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illumination art

literature

essays

THE UNDERGRADUATE JOURNAL OF HUMANITIES

FEATURING When Pigs Fly ∙ Jacquelyn Luskey Ardhanarisvara and Hijra ∙ Thomas Boman Olivia: Bucket ∙ Mike Granger

ARTWORK BY Richard Smith Janis Finkelman Kate Meier


This photograph was taken of an unused factory of the Mirro Company in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The factory closed due to outsourcing in 2004, leaving many individuals without jobs. The photo is part of a larger series that is representative of her ongoing interest in old buildings that have been allowed to fall into disrepair.

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Nicole O’Connor Mirro Factory Window photograph

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1 Plea pen, ink, colored pencil 9” X 12”

3 Penser colored pencil 9” X 12”

2 Ride Deconstructed graphite 9” X 12”

4 Adjustment graphite, colored pencil 9” X 12” 4

Janis Finkelman Frustrated with the amount of negativity and pain in the world today, Janis hopes to use her art towards remedying this ill and to reflect the beauty so often unnoticed in what seems to be mundane.


fall 2007 table of contents

L I T E R A T U R E

4 5 6 7 8 10 16

olivia: bucket . mike granger the forest or forest preserve . nick peter pras ser awakening . claire-marie hefner olivia: mailbox, loneliness sermon . mike granger lie tolerated for its beauty . david benjamin labedz a pink post-it . rachel kowarski when pigs fly . jacquelyn kate luskey

E S S A Y

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ardhanarisvara and hijra: beyond polarized gender and sex in hinduism . thomas boman

W I S C O N S I N

36 39

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I D E A

crisis in darfur: taking “action in sudan� . rebecca gilsdorf the right to work . matthew pesko

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il . lu . mi . nate

To enlighten intellectually; to make illustrious or resplendent.

staff

letter from the editor

Editor-in-Chief Art Editor Essays Editor Prose Editor Poetry Editor Wisconsin Idea Editor Layout Editor Graphic Designer Head Copyeditor Layout Assistants

Stephanie Krubsack Kate Campbell Owen Pickford Sandra Knisely Rebecca Olson Kyle Szarzynski MaryJo Fitzgerald Annika Sargent Matthew Gardner Sarah Ackerman, Suzanne Wallace

Art Reviewers

Clarissa Zimmerman, Allyson Hanz, Stephanie Frederick, Jessica Hornyak Literature Readers Amelia Foster, Cara Dees, Cliff Lewis, Sarah Horvath, Annie Kleinert, Kate Nuens, Jack Garigliano, Adi Lev-Er Essays Readers Cailley Hammel, Allison Mack, Caitlin Gath, Gregory Langen Annie Kleinert, Johanna Lee, Copyeditors Emily Smolarek Kate Nuens Submissions Editor Sarah Ackerman Publicity Director Webmaster Annika Sargent

WUD-Publications Committee Director Advisor

Dear Readers, It has been a privilege being a part of Illumination thus far! I have had the opportunity to work with an amazing group of individuals to produce the fifth issue of Illumination. This semester was challenging at times, but the outcome is worthwhile. We hope that you enjoy some of the few stylized changes that improve, yet maintain the high standards of this journal. We gave our best effort to create Illumination in a manner that displays the talents of UW students and exposes some of the most pressing issues in society today. The literature and artwork showcases some of the many endeavors of undergraduates at this university. With the desire to make these accomplishments wellknown, we hope to expand the viewership of the journal as well increase the amount of programming on and around campus. I look forward to a great upcoming semester! Lastly but most importantly, I want to thank the many individuals committed to Illumination for their hard work and support. This journal could not have been created without all of your contributions! Yours,

Stephanie Krubsack Drew Egan Vickie Eiden

Board of Advisors Emily Auerbach, Rick Brooks, Robert Booth Fowler, Ken Frazier, Al Friedman, Jim Jacobson, Jenny Klaila, Quitman Phillips, Mary Rouse, Kathi Sell, Ron Wallace, Susanne Wofford

sponsors UW-MADISON LIBRARIES OFFICE OF THE PROVOST OFFICE OF THE CHANCELLOR UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS WISCONSIN ALUMNI ASSOCIATION FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY L&S HONORS PROGRAM THE WISCONSIN UNION

A Very Special Thank You to the

Wisconsin Alumni Association and the Friends of the Library for Sponsoring Awards for Art, Literature, and Essays.

mission The mission of Illumination is to provide the undergraduate student body of the University of Wisconsin-Madison a chance to publish work in the fields of the humanities and to display some of the school’s best talent. As an approachable portal for creative writing, art, and scholarly essays, the diverse content in the journal will be a valuable addition to the intellectual community of the University and all the people it affects.

special thanks Illumination would like to thank the following people: Lisa Bintrim, Adam Blackbourn, Paula Bonner, Jennifer Christel, Jane Harris Cramer, Mary Czynszak-Lyne, Niki Denison, Susan Dibbell, Gwen Drury, Vickie Eiden, Drew Egan, Eliot Finkelstein, Brian Fitzgerald, Ken Frazier, Al Friedman, Tom Garver, Ed van Gemert, Peter Gorman, Andrew Gough, Micheal Hammerling, Wayne Hayes, Dan Joe, Don Johnson, Kelli Keclik, Marc Kennedy, Jenny Klaila, Chris Kleinhenz, Lee Konrad, Susan and Jack Krubsack, Carrie Kruse, Ron Kuka, Jean Looze, Annette Lueck-Fitzgerald, Dave Luke, Amy Manecke, Tom Murray, Casey Nagy, David Null, Pamela O’Donnell, Lis Owens, Kat Pertzborn, Bill Reeder, Robin Schmoldt, Jeff Shokler, John D. Wiley.


artist index libbie allen michelle bridwell mary coats janis finkelman kieran leong kate meier april nett nicole o’connor jennifer page laura schartner richard smith logan j. woods

35 . 43 1 1 . 37 17 . 18 . 19 45 9 . 25 28 . 31 . 32 5 cover 40 6 22 1 2 . 13

For more information and to submit work visit our website at http://illumination.library.wisc.edu.

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olivia: bucket

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Mike Granger

Freight trains skip shop cross what are those trees, Olivia, what are those trees, we’ll call them eucalyptus, I feel medicinal is an adjective you pick like pomegranates under those trees, wide rimmed groping vegetable growths here and there across dirt, across this red no pink dirt, this pink dirt across the power grid lot, the locust hum of power lines above your lumpy noggin, your noggin with beautiful jaws, the curves of your jaws hinged and moving up and down soft while power lines crackle against pink skies, pink like the dirt that must be some kind of clay, clay you might want to taste, just a bit and freight trains ship iron rackety through the eucalyptus, and your jaws as you roll in the wheelbarrow, the wheelbarrow I push and roll along the pink earth below the power lines making my hair straighten spine, your rolling in the wheelbarrow’s cool metal bucket dusted with sticky pine bark from a day or two ago when we cut down pine to make toothpicks, wonderful smelling soft bodied toothpicks bending in the cracks between slick teeth, you roll in the bucket your head

facing the power lines and your eyes are more green, more green than usual which is a dark yerba green so maybe I mean more bright than usual, a bright sickly avocado, two, staring up at the humming wire arranged in a square around our immediate vectoring northwest, strung between four towers, there’s identical periwinkle blue houses all around this square formed by the limits of the open crunchy grass square which are the humming wires strung between the four gray towers, and your head rolls between the two wooden handles, the rest of your body curled up in the bucket approaching a delicious spiral informed by vegetable anatomies, the soft curving seeds of a droopy sunflower, you’re curled up in the bucket, head knocking into the wooden handles that my hands grip, I push northwest through the square which means we’re headed towards the train tracks and the farthest of the four gray towers, and it’s hard to push, it is, the ground is mole torn, and between your jaws you seem to say two words over and over that might be punctual and usurp but might also be jaguar and unction, which is OK.

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the forest or forest preserve Nick Peter Prasser

April Nett, Sophisticated Ruin, mixed media

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Thighs tangled mimicking me grass stems bend under back stab, crumble, and pop, the sinew strands locking talons to carcass, hung in the crotch of an alder the disjointed wing swings wildly in the breeze: ripping pulpy handfuls of heartwood that run dank water over the hands to crawl inside the cavern over spiders and centipedes cold earth inside roots popping in the wind cathedral like spikes moan I stumbled here singing a few songs in raspy voice. Running through meadow dilapidated hedge and refuse, even though soft veins of white gravel flow.

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awakening Claire-Marie Hefner

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The sun unspools through the shades spreading lines of new-light morning on wrinkled sheets. Like sleep mussed the dreamer’s hair, fresh-warmth stirs thoughts and unravels the web which suspended consciousness. Reveries slip back into dream-thought shadows as the morning opens you gently like a sacred scroll.

Laura Schartner, Ropes, oil on panel, diptych, 24” X 12”

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possible whistles & the spiced ululation of forgetting hues—the waxed efficiency of salmon piled leaves, mauve umbrellas rolling in empty oiled streets, evergreen sixteenth notes hotfooting soft moans out lukewarm saxophones, a candy-apple red bubble of thought: soft cradles we might build under tented infant tchotchkes, dental floss-strung w/ the chili peppers on the fridge, the magnetism of which we consume with sick pan dulce, mad starches, the retrieved mutiny of crumbling sugars dividing, parceling, plastic-wrapped decay deep in your tucked & sloppy sweetmeats, deep in blue uncharted mapwork, back-of-receipt scribbles indicating microscopic octopi & squid wrapping shiny forking arms around expanding white-bodied homicidal islands of cannibal cell growth. forget we think such things, dig swimming pools, I’ll supply the citronella. vacate monstrous logical lacunas: this requires zen, to push aside the word nothing, even punctuation should be seen as seedy, photographing women eating fast-food seedy.

olivia: mailbox, lonliness sermon Mike Granger

& so you become a postal service, imagine a PO box for every second sunk in plucking hair, clipping nail, needling coffee grounds out between flossed teeth, tethering consistent shamanic glossy printed posters to the wall; here, this exercise will be ibuprofen for the lonely, antacid for the lost.

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write books on experiences traveling between, to & then from, distant lands, golden mythological cheese graters of democracy; supplement ideas of bullet holes in brick w/ the word banana; defend prima facie shades, UV-resistant, & every human’s right to access the painted patented lenses; doodle ancient Nordic sailing scripture verse, spitty & wound too tense, in the in-flight traveler’s magazine accepting Visa. for steps, like this, are necessary in establishing a wanted decomposition, in composting memorized species of tropical vegetation, fat motionless floras that push against our windows before it rains, it rained & I’m cleaning glass from your feet. & so we should build a boat, or maybe boats, drag it/them to a nearby beach, lock it/them to a DON’T FEED THE DUCKS sign, wait a while, check temperatures under tongues, feel foreheads, drink citrus sweetened teas, consider frequent naps, observe a regular pulse.

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lie tolerated for its beauty David Benjamin Labedz “This building will take character, and courage, and vision, and intelligence, yes, and sympathy with the beautiful.” —Frank Lloyd Wright they said he was the kind of guy who went to someone else’s place and rearranged their furniture to better suit his tastes: so when he stopped receiving invites for ignoring social law he just retired to his studio to sit and dream and draw. with the paper at his hand he drew a building and not blood: this horizontal half-cathedral rather sprawled instead of stood and from the paper he produced it, soon it rose and bloomed in space unsure and shaking: wondering whether or not its birth was a mistake. but no one could resist to say how beautiful it looked: it was so perfectly symmetrical that standing at the foot it seemed as though this building grew and moved and felt and beat and breathed; but unfortunately these were things that always only seemed. like a synthetic constellation made of fake fluorescent stars or slow and shattering and slothful: like a freeway full of cars; like an ancient farming dinosaur made white with liquid ivory; it looked like something one man could not possibly conceive. it was like Westminster Abbey lacking presence of a god; it was like a flower garden made of stone instead of sod; it was like a ship denied the chance to ever go to sea; it was lovely and voluptuous; but like a rosary.

