LITERARY AND ARTS MAGAZINE Volume 8 Fall 2017
LITERARY AND ARTS MAGAZINE Volume 8 Fall 2017 A Production of the Hofstra English Society
Some pieces featured in Font may be upsetting for certain audiences.
HOFSTRA ENGLISH SOCIETY 203 Student Center Hofstra University Hempstead, NY 11549 firstname.lastname@example.org facebook.com/hofstraenglishsociety twitter.com/hofengsoc instagram.com/hofenglishsociety issuu.com/hofstraenglishsociety Cover art: “Reading,” Sharon Rus
HEAD COPY EDITOR
ASSOCIATE DESIGN EDITOR
COPY EDITORS Hannah Dolan
GENERAL STAFF Amelia Beckerman
Rachel Elizabeth Frank
Claire Helena Feasey
Eric Brogger Craig Rustici Scott Harshbarger Denise DeGennaro Hofstra University English Department
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR -IN-CHIEF I am a firm believer in the idea that literature belongs to the reader, not the author. Art belongs to the public, and every interpretation is valid and meaningful. This can be incredibly difficult for creators to respect, as within the pages of this magazine, artists have bared their souls for the public to consume, and there is always a deep fear of being misunderstood. Here is where we tell our stories, some fictitious, some not, and though it can be scary to share in this way, we do this for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you don’t “get” poetry. Anyone can open these pages and feel something, and not necessarily “get” the message – the experience is valuable no matter what. I hope you pick up this magazine and laugh, or cry, or even feel a little confused. I deeply hope you read something, or look at something, and think “This is a story about myself.” Because art is for everyone, and it’s about everyone. Art connects us all, art is what makes us human. I want to thank every single person who submitted. Knowing that you trust us with your art is incredibly meaningful, and I hope you all keep submitting every semester that you’re here. I also want to thank every single person who has worked on this magazine. I love working on this so much, and I love all of you as well. I very literally could not do this without every single person on the staff. Every voice is valued. Sarah Robbins, Editor-in-Chief, Font
CONTENTS MOTHMAN IS MY REAL DAD Neckie Plants are Friends Garden Flowers in Color, 1943 Then and There Untitled 3 Lowkey Breakdown in Denny’s Things I Didn’t Know Weren’t Normal Or At Least Gives You Lung Cancer don’t remember well i try my hand at being concise A Monologue to be Done Under a Sheet The Lovers in Four The Worst Case Scenario Cracking Under Pressure intrusive thoughts Why Karl Marx was Right... Enough Hurts and Mischances Poet for Hire RAGE, SING, GODDESS... The Serated Secuction WHERE IN THE WORLD... making iced coffee for four days... Have You Tried Yoga? Floating long island rail road Beauty’s Special Westerly is Right on the Border of CT Untitled 2 Fridge Magnets
10 10 11 11 12 13 13 14 16 17 18 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 29 29 30 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 37
Nick Rizzuti Mika Hawley Danielle Ribaudo Regina Volpe Megan Byrd Emma Kern Regina Volpe Anna O’Brien Mika Hawley Peter Soucy Oluwafoyinsayemi Robin Deering Robin Deering Julie Smith Sharon Rus Rose Sheppard Sharon Rus Julia Gurrola Olivia Beaton Nick Rizzuti A Fletch ‘20 Nick Rizzuti madison fitzpatrick Aleks Gustafson Sharon Rus R. Carlin Peter Soucy Sarah Robbins Emma Kern Amelia Beckerman
Mika Hawley Sharon Rus Alex Markle Sharon Rus Amelia Beckerman Emma Kern Sarah Cordes Jessica Bajorek Dana Aprigliano Olivia Beaton Olivia Beaton Giulia Baldini Giulia Baldini Giulia Baldini Oluwafoyinsayemi Claire Helena Feasey Hannah Aronowitz Samantha Storms Robin Deering Murecia Brister Dana Aprigliano Rachel Elizabeth Frank Ava Grace Regina Volpe Amelia Beckerman Amelia Beckerman Danielle Ribaudo Sarah Robbins
41 42 44 44 45 47 48 49 49 50 50 51 51 51 52 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 62 64 64 65 66 67
Orange Alien Of Jeans, Genes and Worms Musée des Beaux Ants Natural Dreams IF YOU SQUINT HARD ENOUGH... Untitled 1 I Saw Him on Broadway Ghost Hand Dead Pines there is no story that is not true Litter How Are You? I Don’t Care. I...Whatever. Passing Three Film Majors and a Girl... soft 90s vaporwave night terrors Fruit of My Womb Bones Choke Hold Concrete Soul Constellations An Unopened Letter to Van Gogh Hillside Budapest, 2017 dĕti Silence Advice Column: the Israeli Palestinian Conflict
MOTHMAN IS MY REAL DAD Nick Rizzuti
I was the kind of town that aliens might visit. You were a secret FBI cover-up program. Your soul was the government. Your limbs were special agent Nick Rizzuti. Look at him, driving to the Main Street Diner for shitty coffee. Look at his big dumb briefcase full of amnesia inducing drugs. The mad supernova eyes of the citizens. The idiot trees.
“Neckie,” Mika Hawley
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“Plants Are Friends,” Danielle Ribaudo
GARDEN FLOWERS IN COLOR, 1943 Regina Volpe
Summer offers lavender, pink, deep red spikes blooms july to late september Winter tolerates without suffering to bloom red, white, and yellow leaves may die keep the dead ones to encourage bloom. FALL 2017 11
THEN AND THERE Megan Byrd
Mom used to tell me kindness is always the answer. At my Lutheran elementary school we used to watch videos of starving black children in Africa and be handed small purple boxes to collect change in. I still don’t think I understand how to eat meditatively. Oprah talks about how she also has this issue, so it must be real. I meet other women who have also never been loved and I feel better. It’s not only me. Sometimes I wish there was someone always there to explain the things that are too difficult to ask Google. Why do some people fall in love more than others? What will this mean? The only reason I watch people’s Snapchat stories anymore is to see who is getting bad tattoos. I saw one girl with a large comic-style gravestone on her arm commemorating a dead grandfather. I see butterflies on toes and peace signs with crosses in the middle. Some placed next to infinity signs from 2015. I came home to mold growing in the bottom of my mug shaped like a cow. I was too lazy to scrape out the leftover wheat cereal I ate in a tin cup one day so now I just don’t use it anymore. I really only ever hang out with the same two people. I think that’s how it’s supposed to be. Some days I don’t do anything and I tell people I did anyway. How do you non-depressingly tell someone you stared at a wall depressed for two hours? When I was a kid I used to see dogs and wonder what it was like to be a dog. When I was a kid I used to see adults and wonder what it was like to be an adult. Sometimes now I see a dog and I wonder what it’s like to have a dog. Sometimes now I see a kid, and I wonder what it’s like to be a kid. Rick and Morty keeps reminding that nothing matters. I keep reading Chuck Klosterman articles and wondering where the female Chuck Klosterman is. When I was a kid I wanted to be a 6′ 5″ white man with blonde hair, a good chin, a nice briefcase, and fantastic charisma. Sometimes I get on the elevator with a kid with blue hair. They always talk, to no one in particular, about everything on their mind. I’m the only one who ever looks at them and responds, or at least nods in reply when I don’t feel like speaking. And they look at me, and they know I’ve listened. We’ll say nothing when they get to their floor. And the doors will shut and I’ll think about that for the next sixty seconds. Mom always said kindness is the answer. I wonder if she knew how vague a piece of advice that is.
