Page 1

INDEX 2 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••


Aly Zimmerman Nels Åkerson James Souder Luis Martinez Lani Prunés Ben Mast Joaquin Sosa James Souder e. pants Nels Åkerson Randi B. Hagi Erica Garber Emma King Makayla Baker Caleb Schlabach e. pants Jonathan Bush James Souder David Jantzi Hannah Patterson Konrad Swartz Randi B. Hagi John Campbell Rebekah Graham Emily Harnish Ben Mast Ellen Roth Joaquin Sosa Lani Prunés Douglas Wandersee Luis Martinez Lani Prunés James Souder Emily Harnish Josh Kanagy Biographies

THANK YOU EMU Print Shop Everyone who submitted Common Grounds SGA 2013 staff


Aly Zimmerman 2

WORD FROM THE EDITOR “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” Anais Nin “This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” Henry David Thoreau It is tempting to clump all these pieces of art together, but take each for what it is. Marvel over and read each as its own. The world is a big, diverse place. Perhaps the pieces in this journal will help you to soak in just a little bit more of what this world has to offer. If nothing, at least indulge in this journal and use it as a reminder to yourself of what it means to be human. Share in it. Taste it twice. Every year the Phoenix staff pours over every submission we receive. Our selection process is anonymous so that we can appreciate each work of art for what it is. We would like to thank everyone who took the time to submit this year, and hope that it will inspire others to share their own work in the years to come. Hannah Patterson Editor-in-Chief Phoenix’13

STAFF Advisor Editor Literary Editor Copy Editor Design Editor General Staff


•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••



Kevin Seidel Hannah Patterson Ben Mast Brendan Erb Erica Garber Bonnie Fisher Kendra Litwiller Sarah Parson Lauren Sauder Kierra Stutzman Konrad Swartz


Nels Ă…kerson

Carrots unlike blackberries do not ink hands. For these ripe sprigs crunch between the teeth. The orange satisfies her completely as the amylase deconstructs the amino acids with flickers of delicacy. The blobs burn apart, darting away from their peptide bonds, and now await the scholarly touches of polymerization. Not a breath is wasted.



James Souder



Luis Martinez


Lani Prunés

A game of tag gone horribly wrong. Suddenly, each and every sand dune looks like home, each lifeguard was the one we laid our blanket beside, each glance at the ocean is the same as paces before. Prodigal daughter, I scuttle in circles, sand and tears stinging my face, following my own sandy prints. I wander the shoreline, kicking up froth and foam, and feeling the vertigo of standing still on an ever-shifting terrain of sand and sea. I’m ruing the day, haunting thoughts stick like sand on moist legs, creeping up, as brown as the eyes that beg to be found before it’s too late, and the sea, which seemed not so scary before, pulls me in like broken pails and shells and translucent jellyfish that didn’t deserve their fate.



Ben Mast

“Don’t look to your right,” the driver warns, tremor and sickness in his words. He slows the bus, careful. I look to my right. She is crumpled, a broken swastika of spread arms and legs over a canvas of graveled country road. I have never seen death like this (fresh) and even from the safety and distance of a stuffy, humid bus seat this death draws the sour bile from my stomach up into my throat. Her motorcycle is destroyed – his SUV clearly won the exchange. He will drive home teary-eyed and heart-stricken (but alive), speculating on God and the infinite just as I do from my window, only his guilt will stick like blood. Later the newspapers say “killed instantly” but in the moment she saw him turn, fail to yield, heard the wail of tires on pavement, and saw the whites of his eyes stretched wide in panic, I doubt her life flashed before her. I bet it stretched, circled her and carried her with it like a dandelion seed in a gust of breath, swirling without resting, without ending, leaving her body stretched on County Road 37, with gravel in her hair and blood in her teeth.


IN MY DREAMS 1 Joaquin Sosa



James Souder



e. pants

It is amazing what a good cup of tea and a window of daylight can do for the mind. It’s as though not only my eyes see and embrace more in the sunlight, but my skin even knows a higher shade of happiness and pricks and ticks as though reaching out tiny hands to gather just a bit more sun. As if it sees the grass on the lawn stretching after its long winter nap and knows, yes, I am a little of you and I am always a little of this.



