Composite Arts No 18 Youth

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COMPOSITE { 1 } Youth / Winter 2014

{ 2 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014

COMPOSITE INFO No. 18 Youth Composite is a quarterly electronic magazine showcasing the work of artists from multiple disciplines, each issue focusing around a specific theme.

All artwork and literature is property of contributing artists. All layout, design, and other content is property of Composite, 2014. Composite Arts Magazine: ISSN 2161-7961

More information can be found through the following vehicles: Website: Email: Follow us on Twitter & Instagram: @Compositearts Find us on Facebook:


We’ve been incredibly proud of the issues we’ve put out as of late. We’d like to think we have not let too many things slip through the cracks, but in the spirit of being proactive, we have decided to take a hiatus after the release of this issue. In other words, it’s last call and we know we’ll be hung over tomorrow, but we are with it enough to know not to get into that cab to the Hangee Uppe, or any 4am bar for that matter. We might even be thinking about signing up for that one month free gym membership in the morning - we won’t however, of course. The length of our hiatus is currently undetermined, but we hope for it to only last an issue cycle or two, and then to come back more focused and even stronger. We’re incredibly grateful to the almost 200 artists and authors we’ve worked with over the last 18 issues, and we thank you, our readers, for following Composite along the way, whether this is your first issue, or your 18th. Zach Clark Composite Editor

Youth / Winter 2014

There is a fitting irony to “Youth” being our 18th issue. Aside from Composite now being of legal age (in ‘release years” of course), we as an editorial team are currently going through a bit of a young adult period. It might be more like a 22 year old period when you realize one day you’ve spent the last six nights at a bar in Wrigleyville, and no matter how hard you try to juggle all of your commitments, professional and social, it’s hard to keep it all in motion. Those of you who have been following Composite for awhile know that Composite began as a project a few of us came up with in Chicago during undergrad four years ago. Today, three of us are back in grad school, several of us have been lucky enough that our own personal practices have started to take up more of our time, and we are all in different states and time zones. Kara now lives in New Zealand? This is all to say, some aspects of running Composite are getting harder to handle.

{ 4 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014

CONTENTS No. 18 Youth Tracy Kerdman 6 Doug D’Elia 12

Happy Trails

Julia Dittberner Neuman 13 Reconstruct

Kristin Hough 22 Dmitry Borshch 27

Exiled from Truth

Liza Mattison 31

Fumbling Towards Greatness

Bianca Diaz 37

The Princess Who Went Quiet

Aaron Arreguin 42 Year One

Maija Ekey 56 Monica McClure 60 Mala

Morgan Maher 66

Cover: Morgan Maher

COMPOSITE { 5 } Youth / Winter 2014


On the surface, it isn’t special; it’s a common denominator that we all share. Yet, we still revel it in frequent bouts of nostalgia. When we’re young, we want nothing but to grow up, and sometimes, after we’ve grown up, we want to return to days when life was nothing more than a small blip nestled on the horizon. What is it about youth that is so enticing? And what can we uncover about the human condition in its examination?

{ 6 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014

Tracy Kerdman

Hands on Hips. 2013, Oil on Canvas, 24 x 24 inches

COMPOSITE { 7 } Youth / Winter 2014

A Little off the Top. 2014, Oil on Canvas, 24 x 30 inches

At My Real Job. 2014, Oil on Canvas, 24 x 24 inches

Tracy Kerdman

{ 8 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014 Pubescent. 2014, Oil on Canvas, 30 x 30 inches

Tracy Kerdman

COMPOSITE { 9 } Youth / Winter 2014

Mother Mary after Sassoferrato, 2014, Oil on Canvas. 24 x 24 inches

Tracy Kerdman

{ 10 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014 Scandinavia. 2013, Oil on Canvas, 16 x 20 inches

Tracy Kerdman

COMPOSITE { 11 } Youth / Winter 2014

It’s Just a Nosebleed. 2012, Oil on Canvas, 18 x 24 inches

Tracy Kerdman

{ 12 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014

Doug D’Elia Happy Trails Boy, my room is just swell. I don’t know how else to say it. Imitation rawhide drapes that Grandma bought, Mom sewed and Dad hung. A white cotton bedspread embroidered with a happy cowboy riding a rearing white horse, his free hand swirling a lasso over his head. A Daisy lever action air rifle leaning in the corner next to a taunt strung bow and a decorative quiver full of colorful quill arrows with rubber suction cup tips, that stick to glass if you wet them. On the bedrail hangs a red felt cowboy hat with a chin strap, and a chief’s colorful feathered headdress lay on my desk chair.

