Etchings 31.2 Literary and Fine Arts Magazine of the University of Indianapolis Spring 2019
1400 E. Hanna Ave. Indianapolis, IN 46227 Copyright ÂŠ 2019 By the University of Indianapolis and Individual Contributors Cover Design by Shauna Sartoris Cover Art by Reagan Moorman Cloud Details and Page Number Brackets by Reagan Moorman Printed by IngramSpark ingramspark.com
Editorial Staff Shauna Sartoris Editor-in-Chief
Sara Perkins Managing Editor
Jessica Marvel Design Editor
Riley Childers Social Media Manager
Trix Rosewood Business & Promotion Director
MacKenzie Estrada Staff Editor
Bryson Hile Staff Editor
Naomi Coleman Staff Editor
Kevin McKelvey Faculty Advisor
Maiya Johnson Staff Editor
Table of Contents Letter From the Editor ...........................................................vii Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award............................................viii Prose A Mother Again Brooklyn Raines................................1 Truth of the Pine Annika Radabaugh.........................24 The Going Away Party Brooklyn Raines....................32 Violence: The Oldest Story Brooklyn Raines..............49 The Cursor at the End of O’Shea Rob Springer.........69 Audio Compositions The World is Better That I Lived Darrin Isaac...........17 Untitled No. 1 Luke Garrigus......................................41 The Paradox of Divine Smiles Trix Rosewood..........56 Poetry Storming
Mackenzie Hyatt..........................................18 My Second Home, My Second Heart Brooklyn Raines....20 Spite to Winter Chelsea Keen.......................................22 Desire Annika Radabaugh............................................27 Unhatched Cathy Watness............................................28 A Riddle of Sight Trix Rosewood.................................40 Breasts Brooklyn Raines................................................44 Ghosts are in my Garden Taylor Kleyn......................46 The Paradox of Divine Smiles Trix Rosewood...........56 My Mother’s Magic Kylie Seitz...................................59 Postpartum Depression Brooklyn Raines...................62 Cloud Factories Kylie Seitz...........................................67
Visual Art Slip Trail Lidded Form Reagan Moorman.................21 Everything Was Blue Riley Childers...........................23 But Iâ€™m a Sunflower Riley Childers............................26 Airplane Sharks Cheyenne Granger............................30 African Wild Dog Jessica Marvel................................39 Meditation Series I and III Reagan Moorman...........42 Engobe-Carved Knot Jar Reagan Moorman..............45 Domesticated Carnivore OJ Moor...............................48 Self Portrait OJ Moor....................................................58 Edison Riley Childers....................................................60 Between Depression and Happiness Jessica Marvel......61 Slip Trail Flower Vase Reagan Moorman...................64 Stoneware Nrmeen Jundi............................................65 Burned Down Dreams Riley Childers........................66 Our Monsters Keep to the Darkness Jessica Marvel.....68 Contributor Biographies.........................................................74 Colophon..................................................................................79 Call for Submissions................................................................80
Letter From the Editor Welcome to Volume 31.2 of our Etchings Literary and Fine Arts Magazine! This semester has seen several changes to our press. With recent University remodelings, we packed up our office in the basement of Esch and migrated across the road to the 3rd floor of Good Hall, turning our Etchings Bunker into an Etchings Sky-High. Weâ€™re loving the altitude. We are excited to announce that this edition of Etchings also marks a new venture into accepting audio submissions. Special thanks to Sara Perkins, our Managing Editor, for having this creative vision and the drive to get it off the ground. Thanks to Kylie Seitz and Professor Liz Whiteacre for building a platform for these submissions through our new website, etchings.uindy.edu. We look forward to working with talented musicians and spoken word artists in our magazineâ€™s future. Special thanks to Jessica Marvel, our Design Editor, who spent several long hours in the Sky-High making this magazine look good, and to our faculty advisor, Kevin McKelvey, whose careful and creative eye keep our magazine clean and sharp. Thanks to our Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award judge, Jameelah Lang, whose selection of a winner and runner-up was thoughtful and inspired. As always, but with no less reverence, I thank my fellow staff members for their dedication to our submitters, and I thank our contributors for continuing to believe in the power of a small press. Finally, thanks to our publisher IngramSpark: you have (litearlly) brought together hours of artistic visions and dozens of artistic visionaries. Signing off from the Etchings Sky-High, Shauna Sartoris Editor-in-Chief
Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award The Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award honors two written undergraduate submissions each publication. Our guest judge reads these submissions blindly and selects a winner and a runner-up.
Volume 31.2 Judge Jameelah Lang holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston, where she served as Senior Nonfiction Editor for Gulf Coast and co-organizer for the award-winning Poison Pen Reading Series. Her fiction and nonfiction appear or are forthcoming in The Kenyon Review, The Cincinnati Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Pleiades, and Witness, and her work has received fellowships and support from Bread Loaf Writersâ€™ Conference, the Hub City Writers Project, Sewanee Writersâ€™ Conference, and VCCA. She directs graduate writing programming at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, is a lecturer at the Kansas City Art Institute, and serves on the board for The Radius of Arab-American Writers.
First place: “A Mother Again” (pg. 1) tells a story about motherhood and responsibility from the vantage point of a character who is torn between vice and the desire to do good. The story’s author places their characters into moments of intense pressure, forcing each character to repeatedly answer questions about who they are and who they hope to become. The writer here treats each character with specificity, tenderness, and sympathy, allowing readers to feel intensely the complicated and unique set of circumstances that dictate the difficult decisions we all make when trying to weigh our own inclinations against the needs of those we love.
Runner-up: The world of “The Going Away Party” (pg. 32) is precisely, vividly, and humorously drawn, lending a sharp backdrop to a narrative that wrestles with difficult questions about resentment and remembrance. The story’s fresh, defiant voice, paired with its central question about how to grieve someone who is flawed, asks the reader to take a direct look at the inner workings, not of a single character, but of a community. Ultimately, the story asks how, together, we can weather the complex, imperfect moments of human experience.
A Mother Again *Winner of the Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award Tiny’s blonde ringlets cascaded across Justice’s face, waking her from a night of light sleep. Justice lay sandwiched in between the wall and Tiny’s body. Her two younger sisters, Tiny and Joyce, usually slept in their beds, but today they would sit down for the first time in nine years with the woman who gave birth to them, Pandora, who had spent their childhood in the Indiana Women’s Prison on a drug distribution charge. The girls’ grandmother, Pat, was fed up with Pandora since she got arrested for smuggling cocaine in the car with her daughters, so she didn’t take her granddaughters on prison visits to see their mother. Justice crept over two sets of legs to get out of bed. Her face twisted and grimaced as her bare feet met the cold hardwood floor. Walking past a hall mirror, she slowed her pace to get a better look at seventeen years of heartache. A jet-black pixie cut took the place of what was once a head full of long, kinky curls. Just a trim off the top was needed for the upcoming Homecoming dance. With Pandora gone for the past nine years, Justice had full control of her hair, full control of her life. Justice saw Pat keeping them away from Pandora as a blessing. As soon as her sisters were up and dressed, Justice started on Tiny’s hair. Tiny sat in between Justice’s legs as she ran a quarter size of curl mayonnaise through her curls. Tiny was nine and getting older, but she still needed an extra pair of hands to smooth her long ringlets into a high pony tail held in place by a bow. While putting the finishing touches on her sister’s ponytail, memories began flooding Justice. When Justice was a young girl, Pandora sat her in front 1
of the bay window in their home. She would sit in one of the wobbly legged kitchen chairs while Joyce and the other neighborhood kids ran around outside shooting their water guns toward the haze only an Indiana sun in mid-August could project. Justice scrunched her face up in pain as her mother laid one piece of hair over another until a long cornrow streamed down her back. “Can I play now, Momma?” Justice asked. “Now, girl, you know I can’t let you run ‘round in front of these white folks nappy-headed. You just sit there, be a patient little girl, and I’ll be done quicker than you can count to fifty,” her mother said. Joyce and Tiny’s father, Kevin, sat at the kitchen table and thumbed through stacks of dirty money while men Justice recognized by their polished dress shoes shifted in and out of the home. Justice’s father, Tony, died in a construction accident when she was one. Kevin treated Justice like his own child by taking her with him to get donuts on Saturday mornings and taking Pandora to bed when Pandora got too drunk and would palm Justice’s scalp with one hand while the other hand combed through her coarse curls until hair fell out. Justice felt uneasy when they waited for their donut order. Eyes glanced from Kevin to her then back. A white man with a brown child disrupted the flow of the bakery. Pandora kept one framed picture of Tony in the stairway, a handsome man with intense eyes and a gentle smile and the same reddish-brown complexion as Justice. When Pandora did Justice’s hair, Justice would ask about her father. They were alone, and Pandora couldn’t ignore the conversation. Pandora told her daughter he was a hardworking man and then returned to massaging her curls. She took long drags from her cigarette in between sections of hair as if the conversation pained her. Tiny’s whimpers snapped Justice back to the present. “Justice, that’s too tight. Justice, that ponytail is too tight. My head hurts,” Tiny said. 2
