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issue no.2 | aug. 2016


effervescent   magazine   

this is  a  publication  dedicated  to  new  growth  while  never  letting  go  of  the  inner  child.  it  is  a  paradox,  it  is  juvenescence,  it  is  the  eternal  struggle  between  letting  go  and  holding  on.  so  dear  reader,  let  your  inner  wilderness  roam  free,  let  it  float  between  trees  like  haunting  morning  fogs  or  let  it  light  up  the  sunset sky.       


issue   2  -  summer   2 016 

tempestuous:  adjective;  characterized  by  strong  and  turbulent  or  conflicting  emotion;  of  or  relating  to  a  tempest;  violent or stormy    A  love  affair  that  sweeps  one  off  one’s  feet.  The  explosive  and  wild  disruption  of  fireworks  and  cold  lighting.  Piercing  steel  rain  pounding  upon  skyward  cheekbones  and  folded  backs.  Gales  stirring  black  waters  into  turquoise  froth  as  a  hand  clutches  a  pearl  and  prays  to  what  god  there  is  above.  Thunder,  so  loud  there  is  no  thought,  only  noise  and  static.  And  then  there  is  simply  the  quiet  as  pencil  thin  shafts  of  light  penetrate  leaden,  mercurial  clouds  which  drift  away,  replaced  by  a  brilliant  sun,  too  bright,  diamond  bright  as  it  reflects  off  the  glassy  waters  and  mirrored  puddles.       


Letter   From   the   Editor   

Dear Readers,   It was a thunderstorm that first blew me into the world of  art and literature. It was the beauty of swirling clouds and  racing silver streaks on car windows that compelled me to  capture scenes in physical forms, that pushed me to express the  majesty of the world around me.  I was a spring baby, born anew into a novel millennium as  the world refreshed after the rare leap day with the onset of  the first March thunderstorm. As I grew to love the cloudbursts  consisting of yellow skies, electrified air, and earth-shaking  reverberations, I realized that this inclination perhaps arose  from the conditions surrounding the dawn of my life, and that  my own being paralleled the commencement and cessation of a  tempest. I was ever awed by storms, from the blizzards of New  York to the tornados of Chicago and the fits of lighting on  North Carolinian summer nights.  Through one such tempest, I witnessed the eggshell-blue sky  leech itself of color, varying its shade to a pale yellow, and  my heart leapt as in the distance there gathered a towering  grey mass of cumulonimbus clouds, their bottoms fading into  thin wisps as the rain held inside disassociated itself with  the stratosphere and tumbled to the earth, striking the asphalt  warmed by the blazing summer sun with a soft hiss as the water  vaporized. Nebulous, mysterious fog writhed from the pavement,  underneath it shimmering prismatic shades of leaked oil,  beckoning, whispering, enthralling my youthful mind with  unknowns and questions waiting to be explored and answered.   The tree trunks ran black with stormwater, and emerald  maple leaves flew through the air like verdant stars, forming  puerile constellations that collapsed the next second as if  they had been swallowed by black holes. Foliage fortunate  enough to still be attached to broughs bowed to the force of  winds and nature, showing pale, silver undersides where  cuticles and stomata had vanished. As life and the forces that  endow life clashed in a mesmerizing battle, the burgeoning  artist within me ached to document the phenomenon, to chart the  pathways of astral leaves orbiting their effervescent suns of  summer trees, to calculate the velocity of churning vapor in  the sky, to record the gradience of the sky from beryl to amber 


to a dark, amaranthine-indigo, as dictated by the clouds scattering ultraviolet radiation.  At home, I dug through my drawers for a digital camera, my  first one, a clunky blue casio model that would nourish my  later love for professional photography, seeking to capture the  world with all its meticulous interactions, and fled into the  downpour, shielded from the tumultuous sky only by a navy blue  umbrella. As I headed towards my hideaway, I paused to smell  not the roses whose petals drooped from the weight of water but  rather the fresh air infused with the aroma of broken leaves  and crouched to archive the image of honeysuckle blossoms  spattered with delicate drops of rain, capillary action holding  the clear, fragile orbs together.   I ducked under a branch of pine intertwined with ivy and  jumped over a decaying log, fancying myself like the early  explorers unveiling uncharted territory, innovative. Now  sheltered underneath the lush summer canopy of deciduous  leaves, my imagination grew boundless. As birds chirped and the  wind writhed among the brush, I envisioned myself as the storm.  I was the water, splitting through the fogs and mists of  uncertainty, relentlessly seeking, questioning, spreading over  the earth in search of new grounds, new experiences, new ideas,  providing nourishment for juvenescence. I was wind and  lightning, toppling the dead and decayed trees of outdated  designs like fetishization, objectification, and  discrimination. I was the thunder, willing to make my voice  known, as loud and as resounding as a clarion call in the  wilderness. I was born during a storm, and willing to become  one as well.    Welcome to the Tempestuous Issue,  Helen Li, Editor in Chief of Effervescent Magazine 


Table   of   Contents 

  Featured Artist: Oscar Calleja    Featured Writer: Sarah Little    Thrift Shop Girls by Jacqueline He    Valentine’s Day by Elizabeth Gibson    Wish by Julia Drzewiecka     This Little Place Called Earth by Haley Chung    Last Summer by Nicholas Gustavson     The Way Home by Ana Prundaru    Summer by Yen Rong Wong     Red Confetti by Anastasia McEwen    Natural Disasters and Other Things We Don’t Think About When We  Say Spring by Stephanie Tom     Her Name by Courtney LeBlanc    Butterfly by Elizabeth Gibson    Rebuilding By Courtney LeBlanc    True American by Olivia Hu    April Fool by Courtney LeBlanc    Turbulence by Sumaya Makhdoom    Broken Quiet by Courtney LeBlanc    Always the North Wind by Carl Boon     


Untitled by David Atchkinson   Now Sinks the Storm by Clio Velentza       


Featured   Artist  Oscar Calleja   

  Oscar  lives  in  Poland  temporarily,  coming  from  a  little town in  Cantabria  (Spain)  and  normally  studying  in  Salamanca.  Studying  media  and  cinematography,  he  dreams  of  becoming  an  influential  director  of  photography  and  a  photographer.  He  was  born  in  a  family  of  artists  but  that  didn't  stop  people  saying  he  had  to  be  realistic  and  look  for  a  real  aim,  but  yet  here  he  is,  working  hard  to  success  in  his  journey,  which  for  him  is  the  most beautiful of all journeys.    Oscar  will  always  thank  the  teacher  who,  when  he  was  fourteen,  allowed  him  to  film  his  work  for  school  instead  of  writing  them;  that  teacher  has  no  idea  the  good  he  did  for  him  and  the  world  that  was  opened  for  him  that  day  he  was  filming  a  bee  with his home camera while doing one of his school works.     

