__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1


Humble Pie

Volume Eight Spring Semester of The Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Thirteen


Staff Fiction Editors Erika Delgado Chelsa Lauderdale Poetry Editors Malcolm Frison Zoe Brezsny Visual Editor Cameron Clay

Webmaster/Publicist Kalyn Smith Librarian Jordan Minter Creative Director Josh Coolidge Managing Editor Susan Lin Faculty Advisor Caroline Goodwin

Humble Pie, California College of the Arts’ undergraduate literary journal, features fiction, nonfiction, poetry and visual art from undergraduate students in the Bay Area. On the cover: Untitled (color frequency as a variable of sound frequency) by James Cordas


Table of Contents Edible 1 Nathan Gale Drunk Eating Colin Andersen

3

The Largest Flower Smells of Rotting Flesh Vanessa Hernandez

4

Monarch 6 Chanel Murray Sick Farm Hayley Callaway

7

Two Poems Cecile Miras

9

Removing the Arrow Bradford Butler

11

Jesus Clears the Temple Nathanael Cho

12

Snake’s Prayer Brian Azevedo

13

To Ana Mendieta Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo

14

Khesed 15 Natasha McLachlan (Untitled) 18 Vanessa Hernandez


Kids With Guns Lara Brill

21

Two Friends And Their Texting Christian Wall

22

Where Was Robin? Jinnace Gray

24

Triangulated 25 Megan Yamanaka I’m Wet (II) James Cordas

28

Three Poems Morell Cutler

29

12th & Campbell Travis McFlynn & Charity Romero

32

(Untitled) 33 A. B. Young Safe Haven Ann Anglim

34

Alabaster Box Danielle Smith

39

Just To Hear Myself Speak Francine Marquis

40

Though Wolves Are More Beautiful By Far Than We Are A.B. Young

41

Olive Dye Celeste Johnson

47

Poem Beginning With a Line by Allen Ginsberg Zack Tuck

48


Edible

Nathan Gale

I make child labor seem cool by selling pearls the size of pears. List of things I always forget at the store: the smell of ghosts, human ghosts haunting animal ghosts, spiced quahog. You teach young girls capitalism by teaching them to breathe underwater. How it’s done: you fill their mouths with salt, until they seek a life in mammal-sized clams. Inflating water as they deflate pearls from clams. Calmly with hands that deflower everything they touch. When I run out of clams, I use men. Though their wool may be torn to rags of smoke, and I into a nexus of fake snow. They supply me with more than just bloody footprints in the snow. Tame a man with a girl and he gives up his home; tame a man with girls’ hair fed in three square meals for three spare days, she’ll pull him by her hair, by how her hair pulls him along his stomach, he’ll give up his pearl. It’s easier than translating the holy back into tongues. When you removed your hair from my stomach, like fish from beneath ice. I gave you my pearl as I could never give you my body. You couldn’t pretend it was your stillborn, or that ghosthorse you rode as a child, and you threw it to the water. The pearl you collect from me could have been the pearl we sell another day at Disneyland.

1


You’re always climbing the hill with a ladder. When you touch the grass it burns your legs like lava. Your screams make me forget the last place I saw my body. I should have written it down or drawn it in a cloud so it would be tomorrow’s snowfall. I guess my body is a season that lodges itself in the branches like a cone or a noose. Remember that hissy fit I had with Mephistopheles after I caught you sleeping together on the hearth. (He couldn’t perform nuptials. Like any action figure, he’s all smooth down there) that one where I said God is a four-letter word. Is Goad, as in the snow Goads me to sleep like a pillow over my mouth Goads me to silence. I ask you to put your cigarette on your arms that you lost in a case of mistaken identity at the slaughterhouse. I ask you to roll a snowman around me so I can be both body man and snow, almost one. When you do I do my part by making sounds of snow falling into ham radio broadcasts until the whole world forgets my name as I do now.              

2


Drunk Eating Colin Andersen


The Largest Flower Smells of Rotting Flesh

Vanessa Hernandez

In the washer we drown in bleach until not even a thousand molecules of steam can compare to the burn of our existence. post cycle, ants crawl inside through each pore’s breath and we wait for a miracle on Google screen but there are only questions and recommendations of mixing sugar and cinnamon and sprinkling it before the openings of your neck which replenishes itself at the point of a mandala.

4


we buy an ant house, tape it to your collarbone, and hope for the best. the ants leave for a couple of years until we forget that they ever existed and why you have the house to begin with. we figure it was always there and build a little garage for your cars and dig earth for a garden. we paint the rooms colors to keep busy. flowers bloom from the cilantro that we grow for salsa. i pick them and place one behind your ear and you keep it there even though it smells funny. you fix my broken car in the garage and we live for what feels like a nothing in that house. over time, we turn into Slinkys and i turn in the groove of your neck like the licking of a tongue or that one fake-flamed light bulb in the blue room. the one you point out while we lay in bed with my chin plugged into your shoulder. the one that flickers fast as if something was in the moment of blowing it out.

5


Monarch Chanel Murray


Sick Farm Hayley Callaway

In memory of Patient 497 After the doctors injected Patient 497 with Trentchen-5, it took him fifteen days of hallucinations and bloody rashes to die. A week later the doctors found a cure for Trentchen-5. It was based on Patient 695. Patient 695 was later exposed to Rigg’s Disease and suffocated on her own vomit. They found a cure for the only deadly disease they had injected me with so far four days later based on the autopsy of Patient 218. It was a disease that took at least a week until full kidney failure, so I had some days to spare. After that, it was just harmless stuff. I remember the doctors let me and five other patients grow out our hair so they could test treatments for green slimy things called Skull Bugs. That was the month I found out that I had red hair. It was so beautiful and shiny. I felt like an Outsider walking around with my little tuft of red hair as everyone stared on in jealousy. Patient 497 was like me too. He had only gotten harmless stuff before, and once they even found a cure based on his injection! When Patient 564 was about to get taken to the injection facility to catch Jingley-2, a disease notorious for its electrical brainwave shocks, Patient 497 held her hand and comforted her. He had a soft, sad smile on his pale and lanky face and calmed her down. She died two hours later due to electrocution.

