Issuu on Google+


Do you own Twister and still play regularly? Do you have fascination with mold? Do you mumble off sometmamams?

Do you have what it takes to join the Illiterati? Illiterate is looking for talented and motivated volunteers to work on Illiterate behind the scenes in the Editorial, Graphic Design and Business departments

ILLIT Events Poetry Open Mics at Albums Alcove every Wednesday at 8:00p.m. Albums Alcove is located at 13th and Broadway across from the Fox Theatre.

SUBMISSIONS!

* No more than 3 per author per section * 300 DPI resolution for art and photos * 2500 word maximum for articles * Include: - Author’s name and contact info - Dimensions/materials (photo and art) - Short artist statement * Submit online at www.illiteratemagazine.com

visit www.illiteratemagazine.com Copyright Illiterate Magazine, 2006.


Recently a professor of mine, poet Lorna Dee Cervantes, directed me towards a revolutionary concept in poetry: Googling. By now, most of us that aren’t living in a hobbit hole or have an allergic reaction to internet have used the Google search engine at some point in our lives, whether it be to look up ourselves and loved ones, to find out about exotic locales, or to hunt down every glory hole fetish website on the world wide web. Google, which started as a doctorate thesis project for two computer nerds at Stanford, has grown into a cultural phenomenon, becoming so integrated into societal consciousness that the word “google” itself has found a home in many of our dictionaries. Main Entry: Part of Speech: Definition: Example: Etymology: Usage:

Google Verb to search for information about a specific person through the Google search engine She googled her high school boyfriends. trademark Google googling n

With the invention of GoogleTM and other similarly massive search engines, and a few clicks, stalemated factual disputes are quickly going the way of the dinosaur, the Aztecs, and acid wash jeans- never to be seen again. “Dude, the gross national product of Uganda is definitely over $1500.” “No bro, I promise you it’s no more than $1450, on my great grandmother’s grave, or I’m a dirty pirate hooker.” Lorna introduced me to a website created by Leevi Lehto, a Finnish poet/translator/programmer. What is unique about the site is, it uses the Google search engine to compile poetry based on a word or phrase that a user puts in. Much like the original Google, there are advanced options, allowing the user to set the parameters of a search based on language, linebreak sensitivity, and excluded words, as well as the form of the poem (i.e. free verse, list poems, sonnets, pantoums, villanelles, etc.) Granted, the resulting poems are by no means masterpieces in the art of language. At best, the poems can be described as experiments in postmodern gibberish, and at worst they make absolutely no sense at all. However, from time to time phrases and associations emerge which a human hand, restricted by societal influence and personal/cultural hang ups, would be unable or unwilling to create. The words that come up are often shocking and in some cases could be considered offensive. This brings up an interesting question. Who is responsible for these poems? If a Google poem contains material that others find offensive, who is there to answer for the words left on the page? As an editor, I’m constantly dealing with the question of authorship; is that photograph you took of someone else’s artwork authored by you or by the original artist? Often I’ll find submissions with no name on them. If it’s a great piece, the other editors and I have to hunt down the author in order to publish the work. If we can’t find the author, even if it’s the best thing since Walt Whitman and sprayable cheese, we must reluctantly allow the work to fall to the wayside, so as not to violate intellectual property laws. With Google poems, how can ownership and ultimate responsibility for words be assigned? Is it the user, inputting search criteria? Is it Leevi Lehto who designed the search engine? Maybe it’s the search engine itself, compiling and displaying words to make poetry? How about the millions of websites from which the language is gathered? There are strong arguments for all of these and yet there is no one clear answer. The integration of technology (particularly the internet) and the arts is an uncharted swamp of collaboration, a mucky terrain, where it is impossible to distinguish between the shore and the sea, where 1’s and 0’s become A’s and B’s and the creative juices are no longer measured in sweat, but bytes per second. Below is an example of the results found when I entered the word “Illiterate” into Leevi Lehto’s Google based search engine. Compiled 7/22/2006 7:58:08 AM GMT illiterate is undesired by university education? illiterate is forbidden to see being unable to use the pay illiterate thunders at their system of maintaining thorough illiterate forbids a sure way to exclude the most disadvantaged illiterate whispers to not a good way to pay the rent as nobody takes an illiterate person seriously except perhaps another illiterate illiterate is hooded by not the issue illiterate strives for a little like being blind; and it explores hard to understand the world if you can’t see it illiterate creeps by one of factors that cause rudeness illiterate thinks of unfounded illiterate falls into a compliment illiterate surprises terrifying illiterate shouts at “educated


g

DORRIANE LAUX

g Interview by Josh McNair

Featured Poet

I grew up in San Diego, California in the mid-fifties, which at that time was a small barren border town populated largely by military families. I guess my early influences came from living in that environment: harsh sunlight, the smell of the ocean, the scrubby landscape. I think it was the canyons that were most important to me growing up, an open place I could go to be alone, to watch life poking up out of the hard soil, if you could call it soil, caliche, a hard-packed dust really, moonscape, but with gray green sage brush, stunted trees, and infinitesimally small flowers struggling upward only to be battered down by the sun. If you were a plant or an animal you had to be committed to life to survive there. I think that gnarled struggle influenced me quite a bit. Another early influence was music. My mother played piano and so there was always live music being played in the house. In addition, I was allowed to observe, first hand, the kind of discipline, commitment, and love it took to be an artist. I had many brothers and sisters and there was always much work to be done, so I also saw how art could be a seamless part of daily life. I watched my mother go back to school at a late age and get a nursing degree. She worked in the emergency room and was one of the first women paramedics. It was a long and satisfying career for her, as well as a job that was necessary and important. I think my project as a poet has been to showcase these small, daily heroes who get up each morning and do the work that needs to be done and struggle with little reward and much sacrifice to build a life for themselves and others. And do it with a kind of grace. These ordinary heroes are so little seen and praised, like those small, insignificant flowers that you might not notice unless you get down close to the earth. And reading. My mother was a great reader and so I learned the love of reading from her. In the midst of whatever chaos the family was engaged in, I could sneak away with a good book and escape from all of it. There were also many terrible secrets in my family, as there are in many families, and the perverse part of me wanted to expose those secrets, break them open like rocks. The poems were my secrets. I began writing at twelve, the rhymed and silly poems of a twelve-year-old to be sure, but they were the beginnings of finding a voice. Reading and writing helped me to build an interior life, helped me learn to name my feelings and think for myself. The combination of music and reading, as well as the harsh landscape and chaos of the family, all went into the shaping of a poetic self.

I took my notebook to the JM: The earliest volume of your work that I have been able to hunt down Laundromat and wrote while the is a Five Fingers book titled “Three West Coast Women.” You have done clothes spun in the washer and my other work with Kim Addonizio, so I assume that there is some sort of relationship there. Can you explain the idea behind “Three West Coast Women?” daughter ran around looking into DL: “Three West Coast Women” was what might be called a combined the glass portholes of the dryers. chapbook: three chapbooks published under one cover. I lived in Berkeley at the time and my friends, poets Kim Addonizio and Laurie Duesing, and I all wanted to try to get a book published, but we were rather scared to try it on our own. So, we decided to try to publish as a group, kind of all for one and one for all. The Three Musketeers of poetry! So, we sent the combined book to our friends over at Five Fingers Review and they liked the idea. Kim was one of the five editors there so she helped pave the way. We did most of the work ourselves, paid for most of it, and peddled it ourselves. The whole project was more fun than fearful and arduous. JM: In your initial statement, you said that you began writing poems at a very young age (12). Did you write consistently until you began publishing? I realize that you were quite busy during this time, and I assume your writing took a backseat to the finer things. Is this what happened? If so, what in your life helped facilitate your becoming more focused on poetry? DL: Yes, I wrote more or less throughout my young adulthood, whenever I could find some time to be alone with my notebook. I made forays back to school to take courses in English and Composition. I was in my late twenties by then and had a young child. But I was a closet poet. My therapist, Joel Rosen, to whom my first book is dedicated, encouraged me to go to a local bookstore where he said other poets and writers gathered to share their work. I also took an evening workshop with the poet Steve Kowit and began to read more widely and take my writing more seriously. The poems I had written on my own I brought in to class.


I refined a number of them but became more interested in writing new poems, in imitating the poetry of those who had come before me, doing writing exercises based on these models and incorporating what I was learning. All the while I worked as a waitress and raised my child, so these classes were squeezed in around my daily life. I combined my efforts. I took my notebook to the Laundromat and wrote while the clothes spun in the washer and my daughter ran around looking into the glass portholes of the dryers. I kept retaking the same night class which at that time you could do for credit. I did my first public reading at that bookstore, D.G. Wills in San Diego, and it’s still there today. That was back in the 70’s. I recently went to their website (http:// www.dgwillsbooks.com/) and if you look it up you can see that it’s really just a hole in the wall filled with books. Since that time many famous poets, writers, actors, and politicos have read there and they have a great store of old photos of Ginsberg, Snyder, Mailer, Vidal, Walcott, Rothenberg, Ferlinghetti. (Few women, as you can see.) I went back to read again some years later and it was lovely. It’s part of my history. I published my first poem in a local journal that came out of those informal workshops called “The San Diego Poet’s Press”. So yes, I was quite busy during those years. JM: Your work has gone in quite a different direction since “Three West Coast Women.” Can you explain how you understand the evolution of your poetry over the past twenty years? Also, I have always been intrigued by the way in which you illustrate mundane experiences and relationships. How do you see the concepts “rootedness” and “authenticity” as they relate to your own poetry? How are these things important to you as a writer (and perhaps as a reader)? DL: I am always looking for the authentic in every poem I read. I think we all are. The truth is so little heard that we crave it. And, as Emily Dickinson says: Truth is so rare that it is delightful to tell it. Even if the truth is difficult or shameful, there is a certain satisfaction in bringing it up into the light. It is also necessary. I’ve always also been driven by what the philosopher William James, brother of the novelist Henry James, says: We never fully grasp the import of any true statement until we have a clear notion of what the opposite untrue statement would be. I think all poets are working to include that thinking in any piece of art. That tension between the two creates what I think of as authenticity. Something as simple as the assertion: I love you, or I hate you, becomes fascinating in light of James’ quote. The evolution of my poetry? Well, I have tried to do something a bit different in each book, though it’s difficult to will anything when it comes to poems. They always have the last word. I tend to return to the themes of family, work, love. But in spite of their themes, I think all my books share an arc of direction, the inward gaze turned outward, moving from the inner life to the outer life, from the one to the many, even from death to life. This last book is more concerned with politics. I do seem to be confronting many of my ideas about a number of social crises: the concept of democracy, the dwindling wilderness, homosexuality and women in the culture, homelessness. Those concerns have always been with me but I’m older now and maybe I feel more confident in directing my poetic attention more fully toward them. Rootedness is a difficult concept in North America, especially along the West Coast where people move from place to place, sometimes on a yearly basis. We are a people of pilgrimage. We’ve come from other counties, states, countries, cultures, and make our homes wherever we set down our bags. Family ties are broken or frayed; friendships are lost. I was raised in a military family so we lived wherever my stepfather was stationed. I never really knew my real father, or my family of origin. We were a combined family; we took in foster kids and boarders, loved others added into the mix. We weren’t religious so we didn’t have those rituals to guide or comfort us. We never knew our grandparents beyond a few old photographs. It was a movable feast. I went to a reading in Portland a few years back by Dorothy Allison, author of “Bastard Out of Carolina”, and she asked a rather large group of us to raise our hands if we knew our grandparents. I was shocked out how few hands went up. It’s a profound loss. Because of this lack, I long for history and stability in my life. On the other hand, I can feel at home almost anywhere and that’s a good thing for a writer. I find myself drawn to poems or stories that have a deep sense of history and locale and I think I’ve tried to include the landscape of the Northwest in my last book as a way toward really inhabiting the place, reveling in the feast staying put for a while. Even so, I’m always ready to move at a moment’s notice and that keeps a tension in the air at all times. JM: One thing I always admired about your work was its sense of humility. Your dedications, also, seem to reflect this (“for my mother,” “for Tristem,” etc.), in the sense that you seem to feel a certain reverence for your family and those close to you. DL: My reverence for my family and friends stems, in part, from this sense of dislocation and loss of history. My poems are like those old photographs, that if you kept them in a tattered box behind the stairs or in the attic, you might lose, to time, the elements, in a move. My poems are a way of fixing this life in a frame of sorts, and not just the visual images but the emotions associated with those images. The smells and sounds and textures of certain years, weeks, days, moments. If I’m lucky, those moments have something in common with others. If I’m lucky, and work hard, they will, like my love for my family, my friends and my life, outlast me.


