AD ASTRA PER ASPERA: “To the Stars Through Difficulties”
8th Edition F Fall 2004
EDITORS Nathaniel Blake Crystal A. Lavoie P RODUCTION M ANAGER Diane Blaisdell L AYOUT EDITOR Leah Rearick A DVISORY EDITORS Paul Rogalus Liz Ahl A SSOCIATE EDITORS Kevin Avery Robby Binette Alex Crangle Paris Landry Cara Cristina Losier A SSISTANT EDITORS Jordan Davis Jenny Elliott Andrea Lucas Skip Morse Dylan O’Neil Cassie Stone CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Ed Dugas BUSINESS M ANAGER Paris Landry A RT D IRECTOR Cindy Rizza WEBMASTERS Josh Breault Ryan Patnaude
SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: Submissions are open to students, alumni, faculty, and friends of Centripetal. All submissions must be typed. No hand-written submissions will be accepted. Fiction (up to 3 stories) should be no more than 1,000 words per piece; poetry (up to 6 pieces) may be any length, any style. Submissions should be e-mailed as attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions must contain name and contact information for the poet/ author, as well as a brief note on the contributor. Centripetal accepts one time North American Rights for print and online publication. All rights revert to the authors upon publication. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Plymouth State Poets & Writers would like to thank the following for their support of this issue of Centripetal: all of the contributors, with special thanks to the Plymouth State University Student Senate, the Hartman Union Building Staff, Chris Gentry, Rick Schlott, and the English Department. We would especially like to thank Dr. Paul Rogalus, our advisor, without whom this would not have been possible.
Cover art by Cindy Rizza; “Waterlilies” 2004.
CENTRIPETAL IS PRINTED BY K ASE P RINTING, I NC. 13 H AMPSHIRE DRIVE, UNIT 18 HUDSON, NH (603) 883-9223
19 HIGHLAND AVE F SUITE A14 PLYMOUTH, NH 03264 F (603) 535−2236 email@example.com oz.plymouth.edu/~poetswriters
THIS EDITION OF C ENTRIPETAL IS
DEDICATED TO OUR LOVING FRIEND,
K EVIN YOUNG
CONTENTS 8 th E d i t i o n
F Fall 20 04
Bugs and Fishes
A Cement One
10 PARIS LANDRY
On Meeting Robert Bly, Another Woman Burns Through Her Freedom
12 TRACY L. SMITH
Return to Sender, Fall
14 SKIP MORSE
From Asphalt Down, Cyclical
15 CARA CRISTINA LOSIER
16 JENNY ELLIOTT
The End, The Missed Waltz
18 MEG PETERSEN
From Now On, The Trilobites
21 TYLER MUSTY
The Dildo, Hate in Quotation Marks
27 MATT CARNEY
28 MIKE LONGO
Out of Reach
29 ANNABELLE WINTERS
Purgatorial Slingshot or Bypassing the Boatman
31 DYLAN HAIGH
I Don’t Drink, I Get Drunk
32 CRYSTAL A. LAVOIE
I Don’t Smoke, I Just Get Nervous, Pick of the Litter
Upon Looking Out My Bedroom Window, Into the House Next Door
Breakfast at the Mindfuck Cafe
Death Does Them Good
Nice Helmet, Poerty.
Waterclogs My Game
A Trout and Basement Rent, Let’s Crush Light Into Something
Displaced Desire and the Resulting Inescapable Fantasy Implosion
My Cat Doesn’t Know We’re Poor
ON THE CONTRIBUTORS OF
K EVIN YOUNG UNTITLED
Repreep-repreep-reepreep-reprepreep Drop retentive leaves, exceeding capacity, dripping onto one Another, imitating the rain that has recently fallen, and Will fall again shortly. While in the background sounds a perfectly out-of-tune choir, massaging my mind through my ears, with a gently inconsistent consistency. Reepreep-repreep-reepreep-repreep.
YO U N G
MOLLY SUTHERLAND B UGS
Jealous To him I’d listen
Love In circles comes And a boomerang is born In her To her I hear him say What it was My father Had never said to me “Now come here Cally, Give me bugs and fishes… Before I go”
C INDY R IZZA THE WRITER
it’s 2:33am and there’s comfort knowing a thousand others suffer silently searching for the precise language to articulate their condition. with failing words i hang from the chasm of paper into the white expanse of whatifs and couldbes into the blank of possibility not close enough to see the full inside and i’m in half-empty outside and when i hit bottom and the shock of gravity has escaped my limbs i will lie face up shivering at that looming void with a shrewd smile because i found the right words. i just never did anything about it.
JON L INK
A C EMENT O NE no welcome to confront the frontward motivations you preach while walking, speaking of temperature in a pointless room reinvents stupidity in a way unheard of, though icarus found out first what’s been said it happens every year, this is not uncommon but it is sad. while geraniums woke up and took a bath you held your arm away from the water, pitchfork with a mouth at you, something new to hesitate towards. the sheep all gave butter there is no sense in demanding milk, just accept a beautiful heart to kick and that you won’t always be able beat ass from buddha to christ. again as the agate of the creeping summer heads towards, what could only be described as a consolation, there is incessant periods of calculation and prediction. would the promise of a revival in hubcap swimwear be enough to turn you on. i doubt it. but there isn’t much these coyotes don’t know around now anyway. in the breast of our hour a gutter will make such a lovely center piece and your aluminum calligraphy, a twelve week suck-a-thon of making pancakes for a doberman pincher, will be tolerated even as bees carve windows in your eroticized bronze platform. i guarantee you this and so much more.