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“Untitled 3,” Emma Kern
LOWKEY BREAKDOWN IN DENNY’S Regina Volpe
And then tears mix with maple syrup, snot drips onto pancakes cut, not eaten; fluorescent tubes beam down our backs. Some stoner laughs into his grilled cheese.
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THINGS I DIDN’T KNOW WEREN’T NORMAL Anna O’Brien
Really, I didn’t know until high school maybe college That when people say that they’re nervous they mean they’re just a little worried because this test counts for a large part of their grade Not that they think they’re going to fail have to drop out never graduate never get a job never support a family Die alone Because when I say I’m nervous anxious I mean I can’t count my heartbeats because they’re going too fast and I don’t know if it’s because I’m walking so quickly or if it’s because I’m going to have a heart attack I mean my hands are kind of steady but my whole body feels like it’s on vibrate like there are bees in my ribcage buzzing around my heart down to my palms out my ears
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I mean my thoughts are either going so fast that I can’t even hear them or that I’m not having any at all Of course you’re having thoughts, they say I can’t hear them I mean I can’t eat because I feel like I’m going to throw up and I feel nauseous because I haven’t eaten But I drink a lot of water or I try to And coffee I didn’t know that when people say they’re depressed they really just mean they’re feeling a little down Not that they cried at the prospect of waking up in the morning or going to bed that night Because when I say I’m depressed numb I mean I’m emptier than the page this paper used to be and not even my organs feel like the words now covering it I mean I really did want to start all that homework that new book that long-overdue catch-up conversation But even though I was vibrating again I couldn’t do anything besides stare into space for hours I mean I wrote this poem past midnight with only the bees to keep me company. FALL 2017 15
“Or At Least Gives You Lung Cancer,” Mika Hawley
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DON’T REMEMBER WELL Peter Soucy
we were walking, but it was like they were one of our breads came with flowers even when I knew she showering and the door
was actually people because BJ’s would cut up our I was at some weird come over and watch sports mom, dad, and uncle the escalator fruits and cookies and breads We got these two zombie people like, “here’s your bike” It wasn’t brother riding city somehow escalator There was like a nine foot attack which was underground people and monsters didn’t all speak We prophetic because of it The first woke up in the home the way her hand felt in leaves without saying goodbye $1 for a BJ’s brand Life Savers so many smiles like a gigantic unmarked van the way that I bought her the Outer Banks we then saw an interview he had a caretaker how cool she was about everything her soft little voice when she we just kept driving and walking boat I flirt with in front gun they kill
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I TRY MY HAND AT BEING CONCISE Oluwafoyinsayemi
inspired by rupi kaur sometimes I feel not myself but more tree. -my double life
his ego is a roach. i take a step. -squish squish
midnight is not the witching hour but the enchanting hour. -i thrive 18 FONT MAGAZINE
laying in bed is the spa treatment we all need. -i’d like to do it all day
taylor swift is problematic but wow, those lyrics are great. -i stan (have you heard “the story of us”)
she was black -she was black
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A MONOLOGUE TO BE DONE UNDER A SHEET Robin Deering
Note for the actor: Inspiration for this performance can be directly connected to the Arthur Halloween episode “The Fright Stuff” (season four, episode three). Tonight, I have a conflict of the heart, the mind, and the spirit. Every year around the time the leaves turn crisp and the air sharp, my family embarks on a tradition. We travel with our people to a structure where the decay of the walls welcomes us home. From there we sit, awaiting our cue. Thus comes the most important day for my kind: Halloween. Now, do not blame me if you’ve been set on edge in the month of October. If you’ve experienced, perhaps, a strange noise that has sent you running for the hills, do not bellow my name out in anger. We supernaturals are just trying to make a living—uh, well, in this case a “deading”—just like the rest of you. We take our haunting very seriously, much like I assume you take your accounting or finance or whatever boring temp job you mortals say you’re doing “just until you find your calling.” Ghost rolls its eyes, but ghost is under a sheet, so you really have to sell it But this year, as my family rises from the ground to meet the tricksters looking for treats, just down the street is an event that calls my eerie spirit. It has nothing to do with pumpkin carvings or witches’ brooms. It goes beyond tired children dragging their candy bags down the block as dads trail behind hoping their wives still have that black cat costume from college. My true Hallows’ Eve calling: Pause for dramatic ghostly effect a dance recital. More specifically, a dance performance space in which visitors sign up for slots upon entry for their chance to dazzle on stage. Jazz hands, but again, you’re under a sheet, so sell it I feel torn; do I abandon my family, the ones who raised and loved me since death, in order to reconnect with my spirit through dance? But I must show someone my sweet skills and ability to move my body in ways man has never dreamed of. Oh, how I need to dance out my spooky woes and lay my deceased soul out on stage for everyone to see, all while keeping in three-quarter time. Ghost howling that starts off scary but quickly turns whiny and sad The howls and hauntings of Halloween night may be the only things holding my spirit back from my phantom dream. That, and the fact that tap shoes are extremely difficult to strap on when you don’t have feet. Ghost sigh Oh, how society’s strict body standards for dancers haunt me. The End
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“The Lovers in Four,” Robin Deering
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THE WORST CASE SCENARIO Julie Smith
I’m just afraid that I’ll fall off this cruise ship. What if I lean against the glass of my cabin window and it disappears? Well, I’d surely plummet 200 feet down into the Atlantic Ocean. Would the height be enough to injure me? Would that be enough to kill me? Would the water be freezing, even if it happened in the summer time? If I survived the fall, I’d obviously try screaming for help. If it happened in the middle of the day, hopefully a tourist would notice me. But if it happened at night, there might not even be a crew member patrolling the decks To notice and save me, to even know I was fighting against the untamed sea. In any case, I’d try grabbing on to any part of the vessel that I could But since nobody’s meant to be at water level, I’d probably just slip back in Since there’d be nothing to grab on to. Eventually the vessel would pass me by, Stranding me all alone in the middle of the soulless sea, Hundreds of nautical miles off the coast of a foreign land. I can’t swim very well. I can tread water for about five minutes in the pool, and then I need to rest on a wall. But there would be no wall out there to grab on to. I’m sure the snarky sharks would merely laugh at rather than eat me. Maybe an eel would try to help, but shock me with electricity and slither away in embarrassment. Sooner rather than later, I’d panic and start to drown. But then, what if something miraculous and perhaps even more terrifying happened? What if all the water drained out from around me like I was in a gigantic bathtub? What if all the water was sucked down an enormous drain at the Puerto Rico Trench? If I somehow survived the raging whirlpool along with the wildlife, what would be left? I’d fall thousands of feet below where sunlight reaches. Perhaps into the Hadal zone, near the bottom of the ocean? There’d be no pressure down there without any water, right? I don’t want to know what would become of all the creatures down there. Maybe the monstrous tadpoles and decapods would float around in independent little bubbles While I’d fumble around in complete darkness. God forbid I bumped into one of them. If nothing else already did, that would kill me. So I’m not going near any windows on this ship. I’m staying in the crystal atrium and watching all the shows in every theater. You can’t make me go near a window. You can do whatever you want with your life but not mine. I worked too hard to get in here To lose what I have just because I fell out of a stupid window. 22 FONT MAGAZINE
“Cracking Under Pressure,” Sharon Rus
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INTRUSIVE THOUGHTS Rose Sheppard
I’m trying to pay attention but i have some problems with and you have so many interesting things to say and i don’t want to miss a moment with
Your eyes are so beautiful
What does your hair look like when its pulled back? it’s just that i like to pretend I’m the moon but i think you might be the sea and I’m drowning in your tides so forgive me if i lose my train of thought when i get distracted by your lips and
I want to hold your hand
What would it feel like to kiss you?
