Humble Pie Vol 16

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© CCA 2019 California College of the Arts 1111 Eighth Street San Francisco, CA 94107 Cover art by Sam Agravante



EDITORIAL STAFF Spring 2019 Staff: Alvin Kim & Katherine Ge (Web Managers). Joseph Richard Carr (Fiction Editor). Theo Lyons & Marisa Avenetti (Designers). Eleni Berg, Sonny Yuncheng & Hana Almilli (Visual Editors). Zoey Gassner & Ula Liu, (Poetry Editors). Yessie Aguilar (Social Network Coordinator). Annika Gilbert (Creative Director). Demetra Bowles Lathrop (Copy Editor). Caroline Goodwin (Faculty Advisor). Special thank you to the Fall 2018 Humble Pie Staff: Zachary FR Anderson, Alexander Audet, Maya Djiji, Gabriel Domingo, Kevin Hatch, Guillermo Manning, Chess McWilliams, Alexandra Mushinski, Jevohn Newsome, Stephanie Silva, Junlan Wang, and Ian Wheelock. Humble Pie is California College of the Arts’ annual undergraduate literary arts journal, made for and by students. We feature work in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and visual art by writers and artists within the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Thank you for reading, and enjoy Humble Pie Volume 16.

After, Life, Rupy Kaloti Cherry Pie, Tatyana Stavrowsky Untitled, Valentina Miranda Di Castri Sanctuary, Kloe Chan Full of Fear Full of Flowers, Allison Hummel LOOK AT YOU, Eric Dolan Yellow Red and Blue, Tung-Lin Tsai Thought Scape 3, Cameron Lindquist The Written Word, Kendyl Domingo Smoggy Day, Tung-Lin Tsai Hand Study, Euthaniel Solidities, Joshua Lipson Liberation Will Not Come Today, This Year, Nor Ever, Through Compromise & Fear, Rivka V. Loussaint Enter Desert Fathers, Maia Koryn Jackson American Recycling, Lindsey Choi Fifteen Forty-Two, Zachary FR Anderson Allegorical Death, Alexandra Mushinski We Don’t Keep Secrets from Each Other, Kye Demmon Imperialismo Yanqui, Rivka V. Loussaint The Brightest Star, Isabella Maria Honey Squad, Sam Agravante

1 2 7 9 10 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

19 20 21 22 26 28 29 31 32

35 39 40 42 43 44 45 47 48

49 50 51 52 54 57 60 61 62 64 66

Girlworld, Alexandra Mushinski Vanity, Esther Lee Prose Without Homes, Jackie Vela First Letter to David, Travis Tate Crown, Zak Goggins Hairs, Mary Graham CCCLXV, Nancy Wang Mask, Tung-Lin Tsai untitled drowning, Clara Merçon Even in Abstract, Substance ”Ghost of Suffering”, Rivka V. Loussaint Mi Pequeño Diamante Negra, Kyle Logan How to Speak Shrub, Bueli Njheri First Date, Ruby Rosenthal Conversations with No One and Nothing, CXM Limbo Shores, Nathaniel Wisdom Peephole, Tung-Lin Tsai Midnight Angel, Cher Guevara The Man in the Coffin, Glenn Ingersoll [A Night], Lindsey Warren Maze, Jazzmin Smith

The following written work, “Cherry Pie,” contains depictions of emotional abuse and domestic violence. Please keep this in mind while you read the piece as these topics can be triggering for some.

After, Life

// Rupy Kaloti

Oil Painting.

Cherry Pie

// Tatyana Stavrowsky

We sit in our kitchen and eat havarti on toast with raspberry jam. Cold October wind drifts in from a cracked panel in the window where J.D. had thrown a mustard jar at me the day before. I watch him chew, admiring the way his jaw flexes. Are you going to fix the window? I ask. Through the jagged break, he looks out onto our gray backyard, onto patches of yellow grass, towards the tumbleweeds clawing at the base of a dry fountain. He meets my eye and shrugs. When he speaks, there is a little fleck of sweet berry red stuck between his teeth. I’ll cover it with cardboard until I can find the money. I know he makes more than enough at work to replace the panel, that’s not the problem. He is leaving it there on purpose, I think, so that when I glance up I’ll remember the strength of his hands, how easily they crack fragile things. I don’t push. We finish breakfast and he shaves and goes to work, I clean the dishes. When he comes home for lunch there is a ham and cheese sandwich waiting, a glass of orange juice. These things are simple. J.D. kisses my cheek and when he is done eating he takes my hand and pulls me to the bedroom, where we spend a while. Afterwards, lying on his chest, I go, Remember that time last year when we picked cherries from that woman’s yard off of Agua Fria? And we thought she wasn’t home, but then she came outside? And we thought she would be mad, but she invited us inside and had cherry pies baked and gave us each a slice with vanilla ice cream? Yeah. Do you think we could go back, maybe, and I could bring her some of the walnut bread I’ve made? Or another little something? He goes, That woman’s probably in the ground, she looked about a hundred. 2

I am still not used to this, the way J.D. talks. It isn’t his fault, just how he is as a person. His dad was a mean drunk and that has something to do with it. J.D. has a short temper, he can’t help it, but I know how other men stoke their anger with booze, and J.D. does not. He can hardly polish off a six pack. I’m lucky like that; I’m proud of him for breaking the cycle. For a moment, my mouth tastes like vanilla cream, and I see the cherries, so fat and meaty, drop from their branches to the earth. J.D. feels me shiver, and suddenly it is all honey as his big hands rub my back. Hey, you’re my best girl. You really are. ___ The next week, it’s my birthday, and we go out to dinner at a nice Italian restaurant. I order trout wrapped in prosciutto and J.D. has ribeye, and we split a bottle of wine which tastes like the smell of turned earth. It is a dream; J.D. opens the doors for me, and pulls out my chair. From across the table, lit by yellow candlelight, he is so handsome, like Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke. I can hardly believe that he loves me as much as he does. I see other women staring at us and it’s difficult to tame my smile. J.D. jokes with our waiter and shows me the proper way to cut a steak. Knife in right hand, then switch to the left, use the fork in your right to put the food into your mouth. We polish off the bottle, and he orders another. I watch his hands, seeing how easily his fingers rest around the wineglass’ thin stem. On my birthday, those hands are gentle, warm; I love those hands. I lean closer to him, remembering. He winks at me. Later, as I’m standing over the sink in the restaurant’s powder room, a woman idles open the door and walks to my side. She snaps open her purse and pulls out a compact, dusting her nose. I catch her eye in the mirror, and she blinks. She is beautiful, with sharp eyes, heavy red hair corkscrewing wildly about her face. Hand in purse, she digs around cautiously, then slides a tube of porcelain concealer across the counter. 3