Nels Ă…kerson

Exasperated, the muses ruminate around the ziggurat and dabble in the mud.



Randi B. Hagi



Erica Garber



Emma King

I woke up earlier than expected last night; they weren’t even done cleaning me yet. I’ve never actually seen the people who work on me before—isn’t that crazy? In the twelve years since my change, I’ve never seen their faces. It was both intriguing and disappointing at the same time. When I was young, my mother used to tell me stories about how it felt. She would tell me that the first time is hard and it takes getting used to. But everyone in my family does it. Ever since she could remember, everyone in my family has had it happen once they turn fifteen. I was no exception. I remember my first time. I fell asleep after my birthday party and in my dreams, it happened. I was watching myself from above. My body started to writhe like a butterfly trying to escape its cocoon. As my body contorted, I began to see a break in the skin around my neck. Slowly, my skin began to withdraw within my muscles and organs. After several minutes, there was no skin in sight and all of my insides were out. It had finally happened: I had finally inverted. After my jumbled body had stilled, my parents ushered in two men wearing white coats and rubber gloves. They each carried a briefcase, and as they reached where I lay, they opened them, and I saw that they were filled with supplies resembling those of a dentist. The man on the right of me took out a syringe, tapped it, and plunged it into my heart. The man on my left took out a small brush and began to systematically clean my organs. The first man took out a nozzle and connected

it to an air hose. He then proceeded to blow any excess mucus from my soft, red insides. After he was finished, he ran his hand along my muscles and massaged each one individually. The other man had finished brushing by then and had moved on to spraying a purple liquid all over me. Then they were done. They packed up their briefcases, nodded at my parents and left. I looked back down at myself and saw the contours and dips in my naked frame. It was beautiful. Since that night, I’ve had someone come to clean me every night. Without turning inside out yourself, there is no way you will know how good it feels to wake up and feel fresh, clean, and faultless. I can’t describe, really, how your body feels…whole? That is the closest I can get to the sensation after you come back to consciousness and your body is back to its daytime state. But last night, I saw their faces. I think they were just as startled as I was. My mother told me that it’s rare to wake up during a cleansing. I don’t know what I expected them to look like, but I have to admit that I was a little bit disappointed. They were just regular men. One of them had a beard and the other sported a funny little mustache. They smiled at me and asked if I wanted to continue the cleansing or if I would rather stay awake. I stared at them for a couple of seconds, taking in their ordinariness, and replied that I would like to continue. I lay back down and waited for sleep to overtake me and for the sensation of my skin crawling back into me. I shivered and felt my nakedness.



Makayla Baker

‌so journey down that road to Winkler Hollow, dark skies with miles to go, on this winter night in flight, follow. iced stairway to lead nowhere but a crystal meadow no footsteps to be lost in the snow so journey down that road to Winkler Hollow drifting the sneachta gathers and grows, the flakes swirling in a graceful tango on this winter night in flight, follow. hear the distant tolling of bells yellow and the puerile song slipping from the lyre of Apollo, so journey down that road to Winkler Hollow somewhere the angels sing the morrow, there’s a whole world outside your window, so journey down that road to Winkler Hollow on this winter night in flight, follow.



Caleb Slabach



e. pants

My friends whose deaths have slowed my heart stay with me now. -Ted Berrigan “People Who Died” Roberta Graber………my grandmother………stroke………2008 Brock Eichenauer………my classmate who I had a crush on……his was the first funeral I attended of someone my age……car crash……winter 2003 Sanford Headings………my best friend Jill’s grandfather…… a patient in governmental medical experiments during the war……died of old age……2009 Victor……Victor Jara……shot 44 times……1973 Cindy King………my best friend Holly’s mom when we were 8 who had 6 children, ages 16 to 2……she bandaged me up after I fell off the side of their barn……breast cancer……1998 Zach Yoho……played the dancing cheese grater in our high school’s musical The Beauty and the Beast ……died in his sleep…2008 Doris Nafziger………my grandmother…stomach cancer……2012 Rob Jenkins and Jessica McConnell………two high school students who died, along with their child, in a house fire……Christmas 2012 Lizzy Seeberg…a girl………committed suicide after being sexually abused……2010 I cannot escape this heavy feeling, nor forget this world is also mine.