She took the bow out of Tiny’s head to relieve the pain before slicking it up again. Joyce was fourteen and had no problem styling her hair. She distributed coconut detangler throughout her loose curls. With a few finger run-throughs, her hair was styled for the day. In the car, Justice made sure her sisters had their seatbelts on before putting her own on. Would Pandora still be petite? With her high cheek bones, smelling of burnt cinnamon? These questions clouded Justice’s ability to look before backing out the driveway. Before she could rework the image she once held onto of her mother, one of the neighbor’s dogs darted from a back gate and into the path of Justice’s car. “Stop, stop, stop, what the hell are you doing, Justice?” Joyce screamed above the radio. Justice slammed on the brake, propelling the girls forward just in time so the dog wasn’t hit. He screeched and scurried along with his exploration. Justice glanced up at her sisters through the rearview mirror but didn’t make direct eye contact. She let out a low sigh, and a morning radio show filled the car. The girls pulled into the pancake house with fifteen minutes to spare. Justice scanned the parking lot for Grandma Pat’s beat-up minivan. The pancake house bustled with workers in Carhartt jackets and mid-morning regulars. The smell of sausage gravy led Justice to the bathroom. Confused, Tiny and Joyce gave their names to the hostess and took a seat. The line of women flowing outside the ladies’ room stared at Justice with disapproving stares. Through hushed snickers she pushed by the line and began vomiting into an overflowing trash bin. “We got us a pregnant one,” the old lady next in line said. She patted Justice’s back until she stopped dry-heaving. Justice wiped her face and gave the woman a shy smile, pregnant with anxiety, not a child. 3
Coming out of the ladies’ room, Justice spotted Joyce and Tiny seated at a rounded booth Justice began to sweat thinking about sitting with Pandora in a booth meant for love and intimacy. Joyce stayed glued to her cellphone; Tiny gave Justice a welcoming smile. The cushion’s coldness seeped through Justice’s thin leggings when she slid into the booth. “Is she here yet?” Tiny asked. Joyce butted in before Justice could think of what to say. “Well, do you see her or Grandma Pat, genius?” Joyce asked. Justice had long ago lost the energy to argue with Joyce, and she especially didn’t have the energy today. She shot Joyce a stare that returned her to whatever was entertaining on the phone. Justice caught a glimpse of Pandora out the corner of her eye as she slowly weaved in and out of the breakfast crowd, her narrow eyes scanned the booths until they landed on the booth that occupied Justice and her sisters. Pandora was smaller than Justice had remembered. Her petite frame was lost under the hoodie that Pat had pulled from a box of Justice’s. Her shoes were without laces, and the long silky hair that Justice daydreamed about was now two long cornrows that extended down past her waistline. Pandora was a small figure beneath her two braids that hung tightly to her waist. “Now, get on up and hug your momma,” Pat said. Tiny embraced Pandora first. Pandora held Tiny’s skinny face in her hands. Then, as if she remembered she had two other daughters, she hugged Joyce and then looked to Justice as she slowly approached her. Pandora had regained some beauty in prison after years of alcoholism. Pandora’s eyes held worry and secrets, but her strong facial structure remained. Justice was now taller than her own mother and bent down to hug her. She let her chin rest in 4
the crook of Pandora’s neck and inhaled the smell of Irish Spring. Her skin was cold, but the warmth of Pandora’s breath comforted her. “I never thought you’d cut ya hair,” Pandora said. “Well, the poor girl got tired of getting up at the crack of dawn to do it every morning,” Pat said. Justice remained standing and Pandora settled in by Tiny. “You can go head and sit down now, girl. You know your momma don’t bite,” Pat said, reaching across the table for an extra menu. Justice eased next to Pat. A chalkboard to the right of Pandora listed the morning drink specials. The five-dollar mimosas and half-priced Bloody Mary’s stood out. Pandora had been thinking about where to get a drink since she walked into the pancake house, then a childhood acquaintance came over to take drink orders. She was a short, squat woman with a round face. The waitress began talking about morning drink specials and noticed Pandora intentionally avoiding eye contact with her. “Do I know you?” she asked. Pandora let out a nervous smile and looked a few people past the waitress. “Ah, yes. I knew it was you as soon as I spotted them high cheek bones. Pandora Willis, is that you?” She squealed with delight. Pandora ran her thumb and index fingers down opposite ends of her chin before speaking, but before she could get a word in, the waitress went right back to talking. “I had no clue you were out, sweetie. How long have you been back home?” she asked. “I haven’t even been home,” Pandora said. The waitress held her lips together tight, her eyes lit up, and she smiled as if she was waiting on the punchline of a joke. 5
“And I see you’re still waiting tables, right? Because you were waiting tables at Applebee’s nine years ago before I went in. How’ve you been?” Pandora asked. Their waitress held her lips pursed together while shaking, then began writing down drink orders. While waiting on pumpkin spice pancakes, fresh coffee, and cinnamon French toast, the girls politely engaged in small talk with Pandora. Justice would add a smile or a head nod to the conversation but kept her eyes on Pandora. She couldn’t hold eye contact with her daughters for too long without stealing quick glances at the people surrounding them and the chalkboard with the breakfast and drink specials listed. Pat gave the girls a half grin through her jagged teeth to show the girls their mother was just trying to readjust to life outside of incarceration. Pandora finally asked Justice the question that had been occupying her mind. “What made you cut your hair, Justice? Well? It’s not just a few straggled ends off the bottom. No curls, no volume, no length?” Pat spoke up for Justice. “Ya know how young girls are when they are tip-toeing closer and closer to womanhood. Shit, I remember when you were her age and shaved the side of your head.” Not satisfied with the response, Pandora turned her eyes to Justice. “Now, Momma, the girl can speak up. Answer my question, Justice. Why’d you cut all my hard work off?” Justice could feel the room getting smaller and the people in the restaurant walking by their booth faster and coming closer to her. All Justice could think of was “hard work” rolling off Pandora’s tongue. She wasn’t sure the work was so hard when Pandora came home from the local tavern drunk and pulled Justice out of her sleep. She dragged her by her hair and began preparing a relaxer for her hair. Justice could still smell the tequila from her breath 6
and relaxer in the bowl while Pandora threatened to relax it. Joyce and Tiny’s father, Kevin, pulled her off Justice and out of the bathroom. Justice thought Pandora listened to him more than anyone else because he was white. Justice had planned to ask Pandora about helping her get ready for the Homecoming process that was a few weeks away, but Pandora hadn’t changed. Justice had been asked to the dance by the quarterback of the football team. Justice didn’t want to tell him no, but she also didn’t want to get her hopes up that Pandora would be there for her. She would just miss her last Homecoming dance. Pat interrupted Justice’s thoughts. “Justice, Justice, Justice, sweetie, are you having one of them attacks again?” Pat asked. Justice ran out the restaurant. Pat didn’t have to say one word to Pandora. She let her eyes tell Pandora how she felt. By the time Pat wobbled to the parking lot, Justice was driving down the street heading south of the restaurant. Pat’s home was humble, with not much space for an extra body. This was intentional. With Pandora being home, Pat did what she does best and made the situation work. She made the shed in the backyard livable by cleaning it out, placing a bed, heater, and mini-fridge in it. No need for a TV, Pandora had work to do. She needed to find a job. She needed to be a mother. She needed to make up for lost time. The dynamic of Pandora’s new living situation made her miserable, but she had no screw-ups left. She got a third shift job from ten at night to six in the morning at the Ulta Beauty warehouse a few towns over. She had to check in with Pat, and pay $200 to cover rent and groceries each month. No alcohol, men, or drugs were allowed on the premises. Being the sweet girl she was, Tiny began spending her extra time with her mother, watching Ellen on the weekdays and baking peanut butter cookies for her school bake sales. Once Pandora started taking Joyce shopping, 7
when the trips were coming out of her pocket, she won her over, too. However, Justice wasn’t ready to let the past go. She remembered the woman Pandora could transform back into. Justice had planned her movements in the house around her mother’s schedule. Pandora would come home after her shift, sleep until one in the afternoon, and spend the rest of her day with Joyce and Tiny. Justice made sure she was scheduled at her job after school until at least ten to avoid Pandora. On the weekends, she picked up as many hours as possible to cut down on the possibility of bumping into Pandora coming out of the bathroom or them grabbing snacks from the kitchen at the same time. Whenever she did run into her, she would keep the conversation concise. “Yes, school is going well. I know to have someone walk me out of work. Yes, I get regular oil changes,” Justice said in response to Pandora’s questions. Pat would interrupt their conversations before they got heated, but mediation wasn’t going to be the solution, so Pat had to rely on sneakier tactics. She had to lie to Justice to put her in the position where repairing the relationship was an option. With homecoming a week away, Pat helped Pandora by letting her know Justice wanted to go but didn’t have a dress or the extra money to get her hair, nails, and makeup done with college application payments due. With Justice’s last Homecoming a few days away, Pandora made a deal with Pat to pay for a dress, makeup, and a nail appointment. Pandora had already left for the mall and was waiting on her mother and daughter to arrive at Macy’s. Waiting made Pandora anxious and the longer she waited, the more she wanted to leave and get a drink. Justice didn’t know Pandora had taken a Lyft there. Just because Pat was lying didn’t make her a good liar. The whole car ride, she was quiet and focused on the road, making sure she didn’t make eye contact with Justice. 8
“You’re quiet, Grandma. Do you feel well?” Justice asked. Pat knew she couldn’t blatantly lie to Justice, especially since she spent years protecting her from Pandora’s demons since her oldest daughter reminded her of the time she spent as a single teenage mother when Tony died. “I can’t hide it anymore, baby. Please, promise not to stay mad at me for too long. I’m growing old,” Pat said. Justice felt her stomach knot together and her palms sweat. “Now, baby, don’t take this the wrong way. Your momma hasn’t been the best. Well, she hasn’t even been good to you if we’re being honest, but she deserves a second chance just like you and me do,” Pat said. Justice took a deep breath. She didn’t have it in her to argue with Grandma Pat. She knew she had been hard on Pandora since her return, but she also knew what her mother was capable of. Not wanting to upset Pat, she kept her eyes on the cars out the window. “I’ll be cordial, Grandma,” Justice said. Pat nodded her head and smiled. Pandora had a rack of dresses waiting for Justice in the dressing room, mostly pink. Pat and Justice saw the rack and burst out laughing. Pandora was frustrated with the laughter and wanted to know what was funny about the dresses she selected. Pat picked up on the frustration on her daughter’s face. “That’s just not baby girl’s style anymore, momma. Let me help you now,” Pat said. She grabbed one pink dress from the rack for Justice to try on and wheeled the rest back. Justice came back to the dressing room with a new rack filled with black and nude color body con dresses. Sparkles and frills hadn’t interested Justice since the seventh grade. When Justice came out in her first dress, Pandora stared at her daughter, doing a few double takes. This wasn’t the little girl anymore she once 9