7


It never really got to me when one of us died. It happened every day and sometimes every other hour. As I was getting over the Jaiquy Cold, I spent most of my time beside Patient 497 who would be frantic, screaming, and trying to claw open his restraints, bruising his wrists because he was trying to scratch his rashes. Here’s my confession: I muttered to him, “Stay strong.” Blasphemy, I know, but he had always been such a strong patient. As everyone dragged themselves across the rooms and white hallways, Patient 497 tried to put some kind of hop in his step, which tended to look like a limp, but it gave me a light warm feeling inside my stomach. I felt the edges of my lips turn up, which is odd because I had been on Quinn Fever for over a month at that time and that wasn’t a side effect I’d had earlier. Now, the doctors grip my wrists and walk me towards the injection room for a trial of Jingley-2 mixed with a fancy medication that will keep me alive longer. I know it won’t do anything for the pain, because I have heard previous patients’ screams through the door. I just keep replaying Patient 497’s words to Patient 564 in my head, and the edges of my lips turn up. Perhaps, maybe, it is not a side effect.

8


Two Poems Cecile Miras

I. you handed me a book titled home I circled the word cloud each time I came across it with a red pencil 78 times. 7 times 8 is 56 times a year I circle the clouds draw a ladder home with a black pen  you put in me a song called lost I sang it on the way back from school   begonia street   lollipop tree. lost I sang the song you put in me busy with sweet backyard lemon swing     i misplaced the book you gave to me forgot the song you put between   my lungs and larynx   took a vow of silence. lungs of zinnia dahlia   silence after a song has been forgotten  vows made in books  vows made one hand on top of books my blue leatherbound pocket book is yours now title it what you want and circle the breaths i took  the growing inches between my feet and ground write scriptures in the margins that are left for you

9


II. peacoat warmth from clasped hands the view from above shoes against carpet shoes against roof shoes against house and street against stretching plowed fields shoes against browns and pale green squares against tiny moving specks shoes against Californian coast against ocean and tide shoes against changing of blues of suspended clouds thick bay fog whirlwind messy hurl climb into its valleys make my bed on the bend and dips seats and wings rip out its teeth hang my coat from its tail piles of charred branches the fire we made last week the loose but heavy sketch of my hands the places where the charcoal became dust the places where the charcoal drew itself a seed, deep in my palm.

10


Removing the Arrow Bradford Butler


Jesus Clears the Temple Nathanael Cho


Snake’s Prayer Brian Azevedo

Snake’s lying in the grass and looking low His glass is halfway empty, halfway full He whistles tunes he learned in Paris-town, “Just what’s a fool supposed to do for love?” Pick berries from the highest cliff side bush And mash them to a bloody velvet paste Construct a mask appealing to the Gods Apply liberally to hands and face Hey Snakey where’d you leave that diary? Those words that gutted me cold in the sun In disappearing ink not meant for eyes To read, to scorn, behold, or lean upon Dig holes just wide and deep enough to keep Your ego tucked down tight among the worms And say a prayer that you might live without Myopic bouts of trying to unlearn

Snake lights a cigarette and shields his eyes Sunset light, warm shadows on his lips Shrugs a shoulder only to imply His studies are more concerned with the id Break willow branch into divining rod And dowse a quiet meadow to retire Into a solitude of absolutes And let the meadow’s music take you higher

13


To Ana Mendieta Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo


Khesed

Natasha McLachlan

I. at night he calls from across the riverbank offering a bruised plum and a boat swayed between the reeds that makes it easier to cross it is hard to stay here beneath the khamsin heat beneath the silk bedding draping me and my Husband i go once, twice three times across the marsh— it cradles black waters and bones of lovers, malcontent

15


the brown juice moves between my lips, between fingers, staining covenants i made several days ago beloved, come home says Husband, sloshing through mud He finds me drowning in guilt and carries me over His shoulder pulp sticking to my chin II. today He comes home with sweets from the vineyard, and a beaded thread for my neck He admires me as if He doesn’t smell the air laden with the souring drupe as if He didn’t see the soil pressed to my feet yesterday when i wove a basket in His honor

16


III. the sun takes her rest leaving Egypt in her shadow and he calls, even now from across the river the plum in his hands boat swaying, soft words i stay.