g

LEARNING TO DRIVE

by Dorianne Laux

The long miles back, down the road I learned to drive on, the boy riding shotgun, his hand on my hand on the gear shift knob, both of us locked on the dusty windshield, looking out at the cracked asphalt, old airstrip, the nothing that spread for miles: scrub brush, heat waves, sky, a few thin contrails, jet engines wisps of sound. His patience, endless, my clumsiness: the grinding gears, the fumbled clutch, the wrench of it popping like an arm from its socket, his blue, beloved 57 Ford lurching into the dirt. I was 16, he was older, his football-player shoulders muscular, wide, neck thick. Where did he get his kindness? Why spend it on a girl like me: skinny, serious, her eyes already hardened, her arms bruised. Hours under summer’s relentless heat, his car stumbling across the barren lot til I got it, understood how to lift my left foot, my right hand, in tandem, like dancing, which I never learned to do, never wanted to turn circles on the polished floor of a dark auditorium, the bleachers hemming me in. I drove toward the horizon, gravel jitterbugging under his tires, lizards skittering, jays lifting to the safety of telephone wires. He taught me how to handle a car, how to downshift into second, peel out from a dead stop. His arm hung loose from the open window, fingers clamping a lit cigarette, trailing smoke, eyes on the road. We didn’t know where we were going. He didn’t know he was flying off to Vietnam and I was on my way out of there, listening to The Byrds singing Eight Miles High when he made me stop, opened his door and slid out to stand alone on the side of the road, his back pressed up against all that emptiness, the blue sky falling through his eyes.


Burak Serdaroglu

uskudar ferry port , Istanbul .Turkey 2005

kommondo stairs , omaggio to cartier-bresson , Istanbul. Turkey 2005


Release.

by William Mailliw

ease.

Release. Release. Release.

Release.

lease.

So off she flew, her sparkles making sea. Alone, I stood while she killed my bitch for me.

The fairy tapped my noggin with her silver wand. For just a hundred dollars, she’d slice away my bond.

A girly that I loved learned to juggle hearts. She poked out my eyes and ripped of my parts.

I met her one day while walking down the street. My head hanging low and heavy shuffling feet.

There once was a fairy of perfect fairy size. Fairy toes and tongue, fairy teeth and thighs.


www.unordinary.org


Martin Wachter

Local Artist

Life is comprised of a series of experiences. Memory of that experience is based loosely on a propensity to process input by placing a stimulus into a preexisting logical pattern. A painting in the style of photographic realism leaves little to the viewer’s imagination; it simply presents an artist’s perspective of reality and generates a consistent response. The work of Martin Wachter is interactive, as it demands careful inspection. Details in many of the abstract paintings have been described as pieces of another person’s dream, engaging the viewer to prescribe a mentally tangible image. In this respect, the pieces have many meanings by instigating a variety of imaginative Interpretations.

Featured At:


RACISM

is an obstacle, period. By Simone Groene-Sackett I don’t know to what extent the world is aware of CU Boulder’s ‘race problems,’ but the last semester exposed the ignorant and malignant underbelly of this predominantly upper-class white institution. It began in November, when our African-American student body president received a death threat that cited her race as its impetus. A week later the Black Student Alliance (BSA) was bombarded with hate-mail from other sources, while at the same time racist flyers appeared all over campus talking about the “inherent criminality” of blacks. It came to light that the Ethnic Studies department had been receiving hate mail also. All of this happened three months after a young black man was accosted by a group of white men in a van who yelled racist epithets and then proceeded to break his jaw on the curb. That semester I was taking a class on the Harlem Renaissance, a literary and artistic movement in the early 20th century that confronted the racist ideals and actions of those times. As the hate-mail incidents unfolded, I began to see my class as a microcosm of how ignorance survived and even thrived at CU. To begin with, there were no people of color in this class. The teacher was a well-intentioned but poorly informed graduate student who didn’t know that terms such as “mulatto” (etymology: “little mule,” meaning a subspecies that cannot reproduce) and “miscegenation” were no longer acceptable, or that exoticism of the Other by white Europeans is ultimately damaging to race relations, rather than a mark of progress. These misunderstandings about race, especially in light of the goings-on at the university, at first greatly hindered my ability to learn anything in the class. I decided that I couldn’t just stew on my rage both at the hate-mail incidents and at the ignorance of my class. Together with my best friend. I organized a support rally for the student body president and all other AfricanAmericans on campus that had an estimated turn-out of a thousand people. I also started a ‘Love Mail’ campaign, where I sent emails to hundreds of white students asking them to send letters of love and support to the BSA and the Ethnic Studies department. After discussing my concerns with my Harlem Renaissance teacher, I prepared an information packet on the correct terminology for race issues today, as well as background information on why exoticism is harmful to people of color. My teacher then asked me to give the lecture for that day, so that she could also listen. I was honored. Towards the end of the class it became evident that my peers really understood what I had told them; one girl even wrote her final essay about how enlightening the class had been about current race issues, not just those of the 20s and 30s. I never found out how many Love Mails were received, but a friend in the BSA told me their inbox was “overflowing.” And thanks to the high turn-out of our rally, the Regents were notified beyond a doubt of the seriousness with which we students view racist crimes on our campus. And that has gotten the ball rolling towards ending racism on campus and in the world. Racism is an obstacle to humanity, and we must do whatever we can to keep it down.


TE Con

xT

black black black black black black black black black

white white white white white white white white

Wings Cat Light Panther Bread Thorn Squall Tie Meat Hole Hot Death Wash Magic House Ma[i]l [e] Text

white white white white white white white white white

black black black black black black black black

Piss-Off Picasso

Bird

Tiger Widow Power Berry Rose Sea Hood Market Noise Heart Privilege Hand Lightning Tar Pages Con


Unstuck with Unstuck withGlue Glue It's April 19, 11:00p.m. A group of Illiterate crew, friends, and performers have gathered at Assitant Editor Yuzo Nieto's house after a surprisingly energetic hip hop show at CU's Club 156 featuring Shamako Noble, Rahman Jammal and Glue. The concert topped off a week of hip hop events coordinated by CU's chapter of Hip Hop Congress. I've been told by DJ Synergy, CU Hip Hop Congress's organizer and representative, that the headliner, Glue, might stop by for a quick interview. As we wait for the group to arrive, Shamako Noble, Hip Hop Congress's founder and acting president, begins to gather the attention of the guests in Yuzo's living room. In a matter of seconds the small room, which five minutes ago was filled with the overlapping sounds of competing conversations, has become the conjuring ground for a hip hop ritual rarely seen in Boulder a freestyle rap session known as a cipher. A scan of the room reveals at least eight bodies wedged into two adjoining sofas, others sitting in a variety of mismatched chairs garnered from the rest of the house's many nooks and crannies, and still others claiming any open spot to be found on the hardwood floor. Some people beat box, some sing, and some tap on whatever object they can get their hands on; in the corner one of the guests has stumbled upon a guitar. All the while the cipher passes around the room from person to person, giving everyone (including those of us less adept) a chance to freestyle. For the moment the house is no longer just a college domicile littered with cheap beer cans and cliché posters. With every break beat the fervent music grows in energy, each person feeding off of the collective rhythm; once again, we are members of a tribe camped around the fire, chanting in the darkness to wild spirits. 30 minutes into the collaboration I am brought jarringly back to the present reality; Synergy walks in with the three members of Glue trailing: producer, Maker, DJ DQ, and frontman/MC, Adeem (pronounced A.D.M). Not wanting to leave the pulsing creativity of the living room, I attempt to persuade Adeem to join the cipher. Denied! Synergy informs us that they're all tired and need to be up for an early morning flight the next day, leaving only a short time for the interview. Slightly disappointed, but still hopeful that Glue might still be enticed to join the freestyle session, a small group of us remove ourselves to Yuzo's kitchen. Illiterate: Why don't we start with some biographical information for those of our readers that might not already be obsessed with you? Adeem: Maker’s from Aurora, Illinois DJ DQ is from Cincinniati and I'm from New Hampshire Ill: So how did you actually meet?

Glue: Yeah, it's all meant to be. We've told the story of how we met a lot. But it’s really on just the random occurrence of I met him, and then I met him. Then we came together to work on a project after realizing our individual skills mesh well together. Ill: A lot of your music is socially conscious; where does that come from? Leonard Peltier for example is not exactly a topic a lot of artists are talking about today. Adeem: Maker was involved in that, he's been involved in it for a long time, so is DQ. I think these guys sort of happened before I was more conscious of it. I've always sort of felt like the more economic conformist, where I came from and how I ran my life, just what's going on.

What's really going on today lead me to be more conscious of the past and made me even more furious about what's happening today.

Ill: You guys came to Boulder right in the middle of a bunch of protests, which you mentioned during the show. Any other thoughts on that; seeing people protest, and how much your music is a protest? Maker: One of the things that I noticed- it's weird, we've done a bunch of college shows, we've been to a lot of college campuses, and this was the first one that looked like, and felt like a real college campus. It was flourishing, we were walking and there were people protesting here, somebody setup with a table here, and booth, fighting for this and handing out information for that. The whole walk from the parking garage to the Hill- just people everywhere doing things proactive, and it was like, this is what I thought college was always supposed to be like. All the campuses I ever visited or whatever, at the shows people were all "woooo yeahhhh" and this one I was like "Wow!". We were even talking about going back to college! Ill: Do you feel that your music should inspire an action? and what action would that be, aside from having people go out and buy your CD? Maker: We've never really been the kind of people to be like, Leonard Peltier, and stuff (it) down your throat, its been more along the lines of just throwing it out there and maybe get someone interested and pick up the ball. Cause we also make other kinds of music but if we can get someone to listen to one of our songs, and be like, I don't even know who Leonard Peliter is, and then get on Google to find out. You know, we haven't pushed it too much but we want people to be open to it. Adeem: I think we've been really fortunate as human beings having the ability to access the past, with things being recorded. I think history has definitely shown


pushing anything down anyone's throat is (bad), I mean, if you stick your finger down someone's throat, they're going to throw up. If you try to gag someone with a message, it's just not going to work. I think what's fueled us

even more, what's fueled me as a front man, is traveling and seeing different people, and seeing different states of mind that people have. All the people that I've met, so many feel the same way: like there's something wrong but they can't really put their finger on it. Because every time they march in the hundreds of thousands nothing changes, except for maybe a couple of more people get hip. But you know George Bush sits there like, "Try to jump over those gates motherfuckers, see what happens to you!" He's so far removed from his actual people, that I feel like he's sitting on this throne in the middle of the fucking Pacific Ocean, where no one can really reach him, and he doesn't necessarily have to really care, because he's made himself a world president rather than a country president. In seeing those things, it's fueled us to be more active, and it hit me at some point in the last

year and a half, where I was like, holy shit, people are listening to what we're saying, and they're listening in a way that is strong. So, I

Dan (DQ): That's not a good question Ill: ok Dan here's a better question; if you had a super power what would it be? ALL: damn that's a good question Adeem: I feel like that's the shit you think about, like " I want to fly" Ill: I got that vibe from DQ on the DJ table- just going out of your mind Dan: that's actually a harder question…um…. I'm drawing a blank…I pass Maker: My super power would be uh….um…… Ill: sorry it's a tough question… Adeem: My super power would be the ability to make people who didn't know what their super power was, the ability to know what their super power was

don't want to waste any of my words, I don't want to waste any of my time. I want to do everything that I can. Our music is about honesty, I always joke about spreading the nice guy gospel. Trying to better ourselves and the people we're around by just doing what we love, and hopefully that image is put onto people so much that they know how much we love doing what we're doing, and they'll want to be in love with what they're doing even more.