For your eye, she goes, tapping her cheekbone gently. Outside, a bird flies into the bathroom window, hard, and it startles us both. The corner of the windowpane has caved inward, but it hasn’t broken. That night, I sit in front of the vanity and rub cold cream on my face, my cheeks sore from smiling. Our bedroom is softly lit, a candle on the dresser perfumes the air like lilies. Balsamic and honey. J.D. comes up behind me and wraps his heavy arms around my shoulders, burying his face in my neck. He bites me, and it is startling, it hurts. I lift my hand, trying to quickly rub the rest of the cream into my skin, but suddenly I am swung off the chair, picked up like a child. When he turns to carry me to the bed, I look back and briefly catch my reflection; for an instant, instead of my own face, I see the red-headed woman. Her eyes frighten me. Her mouth is open; she is screaming. ___ When the sun rises, I wake next to a transparent man. At first I mistake him for sculpture, some sort of hallucination, but after looking closely I recognize J.D.’s big, sad features carved from the glass. I reach out a hand to his lips and the clink of my nails against something harder than flesh sends me reeling into the headboard. He opens his eyes and they are the same color blue as they have always been, but heavier now, like marbles sunken into pockets of glass. J.D. breathes in and out, seemingly unaware of this very sudden transformation. His mouth reeks like hot pennies. I can see my distorted reflection in his forehead. His skin that is not skin looks like the big mirror that I keep stored in our basement, because it doesn’t fit in any of these rooms. His eyes shift up towards me, but his lips don’t move so neither do I. He is a casket of a person, all of his organs missing. 4

J.D.? I ask aloud. He sits up slowly, creaking, and through his body I see the waving red pinstripes of our sheets. He smiles, and the corners of his mouth begin cracking and falling away. I scream, devastating the morning quiet. The rivulets in his face spread like spider web, and he begins to fall apart. First, his head shatters, tiny shards of silver splinters collapsing into his lap. Then J.D.’s arms, his torso, his waist. I see the blanket deflate where the outline of his legs had been. In seconds, he is a pile of glass that glitters like a mound of jewels. Help me. I lean over him, pinch a sliver between my fingers. I do not know what to do. Please. The morning is cold; a breeze blows in from our open bedroom door. Gingerly, I pick up one of the pieces, about the size of my thumbnail, and put it onto my tongue. I slide it with my tongue to the crevice of my molars, and bite down. It cracks against my teeth, and I spit the shards back into my hand. I can feel my eyes becoming hot. Please, help me, he begs. I try. I take the crunched glass from my mouth and press it against a different jagged piece. They fall apart. I take two long shards and try to pierce one through the other; they slip, crack. I get out of bed, aching, to stand over him. I rearrange the pieces that I think were his face; eyes, mouth, nose, lips. It is formless, disjointed; like I’ve smashed a window with my fist. I need you, he says. I pick up a handful of J.D., grasping tightly. He slices me open. The pain is sharp, not unfamiliar. I release my grip, letting the bloodied pieces drop to the sheets, ruining them. The corners of my vision blur. I caress the pieces red with my fingertips. I can no longer make out the silhouette of my reflection in these tiny bits of him. I go to the bathroom and grab our little woven wastebasket. Carefully, I fold the fabric of our bedsheets to shake all of the pieces into the bin, every last bit. 5

The glass falls like water, chiming softly.



// Valentina Miranda Di Castri

it would make too much sense if it wasn’t

i think, i meant that– no, not that Ai, Deus. read my lips. between the lines, the negative space– There, there Do you hear Me? Not my voice– me?

Escuta, bem. Escuta bem. There is a pulse In the sternum, Behind it, Within it Not the brain, never There. Press your fingertips against it. Felt it kick, didn’t you Agora sim Now you get it.


. You ask me Who are You don’t say, no Not with your mouth Say it with Your hands and With the distance Between you Are and I Am… what? To whom? Everything we Are came after What we weren’t Yes? Yes. Come and go As you please I’ll still be Who i am, regardless



// Kloe Chan

Donated Bedsheets. 9

Full of Fear Full of Flowers // Allison Hummel

The future is full of

beautiful feelings

it can be so hard to imagine

that newness will unfurl again, greenly, from a sunflower seed, but newness will always come around, it is only sleeping. . Cold, sockless, sitting on the couch I write poems. Philip Glass bangs away like a teen. I am so offensive sometimes, like a teen, I hardly think before I talk, though I drown as if hogtied, in thoughts full of fear, full of flowers, a good clean pain. Lover: you might be my good clean pain. I might never

know a lover again

watch me age, a low persistent noise watch me age a low environmental sound relentlessly tward death, aerial view of a stretching herd sometimes I think that I can feel the ending, and I feel it during the very start.


Like when you lay on the bed while somebody makes the bed and the blanket settles onto you and the blanket is a sadness the blanket is a

good clean pain


LOOK AT YOU // Eric Dolan

this is the pigeons fast asleep on stone awnings in transit entraces past plastic bags of cartons of melted ice cream for dinner a man on BART read meanu & my knife as a curtain of charity a mouthful of fern canyon crystals - COLDTOBEER high school football field Hayward’s not much to look at a ziploc bag full of puke and plastic spoons and the sun is still out --Angela Lansburt on a green screen sex on an empty stomach say goodbye, leave me feeling morning in my spine --clench in your general electrions, life a blink between complaints & bible a google doc Joshua 1: Moses is over gopherwood, plated pastor for department store sandbags, humbled underestimatos stunned by assignment, roval Jets bent in concussion Sunday, pet Ivy the cat, spent your twentieth century thinking she’s alive art editor of the school newspaper Teen Need Teens a member arrangement ---

nothing falling is a sign of something wrong 12

Yellow Red and Blue // Tung-Lin Tsai

Photography. 13

Thought Scape 3 // Cameron Lindquist

Ink and Photoshop.