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WHY KARL MARX WAS RIGHT ABOUT MY WATER BOTTLE
My heart soared when I spotted your clear face, and you reflected mine own eyes back at me. Bewitched by your shiny exterior, oh god, I swiped right so fast to get online and buy you. You, a perfect, baby blue, ohhhhh. I was somewhere floating on cloud nine as I let my fingers wrap around your hard shell, I thought, “Well, well, the Norwegians know how to satisfy their customers.” Yes sir, I got you before I knew where to insert that chip, and from then on, you were attached to my hip, bouncing on me like a beautiful, blue-eyed baby. Maybe I rushed in too quick. I know, but I didn’t know how to stop this impulse to buy, and that...that was my demise. On the third night, I noticed a smell and, well, dear bottle, you know your sins better than me, so do tell. Why did you begin to smell? I give you one chance. Two chances. Three! You should have thanked me for how much I adored you but now, just as quickly, I abhor you. Your odor. Ugh. Your stench. Not to mention your weight, dragging me down every day. At best you failed to satisfy my thirst. At worst? You caused me to buy into the Great American Curse— the one where I conflate happiness with plastic. Needless to say, I didn’t shed a tear when I threw you away. FALL 2017 25
ENOUGH HURTS AND MISCHANCES Julia Gurrola
“Hey! You!” Hart turns to see that Yank pilot again. He’s coming towards him on the tarmac, bandages around his head and arm. He’s smiling rather brightly, Hart notices. “Hey, you’re Hart, right?” the Yank says. He steps well inside Hart’s personal bubble, closer than he would like, but close enough so that they can have a private conversation if they wanted to. “Yeah, I’m Hart. You’re the American shot down over the Channel, yeah?” Hart says, even though he knows who he is. The American laughs, running his uninjured hand through his wavy dark hair. “Yup. You saved my ass the other day, actually, shooting that German plane down.” “You… did still crash, though,” Hart says. “Yeah, well… I wasn’t blown to hell by the Germans.” He pauses, scratching at the back of his neck under the bandages. He looks away, squinting at the bright sun to his right. “I, uh, I heard from some guys at the hospital that you were the one who saved my ass, so I just wanted to ask if I could buy you a drink or something?” Hart thinks the man is just asking him as a thank you, and he’s more than happy to let him do that, but when he looks at him again, Hart knows. He knows what the American is really asking. Heat rushes to Hart’s cheeks and he’s overly aware of how visible his blush probably is in the bright sunlight. His heart pounds in his chest a few times, excited at the prospect of being able to be himself around someone else, but the orders from his CO ring louder in his ears. “I would… love to… but, I have to report to my CO right now. How long will you be here?” Hart says. The American’s face drops a little bit and he scratches the back of his neck. “Truthfully, I’m not sure. I hoped to get off base tonight, head to the local bar, or pub, I guess.” He laughs a little bit. “But I have to report back to Battalion CP soon…” Hart smiles at him. “D’you have a pen and paper? You can just write me,” Hart says. 26 FONT MAGAZINE
The American pats himself down, checking his pockets for any paper or a pen. He pulls out an envelope and a half sharpened pencil. He scrawls his name and information on the flap and then hands it to Hart. “I’m Andrews, Jason Andrews,” he says, holding his hand out, even though it’s his left hand. Hart tucks the envelope into his uniform pocket. “Ian Hart.” He shakes Andrews’ hand firmly, hoping Andrews can read the look behind his eyes. “I’m sorry I have to go right now, Andrews,” Hart says. “It’s alright, it was a longshot, I know. I, uh… Yeah, just wanted to say thanks. For… yeah.” Hart finds himself blushing again and he runs a hand through his blonde hair. “I’ll write you, Andrews,” Hart says, liking the way Andrews’ name sounds on his tongue. (Andrews smiles at him and Hart wonders if it was a different time, would he have kissed him in this moment?) He doesn’t see Andrews until a year later when he’s in some hospital in France. Hart had woken up in the hospital with intense pains in his left leg only to realize that it had been amputated from the knee down. (The nurses and doctors had to hold him down to sedate him because he wouldn’t stop panicking.) When Hart comes to, a vaguely familiar face greets him. “Fancy seeing you here,” Hart mumbles, still waking up. Andrews smiles at him and then mo tions to the bandages around his head, over his ears. Oh, Hart realizes. He’s deaf now. A nurse comes by a moment later. “D’you have a pen and paper, nurse?” Hart asks. She reaches into her pocket and pulls out a small notepad and a pen, hesitating before giving it to Hart. “Don’t worry, love, I’ll give it back later,” he says with a sly smile. Fancy seeing you here, Hart writes. He passes the pad to Andrews, who smiles at the note. Could say the same to you, Andrews replies. You can buy me that drink now, Hart writes. Andrews laughs when he reads the note and it’s loud and off in a way Hart can’t FALL 2017 27
describe, but it still warms his heart to hear. Andrews hands Hart the notepad back and casually rests a hand on Hart’s right knee and Hart has never felt more at ease while on guard at the same time. He knows it’s just a hand on a knee, and he and Andrews can easily pretend they’re old friends. It’s just an innocent touch between friends. Hart smiles at Andrews in the broad daylight. There are plenty of nurses and doctors milling around and other patients awake, but a part of him wants to hold Andrews’ hand. Andrews makes a habit of coming by Hart’s wing of the hospital every few days. Once the doctor clears him for wheelchair access, Andrews pushes Hart around the hospital grounds so that they both can get some fresh air. Hart carries around a little notepad and pen for them to pass notes with. One afternoon, Andrews takes him to a little spot on the edge of the grounds. It’s a secluded area nearby a little pond, surrounded by trees turning red and yellow and orange. It’s a lovely spot, and Hart is a little taken aback by how beautiful the pond is as it reflects the colors of the trees and the sun. Andrews sits down on the grass next to Hart’s wheelchair. He’s scribbling something in the notebook and when he hands it to Hart, he avoids eye contact. I wish we had met before the war, it reads. Hart feels something heavy inside his chest fall and he finds himself reaching down for Andrews’ hand. Andrews takes hold of his hand and looks up at him from where he’s still sitting, eyes wide. He takes the notebook and pen and balances the notebook on his knee, the pen hovering above the blank page for what feels like forever. Hart squeezes Andrews’ hand in his while he hastily scrawls words on the page. When he’s finished, he hands the notebook to Andrews. Andrews takes a moment to read it, still holding Hart’s hand. He then squeezes back and brings Hart’s hand to his lips, kissing it. He doesn’t look up at Hart, but continues to hold his hand as they stare out at the water together.