On the floor, a Marx Fort Apache play set made of tin with plastic cowboys and Indian add-on’s, the cavalry with rubber tipped rifles that are always bent and aimed at a foot, and crooked Indian arrows that will never fly true, a motley, but durable collection of heroes that are repeatedly knocked over by rolling marbles, but always spring back to life after my lunch, ready for the next battle somewhere in the plains of Texas, Wyoming, or the Dakota’s, where ever little doggies get along, and cowboys strum guitars around a campfire and sing Happy Trails to me.



Color Wheel with Eyeshadow

Youth / Winter 2014

Julia Dittberner Neuman

{ 14 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014 Prehistoric Saffron

I’ve always associated colors with numbers, shapes and letters. As a child, I assumed it was a trick of memory, a result of too much Sesame Street and Dr. Seuss. Later, I learned about synesthesia. Color-based organization and categorization became automatic and endlessly gratifying. This series attempts to rethink a color wheel, meticulously using natural and fantastical images as whimsical mnemonic devices.

Julia Dittberner Neuman

COMPOSITE { 15 } Youth / Winter 2014 Julia Dittberner Neuman

{ 16 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014 Prehistoric Greens On Previous: Color Wheel with Plums

Julia Dittberner Neuman

COMPOSITE { 17 } Youth / Winter 2014

Color Wheel with Figs

Julia Dittberner Neuman

{ 18 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014 Julia Dittberner Neuman

COMPOSITE { 19 } Youth / Winter 2014

Prehistoric Blues On Previous: Color Wheel with Binoculars

Julia Dittberner Neuman

{ 20 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014 Prehistoric Purples

Julia Dittberner Neuman

COMPOSITE { 21 } Youth / Winter 2014

Color Wheel with Bananas

Julia Dittberner Neuman

{ 22 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014

Kristin Hough

COMPOSITE { 23 } Youth / Winter 2014

Whether transcendentally or mundanely, the landscape of our youth affects our consciousness. I am interested in how people’s interactions with nature as children affect the way they attempt to enter wild spaces later in life. While we try and discover different venues to reclaim a relationship with the land, we are forced instead to enter artificial spaces that allow us to view a curated landscape. We seek out moments of freedom, influenced by the idyllic images surrounding the narrative of the American West, but truly wild spaces are absent from the winding roads of national parks or vista points we turn onto in search of fleeting moments of aesthetic ecstasy. My paintings let confusion become part of the subject, creating landscapes and situations that feel unnatural, and tap into the fluctuating instability of our memories. From our interest in dystopian novels to nudist colonies and cults, as a people we are always seeking out places that can fulfill our dreams of the past and encapsulate a more idyllic conception of home. I am interested in the way that the landscape of a person’s childhood affects they way they interpret and interact with the natural world, and the places we build to serve this interaction. Some of these paintings are loosely based off photographs taken of me in my youth, others are depictions of dreams set in the jungle that I’ve had repetitively since childhood, and some use outside source material to think about collective identity and the documentary obsession built into American tourism. Together, they look at our confused relationship with the land, the influence of geography, and attempts to find the sublime.

Kristin Hough

{ 24 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014 Kristin Hough

COMPOSITE { 25 } Youth / Winter 2014 Kristin Hough

{ 26 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014 Kristin Hough


Exiled from Truth: Nine Allegories

Betrothal of the Virgins. 2012, ink on paper, 25 x 20�

Youth / Winter 2014

Dmitry Borshch

{ 28 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014 Dmitry Borshch

Daughters of the Dust. also called “The Undertaker’s Pale Children” 2012, ink on paper, 26 x 21”