The Written Word // Kendyl Domingo

a theme: borders, boundaries, and walls another: dichotomies also: westernI thought about this fact that has been reiterated many times by scholars and my professors; but it was my TA for my history of social democracy class who had me stuck on this particular fact, colored in her voice and her stance: writing/ documentation is western. Some people dance, some people play instruments, some people paint, and I write with ink. I document. I transcribe. I followed the path of the new and I want to say that I speak well, but my anxiety sings louder than my confidence: unfortunately, I write better then I could ever orally perform. The thing is, I could understand power in the pen. In some cultures, the point of oral stories is to elude rules and regulations altogether - you could change facts and straight up lie and there is no piece of paper to catch and point at such a sin. I don’t think cultures of the past knew people filled with elitism, hate, and lighter skin would misunderstand them and write their histories, which would then lead generations of people in a nation born into technology, like weapons and computers, creating prejudices and discriminate against them. I think about those people who couldn’t stay a mystery, and probably questioned why they were something to be found (I’m sorry for those who have touched me and now have ink stained on their hand, their name written repeatedly in a notebook, disguised as ‘he/him/his’ or the sun or winter.) - I want to question authority. The illusion of ownership, that somebody pointed at something and told it what it was and what it couldn’t be. I think of the fear, of the caves, of the children who don’t know the scars of their ancestors… it is so useless to say that everything turns into dust anyways. That we don’t need to listen to the men with uniforms and hats and guns. They took a handful of soil and sowed 15

dreams of fire and concrete and we paid the price and we are not free because we can wear short skirts and identify as more than one thing. I fear that stretch of the ocean. Of the sunburns and bug bites on their skin. Of words that can’t be translated in English. Of the dreams that were not met. I’m sorry I was born into a nation of walls and even more sorry that I don’t know how to be - but they, my ancestors and their gods, exist in my bones and I can’t let them down. What does it mean to redeem, to be set free through INK?

Smoggy Day

// Tung-Lin Tsai Photography.


Hand Study

// Euthaniel Procreate.



// Joshua Lipson

It has bored a hole in my head such that Adon Olam won’t reach and no one’s left a Lonely Planet What to make of sex and genre all inflections old and new with couch and time extruded too You’re far too gentle for a golem hums the Christ on Ravi Shankar beats be orderly and kind intones the shoe There’s status, rods, and floral holes and then there’s groundless whirring ground in which I trust as “Elohim” or not-a-sound I’m body-bound, I’m sane, I’m sound and redolent of ecstasies I’ve spun and fractal with the histories I’ve smoked. Nepalese tapestries hung about the mind; I promise to be kind.


Liberation Will Not Come Today, This Year, Nor Ever, Through Compromise & Fear // Rivka V. Loussaint

Mixed Media on Wood. 19

Enter Desert Fathers // Maia Koryn Jackson

with working ones breaking backs and earth cursing motorhomes. I remember the trailerpark, yeah, she said. that’s where I learned to drive and got stuck horizontal in an intersection and never drove again. Enter Desert Fathers, let’s go together late at night to low ceiling places. to suffer cicada lethargy on the hot hard ground at two pm by that chlorine oasis with rashes stinging between our legs. to kiss the cactus and drink beneath abandoned buildings, hollow-eyed cement bricks tossing aside thorn and razor wire to play soccer under the sun, wiping a fine brown dust from each others’ faces. To feel still, and listen to the prophecies of the telephone wires’ buzz. in Sonora no one goes alone, there are shadows that stretch from your house to the bar. You will just have to wait until tomorrow.


American Recycling

// Lindsey Choi

Pencil on paper. 21

Fifteen Forty-Two // Zachary FR Anderson

Hawks surveyed for pocket mice in the pickle weed. Harbor seals watched their pups splash in the estuary. A heron towered over the brackish water from atop an oak and hares retreated for their burrows, out of the swaggering path of a hungry bruin. Silkiset paddled his dugout into the estuary while Pititi, his younger brother, watched a raft of sleeping otters float past. Pititi had never been this far from the village, safely tucked behind the hills. But his brother had explored the area many times to gather clams and abalone. “Look!” Pititi pointed ahead at the bruin emerging from the dunes. Its blonde body twinkled as it flattened the bulrush and looked into the water. “There are fish over there,” Silkiset whispered. “How…” Pititi stopped himself and whispered back, “How do you know?” Silkiset put his finger to his lips. The bruin looked towards them as they approached. Silkiset slowly moved the paddle to keep them from drifting too close. Its eyes locked on them and the bruin stood up. Pititi inched toward his brother. Wind made ripples on the water. Woodpeckers drummed in the distance. The dugout passed the bruin and the boys held their breath. It towered over them and blocked the sun. The boys looked back as they passed. The bruin lowered itself, turned, and disappeared behind the sand dunes. “How big do you think he was?” Pititi asked. “Bigger than you,” Silkiset said as he exhaled. “Bigger than that canoe you saw?” The day before, Silkiset was on the beach digging for clams when he saw on the horizon a canoe larger than any tomol he’d seen in the village. It was so large that it was tied to clouds so it wouldn’t sink. He was sure of its great size when whales breached near it. Silkiset wanted to go out to get a closer look but his father had always told him that whales never breach once. It didn’t help that his little dugout was not meant for seafaring. 22