   


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Featured   Writer  Sarah Little   

Sarah Little  doesn’t  do very well taking selfies, so she tries to describe  herself  and  fails.  When  she  isn’t  trying  to  create  her  self-description,  she  blogs  a  portfolio of creative writing on tuckedintoacorner, amuses her  colleagues  with  tales  of  her  writing  adventures,  and  spends  probably  too  much  time  looking  for shenanigans on Twitter. So far, she hasn't published  anywhere that isn't her blog. She hopes you like what she has to say. 

Not   Made   To   Rest   

“I’m an actress baby, and actresses don’t come with storm warnings,” she whispers in my ear, leaning forward like she’s  telling me the best secret the universe has to offer. Her lips  shine under the harsh spotlights, light reflecting off her  glossy pink. She’s leaning so close I can see the tiny flecks  sparkling in her gloss, fresh despite the smoky atmosphere.  So she’s a gloss-girl, pink and light and sweet, sweetly  high-maintenance. Pale-blond hair glows pink under the lights,  glitter sparking in her eyes with the reflections of the  swaying lights.  We dance. She teaches me how to get the bartender to mix a  drink custom for you, slides a note across the bar before I can  see the denomination and pulls me away by the hand. Calls it  the Harley, doesn’t say why.  “Let me help you get a cab,” she insists, bowing  mock-gallantly and holding the door. To someone like her, it’d  be uninteresting to ask when I’ll see her again – worse, if. I  get in alone, slouch back in my seat and close my eyes even as  I know she’s waving.  I don’t see her again, until I do: she’s curled up outside  the door to my studio, clasping coffee and a bag with the logo  of my favourite bakery. She ambles lazily to her feet as if the  open door is all the invite she needs, but now it’s been  offered she isn’t sure she wants it.  We eat silently, idly over fast-cooling coffee and pick  apart pastries like birds. She’s dainty, thin bracelet looped  around a fine-boned wrist and piano-player’s hands. I’m  reminded of her comment about storm warnings, and I can’t  picture her creating any kind of storm. 


She looks up from the pastry that’s now mangled, lying shredded on the plate, curls her mouth around a smile that  looks out of place on someone so fresh-faced. “Want to see a  storm tonight?” she offers, and for a minute I wonder if I’ve  spoken aloud.  “No.”  It’s reflexive, abrupt – startles even me, and I set the  foam coffee cup back on the table, soundless. She looks a  little disappointed, then swings her legs off the couch and  gathers the bag she dumped on the ground when she sat. She’s so  familiar, despite being the second time we’ve ever met. I’ve  never had a visitor act so familiar in my apartment, never had  someone bring coffee and make themselves at home.  She kisses my cheek when she leaves, brushing the scent of  coffee-cinnamon-vanilla over me and slipping out the door.  Something about her is oddly catlike, I think absently as I  brush off her lip gloss and clean up the detritus of the food.  I still don’t know her name, it occurs to me. I suspect she  doesn’t know mine, either.  I don’t sleep that night, too wide-awake and too absorbed  in watching for a storm that never comes. She has piqued my  curiosity now so when she shows up at the door a week later  bearing two pizzas, I invite her in.  As she closes the door I spot a duffle bag, and she tracks  my gaze to it, looking embarrassed for the first time since  I’ve met her.  (This is when I understand what she meant when she promised  I’m an actress)  The bag is overstuffed, stray tubes of makeup spilling out  and clothes stuffed in haphazardly. I can’t make sense of any  individual item, but I sit on the bed and watch as she shakes  out a dozen pieces of clothing, costume pieces that no-one  would ever wear in their day-to-day life. These clothes are  meant for treading the stage.  “Oh, darling, don’t you know? The world is our stage. We  are all performers,” and she grasps my hands in her own icy  ones, stares green eyes into mine, begging me to understand.  “I do, I get it,” I tell her (too quickly). She seems relieved  and drops my hands, turns her attention to lining the dresser  with perfume bottles and countless lotions and potions. The  table space fills, looks like home, and she sprays two  different perfumes, leaves them to mingle in the air. Tucks her  hand into the crook of my arm. 


“Buy me dinner?” she implores, and it’s not in me to refuse. She’s a whirlwind alright, first moving in uninvited  and unwarned and then making my space her own.  We eat at her choice of restaurant though she takes  precisely nine minutes over the menu (“I always take nine  minutes deciding what to eat”) and the staff are hovering with  more than a little irritation. At last we order and there’s a  hint of mischief to her smile, danger simmering low in her  eyes. “So, how about a storm tonight?” she asks, and now she’s  the one looking impatient. I feel I know the correct answer –  yes – but the word stops in my throat.  She shakes her head, purses her lips and stabs a piece of  bread with her fork.  (It’s the first time I’ve seen her mood so much as leave  tranquil, but it’s back, thirty minutes, one dessert and two  cups of coffee later)  I can feel the caffeine making its way through my veins and  wonder if her second espresso is having a similar effect. It’ll  be a while before I crash, so I order another just to be  sociable.  That night when we get home we play classical music and  dance, wildly clattering around the tiny space and knocking  things over. It’s dawn before I stagger into bed, burying  myself below the duvet in hopes of sleep coming faster.  She gets up two hours later, I hear her clashing in the  kitchen as if my few meagre utensils are instruments.  (Sometimes, I get the sense that she is creating some kind  of melody.)  There’s breakfast on the table, a stack of French toast and  various fruits I didn’t even know I had. She’s bouncing between  the table and the stove, glittering with wild energy. Today,  her lip colour is a muted pink lipstick.  (Sometimes, I think I have learned to read her just by her  choice in lipstick.)  She talks a little fast when she sees me – “I had to go to  the market, apologize for invading your space so I made  breakfast and coffee, let’s go to the beach this afternoon and  sleep some more this morning.”  I sit quietly as she chats about the beach and how she’ll  pin up dresses over my curtains to shut out more light so I can  sleep this morning.  Going back to bed, it’s easy to crash. There’s something  nagging at me, but before I can think about it I’m already 