(laughter)

Ill: Tonight during your show you spoke about how important your fans are to your music, that one exists because of the other. What sort of interactions do you feel you need to have with the fans? I mean at your show you went down into the audience…

Dan (DQ): I really love Kid Koala. I think more than anybody else, he truly transcended the art of record playing to the orchestration of an instrument as opposed to just emulating an instrument. He actually plays the record. It's pretty amazing. He's one of the reasons I do what I do.

Adeem: It's become more frequent that I do that, and I've never wanted it to feel like a gimmick for anyone in the crowd, but it's an honest to god exchange of energy.

Maker: I've been listening to a lot of Edan lately. I really like his latest album Beauty and the Beat, that album's really dope. I love what he's doing, it so different, but at the same time its something that's been around. His style been around since the late 80's, taking psyche rock elements I'm just feeling it. It's crazy

There's a feeling of jumping in that crowd, and having everybody come in close, and the actual human touch, and that vibration of energy extending off of them into you is… I don't know… it's something that will get me through my plane ride tomorrow and it will get me through all the shitty days I have in New Hampshire, or something that will get me through bad memories of a break up or fights with my friends, or hating the administration that my president represents. Maker: Our music isn't very far away. It's very honest like he said, it's just us. So we're the same people on the records that we are in real life. So, we can come down and sell CD's to people and hang around and talk to them and find out what they're about because that's us, we're regular. And it's been really cool going around the country seeing how other people think. Ill: Does it feel like there is a community forming? I want to hear what Dan has to say actually.

Maker:… my super power would be to look at any record and know if there was a drum break on it… I'd be like "that's mine" Ill: so…Where do you trace your musical or non musical lineage?

Adeem: It's funny I was just thinking about your last question, and like actually I've been listening to three groups. I've been listening to Sufjan Stevens, I've been listening to Iron and Wine and also Songs of Ohio Maker: Have you ever heard Soliloqous of Sound? They're amazing. When we see them perform or listen to their music we're just like, we've got to step our game up. Those dudes are really doing it right. I don't know, when we get together and make music man, we just do it. If you listen to "Seconds Away" and "Sunset Lodge" and then our new record, they're all different. It's kinda like, we'll get together to make a song, but we won't be like, "hey let's make one like this", we don't pick up where we left off, cause we'll be on some other shit. We'll just start doing it. Some songs just come together by chance, they just happen. Adeem: thank you very much (trying to edge out) Ill: Quickly one word DQ: Beige Adeem: Oceanic…. Maker: Flight 9/11 Adeem: no wait, I change it….Obsequiesse


There is a presupposition in the journalism world that I have failed to examine thoroughly: It is supposed to be interesting to interview professional musicians. Yawn. The following is an interview with a local Denver band that will, because of my indirect and regrettable ties to a few members of this band, remain nameless. This band has recently received a minimal amount of critical and a middling amount of commercial success nationally. Although they just lost one of the founding members of the band, they will continue to trudge on for the good of whatever it is they trudge for. The person who answered these questions had no idea that my intention was to point out the utter lack of sincerity infecting so much of our modern music. The following is the list of questions, followed by the band’s subsequent answers, followed directly by my analysis of that answer. 1. Who would you tour with if you could choose anyone? Definitely Motley Crue first and foremost. There are a ton of bands we would love to tour with right now. We look up to so many of them that it’s always awesome to play with bands we love. Now, I know it’s become cliché to refer to a band as Rock and Roll cliché, but I can’t help myself. The utter ambiguity of the answer leaves enough to be desired. Motley Crue? Out of all the amazingly influential and challenging bands in existence today, you pick Motley Crue? Hm. I guess if aging men wearing leather and licking their lips at sixteen-year-old girls is your idea of a good time, then I say more power to you friend. While you’re busy sharing the stage with one of the least vital bands in history, I’ll play some Sega or something. Let me know when that show is over. 2. What has been your experience with Ben and Soda Jerk Presents while playing in Denver/Boulder? Ben and Mike have been amazing. They have helped us out so much with getting our tour kick-offs and helping us out when we want to play. I think Ben is definitely doing a great job and making the Denver scene a thousand times better than it used to be when it was just NIPP putting on shows. Here is where my foot stays in my mouth. Ben is almost entirely responsible for making Denver a cool place to play. Backing local legends One Dying Wish through their short career has paid off with the eventuality of Denver’s best: Signal to Noise, Soda Jerk has also taken chances with local acts like Valerie Franz and Ghost Buffalo, allowing for a richly diverse local music scene. Recently they have drawn in influential acts like Mike Park, Murder by Death and Zao, which has garnered loads of respect from the local music community. I will say that while this is beneficial, Soda Jerk has also been responsible for bringing in easy money bands as well. Hosting a show for Boy’s Night Out is like inviting that bratty six-year-old neighbor kid over for a dinner party…he just kind of ruins it for everyone else.

3. Do you guys have a mission statement as a band? I don’t think it’s really a mission statement. It’s more just how we live. We just like to rock out and have a great time doing it. Well said. Rocking out and having a great time is beneficial…it’s the rally cry of alcoholics across the globe. I asked you if you had a mission statement. I gave you a chance to prove to everyone that you guys aren’t just another shallow screamo band from the lonely side of the suburban tracks. Thanks for blowing it. It gives me a chance to swoop in with generalizations like: This is just one of the many examples of post-modern egocentrism affecting the genuine nature of what Rock and Roll can and should be: vital. Rocking out and having a great time doing it may be o.k. for a ho turning tricks on Ventura Blvd., but if you want me to listen to your record and take you seriously, you’ve got to do better than Call Girl Candy. At least she gives the courtesy of a money shot. 4. What do you think about the current status of the music scene? The Denver music scene has been doing fantastic in the past few years. So many bands from here are getting national attention and its making Denver a great place to play. I just wish it would have happened sooner. Are you talking about Fear Before the March of Flames? Because if you are, let me just take a moment to clear my throat, arch my shoulders, and scream out a big Fuck You to those selfish turncoats. Whew, that felt good. Now if you’re not talking about them, I assume you mean Signal to Noise. Word son! These guys are the best thing to happen to local Denver music since, well, One Dying Wish. No wonder they share so many of the same members…{scratches head}…what were we talking about again? Oh yeah, I was doing an interview with some other Denver band. Yeah, it’s great; I wish it had happened sooner too. Yeah, totally, um-hum, head nod, yes, I know what you mean. (I think I may have stopped paying attention at this point.) 5. If you guys had the opportunity to sign with a major label, would you? Why or why not? (Like I didn’t already know the answer to this one.)

afraid will be tainted right? Also, in response to your argument that joining with a major helps get your music to a lot more people, I will borrow some lyrics from one of hip-hop’s most original artists of the day, Immortal Technique. “If you go platinum, it’s got nothing to do with luck. It just means that a million people are stupid as fuck.” If you make the kind of music that “a lot more people” can enjoy, fine. Make it. But do it quietly. Do it away from all the bands that are trying to write original and challenging songs so yours is not so obviously shallow in comparison. And for god’s sake, don’t stand up for yourself or the music critics will sneak into your room late at night and whisper in your ear, “Thank you for selling your soul. I now have something to write about.” 6. What does it feel like to have a room full of fans scream your lyrics right back in your face? It feels great and really bizarre at the same time. it’s amazing to get up there and see a ton of kids singing along and hanging on your every word, i just wonder how they read into it sometimes. i know when i listen to other bands i interpret it in my own way so i can only imagine what kids think my lyrics mean. Well, I read your lyrics and I’m almost certain that you don’t even know what they mean. The words ‘trite’ and ‘uninspired’ come to my mind. (And if we’re being honest here, I’m pretty sure they come to yours as well.) We both know what you are. A scam artist. You are just like every other band out there commodifying the impressionable hearts of teenagers across the nation. It is through music like yours that the real precession of simulacra is taking place. The stamp has become more important than the ink, and no one is really sure what it says anymore. But enough of this. I’ve had enough fun at your expense. I have done the one thing a good journalist should never do…abuse the trust of the person you are interviewing. Well, what can I say? I guess I’m not a good journalist. We’re like two peas in a pod. We get away with mediocrity while apathy reigns supreme. God bless America!

It really all depends on the deal. Majors help you get your music to a lot more people but at the same time they can really hurt your image as a band and as people. Everyone wants to be able to be rich and famous off doing what they love though so its kind of a double edged sword. It’s the kind of double-edged sword that Abraham was going to use to cut his son in half. (Hey! Check it out! A double-edged sword reference! Fifty extra points!) K, I want to clear something up. You’re afraid of the major label reps hurting your image as a band right? This ironclad image of musical integrity and purpose that you have painted so well for yourselves…that’s the one you’re

NI

By

CK ’S

Ni

ck

D

CO R

W il

li

NE

am

s

R


Whoroscopes

afhiqvwxy Aries: March 21–April 19 Leo: July 23–Aug. 22 Don’t worry… you’re not fat… just pregnant… Searching early for Christmas presents with a fat baby… haha… fat baby. in your mother’s closet will orchestrate a meeting between your head and her Taurus: April 20–May 20 enormous glass dildo. On the night of a full moon, midway through a passionate session of lovemaking you Virgo: Aug. 23–Sept. 22 will feel something stir deep within you. Someone, somewhere, is scraping the Trust in this gut feeling. Excuse yourself marijuana resin out of a cadaver’s lungs politely before your sphincter bursts forth and smoking it. Be glad you aren’t that like Niagara Falls. desperate… or disgusting… or a sociopath.

Sagittarius: Nov. 22–Dec. 21 Confucious say: Hey, you bastard! Get your damn hands off my Burger King Meatnormous sandwich! I had to spend three hours this morning with that guy in the creepy king suit to get it.

Gemini: May 21–June 20 Libra: Sept. 23–Oct. 22 New stem cell research will allow you to Lay off the masturbation. God is getting procreate with yourself. Exercise restraint in really pissed. this arena. Eat some Cheetos instead. Scorpio: Oct. 23–Nov. 21 Cancer: June 21–July 22 You are approaching utter mediocrity. Get This month you wil read a horoscope that wil with it and do something no one give you absolutely no advice whatsoever. expects… like shutting the fuck up.

Aquarius: Jan. 20–Feb. 18 If you scratch it, it will spread.

Capricorn: Dec. 22–Jan. 19 You will wake up in a hospital bed to the cheer of millions, heaps of Jell-O and a strange soreness in your left ear.

Pisces: Feb. 19–March 20 Expect to meet up with your long-lost Siamese twin in the next week. Be careful, she’s pissed, and wants her kidney back from you.


When Jack’s mother died of stomach cancer, her angry soul clung to the most decrepitating object on her property: the termite-infested oak tree. Jack wondered whether she set rules for the colony of bugs as well, forcing them to march to her tapping finger, telling them they must never cry.

During the lightening storm of the decade, a bolt struck the oak tree and it fell flaming onto the chipping blue house with Jack inside. He has not trusted wood since. Grass was another matter entirely. Jack knew that the devil was always present, and he sensed a smirk, a hidden agenda being planned by the grass blades. Jack knew they must be green for purely unnatural reasons.

His mother read the bible to him every night before bed as a child. This was the only time Jack did not hate his mother. She read so gently, so passionately. If only she had learned to speak this way all of the time. His mother told him about evil things, like sex and touching one’s penis. She told him: Never trust anyone but yourself, Jack. And in my opinion, I don’t think you can be trusted to make the best decisions either. Everyone is against you, Jack, you will soon see for yourself. Don’t trust anything that is alive, especially if you cannot hear it approaching.

