’s back home, silence here means something’s wrong. I showed up late on purpose, hoping to slink into the back row unnoticed. No such luck. Up in the very front, three rows of four faced the altar where only the deacons and elderly church mothers dwelt. Hands beckoned, rested on my shoulder, and ushered me there with surprising speed. My eyes darted through the congregation and I realized that Nate’s was the only other white face in the place. He slouched over the low-set keyboard as we avoided each other’s eyes. “I’m gonna praise you anyhow; even when I don’t know how these bills are gonna get paid; even when my spouse is actin’ crazy, or when I can’t afford to get back in school. Does anybody know what I’m talkin’ about? Come on somebody…” Although no one had caught the Spirit yet, the air hummed as the church grappled with its emotions. It wasn’t quite time to shout yet. Minister J felt the church’s pulse and slowed her pace. “I just want to see your face today, Father. Hallelujah, have your way in this place. You’re worthy of all the glory, Lord. Come on Praise Team--take us higher.” Five women floated towards the altar. They were all dressed in white suits: not matching, but coordinated. Their complexions deepened from high yellow to red and black, and though they hailed from three generations, the same devotion shone in their eyes. A hush descended as a lone voice soared overhead: We worship you in the Spirit / We worship you in the Truth We worship you in the Spirit / That’s what we’re gonna do… The simple words crept from her lips, slow yet driven, and the last line set the tempo. The keyboard and the Praise Team delicately harmonized their voices around hers and repeated the chorus. The congregation joined in as depth and volume rose with each repetition. Electric guitar, bass, and drum set wailed away as we sang with our whole hearts. I closed my eyes and rocked with the beat as the music erupted from within me with a passion I had never known. The doors were sure to burst open from the sound. Into the holy of holies / that’s where I want to be… Into the holy of holies / that’s where I want to be… My pain and stress didn’t exist while the song lasted, and the words had become a healing mantra. When my eyes finally opened, the Praise Team was gone and the band vamped softly as Pastor G presided. 31
Three-inch heels peeked from under her dark robe as she paced around the pulpit. Gold crosses beneath her collarbones set off her hoop earrings, and her jet-black hair laid down so perfectly it must have grown that way. “Ahh, yeahyeahyeah… we worship you Lord, in Spirit and in Truth. It really is that simple. We just want to be in your Presence, God. Touch your neighbor and tell ‘em, ‘I just wanna worship.’” We all obliged with a smile. “Turn with me now in your Bibles to John the fourth chapter.” I kept my nightstand version hidden in my lap. Everyone else seemed to have leather-wrapped tomes of multiple translations in custom carrying cases, and reading from a Gideon felt like wearing thrift store clothes to school. “See, I like that song, yeah, ‘We you worship in Spirit AND in Truth, Lord, haha. You can’t do it halfway, now, Amen? Amen. Dettrick Haddon comes straight from Scripture in his music, look here. You all know this story of Jesus talking to the woman at the well…” I didn’t listen to the sermon so much as feel it. All of my loneliness, guilt, and shame rose into my throat and pounded on my tear ducts. I usually fed my humble pie to the dog, but at that moment, I would have done anything to release the pain. As if Jesus Himself was listening, Pastor G ended the sermon. “If there’s anyone here today that needs deliverance from sin, who’s ready to be a true worshiper, come and lay your cares on the altar. And for anyone who knows Jesus that wants to worship with us here at PLC, the doors of the church are open.” My legs were moving before I could think twice, and I found myself standing in line before God and everybody to be washed in the blood of the Lamb. A young woman stood trembling at the altar in front of me. Her mascara followed the tracks of her tears, and one broken heel clung to her left shoe by a thread. “What’s your name, sister?” “Monica, Pastor.” “Do you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?” “With all my heart.” Pastor G laid one hand on the sniffling sister’s forehead while the other cradled her neck, and two ministers quietly sidled up to her shoulders. Monica threw her arms out, as if to crucify her sins. Sounds sprang from the Pastor’s mouth I had never heard, like Latin, Greek and Creole rolled into one, and the repentant sinner shook as visceral wails boiled up from the depths of her soul. The connection snapped without warning 32
as Monica dropped into the waiting arms of the ministers, like a trust exercise at camp. They fanned her, covered her ‘dignity’ with a sheet, and pushed me forward with their eyes. Was I supposed to make a scene and pass out too? I stepped up to the altar, and felt her hand on my forehead. The next thing I remember was waking up on the floor with tears in my eyes, and the ministers beaming down at me. I was home – for now.
dreamer a by Audrey Love photograph
Five Moons by Suzanne Roberts
1. Even the dead become art— nothing here needs burial, not the bone tree, nor metal magnolias blooming. Not the skin of dust.
across the ancient lake bed, the pink glow burns mirthless in our eyes. How I’ve grown afraid of myself. 4. Temples are always constructed from wood
It’s the earth that’s a shadow. A pint is a pound, the world round defies meaning here— the slant into a waterless horizon.
and from pain. Words turn to fire, then ash
And the horses say, cloppity clop. The moon, a gnome’s ass. Nothing is as it seems. Everything is as it seems.
and smoke. Again, dawn evaporates the stars. 5. The waterless sea stretches into the perpetual near-dawn sky.
2. The question mark of a collar bone, the flash under skin, thin and tight like a tent.
Here are the rules: The world eventually folds in on itself,
Dust soaks our eyes. Without the usual borders, gravity has pulled from us even our names.
like any other world, and disappears. No matter, the dust still clings to our hair.