under the covers, my eyes closing. Sleep is not peaceful tonight, even after drinking peppermint-and-chamomile tea; then  again, it never does shut down dreams. True to her word she  hooks coat hangers with dresses and billowy long skirts over  the curtains, shutting out just a little more light.  (The soft skirts don’t suit her. They should be sharp  fitting pencil skirts, the better to sketch her imagination  into real life)  (She doesn’t suit real life, she suits fairytales and myth,  being a creature from the dark, one who walks in shadows and  steals something you never knew you needed)  I awake to piano music drifting through the room and – when  did I get a piano, there’s no space for it is my first thought.  My second is that there is coffee brewing, properly brewing. I  rarely break into the stash of good coffee, trying to keep  costs down where I can. A cup of good coffee is what happens  after work, not before it.  She’s there, dancing around the kitchen. As far as I can  tell, the piano isn’t creating any kind of rhythm – the music  rises and falls, crashes and crescendos with every few  heartbeats. It’s nothing I’ve ever heard and the look in her  eyes is electricity-bright.  There’s a storm tonight. I hear this as clearly as if she  has spoken the words, but her lips are still and today I know  her voice better than any, know the inflection she places on  storm as if she’s speaking of a lover, the way she brushes over  unimportant words and caresses the main one. “Gravitas,” she  told me once, staring at paintings of storm-tossed seas, “is  the most important.”  Of what, I never asked.  I move around her, lightening and quickening my steps so we  are nearly dancing around each other. She plays, dipping  backwards on one foot, holding her arms out in empty embrace.  Her hair skims the tile of the kitchen and I pour her another  jumbo coffee, draining the pot and setting a fresh one to boil.  We drink, rich and plain and not troubling with sweeteners, not  troubling ourselves to count.  (We need to stay awake for the storm)  She drives to the beach, parks at the clifftops – it’ll  take too long to wind down the long narrow road, driving 30 km  an hour and hoping for it to stay dry. Mid-afternoon feels like  late evening, it’s already darkening and she waves me away  after parking. In my peripheral I see her moving around in the  


backseat before she clambers out, snags the hem of her dress on the lever under the seat and it tears. Silver-white sequins  scatter, starlike, over the seats.  The sky darkens and the air is chilly. We stand on the  cliff, well back from the railing that stops us toppling over,  and wait.  Thunder rolls in first, lightning hitting the ocean and  lighting it silver. I can feel my heart thudding, taste the  coffee still on my lips and swallow anxiety, bitter and  pill-shaped. She grasps my hand, turns to me and I can see in  her posture that there’s madness in her bones. Her eyes are  wild tonight.  She strips away the civil mask that she built with makeup  and accessories. Tonight she isn’t a temptress in a club  telling you how the world works; she isn’t the cute girl who  brings you coffee or the chilled-out one who moves into your  apartment unannounced and uninvited.  Tonight she peers over the cliff top as far as she can  without touching the metal fence, grabs my hand at the next  flash of lightning and shouts something I can’t make out.  There’s a break in the fence, a set of battered wooden  steps. Still with her hand in mine, she tugs me towards the  railing, extends her arm back behind her to keep our hands  linked as we clatter down the steps, drowned out by the  thunder. Her heels are tall, strappy and spindly and horribly  impractical, but still she wears them, kisses the red off her  lips onto mine and looks up at me through her lashes, coyly  biting her lip.  I climb onto the largest rock I find, and as I watch she  dances in the damp sand, kicks it all over the place. Draws a  line in between dry and wet sand. She skips perilously close to  the water, dips an ankle in and I hear her yell how the water’s  lovely.  Energy crashes and I see the brightness in her eyes, the  moodiness in the set of her jaw. Her hands shake when she pulls  me off the boulder, spins me around in imitation of a waltz,  lightning dress flying out all around her. Beyond us, the ocean  lights up white and rain begins, rending clothes ragged and  pounding the ocean.  I feel it more than anything else, how she’s desperate to  go to the ocean, but at the same time there’s some small piece  of logic still in her. Don’t go to the ocean, I will her, we  are already here (there). 


We sit, curl into each other and watch the ocean. She’s still in totteringly high heels, dress soaked and in my hand,  her manicure glitters with lightning – as the moon rises, I  make out silver forks of polish streaked over each nail,  different directions and the trifecta descends upon us: hail  and thunder and lightning. We make our way back to the car,  sleep in reclined seats and wake to the sunrise over the  horizon.  There’s a basket in the back seat, packed with  non-perishables that are breakfast. Below us, on the beach, the  mini-fort is in ruins, rocks and branches everywhere. My jeans  are thick with damp sand and her dress hangs from her shoulders  in tatters.  “Tonight,” she tells me, “there’s no storm.”  She pulls a telescope from the trunk, unfolds it and  presses her eye to it. What she’s looking for, I don’t know.  There’s another bag in the back of the car, but when I go to  investigate she swats my hand away. “Wait until it’s darker.”  We change out of our storm-rags into new dresses. Tonight,  they are pale yellow and navy blue, scattered with stars and  cloud-daubed white paints. Tonight, she looks like sunshine. We  share the telescope, sitting together as close as we can. She  thinks she sees Mercury, but the lenses are shitty: somewhere  along the line dust got into them, blurring things beyond  recognition.  In her soft yellow dress she is mercurial, bones white  under the moon and stars – matching the effect of the moon on  the dress, bleached white. Her lips are red again, eyes  storm-dark and this time she paints my eyes with mascara,  liner, shadows to match her own. “We’re stargazing. If we can’t  match, we have to coordinate,” she says, whispers it like it’s  a secret, boldly like it’s a story she just has to tell.  She is mercurial, and there’s no rest to be had. We can’t  fuel up on coffee, so it’s simple to stay awake, push our  bodies to the limits of wakefulness. On the second day we sleep  in the car again, resting for the drive. This time I drive, her  hands tapping white noise as I tap the pedal to speed up or let  the car drift along. For once, I don’t allow myself to think of  the sight this must make: two storm-logged creatures in gowns,  last night’s makeup still in place and eyes glassy,  sleepless-red.  “Storm’s over,” she says when we arrive home. She takes the  keys, dangles them with a raised eyebrow, slots them into the 


ignition and starts driving. I watch her drive; it’s the only time that she looks completely concerned with what she is  doing. It’s also the only time I’ve seen her look uncertain in  the slightest.  The caffeine is leaving my system now, wearing off from the  cocktail of adrenaline and energy and I’m about to crash. I  don’t know what she’s up to but she’ll be back.  A few hours later she’s back, more bags piled in the car  and tosses me my key, slings the first of the bags over her  shoulder, weary and wary. “Sure you can stay,” I decide. Spur  of the moment. Maybe living with her, I’ll learn something.  Sure baby, you’re an actress. 