He knew what would happen if he did not. On one evening after Halloween, Jack’s mother emptied out the contents of Jack’s school backpack, which was tucked underneath the plastic sofa, and found a small paper bag filled with candy. Jack awoke to his mother’s cold, limp hand slapping his cheek, his forehead, his chest, bellowing: What’s this?! What did I tell you about sweets? I never knew one child could cause so much trouble, that one boy could turn out so rotten.

His mother had several rules when Jack was young while living in the house with the chipping blue paint and the perfect lawn. You must call me madame. You must not read, for that is where young boys learn their devious ways. No sugar and no dessert, except on holidays. Never ask me any questions. No television, movies, or sleepovers. These were just a few of the guidelines Jack’s mother set for him. Jack always followed the rules because

Jack believed that you should be suspicious of anything that is alive but not human, like trees for example. He said trees harbor the spirits of the tormented dead, those souls that cannot rest due to an unfulfilled life mission or a death full of horror. Jack knew his mother’s spirit lived in the rotting oak tree behind his childhood home, the house he escaped.

Jessica K. Miller

Unnatural

Purely

Aspen Dissection by Ella Levy


by Andi Peterson


Im

e c r a c s f l e s y m e ak My smile is more of a retraction than a lifting along with down cast eyes an apology for finding myself in the same space as you I am pressed against the back wall of my body would prefer in visible pressed against the outside of a tall building up too many stories

Angela

Joshi


Illiterate is going deep behind the veil of mystery surrounding the creator of one of the internet’s most popular flash animation websites, www.sickanimation.com. Mr. Marc M.’s site boldly hosts a plethora of politically incorrect and inappropriate flash entertainment that will have you creepily awaiting more disturbing “dead parents” hijinks. And as if that wasn’t enough to ask of one man, he’s got a whole list of extras to boot, such as his comic strip “Hans Dick” (illiterate issue 2 you inattentive fucks). Also, sickanimation.com is chalk full of cute, fuzzy, and heart warming words and drawings, that are sure to have you begging for Marc M. to come to your birthday party and make all of the children cry twice. Marc M has eluded me for quite some time. However he finally agreed to an interview for Illiterate, from the safety of his computer, on the condition that I maintain the court appointed distance of 300 miles and promise to stop leaving late night confessions on his answering machine regarding my undying admiration, plus I think he needs the press. -RP

SickAnimation

DOT COM

RP: So right off, it’s obvious from a quick perusing of your site that you have a pension for asian pornography, let’s dwell on that fascination for a moment. MM: What’s your favorite flavor? I like them all. RP: But besides that what are your other pass times? MM: I like to throw rocks at stuff. I mean I REALLY like doing that!! RP: Who are your biggest influences? MM: I guess... I guess like, Jonny Cash, cause he was a genius and like Ray Charles cause he was a genius. And I guess anyone else who I didn’t give a shit about before they died but who are geniuses now. Them. RP: Are all of the cartoons 100% Marc, I mean the voices, the artwork, and the music? MM: Um, like... DUHHHHHHHHH. RP: Which is the most fun for you; the music, art, or concept? MM: The banging of hot chicks all day. RP: What would you name Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s baby? I’m really stuck on this one. I mean all their other adopted kids have really cool names, and this could potentially be the most attractive looking person ever born. You can’t just name the hottest piece of ass on the planet Todd or Marc. MM: Mmmmmm. Probably something super mega bad big time hot like, I don’t know... Rachel “The Iron Clit” Paton.

interview with creator marc m. RP: Where does your inspiration stem from? Does it come from personal experience, like deep seeded family problems that makes you burst into tears whenever you see celery dipped into ranch dressing? Or, is it more of a vast imagination thing, where you suddenly see all these globby aliens and gay ghosts? MM: I hate both celery AND ranch. So I would never cry for them, they aren’t worth my tears or my time. RP: Big spoon or little spoon.? MM: Tiny spoon. I’ve got a super small mouth. My dentist loves to tell me that every chance he gets (about every 6 months). Infact, he’s told me that so many times that I... (I’m sorry) ...that I started to believe it myself. RP: What direction do you see your work going in now that your website is so popular, and your public demands more? [Shameless self promotion here] MM: Hell in a handbasket. But like, a really cool handbasket. Maybe a Sean John one or something? Or like maybe just a Wal Mart one, but like signed by Sean John and junk? RP: The vast content of your work spans the gamut of inhuman experience: shit and piss eating aliens, reality TV and rape, the birth of James Earl Jones, racism and pizza, homosexual ghosts befriending young boys. Is there any topic that is off limits? MM: I don’t want to make fun of Radio from that movie Radio. That made me sad. RP: Name one good reason why we cannot be joined together in sick bliss for all eternity. MM: That’s the thing, I can’t! RP: Ok two good reasons MM: Bitch get off me, I said I love you!


(3"''*5* For centuries, people have been writing on walls and using public space as a canvas for unedited expression. Graffiti as it is most commonly known has always been both a creative outlet and way for anyone with a voice to be heard. Skeptics state that graffiti has become synonymous with vandalism done by people

with no respect for public property. Those in favor argue that art cannot be confined to the inside of a museum. Today, graffiti- traditionaly identified as words and lettering, has evolved into street art, with artists employing everything from traditional spray paints to wheat pastes, stickers and even sculpture. The following pages have been dedicated to representing street art in all forms across Europe and North America. Whether to describe these pieces as art or vandalism will be left up to you.


By Bobby Reginelli

“So Bobby, what are you going to do when you get out of school?” another friend asked. Immediately I sprung into defense mode, a modified form of the primitive “fight or flight” mentality. As adrenaline overtook my consciousness, I tensed up and became acutely aware of my surroundings and insecurities. Why does this question always produce such results, and why does everyone ask the same thing of me? What a thoughtless way to overwhelm someone. It’s such nonsensical gum-flapping. I know you don’t really want to hear what I’m doing post-graduation. It would probably make you feel squeamish or “pity” me. You’d stare at me, hear the response and practically think aloud…. “HA, Good luck asshole.” My answer usually comes in the form of a couple tailor-made, snappy, or “witty” responses to this question, that I invariably get asked by everyone and their mother; and my mother, and all of her friends. My two favorite responses to the “what are you going to do with the rest of your life?” question are: a) redheads or b) the World (must be said with an air of believable arrogance and an evil chuckle as a finishing touch). While the first response elicits the occasional laugh or smirk from the world’s many question askers, this quip is obviously geared toward a male audience. I must admit however that I have gotten some great reactions from inquiring ladies as well. The second response is better suited for either sex, but quiet often this one doesn’t really do the job either, because so few people who ask me “the question” have ever pondered taking over the world. Most question-askers simply humor me by laughing at my somewhat contrived showing of “supreme confidence.” Ninety percent of the time, my quirky responses and the laughter that follows allow me to avoid “the question” by changing the subject. In the end however, both of my responses are as insufficient and unproductive as “the question” itself. Instead, these words effortlessly slip from between my lips to coddle the persecutors’ ears with humor and cynicism. It’s like answering a question with a question. Really though, what else can I do or say. It’s as if these question-askers are expecting me to really give them an answer that means anything at all. The said scenario might play out like this: Why, yes Joanne – friend of the family and player of bridge or canasta with my mother on Wednesdays – let me start off by saying thank you for asking such an original and intriguing question like “what I’m going to do with my life.” It’s all really quite simple. First off, I’m studying for my LSAT, GMAT, MCAT, DAT, or GRE exams. After I ace these tests (I plan on taking all of them just for the challenge and eventual bragging rights), I will be attending a top graduate school on the east coast where I will also find my bride-to-be. While studying advanced microbiology and pathology, Linda (I already know her name thanks to new

?


?

scientific advances) and I will bump into each other during a lab session and hit it off rather nicely. She’ll fall irresistibly in love with me after learning that I also dabble in sociology, and, you’ll never believe this Joanne….. her father is a social ecologist as well. What a beautiful and small, small world it is after all! Upon finishing school, and getting hastily married, we’ll have two perfect (and generically named) Caucasian children: a Robert (I’ve got to keep the tradition alive), and a Sarah. Finally, I will land a six figure job doing almost nothing for some corporate fathead, and then the whole family will migrate south to some suburb nestled neatly in the Bible Belt. Here, we’ll live on a street named after a tree, in a beautiful walled community named _________rock, _________breeze, or ______ __body of water. Our lives will be as blissful (mindless?) as the name implies. And that……. is what I’m going to do with my life. What could possibly go wrong? M.D., J.D., M.A., M.B.A., M.D., B.S.C.J., M.P.H., Ph.D., M.S., certainly these are all paths I could have taken in my life. There is no doubt that any such accreditations bring innumerable rewards and nearly unquestionable success. I’m just not built to follow the prewritten directions that came with life’s Legos. I’m the type that has to piece together my own creation, navigating my numerous passions with a lantern of ambition and humility to light my way. Please accept my sincerest apologies. Perhaps mine is an odd disorder, but I just don’t know what I’m going to be doing in five years. While this makes me somewhat uncomfortable at times, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Concerning “The Question,” the best answer I can give for now is that I’m going to enjoy taking some time off from school. I plan on writing, traveling, reading, learning, rock and roll-ing, hip-hop-ing, entrepreneur-ing, living and “just doing” (i.e. collecting checks from my Nike sponsorship). Rest assured that I will not be idling by in some $7 an hour job asking “how does the food taste?” or, “would you like to leave your tab open?” So, to all who read this, please don’t ask me what I’m going to do with my life. It’s the worst question in the world and a waste of both our time as I can never give you the answer you want. Skip the convention of asking trite questions when you see me, and likely, many other soon-to-be-graduates who feel the same way. Instead, let’s talk books, music, culture or even about the weather. Hell, even the good ol’ “how bout those Broncos?” will suffice.

Bobby Reginelli is a senior attending the University of Colorado at Boulder. He welcomes all questions, comments, criticism and other tidbits at robert.reginelli@colorado.edu


Seven Sure Signs of the Apocolypse by Nathan Toben

VII. Four horses found dead still tied to hitch outside of movie theater. Cause of death: starvation.


Another droll day... the kind that makes you think about all the terrible habits people Have. Such as: the inability to form lasting relationships with one another. Or, why we feel the need to decive, to ask how one is doing with no intention of listening. Or, to mask the desdain we really have for a bit of conversation. I would not be suprised if the surgeon general himself offered me a cigarette right now.

He’s probably at some bar right now, yatting and moaning about all the warnings the bastard has to write. He likely adds one now-and-again that claims impotency and elephantitis is caused by smoking. He solicits suggestions from his bar boys and diligently scribbles them on his arm. Then away he goes, manufacturing them on an antique typewriter in a dark room, lit by a low hanging lightbulb.

In his excitement he smokes and cackles to a federally mandated monkey issued by the government t o k e e p the surgeon company.

If only everyone had the same benefits as the surgeon. This would be a much nicer place to live. I think everyone could use a m o n k e y. I s u r e could.


Pipe Dreamer, By Afgan, Mixed Media on Canvas


Chris

Sally

PLANET MARS Illiterate talks with Chris and Sally Mars about life as artists living together, Hieronymus Bosch, Machu Pichu, and baseball.

What is your background info; where did you grow up? Any significant memories? How did you get to be where you’re at now? SM: I was born in New York in 1964. I have three siblings, the nearest in age is eight years older than I am. When I was nine, my parents and I embarked on a series of moves. I graduated from Estes Park High School December 1980; it was my twelfth school over that twelve year period. I went to Colorado State University, hated it but bought time there, learning how to live as an adult. I moved to Minneapolis from Boulder in 1987, the year the Minnesota Twins won their first World Series. CM: I grew up in Minnesota. As a kid I recall the days when everyone burned their trash. The entire neighborhood would have this constant haze that at times grew thick. Clothes always smelled of smoke and the alleys would flicker at night. I got to be where I am now with the love and inspiration of my wife Sally; also, by keeping my observations and imagination moving. How did you meet each other? SM: We met on a blind date. It’s funny, all my most significant relationships were set-ups; our parents “fixed up” me and my best girlfriend. A coworker introduced me to my other best friend, saying, “You two are going to love each other.”


