Literary and Fine Arts Magazine of the University of Indianapolis 2017
Copyright ÂŠ 2017 By the University of Indianapolis and Individual Contributors Cover Photo by Olivia Moor Cover Design by Kate Watts Printed by IngramSpark Indianapolis, Indiana 2017 igramspark.com
This issue is dedicated to Debby McGary. Thank you for all that youâ€™ve done for us.
Etchings Editorial Staff Kylie Seitz Editor-in-Chief Visual Arts Committee Spencer Martin Managing Editor Prose Committee Jimmy Nelligan Managing Editor Visual Arts Committee Shauna Sartoris Poetry Editor Interview Editor Sara Perkins Poetry Editor
Paige Stratton Visual Materials Editor Jessica Marvel Prose Editor Duncan Weir Prose Committee Social Media Director Kate Watts Marketing and Promotion Director Poetry Committee Liz Whiteacre Faculty Advisor
Thank you so much to Olivia Moor for your amazing work on our cover photoshoot! You made turning thirty so much fun!
Table of Contents: Letter From the Editor Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award Interview with Katy Didden Interview with Christopher Mohar Interview with Danny Cain Interview with Sarah Cheshire Bios
1 2 3 5 7 9 85
Poetry: Gysophilia’s Creed • Josie Seach Her • Natalie McCann I am drunk • Mikail Bashir Bicker • Zach Swaim I’m not a smart (wo)man, but I know what love is (not) • Rochelle Bauer Les Invalides • Natalie McCann in the movies • Sara Perkins violets are blue • Vanessa Abplanalp Transcendence • Kaitlin Watts Disintegration • Josie Seach undone • Vanessa Abplanalp Tightrope • Natalie McCann Friendswood • Virginia Childs A Requiem to Family • Noel Wolfe Michigan • Marco Ray Nurturance. Recreation. • Virginia Childs Anti-Prom • Zach Swaim altitude • Vanessa Abplanalp Walking Shadow • Sara Perkins sunday school • Vanessa Abplanalp Chipped Teeth • Natalie McCann Tempest in Temples • Mikail Bashir On the Walk Home Alone • Josie Seach Bottoming • Virginia Childs
13 15 17 19 23 24 26 30 31 33 40 43 46 48 51 53 61 64 66 68 70 72 74 76
Who Will Weep for the Forsaken • Taylor Kleyn Heavy Static • Natalie McCann
Visual Materials: Until it Hits Powerlines • Lauren Raker Tropidolaemus Wagleri • Abby Kepley Tears of a Working Man • Reagan Moorman Unhappy Homes • Kyle Agnew Flappers and Flamingos • Reagan Moorman Death Between My Fingertips • Brittany Lake Scans and Distortions Series • Paige Stratton The Reveal • Abby Kepley Anatomical Cages Series • Olivia Moor Rough Diamonds • Erin Williams Hang Ups • Kyle Agnew Dripping Cosmos • Olivia Moor Happy Place • Kalia Daily Splattered Jar • Cheyenne Granger Child’s Art • Morgan Litchfield Open Package • Reagan Moorman Self Portrait Pri Mary • Cody Coovert Geometric Vase • Cheyenne Granger 21st Century: Purity Series • Kyle Agnew Erotic Squash & Sensual Pomegranate • Cody Coovert Gumballs • Lauren Raker Self Portrait • Reagan Moorman You Can’t Frown at Kewpie • Auna Winters Spiraling • Erin Williams Female Trouble • Cody Coovert
14 16 18 22 25 27 28 32 34 42 45 47 50 52 55 60 63 65 67 69 71 73 75 80 83
Prose: The Accident • James Figy Hipster Buy Gold Was Missing • Robert Springer
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Letter From the Editor This semester’s issue of Etchings has been extra special, particularly as we’ve been working to find a new printer. On top of our large amount of submissions and crunched timeline, this has pushed our team to truly work collarboratively and efficiently. Yet we still implemented new features, such as the artist statements you see under the visual materials this issue. As Editor-in-Chief, I would like to extend my deepest thanks to this semester’s editorial team, as well as to our wonderful contributors. Without them, we wouldn’t have a magazine, let alone work of such high quality. Along with this, I would like to especially thank Olivia Moor for all her hard work with our cover photoshoot. Her work, paired with the creative vision of Kate Watts, allowed our team to create the beautiful cover you see on this issue. We as a staff also owe a giant thank you to Liz Whiteacre, our faculty advisor for this issue. She has worked tirelessly, watching over our submission judgement, editing, production, and everything in between. She has been there every step of the way to support us and make us better both as individuals and as a whole. Of course, we must also thank Debby McGary, to whom this issue is dedicated. She has been there to support us, check on us, and listen to the frazzled cries of frustration coming from our miniature office behind her desk for years now. We wish her all the best in her retirement. She has definitely earned it. Thank you also to our new printer, IngramSpark, who has worked with us fabulously to ensure we meet our deadlines. Especially with our new partnership, we are so grateful for their flexibility and support. This issue has been such a joy to work on. Our contributors, our team, our advisors, and everyone else who has been there along the way have made this issue into the wonderful work it is. We hope these pieces move you in the same they have moved us. Written to You From the Etchings Bunker, Kylie Seitz
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Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award
Katy Didden is the author of The Glacier’s Wake (Pleiades Press, 2013). She graduated from the PhD program in English and Creative Writing from the University of Missouri, and her poems and essays have appeared in many journals such as Poetry Northwest, The Kenyon Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, The Sewanee Review, Ecotone, 32 Poems, and Poetry. She is currently an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Ball State University. This issue’s winner of the Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award is “Les Invalides” by Natalie McCann on page 24. This issue’s runner-up for the Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award is “A Requiem to Family” by Noel Wolfe on page 48.
Interview with Katy Didden
Conducted and edited by Shauna Sartoris Everyone loves a good origin story; what’s yours? How do you identify yourself, and how did you come into that identity? My Themyscira is Washington, D.C. (which does have Hallof-Justice-looking buildings!)...I would say D.C. shaped my identity in a lot of different ways. One thing that’s significant for my poetry is that I grew up going to the Hirshhorn Museum and the National Gallery of Art, as well as the Folger Library, and I have a lifelong interest both in visual art, and in the relationship between text, image, and performance. One of my secret special powers is that I studied tap dancing for four years at a local community center ...I think tap dancing trained me to hear rhythm and meter in language. I also spent a lot of time hiking along the Potomac River, and in the Blue Ridge mountains not far away, and my family would spend a lot of our summer vacations at the beach in Delaware—all those places set me on a course for loving the wilderness, and adventuring, and many of my poems are about hiking trips or travels to dramatic landscapes. Finally, I was raised Catholic. Catholic grade school and high school were probably my equivalent of warrior training for poetry! I learned about ritual structures, and lyric forms of praise and lament, and I also learned how to recite and give a formal reading from attending Mass. I don’t go to church anymore, but I am still drawn to community, and questions about faith, the nature of existence, and the human capacity for love and forgiveness. A lot of those themes are present in my poems. We hear a lot of writing advice… The real trick is figuring out what works and what doesn’t. What writing advice have you received and subsequently discarded?
Like I said above, I write about my travels a lot, and in many
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of those poems, I describe myself hiking or walking. At one point, a professor told me that I should write as though the speakers in my poems stood still—I think he intended that I develop a sense of scene, add more description, and develop the atmosphere of my poems. For years, though, I thought I shouldn’t show anything moving in my poems, but I know now that isn’t what he meant. Now, I’m convinced that showing characters performing actions, or describing how things move, or setting scenes in motion can be some of the most effective ways of creating emotional resonance in a poem. Poems live by verbs! Here at Etchings Press, we are eager to get to know the judge behind the podium, and we want our readers to know you too! What would you like us to know about you that we couldn’t read on the back of your book cover? (Do you have any passions outside of writing? Any unusual talents that you’re proud of?) My first job after college was working as an assistant in a candle workshop for people with disabilities. It was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. I’ve also worked as a bookkeeper, a switchboard operator, a bank teller, a house cleaner, a substitute teacher, and a waitress at a pizza shop (I even learned how to toss pizza dough). Whenever students ask me whether they should apply to an MFA, I ask them to think about working for a while first, not only because it will give them experiences to write about, but also because I think it’s good to learn how to be a citizen of the world. My years working all kinds of jobs taught me how to organize events, how to network, and how to collaborate. It has also helped me to keep the pressures of the writing life in perspective. Sometimes, being a writer can feel like living in a bubble, especially because so many writers rely on social media to share ideas, organize events, and promote work. It’s good to remember that there are a lot of ways to be a writer, and I think it’s useful to figure out how to write when your primary job is something that seems totally unrelated. That flexibility creates so many possibilities.