PARIS L ANDRY
O N M EETING R OBERT B LY I read some of your poetry and think you must drink coffee— black, or maybe with Jameson and some milk or chocolate. Other poems tickle a suspicion of you drinking scotch or brandy or something else that sounds nice in a glass of ice. Still, other times, I wonder if we were to sit together on your Norwegian sun-porch, reading poetry, would we thirst at all— or be content to feast upon that which you speak of so sweetly?
A NOTHER WOMAN B URNS THROUGH H ER F REEDOM I can’t stop this mentalogical connection, you’re pulling strands of honey from my mind, stretching thin but far from breaking and I can’t stop this meticulous precision of reaching and probing and digging into your mind for where it is that I remain attached and I’ve lost track of whose invasion this is but I am severing our hypnotism to seek my distraction elsewhere because you have become an occupation and without you I will burn then bare myself anew.
TRACEY L. SMITH
“we walk by Baby Gap and get a pain in our chest.” ~ Nicole Blackman, Us we plan, dream, hope and wait for disappointment. we lose touch with friends intentionally and wonder why we drink alone. we emaciate ourselves to slink away unnoticed. we lie about our age, are attracted to older men because our fathers didn’t talk to us, listen to us, love us when we were older. we allow our imperfections to devour us inside-out, marrow to mascara. we hear our own heart beat in the dead of night and a migraine claws slowly into our eyes. we hold grudges for years. we hold ulcers longer. but we smile. oh, do we smile. we are grateful to those who have hurt us because we believe it has made us stronger. we despise those who love us because it makes it harder to say goodbye.
when you were small you believed, pretended that a pile of leaves was a mattress, a bed of crinkling pillows. jumping - up, down - diving in. it was exciting then. now that youâ€™re older you realize itâ€™s just a pile of dead things.
F ROM A SPHALT D OWN It’s early the coffee-maker throws its voice, its wisp and hiss, to the outside maybe it’s the scurrying of an animal through dry leaves or does an animal scavenge like the coffee-maker makes?
C YCLICAL I razor sharp my razor-me, slicing a place I take my piece and again I cleanly complete the whole
C ARA C RISTINA L OSIER TUMBLEW EED
There is empty thistled dust and a dead horse just outside of Log Lane Village. I killed the snake, which looked like Russian letters, that bit the life out of my sinewy brown horse. My boots thud against the dead dirt. I pick up my hat. I will walk. I could drink the sand by the time I stagger into Log Lane Village. In a street cafe, she pours water from a blue teapot, wetting a dishtowel so that I can wipe the grime from my face. I tell her, “iced tea-no sugar.” She smiles, “Of course not.” A table’s space from mine, an old woman’s sewing scissors glint like chrome. Through the window I see the wind toy with the habit of a nun, who is emerging from the straight cathedral. I look up. I ask, “God?”
JENNY ELLIOTT THE E ND
we drove on every rural road you could find in New Hampshire, the highway was an unnecessary rush, i sat beside you in your shiny red Chrysler and we listened to Sinatra for hours, you told me the same old jokes, i laughed anyway, we stopped and ate egg salad sandwiches, you put salt on your watermelon, i still think that’s weird, you said you didn’t feel any pain when you were with me because these were “feel good times,” when we both caught colds from the same drafty diner, we shared the free tissues the dialysis center gave you, and talked about what you liked to call the “simple things,” in time, i drove your Chrysler alone, you rode cold with an unfamiliar driver, they said you were a ‘quiet man, a private man, a man who loved his home cooking.’ you felt no pain that day, but i cried, these were not feel good times, and as i dove over every familiar bump, as i passed all the same fallen trees, I missed you.
THE M ISSED WALTZ
I always wanted to dance with you, old friend, but you left before our song was played. So now, when I’m alone, I play Sinatra and pretend I’m in your arms, and I try to imagine how you would have danced me ‘round the room. I remember your feet were careless, heavy. I remember your ice blue eyes would get misty-eyed to the slow songs, and instead you held my hand.
M EG P ETERSEN F ROM NOW O N
From now on every time you hear tires scream, a hollow thump in the night like a skip in the beat of some cosmic heart, you’ll remember that last conference the day before, how in your attic office he gripped the pages of his essay earnest and unyielding, and read such significance into a life too short to hold it. But you didn’t know that then. You heard the piece in innocence, complimented a good first draft, not knowing that’s all he’d get. One day you smell only autumn’s charged clarity the strange rain of leaves, the next day you wake to the odor of burnt rubber, ash in the air like dark angels particles of his bulk and sweat, of the musk of him. Before you have time to truly know his death you are back in class, facing the others, without a script for confronting mortality, which sits in his empty chair with the gravity of coal’s black center. He gave you permission to read the paper. It seems important to tell them some things will not be violated, some trust endures beyond everything.
So you read his draft aloud. His hopeful words echo as you fill this deep space with sentences that ring like calls from beyond, like screams. The silence that follows finds its own eerie intimacy, and you all walk away shaking your heads, tied by this common horror from now on.
THE TRILOBITES Sometimes I must merely hold what you held, I keep pieces of you, the detritus of your life, when you had one—in my makeshift shrine. an earring lost in my office and found too late, a card you sent to celebrate the birth of my third child, a hand-scrawled note once left in my mailbox, and the curious pendant full of trilobites encased in rosy amber, their backs curling away and tinged with green, hinting of ooze, bubbles trapped within comet-like tails… I once believed in such objects, as if their solidity could hold off your cancer like a vampire’s wooden cross. But you died anyway. I keep the trilobite pendant, simply to feel its smooth presence in my palm, to hold what you once held. I remember when I first saw it encircled by your long artist’s fingers in an open air market tourist trap, Santo Domingo, 1996. You asked me what those creatures were encased inside. I started to tell you how many million years ago the trilobites had lived. I was going to make some metaphor about survival, but you misunderstood and thought I just wanted the pendant as if objects themselves mattered. I still have those damn trilobites.