3. Drift on a lifeboat, a submarine, a magic carpet. The sun rises, red and ripe like a plum. We sit together, pass the blue bottle. The beat of a distant drum echoes 35
Coming Full Circle by Kathleen Phelan
In the beginning, there was light. Not the illuminating light you expect, not an all-knowing glow that bathes you in clarity, more like a blinding light. Blinding. That’s the only word for it; blind to unimportant concepts like the greatest integer function and Aristotelian ethics, blind to other thoughts that try in vain to penetrate the fog that surrounds you, and blind to the end that would eventually come. Before being afflicted by this blindness, you used to give a friendly glance to each person you passed on the street, because when even a stranger made eye contact with you, it affirmed your existence in this world. Now the only affirmation that matters is his, because everyone else could melt away as long as you could still rest your head on his chest. That was the moment when things seemed perfect to you. You couldn’t see any further than the singular contentment of lying in bed watching The Daily Show. You could hear his heart beat, and with each beat, it seemed to propel the scent of his cologne toward you, invading your nostrils and making it difficult to think or breathe. Your fingers were intertwined carelessly with his, so that when you shifted your weight, it made his hand move up your leg for a short moment, and you smiled a secret smile because you could feel his heart quicken. It wasn’t hard to summon one of these secret smiles, since you felt one coming on at any sign that you mattered one whit to him. When you leaned in to kiss him and you felt your lips crushed by his eagerness, you knew that he had been imagining this exact moment ever since he had discovered your shared love of Heathers. When he kissed the area between your jawbone and your earlobe, you knew it was because he was aware of the peculiar way it made your skin tingle. And when he asked you to love him, you knew he meant it. But suddenly it was more than he could handle, or so he said. You knew it was bullshit. The real truth was that he had a terrible compulsion for self-destruction. He couldn’t stand to be vulnerable to anyone, because it would ruin his carefully measured sense of composure. What would people think, knowing that he, the king of cool, had let his guard down? Probably that he was only human, but that wasn’t good enough for him. He wanted to be indestructible, and to do that, he had to be impenetrable. He couldn’t reveal his thoughts or feelings, and he definitely couldn’t let anyone in. So he shut you out. And rightfully so, you ratio36
nalized. It definitely must have been your fault. And it’s not worth it to remember the way he made you feel in the beginning, because that will only make it hurt worse, right? So you decide that you hate him, and tell everyone you know that he was an asshole, that he knew he didn’t love you and let you think so anyway, that he wasn’t worth your time after all. But when you stumble upon an old letter he wrote to you, there’s nothing else for it but to cry. That’s the absolute worst, isn’t it? Thinking to yourself how insignificant he was, and then being swiftly reminded that he was, in fact, more significant than you may have even realized. And even he probably had no idea exactly how much of an impact he had on you. But even that’s trying to excuse his actions, because he was actually fully aware of how much he meant to you, and as soon as you acknowledge that, all you can think is FUCK HIM. So the conclusion you come to is that while it may be useless to try and fight what you feel, you don’t have to let it consume you completely. And in the end, there will be light, too. It will still be impossibly bright, and it will still put the world in a different perspective. But this view is far more realistic, and what blinds you this time is the truth. And it hurts.
Never Again by Allen Muresan
My conscience bursts through too late, kept at bay by my enflamed passion Only after the explosion— as the slow smoke seeps out of my hot weapon— do I feel guilty
by Marc Maranon out of breath how do I begin? my eyes are red searching you up and down adoring your voluptuous shape I’m breathing harder as there’s trouble growing keeping my hands still my eyes close to ease both our tensions I imagine your contours and your skin slowly forming up against my tongue I haven’t even started and I’m coming to closure with a smile with the thought of such planned actions that the deeper I work inside of you the sweeter it will taste wiped the water away from your skin with my hand no trembling but your skin indents from the rush of when I grabbed you you’re still the same color even after I’ve kissed the inside of your curves so hasty but I’m glad you don’t mind you and I love the little bites I take up and down your supple frame so so into that I ran my hand down your back I can’t hold in anymore I take both hands to the bottom of your curves and gently press you towards my lips sopping is a word that can be seen clearly running from my mouth
untitled diptych by Lauren Randolph digital photographs 40
Omagh in Fragments:
A Cacophony of Red Tide and a White House Briefing in the Background by Seth Lagana “This is something,” he said. Before there was nothing. And they all disappeared together. Some of them holding each other. Not because they knew their lives were over. Bombs never wait for introspection; they bring the fire when their told to. The hangman never gave them their last words or thoughts or prayers. Things ended as is. The loving people were just loving. When people think of Omagh they hope the heat reminded them, ensured them of who they were and where they were headed. And some did have final thoughts. But Sam didn’t. He only thought of Miranda’s skin, how it felt in the palm of his hand. That was a day to remember. No refracted light for Joyce’s epiphanies. No strongbox of cache or a gluttonous King on pullet. There was a camera left in bones and rubble. Strewn entrails were there. And ash. And shrapnel. A disposable camera: buried underneath 28 bodies, torn to pieces from 500 pounds of home-made explosives. McDonald’s wrappers. Starbucks coffee cups. Human appendages in the street like used automotive parts in a junkyard. Blood like oil. Fingers like bolts and screws. Ornamental were the limbs as they bedecked Ireland. English Kings hung them in city streets reminding them of Anglo servitude. Just like Portuguese explorers, soldiers would walk thoroughfares, raising decapitated heads like lanterns in the night. Colonial madmen. Only this time was different. People got the hint, regardless of who had a handful of pagan hair. And they weren’t terrified; they were outraged. Two American tourists, who had tapped into their life savings. In the midst of a turbulent relationship, decided to take a vacation to rejuvenate a bond they were so afraid they had lost. To visit the romantic lawns of County Tyrone. To the island they agreed upon unanimously. A place they dreamt of visiting since they were kids, but dissolved when they started a family. It was a trip to bandage an infected wound. After the kids were in bed, they fought. Miranda would drink wine quietly as Sam paced the room. His arms crossed. The television on a news channel in the living room. Microsoft buys a $150 million share of fiscally distressed Apple Computer. A Korean Air Flight 801 crash lands west of Guam Internation42