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“Poet for Hire,” Olivia Beaton
RAGE, SING, GODDESS, ACHILLES RAGE, BLACK AND MURDEROUS, THAT COST THE GREEKS INCALCULABLE PAIN, PITCHED COUNTLESS SOULS OF HEROES INTO HADES’ DARK AND LEFT THEIR BODIES TO ROT AS FEASTS FOR DOGS AND BIRDS Nick Rizzuti
I built a machine called Nick Rizzuti, and sold it to an office supply manufacturer. It’s filled with dirty bath water (the machine, not the office supply manufacturer). Later, I upended a table. Nick Rizzuti could have been the Mozart of producing paperclips to within a 0.001 millimeter margin of error, but instead it just spins its various gears and fans at random, and doodles imaginary alphabets in a red notebook.
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“The Serated Seduction,” A. Fletch ‘20
WHERE IN THE WORLD IS CARMEN SAN DIEGO Nick Rizzuti
Nick Rizzuti is a machine for talking about the weather, complaining about finals, listening to your anxiety issues with genuine but impotent care and understanding. Nick Rizzuti has lots of questions to ask you about that thing you’re interested in lately. I ask Nick Rizzuti what my name is and he says “yeah, I feel like it should be much nicer out by now, right?” I ask Nick Rizzuti to take him outside with me and he says “just got a few papers to write and then the semester is over thank god.” I am stuck in Nick Rizzuti’s teeth and his dental hygiene is mediocre at best. 30 FONT MAGAZINE
MAKING ICED COFFEE FOR FOUR DAYS IN A ROW EVERY WEEK REALLY GETS YA THINKING madison fitzpatrick
try our hash browns warm and lightly seasoned or try knowing that in a matter of months youâ€™ll be drowning lungs heaving sputtering for air waves crashing directly into your gasping mouth orange and pink nettles gripping your ankles dragging deeper blood in the back of your throat and your veins slushy like a caramel coolatta pruned skin from being under for so damn long drowning in debt in five-figure tuition five-finger punch to the gut faint tinkling of copper and silver in a well-placed (but never well-placed enough) jar and no amount of sold salty hash browns will substitute a coast guard
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HAVE YOU TRIED YOGA? Aleks Gustafson
Have you tried yoga? Do you meditate? I hear exercise is really good for that. You are what you eat. I guess I’m nothing at all. Everyone gets a little sad sometimes I guess. everyone is numb for five years straight Doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. Have you looked for mold yet? Have you looked? Have you Have you Have you Have you looked for mold yet? Over mountains and craters of ballooning white bread, pure and light, And fatal. Have you looked for mold yet? Have you sniffed the milk yet?
Have you tried yoga? Do you meditate? It doesn’t work. When I’m trying to push him away, Tasting his Cool Ranch Dorito breath, the smoothness of his skin like the smoothness of the sheets Satin, Red, Bleeding like my fear, Melting like hot wax, burning bursting mourning. It doesn’t work. My own memory has been hijacked. Did it even happen at all? It doesn’t work. Nothing works. Have you tried yoga?
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“Floating,” Sharon Rus
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LONG ISLAND RAILROAD
prolonging the night as if on purpose as if afraid to let go i misled people with misplaced faith in me they trusted me oh, that’s something i’ll never do but they followed me anyway true, loyal as good friends are without accusing or angry eyes without checking the time double checking we laughed the easy suburban laughs we’ve all perfected before we go away and learn to forget them forget each other as good friends swear never to do as we lose memories to the clammy clutch of time and we wipe off other people’s sweat from crowded trains on well-fitting jeans we have always been well-meaning teens as we laugh in Woodside even though the yellow lights are not enough to light neighborhoods we’ve never seen as the concrete platform becomes bed shutting our eyes in unison into the blindness of our heads when suddenly the prophet the train, i mean arrives in great noise and hot wind to open disoriented eyes and i tell them this is the one i’m right this time 34 FONT MAGAZINE
they chuckle without malice but i hear it maybe i’m the only one who does but i brush off the baseball game the confusion of New York the wrinkles from my forehead the damp night and when i finally get home and up the stairs i’m not so sure i took the right train after all
“Beauty’s Special,” Peter Soucy
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WESTERLY IS RIGHT ON THE BORDER OF CONNECTICUT Sarah Robbins
Okay, I have something important to say to you. I think that a stick-n-poke in the back of an ice cream shop is not such a bad idea. I think you know that too, I think you thought it was funny but you were always torn. I think about what my life would be like if I had gotten that stick-n-poke. A little sea wave on my upper thigh where I could hide it, But it’s likely after a while I would have hated it. Being in the back of an ice cream shop before I even had a job felt like uncovering a mystery. Now I’m a barista and the back of the shop is just not nearly as fun. I think you knew that all along and you just never wanted to tell me. Listen, it really is important that you hear this. If you die in Connecticut, you don’t respawn, you die in real life. Your spirit is forced to walk along highways holding fistfuls of gas money but no car to drive. You can hear the dead walking if you cruise through at the right time of night. I know you would be quick to condemn me to the fires of Hell, but Don’t let me die in Connecticut. I wouldn’t wish that on you, even after all we went through. Listen, it’s fucking crucial that you care enough to listen. Hey, The God you believe in loves you. No matter who you decide to be, Or rather, Who you turn out to be. I don’t love you. You don’t love me either, and that’s okay, Because the you I knew is a dead memory, fading fast. She had longer hair than you, she wore pretty, purple shells. You and me? We wear cheap plastic chokers to ward off our demons. We are growing Can you feel it? I think it’s supposed to feel like wings. Anyway, thanks for the soft serve. 36 FONT MAGAZINE
â€œUntitled 2,â€? Emma Kern
FRIDGE MAGNETS Amelia Beckerman
I start with the IKEA bookshelf that I bought to display the volumes of Vonnegut and Fitzgerald and Nabokov that my brother had given to me when I graduated. I pull all the books out and throw them into an old grocery bag and then I disassemble the shelf until it is piles of planks and screws and pegs and I put these onto my bed. I disassemble the high-backed desk chair that I had imagined myself sitting in with a mug of green tea and maybe the Nabokov or Vonnegut books, spines broken, laying open in front of me and maybe a scrapbook and some of those squiggly scissors and newly printed photos and the early morning sun shining through the sheer white curtains that I had fashioned out of fabric I found in my childhood attic. I add these curtains to the pile too. FALL 2017 37