TYLER MUSTY THE D ILDO
Ryan bought a dildo at a sex shop on St. Catherine Street in
Montreal – not to cram up any human hole – he just thought it was hilarious. It was a foot-long, rubber penis modeled after some porn star none of us had ever heard of. “It doesn’t matter anyway,” Ryan said. “He probably can’t even get a hard-on anymore.” Everyone had a different opinion about Ryan’s dildo. Keith and I got the joke – we were the ones who convinced him to buy it. But not everyone thinks sex toys are funny. Those who can’t laugh at a blow-up doll or an enormous butt plug are one of two kinds of people – either they’re uncomfortable around the erotically unmentionable, or they’re just plain offended. Ben wasn’t one of the offended – he was hard to offend. But it was hate at first sight when he saw the dildo – sort of the opposite reaction of a kinky sex fiend. When Ryan pulled the dildo out of his backpack with a big smile on his face and started swinging it around like a pair of nunchucks, Ben just shook his head and looked at the ground. “What is wrong with you?” he said. “Oh come on,” Ryan said, “just think of it as a pet rock with a sense of humor.” But Ben had already left the room. Most of our other friends came around quickly. A simple game of catch in the living room was a lot more interesting with a wobbly, rubber dick. You couldn’t have a canister of Pringles in the house very long without someone eating them all and leaving you a surprise. From the first day in our presence the dildo was covered in dirt. After that it was smeared with all kinds of white substances for various photo opportunities. Anyone who would use it for its intended purpose after that was a different kind of animal altogether. Ben never touched it though. He could tolerate it next to his feet on the coffee table during the Patriots games on Sundays. He might even chuckle if he saw that someone had propped it 21
up between two couch cushions. But if the rest of us were target shooting the dildo into a spray-painted snow bank, Ben found somewhere else to be. It was pretty random how everything changed. Ben got home on a Saturday night, beer-drunk off most of a thirty pack. I was watching a movie on the couch in a roomful of people with the dildo on my lap. I was mostly drunk too and thought it would be a good idea to fuck with Ben a little when he dumped himself next to me on the couch. “Ben,” I said, “come on, man – you gotta see the humor in this thing.” Then I started poking him in the ribs with the dildo. “Fuck you,” he mumbled, elbowing the dildo away, his eyes closing. “Come on,” I said, poking him harder. “You know this is funny, right?” I really jammed the thing into his side, and Ben picked his head up. His eyes were wide open. Without saying anything, Ben snatched the dildo out of my hand and smashed it over my leg. I went to my knees and watched a stripe of my thigh welt up and change color in only seconds. Ben went nuts swinging the dildo at everything in his way. He crushed full bags of potato chips. Smashed a bunch of glasses in the kitchen sink. Put three fresh holes in the living room drywall. He ran through the house screaming and laughing at the same time. For the rest of the night, they were a single unit. The dildo went wherever Ben went. He carried it around in his back pocket like a mechanic would a wrench. We found Ben the next morning, asleep in a ball next to the front door. Broken glass from a window above was scattered all over him. Outside in a snowbank, the dildo was frozen, momentarily fully erect. He tried to play it off like he had been so wasted the night before – the same way alcohol is always the excuse for a sexual mistake. “I don’t remember MUSTY
anything,” he told us. And maybe he didn’t, but he was finally at peace with the dildo. He accepted it for what it was – the anonymous roommate that never paid rent. He was in on the joke. The thing is, you live with the right people long enough, you can get used to anything. When Steve’s friends from home bought him a blow-up doll as a joke for his twenty-second birthday, Ben was the first one to zip the dildo up in the fly of his jeans and pretend to fuck it.
Q UOTATION M ARKS
First he explained how his teriyaki chicken stir-fry with green
beans went better with mashed potatoes. Over the boiling pot of potatoes, I told him that, no, a garlic salted steak goes best with mashed potatoes. Then once his stir-fry was finished and my steak was just quite not red enough, we argued about how much milk to add to the potatoes. That was pretty much how my friendship with Ryan went. Anything worth talking about was worth the argument. Some people you have to fight with in order to stay friends. Dan liked to tell us, “One day one of you is going to snap, and one of you is going to wake up dead because you hate each other – you just don’t know it yet.” To everyone else, me calling Ryan a douche bag over a board game was fuel to the fire. If he stuck his head in my bedroom door, called me a fag and gave me the finger, everyone else thought we wouldn’t be friends anymore. Every little thing Ryan and I did to piss one another off was, to everyone else, the apocalypse of our friendship. What they didn’t get was that an insult between two friends – between me and Ryan – was the same as a high five between normal people. How much we got along, how good of friends we were, was more defined by our arguments than how well we sat silently in a room together. Ryan stood well over six feet tall and had almost no meat to him. His entire body had a looseness to it that, when he got walking really fast or was drunk, gave his limbs a certain wobble. Keith told him he looked like he was made of rubber. With his red, chin-strap beard and rubberized limbs, Ryan was the closest thing to a cartoon I’d ever known. How we ended up in a ball on the living room floor was no accident. It was no moment of drunken rage like everyone thought either, but that’s how it looked. How Ryan and I ended up fighting in front of everyone was actually just a big joke. Before we started making the mashed potatoes, Ryan laid MUSTY