al Airport, resulting in the deaths of 228 people. People are being massacred in Algeria. He would clear his throat and stare into the carpet. “We need to do something,” he would say, looking up at her between sentences. Waiting for a response, an expression. Something. But she just stared at the dining room table as if it held some answer. And it was quiet, save for the television. He could hear her swallow. “Are you miserable?” he would say. “Because I’m not doing too well.” She looked up at him. “You’re miserable?” “I am, Miranda.” Ninety-eight are killed in the Rais Massacre. “I’m sorry, but I am,” he said. “What do you want to do?” her voice trembling. “What are you trying to say?” “What do you want me to say?” He was raising his voice. “We’re not okay. We fight.” “All couples fight. What makes us any special? My parents fought. They still fight. Look at them.” “Your mother is miserable,” he said. “Besides, it’s different. They come from a different generation. You can’t compare us to them, Miranda!” His voice louder, falling between the cracks of their home, into their suburban neighborhood. It was silent again. They were looking away from each other. She drank her wine. Sam heard her swallow. And he didn’t know what to think of that. “Do you still love me?” she asked. Like she had been asking every night before they fell asleep. Not as a question, though. As a statement. She would say she loved him just to hear whether or not he said it back. Questioning him. But never herself. “Of course, I do,” his voice rose in defense. “What kind of question is that?” She finished her wine and pushed the glass away from here. She sat up straight. “We can fix this, Sam,” she said. “This thing happens all the time. People fix these things all the time. We can too.” Sam sat down next to Miranda at the dinner table. His hands fell into his lap. Void of ideas. He was wearing his jacket. He had planned to leave. Assuming that things would get out of hand, he had a plan to 43
take a walk. Maybe melt into a barstool somewhere. Chew on ice leftover from a cocktail. Tear into a coaster. Just stare into the back bar. And maybe God could hear him there. If he listened to men anymore. Digital Equipment Corporation files antitrust charges against chipmaker Intel. Narayanan is sworn in as India’s 10th president and the first member of the Dalit caste to hold this office. About 50 are killed in the Si Zerrouk massacre in Algeria. “Any ideas?” he asked. “Well, yeah. We can take a trip,” she said. “We can just go somewhere. Just leave.” “That’s ridiculous. What about the kids?” “We’ll leave them with your parents.” “I don’t know,” he said, thinking that it was too simple. “What about work?” “We have vacation time, let’s use it. All of it.” “Do you really think a vacation will work, think it will solve everything?” “I don’t know, but I’m willing to try,” she said. “If it doesn’t work out, at least we tried.” She reached under the table and held Sam’s hand. “We can go anywhere,” she said. “Anywhere in the world.” “Maybe,” he said. And he gripped her hand into his, sealing his fate. Some in the world slept in their beds, if they had them. And the news kept coming. Too much to empathize with. Too much to be feared by. A marriage was at stake. Cameras were recovered. Photos that displayed a narrative. Up until the explosion, tourists took pictures of each other’s smiles. Exuberant members, limbs intact, smiles like permanent make-up. These are the people that gave-in to Ireland as a romance. A fresh blade of grass to remind them of a sixteenth of their heritage. As the drums rolled, courage like a birthmark, young boys dreamt heroic stories. A blunt blade through imperial necks, to stab a beautiful flag into the earth. To reoccupy their home. Reclaim fertile soil and ride stallions over knolls. But, in fact, there was suffering. Not from rural calluses or rashes from chainmail, but a romance. An idea of a nation-state. Drafted from the blood, sweat and tears of young boys and their fathers. Lex Talionis as an insurgency. Where concrete and metal and asphalt was no deterrence. Arthur Guinness souvenir hat, bent like a catcher’s mitt to hide her freckles. A light blue sweater fastened around her waist. Sunglasses. 44
She held her hands on her hips, squinting. A map tucked into her back pocket. Miranda was a witness to the fire. “You don’t think I’m too fat?” “Not at all,” he said. “I’m fat.” “Kind of,” she said, and she laughed. “But you’re allowed to be.” “Oh yeah?” “You can pull it off,” she said. “Just wear larger shirts.” And she pet his stomach. “Are we doing this, or are you going to chicken-out?” he said. “Your mother is going to think were crazy!” she said. He laughed, and took off his jacket. He had the story memorized. “All right, hop on.” And she climbed up his back and rested on his shoulders. Her belly fat against the back of his neck like yang. And they took the photo in the middle of the street, next to their hostel, across from the historic courthouse. A maroon cavalier grinning in the background. And that photo hung in the balance. Hundreds of men and women almost skeletons. Disguised with smiling skin. Meanwhile, something macabre was assembled. And all of them danced like that, with sweat. With sun block and postcards. Miranda and Sam basking in new found optimism. They would meet in fire. Incidniaries as match maker. Someone screamed, he held Miranda’s hand. She tightened her grip on the camera and started asking questions, but it was too loud. They began to evacuate the courthouse. All shapes and sizes spilled onto Tyrone’s economic machine. People were running away. A crowd had gathered awaiting the explosion. Pinning people shoulder to shoulder. Police officers had begun to tape off the area, pushing people back. “Fucking ignite it already,” said the crowd. Someone had bumped into Miranda, her things fell between the feet of others. Sam released his grip and let her hand go. She disappeared. She got on her hands and knees and crawled through the crowd. She found her camera and her sunglasses. Ascending to the surface away from Sam, she cried out. It was loud. Hysteria had settled upon them. In Derry, twenty-six years ago, the first battalions of the British Parachute Regiment opened fire on young protesters. Thousands of rounds of bullets rained on a fleeing crowd. At the edge of a field where young boys play futbol and hurling. They called it a day when innocence died. And the body count rose like the fog. Young men were told by their fathers who to hate. For twenty-six years. Dreaming of fire for 45
twenty-six years. Reciprocated violence. A pendulum. A car bomb, nestled in the trunk of a maroon Fauxhall Cavalier, like an egg warm under feathers, detonated. The two men responsible for driving the car up to the courthouse, saw a couple of police officers and fled. They left the car four-hundred meters away from the main target. To ensure that no civilians were killed, and that the courthouse would be the only thing damaged, the organization responsible for the bomb called in a threat not knowing that the car wasnâ€™t parked near the courthouse. Officers evacuated everyone towards the bomb. Just like shooting young boys fleeing. Like penetrating yolk, or tossing a water balloon into a patch of Zoysia. Boys are always told by their fathers at a young age, that if a firecracker goes off in your hand while your making a fist, your hand will be blown off. And that photo hung in the balance. Before they lost their faces in the fire. Their hearts dissolved in Dis, the ceiling dripping with tourists from Omagh in 1998. And they reunited, Sam and Miranda. Dying together in the blaze. â€œThis is something,â€? he said. Before there was nothing.
by Harmony Hilderbrand photograph
upon the news of your father’s death by Allison Hilborn
pulled behind the meddlesome eyes of the fifth grade you kissed me, quickly returned, even faster to your first of lovers none of whom was Iwe got drunk when we were 21 in your mom’s house made-out, nothing special waited ten years for a little of this nothing extraordinary to happenafter the first time I went to the hospital we went to the beach sat on a giant boulder the only one, middle of shallow Tahoe waters you held me with your new, man’s body begged me to kiss you so I kissed you, then dove into the cool, forgiving water hiding, breath held, tiny scream had I thought it would be more than what it was, these bubbles rising to the surfaceone of your high school friends who I have never spoken to over the phone called, told me that your father died. I mourn. Of your father a quiet prayer, still, I mourn, I grieve in the quiet of my apartment 48
wanting you to know you matter to me even if it matters little to youanother friend called, said I should know that the funeral at 1:45pm today I wonder which ghosts will arrive(leaving you alone has been the most loving thing Iâ€™ve ever known to do.) my grieving goes on, in the solitude of the water behind the turned backs of the people I grew up withmy childhood colorful and still somehow tainted by the impulse to tell you I loved you, I loved youI grieve for my brother and my love the object of my young fantasies, the peopleI knew as a child have died, gone with the tide that we all swore weâ€™d never set sail upon.