17


(Untitled)

Vanessa Hernandez

She is threaded into his cells. Compressed so that the skin has become the color of moth’s eyes. He does not notice and continues to fold the blanket, once in half and again twice over. Wool rubbing into his fingers. Horns curl behind his ears and his hoofs spread on cobblestones. He climbs. He folds the blanket, once in half and again twice over. Places it beneath the chair and rocks himself with the night with his feet. Curled like clasped lovers after sex. Useless prior to birth. The sonogram stating this, hanging on the fridge by a porcelain magnet made by Mother in craft class. She said, Don’t step in those again. He asks, What are they? She drags him from the pool of oil and to the market where they dig for sprouted potatoes. The oil pools beneath the machines that make clouds for rain. The oil pools in his pores. They dig through the wet soil with bare fingers and place their reaping into a cart, one by one. At the market gypsies rub liquid wood onto his feet and sing through their ruby teeth. Their hands work the wood until the skin stiffens for an hour. Enough time to walk back home without using his hands. During his walk, shadows blend with his

18


skin and all that is left is his feet clapping against the pavement. Townspeople stop to listen. They think it is their own applause. There is a trunk of blankets beside his rocker. He pushes back the lid and takes one out. It unfolds onto him, once in half and again twice over. A sheep yells in the distance like a baby on its birthday. A fire burns at the top of the hill. The Doctor probes his wooden feet and inspects for termites. He inspects, They aren’t wooden any longer and tears him a prescription for more gypsy visits. The gypsies inject his feet with wood pulp and fatten the tissue until skin stretches to normal. He can’t walk without them bursting from the pressure. He returns to his hands. When the darkness settled into his room, she pulled the blankets to his chin and let him play with her hair. He ran his fingers through and pulled at the silver. With her eyes closed, she aged ten years and when she was dead she looked thirty. The gyspsies cooed in their throats and stuck hot pine needles through his heels. One had an eye behind the bridge of her ear. Its lid was painted gold and never fully opened or closed. But the pupil rolled back when his skin sizzled. What remains of the home is its front porch, rocking chair, trunk of blankets, and a pile of potatoes whose spuds grow into each other and rot. The Doctor walks up the hill towards him with a duffel bag half his size and pipe between his lips. The rocker rocks itself with his feet and drags into splinters.

19


Townspeople live in rows of tents. He stands before them and watches as they weave in and out of them like thread to a quilt. One woman looks like his mother. She has skin of moth’s eyes and hair paler than a fire’s lick. He places one hand before the other and runs towards her. She weaves in and out of sight. His feet wither and curl into each other from the heat of the sun. The Doctor shakes his head and blows a puff of smoke out from his pipe. It is useless, he says. You cannot be fixed. He packs his supplies into his duffel bag and walks back down the hill. He rocks himself with the night. Blanket up to chin. Searches for her behind his eyelids. Finds two pools of honey-dew oil instead. The Doctor draped her over his shoulders and carried her away. She wore her night-gown made from old comforter sheets and socks. Her charcoal skin flaked and fell onto the pavement, once in half and again twice over.

20


Kids With Guns Lara Brill


Two Friends And Their Texting Christian Wall

Fruity loop pot snack, beers and joints deep in trees, urban forest danced. A thousand pounds of snow suspended above our heads.   Thoughts smooth like marble. White pearls fill my cranium. The future holds much.   The Ocean of Dreams churns ‘twixt sundown and sun up. Wake with salty brain.   Living in this place so fast, vast, its own world desire palace.  

22


External love source torrentially streaming in, my brain is a sponge. Hollow cranium fill it up with swamp music, sink into my bed.   Feet are wiggling numb, amongst the nights’ fierce commuters Mellow cheese, he lied.   Staring though futures clones acting and reacting myriad of fates   Requiring no god, belief has equal power all is one. Self. God.   Dim Light, cracking up. Broken hookah, pizza slice. COLLEGE IS WEED BEER

23


Where Was Robin? Jinnace Gray


Triangulated Megan Yamanaka

1. You need three people to make a triangle. 2. Alex, Frisk, and J are all girls. Frisk is friends with J, who introduces her to Alex. J has been in love with Frisk since they were both eleven and Frisk was still going by Taylor instead of Frisk, but is pretty sure that Frisk isn’t into girls. She’s wrong, because Frisk is into girls if those girls aren’t named J or are named Alex. 3. Or maybe it’s not that. Maybe Alex, Frisk, and J are all boys. Frisk is an out and proud queer who’s still friends with J, only J is not in love with Frisk this time. Or he isn’t until Alex crashes into their insular little world and is everything that Frisk and J never knew they wanted. Alex seems ambivalent toward their efforts—he has a girlfriend who lives in Canada.

25


4. But what if Alex wasn’t ambivalent? What if Alex’s girlfriend who lived in Canada wasn’t a real person at all and Alex created her as a way to turn down girls who were interested because where he comes from, you can’t be like Frisk partly because wearing thin, tight, t-shirts would probably cause you to freeze to death in winter, but mostly because everyone is a homophobic asshole. Maybe Alex responds to Frisk’s flirting and they get together. 5. J doesn’t always get the short end of the stick, honest. In some situations, Alex and Frisk are dating and find themselves mutually attracted to J, who is quiet and dependable and kind of like the boy next door if the boy next door spoke fluent French and also owned a flogger. The flogger may or may not factor into how attractive Alex and Frisk find J. 6. Sometimes, only Alex is a girl. Things probably proceed as in 3 or 4 or 5, only more romcom and kitschy. After all, queers are depressing and that’s a fact. If you don’t write depressing queer people, how are you supposed to know they’re queer? Regardless, Alex can be ambivalent or she can choose to date Frisk and/or J.

26


7. Now imagine Frisk and J are already dating. Their genders don’t matter, just the fact that they’re dating. Now bring in Alex, who is attracted to Frisk and/or J, but doesn’t say anything because Frisk and J are just so fucking happy and the only people who break up happy couples are terrible ones. Alex likes to think that they’re not a terrible person. 8. Alex could be a terrible person, though. So what if Frisk and J are happy? Alex is the kind of person that goes for what they want and they want J (or Frisk or both). Maybe J or Frisk is a terrible person too, and they have an affair with Alex. Maybe they have simultaneous affairs with Alex. 9. Maybe Frisk and J are siblings. Maybe Alex is their way of reaching across the taboo of wanting each other. It’s not incest if it’s in a three-way, right? (Wrong.)