spent hours on, combing tangles and deep conditioning her hair. In front of her stood a younger version of herself. Justice stood taller than Pandora now, but her strong facial features resembled her. “That’s the one, no need to go trying on them other dresses. This is the dress for you, baby,” Pandora said. This was the first time Pandora vocalized her admiration and love for Justice. Justice smiled and her eyes, sparkling, nodded in agreement. Pandora bought the dress, along with a pair of new heels, new makeup, and jewelry. It felt good to slowly win her daughter back over, but she knew she had much more work to do before she could earn her trust and love. Back at Pat’s house, Pandora opened the door for Justice and all her bags. “Let me do something special for you, Justice,” Pandora said to her daughter while she was carrying her shopping bags through the door. “Don’t worry about it. All of this stuff was more than enough,” Justice said. Not ready to give up just yet, Pandora glanced over at Pat for advice on what to do next. Pat pointed back toward the girls’ bedroom, and with her other hand signaled her to move in that direction. Not ready to push the subject further, Pandora slowly got up from the sofa and made her way to Justice. While Justice unloaded her new items and rummaged through the closet, Pandora stood silently in the door way waiting for a good moment to interrupt. Pandora cleared her throat, and Justice spun around. “Look, Justice, I appreciate you allowing me to buy you all this today, but it doesn’t make up for the time I wasn’t there,” Pandora said. Justice sat there and listened, waiting for Pandora to go on. “Let me do something for you?” Pandora asked. Justice sat there for a while playing with her shoe strings. 10
“That’s fine, but I want to know what this surprise is now,” Justice said. Pandora smiled and went on with her plan. “Let me do your hair for the dance and host a little pre-party here for you and your friends. I could cook and set up a spot to take pictures out back. I worked in the cafeteria in the prison, so I know how to cook now.” Justice laughed. Pandora looked down, confused. “Being able to cook in the prison’s cafeteria and cook outside of it are two different things. No prison stew, please,” Justice said. For the first time in years, the two laughed together. Pandora spent her day off having Pat run her from store to store around town. Pat agreed to help her make appetizers, knowing her daughter wasn’t the best cook, but the effort she saw put into planning the party made her want it to turn out well. They put together a menu of homemade queso, mini barbeque meatballs slow-cooked in the crockpot, a vegetable tray, a fruit tray, mini sub sandwiches, and cookies. Tiny and Joyce helped Pandora bake the cookies. At Party City, Pandora bought streamers to decorate the gazebo. She spent the next morning cleaning the house and cooking the appetizers. It was hard work, but it felt good to put energy into her daughter. A few hours before Justice’s friends and date were going to arrive, she started on her makeup and hair. The makeup part was easy since Justice had Pandora’s facial features. Highlight the cheekbones, a deep crease for the eyeshadow, light gloss for her lips, and brown eyeshadow to fill in the gaps of her thick eyebrows. When she was finished with the makeup, she was surprised at how beautiful Justice looked. She couldn’t believe she had created Justice, such an intelligent and driven young lady. Her years of absence hadn’t damaged Justice or her other girls like she thought it would. Pat looked over the girls’ homework every night, cooked them homecooked meals, held them accountable 11
for their actions, and made sure they were involved in extracurricular activities to keep them out of trouble. Pat worked in custodial work majority of her life. She was a tough woman who raised Pandora as a single working mother. Justice wanted to wear her natural hair but didn’t have the courage to tell Pandora no. What Justice wanted done to her hair was simple. She had bought a lace front wig for Pandora to install and wanted to wear the right side of it partially braided down and the left side with a heavy part curled and voluminous. Pandora installed the wig without a problem, cut a few of the hairs in the front of the wig to taper down baby hairs on her forehead. She used a finetoothed comb to create swirls with the baby hairs and held them down with edge control. Pandora curled the long black strands of the wig with a wand and then used a barreled brush to create volume at the root of the wig. Hair spray and a little Gorilla Snot at the root held the volume. All she needed to do now was put a braid in the right side and curl the rest. By this time in the process, Pandora’s fingers ached with arthritis that was already forming. She had Justice sit in front of her on the floor so she could get a better grip on the wig. Pandora started to weave the hair in and out slowly forming a braid, but it wasn’t tight enough and the braid wouldn’t hold. She repeated this process again. This time the braid was looser than before. By this time in the process, Pandora’s fingers were stiff, and she couldn’t extend her fingers without a sharp pain shooting through them. Frustrated and embarrassed at her inability to give her daughter a simple braid, Pandora stood up. “Mom, I can have someone else finish it,” Justice said. Pandora ignored her daughter’s question and went to the bathroom. She looked in the mirror and saw a version of herself hardened by alcoholism and prison. “Can you finish it?” Justice said. 12
Annoyed by Justice’s questions, Pandora began to shake and felt tension in her jaw when she gripped the bathroom countertop to regain balance. “If you didn’t fuck your hair up and chop off years of my hard work, years of deep conditioning treatments, the best products my money could buy, you’d be on schedule because I wouldn’t have to install that dumbass wig,” Pandora said. Justice felt her face getting hot. She took a deep breath to steady her voice. “Let me correct you. Drug money bought those products,” Justice said. “The drug money you and Kevin stashed in the walls and under mattresses. I was nine. I noticed. I noticed the drugs, the neglect, I noticed both of you shouldn’t have been raising us.” Justice got the words out before tears began running down her rouged cheek. She didn’t want to give Pandora the opportunity to see her weak. Pandora stopped herself from arguing with Justice. Instead, she forced her right fist in and punched the mirror. Glass crumbled around her fist, causing Justice to run back and pound on the door. Blood hung to Pandora’s hand like a glove. She hadn’t cut a major vein but wished she had. This would’ve been the perfect time to bleed out since she had lost her temper. She had already taken Justice’s childhood away, and now, she was taking her day from her. Pandora wrapped her hand tightly in a wash cloth. She slid down the bathroom door and watched blood drip from the pain to the floor. “Just have Pat finish your hair, she does everything else for you,” Pandora said to the empty hallway. Pat bandaged Pandora’s hand first, then finished the appetizers. When Justice’s friends began arriving, Pandora sat in the living room with Tiny and Joyce. She knew it had been too long since she had been around people in a normal setting. Justice purposefully kept her guests away from 13
Pandora since arguments usually lead to drinking. While everyone talked and ate in the kitchen, Pandora sat in the living room listening to the conversations going on. So she could hear if Justice told her friends about the argument that had just happened. Talk of who would wear what and who was dating whom made Pandora chuckle. Tiny and Joyce sat with Pandora. Tiny listened to conversations out of curiosity, and Joyce imagined herself dressed up laughing with the older girls. Pat came in the room with Pandora. She provided Pandora with what she needed growing up. Pat didn’t know what went wrong. “I overheard that argument and it would be best if you went in there, introduced yourself, and refilled the food trays,” Pat said. “Instead of sitting around feeling sorry for yourself. You’ve done enough of that over the years.” Pandora leaned in close to Pat. “I’m not doing shit for her the rest of the night,” Pandora said. She sunk back into the couch, clutching her bandaged hand. Pat shook her head at Pandora. She wouldn’t add to the chaos Pandora had added to Justice’s day. After everyone ate, they moved to the backyard for pictures. Joyce and Tiny came from the living room. Justice and her date, a handsome young man with an athletic physique, smiled while Joyce took photos with both their phones. Pandora moved to the backyard, too. “Mom, you have to get a picture with Justice. She looks so pretty,” Joyce insisted. Pandora looked to Justice’s facial expressions to see if the hate and anger for her were still present. Justice noticed Pandora looking in her direction and looked down. “Hurry up, Mom. One picture, please,” Joyce said. Pandora tried to read Justice’s face. Justice waved Pandora to the gazebo. She knew denying her mother a picture would result in an argument in front of her date 14
and guests. Justice’s skin went cold. Pandora wrapped her good hand around her daughter’s waist, and they posed for a few pictures. After each picture Justice wiggled her waist away from Pandora’s grip. Afterwards, Pandora scrolled through her photo album looking at the younger version of herself standing beside her. They both looked good, but Justice’s smile was forced, void of love. After the kids left for the dance, Pat asked Pandora if she wanted to go with her and the girls to get dinner at a nearby restaurant known for their wings. Pandora declined. She needed the time to be alone. Pandora sat in Pat’s bay window curled up with a handmade blanket that Pat had made for her when she announced she was pregnant with Justice. Pandora hadn’t had alcohol in years, but drinking a little to calm her nerves was sounding better each minute she spent alone in Pat’s home. She knew better, and she knew Pat didn’t keep a drop of alcohol in the house. She would have to leave the house and walk to the liquor store a few blocks up the street. It wouldn’t take Pandora long to walk, especially since she walked several miles each night at work. Pandora let her hair down to tug at her waistline. Even the heaviness of her hair couldn’t keep her home. She went to the kitchen and pulled a twenty-dollar bill from Pat’s stash, the one she kept in an empty rooster cookie jar, and wrapped the baby blanket around her shoulders. Pat didn’t trust the banks, but her health was declining so she kept money throughout the house for the girls in case she died. When Pandora left the neighborhood, she thought if she went on a binge, Kevin could raise the girls on his own. She chuckled at the thought of an alcoholic and drug dealer taking care of her daughters. As she got closer to the liquor store, she calculated how much she could drink without anyone detecting. Maybe if she lied and said she didn’t feel well, she could begin drinking in the shed and leave once everyone was asleep. Pandora knew her thirst for alcohol 15
came with an appetite for cocaine and sex. This six weeks of parenting again was harder than the nine years she spent in prison. She had known what to expect for the most part every day. The routine. She knew what came next. Being a mother was different. Other people’s emotions didn’t come with a routine. Pandora was a street away from the liquor store when she pulled up the pictures she had taken on her phone. She was smiling, the girls were smiling, Pat was smiling, but the smiles with her in the photos were fake. Her daughters’ lives were better without her. Pandora shoved the phone deep down in her back pocket, wrapped the blanket tighter around her shoulders.