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still it was stunning: and the folks could not decide what it would do; a shopping mall it could be or an office or a school; or a prison even: these were all the uses that they thought of for this perfect plastic masterpiece they paid to have put up. so finally they thought it might be best to simply let it be and not to place in it a purpose but instead to leave it empty so whoever wanted to could rent it out for their event: it could be church or club or office for whoever paid the rent.

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this breathing babbling tower sat there vacant nine to five; disingenuous in purpose: not a single soul inside; while from his grave the architect strained every of his joints; as he seemed to scream: “You imbeciles! You missed the fucking point!”

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Kieran Leong, Flash Roman Rain, photograph

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a pink post-it Rachel Kowarski

“Until twenty-seven days before, it had bothered me that the people I interviewed never really looked at me. Until twentyseven days before, the only thing I had looked forward to in a day was being able to tell someone that they were getting a student visa, because at least then they’d look up at me and maybe even smile.”

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here were two blue handprints on the concrete landing between the fourth and fifth floors at the building where I was employed. They were there because the railings had just been painted blue. Normally no one would see them, because everyone took the elevator. It was easier that way. So every day I piled onto the elevator with the rest of the suit-clad, tie-wearing cogs of the American Embassy. But that week the elevator was broken. The stairs were the only option. That was the Monday I had noticed the handprints; bright blue against the beige of the staircase. Two left hands. It became a guessing game: why were they there? Every day offered a new explanation. The painter had tripped and grabbed the wet paint before hitting the floor. A child had thought it was finger painting time until his parent pulled him away. Someone had come by after the painter had left and wanted to leave a mark. A mark, I could understand that, although it wasn’t something that worried me. I had no misguided notions about myself. I had never been an overly imposing figure. My younger brother was the only person who’d ever been afraid of me, but even that went out the window when he hit fourteen and grew six inches in five months. I went to the State Department seminar on a whim. My roommate was an international business major, and he dragged me along with the promise of free pizza. I was a history major with no idea of what I wanted to do. Next thing I know, I’m applying for a job as an intern. A year of fetching coffee and delivering file folders, a second year of answering phones from a desk off in a corner, third and fourth years in Argentina, and then an email telling me I was being transferred to Kuwait. I had to go through two weeks of training so I would know when to grant visas and when to deny them. There were procedures, scripts, and perfectly logical explanations pounded into my head so hard. I found myself starting to forget everything I’d learned from my parents and my liberal arts education. I began to believe that maybe Kuwaiti men who wanted to study botany really were inventing new kinds of biological weapons. I was good at my job. I followed the script and people were afraid of me. Their hands shook as they made their cases; they rarely met my eye. The fear is okay with me now. Until twenty-seven days before, it had bothered me that the people I interviewed never really looked at me. It had bothered me that they never seemed

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him the straight backed chair across from my desk. He was wearing a tie that made him look like a politician. He must have shaved that morning, because I could smell the shaving cream. Not aftershave, shaving cream. He looked nervous, but was trying not to show it. I saw that all the time. The candidates think if they look nervous we’ll think they’re terrorists. “So you want to go to school in the U.S.?” I asked. As if he would be meeting with me for any other reason. “Yes Sir,” he said. I felt a shiver along the base of my spine. I wasn’t sure why. “Where were you born?” I asked, continuing forward. I knew all the answers to his personal and family history. They were in his file. I knew he knew I had the answers. Part of the process was checking to see how they respond to the questions. “At Salimiyah,” he said. Again I felt a strange feeling of fear move up my spine, along my arms. “What do your parents do?” “My father is a builder,” he said. “My mother is a teacher. She always says American schools are better.” I inhaled sharply. It was his voice. I was back in the alley two blocks from my house, hands shaking as I gave my wallet to the shadow-hidden man. “Stupid American,” he had said against my neck before taking off into the darkness. I remembered the voice, deep and resounding off the surrounding apartment building walls, just like Nadim’s bounced off the walls of my cubicle. I looked at my hands holding Nadim’s file and they were trembling slightly. “Are you all right?” he asked. I looked over and found him leaning forward in his chair, looking directly back at me. Taking a deep breath, I steeled my face. “I’m fine. What does your mother teach?” “Geography.” I grabbed a pen from the jar on my desk to steady my still shaking hands. “Where are you planning to go to school?” “I have been accepted to Carleton College.” I raised my eyebrows slightly. “Carleton’s only about forty minutes away from where I grew up. Couple of my friends went there.”

A Pink Post-it Rachel Kowarski

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friendly or comfortable with me. The only thing I had looked forward to was being able to tell people they were getting a student visa, because at least then they’d look up at me and maybe even smile. But twenty-seven days before, I had been mugged on the way home from work. After the mugging, I figured if they didn’t get their visa, that was tough. I was told in my training that if something felt off about a person we could “use our judgment” in deciding whether or not to grant a visa. The average success rate per embassy worker was something like thirty-five percent. Since the incident, mine was around fifteen. I got to my floor and threw my shoulder bag into the corner. Did you ever notice that cubicle walls are covered in some kind of grey Astroturf? My supervisor, a woman named Betsy, always told me I should personalize my workspace. I’m pretty sure Betsy joined the State Department as a midlife crisis, despite the fact that she hadn’t even hit midlife. I’d been tempted to go out and buy a singing bass, turn on its motion sensor, and face it towards her workspace, which was properly covered with knickknacks and memorabilia. But I wasn’t sure where I would find a singing bass in the middle of Kuwait. Instead, I put up with the annoying woman who had two months seniority. She thought she owned the place as she shook her head about my “lack of integration into the new environment.” Did you know that generous estimates gave Kuwaiti embassy drones four years before they fled back to the States? I was integrated enough after four years. Once I got mugged, Betsy stopped bothering me about my workspace. I sat down at my desk and flipped on my computer. I spun around in my rolling chair while it booted up. By the time I was too dizzy to continue, my computer was online and other people were filing into the room, heading for their own cubicles. I grabbed the first file on hand for the day and glanced at the guy’s name, hometown, age, test scores, and TOFL score. Then I looked more closely at his financial records, school records, and pages upon pages of teacher recommendations. I called down to the atrium and had the receptionist send him up. Two minutes later he was standing at the entrance of my cubicle. His name was Nadim Al-Ahmad. I offered

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A Pink Post-it Rachel Kowarski

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Logan J. Woods Eagle in Flight cast aluminum and sculpted pine

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“It is a good school,” Nadim replied. The thought of this man living anywhere near my family made me want to reach for the super-sized bottle of antacids, which I kept in my desk drawer. “And how are you planning to pay for school?” “I have been given an academic scholarship. I have enough money saved to pay for dorms. I have also been accepted into the work-study program to pay for books and living…um… expenses.” “Do you have proof of all this?” He handed me a manila folder with papers confirming his scholarship, bank statements, and acceptance into Carleton work-study. I added the papers to his file and made some quick notes in the margins before continuing. “What are you planning to study?” “Urban development.” Twenty-seven days before and this would have been the part I hated most. In fact, before he opened his mouth and spoke, I still might have hated this part. This guy had saved for three years in order to have the money to go to school, taken test upon test and had his scores scrutinized ten times harder than any American student. He filled out stacks of paperwork to prove he wasn’t a terrorist or planning to stay in the U.S. forever, and then stood outside for hours in the Kuwaiti sun

waiting for an interview. After ten minutes sitting with me, I would tell him that his major was considered a risk for Kuwaiti men and he would not be granted a student visa. “I’m sorry,” I told him, closing his file. “That major is restricted for Kuwaiti men your age. The United States will not grant you a visa to study urban development.” I had to watch myself to make sure I didn’t smirk as I spoke. He looked at me as if I’d burned down his house and then barbequed his cat on the embers. “I don’t understand,” he said, even more slowly than before. “We can’t let you study urban development. There are national security concerns.” Normally that was when people got up and left. I pulled out the visa denied paperwork and started to fill out the information. “I want to help my city use their land better. I don’t want to stay in the U.S. I want to come back here.” I looked up, slightly surprised that he hadn’t moved to leave. “Look, there’s nothing I can do.” He ran a hand through his black hair, leaving a few strands sticking up at odd angles. “Our cities, they were built too fast. My father is a builder; he told me how they could be different.” “I understand, however it is a national security risk to allow you to see city plans and things like that.” “What would I do with the city plans?” he asked. His accent was getting progressively thicker. As his voice got louder I found myself inching my chair back, putting more distance between us. “I don’t know,” I said. “Sell them to people who want to blow buildings up.” “But I won’t do that. I don’t want to do that.” “I’m sorry. There isn’t anything I can do.” Nadim leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees, his head in his hands. He was muttering in Arabic and I only recognized a few words. America, terrorist, and a variety of terms I was pretty sure were obscene. I rolled my eyes and started to tell him that sometimes majors got taken off the restricted list, but all of a sudden he started coughing. At first it was like he had swallowed saliva down the wrong way, but after a moment, I realized he was wheezing as well. His body slumped


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A Pink Post-it Rachel Kowarski

Logan J. Woods Figure Study charcoal

corner of my eye I watched him slowly begin to understand. “So what are you planning to major in?” “Religion,” he said. “It has always been something that interests me.” For the first time since appearing before my desk he smiled. “I think I could study that.” “Well then, I have to make some copies of your paperwork and we’ll get you set up with a visa.” I stood up from my desk and gathered the papers I’d need to copy. Nadim was still now, but I could see the knot of his tie jumping slightly. I paused in the semidoorway of my cubicle until I realized it was his heart pounding. As I stood over the copy machine I thought about the rumor I’d heard about it leaking radiation. I don’t know how long I stood there before I realized I was finished. I walked back to my cubicle and handed Nadim his forms, putting the copies into his file. I gave him the paperwork he’d have to fill out and a copy of his visa. Standing up from the chair he moved to leave, but stopped. Although he wasn’t facing me, I could see the deliberation move down from his head through his shoulders. Turning to me, he switched the file from the crook of his right arm to his left and held out his right hand. It’s strange; I have never been very good at deciphering the important moments from the trivial. The first time a girl asked me out

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over with coughing. His arm reached out and he pointed towards the backpack he had brought. “Please,” he rasped out, “my inhaler.” Standing up I rushed to the other side of my desk. I grabbed his backpack and searched the main pocket until I felt the Lshaped medication. Taking the inhaler from my hand, he brought it to his mouth and took a deep breath. I looked around and realized I was kneeling next to him. I stood up and quickly made my way back to my chair. If Nadim noticed my hasty move, he didn’t show it. He took another puff of his inhaler before continuing to try and steady his breathing. After a moment, he reached up and pulled his tie loose. While leaning back into his chair, he tossed the inhaler into his bag and closed his eyes. “Asthma,” he said, his eyes still closed. “I am sorry.” All of a sudden, with his hair mussed, his tie loose, and his chest still wheezing slightly, I was looking at him. It was like he had just stepped back into his own skin. His apology didn’t remind me of the man in the alley. I picked up his file as he was finally leaning forward and collecting his things. “According to your transcript,” I said, “you got very good grades in history.” Nadim paused in the middle of standing up. “Yes,” he said. “I liked history.” Looking past his shoulder, I made sure no one was standing in sightline of my desk. “A friend of mine who went to Carleton got a degree in religious studies.” I could see that Nadim wasn’t following. Unfortunately, what I was suggesting to him was against everything we were trained to do. Even more unfortunately, Betsy had excellent hearing. So for a moment I just looked at him. I was willing him to understand, yet his eyes held only confusion. “Why are you telling me this?” I opened my middle desk drawer and pulled out a stack of bright pink post-it notes. Taking my pen, I wrote in very small writing, “Change your major.” Just in case the story of hidden Homeland Security cameras I was told upon arriving at the embassy was true. Sliding the post-it across the desk with one hand, I grabbed his file with the other and began making pointless notes in the interviewer comments section. From the