COMPOSITE { 29 } Youth / Winter 2014

The Making of Brothers. 2013, ink on paper, 37 x 42�

Dmitry Borshch

{ 30 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014 Dmitry Borshch

Odalisque in Red Satin Pantaloons (after Matisse). 2011, Ink on Paper, 28 x 10�


Fumbling Towards Greatness

In America, says Miss Hobson, a person can be anything. Lovey Dix says she wants to be a nurse but the time I accidentally splatted her with a rotted fish eyeball, she screamed such bloody murder my ears hurt for a week. I don’t know if Lovey knows what actual nurses have to do, but I bet it’s a million times worse than one little splat from a measly perch. But Miss Hobson doesn’t seem to know because she only nods and says, that is a very admirable pursuit, Miss Dix. Her twin brother Merle wants to be a firefighter until someone tells him firefighters can still burn to death and he says if that’s so, maybe he’ll just be a Dad instead. Sam whispers that he wants to be Elvis Presley, and Andy Mooney announces that he wants to use the toilet again, which makes the fifth time since recess. I know, because every time he passes Sam’s desk, he gives him a sideways kick and I’ve been keeping track of the bruises on Sam’s shin. Miss Hobson pretends not to notice what a bully Andy Mooney is, and I got a hunch it’s because Judge Mooney heads the school board. If a person can be anything, I guess Miss Hobson is content to be a coward. I want to be a boy scout. When I say this, the speared wax beans on Dad’s fork jerk just a bit, and what I think is how they look almost exactly like twitching white worms. Diane laughs and claps a hand to her mouth, and Ma puts her fork down and says in a hopeful way how about being a girl scout? It’s practically the same thing, maybe even better. But it’s a fact she’s wrong. Diane’s been a girl scout since forever, and all she knows how to do is crochet potholders and tie macramé curtains. I say, Sam Hill is gonna track animals up in Langdon State park, and learn how to eat wild mushrooms. Diane wrinkles her nose and says, There’s a reason the good Lord gave us grocery stores and butcher shops, thank you very much, and I say, I don’t want to sit around crocheting a bunch of dumb potholders, thank you very much, and stick out my tongue at her, and Ma says she’ll send me from the table if I do that again. Diane says, We make lots of stuff in girl scouts, stupid. And Ma says, Don’t call your sister stupid, and I say, I don’t want to be a girl scout, I want to be a boy scout, and Ma says, How about taking piano lessons instead, and Dad slurps on his Pabst and doesn’t say anything, and I shout in my hollering voice that it’s not FAIR that Sam, who doesn’t even WANT to be a boy scout gets to be a boy scout, and I want to be one too, and Dad slams his Pabst down and barks at me to lower my voice, then fixes his eyes on me and says, Maybe now that Sam is finally off learning how to be a boy, maybe it’s a good time for you to start acting like a young lady. Starting right here at this table.

Youth / Winter 2014

Liza Mattison

{ 32 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014

Sam says that sometimes, we’ve just got to do things we don’t want to, because they’re good for us, that’s all. How is taking piano lessons for anybody I say, and he shrugs and admits he doesn’t know, that he was thinking more about himself. When his Pop dragged him down and signed him up for scouts, he said he was doing it for Sam’s own good, and Sam has been trying ever since to figure out what exactly that means. Though he hides behind a tough scowl, I can tell how nervous he is, mostly because of the hours upon hours he’s going to be forced to spend with the other boys who don’t like him much. Sam cried all weekend long after he became an official scout. His Pop calls Sam a sissy because he is, but I reckon he can’t help being a sissy any more than I can help being a girl. Miss Hobson says a person can be whatever they want in America, but what I want to know is, when do we start getting to be what we want, and stop having to be stuck being ourselves? Miss Prudence Stark, who teaches me piano, says she wanted to be a concert pianist once. There’s not a person in town who doesn’t know the name Stark, because Amos Stark is Fowler Junction’s own personal founding father. Amos Stark is the man who turned this town from a backwoods logging camp into the fourth largest city in the state. But Miss Prudence says if things had been different, she might have been as famous outside of our town as a Stark ever was inside of it. Here’s something else about Miss Prudence Stark: she’s really ex Missus Franklin Polk. It’s only because she’s a Stark that folks are polite enough to pretend, at least in public, that there never was a Mister Franklin Polk who ran off to be a homosexual with Walter McMillan. That happened ages ago, but absolutely everyone knows about it. Here’s two other things about Miss Prudence Stark: she wears her glasses in the most ridiculous way, perched way down at the end of her long nose. To look through them she’s got to swing her head back and peer down through them at you. She looks at everything this way, like she’s looking down at the world, and Dad says that being a Stark, she probably is. Also: she always wears a pearl necklace. She says she positively adores pearls. Except for her, she says, they’re the only cultured thing in this whole town. Every time she says that, she laughs in a sort of hiccupping squawk. When you tell a joke a million times over, it’s not funny anymore. Here’s what I think IS funny: twice she’s come to the door with her blouses buttoned all wrong. But since I can’t figure out how to say anything without making both of us uncomfortable, I’ve never said a word.