reflection 3 by Jon Grinde photograph
Loverâ€™s Lunch by Alexis Olige
Every time you inhale, bits of my flesh Tear off and fly free into the clear air, Like dandelion seeds. As your lips graze mine, the skin Dies and peels away, Like tissue paper. When you run your fingers Through my hair you take it with you; If only you had a silver locket To keep it in, hard and shiny. The final course takes place when you Leave in the morning. You Take my organs as if you mean to pack Them for your lunch in a house shaped tin box, Heart for desert, of course. The pieces you leave are not a pretty Picture once youâ€™ve finished, But then again, being eaten never is.
spotlight on: actor name: 'Aukai Almeida major: Theatre and music education medium: The stage
story by Emma Schmelzer ‘Aukai Almeida believes that there are people who are destined to be actors, and that he is one of them.. “When you learn acting too much,” he says, “it comes off as contrived.” For this reason and many others, his talent at improvisation in particular causes and is created from immense frustration. He thrives in and despises this. On one hand, he and others will be representing the University of Nevada, Reno in Frakus, a national improv festival at USC, about which ‘Aukai is very excited. And yet he dislikes improv because it comes so easily to him. He would rather be challenged. His true obsession, one he would never dare study or allow to become anything more than a passion, is music. It is the one thing he truly loves, and he doesn’t want to end up despising it in the way that he is sometimes forced to despise acting sometimes in order to grow. He speaks of acting reverently, like the art and truly hard work that it must be. He remembers the smallest details about the many plays he has been in with ease. Though he stage acts now, his dream has always been to end up in Hollywood, despite the common conception and truth of the majority of films being “mass-marketed crap.” He has always pictured himself in place of the actors in movie theatres, and thinks that this time period may be the best time to break into the field. Talking about the economy, he says that movies thrive during times like this, and new talent could and should emerge as well. He dreams of cartoons, traditional animation, and voice acting, as well. In fact, Beauty and the Beast is his all-time favorite movie. “It’s fake. You know it’s fake,” he says of animation. “But it’s still so beautifully acted.” 52
by Sonia Lara photograph
household abstractions 4 and 7 by Rebecca Holmstrom photographs 54
by Ana Leyva photograph
by Matija Koracin poems id like to be words are bones inhospitable i sentence periods of coma, commas rest, sit on still slit structures in two, independence is merely, pause, clause means movement because similarity is love, is one, We move, poems id like to be volumes with you 56
Row 1, Seat 3
by America Acevedo You are approximately an insurmountable 17 5/8 inches away from me. You are left handed and you have horrible handwriting and you’re constantly high. You dress pathetically and have remarkable brown eyes. You have shaggy chestnut hair, kept exactly at a length which is visually impairing to the point that it requires a near constant hair flip which is absurdly adorable. We’ve made love precisely 14 times during class, typically on top of your desk, and notably once on the floor, and if I do say so myself, you were pretty damn good. You’re a passionate lover, skilled and gentle and rough and sexy simultaneously. You drink too much, and you love the Stones. You are in my ENG 102 class. I sit behind you. You are the fate of my existence.
And we have never met.
The month of my exile by Eleni Sexton
Tangled together, we still fell into separate dreams whose reality crackled in the dawn. yet, upon your departure the consistency of your shape began to exist beyong my tangible grasp. Awake, I continue in this new entity unseen: you extend with the flow of my veins, I by the stretch of your breath. A gossamer trajectory unfurled to hold between us, to trace the distance. the absence became holy, and we are closer to being infinite.
by Brianna Thompson I looked at his hands, my hands. His are flat, wide with desert mirages in the creases. Mine: slender, long like Florida and tapering. Small miracles, digited with knuckled extremity, Tossing open doors cheerfully With the grasp and rotation of a palm. Hands cupped at a creek bed (a concave of sinew so we can bring things to our lips). Fingers sliding over guitar strings Or peeling citrusSweet rind and music. Fingers: ten different opportunities to touch the same thing. I split an orange and pass him a section. Miracles happen As he smiles and takes the offering. I think about how we may hold hands later. Two entirely different hands, Florida and Texas Intertwined, Fingerprints rubbing fingerprints. Ten different opportunities to touch the same thing Interlocking.