The World is Better That I Lived â€œThe World is Better That I Livedâ€? is a simple, yet extremely powerful, piece of music. The piece was written during a spiritual retreat in which I stayed for several months within the Monastic community in Taize, France. After facing a difficult period of life and struggling to make my way out of depression, I was seeking to find context and meaning for my experiences. It was then when I came across this poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox that, to me, became a profound realization that each day of life is a gift to be treasured. Find this song online at the QR code below:
Storming Her eyes hold an indelible sadness. I know not its origins But perhaps it has something to do with this rain. The cold, bleary, dreadful rain jumps harshly to the gray concrete. And she stares through the old glass window With a glassy glacial unfocused gaze. I watch her from across the room Wishing that my love could be thrown Like a voice Like a stone Like a paper airplane She barely breathes shallow breaths And does not cry As if the clouds are told to do that for her So that she may not show weakness But through a sudden, startling flourish Like an uneasy doe She casts herself through the door And into the downpour Neglecting her favorite rubber boots I move to stand, to follow But a force holds me still so that I only watch As she tilts her head to the storm Closes her eyes to the aggressive skies And opens her mouth to scream 18
The muffled outburst shakes me from my useless stupor And, similarly skipping my footwear, I follow her outside Her breath is heavier, finally alive And for a moment it seems sheâ€™s forgotten where she is But her hair has achieved a soppy darkness And her hair clings iron-clad to her frame And her feet are anchored to the asphalt And I hold out my hand. My flesh is warm Hers is cold Mine red Hers blue The temperature mellows Colors mix. A comfortable purple, Running and melting like paint into the grass with every hard raindrop. We become the groundwater.
My Second Home, My Second Heart I’ve been spending more time in your kitchen. You don’t mind, so I do my best to honor the privilege. Your hands have grown tough from years of hot grease leaping out the pan in hopes to penetrate your weary mind. Ever since demons invaded my peace of mind like S.W.A.T during a drug raid I’ve found clarity under the fluorescent lights above your sink rinsing Pad Thai Noodles in water so cold my fingers twitch. Maybe one day I’ll cook homemade dinners for a lover so sweet I’ll guide a spoonful of butter sauce to their lips to taste, but until that day I’ll cook for you grandma Bertha I’ll celebrate you. 20
Slip Trail Lidded Form
Spite to Winter Winter: A frozen embrace, A kiss farewell to life. The evergreen withers, The dry warmth drips. The lingering of what used to be. The wind nips at my nose, Like a teething pup. Or a numbing caress. The snowflakes cling to my lashes, hair and clothes, Like desperate past lovers, Leaving tears as they melt away, leaving me wet. Ice: a cruel mistress, Cackling at my misery, As it smacks my ass when it steals my footing. Everything is dead, Passion massacred, The season killed it. Like an empty side of a lonely bed, Thereâ€™s nothing here besides the cold, cold, cold.
Everything Was Blue
Artist Statement: This photo shows a different side of Indianapolis that I personally try to search for when taking photos of my city. I enjoy this photo because of the rundown building that begs for attention against the bigger buildings of the city.
Truth of the Pine I know, lying is bad. Dishonesty hurts relationships, kills trust, ruins lives. It’s been beaten in my brain, set as a basic principle of my morals. Nothing good ever comes to those who lie. But the difference is, I lie for a reason. Six o’clock is prime time for visitors. Patients aren’t too tired, and are happy enough to get company that day. Any earlier would ensure the visit to be awkwardly lengthy, any later would leave the patient wanting more. Either way, it’s a depressing outcome for one person. That’s why I come at six o’clock. She’s always sitting alone in that chair. That hard, light pink, one-person sofa. Staring out the window at the unchanging trees. I wish they weren’t pines. Why surround these people with trees that stay the same throughout the year? No life, no cycle, no color and crispness. No budding flowers and growing leaves. Maybe it’s a stability thing, who knows. Maybe they reserve the unchanging trees for the people with unchanging brains. I always walk in the door as quietly as I can manage, in delusional hope that she’ll be doing something else. Sitting on a different couch, stretched in a different position, with maybe a magazine or the TV turned on. All she does is stare at those damned trees. She doesn’t know how bad it is. Sometimes, she doesn’t know of it at all. As her condition worsens, she even forgets what condition she is in. So I tell her all is fine, I tell her my life is as prosperous and happy as she has always dreamt it would be. I tell her she hasn’t missed much, but with every additional age the thought gets harder to believe. I tell her Dad is doing just as well as I am supposed to be. There is no
need to speak of the fact that he picked up and moved to Los Angeles seven years ago. She doesn’t need to know of my diminished connection with my father. Why would I ruin her night, just to ruin it again and again every time I decide to see her? It’s depressing, really. It is. Trying to comfort a woman who has lost all ability to experience things. I tell her of the world nowadays, the incredible advancements in technology, the radical movements of our social society, the new styles and trends. Sure, she grasps it like a normal person. She listens with curiosity, amazed at my stories. She learns, appreciates, and experiences. But it’s temporary. Maybe all we need to never grow older is memory loss. Maybe that is the cure for kids with a fear of growing up. Just hand them a full diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and watch their minds stay young forever. I like to tell her she’s getting better. It’s selfish, tricking her to get a few hours of happiness. She rips through her inevitably bland food with every intention of being strong, destroying the disease that has brought her so many tears, the monster that has brought her such longing and heartache. I selfishly get to see her eyes light up, to watch her enthusiastic movements and listen to her optimistic thoughts. She will forget in a few days anyway, and then I will get to be selfish all over again. Maybe one day all the needles will have fallen off the pine tree. Maybe I will watch workers dig up the roots to replace them with that of the good ol’ American Maple. Maybe one day my mother will see orange again, mixed with yellow and red, and even a bit of pink. Maybe one day things will change. It seems unrealistic, but all miracles start off absurd. Maybe one day she will get better, and I will have to be just as honest as the rest of the world. I crave that day more than a cactus craves its rain. But until then, the truth will remain brutal, and the lies will remain my sanity’s remedy.
But Iâ€™m a Sunflower
Artist Statement: This photo of my close friend allows me to see how far I have personally come in my photography adventure. I find myself loving this photo because it was a photoshoot where I wasnâ€™t sure what the outcome might be, but it turned out to be one of my favorites from 2018. 26
Desire Do you ever get indelibly intrigued by someone? You see an image of them and the taste of lust oscillates from the tip of your tongue to the pit of your lower stomach. You picture them in your mind and become starved, hungry to hold a conversation with them to get a chance to delve the inner locks of their mind. Your body heats as you remember their seemingly lecherous gaze eyes assessing your features with quiet assertion. All while knowing that as intriguing as you find this being their eyes hold the same mystery as your own.
Unhatched I couldn’t wake up no matter how insistent the tap, tap, tap on my globose tomb My mother did not abandon me she tapped, tapped, tapped long after the peep, peep, peeps had died into slumberous silence dreams unlike the black eternity of my own Eventually, when the sun and my siblings alike awoke my mother’s love had to face the reality that it was illogical and fruitless to sacrifice the many for the nonexistent one I remember the cold Sun, shade dry, rain night, day tedious, ceaseless The endless nightmare of stagnant blood of a heart too weak to beat Winter’s dark and deep sleep Slow spiral of spiderweb-cracked dreams Until the tomb shattered
Now, the teeth and sickly warm wet mouth Tongue lapping at half-frozen yolk Red tail twisting in half-awake pleasure Am I awake? Or is this simply the flight of another dream?
Artist Statement: I wanted to create a dreamlike image to encourage my viewers to rethink the world they live in. Inspired by surrealism, I worked to combine objects with similar shapes to construct something new and unnatural.
