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ISSUE #1

the sculpture issue CONTRIBUTING SHAMANS Anon, “Love Poem”, pg 4 Danny Bowman, “The Reveal” pgs 30-31 Tyler Considine, “Barometer” “Chair Bertil” and “Door Besta” pgs 5-7 Luis De Los Santos, “Nite Lite” pgs 8-13 Eric Eisenhut, “Electronic Display Technology” pg 18 and “Untitled” pg 19 Sarah Faitell, “Monuments” pgs 22-29, “YAS” pgs 52-55, “Totem” pgs 58-59 Thurmon Green, “Untitled” pg 16 Nicholas Jannelli, “I Want to Believe” pgs 46-49 Sophia Le Fraga, “You Can Say It” , [having read the book of myths] pgs 50-51 Lemon, “Dream Story” pgs 32-38 Jaclyn Ngan, “Girls Night”, pg 56 Jake Moore, “Not Himself at All” pgs 42-45 Olivia Murphy, assorted collages pgs 39-40 Paulapart, “Cochlea”, pgs 20-21 Caroline Potter, “Untittled”, pg 57 Siddarth Sharma, “Tropica” pg 17 Pablo Tapia Pla, Photographs, pg 41 Top Dreams, pgs 14-15

EDITORS Josh Cabrido and Sarah Faitell DESIGN Sarah Faitell Printed with love from Brooklyn, NY, 2011 special thanks to Scott Hug and Cecilia 3

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CREATURE COMFORTS

A CONVERSATION WITH PETER BROCK

I met Peter Brock while sloshing polymer gypsum around in the studio of Diana Al Hadid. While interning in the studio, we spoke about materiality, our mutual interest in woodworking, and how to brew your own beer. Recently, I got the opportunity to ride down to Peter’s studio at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park to talk more about his work. s: Your work is of “huggable” size. I remember you once said that you needed to be able to hold the work. Has that always been important to you? p: Absolutely. Its something than has been subconscious though the work has gravitated to be about the size of a torso. The idea of “holding” came out of a frustration with painting because traditionally it is just a thin film on a surface. I really cared about the edge of the painting and simply addressing that edge didn’t seem to satisfy that. I wanted an object with real tactility. The three dimensionality gave me greater possibility for empathy with the object so I could treat it more as a creature. s: I notice on this one (seen below) that there seems to be grips where your hands could hold the piece. p: I think the hands are important especially considering my background in woodworking. My dad always had a wood shop and we would make toys. The rule was we couldn’t buy a toy if we could make it. We would make swords, shields, all sorts of silly things. It was awesome. Wood construction for me is very playful and free and is something i’ve gravitated towards with my studio work. s: Is wood is at the root of your interest in materials? p: Thinking in wood feels very comfortable. Its an easy was to articulate or expand a thought. You get immediate feedback. What I also like is that it always has its own character. I began to be frustrated with the lightness of canvas, and gesso, and paint. Though it has texture, it doesn’t seem like as believable a pretext for working from the material. Wood has an inner surface and body you have to deal with. young american shaman

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s: When did aluminum appear in the work? p: About a year and a half ago, I was using aluminum paint to make wood and canvas look like aluminum and my teacher came by and said “why dont you use real aluminum?” He showed me these pieces by Ronald Bladen including “the Fugue”. I was interested in light reflectivity so went out to the hardware store and got roofing aluminum which is really cheap and accessible. It facilitated a number of breakthroughs with new spatial and light dynamics. It makes light dance and makes it physical. s: You keep talking about these pieces as “beings” p: I call them creatures. I’m influenced a lot by painting history, I don’t know as much about sculptural history. My work? I don’t really care about the name for it. s: I just reread Frankenstein and it talks about taking accountability for the beings you create. That they could come knocking at your door. This seems akin to what you’re talking about. How long do you think you’ve been working this way? p: Its been about a year and a half of taking on these “built” forms as opposed to something constructed with brush strokes. In a way its been the same as what I made during childhood. I look back at things I made that were lying around my dad’s architecture office and they’re totally related to this. s: So its a big circle with education plopped in the middle somewhere? p: Actually, education was a detour. Once i got the space to reconnect with that basic and straight forward way of making it seemed very easy to forget about the idea of art. When I was making things out of wood I had a very direct relation with an object. I often just sit down and hold them as I’m making them or chisel them while I’m kneeling on them. I like using things all on an equal plane. What I do find is that as I bring in new materials, I can’t ask them to be something they’re not. When I first used aluminum I wanted to treat it like a painted surface, but it resisted that. I had to ask aluminum how it wanted to be treated. Treating each thing according to its own strength and characteristics was something I had to get used to . s: Its similar to the idea of “playing well with others”; arranging materials like you would a kindergarden class to make sure everyone is getting along. p: Its like how you can rough house with some people and they’re fine and others start 15