“I think he could paint in the middle of a forest fire, ignoring heat or smoke or danger.” I moved to Minneapolis without real associations here. I developed a friendship with a gal at the video store I’d frequent. One night she said, “I should fix you up with this guy I know; you’re both artists.” I find that in a new place or circumstance, one’s doors are more open than they might be otherwise. For instance, my clique throughout college were the friends I made the first week in the dorm. Anyhow, against character I agreed to blind date. My first only. Chris and I were married a year later. CM: We met through a mutual friend. We all went to a movie together. I sat next to Sally. At one point, our hands touched as we reached for some popcorn. Sparks flew and there we began.

Community Pillars features two people that might be considered outcasts, but here I have positioned them as pillars of their community. Within my paintings, perhaps I have the ability to do something that I couldn’t do in real life. Maybe a lot of what one sees is not merely my observation, but my wish or fantasy.

Why do you do what you do? SM: In school I was a painter. I was forever trying to capture a moment, I needed to paint an image in the context of a single moment. As such, my work kept becoming rougher, faster. It was after graduating that I discovered a camera, which seemed to fulfill my passion for an instant. I took a job with a photographer to learn the technical aspects of the medium. I consider my writing an extension of my preoccupation with isolating a single note; the words too are snapshots, a framed-up reality that by virtue of that becomes unreal. Baseball is a subject I never tire of, I find the setting nearly magical, the charm and nostalgia comforting. I love the equity of it, the daily-ness. Baseball is the backdrop to the fondest memories of my youth, and my father. CM: I feel driven by painting. It is a mystery to me how time zips by so rapidly when I paint. The direct and spontaneous flow of inner expression along with paint and surface and earthly and spiritual life is a never-ending enticement for me. What is your creative process (physically, mentally, spiritually)? SM: I do not shoot pictures causally. When I am making images for my project, I must make taking them my mission, and apply myself to them accordingly. I often travel to them so that I can focus on them singularly. I edit and print months after taking them in order to remove myself from the experience of them and from my expectations for them. I edit and print months after taking them so I can see individual frames for what they are, rather than what I wanted or hoped for them to be. My writing is not so different. Though often outside of the moment of reference, I focus and recollect, blurting them out in a single dose. I do not really edit them at all. Instead I just make more. CM: Physically I feel excited and exhilarated especially at the start of a painting as I monitor the prepared surface texture and color. I do not do studies so as to avoid redundancy. Mentally: I listen to my inner voice in relationship to society as a story begins to unfold before me. Spiritually: I feel at times between two worlds in a surreal and expressive sense. I am taking my experience and observations of this world and filtering them into another world that becomes my own. Do you ever work together on projects or in the same space? SM: Chris and I did a couple of drawings together when we were dating, it is fun to look at them now; it’s not unlike looking at a snapshot from a party we might have gone to together. I remember making them. But being exposed to Chris solidified for me my suspicion that my own creative voice was best served in a media other than chalk or paint. We have done work separately in a shared space, but I’d think that for each of us the actual creative act is so internal that the only influence I could mention is purely encouragement, which happens in proximity, or otherwise. CM: Yes. We have collaborated on some short films. At times if I am having trouble with a painting, I greatly respect Sally’s objective input in terms of whether or not I’m nailing it right. Also at times if I can’t quite reach a fitting title, our ideas will bounce around together through discussion until the right one pops. On the whole, I greatly respect Sally’s artistic sense and integrity. I have ideas for film or painting to incorporate some of her great writings along with my visuals. I love her photography as well. You both do very different work, are you influenced by each other at all artistically? SM: For me, not so much. I feel very encouraged by Chris, in no small part because he respects and even adores expression and the creative process. But I can’t think of an occasion where I shot a photograph that Chris specifically inspired, or wrote a story with any sort of consideration of what he might think about it. CM: I can speak for myself and say that Sally is a great influence on me. Though our work may be aesthetically different, creatively speaking even when we are apart, her spirit, love and integrity is in motion around me. “Influence” may not be the right word to describe how much she influences me…


I do it because I can’t not do it.

With two artists living and working together/near each other, Does the craziness ever get out of control? How do you balance practicality with the spontaneous nature of creativity? SM: We have separate work spaces now. I need order to be creative; I need to feel like my chores are all done, and that I am free to indulge. My muse is timid. Chris’s is loud and demanding. I think he could paint in the middle of a forest fire, ignoring heat or smoke or danger. He’s that focused. Admittedly I am not. CM: Having separate work places has been key.

What, if any, are you’re connections to Boulder? SM: I moved to Boulder after (or rather just before) graduating from CSU in 1985. I thought it was the big city. I worked first at Art Hardware and then at Albums on the Hill. My brother – a brilliant writer – lives in Boulder now. Strangely, he bought Albums on the Hill about a year after I moved away, and owns it still. When people in Minnesota ask where I am from, I answer “Colorado.” (When people elsewhere ask me where I’m from, I now answer “Minnesota”.) CM: It is a place where Sally lived for a while and where Sally’s Bro Andy lives and works. Albums on the Hill is Andy’s record store. Do you sustain yourselves entirely through artistic endeavors or are you secretly working the night shift at Denny’s? SM: I do not make my living as an artist, but of course this is my dream. I not-so-secretly work as a producer, my specific discipline is advertising photography. The commercial world is just that; it’s soulless. I consider art my counterbalance. Thus I consider art a necessity. CM: I feel lucky to say that I do sustain myself entirely through painting. I am very grateful for those who support and take interest in my work. How and when did you go from art as a hobby/passion to making it your career? Was it a conscious decision? SM: This one is for Chris… CM: It was and still is something that I have to do without knowing where it will go. This remains how I approach it. It drives me as much as I drive it. I do it because I can’t not do it. How has making creativity your job changed you? The art? SM: Well, for me, this questions sets up differently. Endeavoring in the commercial world has taught me how precious more “fine” art is. Thus, creatively, I refuse to answer to anyone but myself. I do not exploit my work commercially, meaning I would not shoot advertising, nor write it. We all find things in life we need to be solely our own. My work is this to me. CM: So far it has not. Many of the same impulses that made me a compulsive drawer as a kid still remain. Now paint is the tool. With so much going on in society and with my own inner development in relationship to the world and myself and the paint etc…It all becomes more fuel for the fire. Any advice to young artists trying to make art/writing/photography their livelihood? SM: Know your boundaries. Know what is most important to you, or discover this. Always be true to yourself. Do not bend your work to the expectations of others. Have faith that honest work will always be recognized, and that the act of communicating so intimately with any single human being (even if its oneself) is reward enough. CM: I would say to maintain your love of doing art first and foremost. Concentrate on developing your own voice and an inner story you want to express. Then exercise this as often as you can. (Continued on next spread)


Baseball is the Language of Fathers #BTFCBMMJTUIF-BOHBVHFPG'BUIFST

by Sally Mars #Z4BMMZ.BST

My father used to take me to the minor league games, the Pompano Beach Mets and the Ft. Lauderdale Yankees. In all truth I cannot tell you if we went only once or thirty times. I am intoxicated by this memory. My mother hated baseball. The Dodgers left Brooklyn, that Brooklyn girl told me, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t it. I was born left-handed, but my father made me change. He didn’t want me to eat like someone from the old country. Perhaps baseball for him was the language of a new country, an alignment with something so fresh, and so green. For me: So green. I could tell you how I revel in the aesthetic, the symmetry or rather an organic reflection on the notion of it. I could tell you how it appeals to my sense of justice, law and enforcement, the same opportunity, exactly, for everyone. I remember how the bleachers felt, smoother in Lauderdale. I remember how the lights at night made me feel lucid, like every detail could come in. I remember stilling beside my father, proud of that, even then I knew it meant something… Mostly I feel compelled to tell you with some sense of irony that my father passed to me Baseball like a

language from the old country. His passion for it was a door to his soul; his bestowing it on me a key to it. We shared this throughout our lives, throughout the time of his and mine. It was always common ground and safe harbor, a place to rest our interaction should it feel otherwise stormy. And like a language I speak it with others who do or wish to; it is a bond with a stranger, brief yes, yet in context significant. We all feel our fathers there, our children, memories of those we’ve never met or even seen, the great ones, and those we think only we might remember. I watch this ritual pass on continually, like genes, like an accent. Grand Father Child Mother Friend: I have in fact hugged strangers. Me there with my own father, now dead. I feel him. He whispers, “Did you see the break on that curve? The runner, he’s going.” From the stands there in Pompano I have a vision of this player diving for the ball. It is a memory more crisp than that of any of my own birthdays. My father said, “He’s going to make it.” September, 2004


Politics and art/writing, how do they work/not work together? SM: I suppose the most political thing about this particular body of work is that the subject is sports, and that the art world tends to view sports – especially mainstream sports – as the virtual opposite of art. I embrace this challenge, believing that if the subject matter of a photograph (or a story, for that matter) is what is relevant about it, then the work itself is unrealized. CM: Politics permeate and affect us all. Therefore at times it inevitably creeps into one’s fabric. I see my work as socially driven. But too much or too blatantly political influence can be at times overwhelming to the overall act of creation. I try to balance out politics with other elements such as a more pure emotional expression or surrealism.

What are the meanings behind your pieces in illiterate (i.e. why’d you make them)? SM: I love baseball. I love how it sounds and how it smells. I love how it looks. I love how little it’s changed since I was a child. I can see my young self there, still, I can see my dead father there too, and I can hear him. I love how simple it appears, and how complex it really is. I love the other people who love it. I adore tiny, passionate experiences with strangers. I enjoy speaking the language, and even the fact that my passion for it seems to defy my seeming stereotype. I can enjoy how some artists dismiss the subject is trite, and how some with little exposure to so-called art can find joy and even community in it. I made them because I want to bottle how I feel. I share them because I want you to know why.

Who are you’re biggest influences creatively? SM: My brother Andy taught the importance of words. Chris taught me the importance of commitment, and staying true to one’s vision. I recently read a writer – Eduardo Galeano – whose work felt (to me) like mine, though I discovered him lately, after the fact. I suppose there are photographers whose work feels just like mine, but I don’t like to think about this. In amazing places like Machu Picchu or Tulum I could scarcely take a picture, thinking about all those who have taken the same picture, and feeling somehow diminished by this. CM: George Gross, Otto Dix , Stanislov Beksinski, Hieronymus Bosch, Rembrant, Davinci, Ivan Albright, to name a few.

Any final words to the world? CM: Please, Let us all come together and vote this crooked and hideous administration out. SM: I’m grateful to you for a forum.

(Chris) What’s your favorite color? SM: (I’ll guess it’s red, if he answers in a single word…) CM: Moss Green (Sally) What’s your favorite word? SM: “Maybe”. I love it because it is nearly always honest.

Funeral March for the Minimal Man has an unconventional ceremony being performed to liberate the man who feels minimal, but who of course isn’t. This piece also refers to a movement away from conventional museum minimalism, a revisiting of detail and more representational craft.


A Cleansing at Blue Bay This piece deals with adherence to prescribed ritual, be that ritual theological or socio-political, and presents a critique of blind adherence through a series of symbols within the image. The Cleansing referred to in the title is here a Baptism, a ritual for the erasing of sin, our natures being biblically described as inherently sinful. I present the Baptism as ironic, in that we see a fish being purified by water. Yet a fish is a water creature, pure and purified, so its “cleansing” is redundant. The central figure is a judge, the passer of judgment and this sentence. The judge figure appears the most “normal”, and that façade in the face of these other more readily dismissed and ostracized beings grants him power. But is the judge to be trusted? Who here needs mercy, who needs to be cleansed and why? See the condemned, the thief, her hands have been cut off so everyone knows her story, or presumes it. She wishes to be cleansed, or in her case forgiven, so she follows, and hopes. Meanwhile, she has no hands. Is it she or her sentence that hold no water? Behind the judge two figures – one caught in the moment, frenzied, the other enraptured, looking to heaven for a sign. These are the followers. Beside the judge is the objector. His thoughts are being scrambled so that he will object no more. The priest himself is blind. The creature from the water emerges, confused. He like the fish is innocent, and is worried. This procession comes to his home, his water. The creature fears contamination, or depletion of the resource. Only one here knows the truth, or something near it. Only one here has bridged the gap between us and them and air and water. He holds the fish, he feels its naturalism, its honesty, and fears that all of us are doomed.