Jonathan Bush



James Souder



David Jantzi

“We need a urine sample, want to do the in and out catheterization?” “Sure,” I got this, I think to myself, I’ve practiced on a dummy. We get set up, the elderly man very sedated. We try once, doesn’t work, my hands are surgically clean, my two nurses leave the room to get something. Everyone has left the room… Me. Hanging on, keeping things sterile. The realization that I am holding on to this man, by way of his penis. I look down at the elderly client. He looks straight back at me. “Hello, my name is David.” Not the shake I would have preferred, but hey, nursing clinicals.



Hannah Patterson


Konrad Swartz

Raised tiny continents from the shallows to their bell glitter above the brine. A splendor held disembodied. From domicile to calcite drifts, now as ribbon in your hair. But after bringing up eight and letting them all go, breathless kites in their slow rifle down, they begin to be facsimiles of each other, just one gray broken shell, after another.



Randi B. Hagi



John Campbell

This sand that fills my head, it’s chased by my will, only to be caught in my bed, trickling from my eyes, ears, and nose, only to reinvent itself each day in ways which no spoken knowledge can truly know. And when in fact it finds its way back, it scurries and scatters where it can’t be trapped. I search for my sand to mold and work, but once I finally clasp this ungraspable wrath, I will not to understand its worthless worth. Glass now sealed on my mind’s thrown, its pros and cons reaming unknown, for glass more dense than sand ‘tis true, but can glass hold my mind’s sanity as unbreakable glue, whilst condensing these mounds of flowing bits? Its weight now plunging ever harder, further reducing what’s left of my waning wits to finally crush what’s left of a child-like bliss.



Rebekah Graham 26


Emily Harnish

After Heather McHugh’s “Dust Jacket” Lying is done with words, and also with silence. -Adrienne Rich Far past a fear – sort of a feared – that something fearish – she did not leave as carefully as she might have wished. That day she watched and rewatched, some hitch of a breath near a hip (his head), above that body in which one might see a snake. Worse to stay sheep silent, kneel like lovers on shakily untrained legs. After, she wakes with the shock of soldiers, evident in a trip, a trap, the way truth can never be made love to. Cock goes cocky, baby babe-ish. Among the good girls – strange before now – becoming stranger – she, the slut even in her eyes, grabbed her make-up bag but forgot her face in the bathroom. (You need a fearless laugh to take down fears like these.) This all is true, never happens, off the girl goes into the dark; always someone living vicious enough to take the one meaningful heart-choice from her body-choice, set to change a life’s thought-orbit – held to hellish.



Ben Mast

I hear his smile before I look up, lips sliding across gums, exposing still-perfect teeth. His dusty yellow armchair creaks as an unsteady finger traces pictures of birds in a giant blue scrapbook. He names the birds hesitantly – not quickly enough to satisfy his past expertise. Is it common? Where did you see it? Which is your favorite? His smile creaks and he nods, too embarrassed to admit incomprehension as the questions hang unanswered. I leave for the mountains only days after. My goodbye is quick – too quick, too easy – even though I know I will never hear that smile again. Two months later, I will see his face, plastic and gray, arms folded within the tight hug of a coffin. I do not cry until I lower him into the grave, when my hot eyes crowd with wet and my nose sniffles in the cold. A bird shrills into the chilled autumn morning and I push my tears into my brother’s sleeve.



Ellen Roth



Joaquin Sosa



Lani Prunés

Where I want or need to be, what I want to do. Where I parked the car, why the guests are late, when anything is due. Why anyone would want to birth a human being. What it feels like to go weak in the knees. Why people ask such outrageous questions. What arms crossed mean. What it means to believe, or change, or grieve, or care about more than tomorrow’s work. How it feels to be spotted from across a bar after happy hour in a dress my mother would abhor because, well, it’s just not your color or shape, really, and was it even on sale? What beer tastes like on someone else’s lips or how to keep the covers from going cold, or what saying goodbye will feel like. Why bad pop music infiltrates the brain, and why I can memorize them but not what it takes to pass a test. If my surname is actually a name or if my grandfather made it up to avoid his lovers and responsibilities. If sex is supposed to live up to the hype or surpass it, and if it even matters to anyone but me. How it feels to break a bone, my own or someone else’s, and how to ride a skateboard. Why Christmas will mean mint. Why I hate rules, and home, and licorice.