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crying. I have lots of scraps of things lying around my studio and just experiment to see what they do. Using different tools, doing different things, its all trial and error. s: its funny that you feel most connected to painting history. When I think of painting I think of linear trajectories that plod along attempting to defeat themselves. Do you think of yourself as tied a to any particular piece of this history? p: Certainly not when I’m making the work. I try and block all that stuff out. In hindsight I can connect things to specific inspirations, the new work I can’t talk about as clearly. I think the aluminum work especially comes from people like Robert Ryman and Mark Rothko who were interested in different notions of surface space and luminosity. Rymans focus on a particular material and the optics of light within that material is something I particularly relate to a lot. s: What I’ve never spoken to you about is the Baji Lives project which is something I see every single day! It makes a lot of sense within your work and also the idea of highlighting architecture. Its always re-engaging composition.

“If its successful, its really more about the space around it rather than the little colorful ovals themselves. They’re just excuses to look more closely at the urban environment.” p: its a really silly and fun project that allows me to work with architecture, indulge in my love/addiction to color, and just to get out of the studio. If its successful, its really more about the space around it rather than the little colorful ovals themselves. They’re just excuses to look more closely at the urban environment. You can notice moments where there are poetic juxtapositions of textures. The mission is simply to revive public space with these colorful hand made objects. s: Who’s Baji? p: That’s me, thats my nick name. I was really shy about doing work in public so a pseudonym seemed appropriate. Baji is the name my family and my old friends call me. Its seems like the name of my muse or my creative path. It allowed me to be more audacious. s: The project is similar to both tagging and skating which both capitalize on forgotten architecture. The fact that it failed as public space is that it is repurposed into either something to be skated or painted on. Those are architectural “failures” while you’re highlighting things that ask for a second look. p: I think both are happening. The project on the bridge is a celebration of a great space. I both dig graffiti and skateboard so i relate to those things a lot. One thing that distances this project from graffiti is that it does not try to be directly confrontational or aggresyoung american shaman

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sive. Its more about reclaiming unused or underutilized areas as opposed to being in your face with some kind of message. I want it to be apolitical and seen more as a contribution to public space as opposed to a critique of it. If you do anything in public, you’ll offend someone but this project tries to have a more gentle presence. s: Is making the color swatches a really pleasurable activity?

p: i love it, its like a meditation that allows me to focus solely on color. I can sit there with a pot of blue and add tiny pigments of color to change it’s character. Its like a study hall for me. s: What about a critical voice when you’re in the studio? P: No, when I’m here I try to keep it simply as a dialog with material. All that stuff goes out the window. I give myself permission to make things without asking why and what for and embrace the anarchy within the studio. *** see more at petersbrock.com 17

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TROPICA A girl junked out on culture dances on a Brooklyn rooftop, beating her hands in the air like Arabs in mourning, veiled in halogen blue chiffon, she maintains a pure identity with streetlight nights & the funky bass, the crunchy vibrations of a digital subwoofer resonate on her chill blistered legs, smoother than frozen yogurt, in her private world, she imagines the fall falling, & a return to warmer climates

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MONUMENTS OF THE EAST WILLIAMSBURG INDUSTRIAL PARK

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THE ACME CAKE COMPANY is located at 374 Johnson Avenue at the corner of Johnson and Bogart. The company is still operational and has 50-100 employees with an anual profit of 5 to 10 million dollars. 374 Johnson is not only appreciated for its architectural ingenuity, but also for the scent of pastries that wafts around a 4 block radius. Ghost graffiti covers the facade of the building and layers of paint chip off in random patterns suggesting the remnants of tea leaves or oracle bones. Workers would not respond to questioning.

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BUSHWICK GRAND CANAL located south of Grand street and just east of Morgan avenue. No known marine life. Inhabited by aroused teenagers and day laborers. young american shaman

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re: sex. see also: Bushwick Motel at Grand and Stagg. Hourly rates available

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Van Dam freight tracks. Location undisclosed.