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Rachel Kowarski

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it went straight over my head. I responded that we were already out, and went back to my conversation of whether or not Jurassic Park could really happen. But as I stared at his outstretched hand, it occurred to me that maybe this was important. I reached out and grasped his hand in mine. “Thank you…” he said, with an odd pause. He looked like he wanted to say more, but instead he gave my hand another shake and then walked away. It was after he was walking towards the stairwell, his shoulders almost bouncing with excitement, that I realized I hadn’t told him my name. Leaning forward to rest my elbows on the desk I reached for my next file. I opened it and started to leaf through the pages. When I got to this particular woman’s school records the paper sliced my finger. “Goddamn it!” I hissed. “Everything okay Joel?” Betsy asked, poking her head over the divider between our cubicles. “Fine, paper cut.” “Ouch, those are the worst.” It took everything I had to keep from rolling my eyes. The worst? I was pretty sure there were worse things in the world than a paper cut. Getting told you can’t study what you want because of your ethnicity, for example. Or grapefruit juice in the eye. “Was that guy a yes or no?” Betsy asked while handing me a band-aid, which I was fairly certain had a picture of a kitten on it. “What? Oh, he was a yes.” I put the bandaid on and the kitten stared back at me. “Well keep up the good work.” “Yeah,” I replied as her disembodied head vanished. For a moment I just stared at my hand, trying to figure out what the heck was up with the kitten. Picking up the file again; I sighed before calling down to the atrium. I had four more interviews that day. I ended with three noes and a yes. At precisely 4:30 pm, Betsy stuck her head over the cubicle wall. She asked if I wanted to go for food with her and some of the other employees. I warily looked at the fading November light and declined. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of being out at night. Gathering my things together, I wished Betsy a good weekend and headed out. I punched the elevator down button just for the hell of it, before heading towards the

stairs. The stairwell smelled like wet dust and mold. A smell I had always secretly enjoyed and I breathed in two or three lungs full. I felt like whistling, but I had never learned how. It was a lot easier to go down the stairs than up them. I wasn’t paying attention, and I tripped slightly before grabbing the railing to steady myself. Normally I would have made sure no one saw before walking on, as if nothing had happened. But I didn’t this time. I stayed partially fallen forward. I was staring at the handprints. Two blue handprints on the floor. Pulling myself upright, I made sure no one else was walking up or down in the vicinity. Then I put my shoulder bag on the floor and knelt down. I felt stupid, but I couldn’t stop my hand from reaching down and lining itself up against the blue fingertips. The prints were a lot smaller than my own. I’m not sure how long I stayed before I stood up and reached for my bag. I paused as I was about to put it over my shoulder. I grasped for my tie and pulled the dark green material loose. That wasn’t enough. I pulled it through my collar until it was completely off. Looking back at the handprints, I decided they were made by the painter who was angry at having to paint the banister when no one would see it once the elevator was fixed. So he thought he’d make a bit of a mess. Of course he didn’t want to do anything too drastic. It was a job. I stuffed the tie into my bag and made my way down to the first floor. That night they fixed the elevator and the walk home was quiet. |

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A Pink Post-it Rachel Kowarski

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Michelle Bridwell, Guardians, oil on canvas, 24� X 30�

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when pigs fly Jacquelyn Kate Luskey

“Anna Bea’s head does not fill with thoughts of all the cherries or red velvet or bubbles that five dollars can buy. Sometimes the landlord gives her a nickel. On her second birthday, he gave her a twenty. She was equally pleased with both, too young to know that money can turn into candy.”

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nna Bea is reaching out again at the bowl of maraschino cherries with her chubby, short, sticky-pink fingers. The cherries sit just behind the bar. They are there for Anna Bea during the day and for the pretty girls who order pretty-girl drinks at night. Everything here during the day belongs to Anna Bea, really. She is the manager’s daughter. He and his wife, Meghan, can’t afford daycare between her salary teaching English to kids in Spanish Harlem and his commission from booking the struggling poets, artists and musicians of the Lower East Side. So the club becomes Anna Bea’s second home, a preschool of sorts, with bartenders and performers and lots of colorful locals with lots of piercings and suggestive body odors playing teacher until her mom can take the subway once the school day has ended but before a loud show or heavy drinking at the club has begun. Each night after dinner when Matt rubs Meghan’s feet in front of the television, Anna Bea mimes to her mom all that her teachers taught her, while Meghan doesn’t tell Anna Bea anything that she’s taught, too tired of her job, her life, to elaborate to someone who has much better stories of her own, anyway. Anna Bea climbs up the barstool with her two-and-a-half-year-old legs so that she may plop herself down onto her favorite spot on the corner of the bar’s counter. She flashes her cherry-stained teeth at Moonshine, the bartender, until he gives in, dumping the last three cherries in the bowl - along with the sweet sap - into a plastic cup. As he places the cup down, Anna Bea lays her small hands on Moonshine’s big-boned forearms, her left thumb covering the end of the tattoo of her name that is in curly cursive on the inside of his right arm, pulling him closer so that she may kiss his nose in thanks. Moonshine got the tattoo the day she was born, the day he became a godfather. He gives Anna Bea his usual “you’re welcome” of a dozen fast, pecking kisses on her cheek. Anna Bea giggles from the familiar coarse bristles of his mustache tickling her skin. Moonshine. That really is his name. For years everyone at the club thought he was making it up, not because he didn’t seem like a Moonshine, but more because the name fit too well. Moonshine the bartender, a seeming cliché with his large, hard belly and husky-low voice. He fetched Red Stripe from the basement storage room and ate a pint of ice cream and french fries as his dinner at least twice a week. He wasn’t even the type to have a social security number, much less a driver’s license for someone to sneakily check in his wallet

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years of high school. We still have the racket he won State with. “We always knew our Moonie was a queer. I think we were more confused than he was when he had that little fling with Susan Hannigan.” That night, everyone learned that

stayed through the time when the club pulls down its gate, locking in the regulars to drink until the garbage trucks come rumbling by in the morning. His mother, Judy, who likes to be called Rain, showered her son’s friends with stories of his childhood. “Moonie,” a name reserved only for those close to him, “would only wear mismatching plaid prints from the third through seventh grades. “Moonie played varsity tennis all four

Moonshine Wind Kapafsky was named after the Earth’s graces felt by his mother, Rain, and his father, Rob, who likes to be called Rob, the night he was conceived on their Vermont farm 29 summers ago. But there were parts of him that made him not seem like a Moonshine at all or, rather, like a completely different kind of Moonshine, by the way he’d chase butterflies at Washington Square or how his feet moved quietly and politely on floors underneath his 240 pound

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for proof of his real name. Moonshine wasn’t his name, it was merely him. Rough, burly Moonshine. And so it became understood that Moonshine’s birth name was a quiet mystery no one would ever unravel. That is until the day his hippie parents came to visit their son at his New York City job. They

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frame. And in a way, all this new knowledge makes Moonshine even more mysterious. Anna Bea doesn’t find Moonshine mysterious at all, though. He’s always there and that is enough. In her cherry-sugar high, Anna Bea slides down from the bar to the stool to the floor, scampering to the red velvet

be sorted through, piling up in a semicircle around him. Moonshine is pouring himself a drink from a clear container with some dark, rich alcohol in it. His pay includes two on-shift drinks. It’s 10 a.m., but, “Hey, it’s 5 p.m. somewhere,” Moonshine would say in a grandma voice. He swirls his cup against the

curtain that blocks the sun from hitting the stage during afternoon poetry readings. She rolls herself in the thick and dusty fabric. “Oh Annnnaaaa Beeaaaa. Where is my Anna Bea?” Moonshine coos, taking his part in their daily game. A muffled giggle signals that he is not to be finished in his plea yet. He gives a “here we go again” look to Matt, Anna Bea’s father. Matt sits at the opposite side of the bar from his daughter with insurance files and demos and new chapbooks, all waiting to

edge of the overhanging bar lamp, the kind all bars have so that everything is dark but somehow spotlighted. Anna Bea’s eyes, the same color as the dark rum, swirl along, trying to match its movement. Anna Bea doesn’t reach out her hands like she does with cherries because she knows better from the one time Moonshine let her try his drink and it tasted like ear wax-flavored medicine, her nose scrunching from the taste, trying to make her cute face ugly. Matt observes the routine with a complacent quietness. He used to nervously

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fading into each other, as well. Matt knows everything turned out alright as he watches his Anna Bea hide. Moonshine pretends like he doesn’t know where she is. Matt had always been a watcher, which he would justify by adding that he was a Pisces whenever he was accused of his shyness.

was better than leaving her in their clean, well, almost clean, home. The thought of some twentysomething stranger eating all their popcorn while he worked behind a desk, instead of in front of a bar counter, made his brows burrow, even if he wasn’t much older than that twentysomething. Moonshine always snaps him out of his daydreams with, “Whatcha thinkin’ about, Sunshine?” Matt smiles at his Moonie. Sunshine came about when people started to say the two of them were like night and day, different but

He wrote poetry that only his wife saw and drew pictures of trees in central park. Only Anna Bea knew his lyrics from the lullabies he’d write in place of bedtime stories. Nobody knew his voice but her. Instead of sharing his own art, Matt helped others share theirs. And so he snapped himself back into the paperwork of liquor licenses and book release party dates and the schedule for the slam poetry season in the fall. The dull roar of Moonshine’s smoker’s rasp echoes in the hollowness of the empty club.

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watch her sleeping in her stroller during morning sound checks for dicey bands with names like Mo Beasley or Badass Burlesque (a band that, as the name implies, provides more than just music). He’d daydream often, wondering if having a job in the arts where he could bring his daughter to his dirty work

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“Oh no! Where could my little Anna Bea be?” He spins in a dramatic circle behind the bar, careful not to knock over the new rum with his massive frame. The giggles become louder, though mixing with the sound of the friction of fabric, as Anna Bea twirls out of her red cocoon. She shrieks in the delight of being found as Moonshine slaps his burly hands to his face, his mouth wide open in a smile of relief and the amazement of magically finding his lost Anna Bea. “Moonie! It’s Anna Me! It’s Anna Me!” She still doesn’t quite get the logistics of her name, only calling herself “Anna Me.” No one ever corrects her, though, because no one should teach anyone that she should not be thinking of herself as a me. Summer Sunday afternoons are reserved for rooftop barbeques. Matt makes tofu burgers on the grill. Moonshine mixes the drinks while smoking the last of his pack. Megan, Anna Bea’s mom, puts on The Kingston Trio or The Clash. The adults from the club come over and play Scrabble, except Moonshine, because he was banned after months of making up words like “narnetic” and “disphow” to use as fifty point bingos. So instead of hovering over letters, he and Anna Bea are in charge of the bubbles. Anna Bea blows hard, like she would to a dandelion, on her bubble-wand that is soaked in soapy promise. Her baby breath is not enough to push any of the suds out of the wand. She runs to Moonshine’s lap where she proceeds to squish her soft cheek up against his course one, and together they blow, watching the parade of glistening bubbles dance away from the wand, fading into the world. A bony, wrinkled finger reaches out to pop the largest bubble from escaping over the roof’s railing and into the street. The finger belongs to the building landlord who makes his weekly rounds of tenant checks each Sunday, always ending with his last stop of the rooftop. The landlord is a man of routine, who wears his outfits by the days. Sunday is khaki pants that button above his belly button, a tucked-in blue collared shirt and a sweet smile, the kind that only old people have. “Oh, little Anna Bea, how are we today?”