the plan out for me. All we had to do was make everyone think we were boiling over like they all thought we would one day. “If someone leaves the water dripping in the bathroom sink,” Ryan said, “blame me. If it starts raining this afternoon, tell me it’s my fault. Tell me I cook my mashed potatoes wrong.” “You do cook them wrong,” I said. “You don’t add enough milk.” “Fuck you,” he said. “But that’s the idea. Just make sure people are watching.” Ryan’s plan was that we would fake a fight that night to make everyone think we were trying to kill each other. Someone, he said, probably everyone, would try jumping in to break it up, and they’d all look like fools. What a police officer would look like trying to arrest someone for assault with a folding chair at a professional wrestling event. What started with the mashed potatoes turned into an all-day pretend hate festival. Ryan blamed me for using all the hot water in the shower. I called him a fucking cheater over a game of badminton in the driveway with all our roommates sitting on the sidelines. I was watching a movie in my room with Steve, and Ryan poked his head in. “Eat my ass, you good for nothing piece of shit,” he said and walked away. Some people you have to fight with in order to stay friends, but even make-believe hatred doesn’t take a lot of work. Being a dick is easy when only that one other person knows you’re completely kidding. You just play along – sort of the same thing as make-believe love. Everyone was good and wasted later that night. We’d gone to the bar where Ryan kept telling everyone he was going to break a bottle over my head if I didn’t shut my mouth. Back at our house, Ryan was about to shoot a dart in the living room when I kicked his leg out from under him at the knee. The dart stuck in the wall about three feet above the board, and Ryan was so into character I actually thought he was pissed. He tackled me. I landed on one of those giant inflatable exercise balls, and Ryan 25
landed on top of me. We bounced and broke two legs off the coffee table. Even with fake hate things get broken. After that we were nothing but a bunch of fists and pulled punches. Pulled hair and small bite marks. Hate isn’t hard to make look real if you can only keep a straight face. Keith was the first hero – the first fool. His hand was around my ankle, pulling me away from the whole mess. He looked as angry as we were pretending to be. Everyone else, they just looked worried. To them, this was the same as all the name calling. All the insults and arguments. To them this was the end of our friendship. To me and Ryan it was the same joke it had been all day. Ryan was off to the side where our table used to be. He was sweating and panting with a spilled beer soaking into the front of his gray sweater. His red hair was everywhere. People were trying to hold him back because he was still ready to fake fight. I saw him and started laughing. The sort of laughter that makes your stomach muscles ache the next day and almost makes you puke. Ryan saw the looks on everyone’s faces, the confusion – justification that his plan had worked to perfection – and he started laughing too. After everyone else was in bed, Ryan and I were left sitting on the living room floor among the overturned cups and wet spots on the carpet. We were passing a bottle of beer back and forth. Pieces of the broken coffee table were scattered all over the place. It was a mess, but it felt like we had created something. “You know that tomorrow we’re going to argue about who won,” I said. “No one wins a fake fight,” Ryan said. “But tomorrow, you’ll tell me you did.” “Oh, I did win,” he said. Outside the sun was coming up. Everything was back to normal even though nothing had ever changed. MUSTY
M ATT C ARNEY
F OOD POISONING
I’d love to peel Your sodium skin Expose the pink In your buttery batter I am convinced You are an undercooked person Human Salmonella Fatally rare I know because I took out a chunk Unaware of your poison Until your bone split my teeth Hollowed of guts I scornfully watch The compiled lust The haunting hunger Everyone sees The incisors’ incision Still they salivate Depressingly fooled They do wonder why you are not all bones But don’t seem to care why I am
M IKE L ONGO O UT
Grey Day into Wet Night Guiding Moonlight peepers Stars In Your Eyes
A NNABELLE WINTERS
P URGATORIAL S LINGSHOT OR B YPASSING THE B OATMAN I have crushed A lot of apple seeds For you. And they sit In a pile No bigger than a shoe-shine kit At the back of a closet. Fermenting. In the middle, More lethal than belladonna Reaching and climbing Its way out. Palm up to the heavens Like a gravedigger in distress. The arsenious kernel sits atop this Placental heap, Waiting for me to come And place it, crystalline grey, in my pocket. Where it will nestle into the corner And breathe Like hay bale Counting its straws.
And it waits. As I know you wait. For the Chapel clock to tick, And I take my apple seed creation And it hurls me Through you And into the next.
D YLAN H AIGH
I D ON â€™T D RINK , I G ET D RUNK
sometimes you donâ€™t want everything just a few somethingsyour breath can cloud and crystallize over a mountain while your insides are being eaten by a golden demon firm and finicky at once you must be flushed into the sticky flume of something only faintly realistic to get to feel something you think might be honest burn as bright as you can sing sly, feeble warbles through a tin can like a bird every morning so when you do go back you will know only what you remember be wary of those who will never fall from line and into the grace of a good bartender
C RYSTAL A. L AVOIE
I D ON ’T S MOKE , I JUST G ET NERVOUS We met an old, fat guy at the bar who asked us if we knew who Andrew Dice Clay was – and when we said we did, he told us he was better than him. And he wasn’t, really, but he waved around unlit cigarettes because he “didn’t smoke, just got nervous,” and his dick jokes proved to be mildly amusing, so we listened. This guy, who called himself Uncle Joe, also told us that Jamaica is much nicer than Vancouver, and that Jamaican girls have blue pussies. He couldn’t believe we hadn’t heard of him. Later, Uncle Joe was dragged from the bar by his nephew and the bartender, still cracking jokes as he was wrestled out. L AVO I E
L IT TER
During the summer my grandmother goes to the dump every morning. There’s this shop near the entryway of the dump called “The Pick of the Litter.”’ People drop their junk off – my grandmother brings it all home. There was an article in the Falmouth newspaper last summer about two little old ladies who got into a brawl over a rusty bicycle. My grandfather clipped it, and stuck it on the fridge. He points it out to visitors claiming that it was my grandmother, and she must have been drunk.