If a person can be anything, I guess Miss Hobson is content to be a coward.

Andy Mooney says he wants to be a cop, but until then, I think he’s just as happy to be a bully. Mister Higgenbottom, our principal, says Sam needs to buck up because boys will be boys, and

Liza Mattison


Miss Prudence Stark says once upon a time, she was a prodigy, which means that by the time she was seven, she was composing her own music, and before long, she was invited to Portland to be a guest performer for their symphony orchestra. I think back to when I was seven, and all that happened to me was I had to get my big toe sewed back on at the hospital because I tried to bike with my roller skates on. I think that means I won’t ever be a prodigy. Sam tries to make me feel better by saying who wants to be a prodigy if it means ending up like old Miss Prudence Stark? On the shelf next to her Steinway, stands a picture in a loopy silver frame of a young girl holding a baby. Even though the girl is not pinched or withered, she’s got the same gloomy frown and scowling eyes as Miss Prudence. When I first screw up the courage to ask Miss Prudence about the picture, she doesn’t open her eyes or even slow her playing, but instead squawks at me to FOCUS! Only after she finally opens her eyes do I find out that she is the girl, and the baby in her arms is her son Abol, named for his grandfather. I say, how old is Abol now, and she says, He isn’t; he’s dead, and I say oh, and she purses her lips and says two months after that picture was taken, he was too. She tells me how the doctors had a special name for his particular condition. Failure to Thrive. Abol is also the name of the mill that is going to shut down for good next month. Now the only mill left is the one Dad works at. The others stand empty and silent like big brick ghosts. I ask Miss Prudence if towns can also suffer from the same condition as Abol. Failure to Thrive, but she only says what a strange question to ask. Miss Prudence’s son is no longer alive, but her father still is. He is Mister Adam Stark and used to be Dad’s boss until last year. He owned the entire Stark Mill complex just as his fathers before him, starting with

Liza Mattison

Youth / Winter 2014

it’s all just part of growing up, but Sam says it’s easy for Mr. Higgenbotton to say that. How many times has Mooney pushed him into the pucker-brush? Every time Andy calls him a sissy, or a Nancy Boy or a girl, Sam’s and my cheeks flush with shame. In America, you can be anything. But any fool can see it’s heaps better to be a bully than a girl. Lovey Dix says she’s GLAD to be a girl, thank you very much, because girls are pretty and graceful and kind, and I say, But I don’t want to be any of those things, and she wrinkles her nose and says, Oh, don’t worry, you’re not, and skips away giggling. Sam says it’s hard enough picking out what shirt to wear to school, he can’t imagine how he will ever decide what he’s going to be. Besides, he says gloomily, he figures it’s impossible to become Elvis Presley anyway. He says that last night he asked his Pa how he decided to become a cloth dyer at the mill, and his Pa just gave him a funny look and said he supposed he’d eat cockroaches too, if it paid well enough.