27


I’m Wet (II) James Cordas

dirt from a hole water from a puddle wave in a tree wave made of smoke wave made of black smoke bright white wave in a tree smoke from white paper black smoke from wet paper jesus for six pages in cursive black for 250 pieces of wet paper smoke from a mouth smoke from a body a body on a plain a ship under the ground a plain in nature a horn underground a drum in the dirt

28


Three Poems Morell Cutler

past, perspective. White from a home of frugal thirsty. I do not milk; I know milk? code typed once here, much like it It urges me ancestors from box, housing black dick or French bread I know I overstand.

29


I can eat for hours. for hours too, but this scrapping so careless? I come and wiping the system and I defeat was a purple dinosaur They could really mean that in a what the fuck I love you? saturation like my own peas DNA twice man. primordial at my best, chance will I see like me, like the color of Barney. Barney he was just a cabbage minced

30


garbage tone and I that in spoons. that is should drunken drinks in paper The problem I have with it is in a flakey brown color with royalty over saturated and so a caricature. May I be but like knots in a Hometown. Shouldn’t I hands, much like new concrete and black, Puree’ of things I do not mean

31


12th & Campbell Travis McFlynn & Charity Romero


(Untitled)

A.B. Young

See the air, see waves break over stars, dots swimming in pools glittering pavement brick walls red bricks. Kid knees tucked into side. Steam into white wood below jars of nuts above tapping fingernails. Dots resting in floor, below beeping below shuffle feet. Kid hands plastic cup small fingers velcro. Orange-gray sand sprays eyes brown eyes, brown with blue mist. Metal clatters on plastic, drags through paw prints over broken homes. Â See the air, see grey sheet sheets pounding polyester, see four feet. Brown cushions green carpet white walls. Kid knees tucked into side under blanket. Technicolor. Sheep skin outside sheep fur inside sheep fur against human skin dog fur. Mugs with white stripes. Yellow plastic above windows below advertisement. Quiet chewing and laughter below orange glow below rain. Green weaving against brown wood wet sniff twitch toes blankets.

33


Safe Haven Ann Anglim

I can hear the waves coming ashore. The slush of sand and foam under my back, rolling over my belly, and catching my hair.  The hush, the water, the stinging cold.  Shhhh. Shhhh.  The water sucks back out into the ocean and I don’t hear it return.  Then, as I open my eyes slowly, squeezing them against the white sun, I see a fan whirling against the bubbled ceiling.  Plastic blinds, dusty and bent, open their eyes into my eyes.  The ache sets in.  A prickly tongue, sticky with remnants of last night.  Whiskey, cocaine, cum, cigarettes.  I’m raw.  I’m swollen.  I’m sick.   The room is getting brighter. I’m trying to remember where I am, what I did, and who I am.  A man’s leg, heavy and moist, like an anaconda, lies across my thigh. His breathing is shallow and raspy with intoxication.  I can just make out his hair sunk into the pillow as light illuminates his wet, pock-marked forehead, and the sour smell of alcohol from his skin.  Like rotting fruit.  A swarm of flies on the oozing skin of a peach.  The sheets are wet,  and they peel away when I roll off the bed. My feet hit the floor like lumps of meat.  My breasts, tender and sensitive, ache from their own weight.  I think, for a moment, that I’ll vomit, but the feeling subsides with more painful thoughts.  I am alone.  I am a worthless whore.  I wish I was dead in hell instead of here. In the bathroom I fill the toilet with sour, brown urine and wipe away remnants of blood and semen.  In this moment nothing hurts, though I am aware of the tenderness and swell of my vagina.  But I continue. Flush the toilet, steady to the sink.  I am moving like a tin man.  A hollow, empty man.  Even as the vomit finally surges, muscles clenching, burning the back of my tongue, I am locked on the gaze in the mirror.  The red and black eyes.  I feel nothing. 34


When I wipe my mouth, I catch sight of my secret. My stretch marks.  My hanging skin.  Evidence of swelling, growing, giving, a baby, a life.  I remember the child, her soft lips and her smooth, spongey gums against my finger.  When I was pregnant, I was alive, someone clean and healthy, someone who saw smiles and courteous gestures at the supermarket or coffee shops. Smiles young beautiful women got because they were moral and glistened with the one thing the world got right.  With my round belly and rosy cheeks, I could have been her, special and loved.  I often lingered in public places to bask in kindness.  But it was not to last, and upon returning home to an empty apartment, dusk set in and my fear was roused like a serpent from a basket.  I had been told it was evil growing inside me.  It was a child of rape, spawn from the seed of violence, sewn into the flesh of a whore, and spreading like mold on turned fruit.  It was there in my loneliness, where the abomination of my pregnancy beat into me, that I imagined myself dying and killing, sitting alone in an armchair beside the window.   Now I am without child.  Left it alone in the forest.  Left her five years ago after birth.   I’m not the only one, though it’s been going on for years. Women cursed with desire, raped, impregnated, and damned.  We all know it’s a crime to bear children without a husband, illegal to engage in relations without marriage.  We respect the new system; it prevents our natural tendency toward hedonism, provokes then expels immorality, and encourages breeding tendencies to improve a genetic predisposition toward cleanliness.  So I, as others in my position, deliver babies in blackbrick clinics, and get rid of them.   Five years ago I learned of the Safe Haven for offspring:  Safe,  anonymous,  secret. I realize now I am compelled by something stronger than my sickness.  This man’s laptop is on the kitchen table.  I’ll peek at it, be very quiet and quick.   The screen lights up and a loud “dong!” fills the room.  He doesn’t move,  still in the same position.  Google search: “five year old children.”  No, not pictures, or schools or movies for, or books about…yes, development, 35