Interview with Christopher Mohar Conducted by Zach Swaim Edited by Shauna Sartoris
Christopher Mohar, author of The Denialist’s Almanac of American Plague and Pestilence (Etchings Press 2017), has been the recipient of a Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellowship and The Southwest Review’s McGinnis Ritchie Award for fiction. His work can be found in The Mississippi Review, North American Review, Creative Nonﬁction, Arts & Letters, Gastronomica, and elsewhere. He lives in Madison Wisconsin with his wife, daughter, and a chicken named Duck. Below are some highlights from an interview with Mohar conducted by a member of the Spring 2017 Etchings Staff. In many of your author bios, you refer to previous occupations as jobs you worked in your “past lives.” Do you consider your writing career to be the beginning of a new life, and if so, why?
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Yes, I’m happy to have left behind the days of mopping vomit from toilet stalls in favor of spending more hours with pen in hand. However, your history makes you who you are, so even if you leave an old era for a new one, it’s never a clean break. Those “past life” experiences stay with you, sometimes in subtle shifts of understanding, sometimes explicitly, as material. Writers who never leave the ivory tower seldom have anything worthy to write about. You also need to get out and live a little. Climb mountains. Work shitty jobs. Have your heart broken. Is there a habitual routine you take part in, or do you have a go with the flow approach? No magic socks or morning yoga, but I do write nearly every day. If you want to make a proper go of it as a writer, you simply have to. There is no alternative to hard work for honing your craft and actually getting the pages done. By analogy: nobody disputes that if you want to run a marathon, you have to run. You can’t just talk about running with other aspiring athletes, or read books about other people running, you’ve got to pound the pavement until you earn some nasty blisters on your feet and wake up sore the next day. Then get up and do it again.
Interview with Danny Caine Conducted by Matthew Byrd Edited by Shauna Sartoris
Danny Caine is the author of Uncle Harold’s Maxwell House Haggadah (Etchings Press 2017). His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Hobart, Mid-American Review, DIAGRAM, Minnesota Review, New Ohio Review, and other places. He is music editor for At Length and reviews book for Los Angeles Review. Hailing from Cleveland, he lives in Lawrence, Kansas where he works at Raven Book Store. Below are some highlights from an interview with Caine conducted by a member of the Spring 2017 Etchings Staff. What makes Etchings Press a good fit for your work? I loved that you asked for work from or dealing with this part of the Midwest. I don’t see a lot of poetry that reflects the Midwest landscape I know. It’s getting better…But there’s still work to do to make and promote the poetry of the Midwest, and Etchings Press makes that part of their mission.
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Many other previous winners of the chapbook and novellas contests have focused on making diversity a major theme in their works. How do you think “Uncle Harold’s…” contributes to this, while still remaining true to its core message? Uncle Harold’s is a specific story about a specific family that I hope will resonate with a broad audience. Diversity happens when this formula repeats over and over again—a lot of specific stories from a lot of backgrounds and levels of privilege and ethnicities and genders all manage to find audiences, with a special focus on stories that have been historically silenced. I feel lucky that my specific story can contribute to a panopoly of voices, but I think it’s incredibly important that people read and listen to stories by people different than them. Uncle Harold’s can only represent diversity if it’s one of many, many different voices.
Interview with Sarah Cheshire Conducted by Natalie McCann Edited by Shauna Sartoris
Sarah Cheshire, the author of Unravelings (Etchings Press 2017), is an MFA student in prose at the University of Alabama, where she also serves as a nonfiction editor for the Black Warrior Review. Her writing has appeared in the 2014 Anthology Southern Sin: True Stories of the Sultry South and Women Behaving Badly (InFact Books), on pbs.org, and forthcoming in Scalawag Magazine. A native North Carolinian, she feels most at home amidst oak trees, bluegrass music, and her rescue mutt, Dolly Parsnip. Below are some highlights from an interview with Cheshire conducted by a member of the Spring 2017 Etchings Staff. Who is your target audience? Young women who have lived through some form of (usually gender-based) trauma. If even one person finds this little book and feels a bit less crazy/alone/scared after finishing it, I will feel that my
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work is complete. Ultimately, I hope my stories can reach people outside of this demographic and raise some form of awareness, but this is a secondary (although still very important) goal. What made you start writing? When I was probably about seven years old, my mom would take me grocery shopping with her. One day...she bought me a little composition notebook and a gel pen and told me to sit on the bench near the check-out aisle and write down five things I observed about different people checking outâ€ŚI got super into making up weird little backstories for strangers, and started to develop an eye for idiosyncrasy and quirkiness, especially when it came to other people. As I grew into a teenager, my journals evolved from being documentations of my external world to sacred places where I was able to delve into my own internal worldâ€Śwriting was a way for me to take ownership over feelings of loneliness, and turn them into moments of introspection.
Gysophilia’s Creed Josie Seach
You may know me As Baby’s breath, A delicate white canvas Setting the stage for stars— Crimson red roses, Bold, lively lilies, Ostentatious orchids Among clusters of coy chrysanthemums. I want more. I want to grow From cotton ball boughs To massive clouds, Ascended, luminous, Scattered across the sky.
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Until It Hits Powerlines Lauren Raker
Artist Statement: This is a woodblock reduction piece. Most hot air balloon accidents involve powerlines.
Natalie McCann My mother isnâ€™t lonely enough for Poetry so she passed Her to my brother. My brother isnâ€™t sad enough for Poetry so he passed Her to me. Now She serves as the monster residing in my closet. She grows hungrier with each word I give and asks for more until I go to bed with no words left, just a stack of papers making cuts across my ribs and lead pulsing underneath my fingertips.
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Tropidolaemus Wagleri Abby Kepley
Artist Statement: This is an abstract oil painting of a Temple Pit Viper.
I am drunk Mikail Bashir
Pray, heal me not of this drowse Let me drown in the lake of this rum A sip whirls my mind, I am charmed, I am a drinker, just a sip and I am sated If this is a crime, I tender my handsâ€”cuff them. Please, seize me! But whilst I am away and jaded, Remember a gentle sip keeps me enthused. If this is a sin, please forgive not my iniquities And to whomever it may concern, tell Ma I am unrepentant: servant of rum Dripping, flowing from Renewal Fount. Do not pity nor save me from the fetters of my habit I am an addict with no remorse. I am a gutterâ€”flooded, Filled with unfiltered Azure rays. Tipsy, I staggered from grace un-abated Drunk-sober, my heart bleeds of gratitude! Do not pity nor save me from the fetters of my habit I am an addict with no remorse.
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Tears of a Working Man Reagan Moorman
Artist Statement: This is a mixed media collage piece. I used colored pencils, watercolors, and Micron pens. I used the Campbellâ€™s soup woman as a spokesperson for corporations. The men raining in the background are white collar workers walking into her mouth to symbolize how they control the figure head and perception of the company. The man crying into the soup is the blue collar worker whose blood, sweat, and literal tears went into making the product that the white collar workers are reaping the benefits from. The entire piece is a statement on the imbalance in the corporate world between the blue and white collar workers.
