HOBART PARK Spring 2021
HOBART PARK EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Ariel U. Chung & Cathy Xu PROSE EDITOR Jacina Hollins-Borges VERSE EDITOR Savanna Vest VISUAL ARTS EDITOR Adelle Patten COPY EDITOR Oona Roberts LAYOUT EDITORS Alice Berndt & Miguel Donado PROSE EDITOR APPRENTICE Anna Kate Daunt
Cover: Untitled | Emilie Hoke
to those who continue to recognize small wonders and inspire joy during trying times.
TABLE OF CONTENTS Editors' Note | Ariel Chung & Cathy Xu || 1 Self-Expressions of Love | Cathy Xu || 3 三点水1 (Excerpted) | Cathy Xu || 4 Criss | Chloe Pitkoff || 6 Cross | Chloe Pitkoff || 7 The Beach | Alex Loeb || 9 Untitled | Morgan Oestereich || 11 Lights in Atlanta | Ariel Chung || 12 Referential Mania | Miguel Donado || 15 Still Life | Miguel Donado || 16 Delacroix's Orphan Girl | Miguel Donado || 19 Ipsy | Lorena James || 23 My Mother's Creed | Khôi Nguyên Trinh || 24 Stare at the Dot | Sarah Zhang || 24 AAAAAHHHHH | Chloe Pitkoff || 29
EDITORS' NOTE Dear Reader, As the pandemic continues, our Davidson community remains separated from each other on campus, by states, and even countries. However, each of us has found alternative ways to connect and build new spaces. Our Spring 2021 issue is a testimony to the persistence of the art community and the creative expressions that student artists have continued to engage in, despite and because of our circumstances. We are proud to present to you a collection of art and writing that varies in styles and medium and addresses topics of personal and societal significance. As we have collectively lost so much, it is ever more important to appreciate the small wonders of life. We hope that this issue and the pieces our artists have created will inspire you to share your own joys with those around you. Cathy Xu and Ariel U. Chung, on behalf of the editorial staff.
Self-Expressions of Love | Cathy Xu
三点水1 (Excerpted) Cathy Xu
My Chinese name was an afterthought. My father named me “加宁2,” and in one name, gave me both a homeland and a hometown and bound me to a reference of duality. Perhaps it was the gap between the two lands that made her say I lacked water in my name— made her change my name anew, add 三点水, and fill the drought between. She told me my old name is not to be spoken, and the changes not to be explained. So now, I carry with me my 三点水— heavy with an alternative world and future and ancestral rage, shaped by the touch of my tongue between my teeth.
Directly translated: “three dots/points of water,” commonly seen as “氵” as part of Chinese words associated with water. 1
The “加” is from “加拿大” (Canada), and the “宁” comes from “宁波” (Ningbo, a city in China’s Zhejiang province). 2
Criss | Chloe Pitkoff
Cross | Chloe Pitkoff
The Beach Alex Loeb
I long for the days when I no longer fit. As I look, I listen, and I know That beauty comes with age. I find it strange that the young want to be just alike. Fitting among the many grains of sand, Making up the sun-bleached coast. As the sun rose above the water, we sat, Dreaming of the future, and remembering our past. It would wash away soon, But at the moment, that did not matter. It was life itself to leave an imprint on that beach. To write our names in the sand, Knowing all too well it would be wiped clean by the tides. Drawing in and out, the tides stood watch, Making sure no mark would last too long, And no grain would remain on that beach beyond its fair share. I look back, now, Remembering my days on the beach. I sang, I danced, and I howled at the moon. I look down from the rocky cliffs. Each day the tide guides indistinct grains of sand back to the ocean To emerge the next day as individuals.
Day in and day out, they escape the briny depths. Weathered, but their own And ready to step onto solid ground. They do not look back as they make their first steps out of the dunes, But one day they will join me on my perch, Watching the sand recede into its scourge and return a giant. They are so beautiful. So young.
Untitled | Morgan Oestereich
Lights in Atlanta | Ariel U. Chung
Referential Mania Miguel Donado
It’d been weeks since the last time Old Man Ulysses left his house. The last time he was seen, he was pushing along a ridiculous line of shopping carts, stuffed with half-open bags. Every few steps, an item would drop, clank, and roll along the sidewalk. They were swiftly picked up and carried by Jack, a cheerful mutt that wagged his tail alongside his master. Old Man Ulysses went on and on, stocking up supplies before his next trip,worrying over how to feed what was left of his crew for the remainder of his journey back home. No one was quite sure what Old Man Ulysses did. It was said that he was a businessman, back when businessmen were the only people who could afford to travel the world, but the inconsistency and absurdity of his recollections ultimately put an end to that rumor. The consensus was that he was just an old man. His identity was a mystery as well, but he had gone by Ulysses for as long as anyone in town could remember. They decided that the old man settled on his name, because Ahab, Illyich, Candide, and all the other literary heroes were already taken. It had been months since the last incident—the last major one, at least. Every few months, he was seen scuttling across town, sneaking behind trees and light posts to hide from some mystical creature only he could see. The first time—when he cursed Neptune as he was supposedly dragged by a storm and drowned in the middle of the sidewalk—caused some fuss; the parents did not want their kids speaking of nymphs and goddesses that they could not pronounce. Sometimes, the children would play along, sliding under the tentacles and jumping away from the waves that crashed against the imaginary ship. But eventually, they grew up and got new toys
Still Life | Miguel Donado