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A DREAM STORY

I was

sitting in my living room on a Wednesday night, listening to the first side of The Beatles’s White Album and enjoying a few beers with my old college roommate when somehow we got on the topic of dream journals. That night he happened to be in the city for some kind of meeting with an agent or interview with a publishing company. I knew he was a writer but I didn’t know how serious he was taking it since graduation - I mean, I’ve never even read a single story of his. Even in college, I wouldn’t say we knew each other too well; for the most part, we travelled in different circles. When we lived together, he was an easygoing guy who picked up after his own messes and mostly kept to himself, which is all I really care about when it comes to roommates. Most days, he would stay in his room, and I would stay in mine, occasionally making small talk if we happened to cross paths in the kitchen or the hallway on the way to the bathroom. But there were certain nights, if we ever both felt like putting off our school work, that we’d sit in our tiny common room, he’d put on a record, and we’d have a few beers. Or some nights, if we happened to stumble home on the weekend at around the same time, we’d end up talking late into the night, sometimes even right up to the first glimmer of dawn, chain smoking out on the fire escape. Those were the only times we’d ever actually talk, but they always left a good impression. young american shaman

“Are you sure you want to hear about this?” he asked me that night. “Well, only if you want to tell me.” “Of course I want to tell you,” he continued, “But the reason I ask is because whenever the topic of dreams come up, people usually overestimate how interesting their dreams are to others. Most people don’t realize that the reason a dream they have stands out to them is because it’s full of idiosyncratic details that are completely unique to their own experience, the kind of things that anyone who isn’t them usually doesn’t give a rat’s ass about. That’s why a dream usually makes for a boring story. And as a writer, I can’t be telling boring stories.” He finished off his second beer. Though we didn’t hang out all that much, I knew he could be a bit of a self-conscious guy, maybe even a little pretentious. I also knew that it was usually around his third beer that his storytelling abilities peaked. So I opened him another one, and handed it to him. Our glasses clinked and we both took a long gulp, though mine much longer than his; he was still a bit of a lightweight. Some things never change. “Let’s just hear it already,” I said, wiping some foam from my mouth. “And make it quick because, unlike you, I have to get up for work tomorrow.” “Around the time I first moved in with you, I started keeping a dream journal. At first, I did it for no particular reason, I guess, other than the fact that I could never remember them. This went on for maybe a few months with absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. Sure, I had some weird dreams – chase dreams, naked dreams, falling dreams, dreams within dreams, and every combina34


tion of each – but still not any weirder than you can expect to have every now and then. Then, around February that year, I started having the recurring dream. Because I wrote it down, I know exactly what happened the first time. I was sitting on a deserted L train. It was probably late at night because no one else was on except for a sleeping homeless guy. Then, at Bedford, a girl wearing headphones and a red, puffy jacket with the hood up gets on. She sits across from me, but on the far edge of the row, right up against the bars. That’s when the train starts getting faster. You know, that part of the Manhattanbound L where it goes underwater, and your ears pop? Well, in my dream, the train just gets stuck in that stretch, right between Bedford and First Avenue, as if a huge chasm of water suddenly had opened up between Brooklyn and Manhattan. And the whole time, I find myself just staring out the window at the faint reflection of myself atop a whirr of cement, steel, and black. Nothing changes and nobody says anything. The homeless guy goes on sleeping, and the girl in the red, puffy jacket keeps listening to her headphones. The dream just goes on like this and eventually I wake up.” “Not exactly the most exciting recurring dream...” “No, it’s not,” he continued, “You’re exactly right. In fact, I never even realized it was a recurring dream until almost a month later. By that point, waking up, and immediately writing in the dream journal had become second nature. I don’t know how you are with remembering dreams, but I have to write one down the second I wake up or else I’ll lose half of it by the time I get into the shower and the other half by the time I get out. So it wasn’t until weeks later, when I finally took the time to actually look back on all the entries I had written, that I realized I had been having a recurring dream. ” “But you must’ve had to notice how similar all your dreams were.” “Not really. What kept recurring about the dream was actually only one specific detail: the girl in the puffy red jacket. Otherwise, the settings and locations would always change. Sometimes I would be sitting in a park, sometimes in a café, sometimes on an airplane. They were all relatively bland dreams, I should add. Most of the time, I was just waiting for something to happen, and usually the only thing that would is I would notice the girl. And although she looked familiar, my dream self could never quite place her.” “Well, there has to be a reason she kept popping up in your dreams, right? Your subconscious wouldn’t keep doing this for nothing.” “Trust me, I was just as stumped as you are. While it was a lot better than having a recurring night terror, having the same lackluster dreams all the time can really get to you eventually. It wasn’t until a friend of mine in one of my classes told me about lucid dreaming that I thought I might actually be able to do something about it.” He took a sip of his beer. “Do you know anything about lucid dreaming?” “Not much.” “Basically, it’s a special kind of dream where the dreamer has complete control over what happens. Usually, when you dream, it’s a lot like watching a movie of yourself. In a lucid dream, it’s more like being awake, except you’re still dreaming. And since you know it’s a dream, you can do whatever you want.” “Like what?” “Oh, anything you could think of, basically. I’ve heard of people visiting faraway places they’ve never been, casting magic, even talking to dead famous people There are entire books and internet forums dedicated to this sort of thing...but what you do can only 35