Zach Swaim It’s 4 am before you finally shut your mouth. Your cheeks are glistening like a dewy grass blade at dawn On a spring morning. Now that we’ve settled down, I wipe the black mascara tears out from under Your baggy eyes with the side of my thumb. I rub it off on the right pant leg of my favorite pair of blue jeans, A new addition to a collection of stains. You sit at the kitchen table, Digging your elbow into the fancy laminated wood While resting your head in the sweaty palm of your hand. Sluggishly, you glance up at me and whisper, “I want a divorce.” I stare at you with bewilderment, but not disbelief. I’ve known this day has been coming for a long time. Our marriage took a wrong turn somewhere a few years ago, And like a stereotypical man, I’m still insisting that I don’t need To stop and ask for directions, we’re merely on a short cut. I pull out a chair and follow suit. I often find myself in a state of fixed curiosity, contemplating Where exactly things began to decline. I think back 3 years ago to the night I moaned your sister’s name during foreplay. I locked myself inside Our bathroom all night while you cursed my name and rummaged Through the house trying to find something heavy enough to break the doorknob. You settled for trapping me in, and pushed our mahogany dresser up against the door. With only towels and dirty clothes as padding, I spent the night in the bathtub.
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Ever since, there’s been a marble-sized kink in my neck that forces Me to sleep on my side, facing away from you. I think back further. 5 years ago, I ran a red light and totaled your 1970 Chevelle, The car your dad left you in his will. I broke my nose and cracked three ribs, But instead of going to the hospital with me, you went to the crash scene. When you arrived, you dropped to your knees and wept over the debris. The cop who broke the news to you told me you never even asked If I was okay. 5½ years ago, you found my stash of Playboys in the garage. We never talked about it, but you let me know by using a Sharpie to draw Dicks on every girl in every magazine, and left me a note saying “Hope you enjoy the articles.” 2 months before that, I lost my wedding ring for the first time. When I told you, as if I’d just admitted to having thirty mistresses At my mansion in Rio, you ripped off your ring and threw it down the garbage disposal, Forcing me to take apart the drain and search through gallons of gunk for 3 hours Before discovering your ring mixed in with a pile of moldy Cheerios. You yelled at me the entire time. 6 years and some odd months ago, just days after our wedding, I went drinking with the guys, and didn’t come home until the
wee hours Of the morning. When I turned on the light, you were sitting at the kitchen table, Same place, looking exactly like you do right now. You glanced up at me and said, “Thank God you’re home. I’m going to bed.” That’s the last day I can remember Where we didn’t bicker.
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Unhappy Homes Kyle Agnew
I’m not a smart (wo)man but I know what love is (not) Rochelle Bauer
I’m not a smart (wo)man but I know what love is (not) and love is not my parents: it is not the way my brother holds our father back, scratches on his face, a splotch under his eye that will surely be a bruise by tomorrow’s light; it is not the first shattered dish nor the last, and I will never stop finding pieces of glass on the kitchen floor that the broom seemed to have missed but my fingers and feet didn’t; it is not me screaming at the top of lungs to stop—just please stop, scarcely able to speak the next day, fire caught in my throat, though my body is racked with shivers from the sudden silence as their flames subside to embers, still, I’ve already been seared; and love, well, it is not for me.
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Les Invalides Natalie McCann
*Dorlis Gott Armentrout winner
I came home late last night and my mom asked why I wasnâ€™t high. I looked into the sky and saw that it was empty. 13 dead roses lay horizontally across our kitchen counter. Their petals leaking loud drops of black tar onto quiet, off-white tiles. Iâ€™m too sober to see straight so I press my face into my bedroom carpet until my breath matches my heartbeat just as my eyes roll back to awake the frontal lobe. Mom asks me to stay home tomorrow night because my friends are greedy and take parts of me until I come back as just a set of eyes, jaded and unfamiliar. She looks at me like I am still a child, but not her own. A small girl who got lost on her way home, the 13th rose in her bouquet.
Flappers and Flamingos Reagan Moorman
Artist Statement: This is an oil painting. I wanted to play with the similarity between a flapperâ€™s boa and the feathers of a flamingo. I also wanted to compared the dancing aspect of a flapper, so I incorporated nude figures dancing on the flamingo. The figures fit perfectly into the curvature of the flamingo. This is to further compare the flapper and the flamingo.
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in the movies Sara Perkins
a single street light shows my silhouette leaning against your car (we’d replace your shitty jeep with a shiny red mustang, obviously) i’m smoking a cigarette and looking past you when you approach the cloud of smoke sitting on my shoulders you fall to your knees and beg for salvation i drop my shaking cigarette in front of you before pulling out two more you confess your lingering love for me and i light both to blow smoke in your face—i call you a coward and stick a cigarette in my nose for good measure i set my pack on fire and let it meet the asphalt of your ribcage and with my cracked red stiletto i crush the flames and leave you sobbing for me to come back i cannot look back
Death Between My Fingertips Brittany Lake
Artist Statement: I found this cigarette carton while walking through a parking garage. My mind automatically thought about how cool this cigarette carton would look in black and white because the lighting was just perfect. I then began to think, Who does this carton belong to? What kind of health are they in? Do they have a family? While my mind was asking all these questions, the conclusion I came to was that I needed to take this picture, not only because it would create a cool picture, but also because the lifelong effects of smoking need to be known.
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Scans and Distortions Series Paige Stratton
Artist Statement: For this series, instead of using my DSLR to take portraits, I had my models press their faces onto an Epson scanner. I was inspired by the scanner as a medium and how time and movement played a big role in capturing an image. It was interesting to observe how my models would move a certain way on the scanner and create extreme distortions in the final images. But I also loved how ethereal they looked when they would stand still on the scanner, so I decided to combine these two different approaches in my final series.
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violets are blue Vanessa Abplanalp
they taught me my body’s a garden I call my purple petals blooming violets but you’d call them bruises you didn’t know who tended to my weeds only made them grow
Transcendence Kaitlin Watts
Little bird, little bird Reveal the means in which you soar. The wings on your back, extended to heaven, as if to reach for souls long departed. Each wing, a confession to the abyss of your soul. With cracks and scars of mended suffering while visible on the outside, speaks bounds to the strength well beyond the surface. Oh sweet, beautiful, remarkable bird, how is it you shatter and mend on repeat? The poise of your stride, the measure of your grace masks the scars of all previous and immeasurable strife. Teach me to love whole-heartedly as you. Advise me of the ways to mend my shattered wings. Bear your soul as I penetrate the surface. So that I may explore past those since expired. There is no little bird as you, little bird. If never in this lifetime, nor any thereafter, another emerges such as you, then grant me this final hour to find solace with you, my bird. Extend your wings as a phoenix of life. Expose these wounds so that we may heal each other, in love.
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The Reveal Abby Kepley
Artist Statement: This is a drawing I made with watercolors, Prismacolor pencils, and Micron pens. I used artworks from one of my favorite artists, Joshua R. Drakes, and collaged them together to create the composition of this piece.
Disintegration Josie Seach
2005 was rich chocolate cake, devil’s food, The birthday cake I looked forward to every year, Ice cream, and a pant size Just a little bigger than everyone else’s. 2006 was angel food,
The birthday cake I dreaded and choked down like sand
With light frozen yogurt, and daydreaming
About how I’d look when I’m older
2007 was bile and sweat
after brief bites
of birthday cake and nonfat dairyfree sugarfree sherbet
on the treadmill
black coffee for breakfast
2008 is a feeding tube through fog
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Anatomical Cages Series Olivia Moor
Artist Statement: Young people, especially young females, are told from a very impressionable age that their bodies are something that need constant improvement. They need to be thinner, taller, leaner, softer: anything but what they are. As a result of this, many adolescent individuals suffer from low selfesteem and low self-worth. â€œAnatomical Cagesâ€? illustrates the struggle of learning to love oneself from the inside out and challenges the narrative that only one type of body is acceptable.