I pull my duvet into a makeshift Santa sack and drag it down the stairs. My heart is thundering and my head fills with smoke; when my doorman asks if I need any help with that, my tongue stays stapled to the bottom of my mouth. I don’t know the words for “Yes I need help; I think the walls in my apartment have moved three inches closer to my bed and I think the bathtub used to be a lot bigger, didn’t it? And hey, by the way, do you ever feel as if the sewer grates on the street aren’t strong enough to hold the weight of everything people are carrying with them?” So instead I force a smile and shake my head and when I go back upstairs I clear out all my stretchy jeans and too-big blouses and mismatched socks and knit hats and scarves from my grandmother’s old dresser and I get this urge to throw them out the window and watch them swirl down in a Gatsby tornado of silk and polyester. “These shirts,” I would yell, “Look at these fucking shirts!” Except I don’t and instead I leave them outside of St. Augustus’s on 2nd Ave. Next I clear out the rest of our room and then the bathroom and the kitchen and by the time I get to the bed, my skin is dry and salty and I can’t seem to pull the pieces of wood apart and now I can’t remember where this bed came from. Was it always here? Did he carry it in? Did I? Eventually I decide to just pull the entire thing out, dragging it across the hardwood floors with a low grinding sound that makes Janet, from downstairs, come up and see if I’m okay. I tell her I am and she looks at me for a long moment like maybe I’ll break down and tell her that last night I sat in the pantry for four hours because it was the emptiest room I could find and that even when it’s dark out I close my eyes and the back of my eyelids are red and in fact all I’ve seen for days is red. But I don’t say that or anything much at all except that I’m just clearing out some old things that I don’t use anymore. By the time Janet leaves and the bed and the too-small mattress are leaning against the dumpster outside, the sun is gone and the apartment is dark, on account of how I already removed all the light bulbs and also the lamps and also the candle from on top of the toilet and also the Christmas lights that I’d bought to hang in the room next to mine because I thought the light would be less harsh but it had turned out it didn’t matter. With only the light pollution coming through the naked windows, it’s harder to see what I’m taking out, so it’s easier to take out everything and soon there’s nothing left but the scratch marks on the hardwood floor and the fridge which I’ll have to call someone to come get and also the photo, and the magnet holding it up, that I don’t know if I can throw out but I also know I can’t look at so I take them off and slide them under the fridge like it’s an accident which I guess it was—do accidents ever stop being accidents? Suddenly it’s 5:00 a.m. and I’m lying on the cold floor and I can’t close my eyes 38 FONT MAGAZINE
on account of all the red but I can’t keep them open because the walls and the windows and door-less cupboards are all vibrating and the apartment still feels so full and I still don’t. Five minutes or maybe five hours later there’s a knock at the door and it’s him. His eyes are a little too big and there are weird purple shadows on his face and I can’t figure out if it’s because of the no-light-bulb thing or maybe they’re really there. He says my name very quietly and he looks around me like he’s seeing all the things that aren’t there anymore. He asks me how I am but he says it like he already knows the answer and he looks at me like he did when my cat got run over by the mailman in the eleventh grade and we had to drive her to the vet to get cremated. “I wanted to come earlier but I thought you wanted some space.” I repeat his last word back to him and then blink a couple times and then he asks again if I’m okay. The gummy silence stretches from me to him until eventually I open my mouth. “I got rid of it all,” I tell him. Now he blinks. “Is there anything left?” He’s looking at the apartment but I think maybe he’s talking about me or maybe he’s actually looking at the three feet between us, or maybe the fridge—I can’t be sure. I lie and say no but I’m thinking about the photo that I accidentally-on-purpose hid under the fridge and also I’m thinking about how maybe there’s always something left no matter how hard you try. “I wish I could help you,” is what he says next. I hate it. I try to remember if he was always this stupid but I can’t seem to remember anything from before the world went red and the lights went out and all the walls started vibrating. Except that’s a lie too because I remember the way he laughed when I first told him and I remember how he asked me my grandmother’s name and I think I even remember now that he carried the bed in all those centuries ago. When we’ve been standing quietly for too long, he steps into the room and shuts the door that’s been open. My breath starts coming in and out too fast and the red is spreading and even though we’re the only things in it the apartment it feels so small. “It’s not your fault,” he says, softer this time. “You know that, right?” FALL 2017 39
I’m supposed to say yes and also that it’s not his fault either and also that it’s no one’s fault and maybe it was just what was supposed to happen. Then maybe I think I should tell him about why I got rid of everything we used to own and also all the things I owned before him and also how I haven’t eaten since I can’t remember when. Except still all I say is, “I don’t know.” His face turns and I see now that the shadows are real and they’re deep semi-circles under his eyes and I wonder if they match my own except I can’t check because I threw all the mirrors out yesterday. I see now, for the first and maybe only time since I’ve known him, that his fault lines are shifting and stretching and he doesn’t seem to know what to do anymore and at least I got the chance to make the apartment feel like me again. I try to feel how he feels but it turns out I can only feel what I feel which is red and shaky and empty and maybe it’s the same as him or maybe it’s different. “I just…” I say, and I think of how I couldn’t explain myself to the doorman or Janet or those stupid fucking shirts and I should at least be able to tell him. He looks so expectant, like maybe I’ll finally tell him that I spent so long imagining us all making cereal in the morning, him leaning against the counter and me running around picking up found objects on the floor: a dropped spoon, a stray shoe, a small lunchbox. “We can get through this,” he says and now I can’t tell anymore if this conversation has been linear or if I’m hearing different things he’s been saying all out of order because I could have sworn I’ve heard this from him before. When he says “through” he really means past—we can get past this—and when he says “this” what he really means is her and if I get past her than what was the point of all that imagining? So I tell him okay and that we can get past it and that I’m sorry I threw away everything in the apartment—that I was trying to make the outside feel like my inside which was empty and now I know that that isn’t a healthy reaction and that what I was supposed to do was buy a carton of Turkey Hill and watch reruns of Frasier and laugh-cry every time Niles and Daphne just miss each other and then in a few days I was supposed to go back to work and then in a few weeks we were supposed to try again except I don’t mean a word of what I’m saying and then I tell him I have to go to the bathroom and he doesn’t know that I already took the toilet apart and then I open the window.