L AVO I E
She denied being in the brawl, but I remember, last August, she brought my truck home with a dented bike â€“ wheeled it around the house, and hid it behind the shed. I guess she won.
L AVO I E
CELCIA P RIOR
UPON L OOKING O UT MY B EDROOM WINDOW, INTO THE H OUSE N EX T D OOR I spent an entire day watching the distilled depreciation of your gericentric obsession. Out of curiosity, I investigated your electrical communiquĂŠ and found the skeletal indications of an ill perceived and disillusioned femininity. Hit the email refresh button again with frustrated anticipation, demanding the computer produce what it so recklessly promised: Renaissance? Resonance? Refreshment? From what, what refreshment can come from the exhalation of this infatuation? How long can you watch your future condensing on the computer screen when the self has been exchanged for a chit-chat now pregnant with the familiar but barren of substance. Soon youâ€™ll become a commodity of the un-reciprocator. One very neighborly gentleman 35
is the only refreshment to desire or expect. But itâ€™s just another quick fix from the denominator who continues to loosen your habitual reality. Can you substantiate this hallow circumstance and, while craving one more fix, touch the pivotal center of someone else as they hit the refresh button again and again and again. Too many desperate prayers have formed a luminescent trickle while the satiated Cambodian serpent moves across a distant ridge of her trailing sticky fingers.
ETHAN SWANN M OON B REW.
I sip the moon like a cold brew; intoxicating, beautiful. A shot of stars with a Moon Brew chaser. Glittering shimmering I see Jesus. And he sits next to me, his long hair feeling the night breeze. My body. Given for you. I offer him a bottle and we sit silent sipping thinking different thoughts nursing our Moon Brews. I expect the Son of God has a few stories to tell me. The Messiah stays silent till heâ€™s done drinking and he speaks only to ask for another. And again itâ€™s silent. And we sit. Drinking. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. Amen. 37
SWA N N
M ARY C OEN
S OUTHERN C OMFORT
I once met a man on a Greyound bus named Mattel.
He was a thirty-five-year-old gay black man with a lisp so strong that when he talked, if I closed my eyes, it sounded and felt like I was standing beside the ocean. He wore a pair of brown leather shoes, black dress pants, three gold watches, and a shirt that read “Got Lube.” His hand motions seemed to be directly connected to his voice box, the way that a puppet’s strings are connected to a stick, and when he talked they flailed about in all directions. His whole being reeked of alcohol and I was not surprised when he pulled a large silver flask of Southern Comfort from his bag. In truth this was less like a flask and more like a canteen, the kind normally carried by hikers who need to fill it with a few days worth of water. He smiled at me. “The only way to travel,” he managed to spray forth from his mouth, before taking a large swig of the potent liquid. Within a half hour Mattel was completely and totally intoxicated. He informed me that he had been in college for fifteen years and had majored in every option offered, including fire fighting. He took to jumping out of his seat and running up and down the aisles of the bus, his flask raised up in the air raining down upon the people like holy water. He had named the two boys sitting next to us “Ren” and “Stimpy”, and when “Stimpy” fell asleep with his mouth open Mattel proceeded to yell out for him to close it, while at the same time shouting out the wrong words to horrible songs from the early 90’s. “You say I only hear what I want to; I don’t pay attention to the distance that you’re running to anyone, anywhere…STIMPY! ….STIMPY, SHUT YOUR MOUTH….I’m only hearing negative, oh, oh oh.” When singing, never once did Mattel’s voice fluctuate or try to follow the beat in any way, nor did he give any regard to the pauses normally inserted between words. For the most part all of his songs were structured like this: “Isawthesignanditopenedupmy COEN
eyes…REN WAKE STIMPY UP! HE GOT TO CLOSE UP THAT MOUTH..Isawthesign.” With every sip from the flask Mattel grew a little more annoying and a little harder to understand. Around 2am he fell to his knees, vomited, and passed out with his face stuck to the sticky, scum covered floor.
A NGELA H ARTMANN YELLOW.
I. My brother still haunts me. He sits on my bed, crying. His skin is yellow, And his liver is expanding Pushing through the skin Giving it adult-like definition. II. It rained at his funeral. Dad sat by his sonâ€™s new bed, and cried. His skin was ghost white, And his stomach shrank Receding beyond his muscle tone Molding him into a childâ€™s frame.
M INDFUCK C AFE
On Sunday, I had breakfast at the mind fuck café on the corner of Stoner and Myrtle street. I had scrambled legs, sunny side up with a side of incest links. Next to me was a blonde woman, aged somewhere between 35 and 36. She swallowed estrogen pills, chewed with her mouth open, and asked questions about her new breast implants. “Do these look real enough?” “See them, feel them!” “What do you think honestly, tell me, I can handle it.” I did as she said, putting my hands on her breasts before she lifted up her shirt, flashing me and her torpedoes hit me head on, gleaming with stiffness and dead eyes. The man next to me, stared over my shoulder and grinned, trying to get a view of the new Grand Canyon and S.S. Minnow pulling up her anchor before heading to sea. I’d met this man before once, His name is Texas Jack and he’s a famous traveling author. He bought me coffee once in the pit of Nevada and followed me home. His best selling book is a travel guide to the best toilets in the country, He says he’s taken a dump in every road stop along the Mississippi, and claims to have fucked Barbara Streisand and Princess Diana in a threesome. He has a thick Scottish accent and brown teeth, he’s funny when he talks. I bought him a coffee and asked him about the café’s toilet for kicks. 41
The waitress walked by and brought me my meal, she smiled and then beat me with a stick to pay the bill. The cook screamed in the kitchen, choking, he’s bald from chemo. I threw my money at the waitress and hissed, she then lifted up her dress, showing a camel toe. It means thank you in Spain. I eat there every week because it’s strange, kind of like a skull fracture when life gets boring. Next week, I’ll eat breakfast alone with strangers, hopefully.