The Market by Mario Ponzio
I once saw a little girl at a stall somewhere far away selling dirty fruits. Her face was covered in dirt, and she had the smallest hunch- an indication of malnutrition. She was poor, maybe starving, but there was a vibrance, a resolution, that I saw that shook me. The world around her was crumbling to pieces, as men her fatherâ€™s age were being shot and disemboweled by an angry despot too intelligent to target an American, yet all of that seemed to wash away from her. She had hope. I felt something drop in my stomach, and I nearly toppled right there in the middle of the market. The night before, outside my hotel window, I had heard the commotion of several men. Yelling and curses in some language I could barely comprehend followed by an cry for freedom in the authoritarian tongue of the country. I looked between my dirty blinds to see a man fall to his knees beneath a strobing lamp post, staring up at the figure above him. The man standing held the blade high and brought it down around his neck. Thick streams of blood guzzled onto the dirty sidewalk beneath him, and his head fell at awkward angle, connected by a few strings of flesh. The other man swung again and once more until the head came off. A woman, maybe the dead manâ€™s wife, screamed like nothing I had ever heard before. There was no life in her voice, just resolute anguish. The man with the blade pulled something from his pocket, and a loud crack shot throughout my room. I dropped down, instinctively and stayed still for the longest time. Only after a few minutes in quiet did I look up again to see the man with the blade gone, and the woman on the ground- an ever expanding pool of blood around her head. The next day, both bodies were still there, the blood coagulated and stray dogs gnawing at their flesh. A few days earlier I had past the camps, filled with the stench of excrement and death. I saw the bloated stomaches and the gangrene limbs. The hopelessness, the absoluteness in it all. In this country, everybody was somehow dying- whether from violence or neglect. Men were fighting wars for futile causes- coming back in pieces tucked neatly in plastic trash bags, and their families were wasting away pound by pound. Men were capable of such cruelty, such indescriable disgust. There was no good anymore. Just those who acted for themselves, and those who didnâ€™t act at all. In those camps and on that street, I felt that the German was right all along. We had been abandoned, left alone to wither. The 60
crutch was splintering under our shoulder, and we were falling with Nobody to catch us. Yet there was something in those eyes. Death surrounded her, teased her, nibbled at her feet, but she persevered. She couldn’t grasp the concept, but she was telling death very plainly to go fuck itself. And that’s why I almost fell. Because in this far away land, removed from the universities and calls to action that fall on shut-off ears, there was a little girl who was stronger than I ever could be. A girl who had absolutely nothing in this life to look forward to, even in her dreams, could hold onto some ideal that I had abandoned despite all my fortune. I looked down at my bag and then up at the gate of the American Embassy some twenty feet away. All Americans had been called in for immediate evacuation due to the escalating violence, due to the fear of accident. Every bone in my body called me to turn away from her, to walk away and present my passport and go back to my girlfriend and my friends and my future. But I didn’t deserve it- not as much as her. She wanted it, she dreamed of it every night, and I just tossed it around- using this humanitarian crusade of mine as a resolution that I could feel. And, despite all the horrors I had seen, it was this girl’s hope that made a fire burn again. I saw the guard stare at me, silently telling to move forward, to get to safety. Yet I also saw the blade pulled and the reminiscent yells from the night before. The guards at the embassy did nothing to protect the cowering old woman who had mistaken bumped into the corporal in khaki. He yelled guttural curses at her, anticipating his moment to strike. And it was then that I knew mine. I looked at the girl one more time and moved past the corporal turning to stare at him in the eyes. I knew he was incensed, completely out of his mind. He was without compassion. Anything that was dealt to him poorly would be struck down. I smiled. He turned to me, ignoring my visible passport, the obvious citizenship papers in my hand, and brought the machete across my neck. Everything was over-exposed instantly as I felt myself become very warm and then cold. I watched him stare in horror as I began to tumble back. Shots rang out from the stationed guard and hit the corporal several times in the chest. He was dead before I was. I fell flat on the dirt, feeling the rumbling of the guards coming towards me, trying to pull me towards the Embassy. I was slipping away though... I would never make it onto the faux American soil of the building’s grounds. I watched the girl stare at me dumbfounded. She didn’t realize that my President was already in hot water back home over budget cuts 61
gone wrong, that he desperately needed some positive policy change to come by his way. What better than an active military campaign against an ailing nation who were now targeting American college students. Something must have changed in my eyes because her expression changed. She seemed to be praying for me. Many would say that my actions were foolish. That violence would only beget more violence. But I never saw it that way. Violence will give birth to violence and slaughter it until violence breaths its final words. Because this world is composed of those with life in their eyes and those with a vacuum in their stomaches. In the end, people like that girl would remain. I prayed that she would be safe, that she would make it. It was the first time I had spoke to God since I was a child.
by Danielle Redlin oil and gold leaf
by Bethany Surber digital photograph
You Have Never Merely Crossed My Mind by Emma Schmelzer
But you, beautiful, slither through on another girl’s arm. That’s always a misunderstanding. You hum “I Will Always Love You” until you slide into a cherry red Mustang, shout, “Only for you, baby!” and crash into the sunset. I pick wildflowers for you, but before I can give them, the petals proclaim: “He loves you not.”
You walk on my dream and pluck me out. Hold me and whisper sweet everythings in the dark.
Pink toenails pointing. Long, lean, and muscular, Her legs flex languidly Dark against the white cotton sheets.
by Christine Damrau
Early light slants through dusty glass. Drifting down in bright Flakes, to lie soft In mounds and piles. Illuminating details but masking The room. Grey shadows Caress long, dark legs And pink, bubble-gum toes Pointing at nothing. Just another One-Night-Stand.
By Megan Renee Esquivel I look at that picture everyday. You see it? It’s the one with the black frame hanging above my light switch. It’s the one that has a picture of a girl that looks like a supermodel with her arms around a less than ordinary girl. Guess which one is me. I’ll give you a hint; my little sister is the one that looks like a super model. Skinny, straight long brown hair, flawless face, hazel eyes, and wearing a smile that illuminates the world, with her arms around me, the short, slightly plump, bowl-cut greasy brown haired, dirt brown eyes, pizza faced… thing. I have that picture there as a reminder. I have it right there in that very spot so that it’s the first thing I see when the lights go on and the last thing I see before I shut them off. We had taken it three months before it had happened, the day I got the jeans. I had bought them one day shopping with her. I was home visiting for two weeks during the summer, just before school was about to start. She had wanted to go shopping at the mall that day, and since I had nothing better to do considering that I had no friends at home besides her, I had tagged along. My sister and I were very close since we were only a year apart, and had a different sort of relationship. For example, instead of saying, ‘I love you’ like normal sisters would do, we would usually say, ‘You make me sick’ and virtually, to us, it meant the very same thing. We gave each other crap for everything, nitpicked each other’s flaws (she usually won that part) and always had a blast doing it. I remember walking through each store at the mall, looking at different things that I could waste money on since I had nothing better to spend it on than clothes. We had gone in to True Religion, a place where I could surely do some damage when she had thrown the jeans in my face jokingly saying that they were a token from my past time. I remember looking at the size, seeing the five and then looking down at myself. I realized at that moment how much weight I had really gained from college. I had gone from a size five to a nine. And considering I was only five four… it was a pretty dramatic difference. Right then, staring at those jeans, I set a goal. I said I was going to leave the jeans at home during my spring semester, work to lose the weight, the pizza face and the greasy hair at school and wear them on Christmas Day. I’d said that it would be my Christmas Present to myself. They were True Religion Jeans, Gina Rainbow, Dark Savannah, size five, priced at two-hundred66