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The Accident James Figy
It had all been a dream except the pain. But Dr. Dan said any pain would vanish with the higher dose of Dilaudid. The IV machine shouted random beeps and boops and gasps, like bad house music. Small-framed Dr. Dan would have them start me on Codeine once I could eat and swallow. I’d been out eight days. Sleeping, Dad said. Timidly, Dr. Dan corrected: Coma-something-something. I forget. “You really gave us a scare, Whitney,” Dr. Dan said. But I didn’t know who Dr. Dan meant by us. And I didn’t know what my dad meant when he said, half grumbling, “I didn’t think you’d actually try something like this.” I remembered one thing: how in my dream John Lennon yelled, “Whitney, you selfish bitch,” right in my face, as George Harrison stomped to bits a platinum album I’d just recorded. It was a weird dream, weird enough to be memorable, I guess. When I finally found my voice, hours after I’d woken up, I told Dad this part of my dream. He said my ex-boyfriend Pete had entered the room and shrieked, “Whitney, you selfish bitch. Break up? Move out? Then go and do this?” Which wasn’t very articulate for the self-proclaimed Story Slam King of central Indiana. Then, Dad claims, he told Pete, “Make like a banana and split, asshole.” Which I doubt. Anyway, Dad argued with me, nobody remembers their coma dreams. People probably don’t even have dreams in a coma. “Only on TV,” he said. “Know what? I’ll ask Doogie Howser if it happens in real life. Bet you a hundred bucks.” I said, “And the Father of the Year award goes to…” He rolled his eyes, a page from my playbook. During my stay at Community South, Dad wouldn’t take off that flimsy red, white, and blue Greg Garrison cap, Indiana’s wannabe Rush Limbaugh. Even though I asked, repeatedly. I’ve come to accept that we have one thing in common: our favorite album is Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Would
he be happy to know I told everyone in my music engineering program this factoid? Even though they laughed? Would he be happy to know, in my dream, after John yelled and George stopped stomping, we stepped into the Sgt. Pepper’s cover? Trying to explain the dream a day after I woke up soon proved pointless. “But I don’t understand who you were on the Sgt. Pepper’s cover,” he said. “I was me, Whitney,” I said. “Not a wax statue or anything. I wasn’t Marilyn Monroe.” “But I don’t understand why you were telling stories.” “To entertain the Beatles? I don’t know. It was a dream. That’s just what we were doing.” “But I don’t understand—” “You don’t need to understand. Forget it,” I said. “Men can’t shut their damn mouths.” * In the dream, the stories infuriated me. In the hospital, I realized they were all stories Pete had told at story slams—sad gatherings of a few scruffy white guys waiting their turn to spew self-pity and the most minor triumphs. There was the story about burying his first bearded dragon, King Tut, at the tender age of fourteen. How his mom said animals didn’t go to Heaven. How that really scarred him. Then there was the one about telling his parents he didn’t want to live anymore at age sixteen. How they cried. How he went to counseling. Pete told this one on the night of the crash. So trite that I wanted to hurl. Driving home, he kept asking what’s wrong. I slammed the front door. Pete’s house, which his grandparents left him, had two small bedrooms. One was Pete’s storytelling room. He insisted everyone call him a storyteller. Really, he stocked canned tomatoes at Kroger. I entered our bedroom and locked the doorknob. “I know you think you’re upset about my story,” he shouted through the door. “But you’re not. This is about, well, about your mom.” Which wasn’t the reason. From the quiver of his voice, I could tell he was
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crying. “You need to open your heart, to tell your story. It feels so validating to talk about your pain.” I wanted to scream through the door, to demand if he was the one who pressed the pedal down to ninety and stared longingly at the passing telephone poles? If he scanned the message boards at midnight for the cleanest, most efficient method? If he stashed all of the necessary materials for an exit bag in the dresser’s bottom drawer? If he tied the rope swing in Sara’s backyard into the only useful knot, after our fight at the party, and tried to find one reason not to give it a whirl? If he wrapped a leather belt around the doorknob in the storytelling room and slumped until behind his closed eyes shone staticky white—but then he heard the front door open and thought the only thing worse than doing it was fucking it up? Later that night, I got a glass of water. Pete was asleep on the couch. I looked at the wall above him. I thought: could a platinum record hang on any wall in this house? Would Pete ever live anywhere besides this house? Would I? I wrote a note, got in my Tempo. I cracked a window to breathe the winter air and turned on Sgt. Pepper’s. And I wanted to live. For the first time in years. I drove with a sense of urgency, even though I was going in circles around Greenwood. Optimism washed over my skin. And I saw, since it was over with Pete, things weren’t always bad. I remembered the empty egg cartons he brought from Kroger, even after I said I couldn’t use them to soundproof a recording studio. When “She’s Leaving Home” played, it was spiritual. Then I felt the tires slip. The funny part about what happened next: it was an accident. * When I wrecked, stereo metal burrowed into my knee. Dr. Dan removed it, but I needed PT. When the time came, two days after I woke up, I was itching to leave. Dr. Dan introduced the PT doctor, who looked young—too young for her curly bob haircut and reading glasses hanging from a cord around her neck. “You’re in good hands,” he said, then left.
Her name was Mary. She carried loaner crutches, just for practice in the hospital. Dad left to get cheap crutches from the drugstore. “The gift shop’s robbed me enough,” he said. “I always dreamed a gentleman would buy me,” I paused then, with my best southern belle impersonation, added, “my own crutches.” Dad shot me a cut-the-B.S. look. Glasses on, Mary read my chart. “I had a friend named Whitney. Such a pretty name.” “Used to be a man’s name,” I said. “Like Lesley.” I said mom picked it, thought it’d make me tough, contrary to the “A Boy Named Sue” paradox. Mary lowered the railing on my bed, helped me turn to hang my legs over the edge. “When I meet your mom, I’ll tell her: good choice.” My feet hit the floor, and pain shot up my right leg. Water pooled around my eyes. Mary taught me how to stand: both crutches in the hand opposite my bum leg, press down on the crutches and my good leg, let the bad one hover, move one crutch to the other arm. We went up the hallway. Very slow, at first. Mary walked behind me pushing the IV machine and held a thick belt around my waist to keep me stable. She knew the safest, emptiest hallway. Mary praised my hobbling, said tomorrow we’d try stairs. I gasped to catch my breath. My energy waned even before Mary asked if I had a favorite CD, and if I could sing a track. “Sgt. Pepper’s. And no.” “Wow,” she said. “An oldie but a goodie.” Mary sang—no, chirped—“Getting Better” down the hall. My room number became visible. I wanted my bed more than almost anything. The belt’s tug loosened around my belly. My limbs began to shake from exertion. But I stepped again without her.
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Vanessa Abplanalp Loose clothes I’m restricted within hanging to my knees my own cocktail party dress Your attention served on a platter of hors d’oeuvres small, insufficient to fill feeding off finger sandwiches I wouldn’t dare touch with bare hands unable to unbutton oh, boys and girls, it’s so easy to undress each other; buttons line up on opposite sides clothes caught in the line of fire hung out to dry Billy Mays can’t save your slip oxiclean, oxycodone I’ll hide my bloody braisers in a creaking chest while mine lies open pandora’s box I can’t find the lid to I’ll break worn out hairbands I can’t contain what chains my cotton mouth too dry, pressed dried tulips cracked, two lips
Heat & moisture of a summer day iron-released steam I’m burning the clothes you can’t get me out of One day, I’ll be able to walk outside a naked moon dangling one eye to see all that my bedroom shirts conceal
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Rough Diamonds Erin Williams
Artist Statement: I want my work to be practical in its use, but reveal my own style through carving on the surface. My goals, as I continue my ceramic journey, are to continue to refine my throwing and to experiment more with carvings and how different glazes react to the ridges and dips of my carvings.
Natalie McCann I remember last July as a network marked by day trips in your Mazda and warm nights of rousing flesh. You looked so good glowing under streetlamps. You said I tasted so good like strawberry icing. Three ounces of weed in my glove box Because you love me harder when you’re impaired. “Are you still high?” On the 16th you admitted you weren’t afraid to kill me and I knew I would die for you. Cocaine laced in marijuana tell me if I’m still your drug of choice. I crossed your battlefield unarmed because I still believed we could only kill ourselves. “Are you afraid to die?” Six inch heels on the tightrope a crowd of eager faces staring up who’ve waited 19 years to see me fall. You tell me suicide is hard and you’d like to help.
“Do you still think of July?”