social skills, cognition. Five year olds are very social.   Eager to learn.  Often adventurous and prone to injury.  Injury.  Injury.   The floor creaks, the pads of feet, I look up. “Um …” He slams the lid of the laptop, nearly snatching my fingers.  I stand up and start to back away, my body is like a feral cat ready to run or slash.  But he turns away, and I see the back of him.   Broad shoulders and heavy arms.   He grabs my handbag from the table and returns with an easy walk, looking at the floor.  Then he throws it at me, hitting my legs.  He throws my shoes, one at a time.  I’m still backing away, hands open in front of me.  My dress.  My underwear.   “Get the fuck out, whore.”   It’s five in the morning when I pull into the parking lot at Wal-Mart.   The rearview mirror hangs from a wire, and I lift it to see my face.  Blotchy red.  Black eyes.  Dilated pupils.  I pour foundation between my palms and rub it across my face.  Put on sunglasses.   The entrance is a blinding spotlight, emitting the piercing odor of ammonia floor cleaner.  There’s an elderly man in a blue vest, he greets me with a smile though it quickly fades the closer I approach.  Welcome to Wal-Mart.  The toddler section is to the left, past the young teen clothing.  I would strangle any mother who put her daughter into these clothes.  They should be burned.  The clothes and the mothers who buy them. I love the toddler department.   This is my church.   I feel whole, alive, filled with blood.   I look at and touch everything.  Sometimes I inhale, hoping for the scent of a child.  Maybe the salt of a sunbathed little girl.  Or the dirty grass of a little boy just home from baseball.  Shoes the size of my hand.  Socks with ruffles.  Overalls.  Polka-dot dresses.  I’m putting them all in my shopping cart.  I’m snatching dinosaur T-shirts, talking Elmo, Minnie Mouse shoes, camouflage backpacks, baseball caps, bracelets.  And when I am trying to pick up a ten-speed bike to lodge in between the slats of the cart, a bright red-faced man is smiling at me. 36


“Hello there! May I help you?”  He is showing his teeth.   “Oh!  Yes, I want this bike.  Can you put it in here?  I mean I want to buy it.” “No m’am, I’m afraid that’s our floor model,” he chirps through yellow teeth and glossy lips, “You see this metal cord attached to it here, m’am?”   I see it.  It’s to prevent theft.  I’ll ask for the manager if he gives me trouble. “Well, yes, well, I didn’t see it. Obviously I have money.  So, you can please just take the cord off right?” “No m’am.  I cannot do that.  Store policy requires…” “Forget it!’   I start crying immediately and shove my cart around his neon face and speed to the check-out.  A young Hispanic girl takes each item off the hanger.  One by one.  The item here, the hanger there.  She sees my face. Knows my face. Chews her gum slowly, churning and churning.   “Your total is $576.42.  How would you like to pay for this, m’am?”  Chewing and looking at her finger nails. I swipe my Visa.  My hands are filthy.  Chipped nail polish, scraped and red knuckles, dirt caked into the cuts.  She’s holding the receipt in my face. Have a nice day.   I used to come here twice a year.  The first time, I didn’t know exactly where to go so I just drove out to the sign in the woods, “Safe Haven.”   It’s a blue, rectangular sign showing a hand cradling a baby.  I just sat in my car. I listened to the air.  I rolled down the window and listened.  I guess I thought I would smell them or hear laughing or crying or talking.  That first time, I drove off.   I left nothing.   I started leaving things behind the third time, because I knew what they wanted.  I put bread and flowers first.  In a basket, lined with pages torn out of a coloring book.  But that night, I couldn’t sleep.  I kept getting up, and then laying down again.  They didn’t have crayons or anything for those pictures.  They didn’t have blankets.  Or pillows, or milk or candy.  And all of the things they didn’t have made me realize I needed to know what they wanted.   37


So, here I am. I have been doing this for four years.  Now I come every week and in between those days I study children.  I watch Barney And Friends, Thomas The Tank Engine, and Sesame Street.  I’ve been to Disneyland three times and gone on four Easter egg hunts, three Trick-or-Treats, and two roller coaster rides.   Today.  I’ll drop the children’s supplies into the woods like I always do.   Pack it all into cardboard boxes, remove tags and stickers, and pull my dolly out to the bluff.  I can see below, into the cavern.  More than 100 feet down.  Littered with the remnants of torn boxes and shredded wrappers.  Debris scattered across those jagged rocks like the end of a feeding frenzy.  One by one, I toss the boxes over the cliff.  They splat open tossing clothes, shoes, candy and blankets in every direction.  Another box.  More stuff covering the garbage from before.  After the last box, the rocky basin is filled with colors, and glitter and love.   If only I could smash my body onto the rocks, but all I could give is blood and bones.  So, instead, I give the children what they want.

