The undergraduate journal of the humanities
Literature SPRING 2 0 1 3
Staff Editor-in-Chief: Jordin Barber Assistant Editor-in-Chief: Kelsey Sorenson Publicity Director: Margaret Fitzpatrick Marketing Assistants: Fengyi Ding Ellie Jurchisin Events and Involvement Coordinator: Jacqueline Schaefer Layout Editor: Alice Walker-Lampani Head Copy Editor: Ali Bartol Copy Editors: Mara Joaquin Selby Rodriguez Amanda Ezell Alice Walker-Lampani
M i ssi o n
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 schoolâ€™s best talent. As an approachable portal for writing, art, and scholarly essays, the diverse content in the journal is focused on being a valuable edition to the intellectual community of the University and all the people it affects.
S p e c i a l T ha n k s
Prose Editor: Katie Hands Prose Reviewers: Ryan Blair Sarah Hammann Kabnpauj Xiong
Illumination would like to extend a special thank you to John D. Wiley, and to the Lemuel R. and Norma B. Boulware Estate for setting up the Boulware Fund, which funds Illumination each year.
Poetry Editor: Sidney Johnson Poetry Reviewer: Taylor Brown
Illumination would also like to thank the following people: Jenny Klaila, Carrie Kruse, Kelli Keclik, Adam Blackbourn, Ron Wallace, Gary Sandefur, Heather Heggemeier and Jim Rogers.
Essays Editor: Benjamin Blackman Essays Reviewers: Alexandra Jagodzinski Lars Lindqvist Art Editor: Megan Tuohy Art Reviewer: Emilia Nunez
featured on the cover: Prayers; David Michaels; Photograph Sinkable; Marcie Waters; Cast Paper
In This Issue Prose
Yours for Always 5 by Lyd ia Caswell Expirati on D ate 10 by Tyler D e d ri ck Disposables 14 by Hersch el Kissinger
Jennika Bastian Elise Berr y Paula Helmste dt Cand i ce Lindstrum Calli e Mangan Davi d Mi chaels Margaret Petri Jen Q uilty Catherine Ru tle dge Brian Thu e Marci e Waters Kelsey M Wenberg
Essay Ut i ca L ake: T h e I ce Har vest an d a Private Park D avi d Bri tton Dreaming: I llu min ati on I n I ts Pu rest Form T.R. San ders
Poetry Behind th e Altar, on th e Persian Ru g 31 by L au ren Hodki ewi c z I Hear th e Qu i et Galloping of Horses 32 by L arissa Ju n e Mari e Hah n G oodbye, C astle in th e Air 33 by Joan n a Jager quantu m physi cali ty 34 by Emily Heglan d Sonnet to My Belove d Te ch n ology 35 by Trevor D in smoor Think wi th you r World 36 by MT Sch mi tz Your In box is Full 37 by Jerome Mu rray Paint ing a Pi c tu re 38 by Jerome Mu rray Sonnet of a C aterer 40 by Grace Oâ€™Meara
Letter From the Editor
Welcome to the Spring 2013 issue of Illumination: the Undergraduate Journal of the Humanities! I am so proud to introduce another beautiful journal to our growing archive. This journal has been a labor of love for all of the staff who have dedicated hours into reviewing, editing, and creating what you see before you. Our staff has worked hard to select the best poetry, prose, essays, and art that showcases the talent of University of Wisconsin-Madison’s undergraduates. This year has been tough for Illumination through the rapid change of Editor-in-Chiefs to trying to learn more about our past and establishing a legacy. I have thoroughly enjoyed thinking through the challenge of rebuilding an institutional memory and collaborating with my staff to think of ways to improve how the journal functions both on campus and internally. Despite these challenges, we have still been able to create a full digital archive of past Illumination issues on http://issuu.com/illumination. I would like to give a special thanks for Jim Rogers and Heather Heggemeier for all their support and guidance over the past semester. I truly would have been lost with out you! Thanks also to Carrie Kruse for giving me insight to what Illumination has accomplished since its foundation.