“No,” said Silkiset. “The canoe was way bigger.” “Is it still here?” “It has to be,” said Silkiset. “Nothing that big can move.” The current left the dugout in the middle of the estuary where a dead tree stood in the water. Cormorants dried their wings on its branches. Silkiset paddled to shore and Pititi watched a grebe bob in the water before diving. “Be careful in the sand,” said Silkiset. “Why?” “The plovers are here,” Silkiset said, rolling his eyes, “Their eggs are everywhere.” “I don’t like plovers,” Pititi crossed his arms. “Why not?” Silkiset laughed. “They don’t do anything. All they do is chase waves and run away and chase waves and run away. They’re boring.” Silkiset laughed as he jumped into the water. His heels sank into the submerged sand as he dragged the canoe to dry land. Pititi jumped out onto the sand and stopped to look down. No plover eggs. “There aren’t going to be plovers,” said Pititi. “Are you a plover?” Silkiset asked. “No.” “Then how do you know?” Silkiset teased. “How do you know the canoe was tied to clouds?” Pititi asked. It was a good question. Silkiset didn’t really know what the massive white blots were. “What’s big and white and in the sky?” he asked. “Pelicans.” “Bigger.” Pititi squinted and tilted his head before shrugging. “Clouds, I guess.” “That’s how I know they’re clouds,” said Silkiset. In the distance they could hear waves crashing on the beach and herons snorting in the estuary. The wind blew and sand dusted their ankles as they walked towards the dunes. “If you saw it on the beach why are going to the dunes?” Pititi asked. 23

“To get a better look,” Silkiset said. Pititi always asked too many questions, too many for his own good. They hiked to the top of the dunes and collapsed out of breath looking out towards the sea. Pelicans flying south and of course plovers chasing waves. But no canoe. “Is it here?” Pititi asked. Silkiset sighed. “No, just plovers.” “I hate plovers,” said Pititi. “Stop that,” scolded Silkiset. “I do though,” pouted Pititi. “All they do is chase waves and take our beach away.” “It’s their beach, too.” “Then how come we can’t share it?” Silkiset rolled his eyes. “The plovers have the beach in the fall, the elephant seals have the beach in winter, and we have it in spring and summer. Don’t you ever listen to father, Pititi?” Pititi’s attention was somewhere else. “What is that?” he asked, pointing at the dune in front of him. Silkiset stood up to see. From a distance it looked like a tall branch stuck in the sand with a white hide tied to the top. He walked towards it with Pititi close behind. A closer look perplexed him further. Pititi rubbed the side of the branch. It was smooth. The wind blew and the hide fluttered, revealing a red cross painted on it. Silkiset tilted his head as he looked at it. “What is it?” asked Pititi. “I don’t know.” “Who put it here?” “I don’t know.” “Why?” “Knock it off!” Pititi giggled. Silkiset reached up to touch it. It was too thin to be an animal skin. He thought about the canoe tied to clouds and wondered if they made it and why they would make it. Silkiset looked beyond the sea’s horizon and saw whales breach. His eyes traveled to the crashing waves, to the plovers they chased, and then to the beach and he turned white. 24

“Let’s go,” he grabbed Pititi’s arm and headed to the dugout. “Go?” Pititi said, “Why?” “We can’t be here,” said Silkiset, “Father will be wondering where we are.” “But the canoe.” “It’s gone!” Silkiset yelled. “You won’t see it. It’s gone!” The boys boarded the dugout and paddled back upstream. The herons snorted in the marsh, the harbor seals lounged on the sand, and a hawk pursued a pocket mouse through the pickle weed. The bruin lumbered across the beach and lapped up the yolks of crushed plover eggs that pooled in boot prints spanning from the sea to the sand dunes. The bruin gazed toward the horizon, but the whales had stopped breaching.


Allegorical Death // Alexandra Mushinski

newborn baby drowning in the kitchen sink sing mother to the rising sun sing mother to the seeds drowning in their beds sing mother to the void breaching beneath the floorboards a

hospital gowns in an empty few unraveled torments crying at bus stops


black box

can funeral pyres marching on

sanctity of a downpour selling hotdogs

chapel in



Central Park





so pink salt

bright sinuses bleed clouds corrupt synapses


pinstripe suited shadows linger burning matchbox bridges with hollow eyelids

the devil is in the jungle gym under the crack in the doorway

all the bedsheets marigold and crumpled on the hardwood floors

hibernating rose


the bowels of the holy spectator

petals embedded 26




magpie eyes and she is enough for and she is enough for and she is enough for

burn from her nest in the me me I

hear the inverse of bleached out bone the encroaching nebulous diamond

my brain a pouring rain




playing in the

wail your name to an off beat circus tune dizzy I see the solar system whiplash leviathan a hundred longing tra

years of pped in a hatpin



We Don’t Keep Secrets from Each Other // Kye Demmon

Ceramic, glaze, fabric scraps, batting, thread. 28

Imperialismo Yanqui // Rivka V. Loussaint

Mixed media on wood.


The Brightest Star // Isabella Maria

When the sun rises I will be thankful to start a new day When the sun rises my heart will be heavy from last night’s affair When the sun rises She glances down upon me with promise in her eyes only to be disappointed When the moon is stagnant you can find me where the lights glimmer When the moon is stagnant my mind will be stationed with the planets When the moon is stagnant He will look down on me with that devilish grin I know so well


Honey Squad // Sam Agravante






// Alexandra Mushinski

porcelain deer line the top shelf line the sheets line the floorboards all i want is to grow small all i want is to break with my scream volcano pulling teeth

flesh and sin dormant



feathery mountaintops

chained to the sky snake the floor the pipes the window pains caged

fuck duck fuck

look daughter

winter warning

phoenix ashes morning look

here at soft sprouts blossoming

honeysuckle 35

make an offering to empty space to deny the soft snowy lamb

the tender


of fragments falling from the sky you

in the corner

ghost of the rear


long nailed fingers pressuring the edges of my eyelids back

lacerated on the leopard skin rug

seek me

in the spaces under

your toenails overcome by blood

moon waves in the cobwebs left

in wake of your walking hummingbird heart chorus

beating notes against

the glass speckled dust flecks in 36

my reflection a cold floor mourning hit

with high winds

signs of an unrumpled comforter street lights flicker in thebackofmy mind i want a pure blue summer i want a soft-hearted lover i want sunshine in a jar drinking teardrops on a foggy spring dawning yet