38


Alabaster Box Danielle Smith


Just To Hear Myself Speak Francine Marquis

just to hear myself speak teethed tongue how many times how many times have you how are you how are you doing ten hands ten feet ended fingers to ten ten eyes ten mouths soaked through breath a quarter down drawn shade revealing three perfect identities. in the dog’s mouths. race me to perfection race me to wit erase me tongue in hand

40


Though Wolves Are More Beautiful By Far Than We Are

A.B. Young

Dorian Gray forgets to pray most nights, listening instead to the cat caw on the back porch, listening with the cat for the crows to caw back. Wind whispers to the tired plaster walls, and the sweat drips from the roof to the carpet of browning roses. Calluses capture splinters as the woodcutter handles his kindling. His hands are deft, like pliable bark, firm, but flaking. The blanket of felt is spread on the dirt and the leaves, and it’s green in the light of his lamp, black in the light of the moon. He bends at the waist, gathers firewood to his chest, and turns to place it on the blanket. He grunts with the effort of straightening. He rolls his neck, the sweat slinks down, the pain in the strained muscles scrapes up. It is this night, as he trudges home, that he meets the fairy. She opens her arms, opens. She says, You are tired, let me hold your axe. Her voice is melting snowflakes on the cold tips of his ears. The woodcutter wears boots lined with deerskin, a coat of stiff green linen, his beard trimmed perfectly to the shape of his chin. He opens the blanket and lets the cut wood shatter on the dirt. The blanket falls to the ground like a dead leaf. She opens her arms, clothed by moonlight and not clothed at all. 41


Their bodies fill to the threshold with splinters. The first night his wife lets her stew solidify to slush. The table smells of roses, pine, and cinnamon. She sits, back pressed straight, with the two wooden bowls, the two copper spoons, the firelight joyous and dying. Her deerskin shawl mutters to her cheek. The base of her back whimpers. His wife waits for him for a decade. When she marries again, her dress is cumbersome and cream. The friar counts the witches who’ve been sacrificed to the devil. The devil counts his teeth. There’s a tapping on the friar’s door, and at first he thinks it is the branch of a tree. He sits in his favourite chair, the one that closes around him like lips. He has lived here for years, in a house beside the grove at the base of the stream. There he built an altar, protected by a waystone. He tends to the altar nightly, leaving black roses for the moon. Dorian Gray was once in love. He believed his beauty was matched by that of his Juliet. She, his fair sun. Her sternum splintered under the pressure of the blade, which was silver as the moon. Black roses shrivel with brown, drift on brown water, ensnared in brown bowl. There’s a tapping on the friar’s door, and at first he thinks it is the branch of a tree. He sits in his warmest chair, the one that closes around him like a curling tongue. His knees shudder as he clambers to his feet. In a nightgown of felt, he shuffles and creaks to the door.

42


He grasps the oyster shell knob; its edges nibble his palm. He opens the door and the leaves of the trees applaud. The smiling flames in the hearth make the room glow gold and when he opens the door, her hands look copper. The woodcutter’s blanket is made of felt and the leaves and twigs come closer to feel the static, then stay. He wraps his firewood, and the bundle could contain an adolescent girl, all uneven limbs. He clutches it to his chest. It is this night, as he trudges home, that he meets the fairy. She hides her nudity under a deerskin shawl. Her silver hair floats on the heavy air, and she says, Your arms are tired, let me hold your axe. But he’s left his axe among the tree stumps. Dorian Gray has roses on his dining table. His cottage smells of cinnamon and pine. He was beautiful once, he remembers this. He looks into a shard of glass and sees pale hair, thin eyelids, mouth plucked at the edges of naivety. His wife sings outside, by the window, voice tumbling in with the sunlight as she tends to the roses. She sings to the sun of the moon’s envy. The cottage is all brown and grey. Wooden rushes on the floor, ashes in the hearth. Dorian Gray sits at his dining room table and listens to his wife sing and the cat mumble to itself on the window sill. The moments pass like cricket croaks and finally he shouts, Oh, fair sun! Juliet stops singing.

43


The woodcutter is afraid of wolves. He tells the fairy this, as he watches her chop fire wood. She places a log on the stump then nudges it to the center with her mud-covered foot. Her temporal thigh pulls downwards, pulsing away from her bones in waves. The woodcutter says, The wolves will come if we don’t leave soon. Oughtn’t you go home? He brushes his nails against his testicles, looking around for his linen jacket. The fairy says nothing, only moving her foot from the stump. She raises the axe, both hands tight at the very edge of the handle, and she flings it back over her head so her whole body must follow its progress. She balances on her toes, her body the waning crescent moon. In the distance, a crow caws, and a wolf whimpers back. The pressure of the axe blade splits the log and it crackles. The grove beside the friar’s house shudders like dragonfly wings. The waystone flicks shadows over the base of the stream, wind fingering the water til it shimmers and the moonlight gasps. There’s a tapping on the friar’s door, and at first he thinks it is the devil come for kindling. Dorian Gray looks up at the moon through the dark gray leaves. He savours the scream in the base of his back and how it scrambles, all splintering nails, up, hollowing the muscles that span either side of his spine and clench his shoulders. He feels the muscles pulled taut as bones try to escape his skin, pushing like the foot of a baby against the walls of his mother’s womb. He is warmed by the fur that breaks through his skin like goosebumps. The cracking of bones is drowned out by pants and howls. He listens, hoping to hear the caws of crows.

44


The fairy tells Dorian Gray, I will trade you the greatest of pleasures for your beauty. Dorian Gray licks his lips. His eyes follow the fall of her black hair, hung heavy to touch the moss and tickle her ankles. He asks, Are you afraid of wolves? Her lips turn up into the waxing crescent moon. Juliet is picking flowers in a field when her father comes home. She picks only the white ones, breaking the stems close to the dirt. She intends to take them home and weave crowns for herself and her sisters. They will die tomorrow, the crowns, and the three girls will sigh in sadness, their breath blowing like a gale over shriveled petals. But Juliet doesn’t think of that now, singing to the deerskin shawl that brushes her cheeks. Her father calls to her from the barn. Her bare feet murmur to the soft spring soil as she trudges her way up the hill. She lifts her dirt-smeared skirt and races the breeze. Her father stands at the door, straight and tall as a cliff-face, axe over his left shoulder. He says, come, Juliet, I have brought you a back gift from my travels. She asks, have you brought me a rose, father? It is all she had asked for. He replies, Yes, my beauty. Her back goes cold like there’s water seeping up, under her skin. Dorian Gray is very close behind her. If he were to put a hand on her, the heat would sear through her dress. His chin mists along her neck, and with lips at her ear, he asks, Juliet, are you afraid of wolves? She swallows and the saliva won’t pass the stone she feels in her throat. It bubbles back up and she gags. His hand hits her flat in the center of her back. Her diaphragm seizes, her shoulders shudder forward, and the burp races up, spherical slime, through her chest and carries drool out and down her chin. Dorian Gray’s laugh is like a bark, and it reverberates in her chest.