{ 34 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014

Amos Stark, have always done. Dad says if only Miss Prudence had been a son and not a daughter, Adam Stark could have passed the business on and kept it in the Stark family, but instead, he had to sell it to the idiot Bates who is fast running things into the mud. When I’m over for lessons, I see Mister Stark hunched in his rocking chair in the sun porch across the hall from us. Day in and day out he slouches in the same spot. I’ve never seen him do anything but stare out the windows and scowl down at the world as though there were nothing but boredom and disappointment left for him anymore. Mister Adam Stark’s orderlies arrange his chair in the sun porch where he spends his day staring out the windows. Near as I can tell, most of his view is filled up with the brick of the mill buildings down at the center of town. Miss Hobson says that old Amos Stark built this Mansion back in 1835, with the small fortune he made cutting the main canal and erecting the first two mills along the river. I reckon that every Stark, from Amos down to Adam, has owned practically everything he can see from his own porch. I wonder what it must be like to own your entire view. Of course, the idiot Bates owns it all now. Maybe that is why all I’ve ever seen Mister Adam Stark do is scowl. Or, Ma says, maybe Adam Stark scowls because all he’s ever seen, from the time he was a boy in his mansion, is his entire future, already laid out for him. That’s what the view of the mills have always done for most folks in this town, shown them their futures, plain as day. Miss Hobson says our dreams are only limited by our horizons but Ma says, When there’s nothing but brick stacked up all around, the horizon closes in pretty darn fast. Dad says that when he was in the war, all he ever dreamed about was the day he’d return to Fowler Junction, and get on with his life again right here, back at his job and back with Ma. He’s seen a lot of horizons, he says, and as far as he is concerned, his dreams never left this town. He gives Ma a squeeze on the shoulder and then heads into the den. Ma smiles, but it’s tired and I notice her eyes aren’t smiling. But maybe it doesn’t mean anything, because soon enough she’s back making dinner, and acting normal again, just like always. Miss Hobson says we can achieve anything we set our minds to, because we live in the land of opportunity. Miss Prudence says if she were a man, she would have been famous, and not just in Fowler Junction, but all over the world. She says when she was twelve, she was invited to study with none other than Leopold Godowsky, who is somebody I’ve never heard of, but the way she says his name makes it clear that only an idiot wouldn’t know who Leopold Godowsky was and so I pretend I understand, and she smiles at me and says she sees I am one who can appreciate what an honor it is to train under someone who trained under Leopold Godowsky himself. She says she studied with Godowsky for five years and was supposed to go on world tour with him when she was seventeen. Godowsky was at the top of his career then, and she says probably not very many people have had the chance to turn down such an invitation from a great pianist who is at the top of his career. She says that everyone thought she was crazy for not going on that world tour.

Liza Mattison


In America, you can be anything. But any fool can see it’s heaps better to be a bully than a girl.

Miss Hobson says that as citizens of the greatest nation on earth, we have the freedom to choose our own path in life. Sam wonders when he can have that freedom, because he’s tired of having to cut all the way through the swamp to Lindon Street to get home, just so Andy Mooney and his band of thugs won’t shove him into the pucker-brush. One thing he is sure about is that his path in life will have absolutely no prickers, or bogs, or burrs, or Andy Mooneys around junking it up. Dad says Miss Hobson is not talking about an actual path, but something called the American dream. It means we get to write our own ticket to anywhere. It means a poor tater farmer’s son like him can become the head loom fixer of Fowler Junction’s largest cotton mill. It means if you work hard enough, you can go far. And what I think is, Dad must not have worked very hard, because Fowler Junction isn’t even twenty miles from the farm where he was born. Miss Prudence says after she gave up her career, she didn’t touch a piano again for over thirty years. She says when I am older, I will understand certain things. Like how difficult it is to be a woman trying to make her way in a man’s world. She says maybe some day I will understand why she didn’t continue with Leopold Godowsky but instead married poor Franklin Polk to save her and the Stark name both from humiliation, and that if I never understand, well lucky for me. She says she knows what people used to say about Franklin Polk, but what they don’t know is that he was more of a man than Godowsky turned out to be. She says if she had to do her life all over again, she would do no differently, because regret is an ugly thing to have to carry around in your heart; it can poison a soul. It is best, she says, as she turns the page of music and smooths her skirt, to live your life with no regret.

Liza Mattison

Youth / Winter 2014

I think you were crazy too, I say. In America you can be anything. Who wouldn’t want to become famous? She sniffs and says she had her reasons so I say what were your reasons, and for the most uncomfortable amount of time, she doesn’t answer but finally, she says, Sometimes, fame breeds its own separate problems you know. She said that wasn’t anything she learned from Leopold Godowsky, she learned it because she’s always been a Stark in this town. She says, to be sure, there were many times when she wished she could have been less famous, not more. I notice her glance at the picture of her holding her doomed baby and it dawns on me that Franklin Polk is not in the picture, and it makes me wonder if he had already run off with Walter McMillan by then. That’s when I think I understand how it might be hard for Miss Prudence to be a Stark sometimes. Because it’s bad enough to be abandoned by your homosexual husband, but it must be even worse to know the entire town knows about it.