Douglas Wandersee Cars go to sleep in a wink while I, on the winter of horizon join deep to far gone where at last there is a start—an amulet to keep in my hand. I send for mysterious shift from a watch word to a riddle, shake fresh snow from a juniper until the bough breaks and its time to go.



Luis Martinez 33


Lani Prunés It’s raining today. How perfectly cliché. She would have laughed if she’d have heard. “My funeral is on Thursday? Isn’t it supposed to downpour then? How perfectly timely of me.” I couldn’t tell her myself, security would never let me up to see her. Family only. The car wouldn’t start, had to call Doris Brown, our closest neighbor, to jump-start my car. She smiled sadly at me, got my car going, and left without a word. I was 20 minutes late to the wake, though I doubt anyone noticed. Her family sat sadly in the front row while the pastor spoke the same words he always said, stuff about the after life, the sweetness of peace, the final rest. He left out the part where you die and never get up and are never warm again. A baby a few rows over let out a huge squeal of delight while the pastor prayed. Half the heads in the church turned towards her perfect noise, the other half resisted. Smiling at a baby is not all right at a wake. What would Jesus think? I saw her ex-boyfriend put a comforting hand around her sister’s shoulders. She leaned in, immediately felt guilty, and pulled away. He began playing with her hair, her earring, the hem of her dress. I watched her swat his hand away, a smirk playing at the corner of her mouth. Her mother and father sat solemnly, but unaware. They both already knew this day would come, were just waiting for the day they would finally have to call out of work, finally have to send out those notices to relatives, finally have to dust off the old black suits. Her mother wore red lipstick; she dabbed her eyes dutifully every few minutes. Her dad decided not to shave that morning; made him look more grieved. Her younger brother slipped beneath the pews, playing a video game on mute. People from school showed up. They fidgeted in their seats, wondering how early they could slip away without looking unsympathetic. A few of them saw me and began to snicker behind their hands. Right on cue, those vultures. A sparrow hit the back stained glass window. Black feathers dropped slowly into the open pane, then blew away in the strong wind. It was over. People stood, dutifully began to cry, and followed the deceased’s family out to the graveyard. There, pallbearers laid the sleeping prin-

cess, my princess, into the ground. The dress she was buried in was pink. Lucy hated pink. Her hair was sprawled around her eyes. Lucy hated her hair down. They put pearl earrings into her lobes. They must have had them pierced by the coroner. Have to keep up appearances. Her lips were smoothed over with makeup, so she didn’t look so dead. I’ve kissed those lips. They will never die. “Good of you to show, Camilla.” I turned. Mark Brown smiled at me through his solemn gray eyes. “Doris texted me, was worried you wouldn’t make it, what with the car trouble.” “Nice of her. I made it,” I said, turning away. “I would have walked if I had to.” Mark waited a few beats, then walked away, back to his car, along with the many others not willing to wait in the pouring rain for a dead girls burial. Lucy’s sister saw me from afar and tugged the ex’s sleeve. The two glared from across the coffin. I averted my eyes back to the grave, freshly dug, the coffin closed forever. Heaps of mud were pushed back into the hole, soiling the gold-rimmed coffin. Nothing but the best for the dead. The walk home was long. My car refused to start, and being the last one at the cemetery means no one around to help. Lucy’s mother spit in my direction as she left, very lady-like, and her father gave me a sad look, as if I was the one actually dead, not one of his own. It stopped raining just as I climbed the stairs of my home. Lucy laughed at my good fortune from wherever she is perched to watch the world. I play it off as though I am not broken, but I am. Everything reminds me of her. The pink reflections in my mother’s precious china remind me of her cheeks. The wind chimes outside have a haunting resemblance to her laugh. The bread baking in the oven is the smell of Lucy on a day in September; the perfume on my sheets the smell of her in Spring; the scent of fresh laundry, her everyday. The rain falls like the first time under the bleachers, the wind like the time her sister found us in Lucy’s car, the thunder like her mother’s screams and her father’s yells, her sister’s sneers. The lightening and the gray sky, like the light behind Lucy’s eyes when she learned she was dying, slowly; strong, brave, fierce, relentless.