45


The first time he comes home with blood on his lips, Juliet seeks a reasonable explanation. She whispers to the cat that her Dorian would never hurt them. The friar says, Juliet, I thought you were the moon goddess come to collect my soul. Then he sees the blood on her hands. He sees it smeared across her pale lips. She breathes through her mouth; her warm breath grazes his cheek and smells of roses. There is a tingling beneath his scalp. He says, my dear, what has happened? She says, the woodcutter, he raped me. The friar laughs, and splutters hot spittle onto her cheek. On the night of her second wedding, the woodcutter’s wife goes into the woods. She wears a deerskin shawl over her wedding dress, which is not white. She chops wood for hours, feeling sweat chill against her skin. It is this night that she meets the fairy. She is naked as the moon, a slender sliver. Her hair floats on the humid air. She says, You are tired, let me hold your axe. Juliet is indeed tired, she is not often up so late. She holds the axe out, head down, and watches as the translucent fingers of the fairy grasp it. She notices rough divots in the skin, like craters. The silver blade glints in the moonlight as the fairy lifts it over her head. She swings it forward to meet with Juliet’s white rose crown. The axe splinters bones, slow with shyness, as flesh and golden hair quivers away from the blade. Black guts splatter fairy feet. Juliet tumbles to both sides as separate halves. Dorian Gray lies in bed and ponders the fickleness of women. The strangled screech of a crow that cawed back to the cat seeps with the wind through the sweltering walls. The cat’s tail quivers.

46


Olive Dye

Celeste Johnson


Poem Beginning With a Line by Allen Ginsberg Zack Tuck

and i an ignorant girl of family silence on the thin pedestal of my legs in the bathroom—Museum of Austin a piteous day in 1915 floods flash and water swirls killing humans and livestock my eyes flashed in the night and i exceeded my boundaries in the master plan this fury will call for a master plan of vigorous pursuit of funding and tunnels Z Creek unwelcome place trash litters Ludd-prone waters. Bridges low beneath the shelter take. And most buildings near the creek face coldly away from it. As i face coldly away from my stewards unique in that no man has given me the right to harness my horses with violet and peacock feathers ONLY THE MOST DELICATE AND HARDENED FEET MAY TREAD ON THE SURFACE NEAR MY PERENNIAL WATER

48


If this is you, but you do not recognize yourself, rejoice, magnificent baby. You have smashed my continuum. The drawing rooms of one of the most magnificent private residences in Austin are a blaze of lights. Of course this belongs to my brother Apollo. Was that thunder I heard? Surely a collision or Carriages line the streets in front, and an unspoiled harmonious wilderness within a cave the son of Zeus and Maia, eldest of the Pleiades you have to understand that family silence brackets family speech growth requires tricks tricksters check merchants wandering moonheads as if on the banks of the Seine walking their lobsters or whatever strand of the Peloponnese where i first learned the names Inanna and Shahrazad and richer tressed was the curls of the creek and their roots dissipated stream energy and in this way i am of the nothing and i applied myself to the study of nothing and the pursuit of nothing and being nothing had no proper home except the river bank below the underpass shaded from the violent rays of my brother Apollo and even the buildings turned—especially the buildings—away from me because I shunned society and lived in a cave on a mountain existing solely in my fantasies and my fictions or perhaps it was Mount Bonnell or Mount Davidson Was this Arcadia?

49


But the lights in the A had gone out, no, had been stolen and for two years i “got by” in rcadia i made time with seers lacking foresight i touched snakes i suffered sedimentation and runoff and erosion but unendurable is still a word that may be enounced As theft begets theft... try again In the spirit of mythology’s trickster archetype... humbug What I’m trying to say is that i stole the A from Okland and here are my terms for its safe return:

50


Biographies Colin Andersen is a self-proclaimed “Art Wizard� originally from the northwest United States. Now in Oakland, Colin enjoys pulp fiction, tattoos, comics, sweaters and prog metal. Currently he is practicing his two favorite mystical arts: freelance illustration and comics. Always on the go, one can often find Colin riding the BART train to his next destination. Ann Anglim is a Bay Area native. She is a recent graduate from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fashion Design. While designing for runways and boutiques, she writes narratives for each collection. Inspired by tales of human nature, in all its messy glory, each collection continues to be unique, fresh, and detail rich. One such story is featured here. Brian Azevedo is a musician, a printmaker, a writer, and a home-body. When not in the printshop he can be found in the library or playing loud music with Oakland based punk group, Youth In Asia. Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo went dressed as a lunchbox for Halloween in preschool and has an extra X chromosome. She was raised in Southern California, but calls many places home. Lukaza makes maps, prints, line drawings, books, textile works and performs with the community around her. When she is not in the printshop, she is probably wandering in the desert, natural dying with these little red bugs that grow on cacti, making pie or traveling to communist countries.