You shot an angel with daddy’s Bryco and I’m descending 20 cheers per second trails of cold blood leaking from the corners of my fingernails racing up to trace your name through the clouds.
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“Have you said goodbye?” Tell my mom I love her Tell Maria I’ve missed her Tell my sister I tried my best and your God he’s a killer. Burn my body like a Jew but nail my heart to your chest, so they’ll know who it belongs to.
Hang Ups Kyle Agnew
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Friendswood Virginia Childs
Every mango has a pit; The pit of this mango is a solid diamond. Our adventurer has no idea, of course, That this is so for the over-large fruit threatening to drop onto the head of an under passing child For which she stumbled upon a bounty ad Offering a black cat with the gift of speech in exchange. It is not uncommon in this world that unexpected phylum threaten every day people due both to their enormous size and also because they occasionally contain monsters and so a tradition was begun that young women not wishing to marry unburdened their families by setting out Sword sharpened and amulets charged with their hair braided tight To great applause and songs of adventure on their eighteenth birthday, at precisely midnight while some younger girls furrowed their brows But other girls bloomed into wide smiles. “Easy enough, OK. So y’all have a great big mango that you need cut down; Is that about the size of it? Yeah sure, I can do that no problem. This way? Is that what you said?” And off she was set. So good—so right. Gonna talk secrets with a black cat tonight.
Dripping Cosmos Olivia Moor
Artist Statement: “Dripping Cosmos” was inspired by studying work created by James Rosenquist. Pairing surrealism and visual collage, “Dripping Cosmos” explores the similarities between familiar objects and natural land and spacescapes. This piece was created using colored pencils on illustration board and measures 20 inches wide by 10 inches high.
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A Requiem to Family Noel Wolfe
*Dorlis Gott Armentrout runner-up
The wind blasted the hair from my face, and I recoiled at the seaweed wrapped around my ankles. A mixture of tuna and amaranth permeated the air as seagulls drifted overhead. The salty taste of Pringles from our picnic lingered on my tongue. The shoreline stretched for miles before fading into industrialization. And my father held tightly to my hand. It was Christmas, and the pine needles pricked my fingers. The smell of freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies filled every inch of space. I tasted the sweetness of homemade fudge and sipped a glass of milk. I watched the record revolve around the turntable. My father sang carols in his low baritone. My fingertips skimmed the cool glass that separated me from the underwater haven. Grease, vegetables, and cotton candy instantly surrounded us as we entered the food court. I let the blue cloud dissolve in my mouth and smiled with delight. To my amazement, there was an indoor Ferris wheel that gave passengers the opportunity to observe people like squirrels in a tree. He snapped my photo.
Tears streaked my face, and unfamiliar people embraced me. The must of the place seeped into the very threads of my dress. I snacked on treats and casseroles, the generosity of church members, in the back room. Hundreds of people trickled through the line to offer condolences. I stood alone while my father lay in the casket. Sweat trickles down my hairline, and my clothes cling to my body. Manure from the surrounding fields wrinkles my nose. I blow bubbles with the mint gum in my mouth. I watch the prairie dogs play. And my aunt sits beside me, physically tired—uncombed hair and crow’s feet—but never tires of recounting childhood memories, growing up with my father by her side.
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Happy Place Kalia Daily
Artist Statement: This painting was inspired by anatomical studies and woodcut prints of the ocean by Japanese artists during the Impressionist era. This painting is meant to evoke feelings of warmth and calmness as one would feel as they would experience the sun on their face and hear the sounds of the ocean. I chose to juxtapose the two styles of paint application to show the viewer the two worlds we reside in, the real world and our own dreamscape.
Michigan Marco Ray
At Mark’s family’s lake in late January the ice is so thick, it’s like walking on concrete, it’s like having the whole world to stand on; you’re not worried at all about sinking into the depths where it’s so cold that the fish have slowed their swimming, and the liquid is congealing. We’re above the ice, squinting to see the ice fishermen passing on their tradition to the next generation. Our stomachs are full of the first of the afternoon’s beers, our brains humming the song from the car, our mouths shut for a few moments after Mark tells me that his dad’s ashes are beneath us. Of course, his dad’s ashes are all around us, too. In the glistening snow, and in the fishermen’s distant songs, and in our pulsing excitement, about getting to Bell’s Brewery as I close my eyes, imagining his dad sitting at the bar, saving us a seat.
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Nurturance. Recreation. Virginia Childs
Soaked in honey and dried out Speckled apple slices, Roasted pistachios in the shell, Crystalized ginger and Cassava root candy, Garden strawberry lucky candy, and Fat white cookies dotted with Wolf berries. And you were like this in tea aisle, too. Pouring over tins of green jasmine teas Debating the quality of their leaves; “At this rate we will be in Hong Kong all afternoon.” “Raiding the Treasure trove.” Tricolor jewels Green, pink, white Strips of coconut starlight Contained in a shiny red plastic night Glittering with sky viscera and dry and thin and powdery and sweet and spread out like a banquet. Something sacred, snacks and tea Something different than what it is for me. Fingernail shaped almonds? Red-dyed pumpkin seeds? Or will it be a salty sour licorice plum?
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I picked my snack but yours is a different thing: Paper fire crackers on a golden red string Hanging over a pile of tangerines On an afternoon in February When we were nineteen.
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Hipster Buy Gold Was Missing Robert Springer
Jeffrey Poole noticed that Hipster Buy Gold, the Elvis impersonating street artist who played his We Buy Gold Here air guitar in front of the Hudson Street strip mall, was missing. He could have been missing for a week or more because Jeffrey only went to the nearby Groc-Low twice a month—once when his pension came in and again when his Social Security Check arrived. But after months of giving Hipster a thumbs up as he drove by and getting a nod in return, Jeffrey had come to feel that Hipster stood at the corner as much for Jeffrey’s recognition as he did for the pittance the We Buy Gold Here outlet was surely paying him. What sealed the deal for Jeffrey, what really made him sure something was akimbo, off kilter, and otherwise wrong in the world, was that Hipster’s replacement was a non-descript, unshaven, lanky blonde guy in jeans and a faded John Deere T-shirt. So not only was Hipster missing, he had taken the gold Elvis costume with him. Jeffrey did a series of right turns (he hated turning in front of oncoming traffic) and returned to the strip mall and to the We Buy Gold Here shop. There was a parking spot across from the shop, and he pulled in, the engine of his Plymouth running after he shut it off. The door creaked as he opened it. A plan began to form in his head but progressed no farther than getting into the store. It was hard to see into the shop past the dark window film and security bars. He fingered his wedding ring, a low-grade silver band with inset turquoise, and pushed open the door. A buzzer rang when he stepped on the small rubber runner just inside the door. He watched himself walking up to the counter on the closed circuit TV in the corner of the room. A short young man with dark hair stepped out from behind a steel door with a small bulletproof window. “May I help you?” the young man said. “Uh, I see you buy gold. Uh, here. And I have this ring.” Jeffrey thrust his hand forward. “That isn’t gold.”