   


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Thrift   Shop   Girls  Jacqueline He   

(Before the sky crescendos white and the cracked sun slides out  egg yolk, let’s savor the frosted indigo  nights like cheap spun sugar  under our tongues.)     We were two-a-penny dolls, cheeks  painted, lips glossed pale, cracking  soda straws in ice cream parlors. Even  their cherry swivel chairs are translucent  with grease. Under the lilting  ‘80s jukebox music you warbled  aubades in the shell of my ear.  When I close my eyes I still see the  trembling ocean illuminated pink  in the brittle mornings.     People are dim ghosts, mirage-like but  to me your face was smeared  candle light, like Pan’s  pixie dust. I found you bent in  the alley unrolling eggshell stockings,  clutching the remnants of silken  moonlight as spitfire shudders out  your throat. Under red restaurant  warmth you shattered into  porcelain rubble, off-key and cacophonous -  damaged goods worth half-a-penny.        


Valentine’s   Day 

Elizabeth Gibson   There are frothy white icing and sugar hearts on cakes  and red roses in a boy’s hand as he heads home from  college and some corny movie in our residence later.  A song about Paris plays on repeat and glitter gleams.     All this is nice. But my love is not pink and sparkly.  It does not take the shape of love hearts or red roses.  It is hard to describe except that it consumes me, fills  me, makes the inky sky beautiful even without stars.     My love is as strong today as any other day. Romance  and cupids can’t affect it. It burns always, a blue fire.  And things like your laugh – oh, that laugh – or your  affection can make that blue magma rise and flood me     like a waterfall, crashing, like a galaxy strewn through  my soul. Mon amour. Comme un feu. Comme l’océan.  The song has petered out but my heart keeps singing,  You, I love you, I love you, on every day of the year. 

 


Wish

Julia Drzewiecka   Make a wish upon a star  It won't take you very far  The wonder and whim doesn't last anyway  It's just like any other day     Make a wish on the time  11:11, the famous prime  When you wake it won't be magic  Reality hits and it'll be tragic     Make a wish when the clock strikes midnight  Dumping the withering year after a long fight  Promise to do better and hope to be alive  The next time your mind decides take a dive       


This   Little   Place   Called   Earth  Haley Chung   

It is on the second day of seventh grade that I learn the sun will swallow us in about 7.6 billion years. There are a  few seconds where the class splits into panic, but the  teacher is quick to assuage our fears. “It shouldn’t be a  concern for us,” she laughs. “We’ll be long gone by then.” My  classmates relax, jot the information into their notes, and  forget about it.   But not me.  Because then I start thinking about the five minutes I  spend in the morning debating whether Kelly Statnyk will like  my outfit, or the ten I spend chickening out of talking to  her. No. Even more than that. I start to think about the  hours I spend studying material I won’t remember, and the  days I spend at some desk in a school.   I start to think and think and think.   People run marathons, climb mountains, swim oceans right?  They spend lifetimes dedicated to making a difference, to  leave some form of a mark in this world. But why? Who cares  if they set some world record? Beat some high score? Win some  award?   Because the sun is going to engulf us. Just imagine it —  the edges of the sun, stretching out towards us. Its  tendrils will reach earth, flame to gasoline, and the fire  will zip across our world like a messenger. Earth will be a  blazing ball of fire, and any onlookers would mistake it as  the sun.  All traces of the centuries of blood, pain, and sweat  will be gone.   Our home will be done, obliterated, gone.  In 7.6 billion years from today, the sun will swallow the  stars, the sky, and most of all, this little place called  earth. And the rest of the universe will go on.        


Last   Summer 

Nicholas Gustavson   I dream about a new planet, blanketed with blue oceans,  rotating youthfully on its axis. I don’t know how we arrived,  my friends and I, but we’re hanging around like a cluster of  moons, human satellites in orbit above the planet’s exosphere.  We spin around the equator, faster and faster, laughing like  children on a carousel ride. At least we’re wearing space  suits. It only takes a minute to complete a revolution. Oceans.  Blips of land. Craggy spines of continental mountain ranges.  Mysterious swirling storms, the color of latte foam.    I’m also watching from outside, beyond gravity, filming  with an out-of-body selfie stick I sometimes experience in  dreams. First Nat and Ally whizz by, holding hands, giggling  like they always do, oblivious to everything and everyone else.  Then Em approaches, boots first, smiling like she’s just  overheard a secret. She’s my best friend, and we are  whisperers, always huddled behind my locker door or under the  sheets of her twin bed. I ask her what the secret is, but she  rotates beyond my view. Her glove trails stardust across my  visor.    The rest of our gang streams past my stick; Liz, Clara,  Ash, Sarah, even Em’s twin sister, Reagan, the one who died  last summer chasing her skateboard into the riverbed. I can’t  see her face because her solar shield is lowered, a golden  mask. A Pharaoh’s tomb. But everyone else is smiling and  waving, beeping and rotating.    The globe speeds up. I hear gears grinding. I smell engine  oil. That’s when Nat loses her grip on Ally, and they break  apart. I film them drifting out of orbit and into the soundless  deep. I shout to Em to help them, but she can’t hear me, of  course. She’s on the other side of the world. Then, golden 


faced Reagan slips into a decaying orbit. One second she’s circling with grace, and the next she’s sinking, further down  with each revolution, until she’s spins into clouds, an  anticyclonic storm.    Did Em see her go? Did Em have to say goodbye again?  Everyone breaks ranks now, a penumbra of human moons and we’re  all zigs and zags. But Em, sweet Em, passes me again. I reach  out and my glove snags her pressure suit zipper, and now we’re  tangled together and picking up momentum. I’m so scared, Em.  What’s your secret, Em? She smiles. Her eyes are moons, and she  presses her visor against mine, conspirators like before. She  whispers, “time to let me go.”    But I won’t let her. So she pushes me away. As we detangle  my glove pulls her zipper; it’s enough to deflate her, and she  follows her sister, decaying into ether.    Through the stick I watch the rest of them diminish; Liz,  Clara, Ash, and Sarah. I watch the planet molt into something  smaller, the oceans slimmer, the storms now just blur spots  through my visor. That’s when I realize I’m not using the stick  anymore, just my plain ordinary vision, because I’ve broken out  of orbit, and I’m fading into starry darkness. But my suit is  still beeping. Then I start molting. I’m on my own course now,  a strange planet newly born.       