the landlord calls out at his youngest, and favorite, of the building. Anna Bea grows shy in response, hiding behind Moonshine, hugging his calf. Sometimes she’s just like her father. “Your papa pays rent to me, but I think I’m the one who has to pay you a ‘cute tax,’” the landlord says. To this, Anna Bea slowly begins walking toward him with her chin tucked down to receive her weekly dues. The landlord places a crisp five-dollar bill in Anna Bea’s small palm, wet from bubbles. “Thatta girl,” he says, patting the top of her head and turning toward the door. Anna Bea’s head does not fill with thoughts of all the cherries or red velvet or bubbles that five dollars can buy, but only of placing the green paper in her opaque pink glass piggy bank like she does each week. Sometimes the landlord gives her a nickel. On her second birthday, he gave her a twenty. She was equally pleased with both, too young to know that money can turn into candy. How could she? She was still unaware that girls can turn into women. Even girls like her. As the landlord’s back turns to Anna Bea, he comes to face Meghan. Both Meghan and Anna Bea are with round faces and messy blond curls. Anna Bea doesn’t look like her mother, but rather, like one day she could. The landlord winks at Meghan. Meghan laughs in response. It is the type of laugh one gives when there is nothing else. It is polite. Before there is chance for a pause, the landlord makes a queer face and points with his chin to the music coming from the kitchen counter radio coming through the window screen. “Is that music?” “Oh yes,” Meghan laughs, again. “It’s Moonie’s band, The Giggle Fits. They have quite a following at the club.” Meghan doesn’t include that this following is of close friends made up of drag queens and business men who dress up as vampires on the weekend. She doesn’t include that Moonshine pours glitter over his beard before shows and wears matching platform shoes that the crowd always goes wild for. Still, without this information, the landlord grimaces. Moonshine smiles. “Yup. They love me. I was voted Mr. L.E.S. this past March.” “L.E.S.?” The landlord is completely confused. “Mr. Lower East Side. That’s me, three

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recorded at the hospital, on her tiny, heaving chest. He will let the air entering and exiting her lungs move his own hand up and down and up and down. Matt will lift his hand, still warm from his daughter’s chest, and place it on her opaque pink glass piggy bank. Anna Bea doesn’t need tens or fives filling her piggy bank to fill her dreams with sweets or toys or more time with Moonshine. One day her father will tell her how her family can use it to make sure they eat ice cream on Fridays when she leaves the club, or so her shoes are never too small, or to keep alive the hope for a little brother one day. Matt replaces the money with jellybeans and strips of gum so that when Anna Bea shakes her piggy bank, as she does each morning, she will still glow with pride. He will one day tell her how he turned her money into sugar, but he will only do so when his little girl has turned into a woman. One day she will understand. But right now, it is night and Matt just lets her sleep. Anna Bea sleeps, but not well. Lately, she has been having trouble finding her dreams, instead waking up to coughs and an itchy throat to which she runs to her parents’ bedroom, taking their dreams instead. Tired in the morning, Anna Bea seems cranky until it is realized that cranky is not cranky. Cranky is sick. Anna Bea is sick. She is very, very sick. While drawing squiggles of chalk on the corner of sidewalk on Avenue A, she starts a cycle of tears and heavy coughs under the tree of Moonshine who is on his cigarette break above her. She screams like little girls do when she doesn’t feel familiar in the familiar place of the club. She hits her cup of cherries to the floor when its juice tickles her throat hard into an itch she doesn’t know how to scratch. She hides, crying in the red velvet curtains, but refuses to come out upon hearing Moonshine’s usual coo. She doesn’t kiss him once on the nose. When he tries to hug her in comfort, she coughs roughly into his armpit as if trying to imitate his smoker’s rasp. When Moonshine tells Matt to feel Anna Bea’s forehead, it is burning hot. Anna Bea snuggles into her father’s lap. “Anna Me cold,” she whimpers. “Anna Me go home.” They take her to the walk-in clinic. After looking into Anna Bea’s throat and placing his large palms on either side of her small frame, the doctor mumbles something

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years running.” The landlord doesn’t respond, but saves his breath so that he may listen to The Giggle Fits. Who’s your man? Who’s your woman? Who’s the one to make your juices flow? “You know, you’re so nice to Anna Bea,” Meghan says as she clears her throat, panicked to drown out the next line of the song about sixty-nineing. “You don’t have to, you know. But,” she swallows, “every bit does help.” “I know. I want to, though.” The landlord abandons his determination to strain for the rest of the lyrics. There is an audible, heavy sigh, but it’s unclear whose it is. Meghan’s cell phone rings from inside her front jean pocket. She looks at the phone’s screen and then up to the landlord. “My Ma,” she says. “She’s been bugging us to head out to New Hampshire.” “Ah, time to visit Grandma,” he smiles. “My grandkids come for Christmas and one week of summer every year. It’s not enough, but it’s something.” Meghan never noticed until now that the landlord had droopy, puppy-dog eyes. “New Hampshire’s a beautiful place for a vacation.” “It’s a beautiful place to call home,” Meghan says. She makes a bashful shrug of the shoulder, holding up the cell phone on its last ring. The landlord shoos her off with his hand in response, telling her to take the call. As the screen door shuts, he calls out to Moonshine without turning around again. “Moonbeam, or whatever they call you, put out that cigarette. You think the kid’s lungs need that? I’m sure the other tenants just love it, too. Put it out. Have a good night.” The screen door clanks against its frame. The orange embers of the cigarette butt are under Moonshine’s shoe. Matt and Meghan know how money is magic, mostly because they don’t have much. Tonight, Matt will tuck Anna Bea into her bed like he does every night. He will sing her the lullabies and she will fall asleep to the melody of her father’s soft falsetto voice whispering promises of ice cream in the summer and snow angels after the fall. Anna Bea breathes heavy when she sleeps so that she might actually blow a bubble on her own if the wand was put to her face when she’s dreaming. Matt will put his small-boned wrist, the one with the bracelet tattoo of Anna Bea’s first heartbeat

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Richard Smith A Smile that Explodes This piece was inspired by a friend going through a difficult time in his life, and his ability to remain optimistic. Learning to accept things as they come is a difficult task, and this piece attempts to capture that aspect of life. It is about welcoming the unexpected to the extent that one alters his life accordingly, with a positive attitude. Usually reluctant to talk about his work, Richard welcomes and encourages any outside interpretations. When he looks at other artwork, he finds himself understanding the pieces in a personal way. This piece was painted by first applying a layer of orange acrylic paint and then covering it with brown oil and “scratching” away at the oil, more or less.

A Smile that Explodes acrylic & oil 20” X 20”

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about an asthma attack and how the city is tough on kids. They leave with something to make the itching stop, a prescription for an inhaler, a number of an allergist they can’t afford, something to help Anna Bea sleep, and a hefty bill that’s hardly covered by their shitty insurance. They pay for the $17 cab ride home after Anna Bea stands cross-armed with her feet planted at the stairway entrance of the nearest subway stop. There won’t be any ice cream this Friday and hopefully Anna Bea’s shoes will fit for at least a while and maybe there won’t be any drinks on Sunday. But Anna Bea will be there, happy and better that Sunday, even if the drinks won’t be. She’ll giggle on the Fourth of July with Moonshine and Mom and Dad and all the rest of the club’s gang to celebrate Independence Day. Everyone stays a little later that Sunday, lying on reclined lawn chairs on the rooftop to glimpse at the tops of fireworks shooting off in the distance. Anna Bea, tired of trying to blow her own bubbles, points her wand to Moonshine as if he is a frog she wishes to turn into a handsome prince, although he already is one to her. She purses her lips, mimicking Moonshine’s huffy exhalations before shrieking from delight at nothing in particular. Matt watches, like he always does, from the barbeque, with Meghan drinking an RC Cola next to him in a broken lawn chair that wobbles a little when she speaks. “She sure does love him,” she says. “We do, too,” answers her husband. Meghan sits for a moment, but the lawn chair wobbles a little, as if it speaks before she does, as if it can sense her thinking. “I talked to my Ma today. The air is good in New Hampshire. We’re both from there. Things would be so much easier, Matt. For once, let’s just do what’s easy…what’s best.” “They don’t have rooftop barbeques or the club in New Hampshire, Meghan,” Matt says in a low voice, looking down to have direct eye contact with her. “Who will blow bubbles with Anna Bea in New Hampshire?” Meghan looks like she is about to roll her eyes, but she doesn’t. She just throws her head back a little. “Us. People blow bubbles in New Hampshire, Matt.” “The air’s not the same.” There’s another pause, and this time not

even the lawn chair speaks. Anna Bea skips over to Matt, taking his hand so that she may lead him back into the building, through the apartment, down the stairs, and onto the stoop below them. Moonshine understands the new alterations to their sacred Sunday activity. He blows an endless stream of iridescent and hollow spheres over the railing, down to Matt and Anna Bea’s level on the ground. She makes herself dizzy circling around to catch her bubbles in her tiny hands, or sometimes with her mouth. Their new game is interrupted by the landlord, finding his tenants who are usually last to be checked at the front of the complex, becoming his first of the evening instead. He bends down to Anna Bea’s eye level, patting her head as he always does. “I heard you were sick Anna Bea.” Anna Bea nods her head vigorously in response. “Better now, huh?” he asks with a wrinkled nose. She smiles. The landlord smiles back. “Thatta girl,” he says, rising to Matt’s level. “What’s she got?” “Asthma.” The word comes out of Matt’s mouth, but he’s still unfamiliar with it and it feels awkward in his mouth. “Ah. There wasn’t asthma in my day. Kids were tougher. Or maybe the world was softer. I don’t know.” The landlord grunts a little at his remark, which he found clever. “I know it’s a holiday, but it is the fourth still. You got the rent?” “It was a tough week,” Matt says with his eyes shifting back and forth from the landlord to the ground. “Next Sunday?” “Tough weeks are tough. Next Sunday then?” “Sunday.” “Sunday.” The landlord walks toward the building’s entrance door, but turns back before touching the doorknob. “Almost forgot Anna Bea’s cute tax,” he says. “She’s still precious, even when she’s got the sniffles.” The landlord tries only to use words Anna Bea knows when he is around her. He walks up to Anna Bea, who has her fingers in her mouth, and bends down to her again with his back facing Matt. “Remember when you showed me your little piggy bank? I want you to go run and put this in there right now, okay?” Anna Bea takes the folded bills

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Moonshine is in the living room, sleeping on the couch. He fell asleep watching Court TV while Meghan did the dishes around midnight. His hairy belly peaking at the belt line was moving in a steady, slow motion,

up and down. He was deeply asleep and he just looked so…Moonshine…that Meghan couldn’t bare the thought of waking him. Moonshine woke himself up in the middle of the night after breakfast table talks were over and Anna Bea’s own belly was rising and falling again. At first confused by his surroundings, he opened the screen door to the rooftop to complete his missed bedtime ritual of fresh air and a cigarette. He blows smoke rings in the air, watching them fade away. He taps the end of his cigarette lightly on the rail while he exhales, watching the embers of his cigarette turn into fireflies that remind him of Vermont. He blows another smoke ring. He thinks of how Anna Bea

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from the landlord with wide eyes and jets up to her room, leaving Matt and the Landlord on the stoop and Moonshine watching the two of them from above. “Thanks. You know you don’t have to do that.” “She’s a good girl, Matt. And you’re a good man. I like your family. You’ll have that rent for me next week, okay? Anna Bea can help.” They smile at each other. Any chance of an awkward parting is shaken by the faraway echoing of fireworks cracking from somewhere that is not on their stoop or rooftop. Moonshine waves the wand hard with his arm, forcing out a frenzied flow of bubbles toward his best friend and the man who tells him he can’t smoke every Sunday. He walks away from the railing before they have time to look up to see the source of the bubbles. He doesn’t want to see their reaction, he’d rather let Anna Bea fall asleep in his lap so that he can put her into bed and tell Matt that she’s ready to be tucked in. That night Matt will tuck Anna Bea in, even though she’ll already be breathing hard by the time he comes in. He will sing his favorite lullaby to her, the first one he ever wrote. He will lay his hand against her beating chest, feeling it rise and fall. He will silently go to her piggy bank, but tonight he will not take out a dollar, a five, or even a twenty. He will find, crumpled by Anna Bea’s eagerness, seven hundred-dollar bills covered with the smell of jellybean dust instead of that of new paper. Matt will be able to fill in the gaps of where their rent money was lacking. There will be ice cream on Fridays once again. If Anna Bea needs new shoes next month then they will get them. If they ever had a little boy, they would name him Jacob. And Anna Bea hears these words of rent, ice cream, shoes, and a little brother named Jacob when she wakes up in the middle of the night to the optimism spoken by her parents in the low voices with which they speak over the dimly lit breakfast table that’s only feet away from her open door. Anna Bea doesn’t really know what any of these words mean, except ice cream, but she knows that they must be important, as words said at night over the breakfast table usually are. Anna Bea goes back to sleep, staring at the moon. She thinks of blowing bubbles with Moonshine until she begins to dream about it instead.