I would like to recognize everyone who submitted to the journal. Through your wonderful submissions, we are able to fill our pages with such excellent works of art. Finally, I would like to thank all the readers for supporting Illumination. Only through your support can we continue to produce a journal that reflects the best UW-Madison has to offer. I hope you all enjoy our newest issue! With appreciation,
Untitled; Brian Thue; Charcoal and Colored Pencil on Paper; 16”x20”
Lemon; Brian Thue; Watercolor on Black Tea stained paper, 6”x8.5”
Yours For Always Lydia Caswell My Darling,
Tu me manques mon cœur. I will be truly alone once Dominique is old enough to move out of my bed and into her own, I will have no one for company when I wake up from les cauchemars. It is then that I miss you the most. The way you would hold me and push my hair away from my face and listen to my fears until I had talked myself into silence. The way you’d kiss my nose and pull me in close to sing me that song–the song you always hummed and that I caught you singing under your breath to Dominique. I would fall back asleep with your breath on my face, your hands stroking my arms and back, your words forming a safe haven around us. The girls miss you. They ask me when my ‘mari blanc’ is coming back. Even when I tell them that we will not be married until you return, they insist you are my white husband and laugh at their game. I think they enjoy having their aunt back to themselves though because nearly every night they ask me to braid their hair. Once Bérnice and I have finished with the dinner dishes, and Krishna has settled in their bedroom, the twins will come running up–knock-kneed and hanging off one another in their excitement–to have their hair re-braided. Bérnice takes the reasonable voice of a mother and tells them that having their hair redone every night is ridiculous; that she is too busy with their new little brother for something so silly. But I am only the auntie and am allowed to be silly with them. So, after Dominique has fallen asleep, and if I am not too tired, I will sit at the kitchen table with them both trying to cram themselves between my knees, plucking at their tufts of hair. They think they’re all grown up now (you wouldn’t believe how tall Marlen is getting–and Evelyne refuses to let her mother dress her) and they ask me how old they have to be before their mother will allow them to wear long plaited braids from the boutique. Usually I don’t speak much as I work on their hair, pulling out the previous work and making up a new design of swirls and twists of hair close to their scalps: I prefer to listen. I listen to their chatter over school, over their friends, over the nail polish color they plan to buy next, and I wonder what our little Dominique will be like at their age. Will she pick the garlic off her fish the way you do? Will she have my flat nose or your pointed one? Will she inherit your passion for music, or my love for walks in the markets? I caught her watching a cat out the window a few days ago and wondered if you had somehow passed on your ridiculous affection for them. I know they are pets in America, but I will scare the rats away myself before I share my house with such a dirty animal. Once you are back and we are living together like a couple should, you will see that our baby girl deserves better companions. You will be so proud of your daughter when you see her. We both send our love, Sophie
Passing; Jennika Bastian Oil on Canvas; 24”x36”
Now that you have been gone for so long, I have been thinking a lot about the time I first saw you. We were different people then–unknown to one another and still convinced that separately we could make a whole. You did not see me, so you may not remember this–if you did, I likely did not stand out to you, being only another black woman amid the sea of ebony. I was leaving the university and waiting for the bus outside; you were across the street, unloading something from the back of a taxi. You wore a white shirt that was stained with brown smudges from the dirt of the city and your own sweat–I remember it because I thought to myself that white men sweat far too much to be healthy. Your jeans were rolled up to show your pale ankles, and beneath those you wore sandals I recognized from le Marché Sandaga. Your face was pink from the sun (so delicate, I thought), but you stepped carefully along the cracked and eroded sidewalk, shifting your load of stacked boxes and books. The bus came bucking through the street; a woman’s pagne came unraveled from its owner’s head and cascaded out the window and down the side of the bus before being hastily reclaimed by a pair of wrinkled, manicured hands. The handsome apprentis hung off the back of the bus and called out to you, asking if you were French or American. You ignored them, and I wondered if you had understood their French. I was still watching you