sixty-two dollars. A goal… my goal. So yeah, I bought them, as you probably guessed, and I brought them back to my parents’ house and put them in one of the empty drawers of my dresser and then left back for school a week later. At school I changed my diet, went to the gym on a regular basis, washed my face every morning and every night, bought some expensive herbal cream that worked wonders on my face, dyed my hair a darker brown with highlights, updated my fifties style bowl cut to a cropped cut that copied Rihanna, and bought new hair care products. By the first month and a half, I was down to a size seven, my face was finally starting to stay clear and my hair was no longer greasy. And then, by Christmas break, I was exactly where I had wanted to be, size five, dark curly brown hair to my shoulders, a clear face and a new confidence. The whole flight home, I was bouncing off the walls. I remember I couldn’t wait to see the look on my sister’s face, or my parents. I remember running down through the terminal dodging people left and right until I flew in to my mother’s arms. Instantly everyone commented on how good I looked and hw much they liked it. My sister of course, said I looked like shit, made a face, and gave me a big hug. In our language, all of that meant that she liked it. I remember that it took forever to get home from the terminal. We lived thirty minutes away from the airport, but since it was December twenty-fourth, Christmas Eve, there was of course a huge blizzard. It took us an hour to get home because the visibility was so horrible and the roads were lined with snow and ice. Once we finally did get home though, I rushed inside and in to my room to grab my precious two hundred dollar jeans. I took the stairs two at a time, ran into my room and then I stopped in the doorway, I wanted to savor the moment when I saw them again. I wanted to remember the feeling I was going to have the second I knew that I completed the goal I worked so hard for. I slowly stepped in to my room with my eyes fixed on the third drawer of my dresser and shut my door. I took five slow steps across my room and settled myself in front of the dresser and slowly opened the drawer that contained my trophy only to find it empty. Then I heard my sister. I could hear her footsteps coming up the stairs as she was talking on her phone to her boyfriend. They were going to go to the movies. Instantly, in that moment, I knew where my jeans where. I knew where the symbol of my accomplishment was… those jeans…my trophy… were on my sister’s flawless body. I had never felt so angry. I could feel the blood rush to my head 67
and my adrenaline pump. I remember throwing open my door, kicking down her’s, and seeing my jeans on her skinny body. Then I yelled and I screamed, I threw things at her and started to cry. I remember thinking, she’s wearing my goal, she is flaunting all of the hard work that I had done on her already perfect body. She had said sorry and genuinely meant it and even started to take them off right then and there, but my head was so far gone that I screamed something I will never forget, something that made her stop dead in her tracks, something I wish I never had said, “I hope you die.” God I was so dumb. I did all of that over a stupid pair of jeans. She genuinely meant that she was sorry, but I didn’t realize it until after it was too late to accept it. I had just gone in to my room and refused to open my door for her. I locked it and cranked up my music to drown out the sound of her voice… and I never said another word to her. She had left sometime later to go to the movies with her boyfriend that night, but they never made it there. Like I said earlier, the roads were horrible… and they crashed. The car was going too fast and slid off of the edge of the road. It broke the metal barriers, and tumbled down the mountain side… My sister was only eighteen years old. Her life had only just begun. I have wanted to die every single day since that accident. I keep wishing that there was some way I could just jump back in time and take all of those words away and tell her that I loved her just one last time. I wish I could tell her none of what I screamed at her was true. I didn’t hate her, I loved her. I didn’t think that she was fake because she had the truest heart I knew…and my God… I never hoped that she would die… It was the last thing I said to her. The last words that she had heard come from my mouth were the worst words I have ever said in my life. And now… it’s too late to say sorry.
How I Used to Be by Danielle Redlin
acrylic on canvas
Moonlight Waltz by Ashley Dodge
My skin crystallizes from liquid at your touchon my bare skin, gentle, little whispers, soft on my ear like coal I knew this would happen I knew I would fall into diamonds. But once crystallized, I'm paralyzed. Your touch warms me, my coregiving me deliverance. You create in me the blank slate I've needed for my soul. The moon is brilliantcasting shadows of two lovers dancing on the ceiling. For the moment I'm free, soaring. I feel the creation tonight, like every nightof new strands, our hands, intertwining for the moment, connecting me to you until moonlight begins to fade. In the morning I sleep alone. The sun shines on empty space, my memoriesleft floating through the air. I breathe them in everywhere, but I cannot survive on them alone. But when the sunlight fades we will dance again. 70
by Jane Kenoyer acrylic on canvas 71
true romance: Southern days in southern spain - alicante 2007 by Darren Jenkins
Beauty occurs in unique moments. One of those moments came to me as I sat stoned, tired, drained, and especially hungover from a night spent drinking Poland Aleksander’s pepper vodka. I was on a group tour, and we sat on a bus with lousy shocks that bounced us up and down as our field-trip group returned to Alicante from Benidorm, Spain. While sitting on the bus, trying not to vomit, what appeared to me as an epiphany of beauty was my seeing only a spattering of houses along the freeway, nada más. There existed only desert—brushed with medium-sized trees and bushes—no Mickey D’s, Denny’s, nor Arco stations every 500 feet. The scene made me ponder: was this what the drive from Los Angeles to San Berdoo looked like only 60 years ago? When “last chance” for anything was really true? As we jounced and bounced, I looked to my left and Sylvia’s head nodded in rhythm to the bus’s bouncing, her eyes closed. I craned my neck to share my thoughts with my sweet Meghan who sat behind me, but her head nodded also, her eyes heavy and closed—she and I had the worst reaction from the vodka, so I let her rest. To Meghan’s left sat Kristen, eyes open, ears plugged with her headphones. “It’s kinda nice not seeing billboards everywhere,” I said, loud enough to be heard over the hum of the bus’s AC. Her eyes widened as she realized she was being addressed, and she pulled the phones from her ears. “Huh?” “It’s nice not seeing billboards scattered everywhere, telling us to buy a bunch of shit.” She looked out the window, saw what I didn’t see. “Oh, totally. You’re right.” The wet July heat of southern Spain beat us all down, 72