“Oh, sorry. I know. It’s my wife’s ring. At home. It’s gold. I wondered what it’s worth.” “If your wife wants to sell her wedding ring, she’ll need to bring it in for appraisal.” “Oh, I’m a widower.” “Then you’ll have to bring it in.” “Of course. What was I thinking.” “Will there be anything else?” “No. No thanks.” The young man began to turn away, and Jeffrey realized he hadn’t done anything about finding Hipster. “The man,” Jeffrey said. “The one with the sign. Where did he go?” “Isn’t he out front?” “Not him. Hipster.” “Who?” “The guy in the gold Elvis costume. I just call him Hipster. He’s why I came in. His performance art is very good, and I didn’t see him today.” “Elvis costume? We never hired anyone to wear an Elvis costume.” “Maybe he changes into it after he picks up his sign. He’s been out there for months.” “We only today started having a sign waver. Rollo should be out there.” “Oh, he is. But he’s kind of...bland? Hipster used to dance around. Turned your sign into his air guitar.” “As I told you, we just hired Rollo yesterday. This is his first day—our first day with a sign waver. Before today, we never used anyone else. Perhaps your Elvis worked for another store in the mall? In any case, he never worked for us. Is there anything else I can do for you?” “No. No thanks. Thanks. I’ll go home and fetch my wife’s ring.” Jeffrey had no intention of fetching his wife’s ring. He stood next to his Plymouth watching Rollo stand so vaguely—for his
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failure to gesture or make eye contact with passing motorists was somnambulistic compared to Hipster’s gyrations, leg kicks, airguitar chopping, and sky pointing. Why would the clerk deny that Hipster worked for him? Was he embarrassed at losing Hipster to another store? Jeffery returned home to offload his groceries then began searching for the Yellow Pages. He found them near the paperrecycling bin on the back porch, musty and damp, but fully legible. He tore out the pages with gold buyers, grabbed a pad and pen, and drove to the branch library down the street. Wednesdays were good days for using the terminals. Guys searching to keep their unemployment usually hit their quota by Tuesday, and some of them were out getting their proof of application forms signed. They’d start drifting in to play games and watch porn on Thursday. Jeffrey pulled up Google Maps and began plotting a route to all the gold-buying stores in town. There were fifty-three in his rust belt town—mostly clustered on the south side. It would take a tank of gas, maybe two. But he had enough money set back that he could afford it. The only question was whether, if Hipster were not out front, would he stop and ask about him. That would stretch a one or two day drive-by investigation into days, a week maybe. With the best of intentions, he began by stopping and asking about Hipster. The incurious and often rude clerks soon wore him down, and he retreated to driving past, careful when no one was out front to at least watch for a water bottle on the boulevard. Once he found a sign laying on the ground and pulled into the strip mall parking lot, only to see a shorter, stouter version of ‘Rollo’ leave the nearby Taco Bell to pick up his sign and resume his post. Most sign wavers he saw were Rollos—luckless souls whose last spark left them long before they picked up their first sign, long before they became living dead billboards. A few waved their signs about, and Jeffrey noticed that, in these cases, they could be seen from the store. In Jeffrey’s first day, including eight stops to make inquiries, he investigated twenty-three stores. By not stopping, the second day went much faster, and he reached the last store just before rush
hour. Rain clouds had been building all morning, and by afternoon they were ready to drop an inch or three. A front had blown in hot and behind it would be cool, rain-soaked air. There, on the boulevard, was Hipster, dancing, pointing skyward. Jeffrey drove past until he reached the next right turn, backtracking to the strip mall. He waited for traffic to clear enough to make his last turn, a left turn into the parking lot, then around the gas station at the edge of the lot. When he reached the boulevard, Hipster was gone. Jeffrey parked near the natural gas rack just beyond the station, not sure why he couldn’t see Hipster. There was no nearby restaurant Hipster could have ducked into, and the gold-buying pawnshop was at the other end of the mall. But Hipster was nowhere to be seen. Jeffrey opened the door of the Plymouth without a creak and walked past the white metal cage of natural gas canisters. A sign lay on the grass of the boulevard. Jeffrey picked it up and flipped it over. The sign, a black arrow with gold piping and gold lettering, said, ‘Buy The True Gold.’ It began to rain. Jeffrey decided not to drive down to the pawnshop to see if Hipster was known to them. Already soaked from the cold rain, Jeffrey picked up the sign and hurried back to his car. He put the sign Hipster had given him on the passenger’s side of the Plymouth and drove home, mindful of the hail that was starting to fall, thinking of what he should do about his sign.
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Open Packages Reagan Moorman
Artist Statement: This is a Prismacolor pencil drawing. To start, I popped several party poppers and glued them down to a board to create my still life. The idea is that when the drawing is finished, one wouldnâ€™t be able to tell the still life from the drawing. I used lots of layers to create depth within the piece.
Anti-Prom Zach Swaim
Loud, obnoxious beats recoiled off the walls Of our rundown, school gymnasium While promiscuous girls shamelessly grinded their asses Against their dateâ€™s package for three straight hours, Foreshadowing the rest of their night. The overwhelming blare of electronic music Screeched like the tortured souls in hell, Begging for their misery to subside, if only for a moment. Time had sauntered for a lingering hour Before we agreed upon leaving. Draped in a royal purple dress, my gorgeous date Flourished her sandy blonde hair out of a bun and took my arm. I readily escorted her out to my car. After a five-minute drive, we arrived at her pinup-style house. We slipped down into the basement and kicked off our dressy shoes, Flinging them across the room like clothes At the beginning of a one-night stand. She rifled through her dusty record collection as I leaned Against a wooden column next to a picture of Peter Frampton. She slid out Queenâ€™s A Night at the Opera, placed it on the turntable, And dropped the needle on the vinyl. Freddie Mercury set the mood as she Seductively swayed over and flicked the lights off with her pinky And the disco ball on with her bare ring finger. A shower of glitter sprinkled off her dress, Covering her basement in sparkles like the floor of a kindergarten
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classroom. Goosebumps colonized the back of my arms when she Drew me in with a sexy smirk and the beckoning curl of her finger, Her head resting on my shoulder, we rocked back and forth Until the needle slid off the groove. The crackling of record player set the beat. We kept on dancing.
Self Portrait Pri Mary Cody Coovert
Artist Statement: A double layered screen print using advanced dark room development techniques. This image is a representational and literal embodiment of the gutteral club-kid alter ego, Pri Mary, the artistâ€™s queer nightlife persona.
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Vanessa Abplanalp “I want to climb mountains someday” so I led him uphill to a field of tangerine tulips strung against cupid’s bow he left his backpack for the Appalachian trail too heavy to carry as he claimed the top of me for his own land
Geometric Vase Cheyenne Granger
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Walking Shadow Sara Perkins
My childhood friend smokes rubies in her dingy palace, her tiara tarnished and her eyes jaded. Left home too soon but not far enough—never enough. I have my mother’s long and thin and bony hands. I am finally able to grow my fingernails out like hers— long and square and strong. God sees us sitting in the shower—rainfall of mankind down our faces, or on the interstate—no map, just instinct down the stretchmarks of asphalt. He only watches but never answers. Prayers float, lost without direction—caught in the wind and never made it home. I talk to your grandfather’s grave, like my pleading balloons actually make it to Heaven and not the stomach of an otter. 66
21st Century: Purity Series Kyle Agnew
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Vanessa Abplanalp when they said it was a tragedy I thought it was a dream to place my mouth where he speaks scriptures a holy man making a good girl out of me for all the time he prays I spend on my knees
Erotic Squash & Sensual Pomegranate Cody Coovert
Artist Statement: These pieces explore the comparable physical makeup of the human anatomy versus fertile fruit.
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Chipped Teeth Natalie McCann
One bump, two bumps, four bumps more How much blow until I hit the floor Three naked women all laced in sweat Is that a finger or a cigarette We filled our lungs with purple exhaust Have you ever felt skin this soft I sit naked on your dark chest Because you only want me when Iâ€™m undressed.
Artist Statement: This is a Letterpress & Linolium piece.
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Tempest in Temples Mikail Bashir This parade; a charade by brigade, cascade into grade of degraded trade. What a raid! This temple trembles, crushed to rubbles by false disciples and apostles who assemble to trample ample example and dangle rotten apple that cripple the bible What shambles! They left their realms of providence To grace the earth with their presence. Though man perceives their eminence, but sully his conscience and offers stones in their absence. Now he burdens his essence which cuddles turbulence. Truth growls in life-sentence while tragedy gnaws in silence!
Artist Statement: This is an oil painting self portrait. Because of my love of color, I really wanted to incorporate as much into the painting as possible. I started by blocking colors out and used the cold tones (blue, green, purple) to represent the shadows. I used bright pinks and reds to represent the warm so that even though I used lots of color, the painting would look cohesive all together.
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On the Walk Home Alone Josie Seach
I found one blue egg dropped, fallen, bright but broken, the muddled pink promise of life spilling out on the grey pavement
You Can’t Frown at Kewpie Auna Winters
Artist Statement: This print utilized a process known as reduction, affectionately nicknamed “destruction.” Each layer is carved from the same block with the previous layer being carved away to accommodate the next one. This process limits a printer to only one series with this block—hence the term “destruction.” I like to put imagery into a new context in my work. In this case, the Kewpie Doll heads are put into the context of lemons.