as I climbed into the bus and paid les apprentis. You had paused to hoist your load up over the heads of three young boys chasing a football around the potholes in the road, and as the bus jolted into motion you kicked the ball to one of them, laughing, and nearly dropping your books. I never could have guessed then how important you would become to me; how far I would let you into my life; how attached I would become to yours. I was scornful then, my love, because I guessed that you were here to decorate your résumé or, like so many before you, you thought you could come here and save Africa from the Africans. Forgive me–I didn’t know how much I would learn about you. I never would have thought then that I would introduce you to Bérnice, to Krishna; that I would watch you teach American games to my nieces, or hear you sing to me on your balcony late at night. I am amazed by how we change, my dear. I love you with all my heart, Sophie Mon petit amour,
Dominique’s cries and demands are in equal French and English thanks to my insistence that Bernice and I only speak English to her. She hears enough French from the other children and Krishna that I know I will have to do more once she is in school and surrounded by Wolof as well. We all laughed the other night when she called Krishna ‘my père,’ as though she couldn’t decide which language to use. It is easier for her to say ‘papa’ or ‘père’ than ‘oncle’ or ‘uncle,’ and since that’s what the twins call him she gets confused. I have only a few pictures to show her, but I have doing my best to help her remember you, my dear. I am so glad she will not have to struggle in school to learn English along with her classmates. I want her to be born with opportunities like Bérnice and I were, rather than have to live like our parents did–working constantly to afford an education for the three of us here in Dakar. So far Olivé has made the best use of his education–moving to the States to begin his own business. My contribution will be to raise our baby with the connection of language. I want to give her everything I can’t give to the beggar children who ask for my pennies–or the old women selling beads in the sun. My heart breaks especially for the mothers with dozens of children sucking at their breasts; little girls with babies on their hips; the mother washing another woman’s clothes while her own son is naked beside her; the widow changing her babies’ wrappings on a low wall beside the football field. And yet, I’ll walk by in the middle of the day and see them crowded together in their cloth tents on the sidewalk, holding hands and praying before their meal–and I’ll think how lucky they are to have one another. How lucky Dominique and I will be to have you back in our lives and to be a family again. I pray for the people I pass every night as I pray for you, and Dominique, and Bérnice with Krishna, and the two girls, and new baby boy, and my parents back in la Côte-d’Ivoire, and Olivé in Chicago, and all the other people I love in the world. I sing to her every night the song you taught me, imagining that you are with us, that you are singing to me as I sing to her. Yours, Sophie
Bérnice asks about you. Yesterday I was holding the mixing bowl steady on the table so she could beat together le gâteau. I told her I imagined you were busy and I watched the sweat dripping down her neck and arms. It is always so hot in the kitchen and we have to stop every few minutes to lean out the window; we watch Madame Zongo hanging up her washing, or the women who gather in the shade to talk while their children are in school. We try to sit as close to the window as possible, but as you know the kitchen is small and the table doesn’t fit against that wall. Bérnice stopped mixing for a moment to let me fan her and to tie her braids into a knot away from her face. She wanted to know when you’d be back, and I told her as soon as you can arrange it, that you have things to manage in the States first. She knows what it’s like to be waiting for a man to come home; Krishna is working harder than ever with his job at the bank to support us. He’s gone before she wakes up and usually doesn’t get home until late. He isn’t paid for these extra hours, but his patron would think he was being lazy if he left before the rest of them did. He hopes to be promoted in a few months, but this will mean more work. I asked Bérnice once how she felt about leaving her job at the université. You never knew her when she was working, but she would lead discussions on business management and finance. She wanted to use her education to show others how they could support themselves. It had been so difficult for her to get her master’s degree; she’d spent months rewriting her defense before her mentor decided it was ready – and then he’d said that he would only allow it if she slept with him. I remember how she would sob in frustration each time he failed