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would like this trick, but how he shouldn’t show her. Moonshine is awoken again later, confused, to Anna Bea’s coughing. The smoke detector’s battery hadn’t been changed in years, but Anna Bea’s asthma was as good as anything. The smoke was coming from the tenant building directly across theirs, just 10 feet from the rooftop railing. Moonshine stomps to Matt and Meghan, yelling gruffly for them to get up, get out. Moonshine panics for Anna Bea until she comes running out of her room with her Dora the Explorer backpack on. Moonshine picks Anna Bea up like a football and the whole family flails down the stairs to the street just as the beginning licks of fire are starting to touch their kitchen window. The subway ride to the club on Monday morning, this time from Moonshine’s apartment instead of their own, is uncomfortable for Anna Bea as she squirms about with an awkward lump protruding into her back from the present she is keeping in her backpack that is usually reserved for only her coloring books and bubbles and crayons. At the club, Anna Bea feels good returning to some sort of schedule of cherry eating and hiding in curtains and being tickled by the house band’s bassist and such. Meghan is at the club today sitting with Matt at his usual spot, but the two drown in home insurance claims and phone calls to Meghan’s mom about small houses for rent or good schools. “Let’s just look, Matt,” Meghan says. They are both calm and unhappy. After her nap in the early afternoon, she is ready to share her gift with her father, Moonshine, the club. Anna Bea tries to carefully unzip her backpack, but has to ask Moonshine for help in the end. She pulls out her glass piggy bank from the small vinyl backpack and sets it on the bar’s counter as if hoping to exchange it for some beer. Moonshine had seen zany customers try to barter a drink with crazier goods before, like used socks or when the drunk regular, Lucky Dave, offered his mother’s antique spoon collection for one more shot of the club’s best rum. “What are you doing with that there, Anna Bea?” Moonshine asks with honest curiosity, squishing his nose against Anna Bea’s cheek before standing back up straight again. Anna Bea puts a finger to her lip the

way Moonshine does when she tries to play hide and seek with him during an open mic night. Moonshine winks and turns to wipe down the bar. Matt is just looking up from the club’s booking calendar in time to see before he hears the opaque pink glass piggy bank falling fast toward the ground, crashing and shattering into a million pieces. Even though she was young, Anna Bea knew the shards of glass would be the destiny of her piggy bank when she hit it to the ground to open it, especially since that is exactly what she wanted it to do. But she had still somewhat expected for the pig to float away like her bubbles or explode into colorful lights like fireworks. But it didn’t. It just created a mess on the floor. She knew her piggy bank would break, but she was surprised at the colorful candies that were contained within it. No more were the useless green papers, but sugary treats for her to chew on instead. And for the first time, Anna Bea began to realize how money can turn itself into the things we tell ourselves we need. |

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ardhanarisvara and hijra: beyond polarized gender and sex in hinduism Thomas Boman

Sanskrit Letters — Pronunciation Guide: a – uh; ex. cut, ā – ah; ex. bought, i – like the ‘i’ in ‘ship,’ ī – ee; ex. beet, ṇ – like an English ‘n,’ but further back in the mouth, ṛ – a flap, like in the Spanish word, ‘pero,’ plus the ‘i’ sound, ś, ṣ – sh; ex. ship.

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nyone who has attended a drag show in the U.S. has tasted an alternative gender universe, a social concoction that is as much the creation of the performers as it is of the audience. Passing through the door of the building where the show is to be performed, one undergoes a metamorphosis of identity: expectations and norms are abandoned; transformative new behaviors quickly rush in to fill the void; ostentatiously sexual behavior embodies the performers’ beings; and the audience ingests and re-enacts a constant stream of gender play, a game of interpretation and re-interpretation. The entire act is considered (in the U.S.) to belong to the “other,” to a subculture far beyond much of the visible and normative mainstream media that often avoids the reality of blurry or mutable gender lines. While not entirely comparable to other instances of “gender bending” cross-culturally, the example of the drag show illustrates that the U.S. gender roles of male and female are not rigid designations. Quite to the contrary, there are indeed (sometimes millennia-long) cultural traditions incorporating what may appear to be endless gender categories into the folds of religious ideology. A salient example occurs in India’s Hinduism, where gender and sex integrate with religious ideology (and vice versa) in ways unseen in many Western, monotheistic traditions.1 As this article is geared towards a greater audience not necessarily immersed in the world of gender study, it will prove prudent to review the pertinent terminology that will present itself throughout the following discourse. The greatest distinction to be aware of is that between gender and sex. Gender is a socially constructed notion. As such, what may be popularly considered true of the genders within one locale – the mannerisms, dress, speech, and intricacies governing propriety and inter- and intra-gender interactions – will inevitably vary, be it subtly or dramatically, from another locale. Compare this to sex, which refers to one’s biological makeup. The prototypical distinction is derived from one’s chromosomal combination, XX for females and XY for males, but it is essential to note that other combinations exist. . Furthermore, the actual formation or appearance of genitalia raise further

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“Literally translating into “the Lord who is half Woman,” Ardhanarisvara’s existence dates as far back as the first century CE in textual descriptions where s/he represents the epitome of contradiction.”

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to the complex and subtle nature of the “in between” or “other.” While gender/sex bending is dizzyingly diverse, for the sake of simplicity and manageability I will be elaborating upon two specific examples in the Hindu context: when gender and sex conglomerate into Ardhanarisvara, the fluidly androgynous manifestation of the deity Siva, and when gender and sex no longer become describable in polarized (dichotomous) gender terminology and understanding, as is the case with the community known as hijra. As a final note, I would like to preface that this article is a non-Indian and nonHindu’s perspective into Indian cultural and Hindu religious traditions, and as such should be enjoyed with the knowledge that I am interpreting and describing phenomena equipped with the lenses that I have acquired throughout my personal life and studies. I hope that the article at the very least informs and at the very best sparks a life-long interest in the subject material.

Ardhanarisvara and Hijra Thomas Boman

Ardhanarisvara, the androgyne One of the most overwhelming aspects of Hinduism from the perspective of an outsider, particularly those raised in a monotheistic religious tradition, is the sheer vastness of the Hindu pantheon. Innumerable regional deities, multiple names and several manifestations to any one deity: the initial step into Hinduism can leave one almost literally spinning. Yet it is because of this expansive and, critically, flexible nature that Hinduism has developed an intensely rich ideological structure behind every facet. Any one deity will exuberantly represent within itself the contradictorily dualistic nature of the universe and moral structure of society. One could even tread so far as to describe that all Hindu gods and goddesses, to a certain degree, have some dualistic nature to them that is sexual, emotional, and physical.5 Is it any surprise then that we find a robust number of transparently dualistic god/desses taking shape in “composite” iconography that populates temples, art, and literature? To clarify, composite here means that physical and ideological elements of two separate deities (or, in some instances, from a deity and human) have been melded together into one “complete” form. Historically, a

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complications in sex determination, such as enlarged clitorises or mixtures of female and male sex organs on/in an individual. These two terms, gender and sex, then intersect in many ways to create the (arguably problematic) labels of male, female, androgynous (being both male and female simultaneously in either gender, sex, or both), hermaphrodite (someone who has both male and female sex organs), eunuch (in this context, a male who has entirely removed his sex organs surgically), and sexual orientation (attraction framed in terms by both one’s own and another’s gender and sex). So while in the West2 two genders of female and male sharply correlate to the prototypical sexes of female and male, in Hinduism the main axes that define gender can vary upon context. In some areas, it is the bodily fluids and sex organs, in addition to the culturally constructed “innate qualities” inherent in each gender, that determine categorical distinctions.3 In other areas, it is the act of who penetrates whom in sexual intercourse as well as the work that is gender-specific that distinguishes the categories.4 These various framings of gender/sex definitions naturally yield a multitude of categories, which we will explore later on. There are many purposes to this article, all of which I hope will appear straightforward: first, I hope to usher a notably undergraduate audience assumed to be coming from a primarily Western education into the amalgam of Hinduism; second, this article is a brief investigation into the world of negotiating “alternative” gender, where we will traverse beyond an understanding of simple binary gender/sex categories into an acceptance of a spectrum; and finally, I hope to provide the smallest (yet gourmet) taste of the interaction, intersection, and interdependent nature of gender, sex, religion, the personal, the public, the static and the dynamic within any one field of study. This may appear ambitious and overly academic, but when all is said and done, I simply hope to demonstrate the necessity of keeping an open mind whenever exploring that which may appear “different” from one’s own view of the world. I hope to accomplish this fun feat as best as possible by exploring two instances of where gender and sex move beyond the labels female and male, that is, from the dichotomy,

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composite deity is by no means novel. The Rg Veda, an ancient Sanskrit text, for example, describes the deity Dyava-Prthivi, or SkyEarth, which conjoined not only the notions of heaven and earth but also the aspects of father and mother, respectively.6 From that moment on, we are able to trace many more instances of composite deities through the whole of Hinduism’s history: Siva and Parvati (male/female), Visnu and Laksmi (male/ female), Radha and Krsna (female/male), Siva and Visnu (male/male), Parvati and Laksmi (female/female), etc.7 What I’m most interested in here, though, is the androgynous Ardhanarisvara, the composite form of Siva (with whom is traditionally integrated his consort, Parvati). Literally translating into “the Lord who is half Woman,” Ardhanarisvara’s existence dates as far back as the first century CE in textual descriptions where s/he represents the epitome of contradiction.8 Siva by himself is the married (and therefore procreative) ascetic, the creator and destroyer of the universe, the peaceful yet raging and temperamental benefactor. In the form of Ardhanarisvara, however, s/he consciously and unabashedly incorporates gender, sex and all the complications, denotations, and connotations therein into her/his domain. In their deepest undercurrent, Hindu beliefs emphasize what Alka Pande describes as the following, echoing sentiments described by Devdutt Pattanaik: “There are innumerable days of doom and countless days of creation, and as one oscillates between the two, genders change, orientations change, identities change.”9 That is, androgyny is not necessarily just an ideological device utilized by devotees, but is instead a more sublime, primordial reflection of the ever-changing nature and truth of the universe. However, this may not always be the ideology that is prevalent in devotees’ minds when they reflect upon the nature of Ardhanarisvara. In fact, what appears to be the most common belief elaborated upon in the literature is that a devotee meditating upon Ardhanarisvara (or really any composite form) believes the deity to represent the following: The fusion of masculine and feminine in the androgynous ‘dream’ or ‘fiction’ represented by Ardhanarisvara is precisely that, a partial attainment (sabija

samadhi) en route to transcendence, where all forms ultimately collapse and erode in the mystery amid fluidity of organic singularity.10