The   Way   Home  Ana Prundaru    I. Music and Relics 

Ala Bala Portocala - Eny, meeny, miny moe. Locked in my mind, chants that will outlive me, because nothing seems to last as  long as the echoes of secret childhood whispers. On a walk  through the streets of my youth, I catch a glimpse of my own  childhood. I watch kids imagining Soviet era blocks to lush  forests, as their Dads pull them on wooden sleighs.  On each trip, impressions mingle with memories and they operate  on my skull. I draw a talisman to stow away between lantern  lips, leave a trail of red apples in an ever-altering  passageway. When we land, the burst of unturned flesh is so  familiar, as is its perpetually numbness by feral whispers. My  first instinct is to remain seated, fly back from memories that  already hang from my chest like a multi-layered pearl chain;  the comfort of a weight, both familiar and dire.     II. Inside and Outside our Walls  Approaching the street that takes sips of my heartbeats, I hide  my voice, adrift in everyone's shade and disembodied accents  fade landlocked, the light breathless, softening away angles,  as I plummet to hints of thunderstorms on my grandparents'  sofa.   The apartment used to house gentle violin sounds, now all  shredded, spilled back to night circles. For now, I house the  silence inside grandmother's old wall clock. I sit by the 


abandoned piano, half-bodied, posturing myself inside out. Clover mites to nails. Stone songs are my silver. The drift of  moonlight against a glass avalanche in my mouth. Since I too  was left behind, I skip a note on the untuned piano, invite the  barefooted ghosts of tick tock, forgotten slim as dust flooring  light.  On the balcony, a birdless forest rolls me to a flowered river  and I turn the blue above in my hands. I can't take its  galvanized arms, enclose my mind in old photographs, to kill  the day. In the kitchen, the long gone childhood feels only  semi-over and between shabby mustard-colored cupboards, each  time I return, I am desperately out of place, going through  half a matchbox to get milk boiling on the stove.     III. History asks to be repeated  Grandmother used to say here is your home. You can roam the  world but you will always leave your heart in the place you  were born. Her own home was perhaps her husband and a place  they painted in the future: Italy, France and the Wild West. It  crumbled before it was built.  Fifty years ago, my grandparents and their families were  evicted  from their home and in the aftermath, the family scattered  around the globe. Some never re-united, except in death, which  was nothing uncommon for Communist times.  Grandfather would go pseudo-fishing at the park Cismigiu, where  he swayed on a boat between teenaged couples sipping Fanta  grape, his forehead taking on the color of flamencos, as he  waited patiently for treasure on the bottom of the lake, 


eventually giving up and taking the bus to the edge of town, back to the new home, which never became a real home.     IV. I am here. Or am I?  Nowhere else do I witness strangers passing down blankets and a  used cot for a family without central heating. Widows  collecting surviving street dogs they find crumpled on the  sidewalk, for the night. Seems death is following me home, its  brothers, unrelenting years creeping past neighbors, who  recognize me, while I have no idea who they are.  Remembering family outings at the Black Sea, I swirl wasted  through the night speed  in a maxi taxi toward past. It's dark when sand blankets my  bones. The waves seem to shout tabula rasa. They soften the  rules, deleting whole chapters with cold licks and re-framing  memories rose-gold. Seagulls loll on folding chairs, their  patience bribed by marshmallows and half empty plastic cups. In  one silent apologetic existence, I close my eyes and when I  open them, the winter sun coats me and others with its terra  cotta fingerprints. I rise the streets, kill forever, rescue  the now, call it a new start. After all, freedom owes nothing  to the night. Aged 14, the sea told me I was invincible.  Growing up in a crowd of kisses and tattoos, I was invincible.  In the city that slaughters me time and time again, baring my  bones on the sidewalks, next to dead trees, the soothing balm  that is the snow melts me alive and again I wonder what would  have happened, if I had stayed.    


V. The World is my Playground, or: Playing Ping-Pong with my body  On the plane back home away from home, I want to follow bird  calls, rip my hair and leave a trail, just in case I fall out  of love with the city inside my love. The world is a non-paying  passenger. In-between and above my homes, I wish my soul were  re-homed in a tree trunk that invents as many fables for its  bruises as me.  Rocks, paper, scissors, scars, sand and bones. I starve the  night-god, hang it like the animal of screams, sway between the  smooth white hurts and the roughness of ailing trees.   


Summer Yen Rong Wong    The  sun  shone.  Perhaps  a  little  too  brightly,  with  a  little  too  much  eagerness.  It  was  a  time  to  be  happy,  to  forget  about  the  frost  and  chill  of  winter,  at  least  for  a  little  while.  But  the  sun  was  angry.  All  those  happy  people,  frolicking  about  on  the  sand,  on  the  grass,  or even in their  homes,  swathed  in  gush  after  gush  of  artificially  created  cold  air.  They  didn’t  care  about  the sun.  They  just  cared  about  themselves,  and  all  the fun  they could have.  So  it  smiled  even  bigger,  even  louder.  It  smiled  until  its  face  hurt,  and  the  blue  sky  ran  with  orange  veins.  But  it  wasn’t  enough.  It  wasn’t  enough  to  even  touch  the  earth,  even  to  singe  a  blade  of  grass.  No  matter.  It  would  try  again  the  next  day.  And  the  next.  Until  it  managed  to  hold  the  world  in  the  palm  of  its  hand.  Then  it  would  crush these little people, their  little  houses,  their  little  lives,  still  smiling.  Watching, as the world burned. Smiling.     