to show up for a meeting or once again gave her research back to be rewritten. It took well over a year of treading around him and jumping through hoops for her to complete her defense: and I’d never seen our parents prouder than when she did. Her babies are a part of her now, but I sometimes wonder what she had planned for herself before them. So when she asked me about you I wanted to tell her that you are doing well; that you are working to get another visa; that it won’t be much longer before you come back to us. Bérnice held the bowl tightly between her legs and beat the batter long after it was smooth, only stopping when we could hear the oil bubbling and snapping behind us. She carried the bowl over to the hissing burner and I watched her ball the dough and drop them into the spitting oil. She says they are for the children, but I know that Krishna is the one who enjoys them the most; he is always telling Bérnice that she should eat more since no man wants a skinny wife. When you return I will make le gâteau for you and Dominique, and you will see that she has your sweet tooth. Waiting for you, Sophie
Mon petit chou,
Dominique has begun to walk mon cœur! I have to resist carrying her around with me when I get home from the université because now that she no longer crawls I want her legs to grow strong. She follows the twins around in the courtyard outside and cries when they leave for school in the morning. Bérnice must watch her once I’ve left for the bus to be sure she doesn’t follow me outside! I think about her all day; when I meet with my adviser to discuss my thesis or am gathering research for my defense, I find myself wishing she was with me, or wondering what she’s doing. You knew me to be so independent – how you would marvel to see how much my happiness is tied to our little girl! I know that when you see her again you won’t be able to help feeling the same way. Your Sophie
Perhaps you can find my brother Olivé in the States. I’ve told him about you and asked him to find you, but he says that Oregon is very far from Chicago and that he has to work everyday. Only recently, Bérnice and I have pieced together a new truth, and I am ashamed to tell you. I told you that Olivé left for the United States nearly three years ago to start his own business and planned to send for his wife Ayesha and five young boys once he was settled. Ayesha can’t speak any English so it’s easy to keep the truth from her, but Olivé confessed to the brother she is living with that he is working as a janitor for a small restaurant. He is having trouble getting permission to start his business, and can never make enough money to stop working, since he sends most of it back to help support his wife and sons. His oldest three boys are already working in their uncle’s boutique, but they ought to be in school. Olivé says that things aren’t at all like he imagined they would be; that he is unsure how to make his way. Perhaps you can help him, my darling? He is a good man and his family misses him. You will like him, my dear–he also likes to sing, and he plays the akonting like my father. I think he will teach you if you ask. Sometimes we are all in need of a guide to find what we are looking for–do you remember what you were like when you first arrived in Senegal? You took a taxi everywhere because you didn’t understand the buses with no map or schedule. You ordered food without knowing what it was, and had your tongue burnt from the spices. Remember the time you tried to kiss me outside my gate and I had to push you away? How I had to explain that in some parts of the country you can get arrested for kissing in public; that even in my neighborhood I could be followed if someone saw you kissing me. But I think it was never so bad for you as for me. If people saw us together, they would only assume that I was hoping to be taken back to the States. They ignored me when I was with you–though I doubt you could see it. When I ride the bus with Dominique on my lap, I see others looking at her and finding the white behind her skin; other children want to touch her. You didn’t notice people watching us because you were used to attracting attention with your white skin. You did not notice when vendors in the market –who knew me from years of buying chickens for yassa au roulet and fish for kaldou–tried to raise the prices when they saw me with a white man. You did not know that when an old Muslim woman refused to sit next to us on the bus it was because she thought I was a prostitute. Olivé does not tell me what it’s like for him in America, but I fear that he is trying to shield me from worrying about him; I wish he would believe that knowing the worst is better than being left to imagine it. Yours for always, Sophie
Futility; Callie Mangan; Altered book, collage, found objects