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“Orange Alien,” Mika Hawley
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OF JEANS, GENES AND WORMS Sharon Rus
Here’s a fact they should teach in Biology class instead of instructing you on how to label worms: Silence is genetic. Like hair color. Like eye color. Like skin color. The color, thickness, texture of your voice has been predetermined. By who? It doesn’t really matter who. Maybe God or maybe the Fates-those snooty seamstresses who hem and haw as they stitch you up with a shining thread that ties you back to the first great, great, great guy who had sex with that first great, great, great girl, and they conceived of that great, great, great idea- not to use a condom. Great, just great. This silence is my heritage. My father’s legacy. My grandfather’s remnants from the concentration camps. He passed it onto me, And what could I say but...“Thanks?” So now I carry my silence in the back pocket of my burgundy jeans like an albatross or a crumpled up bill that I still haven’t paid. It stares up at me, wordlessly, with its letters twisted into a question mark. Sometimes I smooth it out and ask: “Aren’t I overdue already? 42 FONT MAGAZINE
Can’t I throw you away?” But like a persistent earworm, the silence slithers down my auditory canal and oozes down my throat, where it makes itself at home. It folds itself over my vocal folds, penetrating those sleek cords and pressing its wormy head to my glottal pulse, listening to how I strain to be heard, in vain. Always in vain. But listenthe silence is deadly. It catches the words in my throat and forces me to swallow it back down like a ball of stomach bile, an undigested clump of brain fart. Because worms breed in cycles, one silence leads to another leads to another leads tomy mother asking me what was wrong. Nothing. That’s what I said. Except the thoughts that filled my brain with color turned grey as my tongue stayed motionless. Encouraged by the worm’s whispers“No one cares.” There’s no killing the silence but maybe if I’m loud enough and lie about my nature long enough, it’ll cease to be true. So find me at microphones, belting Shrek Songs so loud, you’d miss the quiet. The natural quiet. The one I worm my way into effortlessly Like a stretched out pair Of burgundy jeans. FALL 2017 43
MUSÉE DES BEAUX ANTS Alex Markle
An ant scuttered across my floor this morning. I flattened him with my foot. I hadn’t finished “The Fall of Rome” before two of his ant buddies skated along spotless tiles toward the deceased. I stomped them, too. I walked out that evening, confronted by a procession of ants. They screamed of a massacre of innocents, and charged. I pounded them all, stepped back, admired my work: Ants on Limestone.
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“Natural Dreams,” Sharon Rus
IF YOU SQUINT HARD ENOUGH, YOU CAN JUST MAKE OUT BRANDENBURGER TOR IN THE NEW YORK SKYLINE Amelia Beckerman In the beginning, they used the smooth glass of empty wine bottles to roll men into paper so they could graph the value of their prayers, and they determined that some fell lower than others so they pointed hollow fingers at faces who looked like the faces who had turned their money into firewood, who had turned their towers into firewood and then after the fire was lit, they filled pots with diced books and reduced centuries down to single letters—reduced millions down to a single word and they built graveyards over our cities and painted crimson signs on our windows until everyone called each other brother and sister—we are all children of disaster. Fifty years before men turned planes into weapons, my opa turned one into a raft. He sailed away from a burning ship only to find his lifeboat was built from coal. In the end, they transformed some men into guns and others into clay pigeons and others still into glass scopes so that they could pinpoint and sharpen their vision which only blurred the understanding of what it meant to be covered in skin but still they kept piling bodies onto bodies until our streets were shrouded in black— you can only have so many funerals until they are just called daily life and then even after the end, there was just more beginning.
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Seventy-two years after men turned people into mice, I lay awake in a city defined by its trauma. The airport is too close to my bed and the white bellies of planes seem to skim the red-roofed buildings. We are all defined by our trauma. In the beginning, they used the smooth glass of empty wine bottles to roll families into maps so they could draw lines between them until every straĂ&#x;e was folded over onto itself and they said no one was going to build a wall, and then wire fell from the sky and the metal was turned into concrete which turned neighbors into strangers, which turned neighbors into prison guards and then they left the shards out for thirty years until an accident swept the pieces together and people turned hammers and axes into glue which they spread over the cracks and they discovered that a wall turned onto its side is just a bridge. Fifty-five years after men turned sidewalks into walls, my opa and I turn living rooms into rivers. His history echoes on screens across the country. We have all become his mirror. In the end, they transformed some men into bombs and others into wires and still more into clocks that count backwards but when they reach zero they keep slipping back, all the way to the beginning.
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“Untitled 1,” Emma Kern
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I SAW HIM ON BROADWAY Sarah Cordes
Uncle Pat walks around the streets of my hometown With a rusty-wheeled shopping cart. He wears a red checkered shirt and jeans That are so tired they look like stains Against the gray of his boots. He looks old; much older than my mother Who grew up in the bedroom across the hall And knew him when he was still Patrick. I wonder if he still hears the voices inside his head Telling him to step out into traffic, To shove his shopping cart aside as he plunges Headfirst into a rush of charging human beings Cushioned by sheets of metal and internal combustion engines. Or maybe Uncle Pat’s voices tell him to tackle his own father To the ground again as he kneels, heavy yet empty, Enmeshed in a shroud of his own grief at his wife’s funeral. Uncle Pat did that once, but I wonder if his voices knew At the time that he was fist fighting his father At the base of his mother’s coffin. I suppose that’s why Uncle Pat ended up walking The streets of Newburgh each day with his wireless radio Turned up to pass the time. I suppose his family could no longer breathe in his presence After that. I suppose he preferred the drugs he could inject Directly into his veins like wild, violent sunflowers To the pills they fed him to silence the jaguars in his head. The sounds of flying bullets in his head. I wonder if Uncle Pat has any friends, other than the ones That live like parasites inside of him, suspended between his neurons, Interfering with his synapses like the serotonin reuptake inhibitors I have to take because I still believe in people like Uncle Pat. I saw him walking down Broadway last week, His skin dark from the sun and his hair bushy with heat. Something about him shone through the stink and the sweat Of that half-brick, half-pavement, half-godforsaken street And I thought about the sad reality that he wouldn’t know His own niece if I decided to stop the car and say hi. So I didn’t.
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GHOST HAND Jessica Bajorek
I feel its weight On the side of a cheek Memories of warmth that burned there A windblown kiss of a palm All I have now are imprints Of the balled fists And the curving fingers That held my hand as I crossed the street The thumb that swiped tears Into stardust Held open Resting on his knees Not hunting for a purpose Still and without want I feel his touch In radio waves As “Piano Man” plays Or in the citrine sunshine Dancing from the chain on my neck His hand A ghost My echo.
“Deadpines,” Dana Aprigliano FALL 2017 49
“there is no story that is not true,” Olivia Beaton
Olivia Beaton I thought my freckles were litter on my body. But you told me they made me unique, like Saturn and its rings. And that night we stood beneath the street lamp on Emerald Lane and you took my hands and placed them on your shoulders. We began to dance. I wonder if you can still taste my cherry lipstick on your tongue. I still feel my blood rushing through my arteries, but my heart doesn’t race anymore, now that it’s snapped like a rubber band. Thank you for teaching me that the only litter ever to touch my body was you.
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HOW ARE YOU? Giulia Baldini
I’m generally fine, particularly full, greatly thankful. I’m generally sad, particularly empty, greatly disappointed.
I DON’T CARE. Giulia Baldini
I don’t care what’s in the air. Love you say? Ugh, it ain’t that. Cover your head with a massive hat. ‘Cause one thing at a time is going to collide. Broken pieces of glasses plus the pouring rain: that’s what love looks like in my brain.