who knows the scent of a mirrored room

like a mother without

a lover


in a sea of discarded film slides enraptured into the gold doorknob eyes buried in the back of your hair kiss the sledgehammer

kiss it twice 37

gardenias ambrosia spice


trapped in honeyed sacrifice

i lose my voice in song



// Esther Lee

Watercolor. 39

Prose Without Homes // Jackie Vela

One Liners, One Paragraphs, Start-Ups and Forgottens

As writers, we are all guilty of starting things and forgetting about them, even if at one time we claimed to be geniuses because of them. So here are some of the skeletons in my closet to help you feel better about the ones in yours. The spiders separating the webs of your eyelashes have lost their prey. Gazing from one wall to the other to a shameless ceiling, focus on me. The consistent noise gets louder in the dark. It echoes through the caves of my ears and burrows its way into the cerebral canals. This is all a nicer way of saying the music doesn’t work anymore. Peter, the rock of which the almighty chapel of retail stores was built upon, now wishes he was nailed to the cross instead. Lyric after lyric, the aisles match the waves I’m starting to see from standing. Damn, I forgot to unlock my knees, if only I could find the key. “Keke, do you love me? Are you riding?” My god, not again, never again. I can see the sounds on my hands carved in with coat racks, but I’m guilty of liking it. I hold the wheel in the palm of my hand, but as hard as I try the gravel will slow me down. The hills that shape around my knees are too hard to drive up on just a stick shift. Yet, I smile. I could hear the pain from the whispers vibrating through the cracks of the floor boards. Stomping sneakers breaking the words like untamed heartbeats. Mix blood red Kool Aid in cold water, then you will understand how it feels to stand in lines. Sundowning to night fall, I’d forgotten it all. The light signaling it was time to wake up, but no remembrance of telling myself to do so. The sobriety of the 40

sun beams fondling over the blades of grass sprinkled with water. I’d forgotten the roses. Rows of them only a few of the colors I could recall the name of by eight pm. Yellow? Slipping my fingers in between the thorns, they surround me now, causing the tantrums of the night before. At 85 years old, the nights keep me young. It isn’t how to sit normally, but how to sit normally right now. Once we take time not to be a construct only when someone’s eyes are looking at you, can we bend time to our own? “What.” is about the random thoughts that run through the back of your head usually ending in an even more random “what the fuck” moment at the grocery store while trying to figure out why anything with the Organic brand is always $2 cheaper than the real thing. This is to you. Crossing the desert with an ice cream spoon and night vision goggles. Boy, you’re screwed now. How to talk to the Walmart cashier: “Have you ever been a greeter?” “Do you hate the uniform?” “Do you want to check yourself out?” “My parents abandoned me.”

No. Yes. Not funny. That’ll be $10.91.

“I’ll give you an extra $1 to smile.” No, that cashier is at the one over. “Thought so.” Maybe it was because we had just gotten past the Dodgeball stage and right before we learned we were never meant to mimic our parents.


First Letter to David // Travis Tate

David, some people have bad tattoos. Below the ankle. Round of the cheek. Something about permanence. The body must be reckoned with. Sharp shoulders. At 18, I told you thisI got my first tattoo. Snake with skull. Villain from my favorite childhood book. Scars, David, are small reminders. Like the wrist is for the arm and hand. I want to be something I’m not sure I will become. There is a way to write the future. Scent of uncombed hair, that lavender. Stars are aligning, David. In the distance, fog & the belly of a mountain.



// Zak Goggins Pen and ink. 43


// Mary Graham

When I was little, my mother’s nimble, knotted fingers, covered in shea butter, would brush and scrape my hair into clean buns and twists, and little soft pastries against my head. Warm and the color of acorn shells, and the texture of a woven mat. My mother’s hair dangled before me, as she leaned over, the light shining through it, not red but not brown, spun threads of sugar, curling and waving like sheer amber fabric. When it’s wet, it’s tiny pebbles under a trickling buoyancy. Shorter strands used to stick straight up around my forehead like a little halo and my aunt would call them the antenna to the ancestors.



// Nancy Wang

This January You haven’t shown up in my life yet Beloved February You were drinking my favorite beer next to me I heard the sound of you chewing ice and it made my heart itchy Hello March March was an ant army slowly climbing over your blue veins Along with our lovely April it was blooming with one thousand miles of roses that you secretly grew on my stomach May was surprising I went to this little booth a girl with tiger tattoo inserted some ink into my body It was a warm afternoon we laughed and treated it as a ritual celebration June was unspeakable you invited me to a sabbath party After drinking the strawberry milk you ordered for me I started seeing some naked babies flying July was just July I stared at the lotus seeds They were floating, floating, floating... and that kind of drove me crazy I was afraid that I would accidentally break my neck during every night sleep -


August tasted like rosemary I felt Acetaminophen started reacting under my skin And there was this extremely silent September, came with it You were constantly poking my eardrum with a pigeon feather you found on the ground Here comes October I see red mountains and clouds square eyes and triangular mouth They are all labeled with Cyclothymia November is not here yet Through its heart I see December December is an unpredictable blizzard



// Tung-Lin Tsai

Photography. 47

untitled drowning // Clara Merçon

Sinto saudade Coisa agridoce Que você nunca sentiu. For you missing someone is an action Pra mim é sentimento Eu não escolha a não ser t r an sb or da

r I want to translate your gaze Can’t understand the language of your look Cansada de você me torturar I feel so Alone.

Should I say the truth?

When you ask me how I am shame

shame s ha m shame e e shame m shame shame shame a sh shame shame shame shame e shame shame s ha m shame shame Hold me please I want to live in-between your small breasts Hold me tight so I don’t fall Break my ribs I want to suffocate


Even in Abstract, Substance “Ghost of Suffering” // Rivka V. Loussaint

Charcoal, Graphite, Acrylic Paint on Paper. 49

Mi Pequeño Diamante Negra // Kyle Logan

Descubierto. El sol contempla la arena negra; Los cuerpos yacían relucientes bajo el calor. Cuando el sudor cae por el cuerpo de lo familiar, una silueta de un ser querido mira en mi dirección Ella no solo es pura sino también graciosa. El paraguas cubre su forma esbelta; que oculta características por determinar Nuestros ojos se encuentran. Mi novia de antaño. Mi amiga de toda la vida. No solo es mi chocolate negra, sino mi pequeño diamante negro.