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happen within the limits of your own imagination. Plus, it requires some level of skill. It doesn’t just happen and suddenly you have unlimited superpowers. Your subconscious doesn’t want you to have all that control, so it takes a lot of training of your willpower to both realize you’re dreaming and then to keep yourself from waking up. Though, sometimes you don’t have to train yourself in order for it to happen, sometimes it can be entirely incidental. All you need is something in the dream to tip you off that you’re dreaming. This is what happened to my friend. In his dream, he and his ex-girlfriend were having coffee at this twenty-four hour diner that he used to go to back in the small town where he was from. At some point in the dream, the waitress refills their cups, and his ex grabs the mug with her right hand. Well, the thing is, my friend knew his ex was left handed – so that’s when he knew he was dreaming.” Around this time, the needle on the record player went past the last note of “Happiness is a Warm Gun” into the inner grooves that made the speakers begin to loop in a low thud. While he got up to flip the disc, I went to relieve myself in the bathroom and grab another beer. When I got back, he was looking up wistfully at the ceiling, deep in thought, or perhaps just enjoying the brass solo in the middle of “Martha My Dear.” I picked his beer up and gave it a shake. “You’ve still got a long way to go.” “Hold on,” he said, as he drifted back to reality, “I’m getting there.”

“So after hearing about lucid dreaming from my friend, I decided I wanted to try it out myself. I thought that maybe if I was able to get myself into a lucid dream, I would be able to finally answer some questions about the girl in the red jacket and be back to having normal weird dreams again. I did some research online and found a technique that was easy enough. Apparently, one of the things that is always wrong in a dream is the time. If you askanyone the time in a dream, their answer will either be complete nonsense

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or be inconsistent with someone else. Or, if you check the time in a dream, the clock will be off, sometimes showing an arbitrary grouping of numbers, sometimes showing things that aren’t even numbers at all. It was a simple enough trick, and pretty soon I got the hang of it. All I did was make sure I always kept my cell phone in my left jeans pocket in my waking life. As long as my waking self always had it there, my dream self had it there too. Then, whenever I got a chance in the dream, I would reach into my pocket, check the time on my phone, and compare it to my surroundings. The first time it worked, I was dreaming I was at the MoMA, on the fifth floor where they keep the permanent collections. Usually, I’m not able to control where I move around in my dream, but since I was starting to get a hang of it, I found that I could wander freely around the museum. Like the other dreams, I was completely alone. I had Pollock, Picasso, Van Gogh, Rousseau, Matisse, and Dali all to myself, and I could get as close to them as I would like, without anyone breathing down my neck, or trying to snap a picture with flash. It wasn’t until I reached Renoir that I saw her standing with her back turned to me in front of his famous piece with the apple and the guy in the top hat. I walked up to her and tapped her on the shoulder. But right as she turned around, I woke up.” “I knew it wouldn’t be that easy.” “Of course not. Though I had got pretty good at recognizing the dream as a dream, I hadn’t anticipated how hard not waking up would be. It was as if my conscious mind and unconscious mind were working in tandem to try to keep something from me, which of course, as human nature goes, only made me try harder to find out what it was. I became obsessed with sleeping just to dream, obsessed with