I keep striving for bright days. I keep nourishing my stem straight. I keep living in a garden full of plants, but all I want is to find a strongly tender flower. FALL 2017 51
Oluwafoyinsayemi inspired by Claudia Rankine’s Citizen She tells you that it’s time to return to the place where the ants call home and it’s midnight all the time; You don’t know how but you know where it is; Her black dress is frayed; Her black dress is floating; Her eyes are her saving grace, the color of I refuse to cower; Her hair defies gravity; Like yours; She takes your hand; Hers is warm, like climbing under your blanket on a chilly evening; Or putting on your favorite black robe, the one with the pink stars; Before you know it, you are falling, falling, falling, wanting to hold handfuls of the purple sky, the color of royalty: Issa, Beyoncé, Michelle; This would be the scene where the prince comes to save you with true love’s kiss—Or princess; But no one comes and no one will; Because no one can help; There’s no rescue once you’ve progressed through the canyon, at least not by the living; But you’re not really falling; Could it be falling when there’s no gravity? Nothing tugging you in a silent plea to join its misery;
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To lament in its loneliness; Her skin is growing bronzier; Chestnut, pecan, hazelnut, cocoa; And your own skin is fading fast; Without it, who are you? Midnight girl, bronze girl, mocha girl, missing girl; Thereâ€™s a sweetness to it all; Like that first bite of an overripe plantain, fried and soft and satisfying; You are drifting, drifting, gliding, fading, changing, drifting, changing, fading, drifting; In this place where your words, carefully crafted as they are, will not matter; The memory of you will not matter; Your life will not matter; As it didnâ€™t to them: the colorless. One day, even Shakespeare will be forgotten; And thereâ€™s a finality to it; Like the period at the end of this poem.
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THREE FILM MAJORS AND A GIRL WHO WATCHES TOO MANY MOVIES ALL WALK INTO A BAR Claire Helena Feasey i. If you had smiled at me on any other day, I might have ignored you, but instead your grin lit up my face like you’d handed me a sparkler, and I’d bitten into the ball of yellow static on the end. I’m sure you were just being nice. You’re the kind of movie that I watch over and over and it never ends the way I want it to. Spoiler! They both die in the end. Their friends pour corn whiskey on their graves, my Netflix account asks if I’m still watching. I was salted caramel, and I melted all over your smooth palms, in between your fingers, under your nails… You should probably wash your hands. With soap. ii. We sit across from each other in that one class, How to Be Dramatic 101. I’ve been watching your monologues on smudged, scratched up DVDs that play on repeat in my hippocampus, and I think I could act one out in class tomorrow if I took a shot of bourbon first. I can chase it with a reality check. It’s the one where you pull both earbuds out of your ears and tells me you’re scared of the woods. I believe you, of course, because the woods don’t owe you sympathy, and lying about fear is a mirage; it shows you what you want to see, but it’s just fucking sand that slips through your fingers. You wouldn’t lie to me; I’m not worth the trouble, but hell, I could lie to you forever.
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iii. You have been on my mind since Thursday. I don’t really know you yet, but like mine, your last name has six letters in it, so clearly I’m down to fall in love with you. Have you ever seen that movie where they meet by accident, but then they’re soulmates and their worlds fit together like s’mores over an open flame on a gas stove? It’s probably my favorite one. I have it on VHS; you can come back with me to my tiny apartment in Midwood. The smell of buttered popcorn and scotch has settled on my skin, in between my fingers, under my nails... does that make me any prettier to you?
“soft 90s vaporwave night terrors,” Hannah Aronowitz FALL 2017 55
FRUIT OF MY WOMB Samantha Storms endometriosis i don’t have it but i listen to the stories of women who do how it will grow in your body like a parasitic twin bent on sabotaging divine machinery but people like to compare my body to a fruit, use it, consume it, inevitably lose it small breasts wide hips honey you’re just like a pear i’m sweet i love me but apples rot, don’t they? the place between your legs good god you are heaven a valley of fertile land please god i want a baby someone to love me, to see me to always always need me you are perfect so perfect i think i love you already please god please give me this please please don’t take this away 56 FONT MAGAZINE
“Bones,” Robin Deering
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CHOKE HOLD Murecia Brister
There isn’t a single smile I crack that doesn’t crack me back I’m so tired of molding myself again and again Of waiting for someone to distract me By making me into their own beautiful To uncover me and reveal my skin so they can get a better look But it’s fine I’m fine I’m alright, alright? I’m always alright, I promise It’s my favorite promise actually My favorite words besides ‘anything you want’ My favorite lie other than ‘I love you’ My beloved excuse besides ‘I don’t want to’ It’s no one’s fault though I don’t care for love I can’t touch That can’t touch me back Because I can’t believe in just words anymore It’s silly to think anyone means it for no reason It only matters when it’s said from hands resting on thighs From lips pressed against a strained heartbeat Through teeth focused on a hand-gripped throat From a body settled between tangled legs Because I’m not beautiful until he looks me up and down Until she widens her eyes at the sight of me I can’t look at my reflection unless he’s pushing me up against the mirror Unless she promises to look away So what am I really? Since I swear I only love her But clearly need him
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It comes and goes in waves; The image of her. She lives between the cracks In the slabs of the sidewalk But the sidewalk is getting overgrown; Will she drown in soil? I hope not; she hates nature. She likes to ride her bike For hours upon hours But when her tires go flat, she doesnâ€™t replace them; I donâ€™t think I understand her As well as I think I do. She is a Greek tragedy A comedy of innumerable errors She does not exist Except in those moments biking on the sidewalk When I hit those cracks in the uneven slabs. Those are the only moments in which I see her, The only moments in which I can become her. FALL 2017 59
Rachel Elizabeth Frank There are nights when you wake up gasping for breath, springing upright in bed and coughing and coughing until you think you are going to force your lungs out of your chest. Your fingers grasp for sheets, anything to feel that can bring you out of this moment, but the palms of your hands are weak and numb. On those nights, Emily is awake in half a second after you (although it can feel like hours), stroking your hair and whispering relaxing words in your ear while you choke on nothing and try to remember how to breathe. Sometimes, you throw up before you can calm yourself down, and Emily leads you into the bathroom and rubs your shoulders between heaves. When you’ve finished, she helps you brush your teeth before whisking you into bed and snuggling up close until you fall asleep in a minute. There are other nights where you don’t fall asleep at all, lying stiffly next to Emily until she gets out of bed, pops a DVD in the DVD player (probably some lame 80s film, if you’re being honest), and snuggles up close to you either until it’s time to shower and get dressed, or you’re ready to talk. Tonight is a movie night. Your heart is still thumping away in your chest, but Emily has one arm wrapped around you and is breathing steadily on the back of your neck. There is a memory in your head you reach for sometimes. It is barely a glimmer, a snapshot of your life from a very long time ago. You know it is from a long time ago because in it, you are happy. It’s a sweltering hot day in your backyard. Your mom is sitting back on an inflatable pool lounger, eyes closed and with all of her hair on her head. Your older brother, James, is swimming laps as if he was born for it. You’re running back and forth the yard with your dog, a brown labrador named Cookie. Every so often, you stop to dunk your head in the pool to cool off. When you pull yourself out, dripping and grinning, your dad is standing above you holding a glass of lemonade, shoulders shaking with genuine laughter. That memory is like a faint star in the night sky: it seems bright when you’re not looking directly at it, but the moment your attention turns you can barely see it at all, and after a moment of focusing on it you wonder if it ever actually existed in the first place. Different memories always seem brighter, more tangible, like Saturn or Venus. Memories like the moment in the hospital when your mom’s hand went limp in yours, like opening your front door to find a skittish young man struggling to hold Cookie in his arms with one half of her body caved in from his brand new 60 FONT MAGAZINE