How to Speak Shrub // Bueli Njheri Acrylic on canvas.


First Date

// Ruby Rosenthal

I’d tell you what my sex hair looks like, But that’d take all the fun out of later, Don’t you think? I’d mention that I think pink is overrated -Both the teenage store by Victoria’s Secret And the color my room was painted Ages six to eleven -But that the singer, With the exclamation point instead of an “I”, Still has my heart. I’d comment that tea is better than coffee, That skim milk tops almond, That Jacob surpasses Edward, That my left hand writes better than my right, And that my hair has a mind of its own, But I’ve tamed her tonight, So she doesn’t say anything to embarrass you. I’d sign the unspoken contract; To pretend to like what you like, Laugh at your jokes, Some slightly more offensive than others -My rabbi and my aunt’s priest have never walked into a bar at the same time -Answer your swarm of questions, To be assessed, Scrutinized, Judged On whether or not I am “cool” enough for you. Do I like the Knicks? That’s hockey, right? Do I have a favorite Beatle? Does Mick Jagger count? Do I play poker? Who doesn’t? I’d order a cheeseburger, Just to keep the Gone Girl facade in check, Discuss Quentin Tarantino 52

For seventeen minutes longer than I’d wish to, And hold back a sigh of relief when the waiter finally returns with a pitcher of water. Would you like another glass? You have no idea how much.


Conversations with No One and Nothing // CXM



Only At





least It

not was

His name I My

me yet my

was saw

grandfather Chess



mother I




Me I




Himself Now I

that am

Will You

him I





Namesake, keepsake, what’s the difference? What’s worse? Losing your mind Or Forgetting how to breathe Or I wonder if that’s who he spoke to, in his final hours, or days, or weeks— however long it took him to forget Everything and Everyone. No One, whom I now most often converse with in the shower. No One, who is always there when I need them most. He must’ve been speaking to No One too then, for, who else? No One was there when everyone else couldn’t be No One was the only one who could remain unforgotten and yet No One will forget him, you, or me No One spoke the words Everyone dare not say

“Everything’s going to be okay, Just wait, and you will see”

This is what he must’ve heard, from No One. No One says a lot of things, has a lot of ideas. I know because we speak often. I share my secrets with No One, while he shares Nothing with me.


Limbo Shores // Nathaniel Wisdom

Black currants sailed beyond black waves touching the peaks of my feet. Each berry bleeding in the water and dancing along random parts of moonlight. A dream mixed with thick sand and thin air cascaded against a previously blank sky. Alone I was skipping pebbles along a stretch of tar and beating the sand till it compacted together with my dingy shovel. I looked into the distance, my eyes blurring and merging different shades of greys then I lost balance as the water cusped me by the ankles and gripped my hair like ink dripping off the edge of paint brush bristles. I found myself looking at upside houses sludging with black lights and creaky wood. My toes walking on the surface of charcoal pacing on an unfamiliar ground and trying to make sense of it all while the blood rushed to my head and the houses tilted along the horizon. Gothic frames dancing while onyx tentacles slithered through cracks and holes of obsidian shores. I looked up at the sky and the solar eclipse made it all look beautiful like a beady eye pelted against a horrid canvas. Those same tentacles slid their tips inside my ears and wrapped around my soft brain. I’m running along a line, my left foot in the water, my right foot in the sand, and the divide stretches endless miles while I walk in place. Dark dirt slowly kicking up floating in my face. My tears are not falling off my cheeks. Soot painting my eyelashes. The coldness of my tears did not match the intensity or the anticipated warmth of my surrounding. Never did I think that the coldness left over after a raging fire could be as empty as space. For the presence of warmth still suggest life but here there was nothing but what was left over. Leftovers, and pillaging of fainted memories obscured by ash but not the loss of time. I fell asleep in place and I woke up in the same dream. Then I woke up and imagined my dream was reality. But it was both a dream and reality. I imagine my hand disappears when I place it in the water and I can’t 57

see it anymore. I imagine that the smell of dead bodies is the sweet tartness of those fresh currants. Sometimes in silence I can hear echoes. The sounds of others make my heart skip a beat, but I can’t tell if it’s the sound of my empty screams finally reaching back to me. They say, “You belong here, I’m not sure where we are. Can you stop for a moment and think? You’re useless. Don’t underestimate’re not strong enough. Go back.” Footsteps follow, the sounds of laughter follow, my feet running while my arms stay in place imprinted on the sand like a dog in a wet dream. This is when I try to run backwards but realize that it makes no difference. Even when I stand in place my feet drag forward as I’m dragging my nails through the sand. Trying to dig my way out as the sand continues to sink and replace itself. Berry blood taking over the sand and dragging it back to depths I can’t see. I like to lick the black stuff off my fingernails and smile fervently. I also try to drink the water. So that I could understand the feeling of being full again. I keep walking because I’m bored. I keep walking because I don’t really have a choice, but I don’t want to be bored again. I keep walking because I believe I will get out but I’m not sure where I am, and I don’t understand most of it. I keep walking because I’m not allowed to stop, so I sleep while I’m moving. I keep walking yet standing would give me the same results. My stomach growls indefinitely so I pat it while I lay on the sand and accept defeat. Creating drum beats for fun, the wind whistling a requiem with dust and remains. I sing a song for all of us to get along in hopes that some nights they’d shut up. Pitter patter, guttural sounds from my torso stretching follicles through craters. My relationship is amazing it’s the only thing I can appreciate besides the occasional groans from ripples of black water and leisurely strolls by roaring silver tides. The moon is my girlfriend. She smiles back to me and is the brightest thing in this room, she rotates and looks at the same gray waters and tinted windows. I love her, but we don’t talk, I understand. I reach out to the pale sky with my hand and like to squish her between my thumb and 58