finding out who the girl in the red jacket was. I even started going to bed before 12 – unheard of, considering this was college. But no matter what, every time I tried, I would only get as far as seeing her eyes. She had these amazing green eyes, sea green eyes that cut right through me, cut right through the dream, and sent me falling through the crack between both worlds. The next thing I knew, I was back in my bed. For weeks, every entry I wrote in my journal always ended with the image of those eyes.” He paused and took a long gulp of his beer as the final strums of “Julia” filled in the gap in this pause. When it ended, I got up, placed Disc One carefully back into its sleeve, and removed Disc Two. He watched me as I did this, observing the whole delicate process of record-playing as I did all those nights years ago. Since graduation, I’d started building a pretty decent collection of records myself. When I put the needle on Side A of the second disc, the guitar riff on “Birthday” set the room in a different mood entirely. It was as if the curtain had closed on one act and opened on the next. “Well, like most cases with these sort of things, it wasn’t until I wasn’t even trying at all that I finally got to meet her. I was in class one day, some statistics gen. ed. that everyone got an A in just for being there. I’m usually not one to fall asleep in class but that day was a particularly spring sort of afternoon, the first real spring day if I remember correctly, and the old professor’s drawling voice mixed with all the warm air and light blue made it inevitable for half the class to nod off. All of a sudden I found myself on the empty L train. The homeless guy sleeping in the corner was the first hint that keyed me into the dream. Then, the neon sign hanging from the ceiling flashed Bed37

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ford as its next stop. When it flashed the time, I pulled my phone from my left pocket and compared. They both gave different numbers. When the train reached Bedford, the doors slid open and the girl with the red puffy jacket walked in. She took her usual seat, on the far edge by the bars, and the L sped away into the usual black hole. I didn’t waste any time. I walked right up to her and took off her hood. She hit me with the green eyes. But that time, for some reason, I was able to control myself better, keep myself submerged in the dream. Maybe it was the fact that I was only taking a nap and my conscious faculties were still more in control than usual. The hood fell, revealing a beautiful face.” “And then?” “And then we fucked like crazy.” I spat out some of my beer. “You what?” “We had sex, calm down. It’s not like I expected anything else to happen, to be honest. The same thing happened to my friend who first told me about lucid dreaming. As soon as he saw his ex grab the mug with her left hand, he took over the dream, and they ended up fucking right there on the table at the diner.” “You’ve got to be kidding me.” “Nope. It’s more of a result of the way lucid dreaming works than a conscious choice. Most of my actions were still being dictated by subconscious desires. And besides, she was absolutely gorgeous and totally down. It would have been impossible not to, trust me. You would have done the same if you were in my position, I’m sure of it.” “Hm, I guess you’re probably right. I mean, she is, literally, the girl of your dreams.” He laughed cautiously. “So what happened after that?” “According to my dream journal, after the dream on the train, we saw each other another thirty-six times, making thirty-seven total. Each time was a different locale – a café, a park, even once at my old elementary school – having sex each time. Typically what would happen in the dream is I would be waiting for her, as before. She’d walk in, always facing away from me, then I’d walk over to her and put her hood down, which became some kind of signal to my subconscious of what was about to happen.” “Wow.” “That’s not all. She never looked exactly the same either. It might’ve been a composite of girls I knew, or maybe even strangers, but never anyone I could recognize. Let’s just say my subconscious did a good job of keeping things interesting.” “Wow.” “But no matter what she looked like, one thing did always stay constant –” “The green eyes?” “Yup. No matter who it ended up being, she always had those sea green eyes. They became another sort of marker of the dream for me. As long as I saw those eyes, I was sure she was nothing but the manifestation of my own imagination.” “Were you seeing anyone at the time?” “No, and I’m glad I wasn’t. I don’t think I would have done it so many times if I was – there was definitely something morally questionable in the act. Even though I knew it was a dream, everything felt as real as waking life. And even though it was all within my young american shaman