Red   Confetti  Anastasia McEwen    Slick with cherry chapstick I leap onto the ice.  Darting past skaters I weave in and out, muscles  pulsing, ears stinging, hair snapping behind me like a  flag in a gale. Now I’m soaring and my skates are  knives, sharper than a falcon’s talon. They glide like  otters through water and carve the ice into a lesioned  hide. Then I see her.  Smiling honey, she makes her entrance. One dainty  step onto the rink, one liquid stroke in front of the  other, and then she’s gliding like rain down a window  flashing in the sun. A gaggle of girls trail behind  her.  I drift by, keeping a safe distance. Their heads  turn as I pass. I pretend not to notice and act as if  I’m singing to the pop tune that’s cracking through the  speakers, the one I hear every single morning in the  school hallways when I’m trying to read. I mouth the  words like I mouth the hymns in church.  An explosion of laughter makes me turn and she  yells, “spaghetti legs!” In the distance their voices  pierce like metal blades on cement.  When they reach the far end of the rink I give the  secret order to my little brother. He nods and breezes  by, pumping his little legs side to side. When he’s  close, inches away, he coasts and bends his knees and  kicks. Her gazelle legs trip heavenward.  She falls hard.  A bundle of denim and black curls glides to a stop  leaving a smooth trail. As the music booms she 


struggles to rise and furtively sits. The ice shavings on her lashes look like dandruff. I want to flick them  off. She coughs like a kitten and spits out a tooth  spraying red confetti onto the ice.  I should’ve felt bad.     Five years later I saw her again when I became an  only child, when a headline in the town paper read,  “Valedictorian of Grade Eight Class Struck by Van.”     In a rumpled dress I wilt by the closed coffin  covered in a wreath of white roses. In the middle  stands a photo in a silver frame of a carefree boy, a  smiling teenager with his first bout of acne. I inhale  the honey stench of lilies and then she enters. She  eyes the room, spots me, and wends her way through the  crowd. Hugging my limp body she says, “so sorry.” 

 


Natural   Disasters   and   Other   Things   We   Don’t   Think  Of   When   We   Say   Spring  Stephanie Tom    Spring, a word that you know / to be full of life and death / but  something that you also know is only a beginning / here is where you  take the trowel and go outside to plant tulips / and bury the  squirrel you found under the snow / spring is also hurricane season  – you know a bit about natural disasters and its aftermaths / that’s  why you want to be a meteorologist / and learn to read seismograms  the way you take your pulse / and learn to read the signs.     The perfect time to plant seeds / is when it has only started to get  warm out / and you dig the holes just far apart for roots to grow /  roots to hold it down when you sow seeds in storm / lest they skim  the surface of the ground like migrating birds over mountain peaks /  river over ruins / you don’t want roots that never hold / the way  that cliffs are hinged on earth / and birds are forever fleeting /  for once you want life without the half-life of tragedy.     The only thing I know about theater / is that half of the time it  ends in tragedy / and the other half of the time it ends in comedy /  but there really is not much of a distinction sometimes / for  example: the angels laughed when Don Giovanni was dragged to hell /  but angels have not yet been told how to lie properly either / and  everyone knows that you can’t throw stones / when you live in a  glass house / that could just as easily be shattered by a hurricane  / by cracks that look like seismograms.     When spring does come, stepping into sky, you run / the way a river  runs right over a cliff and falls towards earth / birds screaming as  they jump into the sky / flitting fast like the seeds that were  scattered by your hand into the storm / your heartbeat making your  chest convulse but all you can hear is the rising crescendo of Don  Giovanni / and someone like the sky calling your name. 


Her   Name  Courtney LeBlanc    Her name is tired. Over-worked. Underpaid. Her name is single  mom and the child support check is late again. Her name is  college student, college professor, advisor, administrator,  adjunct. Her name is art and science and astronaut. Her name is  athlete and dancer and wife and mother and daughter and  survivor. Her name is senator, justice, president. Her name is  victor, not victim. Her name is strength and power and never  backing down.  

 


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Butterfly Elizabeth Gibson    There are frothy white icing and sugar hearts on cakes  and red roses in a boy’s hand as he heads home from  college and some corny movie in our residence later.  A song about Paris plays on repeat and glitter gleams.     All this is nice. But my love is not pink and sparkly.  It does not take the shape of love hearts or red roses.  It is hard to describe except that it consumes me, fills  me, makes the inky sky beautiful even without stars.     My love is as strong today as any other day. Romance  and cupids can’t affect it. It burns always, a blue fire.  And things like your laugh – oh, that laugh – or your  affection can make that blue magma rise and flood me     like a waterfall, crashing, like a galaxy strewn through  my soul. Mon amour. Comme un feu. Comme l’océan.  The song has petered out but my heart keeps singing,  You, I love you, I love you, on every day of the year.       


Rebuilding Courtney LeBlanc    After you left I tore down the walls,  pulled back  the curtains and let the sun stream in  as I cried so hard I hyperventilated.  After you left I went on a diet  of coffee and red wine  and my hip bones became handlebars  I hung onto for dear life.  After you left I went to the dog park  every day because it is nearly  impossible  to cry at a dog park.  After you left I closed doors  on rooms and lived in half the house.  After you left I began to stitch  my heart back together,  pushing the blood and flesh and tears  inside.  After you left I began to rebuild  my life,  brick by painful brick.     


True   American  Olivia Hu    stuff it down your throat.  pinyin and zi ci, let the   words slide. wash them  down with jiuniang till  tongue parched bitter.     rearrange tables until  opulence follows the  wind, away. absence  decorates air like   dim sum takeout,  suspension. feng shui  lost between mixed  teacup rims, cut   bamboo flesh till   they bleed purple.     throw away your   hong bao, put your  culture to flames-  gone goes the red,  and gone goes you.     


April   Fool  Courtney LeBlanc    I’m leaving, you said  and gestured to the suitcase  sitting by the door.     It was April,  the daffodils and tulips  coloring the dark ground,  the first to welcome spring.     I didn’t ask why, I already knew  and your bags were, quite literally packed.  The next day I discovered the emptied  bank account.     You came back a week later  to get the rest of your things.  I stood watching, not trusting  you to be civil – you once shredded  an ex’s clothes in anger.     You sneered at the lilacs  that sat on the table, their sweet smell  clotting the air.  I suppose he gave you those.  I said nothing.     That night I walked along  the darkened road near my house,  I picked the lilacs that edged  the property. I put them in every room,  their aroma chasing away  any trace of you. 