index fingers to give her hugs. Someone left a boat for me out in the open. The sea doesn’t want to grab my ankles when I’m in it and I’m allowed to sail in place. I like to remember the time I could grab the sides of the boat and swing with the wind while staring at the moon. The moon staring back at me and highlighting my cheeks in smoky mist. I then recall the first time I came here and the first day I tried to get out. I was walking along a boardwalk, trudging towards the last line of wooden boards. Naked, cold and moon was there too. Red and not bright and white, pretending to be the Sun in a place that’s had its monochromatic colors painted over. I remember life, as it was, just like this here near these untamed waves. She pushed me to the end, pulling me to the other side, like a stream to her gravity. Then everything was black, I was swallowed by my own and now I enjoy the consequences of my own. I wanted to be somewhere else, I thought I chuckled because I now remembered why everything around me was wet. Warmth was absent because the fire stopped burning in me. Now I’m here and I want to be somewhere else again. Somewhere where things change. Then I regret my contract into perpetual sameness in exchange for the contract of perpetual change. When I look down at the water for my reflection, I see nothing. I’m only an experience told within a vessel I don’t choose to inhabit. The shadows refract through what is my body. My flame doused a long time ago by another’s muddled footprints. When I reach the end I’m usually gasping for air. I can’t see the moon anymore and the waters calm. I’m sailing from below hoping people are in those crooked misplaced houses. Using my shovel as a paddle while I drag my butt against ash. Searching for presence behind shadowed windows. The forgotten warmth of this land hovering my eyes and I’m dragging warm tears as I look up and down in my invisible boat by the dead sea.



// Tung-Lin Tsai

Photography. 60

Midnight Angel // Cher Guevara

She comes through the back stage door In this dimmed and neon house, Dancing down this corner sanctuary For another half-empty mid-week room. Yeah she dances and struts Like she’s done a thousand times before, Her tired eyes still glimmer ‘Cause she knows she owns this joint. She owns this joint As the regulars cheer and clap While she dances down another Hi-fidelity melody. As she dances and struts The regulars hold up their offerings, Donations to the only church in town Giving liberation. I’m in throes of holy ecstasy Held up by true believers in this midnight chapel. I ask her As she takes my offering And grabs my ass Through my gold leather and fur coat, “Sister, do you know my name?”


The man in the coffin // Glenn Ingersoll

climbs out of the coffin, shaking from his fingers the animus of flowers. He peels from his upper lip the dim opinion and drops it, curling, in a trash receptacle. You wear out months by walking them around town in a mechanical fashion, the seasons both of rebirth and burial dish by dish reflecting them, holding them by the jawbone. Around the lake they’ve threaded unburnt light, becalmed in a twilit noon. They fashion boxes out of rosewood. The waves lift apples and lower apples and a candle hums in a flickery pit out in the middle of daily life. They fill your plate with the ages accumulated by birds, diligence and industry. The neat hole in the tree one knocked a head against again. In the TV room walk two steps down energetically. Shag in lime orange, the history of the hemisphere plus twenty years, an anvil answering the ringing of the hammer with a hellish hiya. Where are the lively coffin girls? If a boat swings over a lake still as limestone while the sun, lumpy as a tangerine, rolls from the bin, who is the moth-eaten sweater ready for? The next available plane departs in treacherous waters. If I were you I’d begin the explanation with a 2X4, 62

tooth-marked, ahead of its watch, bells, in a roulette stitch. But your blessings did not include being me or my vagrant shade, my hue. The nailhead, flush with the wood, twisted, it’s obvious, on its journey to the hold. He squirmed on the bed, laughing, but remembered nothing funny, insisted the session had been grave. Yellow squash, a pleasant gourd, the stern cob, a grove money grows from. I have a January thawing in the millpond. Algae sparkles among ambitions, the crystal accounting, the clarity of a fingering. Where is the justice in a photocopy? Blinded, she keeps going over the accident in her fine teeth. When you can see you believe so easily you can repeat it without having rehearsal time between performances. I want to begin the symphony of sighs but it’s awkward, the foolish lake monster mugging from an inner tube, the blossoms’ elimination plot. I will allow myself a peek in the cigar box. Which of the crayons is the color of strength, which the headfirst element? I will know merely in order to communicate from bird to bird, dishpan to dishevelment. I had a mouth harp as a boy.


[A Night]

// Lindsey Warren

A life ago I closed over, a leaf could not leave me, then a night made its way into my suppression and made a venuschild, something sizzle-blue for me to want. One chip of wavelength made its way out of my eye and into the halo it was born for. Now I reach for the sky buried in my face and send all lamps crashing, I think oh now I can talk on my own and have it be


some glow unblemished on a side. In faith’s tree is where I find myself when I touch the names of mercies or let them go or break their bones or throw them into the ocean over the town: I cannot bear the full cheek of moon when I am too poor to be perception. Blue my every walking life. Stones or stars dangling like unfrozen voices around my head, the wind looks like all things I might have wanted to say, or another night rising opposite. 65


// Jazzmin Smith

Encaustic and yarn. 66

Contributors Sam Agravante is a 21 year old nonbinary Filipinx senior animation student at California College of the Arts. They’re interested in creating fun stories about identity, emotion, and belonging explored through fun character designs. They hope to be an industry visual development, storyboard, and/ or webcomic artist. Zachary FR Anderson is a SoCal Expat, History Geek, Facts Advocate and Amateur Ornithologist. He is also a possible Jedi, however outside sources have neither been able to confirm nor deny this claim. Kloe Chan is a multidisciplinary artist who enjoys spending her free time playing the cello and cooking. She does all her grocery shopping exclusively in Oakland Chinatown. Lindsey Choi Through the many struggles of living a life of constant moving, Lindsey has been setting a goal to find her own artistic style. Although there are many obstacles in her way, she will keep pushing through in order to find what she can call her own. CXM is corporeal being that creates art. It is assumed their cosmic address is Earth, Solar System, Milky Way, Local Group, Virgo Supercluster, Laniakea, Universe. Kye Demmon sculpts frogs out of clay and as a way to explore his identity, crafting domestic environments for them to inhabit. His work dissects the deeply rooted emotional experiences that occur within the home and the two sided nature of family relationships that are simultaneously hard and soft. Valentina Miranda Di Castri, born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, is an experimental animator and writer. Her work centers around personal and collective memory, the poetry of happenstance and revisiting histories. She is particularly interested in national/ethnic identities and how they shift depending on where we are. 67