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own imagination, it would be hard to rationalize to myself how it wouldn’t be cheating. It’s weird territory, but I think you get what I mean.” “Mhm.” “Plus, the more I did it, the more I started to feel it was affecting me in real life. True, she was 100% my type, through and through, but something about her perfection made me feel uneasy. No one could ever live up to something like that. Of course, caught up in the moment, I never let this affect my judgment. But waking up each morning, I would feel a strange emptiness in the pit of my chest. I don’t know how to describe the feeling other than I think it was how Daedelus must have felt when Icarus fell into the sea.” “Who?” “Nevermind, it doesn’t matter. Just understand that eventually, I knew I couldn’t let myself do it anymore. I had had my fun; thirty-seven one night stands with the girl of your dreams was quite enough. The next time was the last time I ever dreamt about the girl in the red jacket, I made sure of it. It was all a fairly straightforward affair. I dreamt that we were sitting at the Starbucks near campus. Bad jazz and alternative rock was playing. I gave her my reasons for why this was happening and laid out my terms: I was never to see her in my dreams again. The whole time, she had her hood on and kept her head down, listening. After I was finished, all she did was look at me dead straight in the eyes. Her expression was neither pained nor relieved – it was completely blank.” “Then I woke up, and that was that.” “That’s it?” “Yup.” “You never dreamt about her again?” “Nope.” “Not once?” “Never.” He got up and switched The White Album to its final side. “Then something happened. I was coming home from the library late one night. It was finals week and I had just finished emailing my last paper, a twenty-pager on window imagery in Huxley novels. It was probably a little past one in the morning. That night, you were throwing a party back at our apartment, a joint celebration for your friend’s birthday and for the end of the spring term. It sounded like the perfect way to cap off the semester, so I was trying to get home before things died down. Do you remember what I’m talking about?” “How can I forget?” “Well, when I got to the Union Square L stop on my way back home, no one else was waiting on the platform. I figured a train must have come a few minutes ago and didn’t think much of it. Then, when I got on the train, it was completely deserted also except for a homeless guy sleeping on a seat in the corner. I rationalized this to myself as normal, too. But when a girl in a puffy red jacket got on at the next stop, I almost couldn’t breathe.” “No way!” “She didn’t notice me staring at her, keeping her head down and just listening to music on her headphones. Eventually, I got the courage to go over to her and ask her the only question I could think of: what time it was. The same sea green eyes made my heart 39

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stop. I checked my phone. She was right. Then I asked her what she was doing that night. She said going to a party. I said so was I. She asked where. I told her where our apartment was. That’s where she was going. We got off the train at the same stop and started walking together. Her name was Sadie. Apparently, she knew a friend of a friend at our party and was about to go to bed when she got the text.” “Uh-huh.” “We got to the apartment and she let me take off her jacket. She was completely different than those other thirty-seven times, yet just as beautiful. We took some shots. You were already wasted.” “Mhm.” “She said she was an art history major. She said she was from Eugene, Oregon. She said she had two dogs, Izzie and Jojo, and a cat named Alice. We stayed up all night talking until the party started to die down. That night, I had the best, craziest sex of my life. And when I woke up, she was gone. At first, I didn’t think too much of this. I mean, I was disappointed, of course, but more than anything I was glad that I finally got to experience having her for real. But when I asked you about her, you said you didn’t know anyone named Sadie, and when I asked about her friend, you said you didn’t know her either.” “Well, I was pretty wasted that night...” “But then I asked your friends when they were over, and no one knew a Sadie. I even pretended to be an art history major and got a hold of an entire roster. No Sadies. We never exchanged numbers or any sort of information. For all I know, I could have made her up. Yet, I know she was real. But then again, it all felt only as real as the dreams...” *** He was silent for a long time, and by that I knew he was finished. I yawned. “Honestly, I don’t know what to make of all this,” I told him truthfully. “It could work either way. You know how everyone gets during finals week. Although it’s a bit of a stretch, you might have been under so much stress that you imagined the whole scenario. But then again, maybe she could actually exist. Sadie might have just been a nickname, and the friend that invited her could have been someone who neither of us knew in the first place. It was a pretty big party, after all.” “You’re right,” he said, eyes closed as he stroked his chin with his fingers. “I don’t know, what do you make of it?” I asked. “Nothing,” he said, “absolutely nothing.” The White Album finished with the last orchestral flourishes on “Good Night, Good Night.” I got up, lifted the needle from the record player, and the disc slowly spun to a stop.