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Virginia Childs Equatorially dividing the produce from the house goods From the sweets, from the noodles, from the meats And the Banh Mi counter Right down the middle An aisle of freezers are decorated with frost Pull down the jellies from the shelves built on top. Striate them like a rainbow plastic promenade: Chinese zodiac animals, teddy bears, children made out of cheap, thin, colorful plastics with screw-on heads that keep caches of agar and gelatin fruit candies neatly inside of their globular guts and take down the folding metal legs of the tables (really just composite board, vinyl faĂ§ade of a discolored Micky Mouse and alphabet letters) and arrange them into parties in the check out lanes and on each table top place a birthday cake candle illuminating a centerpiece made of the porcelain knick knacks that represent the contents of Aisle 7 And from Aisle 4, a red checkered picnicking tarpâ€™s singed, fray proof edges dangle over Foggy embankments of ice crystals glittering foods Laying it out over the freezer shelves to make them a stage fluorescent lightbulbs flicker to life overhead in the late night seen by no one except for the barely there bodies of spirits and by live catfish packed tight with their eyeballs to the glass Up from crevices between white peaches Up from the cling wrapped pork tenderloins Out of the five for a dollar lime boxes Out of the three for a dollar baguettes
Out from behind the high stored whole winter melons Seeping through bottles of chili pickle and banana ketchup Angel bodies are coming together Wool and leather Silk and feather Draped with stars and caked in mud Blowing bodies of fire and five colors Standing silent guard on either side of the freezer aisle Each joins their hands and then pulls them apart Sending a message out into the dark, Eight syllables sounding from their simultaneous clap â€œThe ceremony is tonight.â€? A stillness is stricken then from the air which earlier was not noticed there. Linoleum tiles slide out of place and celestial attendants lead to their places a coming of goblins, fairies and ghosts filing into the red candle lit tables. The overhead speaker crackles and whines with sweet tinny harps and wavering flutes like flowery breezes that ruffle the shiny leaves of plastic banana and durian trees perched on top of the freezers music moves through the scent of the market. Music touches tins of Julieâ€™s biscuits, packets of spicy squid jerky, cans of coconut milk, and soothes itself out along the baseboards: Flowing into the space and taking its shape, filling the entire market, Then turning itself from liquid to smoke
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That drifts from the floor smelling of cedar and sandalwood, of jasmine and catfish and rose seeps deep into a collection of clothes displayed on willow wood mannequins on either side of the aisle: Silky dresses with lacy trims, floral embroidery knit cardigans, a black denim jacket with patches and pins, a tweed pencil skirt styled with tortoise shell rim eyeglasses and flats and vintage empire waists, and strawberry blond hair in heidi braid plaits Damn it. Just an illusion. Just up-swirling incense smoke that turns back into music Fluting its curls like harp plucking fingers With perfectly manicured nails Polished the pearly pink of a wish giving jewel. But those nails are administered instantly along with other decorations as your body, in a black silk robe, is placed gently on the stage. With each step forward you take, somehow you seem to lose touch with this space Until youâ€™re so far gone it seems to seem as though Hong Kong Market wereâ€”just a dream? Like your ever having been a boy? But that is monumented still and solemnly, solely by a prism that deftly fingers your memory. This market is not what it seems to be!
But now, instead, it is a spirit bride That walks the aisle platform by your side Looking down into frozen fish ball rows and stopping only when over the edge dangling toes inches above spiky ice in the durian freezer Ice burning bright with petals of amber, calcite light that crumble the very foundation of that monument And disintegrate its prism with a singeing origami of the skin as fluid singing flute rhythm smoke is music again and you know now that more than just time has gone by because, as you walk backwards, things do not change back The robe you’re wearing remains black though it’s budding with pink embroidery at the peaches of your chest and opening into pink peonies that curve along your—breasts. You back up to the start of the stage and then The guardians join their hands again Wool and leather Silk and feather The tablecloth folds back into its package and shape as zodiac animals file back into place and There’s an absence within you that once enshrined doubt. Linoleum tiles slip back into grout, The tables fold away. As the overcome wails out in trumpets and shouts, The front doors roll open and you see yourself out.
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Artist Statement: Over the course of my undergraduate studies, I have grown to thoroughly enjoy being in the studio throwing on the wheel. Through hours of working on my pottery, I have learned that I enjoy creating functional pieces with artistic elements through the use of carvings and wax resist.
Who Will Weep for the Forsaken Taylor Kleyn
Let it be that when stars fall across the fields of wilted tombs Where the wind sways no more The once iron trees with nests of singing raindrops That cascaded down the falls of the forgotten men Into the ponds of spikenard, And when the kings of mercy surrender their charred grails And rusted crowns To the clawed hands of the pale maidens Who weep ever so, I am kept sleeping. I will dream of those who were cast out Of the flames of love Lost in the grand symphony whose Voices no longer sound the Bells of cacophonic joy. I will dream of the wild men Who savaged their desires With the songs of pagans Who wrangled the hottest of blue fire From the low bellied serpents of sin. In vain they cried to the boiling moon That scalded their souls black. The forgotten, the lost. And I will dream of the Scare(d) crows adrift in the desert fields. No water has quenched their parched lips Their stumped cups faded and empty. They thirst for which they know not And drink instead the dust of the earth.
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Where are the kings of mercy now With their golden scepters that they waved in vain Bestowing hollow blessings That were lost In the gentlest of breeze? Where are their chalices that would quench all those Whose tongues burn and teeth gnash? Let me be sleeping as the world Splits in two lands of red and white When Dionysius shares his last Spirit with Hades And those who would weep Have entered the void.
Female Trouble Cody Coovert
Artist Statement: This is a very personal painting, exploring the relationship that the artist has with her birth mother. Character development derived from John Waterâ€™s film, Female Trouble, featuring the actress and crossdresser, Divine. The Femme Fatale embodies many similar toxic qualities of the artistâ€™s birth mother including, but not limited to, drug abuse, domestic violence, and child abandonment.
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Natalie McCann Tonight, I am bearing the pressure of each atom in the Bay Area And it’s causing cracks on the grid of my rib cage. Streams of blue light leak through my window And form a warm pile covering my toes. In Oakland, you told me you were a sex addict— Your way of telling me that I’m not special. My youth tells me the world will never end But the barren of your absence tells me it already has. You are my origins And I think I will always miss you Like the butterfly misses the warmth of its cocoon. My mom tells me I deserve better, But I am a tulip afraid of the sun And I indulge in the comfort of the shade. Tonight, the yellows of languor lead me through The pause of a thousand commas. I fall asleep tracing your figure over my heart And wake with scars across my chest.
Bios Vanessa Abplanalp is a self-proclaimed mess. She’s a junior visual communication design student with an anthropology minor and a mind full of ideas. With art and writing as constant interests and activities in her life, Etchings only makes sense. Her passions span from women’s rights to emotional capacities to Disney movies and baking that would make Martha Stewart say “acceptable.” You can catch her in Krannert Memorial Library trying to get her life together, so if you want to see someone lick their elbow, just ask her. Since the beginning of his art career, Kyle Agnew has been drawn to photography in the context of surrealistic portraits that create dynamic stories. Artists such as Salvador Dali, Horst P. Horst, Man Ray, and Brooke Didonato inspire his work by the way they create a narrative world in their still images. Kyle’s work develops upon this by creating front-facing portraits using surrealistic props and lighting to accurately represent the impossible in a realistic manner. It is this play of model, symbolic props, and setting that allow him to create these mesmerizing narratives. In 1998, Mikail Oluwadare Bashir founded Alphabash Musical and Theatre Arts group; a non-profit entertainment outfit geared towards impacting the society through value-driven projects that tend to correct societal vices via poetry, music, drama and comedy among other forms of art. In 2013, he was invited to Ebedi International Residency, Iseyin, Osun State for a six-week literary exploration to complete his oeuvre of poetry. His poem, “My President” was shortlisted by Ghana Poetry Society in 2013. In 2015, his poem “Go Tell My Son” was published by Etchings Magazine. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of Indianapolis and is currently pursuing a Master’s of Science in Management degree at the same university.