NATHANIEL L ORD
D EATH D OES THEM G OOD
Seder had killed the old man.
Part of it may have been that glaring look that he was given everyday as he entered the room to open the curtains, or maybe it was the all around constant flow of verbal abuse. But whatever the reason Seder had finally done it, and Molls Lavern was dead. The disappoint though was that Seder had so hoped he would feel better having the deed done and put aside, unfortunately he had no such satisfaction. No guilt existed within his churning mind either, and he had no fear of being caught; instead he felt a certain displacement, as if all purpose in his life had ceased at the very moment of Molls’ extinguishment. Seder sat now, the body, strangled, cooling on the bed near by. “You know,” he said aloud to nobody in particular (Molls was now incapable of receiving sound vibrations in a meaningful way), “it is so ironic how we live with such blind egotism that we assume that we’ll always have purpose on this earth. I mean look at Molls here, I bet this morning when he woke up he had no clue that his life was just a few hours away from ending. We’re alive one day thinking everything is fine and then the next we drop dead.” Seder let out a little laugh, though he didn’t really find anything all that funny. He glanced over at Molls’ corpse and frowned. He was bored. Part of him thought that maybe he should do something with the body, but really it mattered too little to act upon. He stood, slowly, encumbered, as if great age had suddenly set upon him. “You know Molls, no matter what you were thinking as my hands took your life, I assure you that my action was a favor,” Seder glared at Molls and in an act almost more wretched than the actual murder, he spit in the dead man’s face. “Fuck you.” 43
Seder left the room. A few hours later Seder sat at the counter of a small diner finishing a burger and some fries. The food wasnâ€™t bad but it did little to interest him. He finished, paid his bill, and left a reasonable 23% tip. Seder, empty of thought, empty of emotion, walked out on to the street and crossed the road neglecting to look for traffic. The pickup truck that hit him ended Sederâ€™s life instantly. When Molls Lavern was found dead there was more than enough evidence pointing the murder to Seder, many would say that it was poetic justice or irony that just a few hours later his own life was snuffed out. Seder would have said it just proved his point.
NATHANIEL BLAKE NICE H ELMET national guard, guard me from my nation. search that baby’s stroller maybe her undeveloped mind is housing a fanatical terrorist. your camouflage blends nicely against the airport mall’s capital -istic glow. can i borrow your rifle’s scope to read my passport’s fine print? to your answerless questions i have questionless answers.
i once mispelt poetry. spell check made certain to point out my mistake. it assumed i meant to write poverty. and now iâ€™m not real -ly sure what i meant.
NICK A NTOLINI
WATERCLOGS MY G AME
I wear a linger ring and a scent of mental ex spears me (existential exit substantial) I where? at expense of expanse prayers are dense and solemn swears are swallowed air hollow. bare. follow to fall witness to procession and a dairy reflex able to adore a door wide open, a hoping mind with brains on the floor and ties that blind litter a chore
A LEX C RANGLE
BASEMENT R ENT
Never knock on my door I want to say (but don’t) and she points with a wet fish shaking in her hand as I step back barefoot through the splitting door frame. A small nail raking my shoulder slightly, opening a gash as thin and straight and long as her angry lips. As I close the door, I see the slimy scaled trout (unlike Brautigan’s shimmering talkative trout) gesticulate an old rainbow of failures back at me. I wonder if she’s still there short nose and vaseline eyes and stubby knee caps like they’re about to fall off as she moves up the stairs on some hopeless secret mission. I notice the worn rug under my feet. For the moment supporting me. I look for the girl in my bed. Under heavy basement beams, her taut dreaming face opens like a creaking mountain window. Her arm, in the simple motion, knocking an empty bottle that falls and rolls slightly, releasing the sigh of a breeze from the transom over my head. I feel the air shift, the room breathing in the sick city air and a million other nameless junks through a sagging hole in the screen. The rent will never be paid I begin to think again of escape. CRANGLE
L ET ’S C RUSH L IGHT I NTO S OMETHING Grip me by a hand shaped cloud spilling soggy bits between finger tips. Leak white down my wrist while King Lear speaks excitedly (in golf shoes and golf shirt) that everything has “Got to be!” Who knows when he’ll stop. Who knows when this train will reach the Munich north park. The Bavarian winter rain never seems to end. Let’s crush light into something and cross the flooded river on stuffed light shoes. The game is finally cancelled after I waited for weeks on the hood of a blue minivan sipping whisky begging Bukowski to release my tongue which he pinches so tightly between crisp frozen fingers. Let’s crush light into something and feel this temperature going down, going down… I see the formica casualty wearing velvet pants and people whisper about her waiting for the evening Die Bahn train as the leaf borne frost melts and drip-drops onto my shoes and the twenty-third page of a new book. She moved from the over pass and into the tracks with perfect timing. The Munich locals 49
say “it happens sometimes” and shrug a shrug I’ve seen before on ancient soundless newsreels of occupation. Now I find myself in some expatriate bar writing a letter to you. I was drunk when I got here and I’ll be drunk when I leave, a night concealed in whispering tumbles. I’d crush light into something though my hangover letter and loose poetry know you may never respond. I’d crush light into something but I feel myself slipping on the muddy bank of your expectations, waiting for the gentle rain to clear the leaves away and wash my feet clean.