The Going Away Party *Runner-Up for the Dorlis Gott Armentrout Award The father of my godson died last week. I disliked him. When I say disliked, I mean I wished death upon him several times. His funeral is this afternoon. My best friend Jordan, who remembered everyone’s birthday without looking on Facebook and allowed acquaintances to do laundry at her home for free, had a beautiful son with filth. He wasn’t just the father of my godson, but also Jordan’s boyfriend. If that’s what you want to call him. Anthony wasn’t much of a father either. My godson wasn’t Anthony’s only child, oh no. He had two other children he neglected. Anthony bounced from mother of his child to mother of his child until one would get tired of his shenanigans. He had three beds in rotation, and he wasn’t in one bed enough to keep his spot warm. Of course, Anthony wasn’t the first ain’t-shit man out here, but he always found a way to take ain’t-shit to the next level. One time Jordan trusted him enough to watch after their son. She got off work early and came home to see her son, Anthony, and a woman that wasn’t her. Anthony said they all fell asleep while filling out job applications, but there were no applications to be found. Jordan kicked him out for a few weeks, but he always crawled back into her arms, then between her legs, and back home. I love Jordan to death. Her family took me in when my parents died, but she had a weak spot in her heart for scumbags. Anthony brought himself down, and Jordan too. The poor girl worked two jobs to keep their home afloat. She got a second job to pay for daycare. Anthony wasn’t trusted 32
with his own son. One time he went live on Facebook and told everyone that watched to keep an eye on his son in his playpen while he napped. News reached Jordan and she already knew the surprise when she arrived home. This man loved to say he was preoccupied with his “rap career,” in which he uploaded a few songs to SoundCloud each month and performed at local venues in exchange for weed and booze. May Anthony’s dead soul rest in Hell because that’s the only place it could be, but my friends and I must support Jordan in her time of grief. The woman just lost the father of her son. I have to be there for her and that precious little boy. So, here I am playing America’s Next Top Model searching for a funeral-appropriate dress. A black dress with show choir sleeves makes the cut. As I massage down my baby hairs, I hear Tommie use her spare key to let herself in and make herself at home in my kitchen. “I’m almost ready,” I yell out. Tommie, Tommie, Tommie. Every man’s fantasy that they want to get in touch with. Tommie may have a boy’s name, but she sure doesn’t have a boy’s body. Tommie is fine. Not just fine but Houston, Texas fine. She’s the Dirty South personified. Brown complexion, petite waist, athletic thighs, wide hips, toned booty, pretty face, and a cute little gap in between her two front teeth. Growing up, she was everybody’s taste. The drug dealers wanted to buy her faux furs, the jocks wanted her front row at their games with their jerseys hugging her perfect breasts, even the country club white guys wanted to run the risk of bringing her home to their semi-racist parents because she was just that fine. She was all that and still is. The one problem with Tommie is she doesn’t know how to keep her rude thoughts in her head. It’s almost as if she thinks these twisted thoughts and they sprint from her brain to the tip of her tongue and out into the free world. 33
She once got fired from a PR firm for telling her boss he looked like the Great Value Pat Sajak. In her defense, her boss did have a mullet. “Bitch, you look like you’re going to a funeral or somethin’,” Tommie chuckles in between bites of cold pizza. “I know you hated Anthony, and I know you’ve been looking forward to this day since the first time we met him, but a blue quick weave, Tommie? Really?” I ask with confusion. When Tommie steps through my bedroom doorway, something reeks of trouble and marijuana, but mostly trouble. The girl has a blue weave in. Who wears colorful hair to a funeral, even if it’s Anthony’s funeral? She is dressed as if the funeral was free for ladies up until nine. Sketchy club attire, yes; funeral attire, absolutely not. Just when I’m ready to give Tommie the lecture of a lifetime, our friend Duck creeps around the corner and sashays into my room. Duck isn’t dressed for a funeral either. She is giggling with red eyes standing in the middle of my room with her petite frame snuggling a bodycon dress. Baby girl didn’t even bother to pop in some Visine. Her neon green dress is perfect contrast to her high eyes. Not a funeral dress at all. Maybe a dick appointment dress, but not where a few people will be grieving. If Tommie was blue, then Duck was purple. If Erykah Badu and Thundercat had a love child, Duck would’ve been just that: a freelance artist that spent more time getting high looking for inspiration then she did creating pieces. When she did create, she never failed to amaze me. Her specialty was breaking vinyl records and creating everyone from Malcom X to Jerry Seinfeld with the broken shards. Duck was talented and stunning. “Someone is going to tell me what’s going on,” I say. Duck and Tommie either weren’t attending the funeral, or they had plans to ruin the funeral. Either scenario wasn’t 34
acceptable, and I couldn’t let either happen. Jordan didn’t deserve more heartache. “Hold up. Quick question. So, if Drake were to fall in love with a fictional character, would your bets be on Nancy Drew or a grown-up version of Jazmine from The Boondocks,” Duck asks. “It’s in my tweet drafts. I might tweet it out.” I look at Tommie and back to Duck and right back to Tommie with confusion and anger. Duck has always been the weird stoner chick, but this has levels of weed working behind it that I’m not familiar with. “Can you take a damn chill pill and relax, Momma Hen?” Tommie says. Tommie is behind the bullshit. “Nah, for real relax, I’m driving, we need to get going. I need to swing back by the house, I forgot the gift I got Jordan, and yes, I signed it from all of us. Thank me later honey child,” Tommie says. She holds back her classic devil grin. They’re both stoned, so I snatch the keys from Tommie’s grasp and usher both the fools out my house and into the car. I know I can get the truth out of Duck, so I fire questions in her direction. “What did this fool talk you into, Duck? Just come clean with me now and I won’t get mad at you, sweetie,” I say. “Spill it out now.” I look in the rearview mirror and see Duck looking to Tommie for instructions. “Don’t you say a word, Tommie,” I say, sending a cold glare to the passenger seat. “Issaparty.” Duck lets the words roll off her tongue as if she just accidentally cussed in front of her parents for the first time. “A what! A party? Who the hell is throwing a party?” I yell and look Tommie dead in the face, ignoring the road. Tommie begins yelling and cussing at Duck. Just when 35
I’m ready to pull the car over and shake some sense into Tommie, I pull up to Tommie’s house. I see her oldest brother grilling on the porch. Girls are in bikinis the same size as dental floss going in and out her side gate to the pool in the backyard. 2Chainz’s voice is bumping from her surround sound speakers all the way to the street. I give Tommie one last angry look and jog to the front door. “Wait, wait, wait. Let me explain, Joe, hold on, Joe, don’t go in yet.” Tommie’s voice fades behind me as I reach the front door. “Oh, hey, Joe, how’s it going?” her brother greets me and I bust through the front door. Across the room, partygoers pose in front of a floor-toceiling poster with Anthony’s face. In one corner a group of guys are shooting dice, and in the next corner a group of girls are taking shots. Before Tommie can say another word, I push her and Duck into her pantry and slam the door. “You know how I feel about cussing, but what the fuck is wrong with you? This time your brain has crawled out of that big ass head of yours and into I don’t know where! What are you going to tell Jordan about this celebration of life?” “Nothing you say or do is going to make me feel bad about this beautiful going-away party I put together,” Tommie says, pointing her manicured finger in my face. I look over to see Duck woofing down a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. “You got Duck stoned out of her mind before a funeral!” “Why yes, yes, I fucking did, and you know what? I’d do it again if a got a chance to, and you know why? Because fuck Anthony,” Tommie says. “I’ve been waiting six years for that dickwad to rob the wrong person and end up dead. Six years is a long ass time! He did nothing but stress Jordan out and cause hell in everyone’s life he met. Yes, this is Anthony’s going away party, because his dusty ass soul is burning up in the flame broilers of Hell!” 36
“You do need help,” I say, “I’ve always had a feeling there was something seriously wrong in that brain of yours, but this confirms it. This is all the proof I need to drag you to a therapist, a psychiatrist, hell, anyone with a degree can help you.” I’m about to give it to Tommie and call her out for all her nutball antics over the years. Duck chimes into the conversation. “Do yawl remember the time Jordan called me crying because she covered her breasts in Funfetti icing for her and Anthony’s one-year anniversary? He never came home and she fell asleep with it on her breasts and we had to go over there at six in the morning and wash it off?” Duck asks us with a grin. Tommie and I both look at each other in confusion and then we both burst out into stomach wrenching laughs. “No, no, no. Bitches. Do you remember the time Anthony stopped showering because he was going to ‘stick it to the man’ and Jordan’s dad beat his ass outside of Chuck E. Cheese’s for showing up to baby boy’s birthday party reeking of gas station nacho cheese and booty sweat?” Tommie asks us. “How about the time he brought my newborn godson into the strip club because that stripper owed him $45 and someone threatened to call CPS on him,” I say. Tears run down our faces from laughing. That’s when I notice makeup running down our cheeks. With mascara running down her face and Dorito stains coating her lips, Duck resembles a cute, dumpster-diving raccoon. “I have to shut this party down soon,” I say. Duck and Tommie nod in agreement. We sit on the pantry floor, filling our hands and faces with Doritos. “I’m going to miss Anthony a little,” Duck says. Tommie and I look to Duck in confusion. “I’ll just miss the memories,” Ducks says. “I don’t want him to come back.” 37
“We can get together for brunch with Jordan once a week to keep him alive through the stories he left us,” I say. “That’s not the first or last guy like Anthony that’s going to come into our lives,” Tommie says. “It’s our job to protect each other from the Anthony’s of the world, and now my godson won’t grow up to be like Anthony,” I say. “We have the chance to do that.” I wipe the Dorito dust from my fingers and hold my hands out. Duck takes one hand and Tommie takes the other hand, and I uplift my girls completing our circle of strength.
African Wild Dog
Artist Statement: This piece I did as sort of a test of limits to see if I could even do something realistic. I really wanted to do an African wild dog because I find them extraordinarily beautiful. This piece is 13 by 24 inches done completely with white colored pencil. 39
A Riddle of Sight I exist between loving siblings. I am the compassion of a patient parent. I kill by softening hearts and yet I do no harm. I am the mask wielded by the weary to hide pain and distract spectators from a depressionâ€™s gravitas. I soothe the mind, open the heart, and make way for love to come about. All while I free the soul with the gift of hope. What am I?
Answer: I am Kindness
Untitled No. 1 Original composition written by Luke Garrigus and performed on piano by Charissa Garrigus. Find this song online at the QR code below:
Meditation Series I & III Find Meditation Series II in Etchings Volume 31.1
I of III. Dharma
III of III. The Middle Way
Breasts Weeks of training in a breastfeeding class, my coach front and center glowing with anticipation at a room full of rookies. “It’ll be hard at first but the baby will adjust and victory will follow.” Two deflated punching bags pleaded for my opponent’s lock-tight grip his quivering lips rejected the nicked away patches nurses flowed in and out tugging at each limp breast searching for a pulse, defeated two pecan eyes delivered the final blow.