sports car, like the moment in the courtroom when the judge sentenced James to 25 years. The memories that always seem the brightest in the night sky are those that involve your father. He hit you for the first time the night after James’ sentencing, fist in your face so hard the crack of his knuckles hitting your jaw rings in your ears for an hour. He doesn’t apologize, just heads up the stairs and his footsteps sound so tired it makes your heart hurt more than your face. He doesn’t apologize, but you lie on the floor of your room with an ice pack pressed against your mouth and imagine him coming in, face red with shame, and telling you it will never happen again. But it happens again the very next day. And the day after that. And most days since, until he shot himself in the head 2 months before your high school graduation. Emily went to your high school, although the two of you never met. You mostly kept to yourself back then. She was visiting her mother’s grave the same day your father was put in the ground next to his wife. Emily walked home with you, and when you walked straight past your house she said nothing, just took you by the hand and led you to her house instead. Emily is the solution. You thought that you wanted to start over, to find what you had lost, but you can’t. You can never hit reset. Emily isn’t your brother, or your mother, or your dad, or your goddamn dog. She’s just herself. And she loves you. And there’s nothing you can do except love her back. She laughs and you laugh too and she holds your hand and you squeeze it, twice as tight, because if there’s one thing in this world you know it’s that nothing is forever. You want to hold tight to her, to her brown curly hair and her pink lips and her wide smile and big eyes and long fingers and bad knees. You want her, for as long as the world keeps the two of you together. Emily nudges you, maybe because she feels you drifting away, and bobs her head towards the tv. “Hey, are you paying attention? This is kinda the best part.” You look at her and you look and you look, because yeah, it kinda is.
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AN UNOPENED LETTER TO VAN GOGH
My dearest Vincent, you are a dreamer. You coat your throat with yellow pastel believing it will stain your insides with artificial happiness, smothering your licorice lungs with luckless love, Vincent, don’t you know? it is dangerous to surround yourself with colors. Why don’t you clear them away and illustrate heaven with your mind? Don’t you know, I spent a whole year hoping the morning light would not arrive. I never knew the difference between wanting and needing— —I thought life would want me to discover my soul on my own, not need someone to uncover it for me. I did not need that someone who harvested the honey out of my honeycomb bones. Even after I told him there was no sweetness left, he dipped his nail-beds into the beehive locked within my lungs scraped my flint-stone chest and licked his fingers clean… I now know, it is dangerous to surround myself with unfamiliar faces who thread stitches through my limbs and stuff the word “faith” into my mouth, Vincent. I understand. You flooded your organs with toxic, yellow paint because misery swept you into its deceptive arms, knocking the breath out of your knees, hands pleading for happiness to be rescued from drowning.
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It’s okay you are not who you thought you would be. I was more wolf than woman when I was saved by five golden souls born with poetry-soaked tongues, skin inked with the Milky Way, my Universe. yet I am still learning how to stop apologizing to the moon. Vincent, I want you to know you are not alone. Every human being has a form of yellow paint I had my own yellow paint. False hope is a drug and I would have rather draped happiness onto the nape of my neck than pumped open envelopes of anxiety through the hollows of my veins and Vincent, I wish your yellow paint had been embracing relationships with beating hearts who turned church steeples into cherry blossoms, who smeared love into the wrinkles of your rusted-copper skin, My golden souls stitched me a sunrise, called it “history” and taught me how to be a person, not a prison. Vincent, you and I are dreamers. Happiness is found all around us. If you don’t believe me, simply look toward the twisting constellations in the eyes of your savior. Spend the rest of your life hoping for the morning light to set the world aflame. I promise, the sadness will not last forever. I promise you will wonder what on earth you were thinking when you coated your throat with yellow paint. FALL 2017 63
Regina Volpe Nights when summer hasn’t set in yet and winter’s ghost still passes through, scratching at the back of my neck like a memory I try to suppress. Nights when there’s nothing to do but sit cross-legged on the metal dock as bullfrogs chirp their daily complaints and trout slap their agreement on the lake. Nights when old fishermen sneak out to cast their lines before the rest. Their headlights shine behind them, silent guardians among the trees.
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“děti,” Amelia Beckerman
Nights when we go wide-eyed, becoming marble at the first crackle of tires on the dirt road far away, and crumble when the lights shine too close. Nights when we lie on turf, throwing bits of rubber to the stars, or tape glow sticks in our Frisbee so it streaks dull neon across the sky. Nights when the only sounds are cars headed home or somewhere else. Clouds form a sheer mask on the full moon, and the sky’s above, a pewter slate.
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“Silence,” Danielle Ribaudo 66 FONT MAGAZINE
ADVICE COLUMN: THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT Sarah Robbins
Honestly, I couldn’t tell you which of us was building settlements, And which of us was fleeing from the scene. I could have been either, which sounds ugly, I don’t like it. But you came to me for relationship advice, so here you have it. The Dead Sea has so much salt in it, you can float away without even trying. You’re not supposed to put your face in it. I did. Don’t. There is still salt underneath my skin. I have been itching for three years and I finally see the possibility of relief; I want to embrace it openly. How long does it take the skin cells on my face to be replaced? I don’t think he has this problem. Maybe he knew not to put his face in, but that would mean he didn’t care. Secular Christians tend to believe they are the epitome of objectivity. What I’m saying is, if you have to ban a topic in your relationship because the other person doesn’t see that their opinion on the topic is deeply hurting you, Just fucking dump them.
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Disclaimer Font exclusively features the work of Hofstra University students. Each staff member reviewed and ranked submissions anonymously.
Font Literary and Arts Magazine. Volume 8, Fall 2017. Hofstra University. Copyright 2017 Font Literature and Art. All artwork and literature contained in this publication are copyright 2017 to their respective creators. The ideas and opinions expressed within belong to the respective authors and artists and do not necessarily reflect those of the editors, Hofstra University administrators, or the Hofstra community. Any similarities to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. None of the contents of this publication may be reprinted without the permission of the individual authors or artists. PRINTED IN USA
A PRODUCTION OF THE HOFSTRA ENGLISH SOCIETY
Hofstra University's undergraduate literary magazine, featuring the writing and artwork of the Hofstra student body.
Published on Dec 13, 2017
Hofstra University's undergraduate literary magazine, featuring the writing and artwork of the Hofstra student body.