before the old man ever reached Ithaca. And even the sympathy of the gentle, educated people who pointed him towards upstate New York in a map was quickly exhausted as the old man went back to his old ways day after day. Over time, the incidents became a sort of holiday: an event the townspeople eagerly expected and celebrated every few months. As more time passed, they became just another block in their schedule until they were eventually ignored. The next generations were taught by their parents to keep to their own lives, and no other kid was ever seen ducking or dodging invisible monsters. Once, Ulysses spent an entire week sleeping under a bridge, tenderly sobbing every morning. When either the sun or the ongoing traffic above his head woke him up, the old man teared up and etched two more tally marks on the concrete wall, lamenting that two more of his sailors had been eaten. When the man got tired of counting the days and the deaths, he painstakingly wrote every letter of the sentence, “Done by Nobody,” into one of the columns, before stabbing a tall column in its dead center with his walking cane, right in the eye of the cyclops that kept him and his companions trapped. Ulysses limped away from the scene a few minutes before rush hour and shared a victory breakfast with Jack, who had been patiently wagging his tail by his master’s front door. The garbage men had cleaned up the sticks in the morning shift, and his marks slowly blended back into a generic cinder block. It had been years since Ulysses’s brain stopped being what it used to—or, rather, what he claimed it used to be. In his scattered moments of lucidity, he claimed that whatever crazy-house he was put into had ruined his brilliance, and they probably did, before they eventually gave up on the old man and set him free to continue his journey back home. Back when he had friends, he would tell them about his glory days, before Troy. Now, only Jack would listen to him, during the few
minutes he stayed on the old man’s lawn to be fed. He went on and on about his glory days, when his intellect was greater than any other mortal, back when he talked to the gods. Now, his memories were blending into each other, and the only consistent thought that strung them together was a strong desire to go back. He did not know exactly where or when he wanted to return to, but he knew that it was not here nor now. It was the sixth night since Old Man Ulysses last got up from his deathbed—the same bed he had slept in for his entire life. And, like in the good old days, the latest of his antics caused some minor inconvenience to his next-door neighbor. He was awakened by a starving Jack scratching his paws against the fence as his master hadn’t fed him in days. The gods must have warned the old man that his adventures were coming to an end, as he stocked up his ship for himself and the small crew he had left. During his last days, Ulysses was visited by his mother, whom he had not seen in years. Soon after, Achilles, Hector, and Paris—far past their fighting years—came by the old man’s house to give his soul some much-needed strength. He was as delusional and determined to finally prove that he was, in fact, the divine Ulysses as he’d never been before. As the old man grew sicker, the visitors transformed into sirens, just like the gods had warned him. Their voices called him, and Ulysses was struck by great temptation. He considered jumping into the sea, but his desire to finally reach Ithaca was greater than any other emotion he could measure. He maneuvered expertly around the seafoam-covered rocks and yelled at his sailors to cover their ears to not fall for the mermaids’ charms. He could not find any beeswax for himself, so he tied himself to his bed to hear the song of his own thoughts. Ulysses spent his last days reliving his best. The old man dreamed of steering his ship once more, of commanding his men into the battlefield. He remembered the park where his childhood friends would duck and dodge arrows, swords,
Delacroix's Orphan Girl | Miguel Donado
and spears. He remembered the war, Troy, Achilles, and Hector, and the times when the gods talked to him. He remembered running back to his mother, exhausted. He remembered home. Ulysses thought that the increasingly loud knocks he heard coming from his door were the last storm his old ship would have to face. The sight of Ithaca brought a smile to his face, but his mission was not yet completed. The doctor, nurses, and curious neighbors eventually broke in, followed shyly by Jack. The man untied himself and jumped out of bed in joy— he had finally reached the shore. In a final wind of strength conceded to him by the gods, the man held his cane by one end and stepped on it halfway down its length as though he were stringing a bow. The man reached for an arrow from his imaginary quiver and shot it at the wall directly in front of him. He saw the arrow burrow itself between the bricks. “See? I am, in fact, the divine Ulysses!” The old man fell flat on his back—eyes closed and a childlike grin on his face. The doctors and nurses wrote “Divine Ulysses” alongside a few other notes, checked the time, and struggled to find the old man’s heartbeat. The neighbors moved on to the next thing on their schedule. Jack snuck himself next to Ulysses and carefully placed his head on his master’s chest with his tail snuggled around himself, and the two peacefully rested.
Ispy | Lorena James
My Mother's Creed Khôi Nguyên Trinh I want God to look like my mom in her 30s, sitting on Phan Thiết's beach, wearing a polka-dotted shirt and polka-dotted pants and black sandals. I want God to have a loose perm with a straw sun hat instead of a crown of thorns. Our home will be the church, the ceilings cracked, threatening to cave. I’ll sit on our checker-patterned sofa like a pew, kneeling on tiles slick from humidity. The altar will be wherever my mom is. Her hands, the aspergillum, sprinkling rainwater onto herbs growing from cinder blocks. With our sweat she’ll anoint me, sealing me with the spirits of lullabies and sneaking out of her dorm with friends. Over and over, she’ll whisper my name until a spool of golden thread binds our bodies. And then afterwards for communion, I’ll consume whatever we harvest from her garden. Let her body and blood stay hers. I want no salvation if it means her sacrifice.
In this version, there is no Judas. I promise to never kiss her cheek, leave her skin unmarked by betrayal. Agony doesn’t grow in our garden, just Thai basil and mint and kumquats. In this version, I choose to stay, to abandon returning, because I will always find myself beside my mom, listening to her sermons on washing rice or drying flowers for seeds until I don’t know the difference between hôm nay con muốn ăn gì and amen.
Stare at the Dot | Sarah Zhang
AAAAAHHHHH | Chloe Pitkoff