Engobe-Carved Knot Jar
Ghosts are in my Garden The wind wipes the sun off my flowers and steals the smile from my lips. I should have planted beets and danced to them in thyme. My shovel lead astray now I am just a man. Did the prophets foretell these gray skies from their caves below? My stones have lost their wisdom and surrendered to the trees. I would peck the wood for the serenity in their souls. Throw me to the ladies red watch me as I bleed. Give into the sorrow now let the dew drown my eyes. I scratched the heads off my lilies Now ghosts are in my garden. Sparrows lament with monks about my seedless fruits. I am envious of worms who never knew the light. Oh those poor roses I trampled for naught. I grew them for the one I loved. The joy has bled out of the lilacs. Such sweet nectar now gone sour. And I the Gardener, 46
with anger in my heart, have gained nothing for my toil. Oh that door with such mal intent did slam. Oh those words that splintered hearts still burn. Man is good the angels whisper. Yesterday to now and on the morrow the sun still rises. I grow weary of such mockery. When the apples bloom Iâ€™ll pick the runt. The plump ones will be rot by then, and I am a trifling Gardener.
Artist Statement: â€œDomesticated Carnivoreâ€? is an exploration in linoleum block relief printing. After adopting a cat last July, I became very fascinated in everything feline, including their anatomy. The skull was the perfect subject for this piece as it gave a lot of room to play with design. Positive and negative space play a key role in this work and intertwine in interesting ways. The piece was printed with dark red ink on cream-colored paper. 48
Violence: The Oldest Story One morning while taking my son, Landon, for a stroller ride, “On Fire” by my favorite rapper Young Thug shuffled onto my playlist. I’m familiar with the song and have listened to it numerous times before, but this time was different. I began to cry. “Shot that boy so many times he caught on fire. Every single night I’m spittin’ fire.” Guilt consumed me. This song was released five months after my friend Jake was murdered. Jake was killed almost two years ago by a group of teens who drove to his house, planning to rob him, and shot him to death. These Young Thug lyrics brought back the hate I had buried in my heart for each person in the car that played a role in Jake’s death. These lyrics also brought back a conversation that lurked in the shadows of hip hop, the conversation about whether hip hop is responsible for gun violence. I became a fan of hip hop and rap at two when my father would play Kid Rock’s “Bawitdaba” (yes, Kid Rock once rapped) and I would scrunch my nose up and head bang along with the aggressive 808’s. Later, when I was thirteen and an older family member or politician on CNN would credit rap with being one of the main reasons homicides were on the rise, I’d roll my eyes and laugh. When Chief Keef dropped “I Don’t Like,” people blamed the high rates of gun-related homicides in Chicago on his violent lyrics. The same comparison was made about Tupac Shakur in the 90s. Yes, I admit that if Crime Mob’s “Knuck If You Buck” comes on at a party where there are people who have beef, at the least a fight will erupt, but there was already tension in the room before the song was played. I can’t say Crime
Mob is responsible for the violence that preceded the song, just like I can’t say Chief Keef or Tupac were responsible for the rise in violence after their music touched the masses, especially when there were already problems beforehand. Before Jake’s death, gun violence and hip hop weren’t correlated close enough for me to care. After Jake’s death, I had to reflect on the role my favorite genre of music had on life and death decisions being made by the people listening to it. This reflection on hip hop and its role in gun violence doesn’t include every lane of hip hop. One of the reasons I’ve been amazed by the genre is because there are multiple styles within it. The sub genres in hip hop can be categorized into conscious, lyrical, boom bap, East Coast, West Coat, The Dirty South, drill, trap, mumble rap, hip hop inspired by rock, and hip hop made to just vibe and smoke to. Frequently, a rapper’s style infuses many of these lanes at once. Trap music is the main style that is held accountable for the current rise in violence, especially the rise of violence in the black community. In the 80s and 90s, it was gangsta rap. From 2011-2014 it was drill, which originated from Chicago. Trap relies on its high energy production, fast-paced bars, and typically contains lyrics that talk about selling drugs. Some fans say there is a fourth component to trap music, claiming that it’s regionally based and must originate from the South, preferably Atlanta. Trap music did originate in the South, but has since included rappers from different parts of the country. Today, artists like Gucci Mane, Future, and Migos are widely recognized as being trap rappers. The important distinction between trap and other subgenres in hip hop is the ongoing debate of its lyrics’ influence on gun violence. Trap music typically glorifies violence, drugs, and drug money. Jake and I enjoyed rapping along to trap music. Our friendship developed over our love and passion for hip hop. I gravitated toward Jake because he was this small white
kid that had a vast knowledge of hip hop and its history. He could hold his own when the conversation was about old school rap or today’s hip hop. His respect for hip hop as a craft was impressive, but his respect for black culture was more impressive. This is the exact reason why some days I don’t beat myself up for bobbing my head to my favorite Gucci Mane or Migos lyrics, because Jake enjoyed their lyrics too. It would be wrong to forget about that part of Jake. He was passionate about his favorite rappers, like Earl Sweatshirt, Kendrick Lamar, Tyler the Creator, Flatbush Zombies, and Isaiah Rashad. The rappers who he closely followed aren’t included in the trap lane of hip hop, but violence and drugs can be found in their lyrics, too, just in a different capacity. For example, violence is shown in Kendrick Lamar’s lyrics to “m.A.A.d city” when Lamar raps “Pakistan on every porch is fine, we adapt to crime.” In Lamar’s lyrics, he’s using imagery of the neighborhood he grew up in to set the premise for violence that will follow in the rest of the song. Trap music often doesn’t use violent imagery in the lyrics to speak on a bigger issue, violence itself is the main topic of the song. Whenever I play Isaiah Rashad’s “Sun’s Tirade,” I go back to the last time I spent with Jake at my 20th birthday party. I can see his boyish smile and hear his laughter fill up my sister’s kitchen. When I listen to Jake’s favorite songs and artists, he’s no longer dead, but there with me bobbing his head to a melodic beat. There are other times when I’m listening to a song about “pushing weight” and “slanging crack” that I’m embarrassed. The glorification of selling drugs could be part of the reason Jake was murdered. Jake was unemployed at the time of his murder. He was selling weed to make ends meet while looking for work. Not once have I considered Jake a horrible person for selling weed, but sometimes I play a scenario in my head where he wasn’t let go from his job and didn’t sell weed on the side. Where these boys weren’t lured by their desire for weed and money to Jake and he’s
alive today. No matter how often I romanticize this alternate reality for him, it doesn’t bring Jake back to life. I’m not foolish. I know many people who’ve sold weed to financially make it to the next job that are alive today, but my gut tells me that if Jake wasn’t selling weed, then he would still be alive. My guilt over Jake’s death intensifies when I think about how I knew he sold weed and I didn’t intervene and help him consider other options, when I think about how I’ve smoked weed he sold with friends. I can’t rule out the possibility that the music Jake and I were passionate about may have led him in a direction to start selling weed. No matter what led Jake to sell weed, he lost his life because a group of heartless teenage boys decided to rob Jake of $100 worth of weed, and one of the boys had to go a step further and shoot him. There was no reason for Jake to be shot. He didn’t own a gun. Jake disliked guns. After his funeral, his mother told me that a week before Jake’s death, she had asked Jake to go to the gun range with her, but he declined. He reminded her that he didn’t like guns, but wanted to spend time with her, just not at a gun range. Jake shouldn’t have died at the hands of a gun. He could’ve survived if one of the boys had stayed with him and called for help, but instead he died alone on a cold February night. Not one of the boys in the car called 9-1-1. A premeditated act that violent and cruel doesn’t happen overnight. It took years of hate and disregard of life for the shooter to pull the trigger and snatch Jake off this earth. I don’t want to believe that hip hop played the slightest role in the shooter killing Jake. That’s why I still listen to it sometimes, as if nothing happened. I can’t delete violent rap from my music library because I understand the importance of creative self-expression. Young Thug has reiterated this importance time and time again. My love for Young Thug isn’t just about his music, but also how he continues to push boundaries through fashion and masculinity. He isn’t scared to wear a dress or