D ISPLACED D ESIRE AND THE R ESULTING I NESCAPABLE FANTASY I MPLOSION when I see him my heart beats irregularly -sowhen I’m alone I beat off quite regularly I’ve opened this mind to you and shown you what I can do, but I won’t ever know as my fantasies grow: what it would be like to open it all to you. There’s nobody’s cock, and nobody’s hand-nobody’s fuck can supply my demand I know that your seed can fill what I have and I know what you have can fill what I need and I intensely and wholly desire you and contemplate others I see, but lacking reciprocity I must succumb to my fantasies -orshed them forever to be free.
LYNN RUDMIN B OOT
I unroll silvery durable tape along torn canvas frays, restoring two parts as one. My heavy boot I stomp on the new seam. Reconsidering, I press with my weight the tape all I can possibly hold in mind, 2004’s election so base I clutch at my stomach all day. Driveway’s gravel supports my weight; pliant, silvery tape records all, under my boot. Pockmarks draw my eye: I think: a pox . . . Raking hard, mounding leaves, I wish government by smart people. Crackling leaves heap under my tines. I handle time. I won’t burn these. A pox on both your houses.
ED D UGAS MY C AT D OESN ’T K NOW WE ’RE POOR My cat curls himself comfortably in front of the peeling, cracked plaster window on a concave cardboard crate in the damp, empty living room. Under the kitty, on top of the crate lies a multi-colored homemade quilt once cherished but now stale from the inside of moving vans, old and tossed aside, never again to cover the warm bed of a grandson. The sun from the window shines on the torn, flowered couch and dirty dishes while the sleepy cat yawns through phone calls from bill collectors and screams from mother are only a temporary disturbance of his deep, deep sleep. Pain for Pepper is lustfully longing for neighborhood felines, an annoying itch, what squeak toy to spin, when to fend, and when to rescind. Rusty washcloth water better than Evian, and Sheeba servings from Shaw’s are kitty caviar quenching cravings until the next trip to the covered crate where he watches the world through the nailed window. 53
Nick Antolini is like a simile, but is actually a metaphor. His interests include nothing, and many other things as well. He currently lives. Robby Binette is a sketchy poet from Newburyport, MA. He is a senior English major and his work has appeared in Centripetal, The Record, and The Clock. Nathaniel Blake has a pet fish named Sushi, for now... Matt Carney is a sophomore at Plymouth State University. He is an English major who enjoys many things including: Guinness draught, 1983-1988 Metallica, and of course, the power of words. Mary Coen is a junior Literature major who likes watching paint dry, getting root canals and taking upper level literature classes. Alex Crangle was left behind by a midget circus troupe because he was too tall. Ed Dugas considers Canada to be his surrogate mother. Jenny Elliott is. Trisha Giasson is a 6th year senior studying psychology and law. Her interests are forensics, photography, music, writing, dance, theatre and cuddling. Hailing from Maine, she has a kitten, Oreo, she loves more than life itself and a family that couldn’t be more supportive. Dylan Haigh is a scholar who simply couldn’t be bothered, a valedictorian who never graduated. Angela Hartmann is a Senior English major who is obsessed with the ocean. Paris Landry lives on a hill in Hill. Crystal A. Lavoie has been published in Babel Magazine, The Chiron Review, Thunder Sandwich, and Blind Man’s Rainbow. She is working on a chapbook and birds make her pretty nervous. Cara Cristina Losier is still a Pirate. Jon Link can’t dance the robot. 54
CENTRIPETAL Mike Longo is a fourth year English major with a minor in Media Studies. He is Editor-in-Chief of The Clock. One day Mike aspires to found his own film and music production company in and around the New England Area. Nathaniel Lord is a sophomore English major with a writing option. Currently he has no plans for the future except to keep writing. Skip Morse was published in the seventh edition of Centripetal and was not voted most likely to succeed. Tyler Musty is a Plymouth State College alum. His stories have appeared in Centripetal. He is originally from Piermont, New Hampshire, and currently works in a warehouse. Meg Petersen teaches English education courses at Plymouth State University. She is the director of the Plymouth Writing Project, New Hampshire’s site of the National Writing Project, and a founding member of the editorial board of the Plymouth Writers Group, publishers of anthologies of teachers’ writing. She is the mother of Sam, Marc and Max and lives (mostly) happily with them in Plymouth, NH. Celcia Prior is a figment of our imagination. Cindy Rizza is a girl who paints, writes, and smiles all the time. You’ll find her at Plymouth State twirling in open spaces. She says, “Try it. It’s fun.” Lynn Rudmin teaches English at PSU, where the students are surrounded by the most beautiful mountains, rivers, voices. May those mountains, rivers and voices creep into their dreams forever. Tracey L. Smith is an alum of Plymouth State University. She is currently the Production Manager for the Merrimack Valley Music Magazine Nomasonha. Molly Sutherland is a writer/photographer and fifth year student of Plymouth State University. She hails from New Hampton, New Hampshire where she lives with her husband, Shaffer, and their two dogs, Evary and Blotz. Ethan Swann has had work appear in Comp Journal. He enjoys being an English major with an unclear future. He is not a very interesting person. Annabelle Winters is a graduating senior, psychology major/writing minor at Plymouth State University. Her writing has appeared in The Clock. Kevin Young is a masterpiece. 55
â€œSupporting Poets and Writers Around the Worldâ€? by distributing grants and scholarships to promising Plymouth State students and alumni
Providing resources to enhance the Plymouth Experience and engaging alumni and friends as active participants in the mission of Plymouth State through philanthropy and volunteerism.