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Rochelle Bauer is now a junior at UIndy studying actuarial science and minoring in philosophy. If there was time, she’d also be minoring in creative writing, since she’s always been passionate about writing, especially poetry. She finds Calculus 3 much easier than Calculus 2 and likes to drink hot chocolate, even when it’s still uncomfortably warm outside. Virginia Childs is a graduate student studying clinical psychology and counseling at the University of Indianapolis. A transplant from Houston, Texas, Virginia is a transgender woman whose poetry juxtaposes privilege, gender, trauma, and appropriation. Virginia lives with her husband, two cats, and one dog in a bungalow on the southside of Indianapolis that always smells like incense and food. Cody Coovert is a queer visual artist. Using the ironic umbrella term “queer” as an immediate identifying label is important to the artist, because it makes up much of her history and identity. Cody’s wheelhouse of work spirals around her experiences as well as observations of the LGBTQ minority. She is specifically drawn to countercultures within the subculture, the freaks who express themselves in ways not highlighted by the media sphere, the ones who make the real magic happen. It also is a deliberate decision by the artist to knowingly not appeal to the majority, but rather to keep her attraction within the underground. Whether it be sexual exploration, gender expression, or otherwise, these things captivate her. Spanning across various mediums of painting, printmaking, or performance, her tools of choice are as versatile as the subject matter. Kalia Daily created some of the amazing artwork in this issue. James Figy is a writer from Indianapolis, a UIndy alum, and an MFA candidate at Minnesota State University, Mankato. He has two cats, two rabbits, and an amateurish collection of Duke Ellington LPs. His creative work has appeared in Midwestern Gothic, Punchnel’s,
and the anthology Bad Jobs & Bullshit. He runs Fear No Litâ€™s Fail Better series. Cheyenne Granger is a sophomore at the University of Indianapolis majoring in studio art with a concentration in ceramics and a minor in art history. She focuses on geometric patterning in her carvings and interesting glaze application. After graduation, Cheyenne hopes to open her own studio and sell her work to the public. Abby Kepley is a senior pre-art therapy major with a concentration in painting and a minor in psychology. She often looks for unique colors, textures, and patterns when deciding what she wants to paint and uses brightly colored animals as her subject. Typically she draws content more realistic when using Prismacolor pencils, but she abstracts the content more when painting. Her style requires a large amount of turpentine when painting, because it resists the oil in the paint, which is what creates the unique textures. By doing this, she leaves a lot up to chance. She has always admired the idea that everything in nature is imperfect. Her main goal is to enunciate the most beautiful qualities of animals that are often overlooked. Taylor Kleyn is a biology and environmental science double major at the University of Indianapolis. She participates on the track and cross country teams for the university and is also a member of the UIndy Film Club. She was involved in a variety of theatrical productions growing up and has recently developed a passion for writing. Brittany Lake is a sophomore at the University of Indianapolis. She is a double major in pre-art therapy and psychology. She hopes to become an art therapist at a pediatric hospital. She loves creating any type of art. When she came to college, her favorite media was acrylic paint, but she would have to say that oil paint is her favorite now. She is excited to see what the next few years at UIndy have in store for her.
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Morgan Litchfield is a senior at the University of Indianapolis. She enjoys taking lifestyle and nature photographs and loves vintage photography and has recently started a collection of vintage cameras. Natalie McCann is a junior creative writing student at the University of Indianapolis. Her only goal is to graduate a semester early with minimal mental breakdowns. She loves animals, hands, blood, and socks. She hopes to have a real grownup job one day, but if not thatâ€™s okay too. Olivia Moor is currently a junior visual communication major with a minor in digital photography. Her passion for her artwork is inspired by how she sees social and cultural issues affecting the minority groups surrounding her. She strives to give a voice to people whose experiences have been stifled for one reason or another, through portraiture and documentary photography. This is her first year submitting to Etchings. Reagan Moorman is a junior pre-art therapy major, with studio concentrations in painting and ceramics. Most of her artwork is inspired by food because she designs her projects when she is hungry, which is all the time. So food is regularly reflected in many of her pieces. Sara Perkins is a sophomore professional writing major at the University of Indianapolis. She was once called a hipster after eating a cup of fruit with chopsticks, but her friends assured her that she was grunge, not hipster. Catch some of her other poetry, coming early 2018 at The YA Review Network. Lauren Raker is a studio art major. Printmaking and illustration are her main interests. Lauren enjoys drawing octopi, hot air balloons, bathtubs, goopy, drippy drool, and creatures that live in her mind. Lauren loves wearing her striped pajama pants. Her pajama pants are so comfy, and she never wants to take them off (they even have
pockets). That’s all. Marco Ray is a non-degree graduate student at UIndy. He is a father of three children, a resident of Indianapolis, and works at the St. Vincent House in Indianapolis. Josie Seach is a senior English literary studies major with a minor in computer science. She enjoys reading, writing, playing video games, and coding websites and applications that break unexpectedly. Robert Springer is a poor (bass guitar) player who once strut his hour upon the stage (in Austin TX and in Indiana) and then was heard (unrecorded bands) no more (after 37 years his fingers cannot remember the frets). The oil paints that illustrated Habakkuk 3:4 are dried up. Gray locks, however, are still full of Sound and Fury (not a Plymouth Fury actually, it was a ‘63 Chrysler Newport pushbutton drive gunboat called the “Stratocruiser”), and he finds he is a character in a story told by an idiot who after 20 years with a large publisher found his Department was outsourced overseas (nevertheless, he loves India) — this dislocation in turn paying for his Master of Arts from University of Indianapolis. Said villein (lawfully required to pay the death pledge made upon his residence for his continuing occupation thereof) is a spouse, a parent, a grandfather of two, and much to his surprise, a Deacon in his church. Paige Stratton is a senior studying art therapy with a studio concentration in photography, and this is her fifth Etchings submission. Her artwork comes from a fascination with documenting and a respect for interdisciplinary practices. She also enjoys working with a variety of mediums like mixed media collage, watercolor, and printmaking. Zach Swaim likes to moonwalk across the kitchen floor in his footie pajamas while singing the Sesame Street theme song. Kate Watts is a senior studying English with a concentration in
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literary studies. As a writer, she is strongly influenced by not only her own life experiences, but the day to day struggles of those who face mental illness. In her spare time, she extensively prepares her “effortless” 90’s punk-rock soccer mom esthetic and takes way too many selfies with her Pitbull. Erin Williams is a native of Maysville, Kentucky and is currently a senior at UIndy majoring in pre-art therapy with a concentration in ceramics. Auna Winters created some of the beautiful art work in this issue. Noel Wolfe is a current sophomore social work student at University of Indianapolis. This is her third time being published. Her previous publications include two devotionals in Devozine. She also served as a Teen Advisory Board member for the magazine from August 2016 to July 2017.
Call for Submissions
Etchings Volume 30 Issue 2, Spring 2018 Submissions are due February 5th, 2018 Guidelines for Submissions: • All UIndy students, faculty, staff, and alumni are invited to submit. • All accepted undergraduate prose and poetry submissions will be considered for the Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award. • Up to three short stories or creative nonfiction essays, five poems, and five visual materials may be submitted. • Artwork must be in .jpg or .png format. Please save at a high resolution (at least 300 ppi). • Poetry and prose should be in Microsoft Word format (.doc, .docx, or .rtf). • Poetry should be single spaced, and prose should be double spaced in a 12-point font. • Etchings has a blind submission process. Please give each submission its own document and file name that reflects the title of the piece, and do not include your name on either.
Submit work at etchings.submittable.com
We do not accept email submissions. Please create a free account at submittable.com or sign in using Facebook.
For questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow us @uindyetchings
Etchings is a literary and fine arts magazine produced by student editors in ENG 379 at the University of Indianapolis.