Pande echoes, stating that the androgyne represents the union of purusha, or man, and prakriti, or the primordial matter or feminine principal.11 As such, the androgyne (Ardhanarisvara) represents the ultimate ideal: a return back to the original state of being, before gender, sex or any other type of distinction. S/he also represents on some level the beginning stage of creation, as it is in this state of pregnant genderlessness and sexlessness that all procreative power exists simultaneously, waiting to manifest itself.12 Contrarily, it could be argued that the fusion of the two is potentially dangerous, for the procreative forces have conjoined but with no real child-rearing abilities. The negation of the potency of sexual power is ultimately feared, as the end of procreation is synonymous with the end of existence.13 On the other end, androgyny is viewed as problematic for it is representative of “negative chaos,” where distinctions – ranging from male to female, one social class to another, etc. – are impossible to lineate between. In such chaos, it is argued, how can life begin?14 In actual practice, while the androgynous is widely accepted scripturally, socially the androgynous can make the average Hindu uncomfortable due to its “otherness” and unfamiliarity. If a man were to embrace the feminine aspect within him – which Hindu texts say does indeed exist in everyone both male, female and beyond – and publicly display it, he would most likely be the victim of ridicule rather than honored with a respectful appreciation of his course of religious devotion. Nonetheless, there have been and continue to be moments when gender and sex make themselves known despite the lack of social sanction, and, as Goldberg provides, “the androgyne motif emerges as a powerful psycho-social symbol providing political, ideological, and formulaic gender prescriptions for men and women in human history.”15 That is, androgyny acts as a tool utilized by mainstream society to reinforce gender roles. It is along this vein that we see a group of people in the Hindu context move beyond the distinction of male

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Kate Meier. Untitled, mixed media

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and female into, contentiously, a category of their own, which I will now describe.

Thomas Boman

Hijra, the other

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While Ardhanarisvara is distinctively “other� than simply female or male, s/he is still a phenomenon that is understood as both a product of and described within the terms of female and male. What occurs when we leave the idealized realm of deities and enter into

Kate Meier, Untitled, mixed media

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direct us to a specific group whose members find themselves only able to understand themselves paradoxically as someone both female and male yet simultaneously neither male nor female. Their names vary as much as the regions in India: nmarda, moorath, ali, kojja, koti, hinjra or, what we will use here, hijra.16 Derived from the Urdu word, ezra, meaning nomad or wanderer, hijra is a complicated word that has been defined, and unfortunately misconstrued, by many scholars

the human world where neat and tidy gender/ sex categories are essentially smashed? To save my fascinated reader the intimidation of diving headfirst into the voluminous amount of gender research currently out there, I will

and activists as an all inclusive term that covers homosexual cross-dressers, transgendered individuals, eunuch transvestites, and maleto-female transvestites.17 This use of the term hijra as an umbrella term glosses over the fact that the hijra are much more than

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Hijras, as eunuchs or hermaphrodites, are ‘man minus man,’ but they are also, unlike eunuchs in other cultures, man plus woman. Hijras imitate many aspects of the feminine gender role: They wear women’s dress, hairstyles, and accessories; they imitate women’s walk, gestures, voice, facial expressions, and language; they prefer male sexual

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partners; they experience themselves as sexual objects of men’s desires; and many identify as women … [but] they are also ‘not women.’ Their feminine dress and manners are often exaggerations, particularly in their aggressive sexuality, and indeed, are designed to contrast with the normative submissive demeanor of ordinary women.23

Thus we see many aspects in which a hijra is neither female nor male, per se; instead, s/ he exists elsewhere rather than on the binary of a polarized definition of two genders. Interestingly yet not surprisingly, the hijra’s appearance to greater Indian society runs similar to the pundit debates of the benefits/dangers of the androgyne: that is, the hijra as someone simultaneously auspicious yet inauspicious, fertile yet infertile. Taking aside mainstream discomfort at the notion of those who defy mainstream gender roles (female/male) and the remnants of the gender reconfiguration spurred by colonization, the hijra would claim that first and foremost they serve an essential religious role as ritualistic performers (although in practice, many of them partake in alternative occupations, such as sex workers).24 While prostitution may be a reality in the world of the hijra, it is their place as those who bless the birth of a son or a marriage that is of interest here. Their auspiciousness stems from their association with tapas, or asexual energy, through which they are able to channel the power of their deity (Bahuchara Mata or Siva) to grant the recipient the abilities to do that which they cannot do themselves: create new life, have sons, and continue the family line.25 Yet at the same time the hijra is someone inauspicious, as evidenced whenever the hijra arrive for a performance amongst orthodox Hindus during a wedding celebration: the wife will not be present for fear of having the infertility of the hijra transfer onto her. Thus she watches from afar while the husband and other members of the household engage in the performance and receive the hijra’s blessings.26 Despite their religious significance, however, much like with the androgynous, the hijra are not favorably viewed by the greater sexual majority. Fear of the “other,” ignorance, lingering colonial disgust, the hijra’s work in less-than-reputable sexual

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what we would deem a sexual orientation, but a veritable and well-established community, replete with rituals, regulations, and expectations.18 This use of the term hijra as an umbrella term glosses over the fact that the hijra are much more than what we would deem a sexual orientation, but a veritable and well-established community, replete with rituals, regulations, and expectations. The most important of all rituals within the hijra community is emasculation, or the removal/ mutilation of the male sex organs. This emasculation not only physically symbolizes the abandonment of proscribed gender assignments, but marks the transition of the individual’s journey into membership of the hijra community, or, religiously, into the world of being a creative ascetic much in the fashion of Siva (or Ardhanarisvara).19 While associations with the deity, Siva, are strong amongst many hijra for the very reason that Siva embodies that contradictory nature of the sexualized asexual, they overwhelmingly associate themselves with the castrating mother goddess, Bahuchara Mata.20 This association with several deities, never clear-cut or cemented, is indicative of a greater tug and pull within the hijra community in aligning themselves between male and female. This is evidenced linguistically: the gender21 of the word hijra is masculine; the hijra community refers to itself collectively as feminine; the hijra may refer to themselves personally using female, male, or gender-neutral pronouns; and the speech patterns of most hijra are highly feminized, replete with non-linguistic gestures and body language that is typically associated with women.22 Serena Nanda, in her work on the hijra community, describes how when the hijra discuss their gender, they refer to their emasculation as definitive of how they are not men, but their inability to bear children is definitive of how they are not women. Nanda continues to elaborate, describing the individual hijra as such:

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occupations and general distaste are all motivating factors towards the ill-treatment of the group as a whole. Problems

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My delightful audience has probably noted by now that men seem to dominate much of the discussion of gender and sex. It is Siva, the male deity, who incorporates Parvati into himself to become the androgyne, and it is almost exclusively those who were once “men” who emasculate themselves in order to have their sex match their gender in the hijra community. Where are the women in this discussion? Where are the androgynous deities that are predominantly feminine? Where are those who were once “women” who undergo a transformative ritual? Unfortunately there aren’t many satisfactory answers. Part of it is the nature of Western academics, which until recently has been dominated by males who were/are interested solely in the lives of other males. Another potential explanation related to academics is the patriarchal nature of Indian society in the sense that men inhabit the public sphere, whereas women typically inhabit the domestic. Thus, when Western scholars (especially males) enter into India, what is it that they see? Men in politics and economics, administering families, and leading the religious lives of others. This male-centered nature of the public world was only further emphasized by the entrance of and colonization by the British. Ushering in a hypermasculinized definition of being male, the British systematically restructured many thoughts and interpretations of what constituted gender, creating in essence a sharp polarity between the two genders. Anything that fell in between (i.e., the androgynous or the hijra) was met with contempt and suppression.27 Finally, where we have just briefly entered into the two worlds of Ardhanarisvara and the hijra, there are innumerable other

distinctions, religious ideologies, social and political forces, etc., that comprise the other gender/sex groups in India.28 Nevertheless, I hope that this treading of the gender/sex waters has provided an interesting contrast and comparison for the audience to our own society(/ies), highlighting the benefit of studying the intersection of multiple disciplines and areas of life in others. | Nanda, Serena, “‘The Hijras: An Alternative Gender in Indian Culture,” in Religion and Sexuality in Cross-cultural Perspective, ed. Stephen Ellingson and M. Christian Green (New York: Routledge), 142; Doniger, Wendy. 1980. Women, androgynes, and other mythical beasts. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), 285-90. 2 It is advisable to be wary of many polarized distinctions between West/ East, though, as well, indicative in “third-gender studies” where there is, academically, generally a strong, two-dimensional correlation between twogender/third-gender systems and Western/Non-Western (and typically framed as historicized/ahistorical) cultures, respectively. It is much more important to become aware of other identity-forming and social practice axes that play a role in phenomena such as gender. Reddy, Gayatri. 2005. With respect to sex : negotiating hijra identity in South India. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), 32. 3 Nanda, 137. 4 Reddy, 15. 5 Smalls, James. 2003. Homosexuality in art. (New York, USA: Parkstone), 109. 6 Goldberg, Ellen. 2002. The Lord who is half woman : Ardhanarisvara in Indian and feminist perspective. (Albany: State University of New York Press), 118. 7 Doniger, 330. 8 Pande, Alka. 2004. Ardhanarishvara, the androgyne : probing the gender within. (New Delhi: Rupa & Co.), 73. 9 Pande, 40. 10 Goldberg, 3. 11 Pande, 33. 12 This correlates with some modern psychoanalytical approaches to gender studies, where it is hypothesized that all humans’ psyches are inherently androgynous. Pande, 65. 13 Good, Anthony. “Congealing Divinity: Time, Worship and Kinship in South Indian Hinduism.” The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Vol. 6, No. 2 (2000), 287. 14 Doniger, 294. 15 Goldberg, 135. 16 Doniger, 297; Pande, 50; Reddy, 45. 17 Pande, 50. 18 Pattanaik, Devdutt. 2002. The man who was a woman and other queer tales of Hindu lore. (New York: Harrington Park Press), 11. 19 Nanda, 139. 20 Ibid, 146. 21 Linguistic gender differs from the term gender outlined in the introduction. Linguistic gender refers to a grammatical category in which a word belongs. IndoEuropean languages usually have their linguistic genders divided and labeled into male, female, and sometimes neuter. Other languages may base their gender upon animacy and inanimacy, or, (in)famously, may have semantic categories where one gender lumps together “fire, women, and dangerous things.” See Lakoff, George. 1990. Women, fire, and dangerous things : what categories reveal about the mind. (Pbk. ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press). 22 Nanda, 144-5; Pande, 50. 23 Nanda, 144-5. 24 Nanda, 148; Pande 51. 25 Nanda, 149; Pande 55. 26 Nanda, Serena. 1990. Neither man nor woman : the Hijras of India. (Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Pub. Co.), 4. 27 Pande, 46; Reddy, 28-9. 28 Wendy Doniger (1980) and Gayatri Reddy (2005) provide excellent accounts in their works of the varying androgynes and social sexual categories found both cross-culturally and specifically in India. 1

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the

wisconsin idea

UW President Charles Van Hise proclaimed that he would “never be content until the beneficient influence of the University reaches every family in the state.” It was in this spirit that Van Hise created the Wisconsin Idea in 1904, a vision that has endured for more than 100 years. As the world shrinks and the University grows, it becomes increasingly important for the University to maintain its tradition of outreach in Wisconsin, while extending its programs to encompass a larger national and global community. Many UW-Madison undergraduates are rising to the challenge. Illumination is proud to highlight not only those students making a difference in Wisconsin, but also those serving around the country and abroad. Using the University’s incredible resources to extend its borders, these students keep Van Hise’s vision alive.