Jessyel Ty Gonzalez

Because Vandals like Tetris, too


Jessyel Ty Gonzalez

Welcome to los angeles


Skeptics BE damned

•It wasn’t so bad that I wanted to kill myself. Cliché number one: my head hurt almost as medicine you and your doctor try has about a 70% chance of helping. Cognitive and much as my heart. I had none of the call signs of someone who was about ready to go interpersonal psychotherapies may also be effective” (23). • My doctor was patient with his into a case of severe clinical depression. I had gone through no cognitive or social class medical advice and dispensed the correct amount and type of antidepressant for me. His desire changes. I had no color blindness or deep sense of despair. I was not a woman in a high stress to make my mind at ease was so severely genuine; I had no other choice but to sincerely relationship suddenly missing the necessary intimacy. I was not bipolar or schizophrenic make myself vulnerable to him. • The psychotherapy we were to undergo for the next (Angst 32-34). Symptoms aside, I most certainly did undertake a truly difficult and disruptive few months was in the school of Carl Jung. It is important to note that the modern depressive episode. • The doctors describe it as a sort of Civil War inside the brain. Cliché “psychiatric community so thoroughly mistrusts his revolutionary insights or dismisses number two: I tried to convince myself that nothing was wrong. I went through what was him as a ‘mystic’” for the reason that he: “was unwilling to force what seemed to him called a Major Depressive Episode, which is defined as “a loss of interest or pleasure in all, paradoxical and contradictory material into a logical framework which would then or almost all, activities, and associated symptoms for a period of at least two weeks. The become a dogmatic schema. His interest in charting new territories rather than symptoms represent a change from previous functioning and are relatively persistent, that systematically correlating the areas he had already covered often appears confusing to is, they occur for most of the day, nearly every day” (Greist, 116). In an attempt to dispel the [unfamiliar] reader…All too often Jung has been quoted out of context or even any rumor or hearsay about this topic, my goal is to provide evidence in the form of academic misquoted, thus made to express the very opposite of what he intended to convey” proof and personal testimony that medical treatment, psychotherapy and a strong support (Hochheimer vii). • The most applicable of Jung’s writings to me was: “If, formerly, my system are integral in the healing process of the related disorders of depression and alcoholism. • patient clung to his intellectual world and defended himself with rationalizations against I will explain my condition in detail now, to provide a good understanding of how the what he regarded as his illness, he must now yield himself up to it entirely and when a fit of treatment in all its detail was responsible for my recovery. In the wake of the most depression comes upon him, he must no longer force himself to some kind of work in emotionally co-dependent relationship I was ever involved in, I stood in a new order to forget, but must accept his depression and give it hearing” (Hochheimer, 84). It was apartment, in a new town with a brand new Creative Writing major. My life was in this actualization that I found the most important truth about my situation. I was hiding changing around me, and the sudden lack of comfort and structure left me with many feelings behind alcohol, my own pain, and my own embarrassment about that pain and behind of inadequacy. Greist writes, “Depression is almost always caused by a combination of my misunderstanding of depression as a weakness. When forced to confront these things factors… psychological factors such as intense grief reactions, and stress…Each individual has in his office, my doctor sat by my side as a catharsis of tears and laughter became visible in a pattern of genetic, developmental, environmental, social, personality, my body and my mind. It is not at all uncommon in psychotherapy for and physiological factors that combine to permit or protect against depression” “patients and their doctors [to] talk about the experiences patients have had (8). As my condition worsened, I began self-medicating with large amounts and are having… Psychotherapies alone are less effective for more severe of alcohol, and copious amounts of marijuana. The response was not at depressions, but may be helpful in improving relationships, thinking patterns, all uncommon as Greist writes, “Sometimes depressions are hidden or or behaviors that may have led to depression. General support of depressed ‘masked’—patients…may abuse alcohol or other drugs in attempts at patients is always beneficial and may sustain them through their suffering self-treatment of depression” (51). At the worst point of my condition, I even if other treatments are ineffective” (Greist 43). • He told me that day was drinking about twenty drinks per day and smoking nearly an eighth of that his greatest joy in psychotherapy was watching his patients meet an ounce of marijuana per day. • This, in combination with an unfulfilled their moments of clarity (he admittedly stole that phrase from Alcoholemotional void left by my ex, and the quickly declining levels of serotonin ics Anonymous). • “Hello. My name is Nick, and I’m an alcoholic.” The third, in my brain (Gotlib, 3), moved me quickly into the Depressive Episode, and most proactive, part of my recovery was the realization that I could no which was to last for six long weeks. I couldn’t eat. My stomach turned at longer self-medicate. My first day of A.A. was probably the most difficult the thought of food. Lack of food intake and the dehydration from the exmental process of my life. Admitting that at 21, I had a drinking problem had treme amounts of alcohol caused severe headaches. I was expressing combeen hard enough to do in front of my family and therapist. Now, I was going mon symptoms in standard depression cases: “Clinical descriptions of do it in front of a room full of strangers. Just as I was told by my uncle (once depressed people are graphic in indicating considerable disruption in their a sponsee, now a sponsor), it was far less difficult than I had imagined. I was functioning at work, as friends or at leisure, and in intimate relationships” to find out that I was an Alpha case alcoholic (Miller 2). I was happy and (Gotlib 21). I began having fits of anger, hot flashes, fainting spells that were surprised to find that this was the lowest and least dangerous form. It is defined all due to the high levels of mental and physical stress I was subjecting my as “an alcohol addiction defined by daily drinking accompanied by no loss of body to. In addition to the extreme physical harshness I was putting control; alcohol used to cope with life” (Miller 2). Once I understood what myself through, it had become important that I recognize the emotional my addiction entailed and the reasons for it, it was much easier not only to impact of my Episode before it destroyed me from the inside. • The most admit my problem, but also to seek out solutions. • Once it became clear supportive part of the recovery process was the love of my very that alcohol had become “a relief from dis-ease or a vaguely uncomfortable emotionally stable family. Ian Gotlib writes, “Individuals in the depressed feeling” and that “when any small quantity of alcohol was ingested, an person’s social environment respond immediately to these depressive overwhelming psychophysical demand for more manifested itself” (Dorris symptoms with genuine concern and support. The depressive’s behaviors 32-33). I realized it had become time for a change. As an intellectually gradually become demands, however, that are expressed with increasing minded person, concerned with deeper understanding and enlightenment, frequency. Consequently, the depressive’s behavior becomes aversive and the most interesting finding in my own alcoholism was that “few people realize elicits feelings of resentment and anger from other family members” (73). that sobriety requires insights and skills far beyond those needed merely to My family broke the mold by treating me with selflessness and respect. quite drinking. Sobriety is a creative discipline in the arts of freedom, of They never wavered in their support of my problem, and that was such growth, and of human relationships, demanding so much more than social an important factor in my recovery. By consistently telling me of their sanction, punitive reaction, and moral censure” (Dorris 1). I was aware of intentions to help me through my problems, my resentment of their help how my more intellectual desires had been superceded by my desire to moves to appreciation over time. My mother has been a nurse for years forget and drown out everything. This actualization was probably the and believes in medicine unequivocally. • It was only with great urging most important in my recovery from the alcoholism and depression alike. from her that I was finally able to go to a doctor to tell him I was having It was as though the group meetings were an extension of my psychotrouble controlling my emotions. And it wasn’t even that I was having therapy; these people were alcoholics like me and could understand trouble controlling them. It was as if they had all but disappeared. I had the attached emotional hardships. I realized and remembered how much I sincerely lost the desire to feel anything at all. My body was literally too loved life for its intricacies in literature, music, philosophy etc. I had a reason By Blaine Anthony tired and lacking in necessary nutrients to feed my mind with the to wake up in the morning again. I had a reason to stay cognitive. It was to chemicals it needed to function properly at work and at home. Universally, notice and comment on and clarify the beauty in the smallest parts of that life a depressive will likely experience “changes in sleep and appetite, and sometimes I had before my depression. It was to write. This moment of clarity is common amongst attendant aches and pains” (Gotlib 3). The problems my mind had created were depressives when “the patient will realize their previous worth and the innately threatened by the problems in my body, which created more problems in my mind. Gotlib redeeming qualities of everyday life” (Dorris 89). Due to my willingness to recognize my explains the situation, “A depressed man may have paralyzing doubts about his ability to own problem, and the supportiveness of the group, I was able to quickly recover from my perform a new job and find that his work is indeed impaired by his difficulty in concentrating short fight with alcoholism. • It was a personal revelation that led me to my “moment of due to the high level of stress. It has become a circular war” (3). With my mother’s help clarity”…a revelation that was fueled by positive thinking in the form of psychotherapy and and attentive love, I was able to admit that I could not fight this on my own. Although a medication, and the support of a loving family and support system of understanding and number of depressives will most definitely not be provided with a loving family like mine, sympathetic friends. Many Americans suffer daily from a condition that many do not even it aids in the process greatly to know that there is the possibility of assistance from the comprehend as abnormal. It is important, in the midst of this nation built on strength and people who care. Ian Gotlib explains, “Research by Moos’ group has consistently power, to rise above the pride-fueled social structure and recognize depression for what it implicated quality of family relationships as factors in both adult and child depression” is, and not for what it is not. Weakness is the absence of power, but humility and acceptance (185). It would appear that I was truly blessed to have a loving, tender environment in are two key components to any successful recovery. Those shunned by their family and which I could easily bounce back. • The second part of my recovery process was the friends for recognizing and having the courage to admit they have a problem with depression acceptance of my problem and the responsibilities involved. I had admitted to myself and are indeed forsaken by those who should love them most. In most post-modern theory, to those around me that I was in desperate need of some sort of assistance. The doctors there has become little room for the ideas of hope and faith. In defense of certainty, I say involved surprised me with their compassion and understanding. Over the course of the the skeptics be damned. It is not so bad to hope for the future and be certain of the things treatment process, I began to bond with my doctor in a way that I had never thought we cannot see. For me and for the sake of others, the introduction and combination of possible with a professional. The process was longer and more involved than I had psychotherapy and prescription medicine has, and will continue to lead to the purging of previously thought. Greist says of antidepressants, “All of the medications…are effective in depression and alcoholism. thesamepercentageofpeople. However,agivenindividualmaybenefitfromoneantidepressant Works Cited Angst, J. The Origins of Depression: Current Concepts and Approaches. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1983. and not from another” (56). Deciphering the most effective medication was a process of Dorris, Robert, T. Counseling on Alcoholism and Related Disorders. California: Glencoe Press, 1968. Gotlib, Ian, H. Psychological Aspects of Depression: Toward a Cognitive-Interpersonal Integration. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 1992. trial and error ultimately ending with a sertraline called Zoloft. In his book “Depression and Greist, John, H. Depression and Its Treatment. Washington D.C.: American Psychiatric Press Inc., 1992. its Treatment” Dr. John H. Greist writes, “Treatments are very effective! The first antidepressant Hochheimer, Wolfgang. The Psychotherapy of C.G. Jung. Toronto: Longmans Canada Limited, 1969.