Lara Brill is 20 years old, and grew up in San Diego, CA. She began studying graphic design in an Art Foundation Course at Brighton City College in Brighton, UK. After a year in England, she came back to California and has been studying Animation at CCA ever since. She often refers to what she has learned in Graphic Design when working with animation, and has enjoyed experimenting between the two with a very hands-on approach, using paper cutouts and photography. Bradford Butler Life is equilibrium between the environment and history. Capturing the moment of balance within chaos fuels the passion. Bradford Butler is from Marin County and moved to Oakland last September. Now residing in the pleasant neighborhood of Temescal, he absorbs the ritual encounters each day whether he may experience chaotic or comfortable occurrences. These occurrences stimulate his artowrk and personality. His current identity first began with an inspiring ceramics teacher that turned his physical athletics into making physical three-dimensional forms. He has now pressed ideas down into a combination of two and three-dimensional forms and paintings. Hayley Callaway is an 18-year-old student at Contra Costa College who plans to study English and history. She is on the college’s speech and debate team and is a self-proclaimed “geek.” When not reading, playing Minesweeper or watching Doctor Who, she writes science fiction and fantasy stories. She posts her adventures in thrifting, geeking, and writing on her blog called Such a Rag Doll. Nathanael Cho is a graphic designer and writer who has plenty of time but no time to waste.


James Cordas (born May 22, 1986) is an American artist who works in sculpture, installation, digital media, sound and light. His early works included immersive installations, interactive digital media, performance and 2D wall works. Between 2010 and 2012 he has exhibited work in such institutions as Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Liminal Space, We Are Will Brown and The Luggage Store. Cordas has an upcoming residency at the Berkeley Art Museum in early 2014 and is currently a candidate for the Yale Norfolk Scholarship. Morell Cutler is a student at California College of the Arts. Nathan Gale Sat in the corner, Eating a Christmas pie: He put in his thumb, And pulled out a plum, And Said: ‘What a good boy am I !’ Jinnace Gray is a second year Illustration major. Drawing is her passion, coming second only to her love of vigilante crime fighting. If you haven’t suspected it yet, yes she’s Batman. You may be wondering why she just revealed her secret identity, but it’s all a part of the reverse psychology she uses on criminals. Anywho, that’s enough of that, she can’t go around telling you guys everything. By the way, she’s 19, loves to bake and believes pajamas are the best thing in the world. Vanessa Hernandez is a writer who reads and drinks a lot of tea. One day she would like to own a corgi and a Victorian house.


Celeste Johnson is an interdisciplinary artist who focuses in sustainable fashion and textiles. Her work explores the necessity of simple objects that are well-designed with a beneficial environmental and social impact. This photograph is of test dyes made from olive fruit, eucalyptus bark and olive leaves. Francine Marquis 763 hours, 16 minutes, and 49 seconds of sound. four years of pressing record. the other things i can’t record. i write. thanks, this city. thanks, that desert. Natasha McLachlan 22. Born and raised in Southern California. Poet at heart, but has been inspired to write plays and scripts lately to experience what writing can do off of the page. Cecile Miras is a Bay Area native currently studying Writing and Literature here at CCA. She has a dog named Sundae, and likes to blame mostly everything on being the youngest of five kids. Chanel Murray Vi veritatis, dum, Chanel Murray, viveret vivi mundum. By the power of truth, I, Chanel Murray, have conquered the universe.


Danielle Smith was born in Monterey, California and is currently a senior majoring in Painting and minoring in Writing and Literature. Her chosen medium is oil paint on canvas. She mainly works in the realm of realism along with traditional painting processes. Zack Tuck is a ghost. He lives, but only in the past—born in Texas but demolished in California to make way for his contemporary avatar. Aesthetic/political concerns include: aspens, bears, cosmic twins, divination, encyclopedias, flow, guilt, the hierophant, insurrection, jouissance, K, the constant, love, meter, networks, omphalos, philosophy, queerness, ritual, tenderness, urbis, vice, the word, xx, you, zero. Christian Wall is a mild degenerate from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He currently studies Furniture at California College of the Arts; he also enjoys ice cream and a nice pair of slacks. Megan Yamanaka spends half of her time in Oakland, CA and half of her time in Los Angeles, CA which makes her like Persephone except instead of getting kidnapped by Hades she just went to college. She’s majoring in Professional Lying (which most people call Writing and Literature), she likes key lime pie, and she’s totally not a timelord where did you hear that? A.B. Young Into every generation a slayer is born: one girl in all the world, a chosen one. She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the vampire, demons, and the forces of darkness; to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their number. A.B. Young is the Slayer.


Visual Art Colin Andersen Drunk Eating comics 11” x 14” Lukaza BranfmanVerissimo To Ana Mendieta monoprint with chine colle 11” x 15” Lara Brill Kids with Guns photograph, lined paper, construction paper, acetate, acrylic paint, black ink 16” x 24” Bradford Butler Removing the Arrow painting 48” x 45” Nathanael Cho Jesus Clears the Temple screen print on paper

James Cordas Untitled (color frequency as a variable of sound frequency) archival giclee print on steel 66” x 38” Jinnace Gray Where Was Robin? Photoshop 8’x11’ Celeste Johnson Dye Lab photograph of natural dye 8” x 10” Travis McFlynn Charity Romero 12th & Campbell salvaged paint and pastel on found wood 36” x 48” Chanel Murray Monarch copic markers and india ink 15” x 10” Danielle Smith Alabaster Box oil on canvas


Profile for humblepiemag

Humble Pie Volume 8  

Humble Pie Volume 8  

Advertisement