send love to his friends in ways homophobic people label as gay. He takes the narrative that America has created for black men and twists it in the most genuine and authentic ways possible. His confidence about who he is in an industry that is known for being sexist and homophobic is freeing to witness and is inspirational. These are reasons why I would be okay with Landon listening to Young Thug. It’s my job as his mother to make sure he knows the difference between rappers expressing their experiences through their music and his own reality. There will also be a time I’ll have to tell him about Jake and his murder. Jake got to meet Landon once when Landon was three months old. Jake meeting Landon wasn’t coincidental. Landon will know Jake was a beautiful soul and will learn from his tragic death. Landon will be able to listen to violent rap because it’s important that he has an insight into that world. Part of being a well-rounded person is being exposed to different walks of life, and music is a great way to do that. I’m confident in the work I’ve put into being a parent, and the work I’ll continue to put into being a parent, that I don’t have to hide the world from Landon. My parents did an amazing job of raising my sister and me, and one of the ways they did that was by letting us experience the world with minimal restrictions. I was listening to DMX and Wu-Tang at a young age. My parents exposing me to hip hop that discussed mature content helped me mature at a younger age and be an empathetic kid. Landon deserves that same experience. A violent and unloving household creates a violent teen. Rap music doesn’t. I understand these rappers have seen murder up close and escaped poverty and death, and putting their experiences in lyrics may be a free form of therapy. Recently, the discussions about PTSD has begun to include people from areas with high crime rates and poverty. Traumatic events don’t just happen overseas during war, but at home
in America, too. The two options made most popular in the media and in the black community on how to escape poverty, jail, and death are playing a sport and earning a college scholarship or rapping and signing a contract. I do stand behind the saying “dream big,” but realistically, every child won’t go onto the pros or grace the cover of Rolling Stone. Being a doctor, writer, nurse, lawyer, pharmacist, engineer, accountant, or business owner isn’t discussed enough as an option for kids to escape their situations. Who am I to tell a rapper who has beat becoming a statistic that they are morally wrong for rapping about what they’ve seen? When the bass and autotune are removed, rap at its core is America’s oldest human tradition. Rap is storytelling. Rap successfully captures the human struggle like the works of James Baldwin and Sylvia Plath do. Since people discredit an experience they can’t directly relate to, the stories of triumph, pain, and suffering are misunderstood and scrutinized by the majority. Rap is documentation and a form of black history more credible than what’s published in some history books. Until rap is recognized as the bridge between history and art, it will be under-appreciated and misunderstood. It’s tough to tell someone not to rap about guns, money, clothes, and hoes when the same content is intertwined with stories from their day-to-day lives. When this same content provides them with an income to move their family out of poverty or pay for their little sister or brother’s college tuition, and maybe pays for trauma therapy, how could someone discredit rap as a necessary form of storytelling? The same lyrics that could be looked at as negative are the same lyrics that keep these rappers awake at night and fighting their demons. If putting these traumatic events into a song results in sleeping better at night or being a better husband or father, then I’m the one who is morally wrong and pathetic. I can’t ignore that some of the rappers in the trap style do find interesting ways to talk about
violence and drugs. It’s not simple and easy. On Future’s track “Codeine Crazy,” he raps “Fuck the fame, I’m sipping lean when I’m driving all this cash and it ain’t nowhere to hide it I’m an addict and I can’t even hide it.” These lyrics show vulnerability and look at codeine through a different perspective. He doesn’t glorify the drug; he admits to being an addict. “Codeine Crazy” isn’t just a well-crafted song. It also discusses a deeper and darker truth in hip hop that addiction is in control of many of these rappers’ lives. The tone throughout the song is eerie because the fact that Future knows he’s addicted to codeine makes the song beautiful. It’s confessional and honest. My perspective on enjoying violent lyrics changes every few days. Some days I don’t beat myself up about it and put Jake’s violent death on pause. The hate in my heart is at ease when I can understand none of these rappers had a direct effect on Jake’s death. The shooter didn’t kill Jake because of music. He had an unstable homelife and had been a troubled kid since middle school. He had just gotten off probation the morning before the night he killed Jake. His family members’ attempt to defend his actions are proof that there were deeper problems that contributed to the murder. Other days, I’m disgusted with myself for enjoying the lyrics to these songs. I would be in denial if I didn’t admit some of these same rappers have killed people and aren’t ashamed to talk about that in their music. I haven’t made a firm decision on how I feel about music that has consistently played a soundtrack to my life. Maybe one day I’ll delete all the Young Thug and Migos albums out of my library and replace them with more jazz music, but that would be me denying part of my identity. Until then, I’m going to keep listening, while simultaneously thinking about Jake and the joy he brought to my life.
The Paradox of Divine Smiles On the cusp of my life your voice rings in my ear. You can’t. You won’t. Never going to happen. —Quit Singing Jayson! Betrayal and Trust like a locket snapped together weighs heavy on my chest. Pounding the echo rings out memories dripping from mind. Heart stops —infected with doubt— —Father May I, and my life became your game. Nurtured not, the pawn moves two spaces. Yes sir. No sir. On my way sir. A third became a fourth, and the game continued. To the end of the line where sacrifices were made. Moved from the board a pawn exiled from play. Rules now boundless. Kings usurped. The board overthrone. Gathering Magic became my play.
Paradox defined, my contradictions my power, no matter how unnatural they frame. The Twists of Fates, and life is the game. Ready and whipped by conquered Time. We play with our souls by roles inflicted divine. Scars Removed. Curses Rejected. I am. I will. Already have. And Singing Be Damned—I Soar, I Fly, but most of all I Smile Divine—quite simply just fine.
Find the author’s reading of this poem online at the QR code below:
Artist Statement: Two years ago, I cut my hair from under my shoulders to a very short buzz cut and it was the most liberating feeling I have experienced. Since then, I have been actively challenging the societal norms of gender, taking and adapting aspects as I saw fit for myself. I identify as nonbinary, and this piece physically shows how my gender flows and blends in my daily life through the blending of the ink that represents the two stereotypical genders. 58
My Mother’s Magic When I dressed as Catwoman for Halloween my mother called the skintight suit beautiful not slutty while I cracked my leather whip she wouldn’t let me read the books she loved they had leather whips too that didn’t matter to me they couldn’t compare to the stories she read me as a child fairy tales of witches and werewolves some sweet some scary I never knew which I preferred they all taught me to suspend my disbelief taught me magic could exist maybe already exists maybe there was magic in the aerosol cans my mother spent two hours emptying until each layer of my hair leaked black ooze or maybe in the solidifying makeup she applied to create scars on volunteer zombies magic had to exist my mother’s heart pumped magic through her veins I hoped she would teach me her art
Artist Statement: This is a photo of something that would be considered an everyday object to people. This Edison lightbulb is located at my work and Iâ€™ve always had an interest with it, but getting up close with a camera changed what I believed to be ordinary into something more than that. 60
Between Depression and Happiness
Artist Statement: This was a project done for the Drawing I class at the University of Indianapolis. We were all prompted to create a sort of internal self-portrait. This one includes an internal battle that I have/have had with wanting to be productive, happy, and passionate, while things like depression, disappointment, and illness keep me held back. This piece is about 16 by 24 inches and is done entirely in black and white colored pencil. 61
Postpartum Depression The demons that inhabited my body were unkind to my well-being and mocked my cries. They gathered around a round table and placed men outside the car door. I screamed to my mother lock the door she wasnâ€™t alarmed, no one was there. She hadnâ€™t looked at me the same in eight months. My best friend described me as a shell of myself. An out of body crisis. My memory deceived me but I do know the cabbage leaves in my bra left linear imprints on my milk-filled breasts.
I hadn’t slept for days “Human Nature” by Michael Jackson mimicked a lullaby for my screaming infant. I doubted my abilities as a mother looked down at the vulnerable boy in my arms and asked my demons to discard of me.
Slip Trail Flower Vase
Artist Statement: These are some of my stoneware artworks from my senior year.
Burned Down Dreams
Artist Statement: “Burned Down Dreams” is focused more on the theme of storytelling. It gives viewers a glimpse of what happened to this house, but it doesn’t tell the full story of what happened.
Cloud Factories As a child I believed factory towers made the clouds. Maybe not all of the clouds but at least the dark ones that brought rain. I didn’t think of science, of transpiration, evaporation, condensation. I certainly did not think of God. I didn’t yet know that pollution existed, that it’s the reason our sunsets are so beautiful: humans’ trash turned into God’s art.