I’ve been having the same dream a lot lately; I’m running, and I’m looking for something, and I don’t know what it is until I hear Dominique crying. She’s far away from me and I start to run toward her when I hear you singing. I guess that you have her with you, so I keep running toward the crying. I come to the baobab tree in the clearing behind the université and I run around it, searching the dusty ground and dark alcoves of the truck for my baby. She screams and I look up to see her crawling along a thick branch; her cries changing to shrieks of joy because she’s seen a monkey up in the branches above her. You are still singing somewhere in the distance, but I can’t leave little Dominique; she’s attempting to climb the thick sides of the baobab, ignoring my yells for her to sit still. The monkey has seen her and is teasing her, waving his hands and letting his tail droop down just out of her reach so that she sways back and forth, watching it. You’re getting farther away and though I call out to you, you can’t hear me and I run around the baobab because I am afraid that my baby will fall. I am screaming at her not to move–and for you to come back–but my little girl is too fascinated by the swishing tail, and you are not hearing me. I am alone, caught between the two of you, and powerless. Bérnice worries about me, but you don’t need to; you know that I can take care of things here until you come back. I try to tell Dominique about you, but she was too young when you left to remember. I show her your picture and tell her you will be back soon. I hold her tightly, her little face resting against my neck, and I sing her your song. Sophie
I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm, your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm, yes, many loved before us, I know that we are not new, in city and in forest they smiled like me and you, but now it’s come to distances and both of us must try, your eyes are soft with sorrow, Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye. I’m not looking for another as I wander in my time, walk me to the corner, our steps will always rhyme, you know my love goes with you as your love stays with me, it’s just the way it changes, like the shoreline and the sea, but let’s not talk of love or chains and things we can’t untie, your eyes are soft with sorrow, Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye. I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm, your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm, yes many loved before us, I know that we are not new, in city and in forest they smiled like me and you, but let’s not talk of love or chains and things we can’t untie, your eyes are soft with sorrow, Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye.
Expiration Date Tyler Dedrick
Grey clouds hung heavy over the city, depositing a fine, wet mist across the windy streets. A chill stood on every corner and fogged the windows of the taxicab. Walter sighed as he clicked on the defroster. Cars were huddled tight on the street for warmth. Drops of moisture glinted off headlights like crystals in the morning murk. It was not how Walter had imagined he would be spending the penultimate day of his life. The steering wheel was cold beneath his gloved fingers as he weaved his way through the amity of automobiles and pulled up to the side of the road. The businessman who had flagged him opened the rear door and followed his suitcase inside. “9012 North Cleveland,” he said, never looking up as he flicked morning’s breath off his hat and all over Walter’s cab. Walter nodded and hit the meter. He pulled into the street, slow and smooth. When his fare’s hat was sufficiently dry, he placed it back on his head. He clicked open the suitcase he had with him and pulled the newspaper from within. He buried himself in the paper, leaving Walter with an unrequited desire for conversation.
For several seconds, there was only the pattering of rain and the mechanical droll of the city to stimulate Walter’s senses. He glanced in his rearview mirror. The man in the reflection was broad about the shoulders, and had a cold, chiseled face with a sharp nose. The string of numbers that ran across his neck was some day far into the future, far longer than Walter would live. “How about them Bears?” he said, noting the sports team on the front page. “I hear there’s been lots of talk about whether Johnson is going to stay on for another season.” “Yeah, well, he expires in December, so it doesn’t make any sense why they would bother renewing his contract,” the businessman said, looking up. His eyes fell on Walter’s neck, onto the date stamped vertically beneath his ear. He cringed and fell silent. Walter shrugged the conversation back into motion. “That’s the kind of reaction I’ve been getting for the past few days now,” he said to the businessman. In the reflection of the mirror, he met Walter’s