especially after the day of hiking and sightseeing we’d had. I left Kristen to rock-out in her own world and looked for our friend Alexandra, but she was elsewhere on the bus. I returned my gaze forward and out the window. No billboards. Bounce. No advertising. Bounce. Beautiful. Tranquil. Serene. My eyes closed. Our group expedition began at 9 a.m. with a bus ride that took us up the craggy mountains into Guadalest, a settlement established by the Moors in 715 C.E. For all of its Mediterranean charms and styles, it still resembled a town nestled away in the Swiss Alps. Surrounded by the Aitana, Serella, and Xorta mountains, the town and fortress of Guadalest are perched high above a 20th century reservoir that cradles the most brilliant blue water imaginable. This was our first stop of two, and we hiked to the topmost part of the fortress, having a moment of silence for the characters of history there at the cemetery. Despite the view and the surrounding silence, I knew I couldn’t handle returning to the bouncing, La-Bamba-ing bus without doing something about my fuzzy head and queasy stomach. I decided to sneak away to have a moment of silence and serenity in a far corner under a cypress. The ill-effects of that vodka churned in my head and my stomach, and the first cure to help me along my path to morning recovery was the bit of hash I had packed in my sneak-a-toke pipe. Checking behind and around me for privacy, I stuck my head behind the cypress to shield my lighter. I already began to feel better. With a much clearer head, I returned to my group and we hiked down to the town for a half-hour’s free time of sightseeing and window shopping. Instead of purchasing random knickknacks imported from China, I felt it better to further improve my growling stomach and to support the local economy by ordering a tall, frosty caña de cerveza (glass of beer). With a grande cerveza and a smoke in hand, I chilled back with a foot up on a chair and a smile on my face—there were few things better than this at (checking my watch) beer-thirty on a nice Saturday morn73
ing. Veronica, our Assistant Tour Guide, smiled at me and said in Spanish that I looked like a king. “Yo deseo,” I laughed. I wish. At least my stomach and head began feeling better. After Guadalest, we journeyed once more on the bus to Fuentes del Algar—cascading waterfalls of unsurpassed beauty also set high in the mountains behind Altea. In many spots, multiple tide pools collected where one could bask in the coldness of the fresh, pure water. Dipping my toes into the frigid mountain water, even in July, I noted that it was quite a temperature change from the sun-warmed Mediterranean, where down at sealevel taking a dip in the sea provided at least some respite from the humidity. Once I nestled into the cold mountain water, a stunning pink Oleander meandered its way toward me. I smiled and cast off any notions of machismo and placed the flower above my right ear. Not long after enjoying my quiet repose, I was joined by my harem of beauties—first Alexandra, then Kristen and Sylvia, Meghan and Mala and others. With a wide grin on my face, I blessed them each with a perfect pink flower that increased those girls’ natural beauty tenfold. Alexandra, a loud and gorgeous New Yorker, and Kristen and Meghan, two Texan beauties, lived one floor above me in Spain. On many nights, I danced with all three of them as we drank our wine and listened to my old-school Radio Shack radio. These were my girls. “You just love all women, don’t you?” Alexandra asked me one night while we spun around their apartment. “You know it, darlin’,” I said, as I twisted her around in time to Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.” “You know, in another world, we would be perfect lovers.” “You got that right.” What I dug about Alexandra was that she got me. She was a no-nonsense chick from the Bronx, half Puerto-Rican, half Irish. She tanned to a dark chocolate under the Spanish sun and the Spaniards hated her because they thought she was Dominican. 74
I adored her because she was the only American in our group who had the guts to go native at la playa and remove her top. Not only that, she knew I was a writer and when my gaze would stare off into space, she understood I was with my thoughts and words, composing. Kristen, the blonde babe from Texas, kept us all mellow with her Southern charm, wisdom, and sense of humor—she knew what I’d do before I did, and she put things into perspective for me. Her partner in crime, Meghan, was the brunette beauty my heart, my mind, and my body pined for; but back home, she had three boys on a line. I damn-well wasn’t going to be the fourth, so I held back, waiting (still waiting) for her to want to be with a man, not a boy. Then there was Sylvia, our sweetheart Italian bird who would mother-hen us Americans by cooking dinners and lunch for us, keeping our individual spirits roped-in to community. One day, she stood sweating over a boiling pot of spaghetti, cooking for us. I wrapped my arm around her waist from behind and planted a loving kiss on her neck. “You rock,” I told her. But we weren’t meant for each other. I knew this. Out there in the tide-pools in Spain, I was surrounded by my favorite women—sharing a romance with each and every one, for in that moment they were my very own sirens. Even though Alexandra became engaged to her fiancé while there, and Kristen already had her love, and Meghan and Sylvia were single, I still couldn’t help but flirt with them all—among our dancing, wine drinking, and many walks up and down dark Spanish alleyways, I felt like their protector, and that made me feel good. Back on the bouncing bus, I opened my eyes to find Sylvia resting her head on my shoulder, and another smile played upon my lips. I glanced back at Kristen, Meghan fully asleep beside her, and noticed her eyes sinking slow. I couldn’t wait to see later the pictures she captured of me and Meghan, my wonderful and beautiful Meghan. My eyes returned to the highway and I remembered all of us basking in the tide-pools that day in Spain. I relished how 75
the sunlight streamed off their hair that was entwined with a flower. Their eyes were alight, as were mine, with their own joy felt from the unique nature of it all. We caressed the elements surrounding us, and that experience, that day trip, made me truly aliveâ€”living in a moment of true romance.
by Kristin Nicholson photograph
Because a sonnet is too long when inspiration strikes while hiking by Debbie Albright
look up; rays of sun spotlight yellow leaves and shine through into gold mountain snow melting racing past willows, new buds bent over to drink she scans the snowy ground, red tail and still feathersonly sharp eyes move
Oregon coast by Jill Gooch
Rachel 1, 2 and 3 by Marian Studer oil on canvas
by Jake Carey I stare at a blank piece of lined paper My canvas to paint my emotions In the form of words I stare waiting for inspiration to hit For a new thought to cross my cross-eyed mind I stare at the stark white between the strange blue Like they are the bars of a jail cell door Trapping each letter word and line Between them Holding them forever Caged in place I stare at my canvas Wondering what I should write about this time Love, Hate Joy, Anger Depression, Happiness Confusion, Understanding Society, Home Which overdone Underappreciated art form Should I paint my emotions with? I stare lost in my thoughts and contemplation of what to write Waiting for my hand to go to work For it to create my latest masterpiece That only a few people will read I stare now thinking if I will ever be shown to the society So blind to my talent So blind to my art So blind to my masterpieces Taking shape day by day As I still stare Wondering what to paint this time
Thumbing through my sophomore yearbook by Rost Olsen
Those days come to my memory so vividly, as I remember when the biggest tasks at hand were surviving scout team offense in Tuesday football practices and painstakingly planning a course of action that would cause Erin Hicks to fall madly in love with me. As I turn the page, in retrospect I realize that I succeeded at one.