Our Monsters Keep to the Darkness
Artist Statement: This is an illustrated piece for a cover to my work-in-progress graphic novel. It was done virtually in Photoshop and depicts the main character of the novel walking toward their monster, a main theme of this story. 68
The Cursor at the End of O’Shea (with a tip of the hat to Franz Kafka)
Harvey knew he was in trouble when he stared at the writing prompt and drew a blank. Writing is always about the second line, and Harvey didn’t have one. The cursor blinked at the end of “Carl Bentkowski knew he was in trouble when his Witness Protection officer gave him the name Martin Flynn O’Shea.” Harvey stared at the period after O’Shea, worried because this wasn’t just any case of writer’s block. This wasn’t just awakening at 2:30 in the morning, getting dressed, grabbing a coffee, and drawing a blank. This morning he’d awakened with a bomb strapped to his chest and instructions written in mirror-reverse that said “1,000 words from this writing prompt by 10 a.m. or you die.” The cursor at the end of “O’Shea” blinked in an odd syncopation with the katydids outside and the LED on the bomb inside, distracting him as the seconds ticked off, eating away the time until 10 a.m. Had this been anything like a normal day, he’d have gotten up when the 6 a.m. alarm rang, made coffee and an English muffin with raisins slathered in cream cheese, and gone off to the office for another dandy day of pushing paper and dealing with insubordinate subordinates. Normally, that petty hell was enough to drain its little slice of his soul with great regularity. Today, he sat at his computer wearing his sleep shirt and a bomb vest, waiting for it to drain the rest of his soul when 9:59:59 became 10:00:00. He looked down at the word count in the processor’s frame. After the prompt’s 19 words, he had managed to add exactly none. Perhaps if the bomb had been attached last week, when he awoke about 4 a.m. and cranked out one of his best stories. In minutes, an observation about a guy who 69
wore a sandwich sign rolled off the top of his head to join the pile of unpublished stories he kept meticulous multiple copies of on his laptop, hard drive backup, and the thumb drive he named ‘Travelling Writer.’ It was his first story in a year, and it fairly flew onto the page as fast as he could type. This morning, he was sure Carl Bentkowski’s Witness Protection officer was going to get them both killed. He could blame it on the discomfort of the dynamite sticks chafing his arms as he sat at the keyboard. He could blame it on the blinking LED light reflecting in the blank document on his laptop screen. It was only after a hundred of his 27,000 remaining seconds passed that it dawned on him the real culprit was whoever had strapped a bomb on his chest while he slept. Normally, Harvey considered himself a light sleeper. Last night, knowing his Coffee House Sunday Writer’s Group had amped him up on four large cups of Rolling Thunder, he took a Sominert tablet before bed in the hope Monday would dawn with a few hours sleep before facing the weekly mill of Ten Thousand Petty Frustrations and the employment hazard called Director Lydia Stanley. So he could lay the blame on the Sominert tablet. If he somehow got past Martin Flynn O’Shea and survived the bomb, he would sue the makers of Sominert, GSD Pharmaceuticals. At least, they were the only visible cause he could link to his brush with death. If, that is, he got past Martin Flynn O’Shea. The invisible cause of his problem, the sneaky bomber who managed to strap dynamite to his chest while he slept, most likely lacked deep pockets, like Harvey, and would have a hard time paying out a settlement should he lose the suit and be forced to pay for damages and stress and the thousand shocks that flesh is heir to when it wakes up with a bomb strapped to its chest. As the cursor blinked and the katydids croaked, sleep began pulling at him. Harvey gave thought to setting the alarm for 6 a.m. and going back to bed in the hope he would 70
awaken fresh with ideas, some brilliant second line that would follow “Carl Bentkowski knew he was in trouble when his Witness Protection officer gave him the name Martin Flynn O’Shea.” It was 3:20, and Harvey wondered if he could afford to sleep off 9,600 or so seconds in the hope he would awaken fresh and creative with the 6 a.m. alarm. If he went back to bed, at best he’d have only 14,400 seconds left to move Mr. O’Shea to the next line. And worse, he’d only have 3,600 seconds before he’d have to call in sick. He couldn’t tell Ms. Stanley there was a bomb strapped to his chest waiting for him to solve Mr. O’Shea’s problem. He may as well complain to her that the seconds of his life were ticking off while he sat in his dark corner office, looking past the cubicles to catch the passage of the daylight, looking past the window washers to catch the procession of the seasons. Day after day, year after year, he sat in darkness, solving Ms. Stanley’s problems, not Mr. O’Shea’s. Hour after hour, second after second, grinding down his life in the dull sameness of correcting small errors in unimportant books that would shortly end up at Goodwill or the pulping mills. That wasn’t Ms. Stanley’s problem any more than Martin Flynn O’Shea was Carl Bentkowski’s Witness Protection officer’s problem. Either way, his life was ticking away. One situation just had a shorter timer, a measured, known amount before the clock ran out. It certainly changed his perspective knowing his life was measured in seconds. That was just as true in his dark corner office as it was sitting here staring at the blinking cursor and the hypothetical reflection of the blinking LED from the hypothetical bomb. There was poetry in that. He’d long lived his life like he had no timer on it. Once he’d gotten a call from a man selling plots in a cemetery. He was a newly minted member of a church cult that preached the world’s end in a few years, and yet Harvey told the salesman he planned to live forever. Even after he left the 71
cult, long after heâ€™d deprogrammed himself, his baseline attitude to death had never changed. Whether watching reruns on TV or tinkering with toy trains, he never gave thought to the seconds of his life tick tick ticking away. As the hands that he considered his best feature aged, as the veins got larger and the lines got deeper, he used them with the same nonchalance toward time and eternity. Perhaps thatâ€™s what Mr. Bentkowski needed to think about, not how a Pole would pass for Irish in a pulp detective novel. Perhaps thatâ€™s what Harvey needed to think about. Not how to please Ms. Stanley, but how to write himself out of his dark corner office.
Contributor Biographies Annika Radabaugh is a sophomore at the University of Indianapolis from the west suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. Much of her writing is in the form of short stories and poems. She finds her inspiration by seeking unique views on elements of life, and her writing generally seeks to capture such. Brooklyn Raines is a senior creative writing major. Bryson Hile is a senior studying professional writing at the University of Indianapolis. After he graduates in the spring of 2019, he hopes to enter video game journalism or screenwriting. He is currently working on an original television script that he hopes will become a Netflix Original one day. If he isn’t writing, then he is watching movies or making fish puns for the halibut. Cathy Watness currently lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, and has always been very passionate about writing. She firmly believes that artists weave truths through lies and hopes she has done her part in honoring this timeless tradition, as well as entertained. Several of her poems, photographs, and her short story “Mirror Girls” have been featured in the University of Indianapolis’ literary journal Etchings. Her poem “Rubrum Sancti” is featured in Indiana’s Best Emerging Poets. Her poem “For Rita” is featured in America’s Emerging Poets 2018: Midwest Region. Chelsea Keen is a self-proclaimed “professional mess” who is obsessed with reading. Chelsea is a professional/creative writing major at the University of Indianapolis. 74
Cheyenne Granger is a junior at the University of Indianapolis studying studio art. She enjoys creating work that focuses on abstraction and the unnatural. By combining colors, shapes, and textures, she attempts to create interest in her work beyond the content. Her goal is to make work that “tickles your brain.” Darrin Isaac is an Indianapolis composer specializing in liturgical music, primarily writing compositions for church choirs. Isaac is an alumni of the University of Indianapolis (Class of 2015) and is currently pursuing masters studies in Music Ministry at Garrett Theological Evangelical Seminary. Jessica Marvel is a writer and artist. She is currently studying creative writing at the University of Indianapolis and is having fun even if you don’t see it. She is currently working on a graphic novel about mental disorders, and she would love to talk to anyone about it who will listen (or you can just read it at atigriscreates.weebly.com). Also about her cat. She will talk about that. Despite being a double major in creative writing and professional writing at the University of Indianapolis, Kylie Seitz spends most of her time actively avoiding any actual writing, academic or otherwise. As such, she is currently mastering the arts of baking banana bread, sliding in her fluffy socks on hardwood floors (and sometimes the university’s tile hallways), and powerlifting. As Luke Garrigus awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a composer. MacKenzie Estrada is a junior at the University of Indianapolis. She studies professional writing with a concentration in editing and publishing. She loves to spend 75
her free time reading as many books as she can and teaching dance to young children. She hopes to become a book editor so she can spend the rest of her life doing what she loves: reading. Mackenzie Hyatt is a freshman at the University of Indianapolis and is currently majoring in creative writing and minoring in theater. Her favorite book is A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini and she is (still) trying to carve her way through War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. Her passions include never making too much sense, never knowing whether it’s “theatre” or “theater,” and never spelling “piece” correctly. Maiya Johnson is a junior at the University of Indianapolis studying professional writing. She currently works full time and attends school full time while living with her boyfriend and their many pets. Most of her free time includes listening to music, writing depressing poetry, watching comedy TV, and cooking creative new meals whenever she can. She hopes to get an editing job or just something she loves doing. Naomi Coleman is a junior at the University of Indianapolis. She is currently majoring in professional writing and minoring in communications. She spends much of her time at home, wearing a onesie and watching Netflix. Her hobbies include reading, writing, and singing until everyone else is tired of hearing it. Nrmeen Jundi is a Saudi female in her senior year as a studio art major with a concentration in ceramics. She has received awards from the University of Indianapolis for her ceramics and sculptures and was recently accepted into the University’s MA program. She is a mother to a five year old son. Art is simply her life. 76
OJ Moor is currently a senior visual communication design major with a minor in digital photography. Their passion for their artwork is inspired by how social and cultural issues affect the minority groups that they inhabit and that exist around them. Through their photography, print work, and design they strive to give voice to people whose experiences have been stifled. This is their third semester submitting to Etchings. Reagan Moorman is a senior studying art therapy with concentrations in painting and ceramics. Riley Childers is a junior professional writing major and with a minor in digital photography. She loves to explore Indiana for possible photo opportunities and hopes to expand her adventures outside of her home state. Rob Springer is an older (> 66 years) relatively new (< 3 years) adjunct teacher of English at the University of Indianapolis. If stories and poems came as quickly as trouble, heâ€™d be writing all the time. Sara Perkins is an undergraduate at the University of Indianapolis, majoring in professional writing and minoring in creative writing. A friend once told her that she is the level of hipster he someday wished to achieve, and she thinks of that every time she huffs essential oils or eats tree bark. She has been published in Indianaâ€™s Best Emerging Poets, Young Adult Review Network, Indiana Review Online, Tributaries, and elsewhere. Shauna Sartoris engages in all things English, as is made evident by her double major in professional and creative writing and her minor in literary studies. When sheâ€™s not writing, Shauna enjoys (for the most part) spending long 77
hours in the Etchings Sky-High office, where she putters on InDesign with one hand and pulls out her hair with the other. Her favorite book tracks the statistics of word usage in famous literature. Taylor Kleyn is a senior biology and environmental science double major at the University of Indianapolis. He participates on the cross country and track teams for the university and is also a member of the UIndy Film Club. He was first inspired to write poetry from his dad. Trix Rosewood is a versatile artist with concentrated backgrounds in theater, painting, and writing mediums. He holds degrees in General Art, History, and English. He is currently a creative writing major at the University of Indianapolis and his greatest writing strengths include scifi/fantasy, poetry, and personal reflective essays. He strives to be a talent agent for artists, including writers, and finds great joy in helping other artists thrive.
Colophon The cover-page title is set in The Soul of Vodka. The cover-page subtitle, spine, and back page are set in Palatino. The title and contributor names are set in The Soul of Vodka. The body text is set in Palatino.
Call for Submissions Etchings Volume 32 Issue 1, Fall 2019 Submissions due at midnight on September 16, 2019 Guidelines for Submission: • 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, five visual materials, and five audio files 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. • Audio should be in .mp3 format and scores should be in .pdf, .jpeg, or .png format. • 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 Follow us @uindyetchings on the platforms below:
Etchings is a literary and fine arts magazine produced by student editors in ENG 379 at the University of Indianapolis.