gaze with wide eyes round as clocks. “I’m sorry. Are you ready?” “Well, I’d better be, hadn’t I? I’ve been preparing for this day for a while now. My whole life, really. I think most people can say the same thing.” “I haven’t really given much thought to it,” the man in the hat admitted. “We all know when it’s going to happen, so there is no sense in worrying about it.” “Really? Every morning, you get up and look in the mirror, and there’s that date staring you right in the face. You don’t even think about it?” Walter shrugged. “I guess we’ve all got our priorities.” “And yours is driving a cab?” “Mine’s providing for my children,” Walter said. “They’ve got long lives ahead of them, and I’ve done everything in my power to see that they’re happy and worry-free.” “I see.” The man in the mirror looked out the window to the misty morning beyond. Flashing red and blue lights zipped through the grey as an ambulance screamed down the road. A memory blasted through Walter’s mind like the shot of a gun. The rain had misted
19 Rue Beaubourg; Candice Lindstrum; Photograph
down from the sky then, so many years ago, just like it did this day. Looking forward in the street, but not really seeing, Walter watched as past and present puddled into one. He had been a younger man then, lively and vivacious. Newly wed and with a child on the way, he was learning to appreciate the miracle that is life. The sky was grey and bleak, but not as grey as the street where he stood with his mother and a crowd of pedestrians with sore necks. For a moment Walter had strayed into the past and left his fare unattended. There were eyes in the rearview mirror, looking expectantly at him. “What?” “I just asked if you knew what the cause will be,” the businessman in the back seat said. “I haven’t got the slightest idea,” Walter replied. “I just hope it’s something quick.” “That’s what I’ve always thought,” the man in the hat muttered. “I want it to be a surprise. Nothing long and drawn out. That’s one battle you know you’re not going to win.” “Maybe I’ll get hit by a car.” Walter shrugged. “The day comes and you
know there is nothing you can do.” His fare nodded in the backseat. “Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to not know. To live your whole life never knowing when it would end, never weighing relationships on whether she’ll outlive you…” “It would be a mess,” Walter grumbled. “There would be murders in the street, because people wouldn’t know when they were meant to go. We are born with the knowledge of when we will die for a reason. Our lives begin and then they end, and there is nothing that can be done about that.” Lights, red and blue, flashed at the back of Walter’s eyes. The police had been there that day, so long ago, their squad cars parked in the street. Paramedics, with their ambulance painted sterile white and blood red, had loaded their charge into the vehicle. Walter was not so very different than them; everyone had a place to go, and both he and the ambulance took them where they needed to be. The taxi hit a rut in the road, and Walter was bounced violently back into the present. 9012 North Cleveland
sat in the back, his eyes poring over the morning’s news. He was dressed in a warm brown pinstripe suit, with a tie that suggested he was playing with big money. “You in the stock market?” Walter asked the man. “That’s right. Good catch,” the man said. “The name’s Brown. I’m a dealer over at the exchange.” “I never liked the stocks myself. Too much risk involved, you never know what’s going to happen next. It’s nearly as bad as gambling.” “The risk is part of the challenge. Part of the fun.” Brown grinned slyly in the back seat. “You sound like my brother. Always diving into the unknown.” “He sounds like an interesting man.” “He was.” Walter clenched his teeth. The traffic was heavy here, and it was slow going. Brown was looking down at his feet, or his paper, Walter wasn’t sure which. It was the act of a man who didn’t know quite what to say. Walter decided it was time for a change in subject. “Anything in the paper about those new miracle patches?” “Miracle patches? Doctor Kurt’s
death-postponing patches?” “I don’t know, I just know I heard of them on the radio. I didn’t take much stock in it. People have been trying to scam good folks out of their money since the invention of scamming. First it was buying magic trinkets, and then it was some snakeoil elixir, now it’s a bandage you stick on your expiration date. It’s never worked, and it never will work, I tell you. The date on your neck is the day you die, and that’s the way it’s always been and always will be. People go their whole lives with the same six numbers under their ears, and there’s no new innovation of technology and medicine going to change that.” “People said the same thing about the electric light to Edison. Hell, they said it to Galileo,” said Brown. “They said, ‘it’s always been this way and it always will be, and nothing you do can change that.’ Don’t get me wrong, I think Doctor Kurt is just as much a fraud as anybody else selling things these days. But who knows? Maybe someday, someone will create something to extend the expiration date. Medical innovations have been made before. Maybe someday someone will postpone death itself.” “Let them try, I’ll be content watching from upstairs,” Walter said with a shrug and an index finger to the sky. Brown chuckled and nodded, then went back to his newspaper. Walter was again left alone with his restless mind. As his foot worked the gas pedal, he meandered back into his memories. On this particular day, they had loaded Walter’s little brother into the back as he howled and screamed. The fall had not killed him, not like he had planned. It had shattered his legs and his life, but it was not his time. Walter’s memory of his brother’s jump was the last time he would ever see those legs in one piece. From then on, his brother lived his life out of a wheelchair, a wheelchair that Walter had put him in. The psychiatrists and therapists and shrinks hadn’t the slightest idea what had possessed his brother to leap from seven flights up, but Walter knew. He liked to think it wasn’t the phone conversation that persuaded
his brother to jump, but it was that lie that had kept him up late at night. Walter shivered as he dug deep into the recesses of the past. He had picked up the telephone to find his brother on the other line. The fog had cleared by the time Walter stopped at 9012 North Cleveland Street. He pulled the taxi to the side of the road. “Here we are.” “Thanks.” Brown handed him a wad of cash. It was more than he owed. “Keep the extra. Goodbye.” Walter nodded as Brown picked up his suitcase and slid out of the cab. He shut the door behind him and he disappeared into a dark glass building. Walter looked at the cash in his hand. It was faded, well-worn with circulation. It was more than he was owed. He opened his door and tossed it into the wind. There were no more passengers for Walter. He drove back to the depot and parked the taxi beneath a rusted metal catwalk. Two large garage doors let light flood in on the concrete ground. Charles was sitting in his room, a box of windows adjacent to the garage. Battered lights hung from the ceiling. As Walter slowly climbed from the cab, his boss emerged from his office. “Walter,” he said, sounding surprised. “What are you doing? You’re supposed to be out on the road.” “I’m done, Charles,” Walter said, straightening his aching back. Charles looked from Walter’s face to the date on his neck, then back to his face. He nodded and extended his hand. Walter’s hands were cold and clammy compared to Charles’ as they shook farewell. Storm clouds brooded in the distance as Walter started his walk home. He knew the streets like the back of his hand, but the people never seemed any more familiar. They were cold as they passed him, their eyes glossing over him like he was never there at all. The crowds weaved through each other like salmon swimming upstream, a messy mass of busy bodies on their way to live the lives they had left. They pushed their way through their days, rushing to make the appointments they had set
that dictated their lives. The crowds of people and towering buildings gave way to a neighborhood of suburban homes. Walter strode up the sidewalk of the townhouse where he lived with his wife and his youngest son. A picket fence lined the yellowing lawn. He walked up creaky wooden steps to the front porch and stuck his key into the lock. The door creaked open and Walter breathed in the familiar musty scent inside. He stepped inside and for a moment stood on the doormat, watching dust dance in the invading light. A small end table sat to the right where pictures of memories past were lined. Walter passed them and ascended the wooden staircase to the second floor. The walls were lined with black and white photographs of family. In the room at the end of the hall there was a bed beneath a mirror. Walter took a step into his bedroom, and then another. Beside the bed were dressers. He walked over to his, where a datebook sat shut beside a lamp. Walter fingered it, running his fingers across the black leather cover. He opened it to the date marked with red pen. This the day you die, it read, in Walter’s simple scrawl. Walter shut the book and opened the dresser. Amongst a mess of papers and books was a revolver. He pressed his fingers around the cold iron and drew the gun from the drawer. It was dense in his hand, made heavier by the power it held. He pushed the dresser drawer shut. Walter looked at the weapon as if for the first time. He had bought it many years ago, in case of a break in. Today, Walter pressed the barrel of the gun to his forehead. Looking in the mirror, he almost laughed at how ludicrous his reflection looked. His heart tingled at the memory of a normal phone conversation between Walter and his brother. “Ma’s birthday is coming up,” Walter had said. “Don’t forget about the party Friday.” Over the phone, his brother breathed a curse. “I’ll have to write it down. So much going on, what with meetings and parties and dates… all those goddam dates, Walt. So much ink on the calendar. I just want the dates to go away.” Walter had laughed at his brother