Coming up at the Silver Cultural Arts Center Kendrick Oliver and the New Life Jazz Orchestra with special guest Kevin Mahogany
February 26 at 8pm Breathing “new life” into the classic big band, The Boston Globe said their recording debut is “a warm, inviting, powerful, house party of an album!” The New Life Jazz Orchestra has caught fire appearing at national festivals like the JVC, Newport, Hartford and Tanglewood Jazz Festivals with its band of twenty-something year old phenoms and leader Kendrick Oliver. Guest vocalist Kevin Mahogany joins forces for a program called Swingin’ the Blues: Celebrating Count Basie and the Kansas City Sound. $24-$21 adult/$23-$20 senior/$18-$15 youth/$8-$5 PSU student
March 6 at 3pm Mark Doty is the author of six poetry collections and the memoir Heaven’s Coast, which won both the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction and Firebird, an autobiography. He is the recipient of the Witter Bynner Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Los Angeles Times Book Award, is the first American to win the T.S. Eliot Prize and has been a finalist for the National Book Award. Free.
Kate & Anna McGarrigle
March 13 at 4pm Their distinctive harmonies and songs have given their music a world stage in festival and concert hall tours across North America and Europe. The Montreal born sisters’ 1976 debut, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, drew critical raves and was named Best Album of the Year by Stereo Review. The McGarrigle Hour, a CD of their favorite songs, is a celebration of their rich musical heritage featuring Kate’s ex-husband Loudon Wainwright III, their children Rufus and Martha Wainwright along with “honorary McGarrigles” Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. $24-$21 adult/$23-$20 senior/$18-$15 youth/$8-$5 PSU student
Cypress String Quartet
April 1 at 8pm Since its inception in 1996, the Cypress String Quartet has been hailed as a “Generation X Ensemble to Watch” by Chamber Music Magazine and featured on NPR’s Performance Today. Included in the program is Beethoven’s Op. 59, No. 3; a glorious fugue, optimistic in the face of despair, inspired by his personal loss of hearing. $20 adult/$19 senior/$10 youth/$5 PSU student
April 10 at 3pm Gilbert’s Views of Jeopardy, winner of the 1962 Yale Younger Poets Series and Monolithos were both Pulitzer Prize nominees. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Other collections include The Great Fires and Kochan. Refusing Heaven will be published this spring. Free.
2004 Conning Tower Yearbook
Come Be A Part of The Plymouth State Legacy! Every year, the Conning Tower Yearbook is published, but we need your help! Join us on Tuesday nights at 7pm in HUB 031, everyone is welcome! 2003 Yearbooks are on Sale Now! To get your copy, visit the Yearbook Office in the HUB next to The Clock. These are your college years, help make the legacy that you build, be remembered always!
THECLOCK Student Newspaper
of Plymouth State University
As the weekly student newspaper of Plymouth State University, The Clock reaches over 4,000 students, faculty, and staff. Distributed free of charge on every Friday of the academic year, The Clock can be found across the Plymouth State campus and at over a dozen downtown locations. In addition to the traditional print edition of The Clock, we have ventured into the explosive growth of the World Wide Web, enabling us to reach an unprecedented amount of viewing audiences then ever before. Advertising in The Clock is an efficient way for your business to attract the attention of many members of the Plymouth Community.
Contact Information: Advertising Manager — Amanda Henson Office Manager — Dan Ferris Editor in Chief — Mike Longo Managing Editor — Emily Perry
Advertising c/o THE CLOCK HUB Suite A9 Plymouth State University Plymouth, NH 03264 News Room: 603.535.2279 Ads Phone: 603.535.2947 Fax: 603.535.2729 Attn: Ads Email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com www.TheClockOnline.com
NeverA Slow News Day. ���� ������� �� ���� ��� ����� ��� �� ��������� � ��� ��� ��� ��� ��� ������ ������� �������� ����� ��������� ������ �������� �� ���� �� ���� ��� ���� ��������� �� ���� ������� ����� �� �� ��� ��������� ��� ����� � ���� ��� �������� ���� �� ������� �� � �� ���� � ��� � ����� � �� ��� �� �� ������� ����������
Winter Carnival Agenda Monday February 14th Novelties in Pawsway from 10-2. Snow Sculpture contest for student organization competitions, all day until 4. Announcement via e-mail of nominees for court, all day allotted for picture taking of nominees in the Student Activities Office. Tuesday February 15th Novelties in the Pawsway from 10-2. Voting for Winter Carnival Court in Pawsway from 10-2. Selling of tickets for Friday’s evening event. Student organization competitions in the Fire Place Lounge starting at 8pm. Wednesday February 16th--Ski Day Thursday February 17th Novelties in the Pawsway from 10-2. Voting for Winter Carnival Court in Pawsway from 10-2. Selling of tickets for Friday’s evening event. Lip Sync contest for student organization competition in HUB Courtroom starting at 8pm. Friday February 18th Novelties in the Pawsway from 10-2. Voting for Winter Carnival Court in Pawsway from 10-2. Selling of tickets for Friday’s evening event. Possible dance in HUB Multi Purpose where winners of the student organization. Competitions and Winter Carnival court will be announced. Saturday February 19th Entertainment in HUB courtroom starting at 8pm. Entertainment TBA. *The act is TBA tickets will be on sale at SCAC all week for $5. *If there is a dance on Friday night, which is also TBA tickets will be $2 and be on sale Mon, Tues, Thurs and Fri from 10-2 in the Pawsway. Upcomming Main Stage Events Robbie Printz (comedian) 2.10.05 Buddy Wakefield (performance poet) 2.24.05 As Fast As (band) 3.3.05 Toothpick (musician) 3.10.05 Dean Fields (musician) 3.31.05 Jamie Lissow (comedian) 4.7.05
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