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NOT HIMSELF AT ALL

Wilson Farhad-Rothstein stood, nude, and lifted his right arm to photo-

graph his body in the largest of the four bathroom mirrors. The LED next to the lens blinked, and Wilson had unknowingly reproduced his image the correct number of times to completely exhaust his body’s supply of aura. His image and face were stored on his phone’s flash card, he knew, but the mirror in front of him reflected nothing but a large smudge and the tiles behind a drawn shower curtain. In the few moments it took for Wilson to locate his cat and lunge at it experimentally, he found that it was no longer possible for others to register a visual impression of his face or body save a vague awareness of a squishy hulk of ill-formed molecules. The last photograph of Wilson was one he’d intended to sext with. He first understood the diffusion and separation of his consciousness seven minutes later, after she or one of the hes became aware of the themness. A thin man in the building across the way peered through the window at Wilson’s expectant yoga-mat, waiting for the pre-shower sit-ups. They felt too agitated to exercise. Instead of sitting-up, they sat, (which was a relative term now—no sensation of corduroy couch cushions making thigh indentations, just imprecise hovering of a mealy cloud above and around a couch too dense to move through) nostalgic for the contours of their face, air entering and exiting the torso, fingernails. On that same day, they would lose the ability to dream. He was unclear when it had started, but unified Wilson had always bodymapped a location for thoughts/internal monologue to come from—something purer than a mouth. He had transmitted from beneath the solar plexus. They hovered over the corduroy and felt thoughts ooze from nowhere in particular and to nowhere in particular. Molecules became agitated, expanding and becoming 20% less opaque. They found it hard to concentrate on ways to proceed without a beard to run fingers through, a brow to wipe or pick at. Feelings of distress decreased opacity and increased area of diffusion by another 10%. They now resembled a 60% opaque clump of 200 pounds of pure body fat as it would appear in an zero gravity chamber.

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They knew something like this had been a possibility. Years earlier, when they were still very much a he, a bowl of hallucinogenic party punch disassociated Wilson from his body. He looked down at his drink in the intervals between gulps and sat back on a red futon as indistinctly-faced people stood, made low-volume sounds nearby. The ribbed plastic cup fell from his fingers, releasing twelve drops of a mixture of Fresca, PCP, Arizona Iced Tea Fruit Punch onto the rug beside shoes Wilson owned. His body did not move from its position on the futon as all of Wilson leaked out from behind his eyeballs. He clung to branches he found sprouting from the abandoned face and watched the green


shoots push ahead gamely through the low and mildewed ceiling—this growth held his network of associations, he knew. The branches thrust upward until the ceiling became a floor, a rug, then crept up the rear wall of the fifth-floor apartment of a septuagenarian Jewish couple (watching a VHS tape of their infant son, now thirty-five and with children but currently diapered and drooling then laughing on the television in an easily-consumable way), finally poking through the damp roof tiles of the building, a nineteenth-century boarding house on the Lower East Side of New York City with power sockets with no third hole. Wilson could not control the speed with which he moved through the branches. He had no mass, and his movements were very fast— as he sped past branches, each offered up their contents for him. One contained footage of timelapsed bean sprouts. Another branch held information specific to those ungrounded power sockets, that intersection of fifth street and Loisaida avenue that was moving down and away from him rapidly. The saplings stretched and divided exponentially above the light from sodium-vapor lamps arranged on the roof in three groups of two. Each branch split into more delicate Y’s as their substance became esoteric. Wilson was upset by the facts and arrangements of words he lived between. At the highest and most delicate tendril, he found the name of the founder of an iPhone application used to identify times to use the bathroom during the theatrical run of films. The app was called RunPee. He felt crowded by information he had taken in and permitted to stay. Swaying atop the lacy mass of Y’s, feeling small, Wilson tried to broadcast several thoughts: “I am me. I am down and in there. I am not up here, at all.” Two of these thoughts were not true—from a higher-than-roof-level angle he watched three stray cats lope toward an upset trash bin on the street below—but he inched one branch away from the iPhone app tendril. With each repetition of the thoughts Wilson moved a Y-branch closer to his eyes, through seventy feet of aging drywall and twenty-three years of data and past the television glow cast by a now-old baby. He found his mind governed his limbs again—the party host prodded one of them nervously in the empty room. Later from beneath a mussed pile of bed linens he concluded that his body was a flimsy place to stay—the ‘corporeal equivalent to a driftwood shanty.’ Wilson had felt happy with the analogy’s aptness but not with much else. Now, as they hovered on and around the couch, the expression they attempted to arrange for themselves was ‘grim, knowing smile.’ Because of the years unified Wilson doubted his flesh, they were not wholly surprised to find themselves in an overlapping psychic sludge. The cause of the molecular sludge remained unclear to them. In the months following his encounter with an hallucinogen, the unified Wilson purchased large (norm being 10’ x 14’) mirrors for his apartment—besides 45