{ 36 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014

Miss Hobson says our assignment is to write an essay about what we want to be when we grow up. Lovey Dix says she wrote half of hers during recess and will probably finish the rest at lunch, even though they are not due until tomorrow. After an hour of staring at it after dinner, my paper is still mostly blank. What I’ve got written so far is this: I want to be Ma comes into my room and must sense my growing despair, because she takes me into her arms, and just kind of squeezes me like she’s trying to get my essay out of me like juice from an orange. She clutches on for dear life, like she’s afraid she might lose me. Or maybe it’s that she hangs on so tight because we both know I might disappoint everyone, including me, if she lets me go. Ma says there are lots of things she hopes I might be. I ask her if she thinks I might ever get to be a boy scout, and she tousles my hair and says maybe you won’t want to be a boy scout in a month or year anymore anyway. I wonder what else I will never be, and stare at my mostly blank paper again. I envy Lovey Dix who somehow just knows what she wants to be even though she hardly knows anything at all. But I suppose if there’s one thing I do know I want to be, it’s better than stupid Lovey Dix and so I finish writing something out because Miss Hobson expects us all to hand something in, and when I’m done, I lay my pencil down and read over what I have. Lovey Dix might have to write pages explaining why she wants to be a nurse when the sight of a dead fish just about kills her but my essay doesn’t need anything more. Because I’ve written the only honest answer there is. Because in America, a person can be anything, which means you can be a prodigy or a bully or a president of a cotton mill or a homosexual or a teacher. It means you can be as famous as a Stark or as insignificant as a bowl of soup but no matter what you are, what you want to be doesn’t ever change. So Lovey Dix can fill her page, but Miss Hobson will understand as soon as I hand my essay in, that I don’t need another word more, because when you ask a question like What do you want to be when you grow up? what other answer could there even be? I want to be great. Of course.

Liza Mattison


The Princess Who Went Quiet

The Princess Who Went Quiet is a comic about speaking your story and reconciling your inner and outer worlds. It will be distributed for free at the Cook County Jail in Chicago with the help of a grant from 96 ACRES.

Youth / Winter 2014

Bianca Diaz

{ 38 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014 Bianca Diaz

COMPOSITE { 39 } Youth / Winter 2014 Bianca Diaz

{ 40 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014 Bianca Diaz

COMPOSITE { 41 } Youth / Winter 2014 Bianca Diaz

{ 42 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014

Aaron Arreguin Year One


This documentation will continue to grow in size (nearly 900 photos have been stored and edited) as I continue to teach the same students over their entire high school career (Digital Media at Schurz High School is a four year program). As a photographer, there is depth and critical appeal to document their history at school and continue to observe without judgment. As a creative teacher, there is a strong desire to model alternative practices of documentation for my students so that they will develop their own approach to photography, design, and art.

Aaron Arreguin

Youth / Winter 2014

Year One was a documentation project of my first year experience teaching at a Chicago Public School. As a photographer, I used this opportunity to record the environment and behavior of my students. Over time we each began to grow together and divide in interest, as most families with a teenager in their household, except I was able document our relationship and their peer to peer relationships. Much like a family, someone always holds the camera. I played that role.

{ 44 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014 Aaron Arreguin

COMPOSITE { 45 } Youth / Winter 2014 Aaron Arreguin

{ 46 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014 Aaron Arreguin

COMPOSITE { 47 } Youth / Winter 2014 Aaron Arreguin

{ 48 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014 Aaron Arreguin

COMPOSITE { 49 } Youth / Winter 2014 Aaron Arreguin

{ 50 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014 Aaron Arreguin

COMPOSITE { 51 } Youth / Winter 2014 Aaron Arreguin

{ 52 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014 Aaron Arreguin

COMPOSITE { 53 } Youth / Winter 2014 Aaron Arreguin

{ 54 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014 Aaron Arreguin

COMPOSITE { 55 } Youth / Winter 2014 Aaron Arreguin

{ 56 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014

Maija Ekey

an assortment of earrings for a high school junior. C-Print. 2014.

COMPOSITE { 57 } Youth / Winter 2014

denim date (this is real life). C-Print. 2014.

Maija Ekey

{ 58 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014 Maija Ekey

still from watch me work it. C-Print. 2014.

COMPOSITE { 59 } Youth / Winter 2014

I only date boys with punk rock posters. C-Print. 2014.