Ill DIS/COURSE By Yuzo Nieto (with extra special help from Clay Branch, Eric Debruin, Kristen Kersh, all of whom participated in the conversation and asked questions. Thanks everyone) IL: [Nieto] So, how do you like Boulder so far? SW: Well, I’ve been here several times, and I’ve always enjoyed it here. What’s interesting, [and] what I’m happy about this time, is that every time I’ve come to Boulder, I’ve gotten a very strong response from the more bohemian sector of Boulder. I mean it has crossed boundaries, but I’ve always felt that strong presence, and what I’ve noticed…I always notice things, like when I started doing the show Girlfriends, that once again, another segment of the community would start coming out. And now, post Nine Inch Nails, yet another segment of the community was coming out. And so what I noticed, especially at the signing today in Boulder, was when you walk in, you’d see a bunch of kids with black tee shirts, when usually I’d walk in a see a bunch of kids with hemp necklaces. You know? It’s a side of this town that I haven’t been introduced to, and so, it’s been cool to see. IL: [Nieto] Do you know about the legacy of poetry in Boulder, about how Ginsberg started that school at Naropa? SW: Yes IL: [Nieto] So can you comment on your experience with the poetic community at Naropa? SW: Unfortunately when I’ve come, and done stuff at Naropa or anywhere else, it’s been no different than here, and so I can give you no real profound statement about the people that I encountered tonight. You saw how much I did or did not really encounter people. I kind of had the opportunity to interact a little bit, but it is so minimal that it’s hard to really immediately digest and give response to make distinctions between one group and another, other than, I can say, “yeah, I noticed tee-shirts and necklaces” or whatever, but aside from that. But, what I have always found here is a warm welcome, and open response. And, once again, that’s what this was tonight…so, there is a sense of openness that pervades in this place, you know. It’s not the most diverse place in the world. IL: [laughter] [Branch] No really? [Nieto] And have you heard about the recent racist incidents here? SW: Yeah, I have heard about what’s happened here as far as the tenured professor, and as far as the football scandal. IL: [Nieto] Also a tri-exec received an email with death threats, a couple of guys got their faces broken… SW: Yeah, I heard about that too. IL: [DeBruin] One of the craziest things about Boulder, everyone says that it’s all “liberal” out here, but when you live in such a homogeneous society, and everyone has so much money, it’s really easy for everybody to say their liberal, but in actuality Boulder is a very conservative place.

SW: Well there is a sort of conservativism that lives within liberalism. It’s just the opposite side of the coin. It may seem better, but it’s not the immediate answer. It’s not about belonging to a side. And those who choose to belong to a side, who have expressed it in that way, granted it may really seem more welcoming and open, but there is still an individual path and journey that must be followed. And if you are sticking close to that individual path and journey, then there are going to be some things that you are in to that do not apply to the side you’ve chosen. Because, in really seeking that balance, you are going to find that there are truths in many perspectives, you know. Nonetheless, as liberal as Boulder may be or seem, it doesn’t surprise me to hear that people are expressing these things. I mean, Black people call each other “nigga.” But, you know, it’s all crazy, it’s all switched up and changed. It’s a strange age, but it’s alright. I mean, you’re here, you’re alive, and you’re still confidently expressing yourself as you. I don’t see you shifting into like, “I’m putting on a baseball cap, and becoming something that fits in, and don’t want to show who I am.” You still seem pretty comfortable being you, you know, so that shit makes you stronger. And assholes pay for being assholes, in some way, shape, or form, even if you don’t deliver the payment, they’ll get theirs. IL: [Kersh] I totally know what you mean…I’m from New York City, which is one of the most liberal places on earth, but you have these people in these 5th Avenue high-rise apartments who spend so much money and they’re so “liberal” in their understanding, but still don’t give money to the guy on the street or on the subway. But, I guess my question for you is, how do you think – considering that we have really been working to get CU students into more spoken word poetry and expressing themselves through the arts with Illiterate Magazine, and in general fighting against what they don’t believe in here – us students can let our presence be known through poetry? [Nieto] Because you are one of the only poets, now, who has actually attained this public sphere level, how did you take poetry from this fairly marginal art form to a greater public sphere? SW: Well [long pause] it’s not something that I did; it’s pretty much something that I am walking through. My background was not in poetry, when I was in school I was in philosophy and drama, and I didn’t start writing poetry truly until like my senior year or really my first year of grad school, you know what I’m saying? And my work has never

been about the poems it’s been about my work that I’m doing on myself and the poetry is the residue. But, my background is in theatre, so that my level of comfort on stage in front of an audience is quite different from your average writer.


IL: [Branch] It’s a limiting factor in a lot of situations, it’s a public art form you have people who are creating something in a private sphere that are trying to come out. And as much as you don’t want to be, you’re limited by someone’s ticks and that limitation can influence the work so that I can definitely see that combining the drama and poetic side can have a very positive influence. SW: I mean, all it does for me is it raises my level of confidence. Plus my father was a minister so I watched him standing in front of audiences daily. So there are several things I have dealt with, insecurity what have you, but shyness has never been a factor for me. And so it is hard for me to say to someone else “this is what you need to do,” because [of] my background and upbringing, I’ve walked from there to here. But, I will say that it’s important for all of us to realize, especially as poetry becomes more popular and the whole slam/spoken word thing takes off, that the oral history and tradition of poetry is much longer than the written. Homer was not a famous writer in his time, most people were illiterate, people gathered to hear him speak, today he would be called a spoken word artist. So that what we are participating

in – in the slam movement – is actually the eldest form of communal creative expression known to human kind. People gathering to hear the storyteller, the orator, the oracle, the minister, all of these things, the history, the griot (IL:

[Kersh] and more than just the western societies) yeah, I mean we think of Lao Zu, Confucius. People gathered to hear this person speak. So it’s an ancient right what we’re participating in. (IL: [Nieto] Even an indigenous right). Yes. IL: [DeBruin] To move outside the more personal, and asking more about hip-hop in general, I was reading some of the interviews you’ve done and in one of your interviews you compared 50-Cent and his gangster mentality to George Bush, and I thought you were right online, like you get the power and guns and then you just do whatever you want. But I think the difference today is that George Bush is at the head of the system (SW: 50’s at the head of the game) but then I feel that today, the “game” might have deteriorated to minstrelism almost. SW: I don’t think so. First of all, I mean if you want to play with the 50/George Bush thing, they have the same birthday July 6th, so you know we could riff on that forever. And the original gangster was the cowboy. Our infatuation with gangsterism started with cowboy and Indian flicks where we rooted for the bad guy. The cowboy was the bad guy. He was raping and pillaging and we were like, “yeah, go!” And here we have it, George Bush is…(IL: [DeBruin] a cowboy) choosing to represent that, so he’s giving fourth his best gangster. That’s why the south and the people who root for him root for him, because he seems hyper-masculine to them. Like he’s putting fourth his best gangster, but for them, that gangster is cowboy.

[On] the minstrel side of things, I don’t see it [50-Cent’s minstrelism] as that. What 50 represents is a direct descendent of the black arts movement, I mean that is black power, how is it not? He was shot nine times and is alive. He is extremely talented. That first album was full of lyrical gems. What he chooses to represent physically, and all of this stuff, especially being shirtless and transported through the media into houses in Durango to wherever, and here is this shirtless Black man with more money on his neck (IL: [DeBruin] and guns) – no, just forget the guns for a minute – then you will ever see in your lifetime. And then with guns, which are in the movies, and Brad Pitt is no different, and Keanu Reeves is no different, they’re all holding the guns. And he [50-Cent] is telling a real story, he’s like, “my story is doper than all of these fucking movies, and its real, I’m real,” that’s not minstrelsy. Minstrelsy is when you’re doing a caricature of yourself. And what’s interesting, is the history of minstrelsy first, because the history of minstrelsy is that the whites would gather and imitate the blacks, and then the blacks would watch them and imitate (IL: [Nieto] themselves). Well, no it started with the Africans gathering in a circle to do rituals, and the whites standing on the outskirts like, “what is that drumming, what are they doing? It’s their off day, what the fuck? look at them.” So they [the whites] are watching that, taking that home, and imitating that. And then the Blacks are on the outskirts of that watching the whites imitate them, and they think that’s hilarious as fuck, and then they [the whites] are imitating that. So it’s this ongoing dialogue between the colonized and colonizer and these morphs of characterizations and what have you. I wouldn’t die to associate 50 with that, I could see how it is, you know gangster/cowboy and da da da da da, but he is also being himself. And, I can’t say that he’s being any less of himself than Chris Martin from Coldplay is. He is [50-Cent] more real, he’s more genuine. Well if he [Chris Martin] had been raised and shot nine times, can you tell me how he’d be, how would you be? So I think that’s a harsh judgment. IL: [Nieto] But, I feel that the minstrelism goes through the fact that one can argue pretty easily that Eminem is a pretty hardcore modern day minstrel, I mean he has taken hip-hop and made all of this money and is then in turn saying some of the most sexist/misogynistic and even racist stuff… SW: I think once again, no. Eminem is not a minstrel. Eminem is another very talented guy. He’s very different than the Beastie Boys for instance. As much free Tibet shit as the Beastie Boys do, they would be more minstrels than Eminem, because you can tell that the Beastie Boys’ approach to hip-hop is from the outside. They’re imitating, like “bleh bleh, bleh-leh, bleh, b-bleh b-bleh!” Now I like the Beastie Boys, but Eminem, you can tell by watching him that he lives and breathes and feels that shit. That is him. He is an MC to the core. .


IL: [Nieto] But Source Magazine argues about his racist mixtape. SW: Hold up, [being] a racist doesn’t make him a minstrel. I am against the racism, I’m just saying, if you’re going to label somebody, choose the right label. Minstrel would not be it. And even if he went through a phase of being racist, didn’t you go through a phase of being ignorant? I know I did. I went through a phase where I called women “bitches” and all, I went through all of these phases. I’m not mad at him for the phases that he goes through. Eminem is actually one of the dopest MCs out there who is willing to show himself as being vulnerable by writing songs about his actual life, where all these other MCs are posing. It shifts…it’s not as simple to just classify, “oh, he’s a minstrel,” nah, actually. That’s what I mean by the liberal side, or the “whatever” side can be just as judgmental and off as the other. Actually, just because he sold a million records doesn’t mean he’s whack. And he’s saying a lot more to me, than someone else who might just be going, “can’t we all get along.” You don’t have to agree with everything somebody says to honor them for being courageous. I think Eminem is a courageous artist, and I think he’s talented. I think he’s limited, you know, I think that he needs to try a different style of rhyming. I think his production sucks. I’m not saying that he’s the best. I think he’s a great writer, [but] I think he’s trapped in the same way I think Aesop Rock is trapped. It would be fun if he made a song that didn’t sound like himself. I think that he [Eminem] is more courageous though because he’s getting close to making a song that doesn’t sound like himself. I think he challenges himself and pushes himself. I think that he has a lot of odds against him, because I think he’s more progressive than the progressives see him, and he knows that most progressives are like, “fuck him,” but I think he actually “gets it” a lot more. And it’s not like I bump his albums or anything. I’m just saying that in the case of 50 or in the case of Eminem, I will not accept the labels for myself or for them, because if I were shot nine times, I don’t know what I would be like, and when I listen to the first 50 album I accept his response; there are valid responses there. And when I listen to Eminem, I think he’s talented and funny, you know?

I’m not saying that he’s a prophet or anything of the sort, but I think he’s talented and funny, and why shouldn’t he be famous? I mean he hasn’t lifted up hip-hop. IL: [Nieto] But he’s called the “hip-hop Elvis”… Some Bureaucrat: I hate to interrupt but actually we have to get the vans back by midnight. So I hate to end this short… IL: [Nieto] Yeah, can’t we just continue this on the way to the van? Some Bureaucrat: Ummm…I mean the van is right outside, so I’m sorry they have to get the van back. So I apologize but if you want to finish the interview in another form that’s definitely up to you folks so… SW: That’s cool. So anyway, is there a final question? IL: It seems like you are bridging a lot of gaps and I have whole theories written about what I call “junk” connecting social, age, economic, and race groups by combining jazz and punk culture, and I feel that you are reaching out to oppressed groups on many sides of the coin, whether it be race, class, or whatever. Can you comment on the bridges you are building, who you are building them for, and why? SW: The bridges are for everybody man…now you got to get to the other side. [Laughter] Why did the chicken cross the road? IL: One more question. So I just wrote an entire thesis in poetry and I brushed on obviously the Slam tradition in my work, and I have been finding a lot of ridicule in terms of Slamming, you just hear it once. There has to be this level of immediacy and accessibility. What do you think about the critics who say that that is making poetry watered down? SW: Why spend any time thinking about that? Just write the poems. Don’t spend any time

hating, judging, being negative...if you don’t like how people are creating, then create something that’s to your liking, and share it.