Turbulence   Sumaya Makhdoom    hum drumming propellers   slice crisp, clear skies   gently rise into a blue dipped abyss   a missile, towards Lahore;   on target.     Some passengers,   enjoy the steam whirling from their chai cups   others mutely endure,   each quip and shudder,   the jarring unease   building as turbulence grows     thinking up   unlikely scenes   in an otherwise   calm;composed   turn towards the south     this migratory bird   seats hardly 15, but the nerves of this quiet woman   shatter,   scatter as the plane soars,   once more,   burying her nose   in the latest celebrity magazines   ignores the lit seat belt sign,   the knees of the father of two behind her,   who reminds her,   how lucky singlehood really is at 60   but the plane lurches,   descends downward,   her eyes rush towards the emergency exit    

lever cradled by a naughty kid   in a onesie,   seriously?- she thinks   and blinks unbelievingly parenthood can be whack;   not for her, alas. 


Broken   Quiet  Courtney LeBlanc    Did I snore? you asked.  My wife said I do.  I looked at you bewildered,  chased a tomato  around my plate and wondered  why I’d agreed to lunch  with a man who hadn’t shared my bed  in a dog-year.  I shrugged, non-committal.  You continued talking,  asking far too many questions  as I slid quieter into my meal.  If only I’d ordered wine –  that might have made this slip and slide  down better-forgotten lane  a little more palatable.  We said goodbye and I hoped  to never see you again.  A day later I remembered  the sawing of your snore,  the way you held your breath  before expelling the air violently,  the way I lay awake wondering  if you’d breath again.  I remember the broken quiet of the night  you left.  I remember sleeping with the widows  open, the night’s melody  floating in, singing me to sleep.        


Always   the   North   Wind  Carl Boon    Those who whispered in the village   knew, and dumped their tea   against the granite sea-wall.   The next day they circled her grave,  some with flowers, some with stories  of her as a child—how she outswam  her brothers, how she was the first  to bring coffee to her father’s friends.   No one should remember her   yellow and slumped, they said,  breathing weakly, blood in her throat.     That was the summer of wind  and little fruit, aftermaths of war,   despair in the villages higher up  the mountain. Mornings I walked   the white soil shoreline, my shadow   weaving among piles of mussel shells.  Her father never wavered: it was poison,  something brought by the north wind  that made her fall. But still  the villagers whispered:    the sea is clean; it was the way  she walked, the way she held her skirt  as she went for bread, her mouth  a sliver of pink lipstick. Rumors  of a boy she loved, rumors mingling  with facts. No one here has ever  been killed by mussels. The sea  brings the wind, the wind cools  the soil, and we sleep. Her father’s 


desperate hour shames his shame. The quiet ones move on.     If she were pregnant, no one knew.  I had seen her weeks before  on the Devil’s Rocks reading,  the north wind patrolling her hair.  Her posture was a pleading one,  that she might be carried away  and never return, a girl in her novel,  a girl whose words might carry  past the mountain. Seeing her,  I thought of youth’s sea   of needs and impossibilities.       


Untitled David Atchkinson    i dont sleep anymore, i never dream.  i close my eyes only to be awoken by  a scream, a scream so familiar yet so distant  that i feel it rushing through my bones and  crawling through my fucking skin. maybe,  just maybe, things would be okay if i ever loved  myself. if i were ever okay with the way i laughed  or the way i smiled or the way i walked, but instead  my life revolved around those heavenly moments   when you talked. As unhealthy as it seemed, it was  all about you, and for the first time in my fucking life  I felt as if i knew what to do. It is all gone now, disarray  and cluttered, but as my heart remains shattered I drip   my blood for no one but her.         


Now   Sinks   the   Storm  Clio Velentza    The  storm-battered  ground  smells  like  a  wound.  The  black  earth  is  beautiful.  The  way  it  rises  and  falls  like  breathing.  The  way  it  eats  us  up.  And  spits  out  love  and  bones.  And  spits  out  love  and  bones  and  rust  and  root  and  myth  and  war  and.  The  beloved dead of long ago.  Stop  staring  out  of  the  window  and  make  your  bed.  There  isn’t much time. I’ve packed your lunch.  To  stay:  in  the  periphery,  eat  nothing  but  rain-steam,  soak  in  spilled  chlorophyll.  To  crawl  into  tree  cavities  festering  with  half-blind  things,  to  stick  your  fingers  out  through  the  cracks  for  the  brittle  bird  claws.  To  reverently  present  the  earth  with  your  skin.  To  be  kissed  to  be  gently  licked  to  be  bitten to be eaten to be swallowed by the dark.  Take those headphones off. You look beautiful.  The black earth is beautiful.  I never noticed how long your hair has grown.  The way it rises and falls.  No, tie your scarf like this, like this. It’s warmer.  Like breathing.  Don’t  be  nervous.  You’re  not?  I  am.  I  only  got  you.  The  house  will  be  so  empty.  So  big  and  empty.  This  is  storm  country,  there’s  no  peace.  I  should  get  a  dog now. You pick her  name.  One  of  your  funny  book  names.  No,  button  up.  Storm  country,  September  morning.  Before  you  reach  the  airport  it  will be pouring again.  To  go:  to  wish  for  here  to  come  along.  For  the  old  snaggletoothed  cemetery  to  follow  the  flesh  promise  of  your  people.  For  the  mint-green  kitchen  paint  with  the  record  of  your  awkward  height  to  peel  off  and  coil  around  you.  Carry  the  broken  stone,  the  chipped  paint  flakes,  carry  the  Sunday  afternoons  and  snow  angels,  carry  the  one,  it  doesn’t  fit,  it  goes elsewhere, here, come along, all the way.  Carry  your  lunch  but  tell  your  father to carry the suitcase.  Don’t  let  him  slack  off  and  get  you  pizza  all  the  time.  Eat  your  greens.  Send  me  photos.  It’s  going  to  be  so  sunny  over  there.  But  I’ll  get  a  dog,  a  big  one  so  I  can  hear  her  walk,  she’ll  be  your  dog.  You  can  show  off  her  pictures  in  the  new  school, everyone loves a puppy. 