by Dayton Faraco photograph
by Jani Jaakko The celestial nectar of her presence, Where beauty blossoms in resplendent bours She rises from berried repose, In a seraphic pout, Lips like poignant posies Ripe with ambrosia, Lush with ethereal breath Enveloping the velvety cream of her skin, She sighs a crystalline trill, All of creation at her whim.
by Samantha Wade digital photo manipulation
green reflections by Jessica Hansen photography
by Addie Jaramillo
black and white medium phormat photographs
Institution man by Andrew Warren She was turning keys at the penitentiary. ... setting people free. The last cell on the right, my home both day and night. Here is where I play. My songs. “All the beautiful people come with me” she said. Soft words from softer lips. Brass, metal jingles from her hips. The sound of curiously cut freedom. CLUNK. A cell door slams open in a distance. 10X10 bottled hate spills through the open door and out to freedman's hall. CLUNK. A man sees the first rays of sun for the first time in years. Blink, blink and run to freedom before the offer expires. CLUNK, another, CLUNK. Then she turned to me, guitar placed on my knee... Plucking some old song. “I see fingers are warn, Prison clothes are torn. Not handsome, but you'll do... You can play a song, making up for all your wrong freedom has smiled to you...”
She smiled as she inserted the key into a rusty lock. She looked at my beard, my long hair and my scars. She looked at my tattoos, and my lame foot, and my scars. Despite my ugliness she began to turn the key... â€œStop. I'll sing for you not anything will do six strings all in tune. Listen to my plea, I'll never be free. Here is where ill stay...â€? I'm the freedom's heir. I inherit only the love for music. My cell is my home. There is more than guards, dogs, and bars holding me. Tell me your sins... Then she was gone, with a key and with a song. Turn my love around, Turn my love around.
by Seth Love It burns, She burns... Now don’t get the Wrong idea. It isn’t a sizzle That sparks under her dress. It isn’t a sauce; Think of her eyes. Then take a pause. You’d think sizzle wouldn’t you? You would forget pause; Now, more flaws. No? No, it is not a sizzling sauce A loved ‘randy’... Our favorite candy. Mmm... taste, mmm. Savor Delicious Sweet... sweat Great pest She is a roar... a lioness’ Doom You watch it zoom, A woman unto an auto Vroom... You drool, thump heart Thump Mmm... tasty Toy-ish or fleet A team of grimed-love concrete 90
A history ... a tale (... honestly who wouldn’t want a tail...?) They say, “you look pale...” Sad unto pale... Healthy to infatuate? Worth what it creates? She beams... but it is not Her, it is a me-plea I am stalemate.
broken bottle thing by Toni Contini photograph 92
Black Prism Road by Harry Baker
The veracity of life Fought its way down the tunnel On the side path nestled tightly between The crooked walls and passenger doors. The left side of me, clipped and nicked By small motions; The close calls where velocity Overlooked life's splendor. The ever so slightly winding road Can only go so far. Cracks in the tunnel walls let me Escape from gravity winds. From the vantage point, All that I saw were colors, Vibrant auras that seemed to paint Life itself. The solid dye bled through the walls, Peeling away as soon as it lay itself upon the brick. Within the ink, darkness ensued, Strangling the pigments With foppish lies. Amongst the road there was no friction, Rubber met ice that trickled from beneath The wicked canvas walls. It fell off its easel, Shattering into half of what it was. The winding road rode crooked no more, Turning into a straight path, Showing a comforting prism Unkempt from the black grime That smothered reality. The gauge has set itself to cruise control On a road That can't be painted Or known at all. 93
We have you surrounded! by Michael Livernash
oil and charcoal on canvas 94
by Jamie Swift 95
pen and ink
The Perils of being a woman rather than a dog by Tara Dawn Connolly
If I were a dog I could simply pee on you, marking my territory, making you mine. Better still, I’d nudge you with my nose, capturing your attention, helping you understand true happiness. We could go for autumn drives, windows down, and you’d be content just to have me by your side. If I were a cat I could saunter by, gently brushing against your skin leaving you unable to resist my touch. On rainy days I could curl up in your lap and murmur softly as you run your fingers through my hair. After a long day at work you’d be happy to spend a lazy evening with me. But as this woman, I’m too shy to ask you to dinner. So I’ll continue to sit in this café spending money I don’t have on coffee I don’t want, just to hear your voice in conversations occasionally meant for me, and plan precisely for a time when I will be brave enough to look you in the eye and say, you don’t know me, but I am yours.
by Tara Acquafondata photograph
how to submit Who can submit? The Brushfire accepts submissions from UNR undergraduate students, grad students, alumni, faculty, staff, and residents of Washoe, Carson, and Douglas counties.
What should I submit? Digital copy or documentation (i.e, a .doc file or .jpg at 400 dpi or higher quality) of an original pieces will be considered including, but not limited to the following mediums: short fiction, prose, poetry, scripts, monologues, photography, ceramics, sculpture, animation, video, music, lyrics, painting, drawing, illustration, mixed media, new genres, etc.For complete information on what and how to submit please consult the submission packet.
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The Fall submission deadline is October 9, 2009. The submission packet will be available in August at
www.unrbrushfire.com For more questions about submitting, please contact the staff at firstname.lastname@example.org 98
our generous supporters... The Brushfire Literature and Art Journal would not be possible without the encouragement and support from the University of Nevada, Reno, the Associated Students of the University of Nevada (ASUN) and the City of Reno. The staff would like to thank the City of Reno for their generous donation and endless support! We would also like to thank all of the people who have volunteered their time, energy and support to make this publication a success! Special thanks to: Kelly Bridegum - Staring Through Leaves Photography Scott Godine Michael Gjurich Beau Backman Anthony Sodenkamp The Canada Hall staff and residents KUNR (especially Danna Oâ€™Connor) The UNR Art Department The UNR English Department All of our families
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staff page and photo
Spring 2009 Brushfire Staff Ashley Hennefer Editor
Emma Schmelzer -
Junior English Lit/French
Ember co-editor/intern Senior Davidson Academy
Ashley Dodge Assistant Editor (Writing)
Jake Carey Ember co-editor/intern
Senior Journalism/English Lit
Freshman English Writing
Rebecca Holmstrom Assistant Editor (Art) Senior Photography/Business
Andrew Warren Webmaster Junior Mechanical Engineering 100