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some ceilings, each flat surface had one. He looked in them and saw his body confirmed (but not reproduced). The cat Wilson had named ‘Gerald’ seemed to dislike the changes. Wilson returned home one late afternoon to find him, by an unforeseeable combination of psychological and optical quirk, trapped within an extremely bright and preciselydefined triangle of light. The sun shone from behind a tenfoot gap in two neighboring buildings, sending a four-inch beam through the living-room window. The beam encountered the mirrored rear wall and reflected dazzlingly at a forty- five degree angle across the carpet and grew impressively to a seven- foot vertical bar on the side wall. The cat could not leave the glowing shape. Wilson stood nearby watching, but Gerald was shuddering and would not acknowledge him. His pulsing whiskered nose traced the light beam across the carpet to the edge of the mirror. Gerald looked and saw himself. He ran at the glass again and again until the vertebrae in his neck separated in three places. He limped inside the edges of the triangle with his head down, screaming. After the plastic cone was removed from Gerald’s hairless neck, the cat moved more slowly, restricting his footsteps to narrow paths in the center of hallways. The yowls and amusing facial expressions Wilson had enjoyed were gone, and Gerald ingested less food. The Unified Wilson didn’t often have whims. He sat in his apartment spreading Nutella and smooth peanut butter on toast. No bananas. He’d run out of bananas. He looked at photographs of

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loose acquaintances on his laptop screen. Wilson sat back in his chair and rubbed his left shoulder with this right hand. His whim was to preserve an object of temporary realness, a person. Perhaps someone he walked past on the street who would normally transform from object to apparition quickly. He would select one of these people to memorize and animate in minute detail, to imprint on his mind from an exposure of less than five seconds. This mental projection’s facial tics and syntactical idiosyncrasies would be instantly imaginable when he was finished. Monologues, words, phrases could be transposed to this mental creation’s mouth, the muscles and lipshapes of which would react predictably unpredictably. He considered reconstructing his conceptions of friends by the same standard. Did he know them well enough? Wilson searched for the proper person in the usual places. The trains he rode, the shops he frequented. He thought he might choose arbitrarily. Closing and opening his eyes at a predetermined instant to view someone he would force himself to let inside regardless of appearance, outward expression of personality. After a few trials he found he’d need to increase exposure time. Wilson wrote in a notebook: “Preserving obj. of temporary realness requires mind exceeding depth of normal ability to construct external character. depth only matched by my ability to think/picture ‘me’”. Three hours after meeting/eating/allowing him to pay for the cab, a tall woman entered Wilson’s apartment and thought that either (preferably, hopefully) her host had overcommitted to a novel decorating

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scheme, had poor taste, or (alarmingly) that he had exceeded her late father’s feats of narcissism during his 3D-POV-pornography phase, likely had a worrisome psychological profile. The mirrors were odd. He’d seemed genuinely interested (not self-) at the Venezuelan fusion restaurant with the unfilling plates. Wilson had leant forward and rested his chin on his elbow and searched her face at length. She could not argue that the mirrored infinity passage Wilson had created in the bedroom was not ‘stunning’. As a child she had pointed a video camera directly into a television and peered through. Entering and seeing her infinite selves took her breath away, gave Wilson an opening to say things with the sort of implied momentum that made her uncomfortable. It was this bedroom and this infinity passage the Wilsonian cloud hovered toward slowly with a squishy humming noise. He’d preserved her, but they couldn’t. They were frustrated, sensing the recently- cleaned deep carpet-pile’s neglect two feet below. For a moment it was difficult to move but they couldn’t detect an obstacle. Then movement was easy but their collective mood was 15% more feline.

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I WANT TO BELIEVE young american shaman

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I CAN’T REPENT MY BELIEF 49

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YOU CAN SAY IT you can say it that way more. come out and rest. for your poem-painting: find a few important words, and a lot of dullsounding ones. your head locked into mine. we were a seesaw. you: an almost empty mind for the sake of their desire to understand. for others that understanding may begin, and in doing so be undone. young american shaman

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[HAVING READ THE BOOK OF MYTHS] having read the book of myths I cried over beautiful things knowing beautiful things do not last I am here alone with the thing itself and not the myth of cornflower yellow my face always staring toward the sun I am here we are you are carrying a book of myths to the northwest wind torn out holes of yellow and when we say our hearts are racing this is what they’re racing toward

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GIRLS NIGHT

Between trees at 2am clipped breath super 8 drugs howling eyes and a fog machine gripping breasts gasping & grasping at some kind of crumbling masterpiece forms tumbling through collapsed ideologies pissing & fucking in the hush of this faceless night love, woods, and broken knees burrowing in the mud that feels like ice yellow painted eyes banana yellow full moon yellow possessed in torn dresses and corn syrup blood I tread toward you

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YOUNG AMERICAN SHAMAN  

//\\//EWAGE//\\//EWWAVE

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