The black  earth  is  beautiful  the  way  it  hangs  onto  you  the  way  the  mud  sucks  your  shoe  in  and  it’s a nightmare walk you’re  picking  wet  snowdrops  picking  bluebird  eggshells  you’re  picking  boys  picking  girls  picking  fights.  Pluck  foliage  from  your hair  pluck  grass  from  between  your  thighs.  Cut  you  off,  there  you  go.  And  I’ll  keep  watching—.  Oh,  the  car’s  here.  Come  on,  come  on.  Not drifting but shifting, as clouds do.  And I’ll keep watching our bird feeder.  Born  in  the  storm  country  during  the  fast  pause  in  between,  to a good woman and a clear sky.  I’ll let you know as soon as they fly back.       


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Contributors  

● Autumn Chant (font on cover) ○ Roland Hüse  ● Haley Chung- This Little Place Called Earth  ○ Haley is a sophomore from the non-snowy part of  Canada. Currently, her writing projects include  co-founding her school's first literary magazine  and finishing a manuscript about sinophone teens  learning to love their own culture. Besides  writing, Haley has an obsession for French  culture/history, Sylvia Plath, and gingerbread  cookies.   ● Last Summer- Nicholas Gustavson  ○ Nicholas Gustavson's fiction recently won an  honorable mention in Exposition Review's  inaugural flash fiction contest, the grand prize  in Easy Reader Magazine's 2015 writing contest,  and third place in a recent Writer's Digest  fiction contest. He received a BA in English  from UCLA and he lives in Redondo Beach with his  wife, two children, and two Westies. Visit him  at www.nicholasgustavson.com.  ● Ana Prundaru - The Way Home  ○ Ana Prundaru is a Romanian transplant in  Switzerland. Her art and writing appear in 3:AM,  Gravel, DIAGRAM, Gingerbread House and others.  She is the author of three chapbooks: React by  GaussPDF, Free Dirt is Yours by SOd Press and  Unstable Tales, forthcoming from Dancing Girl  Press.  ● Yen Rong Wong- Summer 


○ Yen-Rong is currently slaving through her Honours thesis and lamenting the ridiculous  number of split ends in her hair. She loves tea,  her cello, and her cat. You can find her on  Twitter (http://twitter.com/inexorablist) or on  her website (http://www.inexorablist.com).  Carl Boon - Always the North Wind  ○ Carl Boon lives and works in Izmir, Turkey. His  poems appear in dozens of magazines, most  recently Two Thirds North, Jet Fuel Review,  Blast Furnace, and Sunset Liminal.  Anastasia McEwan - Red Confetti  ○ Anastasia McEwen is an English and Fine Art  Graduate from the University of Guelph, where  she is currently working the Creative Writing  Certificate program. She was a winner of the  Guelph Mercury Christmas Story contest in 2014  and 2015, and read for the Fringe at the Eden  Mills Writing Festival in 2014. She lives in  Fergus, Ontario where she is working on her  novel.  Clio Velentza - Now Sinks the Storm  ○ Clio Velentza lives in Athens, Greece. She's a  winner of Queen’s Ferry Press’ Best Small  Fictions 2016 and was anthologized in  "Rethinking The Plot" (Kingston University  Press, 2016). Her fiction and non-fiction has  appeared in several literary journals, including  "Whiskey Paper", "Literary Orphans", "Atlas &  Alice", "The Vignette Review" and “Wigleaf".  Find her at @clio_v.  Olivia Hu- True American 


○ Olivia Hu is fifteen years old, a lover of cats, and weaves words on her loom. She is forthcoming  or has been published on Eunoia Review, Brouhaha  Magazine and Cyberriot, among others, and  recently won a national Canadian writing  competition in the prose category. You can find  her wandering the café-scented streets of  downtown dreamy-eyed or finding solace in her  safe haven, a bookstore.  ● Julia Drzewiecka  ○ I like pictures, rock music and biology. I hate  pleasantries, *quirky* people and rhetorical  questions. Writing that in third person sounded  awkward so.. Sorry if that's a hassle. Thanks!  ● Courtney LeBlanc   ○ Courtney LeBlanc loves nail polish, wine, and  tattoos. Her chapbook, All in the Family, is  forthcoming from Bottlecap Press. Her poetry is  published or forthcoming in Connections, Welter,  Plum Biscuit, Pudding Magazine, The Legendary,  Germ Magazine, District Lines, Slab, Wicked  Banshee, The Door is a Jar, and others. Read her  blog at www.wordperv.com, follow her on twitter:  www.twitter.com/wordperv, or find her on  facebook:  www.facebook.com/poetry.CourtneyLeBlanc.   ● Jacqueline He - Thrift Shop Girls  ○ Jacqueline is a rising junior at the Harker  School in San Jose, California. She is the  Editor in Chief and co-founder of the Icarus  Anthology (icarusanthology.weebly.com), as well  as a staff member of her school's research  journal, the Harker Horizon. Besides reading and 


writing, Jacqueline likes to spend her time petting cats and sampling milk tea  ● Elizabeth Gibson - Valentine’s Day and Butterfly  ○ Elizabeth Gibson studies French and Spanish at  the University of Manchester. She has work  published or forthcoming in The Cadaverine,  London Journal of Fiction, Far Off Places, The  Mancunion, Octavius, Severine and Ink, Sweat and  Tears. Since 2012 she has been a Digital  Reporter for Manchester Literature Festival. She  tweets at @Grizonne and blogs at  http://elizabethgibsonwriter.blogspot.co.uk.  ● Sumaya Makhdoom - Turbulence  ○ Sumaya Zainab Makhdoom is a 25-year-old  Pakistani Poet, currently pursuing an MPhil in  English Degree at FCCU, Lahore. Her interest  includes, food, writing and philosophy, and is  also convinced by the merits of menial work,  with no special value. She aspires to discover  more poetry as she goes along. Previously, her  work has appeared in The Maya Tree, Papercuts  Vol 12 and Travel Poetry Magazine.  ● Stephanie Tom - Natural Disasters  ○ Stephanie Tom is a high school student who lives  in New York and likes to scour the internet for  contemporary poetry. She is an editor for her  school newspaper, an assistant editor for her  school literary magazine, and has more works in  progress than she can handle at the moment.         


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EFFERVESCENT MAGAZINE ISSUE #2  
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