Libbie Allen, Ingcibi, photograph

To learn more about the Wisconsin Idea, visit http://www.wisc.edu/wisconsinidea.

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crisis in darfur taking “action in sudan” Rebecca Gilsdorf

“Many people are surprised to find out just how easy it is to make positive change for Sudan right here in Wisconsin.“

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hirty civilians were killed. Of these thirty, many were men who had their throats slit while attempting to pray in a mosque. Untold numbers of women were raped; some were even taken into slavery. Most tragically perhaps, a five-year-old boy was shot in the back of the head. A massacre? Yes, but part of a much larger conflict. The aforementioned events happened in early October of this year yet they barely made the news. Since the early 2000s genocide has officially been occurring in the Darfur (western) region of Sudan, the largest country in Africa, located just south of Egypt. Estimates of the number of people who have lost their lives due to the conflict range from 200,000 to 450,000 (the current UN estimate). No one can be certain. It is estimated that some 2.5 million people have been forced to leave their homes and flee to neighboring villages, or more often to Chad, which lies along Sudan’s western border. Many people around the world have heard about Darfur and many have even heard these startling statistics, but why is the conflict happening and more importantly, what, if anything, is being done about it. The history of Sudan is riddled with complexities that few understand. Sudan, as few people know, is the largest country in Africa. It is about the size of the US from the Mississippi River east; the Darfur region alone is about the size of Texas. Within this vast nation there are approximately 40 million people who belong to an estimated 600 different ethnic groups speaking over 400 languages. In 1956, Sudan gained its independence from Britain. A year before it gained said independence Sudan’s first civil war began and lasted till 1972. This war was between the Arab, Islamic North and the Black African, Christian and animist South. In 1983, after just over 10 years of relative peace, war returned to Sudan. This war though fought over similar issues was far bloodier than the first. An estimated 2 million people lost their lives of which it is estimated that nearly 80 percent were civilians primarily in the south. Some 4 million more were estimated to be displaced in neighboring countries such as Ethiopia, Uganda, and Kenya. Many of these people have still not returned home even though the war was officially ended in 2005 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. There is simply little if anything for them to return to: their families are dead or missing, their livestock slaughtered and their villages burned. In 2003 while peace talks were taking place between the North and the South, conflicts in Darfur escalated to an unprecedented level. A horrible famine caused tensions between

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Without informing people, without keeping the issue in the news, little will change for the people of Darfur. The second way to get involved is to help with the political end of Action in Sudan’s efforts. There are obvious things to do concerning political action, including calling your senators and telling them to support legislation that will benefit the people of Sudan. This would include bills related to Divestment, the national Farm Bill, fair trade legislation and more. Divestment, for those who are unfamiliar with the term, is defined quite simply as the opposite of investment, or pulling out previously invested funds. Since 1997 the US has had trade sanctions

on Sudan because of its links to terrorism and its known sheltering of Osama bin Laden. Thus the point of the Darfur Divestment bill is not to un-invest in Sudan, but to take it a step further. It is currently legal for US companies, state pension funds, and individuals, to invest money in companies that invest large sums of money in the Sudanese government, who is funding the genocide in Darfur. The bill would make this illegal. Unlike past divestment movements (the South African apartheid divestment movement included) this divestment would be targeted. It would only go after companies who invest in the Sudanese government. Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) and companies unrelated to the government would not be affected at all. Thus penalizing the government would not have the drawback of also penalizing the people (particularly

Crisis in Darfur Rebecca Gilsdorf

Michelle Bridwell Jump watercolor

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the nomadic and farming people who coinhabited the region, which intensified in the 1980s. The government refused to help or offer food aid to the starving farmers. Instead, Omar al-Bashier, the current president of Sudan, decided to slowly arm the Arab nomadic tribes in order to squash any potential for rebellion. The government began by giving arms to these nomadic tribes, and then began to back up these herders, collectively referred to as the janjaweed, with air support from the Sudanese military. That brings us to today. The fighting in Darfur continues and scenes as described above and many much worse are far too familiar to the Fur people and other tribes living in the region. The conflict is further complicated as the tensions between the North and South become heated once again. Early this year, fighting between different groups within the janjaweed began to intensify as well. This change only serves to increase the bloodshed. The conflict continues and little is being done internationally, in part because the UN cannot enter a country without approval of the national government (or else it would be breaking national sovereignty) and in part because many nations (primarily China) have too large of stakes in the Sudanese government. Thus the only peace keeping troops are a small group of African Union (AU) forces primarily from Rwanda (who have all too strong of a connection with genocide in Africa). So how does this all relate to the Wisconsin Idea? Many people are surprised to find out just how easy it is to make positive change for Sudan right here in Wisconsin. The UWMadison student organization (also open to community members) Action in Sudan offers a wide array of ways for students to bring about positive change in Darfur and the rest of Sudan. One of the primary ways of getting involved is by raising awareness about the plight of the Sudanese. This goal can be accomplished in many ways – tabling on campus, speaking at local schools, conferences, and organizations, writing a letter to the editor of your local paper, flyering, chalking, telling your friends and family, and keeping up to date on what is going on in Sudan and Darfur. If there is any hope for the future of Sudan it lies in the voices of those who know what is going on.

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Rebecca Gilsdorf

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since Khartoum does little to help its citizens anyway). The divestment issue is also closely related to China since China is Sudan’s leading trading partner buying nearly 70 percent of its oil from Sudan. (Sudan is a leading producer of oil. Though most of Sudan’s oil is in the South, the North is typically the only region that sees these huge oil revenues.) Hence, many people are focusing on pressuring China in connection with the upcoming Beijing Olympics with its slogan of “One World, One Dream”. It seems rather contradictory of a nation looking to bring a positive light to itself on the international level, to be indirectly funding genocide in Africa. Thus putting pressure on China to put pressure on Sudan is an easy way to change the situation in Darfur. It is important to note that no one is suggesting that athletes boycott the Olympics, rather athletes are encouraged to go, but to make sure that they are aware of what China is doing and bring the issue to light (and to the press) whenever possible. The final major work undertaken by Action in Sudan is fund raising. We fund raise in a variety of ways including selling t-shirts, fair trade coffee, fair trade African art and jewelry, holding benefit concerts and other similar events. The funds we raise are donated to a non-governmental organization started by a Sudanese refugee named Augustino Ting Mayai who is currently attending graduate school here at UW-Madison. His project is based in his home village in southern Sudan which he was forced to flee as a young boy as a result of the second civil war. His project focuses on clean water access, education, and basic health care. Since we give the money to him directly, we are able to know exactly what are dollars are spent on which can be items ranging from textbooks, uniforms, wells, teacher’s salaries and more. For those who still don’t see why they should be concerned with a conflict that is thousands of miles away, here are a few thoughts to consider. Part of the reason for the original conflict in Darfur was the drought that occurred in the 1980s which lead to increased tensions between people in Darfur who’d been fighting over land for thousands of years. Not only is the crisis in Darfur an economic and political issue, it is also strongly rooted in climate change.

For those interested in women’s rights, consider the following. Hundreds of cases of rape have been reported as a result of the conflict in Darfur. Of these over 80 percent were said to have taken place while women were attempting to pursue daily activities. Many women have told stories of being raped in front of their husbands or even their children. And HIV/AIDS is no stranger to Sudan either. Like many areas in Africa, the HIV/AIDS pandemic is spreading through Sudan. It’s presently estimated that over 600,000 people in Sudan are currently living with AIDS. In 2003, 23,000 people had died as a result of AIDS in Sudan. It’s also noted that female circumcision, very common in Darfur, leads to a greater risk of contracting HIV/AIDS which is already spread more rapidly among women and children because of sexual violence. Though the conflict in Darfur may seem like a tremendous injustice in our world, it is important to remember that there is a great deal we can do here in the US. This is not just an issue for students concerned strongly about human rights, or students looking to take political action; this conflict is the result of many problems in Sudan and many other neighboring regions of Africa as well including, but not limited to, Chad, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, and the Congo. For students interested in getting involved in Action In Sudan check out our website at www.actioninsudan.org or email us at actioninsudan@gmail.com. |

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the right to work Matthew Pesko

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he Wisconsin Idea is a straightforward concept: taking what we learn in the classrooms and applying it in our communities to improve the lives of our friends and neighbors. Likewise, one population of rural Wisconsin residents has a simple request: to obtain the right to work and earn a living. This Wisconsin Idea Undergraduate Fellowship aims to intersect the former idea and latter request by student outreach in the area of employer attitudes in an effort to improve the economic opportunities for individuals with disabilities in rural northwest Wisconsin. All people are entitled to fundamental human rights. They are the foundation of our nation and so solidly embedded in the fabric of our society that many of us take them for granted. These guaranteed rights are as basic as the ability to live, work, and play in the community. For individuals with disabilities, however, community integration falls short and discrimination pervades every aspect of their lives. They are faced with limited choices about nearly everything: education, how to travel, how to access a building, where one lives. Perhaps most troubling, only one quarter of adults with disabilities are employed. Despite the implementation of promising disability legislation over the last two decades, including the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, few actual gains have been made in the employment of people with disabilities. The Current Population Survey showed that employment outcomes have actually decreased over this span of time. In rural Wisconsin counties, opportunities for individuals with disabilities can be even more limited due to the lack of services and distance between urban centers. Conversely, it is widely estimated that two-thirds of these non-working individuals with disabilities have the desire to work. Furthermore, people with disabilities do not just want a financial handout, as author Charles A. Riley II explains, but a “fiscal handshake.” The benefits for businesses in employing individuals with disabilities are numerous, including: a reflection of the customer base, better product development and service delivery techniques, wage and tax incentives, and pre-screened applicants, not to mention the addition of hard-working and low-turnover employees. Unfortunately these benefits are rarely taken advantage of and many times not even known. This need for employer outreach led to a Wisconsin Idea project that attacks the economic status quo in rural northwest Wisconsin by implementing an exhaustive canvass of the business

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“For individuals with disabilities, however, community integration falls short and discrimination pervades every aspect of their lives.”