James Souder



Emily Harnish

grasshopper god, no hospitality was ever extended to the dim space beneath the bed. take your crippled body out of this place.

* * *

wake, half-humming, to the sun-flooded room.

* * *

the myths are threadbare. the myths are more than half-destroyed. the myths are set adrift on a spring tide.

* * *

there are grasshoppers skittering, leaping in terror, hearing feet fall heavily like an awkward first date, like the time your laughter rang across the room, like the footsteps of god.

* * *

one sunday, these words: that you who created her would speak her language that you would set her heart at ease o grasshopper god, you created language and do not use it audibly for us

* * *

small ecstasy, this black body resting in a cupped palm – who might admit belief in you, your mandibles and ribbed thorax, your audible flight?



Josh Kanagy




is studying art, writing, and photography (with concentrations in camping and Woodstock-era rock) and shares John Dillinger’s birthday.

is a senior biology and liberal arts major.


does not like descriptions of herself. She prefers you find out for yourself what she is like, but she will mention that she loves it when someone does take the time to find out her true colors.


is a senior biochemistry major who believes there are some things in life that cannot be quantified or explained. Sometimes she writes poems in the margins of her physics notes. She has experienced poetry as a sort of salvation; as something that gives her a voice, makes her braver, and teaches her how to see those things that matter.


is a freshman photography major hailing from Pennsylvania. He plays soccer and has mad sprinting skills.



is a TCK Senior Nursing Major who enjoys hiking, camping, running, mountain biking, rock climbing, caving, snowboarding, surfing, scuba diving, bicycle touring, and visiting the 35 countries he has had a chance to explore. He is currently learning to live into God’s love. David is still trying to understand his blessings, and excited about his opportunities to help others. Kalau anda bisa membaca ini, anda adalah orang yang keren

is 20 years old and enjoys philosophy, reading non-fiction, and playing volleyball. His favorite shows are Futurama, Family Guy, and House of Cards, and his poem was inspired by his personal struggle with standardized education.


is a junior digital media major, with minors in art and history. She likes days that remind her of the West Coast - days that are cool and moist, when she can close her eyes and almost smell the scent of fresh, chilled pine calling her home.


is a senior. He likes earth a lot.



is a senior photography major from Maine, Pennsylvania, New York, and/or Virginia. Her interests include flowing sundresses, mac and cheese, and sweet dance moves. She has no idea what she’s going to do after graduation, but she’s up for pretty much anything... including having a pet owl. Because that would be awesome.

is a sophomore digital media and communications major from northwest Ohio. She lives in a room with a mannequin named Beatrice and a wooden parrot named Mr. Wickham. If she knew how, she would walk around on her hands and speak purely in Elvish; unfortunately, she cannot do either of those things so she fills the hole in her heart with chocolate and Jane Austen.




is studying at Eastern Mennonite Seminary. His inspiration comes from God.

uses photography as a way of seeing and appreciating his surroundings. As a habitual overachiever, he is graduating this year as an environmental and social sustainability major with four minors.


In another life, he’d be a veterinarian.



From the suburbs of Philadelphia, does this and that at EMU.

e. pants is a pen name. It identifies certain poems as belonging to e. pants.



sometimes closes one eye to see the world as it would be framed in a picture; you should try it sometime.

has no idea how to write a bio. He barely managed a poem, after all. He’s probably out with the dog.



Lani P: NOUN1. A senior English and writing studies major. 2. Lives for the bustle of street markets and the smell of new books and blueberries. 3. Argues that Calvin and Hobbes are often as deep and intellectual as anyone really needs. 4. Decided long ago she could sleep when she was dead. Or in between classes.

is a senior digital media major.


is a digital media and communications major who isn’t afraid to bust a move when the music is on.


is a freshmen digital media major.


is a nomad hailing from whichever direction the wind was blowing yesterday, but sometimes stays places for a while when the friends are good and the weather fair. He likes taking his camera to new places. You should come too.


The Phoenix - #55 Literary and Visual Art Journal of Eastern Mennonite University  

Eastern Mennonite University's undergraduate annual literary journal, produced by students in the language and literature academic program....

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you