Eric Dolan is a poet from New Jersey who writes pukepop nonsense for disenfranchised masses. He has always dreamed of living in Hayward, California & is survived by a loving family. Kendyl Domingo is from San Jose, CA, and graduated a banana slug. She writes prose and is inspired primarily by the [post]modern literature eras, Greek mythology, and non-fiction. In her work, she likes to delve into the evolution of culture, society, and the relationship people have with themselves. Euthaniel is an illustrator, doctor, cat expert. He regularly does commissions, but is always looking for new customers so he can pay his bills. Follow his twitter @wolftoxicity and commission him so he can have do that. He can draw furries. Zak Goggins is always making the same thing: stories to help people, herself included, get along. She looks at the future through fantasy like a true escapist, and wrap conflict in what’s gorgeous. Mary Graham is a CCA student who creates art. It is assumed Graham is from Earth, Solar System, Milky Way, Local Group, Virgo Supercluster, Laniakea, Universe. Cher Guevara is a writer and poet. It’s not quite certain where Guevara is from, but it is assumed Guevara spends a large amount of time in the Virgo Supercluser. Allison Hummel is a CCA alum who creates art. It is assumed Hummel is from Earth, Solar System, Milky Way, Local Group, Virgo Supercluster, Laniakea, Universe. Glenn Ingersoll works for the public library in Berkeley, where he hosts Clearly Meant, a reading & interview series. The multi-volume Thousand just became available from MCT Publishing. Ingersoll keeps two blogs, LoveSettlement and Dare I Read. Recent work has appeared in Mary, The Walrus, Sparkle + Blink, and Caveat Lector. 68

Maia Koryn Jackson is a painter and poet. Rupy Kaloti is a artist, orbiting around Earth’s Solar System. Esther Lee There are times where life gets out of control and you don’t know what to do. Especially for someone trying to find out what kind of person they want to become, it may result in overthinking or overworking yourself whether it is for the better or for worse. Cameron Lindquist is a CCA student who creates visual art. It is assumed Njheri is from Earth, Solar System, Milky Way, Local Group, Virgo Supercluster, Laniakea, Universe. Josh Lipson is a student of history, language, and the mind currently based in Virginia, by way of New Jersey, Cambridge, Jerusalem, Istanbul, and San Francisco. His work has recently appeared in Obra/Artifact, Homonym Journal, Burning House Press, and Petrichor. Kyle L. Logan is currently a junior at Xavier University of Louisiana majoring in Biology and minoring in chemistry. In addition to running Men’s track and field for Xavier, Kyle is currently an active member in Xavier’s Biology Club, Biomedical Honors Corps, and the Xavier Minority Association of Premedical Students. Rivka V. Louissaint is a black, queer, working class, Haitian immigrant artist who uses her art to explore the intersectionality and horrific effects of the world’s present systems of oppression. She is currently a senior at the California College of the Arts, pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing. Isabella Maria is a creative writer and poet who is currently living and going to school in the Bay Area. Born and raised in Colorado, her main influences come from her parents’ Italian New York background. Find more of her on Instagram @poetbella and @mothermoody. Clara Merçon was born and raised in Niterói, Brazil, and is now an artist and college student based in Oakland, getting 69

her BFA as an Individualized major. She is a multimedia artist mixing film, sculpture and performance, exploring themes such as LGBTQ+ struggles, Latinx identity, historical Brazilian memory and womanhood. Alexandra Mushinski is a fiber sculpture artist and poet living in Oakland. Her work focuses on exploring the creative transformation of pain into growth through storytelling. She likes to bring the surreal and the sublime into reality using written imagery. Bueli Njheri is a CCA student who creates visual art. It is assumed Njheri is from Earth, Solar System, Milky Way, Local Group, Virgo Supercluster, Laniakea, Universe. Ruby Rosenthal is a Turkish-American weirdo who, when she’s not writing, listens to extensive ‘70s rock and goes on adventures with her bicycle. Jazzmin Smith is a senior at Oregon State University, majoring in Fine Arts. She lives in Corvallis, Oregon but her heart is always in California. She enjoys painting, drawing and printmaking and loves working as colorful as possible. When she isn’t working, she has her head in the clouds. Tatyana Stavrowsky is an undergraduate writing and literature major at California College of the Arts. Travis Tate is a writer and poet. It’s not quite certain where Guevara is from, but it is assumed Guevara spends a large amount of time in the Virgo Supercluser. Tung-Lin Tsai is not a talkative photography student. Being a peeping tom and using cameras to creep on people is how he approaches people and photography. He doesn’t consider himself as a voyeur, but simply a person who has a huge passion to photograph people with their ordinary life. Jackie Vela occasionally writes words, sometimes drinks too much coffee, and always loves corny greeting card shit like this. 70

Nancy Wang is a Ceramics artist who is often inspired by human instincts, distinction, and the elements of both veritable and spiritual world. Her poems are deeply connected with her other artwork. They are inseparable and they grow together, dedicated to supporting and understanding each other. Lindsey Warren is a writer and poet. It’s not quite certain where Warren is from, but it is assumed Warren spends a large amount of time in the Virgo Supercluser. Nathaniel Wisdom is an animation student with a minor in writing. His writing focuses on creating brief moments in fiction. Creating short stories that express and develop memories through heavy metaphors that make us feel like we’re living next to the characters.


This book was created using Adobe InDesign on various Apple computers The body is set in Helvetica Light. Printed in San Francisco at KK Graphics. 72

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