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Th e R i g h t t o Wo r k Matthew Pesko

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Jennifer Page Saint Over the City photograph

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community. This fellowship team—consisting of undergraduate Matt Pesko; Ventures Unlimited, Inc., a non-profit disability service provider in northwest Wisconsin; and Dr. Kimber Malmgren of the department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education—has created a multi-tiered plan to dispel any fears and negative predispositions held by personnel in area businesses and to garner support from these businesses to hire and retain individuals with disabilities. In August, many of the initial employer contacts were made. Along with the dissemination of a thorough recruiting folder, we reached out to the human resource managers or other management personnel of businesses to give them important information about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities. We also provided employers with information on disability management strategies, knowledge of disability laws and accommodations, and opportunities for business publicity. Followup letters were sent to thank the businesses for their time and to answer their questions that they might have expressed in the meeting. While the prospect of lobbying the employers and advocating for the population of individuals with disabilities began and remains intimidating, the salesmanship skills

and knowledge of disability policy have been honed to a level with which we are increasingly comfortable. The employers themselves have given mixed responses. Most are willing to entertain a brief meeting to discuss the details of this project, but few are visibly excited by the prospect of hiring an individual with a disability, and even fewer have committed to making a large effort in this respect. Many plausible explanations are cited for not being able to establish inclusive hiring practices: the nature of the work, the lack of open jobs or money in the budget, and the absence of accessible workplace facilities. While legitimate employer concerns, these statements cannot be allowed to serve as excuses. Instead, using an employment approach that emphasizes abilities, an employer can realize that there are individuals that can complete the required tasks of the job, there are potential employees who can be hired when there is a job opening, and there are workers who can negotiate their surroundings with appropriate accommodations, all despite the presence of a disability of an individual. However, employers become leery of solicitations from recruiters that only push their own agenda. Therefore, we propose two ways to counter this and, in fact, make

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survey to better understand the difficulties businesses are having throughout their involvement. Together, our team will work to alleviate these difficulties and develop better practices to be implemented at the start of employer-employee relations. This project is limited because of the lack of extended geographical areas or time length of service. Sources of funding for additional years or, even better, ways to establish internal sustainability for this project will be considered and advocated throughout the year. Beyond this fellowship, though, considerable policy interventions can be implemented in our state and nation. Governmental measures can and should be taken to reduce the cost of employer accommodations, enforce compliance in hiring, clarify who is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, implement pro-work support policies such as earned income tax credits, establish universal health care to release Medicaid beneficiaries of their disincentive to returning to work, and enable more qualified candidates by further and better education for people with disabilities. The strictly economic benefits for individuals with disabilities and northwest Wisconsin businesses through this project and inclusive hiring practices were laid out above. However, this does not clearly articulate the immense benefit that the community will receive. It goes deeper than money; it strikes at an ecological level that the Wisconsin Idea is known for. This project reaches to a state of acceptance and inclusion, a point in which discrimination is no longer possible because an individual is not regarded as a “disabled person” but an integral component of the workforce, and a treasured moment when community integration becomes more than just a promise; it becomes a reality for individuals with disabilities in Wisconsin. With enough effort and networking with employers, the employment numbers of individuals with disabilities should be able to approach, if not meet, those of their nondisabled peers. As a society we should accept nothing less. |

Th e R i g h t t o Wo r k Matthew Pesko

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business leaders willing to entertain one-onone meetings and large group forums. First, strides are being taken throughout the project to ensure that an emphasis is placed on the business needs. In other words, we want the employers to participate in this program and ultimately hire an individual with a disability because it is of benefit to their business to do so. In contrast, an appeal to the “goodwill” of the employer will only set the employee with a disability up for failure because the employer will not expect the benefit that their employment can offer. Second, the use of an undergraduate student as the canvasser and encouragement of the use of an academic fellowship dialogue has helped to keep the businesses off the defensive and at ease. At the end of August, an employer forum was established to bring employers together in one location to discuss the benefits and barriers of employment of people with disabilities. Held over breakfast on the Rice Lake Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College campus, a group of area business leaders shared ideas about the recruitment of workers with disabilities and the retention of their current employees. Other disability advocates were on hand to learn from what employers had to say about disability employment. A detailed manuscript of the proceedings was created and disseminated to other employers and disability advocates throughout the state to encourage the transmission of the ideas that the employers offered. While it was important to make these initial employer contacts, this endeavor will only be successful if lasting employeremployee relationships are formed. We will focus our efforts on the businesses that expressed a large interest in the employment of a person with a disability into their workforce. Our fellowship team will partake in continued visits, worksite tours and the selection of one or a few applicants who would be an excellent fit for the business. We expect to establish a number of placements over the coming months. Following these placements, another goal of this phase is to get these businesses to realize the larger impact of long-term employment. We will provide ongoing support to businesses through continued visits. We also plan on developing, distributing, and analyzing a

Wisconsin Idea

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Contributors Libbie Allen: eallen1@wisc.edu. Tom Boman is an undergraduate student majoring in linguistics, but dabbles around with his certificates in South Asian and religious studies. He has studied a variety of languages both for his major and for enjoyment, but remains drastically monolingual. Overly opinionated, he plans on making his thoughts known one day, once, of course, he emerges from the library. In the meantime, he’ll send out articles and papers to publications. boman@wisc.edu. Michelle Bridwell is a fifth year senior from Madison, Wisconsin majoring in art education, with a focus on painting and drawing. She strives to reflect the beauty she finds in nature in her art work, which often features animals. When not in class or busy making things, she enjoys spending time outside and riding her horse Reba. She hopes to find a teaching job in the Madison area after graduation, but would like to continue making and selling art as well. mmbridwell@wisc.edu. Mary Coats is a senior BFA student in painting and president of the UW Cycling Club. Mary is interested in the manner in which we as humans endure in the face of great sorrow and pain. In many of her paintings, she envisions a world that has nearly been destroyed. If one was lucky enough to make it through this calamity, now it’s time to figure out how to keep living. Along with the strength and hope that comes with this choice to endure, also comes anger, fear and a deep sense of loss. Mary is interested in looking at this aftermath along with the things she has lost and the things she is afraid of losing. She stresses the importance of confronting these fears and considering their importance. When she ventures outside of her painting studio, Mary enjoys riding her bicycle and doing yoga. coats@wisc.edu. Janis Finkelman: finkelman@wisc.edu. Rebecca Gilsdorf is a second year student at UW-Madison studying civil and environmental engineering and earning a certificate in international engineering with a focus on North and East Africa. She has been involved in Action in Sudan at the UW since the beginning of her freshman year, and is currently the president of the organization. Since joining Action in Sudan, she’s become involved in the political end of the Darfur movement as well as raising awareness about the history and present state of the crisis. She plans to spend next summer in North Africa teaching English. actioninsudan@gmail.com Mike Granger: BORN 1987, biped. Considering swarthy indistinct Southern Hemisphere locales, or attempting some major belief system. mgranger@wisc.edu. Claire-Marie Hefner is a senior double majoring in anthropology and Southeast Asian studies. After graduation, she hopes to begin her graduate studies in anthropolgy with a focus on issues of gender and Islam in Indonesia. hefner@wisc.edu Rachel Kowarski is a senior majoring in political science and women’s studies. She began writing as a way to escape the world of politics but found that politics seems to infiltrate most of what she writes. Grateful for the opportunity Illumination has given her and happy to be sharing her work with others. kowarski@wisc.edu. David Labedz is a junior majoring in secondary English education. In his poetry, he enjoys exploring how form can

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be manipulated to reflect a piece’s content, and how such arbitrary limitations can be used to guide a poem rather than limit it. When not musing over such arcane theoretical nonsense, he enjoys performing stand-up comedy and listening to a wide variety of very unpleasant music. labdez@wisc.edu. Kieran Leong: I’m a senior majoring in medical microbiology and immunology and French. I just returned from an amazing semester abroad in France. I also play saxophone in the UW Big Band here on campus. It helps keep me sane with all my coursework. I’m interested in just about everything involving computers. I work in a malarial lab on campus and volunteer at the UW Children’s Hospital. I love studying languages and would love to work abroad, hopefully after medical school. leong@wisc.edu. Jacquelyn Kate Luskey: luskey@wisc.edu. Kate Meier: klmeier2@wisc.edu. April Nett: amnett@wisc.edu. Nicole O’Connor: noconnor@wisc.edu. Jennifer Page likes to play with words and pictures that she comes across everyday. Unexpeted things catch her eye and imperfection is much more interesting to her than perfection. You’ll find her on any given day writing while permanently attached to her iPod, taking pictures and either playing her piano or cooking dinner for her friends. page1@wisc.edu. Matthew Pesko is a junior majoring in rehabilitation psychology. Originally from Shell Lake, Wisconsin, this fellowship allowed him to form a special connection with the individuals and businesses in his community. At Madison, he is also involved with and a leader for the Best Buddies, Knights of Columbus, Undergraduate Research Scholars, Students for Edwards, and ASM activities on campus. Matt enjoys his summer adventures, Badgers sports, lake activities, and even the occasional blackjack game. He hopes to attend medical school and combine his interests of medicine and disability policy in innovative ways. pesko@wisc.edu. Laura Schartner: lschartner@wisc.edu. Richard Smith: I am an undecided sophomore interested in graphic design and/or education. I am usually reluctant to talk about my work because when I look at someone else’s artwork I find myself understanding it in my own way, and if I hear the artist describe what they meant by it, their description in many cases decreases my appreciation for the piece. It’s like reading a novel and having a movie adaptation ruin your “picture” of it. That being said, my paintings are mixed media, mostly oil acrylic and pen, and are usually pretty open for interpretation. rgsmith3@wisc.edu. Logan J. Woods: I believe an important job for an artist is to simplify an idea, feeling, or thing into a rudimentary and instantaneously communicable presentation. Throughout the creation process the material, concept, and unnameable drive all fight for attention and help sculpt the final product. When a piece is complete I hope it stands with striking confidence and throws curious looks at the viewer, inviting further inspection. My goal is to make the elegance of form, statement of the material, and suggested idea all work cooperatively to provide a clear and solid piece. ljwoods@wisc.edu.

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Libbie Allen, Posed Boy, photograph

n Libbie Allen, The Calf’s Quarters, photograph

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final thoughts Memorial Union was designed to be the heart and soul of the university. It was created by and for students as a home for social activities and meeting space. One out of two students donated funds towards the creation of Memorial Union in the 1920s, and as students today, we need to uphold that tradition. This space has been used for decades and loved by all. It contains that certain eminence which is indescribable, yet alluring. When such a place is threatened, those who rely on its presence need to take the initiative to resolve the issues before it is too late. Initiative is exactly what many students on campus contain and display regularly. In 2006 the Wisconsin Union Directorate created a campaign called WUFIP (Wisconsin Union Facilities Improvement Plan) and attempted to pass a referendum which would repair the damaged and elderly union. Without success in the first attempt, Directorate encouraged the formation of a separate student organization called the Student Union Initiative (SUI) in order to communicate to the student body the need for repairs to Memorial Union, and the potential for replacement of Union South. This time the campaign prevailed and the Initiative passed in the ASM election, and has most recently been enumerated within the state’s budget. One of the main principles of the Wisconsin Union and current building project is to maintain that commitment to students on campus. Along with all of the services that the Wisconsin Union Directorate provides, the Design Committee for the new Union South upholds that same value. The Design Committee is comprised of students, faculty, and staff. The student involvement is important to make sure that the new union is created in light of student needs and concerns. It is important that we maintain the tradition of providing student programming and opportunities through the Wisconsin Union for decades to come. With the upcoming creation of the new south campus union, we can all better serve the campus and community.

r This journal was designed using Adobe InDesign CS2 on a Macintosh computer. The typefaces Optima and Adobe Janson Pro were used for titles and Janson was used for the main text. Originally designed by Nicholas Kis in 1690, Janson was one of the top choices for fine bookmaking in the 1930s because of its clean design, legibility and attractiveness.

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This photograph was taken of an unused factory of the Mirro Company in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The factory closed due to outsourcing in 2004, leaving many individuals without jobs. The photo is part of a larger series that is representative of her ongoing interest in old buildings that have been allowed to fall into disrepair.

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Nicole O’Connor Mirro Factory Window photograph

1

3

1 Plea pen, ink, colored pencil 9” X 12”

3 Penser colored pencil 9” X 12”

2 Ride Deconstructed graphite 9” X 12”

4 Adjustment graphite, colored pencil 9” X 12” 4

Janis Finkelman Frustrated with the amount of negativity and pain in the world today, Janis hopes to use her art towards remedying this ill and to reflect the beauty so often unnoticed in what seems to be mundane.


illumination art

literature

essays

THE UNDERGRADUATE JOURNAL OF HUMANITIES

FEATURING When Pigs Fly ∙ Jacquelyn Luskey Ardhanarisvara and Hijra ∙ Thomas Boman Olivia: Bucket ∙ Mike Granger

ARTWORK BY Richard Smith Janis Finkelman Kate Meier

Fall 2007 | Illumination: the Undergraduate Journal of Humanities  

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