Maija Ekey

{ 60 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014

Monica McClure Mala I had a boyfriend named Angel de los Santos Angel of the saints Together we were Gabriel set atop a marbled ogee craning in the old gym towards a pure wing-brush Never seen a winter before Never had a Sistine feeling of ice-blue enlightenment I think my mother was a child on this floor when my Archangel’s big mouth proffered my buds Now there’s vaginal discharge and then there’s children I’m brown and yet my whiteness is laminate making me a bright smear of a girl over wood We were the angel Michael in gloss on a bed of trumpeting whore babies I loved my fear and nursed it My xenophobic mums with jangles My plastic cupid pussy My hairless bedazzling machine missing parts The home-made pillows of bad

COMPOSITE { 61 } Youth / Winter 2014

My skin is a shuddering prig When I’m beaten and starchy with my brown-out lust When I don’t like Latin men anymore I had a girlfriend named Sara Finn That’s it that’s all In front of the band hall a black girl broke a brown girl’s face on the pavement The children would scream “Fight Fight” “A Mexican and a White” defining white by contrast So the white girl’s head was crushed on the blacktop She was my girlfriend and her name was Selena Quintanilla-Perez and she was brown as gasoline on a roughneck’s clothes In a cool blue dressing room she buried me in hoops Sent from God to make the rhyme work after I’d nearly been drowned by her friends Who were a gang of vulgar angels Jumped in by giants holding my head under water with their nephilim strength in my hull hair in my scared Indian blood Wearing street clothes in the pool Wearing wet parachute shirts and thin chains Their billows my word and their billows

Monica McClure

{ 62 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014

I was a prig in love with angels of saints and I was nothing but what I wanted to transcend I said things like my word My girlfriend was named Cher Abin That’s it that’s all I loved my tail-less cat and nursed it When my blood was rusty it was Indian blood and it pumped for hemophiliacs on CMT It gurgled for Fancy’s poor cunt and sold itself to the most brutish man in town I had a friend named Of Baile de dance and his sister tried to drown me She’s dead now, having been run off life’s untenable road with her babies in their funeral seats When was paradise my telos wants to know how soon I stir St. Germain Fernet Branca and rye with an ice spoon and get fucked with my eyes closed from behind Was this the sweet promise of the angels of the saints Do not be good with me or I’ll find your Eden and open its medicine cabinets

Monica McClure

COMPOSITE { 63 } Youth / Winter 2014

with my dissolute nose I’ll lose the keys in your neighbor’s bedroom and wear your wife’s clothes over my day-long erection because when I was young I grew away from the sun Now I’m a gothic hag sucking coke from the snouts of men who find me monstrous Let’s talk about angels I saw one just returned from jail with his gentleness flung over the couch next to his money stacks We didn’t know each other anymore and never had We were standing warily beside our youths like babysitters I thought this but the truth is I was the only one who’d ever had one A beautiful curled petal of high-mindedness that I one day pressed to the tip of a penis and blew away I’m brown and my whiteness is simply an opaque jelly that allows me to enter countless assholes Not that I construct my womanhood in non-being Not that I mean for these mechanics of identification to function in this poem to make me a feminist of color

Monica McClure

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This poem I mean my lyrical mythologizing of my bucolic thus already a myth childhood a form in command of itself no matter how humiliating or ironic the content faith is a theory of experience I’ve employed here Here in my wet bottoms Here in my nylon thong Here in my best client’s hands Here in the memory of my languid ill-spent youth Here in my lazy fractured womb of bathic love Is my boyfriend Eli Ohm of aquiline nose of Spanish rape I remember him when I open my underwear drawer and it smells like my mother whose scent curdles me Her Indian blood I love it in my milk Black vanities she gave me in the morning I got my ass kicked for kissing him Because I do that I take absolutely everything that wants me and force feed it till it gags and pollulates into a violent swarm that hates me My father said no wonder everyone in town says you’re a slut you are How useless is pity How useful blame

Monica McClure

COMPOSITE { 65 } Youth / Winter 2014

My girlfriend was named Ami Real That’s a very nasty girl you’re being so sweet with Yeah I mean yeah Bless her Bless her with a thousand verses Deliver them in the queen’s own lace Suck her pierced tongue till it waters till the Lilies in the church bloom for her beautiful gang bangs and her juvenile detention That crystal meth summer of high locusts when I took them to the government park and we sunk against the slide and had nothing but fury to share That was it that was all An identity to get past an identity that I can only now the subjectivity of which I can access only now Only now that it’s clear the contradictions will never dissolve into a whole So Let me be this cyborg with a bad bad libido and it everywhere at once shooting lazer ribbons

Monica McClure

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Morgan Maher

There is an unspoken vocabulary in youth that is depicted by the way we look at each other. We remember odd simplicities such as the way light hits the face. Everyone has a secret and everyone is ready to share that secret with the right person: the right look, the right color, the right smirk. Hidden memories and tall fantasies have a strange way of immortalizing someone. An angelic beauty is seen in youth and the vulnerability we are all willing to accept is lingering in a glance that lasts too long.