AN EXAMPLE OF TRAUMA IN A TRAINSTATION: PART 1 Ripped from the comfort of heavy hands breathing arithmetically steam engines, pulsing and parting on the Mississippi blue

A child runs with water dripping from his eyes water down to the ground where shoe games tap pulse patterns into sunsets

“where’s that boy’s mother?” one would announce “doesn’t that boy have a mother?” that boy with a mouth ripped open like cotton clouds through the seams of a teddy-bear “where?” and on the other end of it a man blushes holding a suitcase full of... attached to the end of his tie swinging knocking heads off he scoops the boy up in his hands and kisses him on the mouth.

DERIVATING VEGITATION the ground now appears as the foliage looses every grain bursts slowly in marcatto one beat per minute then second in line your spine, will want to collapse but must reframe adverse weather in positive growth always remembering that facts, permenance, and expectation are figments

the foliage must question in consistence the notion of “is” if at all


Damn These Eyes of Mine

By - Felix Im

My friends call me a self-hater. I don’t think I’m a self-hater. I just like white women with luscious curves that slope and intertwine into the masterpiece of the wide hips and buttocks swaying from side to side…like some lustful poetry shooting into my groin these pangs of male savagery. Asian women just don’t have the hips my loins crave. But apparently, I’m a self-hater; and who knows, maybe some Freudian analyst could tell me the truth. Perhaps my distaste for the flat buttocks of Asian women is criteria enough to mark me as one who is ashamed of my heritage. Shit, so here I am, dreaming of the milky curves and glittering green eyes of women from Sweden, the Czech Republic (yes, many people don’t know Czech women are absolutely gorgeous) and various other gardens of luscious females, with their shining silk of blonde swinging from the wind…and then there’s this rapacious, Caucasian bundle of Asian-hungry nerves sitting right next to me--wrapped in white skin and brown hair; along with all the hallmarks of the general mutt-breed of the common Americanism--raving about the unmatched beauty of girls from the east. “Asian girls are so hot, man! Dude, you don’t even know what you‘re talking about!” How come he’s not a self-hater? Why am I the self-hating bastard who condemns his culture? I eat rice. I insist on the having chopsticks catered to me when eating in Asian restaurants. Hell, I even practice martial arts. Shit, I’m not even that Korean (yeah, that’s my official form of slopehood) as far as my general attitude and cultural mannerisms go. Yes, I used a racially pumped term (or slur, if you prefer) but I think I have the right, considering the yellow fingers which type and click away this article and the slanted nature of the eyes that guide the words. It really is a wonder we can actually see out of these things now, isn’t it? Well--consider it an anomaly of human craft. I guess God while bored got creative one day so he just smudged our eyes as to make them appear closed--which is really unfortunate, because I think I look much more handsome when I consciously make the effort to widen my eyes into circles instead of crescents. But that’s just probably me being a self-hater. I guess you could trace my supposed roots of self-hatred back to my childhood, when attending elementary school in Lakewood, Colorado (basically Anywhere, USA) as an Asian child meant you were like a rotten grain of corn in a bowl of steaming, white rice (now isn’t that an ironic comparison?). I would seldom be conscious of the fact that I looked different compared to the hoards of typically white, suburban children scurrying through the hallways--but, as we all know, children can be ruthless in the blatancy of their curiosity. “Where were you born?” I would often be asked. Being the awkward, rattling freak of darting eyes and nervous hands fidgeting…just scurry away--ignore it; I guess like the stereotypical Asian huddle of shy nerves--these questions would obviously send me into a fumbling shock. It confused me until I one day decided to answer with a simple: “Here. In Colorado.” “But you don’t look like you were born here.” Now, being around the age of seven years, I didn’t possess the historical knowledge nor the mental capacity to contemplate the nature of this hideously obvious observation of that uninhibited, little white bastard (pardon my language, really--childhood bitterness; political correctness is stupid anyway)--but Jesus, this was during the early nineties; not in the midst of some back-lot, historical cesspool of something I would expect from the racial tension of earlier decades. But then there I was, shocked and rattled--completely at a loss as to how to respond--when confronted with the reasons for these squinty-eyed contortions of this face that screams yellow. One day I decided to confront my mother about the difference in my appearance. “Mom, why do we look different from everybody else in our neighborhood and our school?” “Because,” she would stutter and look away uneasily with hands fumbling for kitchen tasks to grapple with…avoiding the naïve glimmer of my childhood stare; my innocence expecting complete clarity for my confusion. “We just do--that’s all. Your father and I weren’t born here.” (One must remember to imagine my parents speaking in that quintessential slaughter of raped English; the kind you find mimicked in comedies and too difficult to reproduce through type without making it an aggravation for you, the reader…actually wait--no, they spoke in Korean entirely.) And so soon afterwards, I guess I then fell into a fit of what you can deem “self-hatred,” for I wished something that my friends nowadays often find hilarious--actually the females find it sad, trying to soothe me with that gentle “awww” that girls always utter when hearing of pitiful stories--and that is; to be Caucasian. Ha! Isn’t that some bastard childhood memory that just had to poke through these clicking, keyboard letters laughing at my reminiscence. Yes, I wished I was another white child with either blonde or brown hair and eyes that were actually round, instead of these cursed slits of vision. My mother even felt pity for me and said my eyes would become fuller and more distinguishable by plastering scotch-tape onto my eyelids. I ran around at home in this absurd state for many days, until I finally realized the utter discomfort of having your eyes deprived of moisture for prolonged periods. Now that I recall, there was an Asian girl--the one other yellow besides myself--who attended my elementary school. Her name couldn’t have been more typical: Peng Peng. Peng Peng?! Jesus fuck, could her parents have been any more oblivious of their unintentional hatred towards their poor child? Thank God my parents at least possessed the human decency to provide me with an American name as well as a Korean one. She wasn’t in my class, but I would occasionally glimpse the shrieking yellow tendencies of her appearance like a stabbing ray of oddness among the crowds of youngsters filtering through the crowds, and I would instantly be reminded of my difference among the others. She was avoided by my company at all costs. What?--she reminded me of my damn inadequate eyes and…well--it didn’t prove pleasant, as I was trying to somehow convince myself of my newly discovered Caucasian heritage. God, why did I have to attend some white-satiated suburb school. All of my problems would have been solved if my parents had simply stayed their yellow asses in Korea--South, that is. I sometimes like to tell people they’re from the north; former desperate refugees who had to scurry madly across some filthy river, through miles of unforgiving forest and border patrols--a clever escape plot slipped through the very fingers of Kim Jong Il himself…only to drag their dirt-encrusted bodies of empty stomachs and pitiful cries that would make any man weep--and finally to land here: The United States of America, the promised land. Sometimes, if I’m feeling extra bastardly, I mention how my grandmother died tragically during the journey. This is all pretty damn funny, now that I reflect back upon these useless childhood memories giggling through the mist of the past filtered by the strains of memory and time…but did I really have an idea as to what I was rejecting? I didn’t stand on a platform and declare: “Fuck Asians! I love white bootie!” Jesus, I simply wanted to be left alone; no more questions involving where I was born or how I could possibly see out of these contorted fake-eyelashes with a retina in the middle. That’s all it was: I simply wished to be left in peace and--having the reasoning of a seven-year old--thought being white would provide the unconditional form of such. And so here I am in Boulder, Colorado; several years later as I fret around campus amidst the scurries of my daily duties--class, extracurricular obligations, athletics…fill the day as to avoid feeling useless--and it is often that I hear and recognize the Korean language being spoken by those on the opposite cultural spectrum as that of myself: the immigrant background of my parents. Yes, in case you are wondering, this campus crawls with Koreans. While their babbling probably seems like some general cling, clang, wah chatter that just blurs into the caricature of the Asian image to most people--I actually recognize it as distinctly Korean…but I just scurry on by. I guess I could stop and indulge in my rather limited skills of Korean linguistics but--and my mother often asks me why; to which I just reply, “I don’t know”) I simply give them the unwelcome, darting eyes of a stranger--even though I can sometimes tell they know--and continue on my trek down the sidewalks of campus. Yeah, that’s another thing: most Asians know when they see their own kind--and this often frustrates me. Why? Jesus, who knows. Like my friends say: I’m a self-hater. But I don’t really believe that. I actually consider such behavior to be racially influenced. Why the hell should you talk to me just because I’m of the same race as you? Most Koreans actually hate me for my bastardly mannerisms sputtering forth incessantly from this American mouth; ranting and cursing fiercely with no regard to proper composure…so why the hell should they talk to me? I probably save most of them the trouble of encountering a walking frenzy of pessimism--so I guess they should thank me for doing them a favor and helping them preserve their bubbles of Asian exclusiveness. I’ve often found myself in situations during which I’m completely encompassed in the company of nothing but Asians--mostly Koreans; and, to be quite honest, it makes me rather uncomfortable. It’s like being entrapped in some giggling clique, smiling with stereotypes all being nudged and laughed into your reluctant grin…like some karaoke-loving cult for anime films. “We went to karaoke last night and got out all our stress,” says one girl who then giggles as if she just sputtered some form of comedic genius. Everybody then laughs and says things like “really?” or “yeah, karoke’s the shit.” All during which I just sort of twiddle my fingers and dart glances around to people walking by, eyes pleading “ I swear to God I’m not one of them! I fucking hate karaoke!” Seriously, could you think of anything more annoying than slaughtering I Will Survive for the thousandth time? We all know it’s fun to indulge in sing-song behavior when drunk, arm to arm with pals, but who the hell makes a pastime of it. The last thing I want to do to release stress is to heave even more stress upon my shoulders by reminding myself of my vocal talent; I’d rather hit things. The funny thing about Asians is that we’ve always been an awkward minority; like some sudden flood of strange-looking people that are even more uptight than white folks themselves…all scrambling for math problems and crowding the engineering hallways. I think white people were too busy hating everybody else to even notice us streaming into this country…until one day they took a look around to find us swarming the nation like some calculated twist between locusts and rabbits. The recent national tendency for whites to be ashamed of themselves has also gotten me to wonder: why don’t I exploit this newfound mysticism involving the spellbound power of Asian lettering? Shit, everybody loves wearing shirts with Asian letters and some even go as far as permanently printing some magical word on their skin. Something like “warrior” or “angel” by some piercing-infested white guy with a nose ring a circus-tiger could jump through. But no--instead I had to go to Dublin (study abroad) and tattoo an Irish harp on the broadside of my left forearm. Hmm…maybe I am a self-hater. My white friends are jealous of my chopstick skills while I envy the bright glimmer of their shining, round eyes all while my cravings for Mexican food are deemed treacherous and disappointing by the cooking hands of my Asian mother--who gladly feeds my Hispanic friend, who loves the food more than I ever will--and so I go to Chipotle, shovel a burrito down while reading George Orwell…and a luscious white woman walks by. Maybe I’ll get a better view.


a hole in astronaut boots. tied to streetlamp. skin-spiders diagnosed with instant ADD. room is hollow. kissing warped glass. swollen pot holes. black hole. orescent milk that warms the belly. restless afternoon stagger. unbounded taste of cotton. hellish silk. violent intimacy. telegram illuminated. amber scented bed sheets. moonstruck. prehistoric pills push erratic intoxication. radiant strands. misguided melody of a coy theremin. egrets devour ravens. irrepressible superpowers. destined diabolic creation. erosion of off-white canvas infatuation. peeled skin with ponderosa. unsubscribed ambition. cock-ďŹ ght treaties. madness in a music box. tightrope with tongue. dynamic of swing set. a tranquil maladroit kingdom. loosened. curtis peel


Abbot the cat’s meeting with several Deaths

www.unordinary.org


www.myspace.com/foxtheatre


ILLITERATI


6 0 T S E F L L I H

il lit er ate


ILLITERATE MAGAZINE ISSUE#3