Morgan Maher

COMPOSITE { 67 } Youth / Winter 2014 Morgan Maher

{ 68 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014 Morgan Maher

COMPOSITE { 69 } Youth / Winter 2014 Morgan Maher

{ 70 } COMPOSITE Youth / Winter 2014 Morgan Maher

COMPOSITE { 71 } Youth / Winter 2014 Morgan Maher

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CONTRIBUTOR BIOS No. 18 Youth Tracy Kerdman lives and works in New York, New York. View her work at Doug D’Elia was born in Massachusetts. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida (Philosophy and Religion),

and served as a medic during the Vietnam War. He is the author of four books. A complete list of his published work and projects can be seen at his web page:

Julia Dittberner grew up and attended art school in Southeast Michigan, ever drawn to negative space and positive outlooks. She now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and works as a floral designer and event stylist, finding inspiration in nature and parties, travel and tiny studios. Her work can be found at

Kristin Hough is an artist from Ventura, CA, currently working towards her MFA at UC Davis. Her work investigates the curated landscape and documentary nature of American tourism. More work can be seen at

Dmitry Borshch was born in Dnepropetrovsk, studied in Moscow, today lives in New York. His paintings have been exhibited at the National Arts Club (New York), Brecht Forum (New York), ISE Cultural Foundation (New York), the State Russian Museum (Saint Petersburg).

Liza Mattison is a delightfully endearing southpaw who holds her MFA from Spalding University under strong light the better to admire it. Writer, painter, mushroom forager, wife, she might appropriately be called a dilettante. Inappropriately, she might be called–– well, never mind. When not penning tushery or tending to the needs of her household loves, she lives a life of shadowy mystery and intrigue, the details of which are occasionally chronicled at

Bianca Diaz is an artist and educator from Chicago. She is currently working towards a Master of Arts in creative process in Ireland. She believes in the necessity of being surrounded by a strong community to help a person become a happy, independent human who holds the power to help others. Using art and education as her tools, she strives to be instrumental in the collaborative creation of these communities. View her work at


Aaron Arreguin is a filmmaker, photographer and educator who’s mission is to use contemporary film and art prac-

tices to develop alternative forms of documentation. He has been a faculty member of Spiral Workshop at the University of Illinois at Chicago and served as an instructor for after school programs and community based organizations. Aaron currently works for Chicago Public Schools as lead Digital Media instructor for Carl Schurz High School. View his work at

Maija Ekey lives and works in Ridgewood, Queens. She enjoys reliving 8th grade by making shrines to Heath Ledger and wistfully listening to The Hives. You can see more of her at and

Monica McClure ’s debut poetry collection, Tender Data, will be published by Birds, LLC in spring 2015. She is the author of the chapbooks, “Mood Swing,” from Snacks Press and “Mala,” published by Poor Claudia. Her poems and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in Tin House, Jubilat, Fence, The Los Angeles Review, The Lit Review, Lambda Literary Review’s Spotlight Series, The Awl, Spork, Intercourse, CultureStrike and elsewhere. View her work at

Morgan Maher is a Junior at the Savannah College of Art and Design. She is located in Savannah, Baltimore, and NYC. View her work at

Youth / Winter 2014


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COMPOSITE INFO No. 18 Youth Composite is managed, curated, and edited by: Zach Clark does not remember being young, only the stories his family has told of it. His work can be viewed at Kara Cochran was a goody-two-shoes know-it-all brat. Maybe still is? Her work can be seen at India K still watches cartoons in bed and never wants to grow up. Her work can be seen at Suzanne Makol plans on being an art teacher when she grows up. And on getting a driving license. Her work can be viewed at Joey Pizzolato is a little bird that has broken out of the egg. He can be reached at

Composite is a free publication. If you like what we’re doing and would like to help support us financially, you can donate on the website or at Anything helps, so thank you in advance.