Untitled; Callie Mangan; Chalk Pastel, White Acrylic, Charcoal
then. “What does that mean? Should I tell ma you won’t be showing up?” “No, I’ll be there…” his brother’s voice trailed off, leaving a shivering undercurrent of static. “You still there? Are you doing alright?” “I’m fine. No, I’m not fine. That was a lie. I’m sick of all these dates. This schedule that runs our lives.” “There’s not much you can do about that.” Walter had told his brother over the phone. If he had rephrased his statement or if he had kept his mouth shut… or maybe not. Perhaps what had followed had been inevitable. “There is something I can do. We didn’t invent the concept of time to be made slaves to it. I am a free man.” Then his brother had hung up the phone. Then he had jumped from the ledge of his apartment. Walter could remember how his brother had looked on the ledge of his apartment, the tips of his toes dangling over the edge. The moment had felt surreal, just like it did as Walter held the gun to his head. He looked down one last time, down to the damned datebook on the dresser. The red ink splotched on the page sent a surge of adrenaline through his veins. “I am a free man,” he whispered. Then he pulled the trigger. Maneuvering the wheelchair through the narrow hospital door was a graceless debacle, but eventually Mickey managed to wrestle his way into the room. His mother was behind him, her eyes dry and red. She had always been ready to coddle his broken form at a moment’s notice, but she had learned long ago that her son was not a man who suffered assistance. He was still a man, just as much as he always had been, though he was confined to a chair with wheels to take him where he needed to go. Today, he was within the familiar eggshell walls of a hospital room. The sharp sterile scent of alcohol tickled at memories. Lying on a bed was his mother’s son. Everything was white; the curtains were white that hung from the windows, the bed sheets were white, the hospital gowns were white. It made for a striking contrast against the red that soaked the bandage wrapped around
his brother’s head. Mickey rolled up to the man on the hospital bed, looking for words. Only one came to him. “Walter…” At the sight of her son, a fresh set of sobs racked their mother. The figure upon the bed did not respond. The bandage was spun around his forehead like a crown of gauze. Somewhere, a clock ticked as Mickey sat beside his brother. “Your wife was in earlier,” he said at Walter. “With your kids. She found you when she got home from work. She was so startled.” Mickey watched his brother’s chest rise and fall weakly, drinking in his soft breaths like each was a note in a sad, soft symphony. “They can’t understand why you did it, Walt, especially with it being so close to your expiration date. But I can, Walt. We wanted to be free men. But there is a plan that is bigger than the both of us. My fall didn’t kill me, not like I planned, because my plan didn’t matter. I know when my time is.” Walter stirred in the bed beside him. His mother gasped as he said in a voice as soft as a whisper, “I’m sorry.” Mickey leaned forward. It was the first conversation they had had since the jump. “No, Walt, don’t be sorry, don’t
apologize.” “It was me,” Walter wheezed. “I put you in that wheelchair. I should have… should have said something. I’m sorry.” “Don’t, Walt. I’m responsible for my actions.” “You wanted to be free… you failed. I thought I could do what you didn’t. I thought I could fight fate and win. I thought I could… in this world of subjugation, I thought I could beat them… society. The date-keepers and timekeepers… our whole lives we let the future dictate our decisions. But you know what?” Walter smiled slyly. “I won. I beat them.” Walter looked to the window, where the thin white curtains could not mask a fleet of stars shining on an azure sea. He closed his eyes with that smirk on his face and died at the sight of nighttime. His chest fell, never to rise. Mickey choked on a sob as he called for a doctor. A nurse rushed in and checked for a pulse. In walked a man wearing a clean white uniform with a clipboard in his hands. “He’s gone,” the nurse told the doctor. She looked to the clock. “Time of death, 12:23.”
I’m so impressed by my work on the freezer that I want to take a picture. It took a twenty-minute game of semithawed Tetris, but I got all twelve of Rick’s microwavable lasagnas packed in with ample room for the ice tray. This needs to be documented, actually. I scavenge the counter for one of Rick’s disposable cameras and see one resting by the fruit bowl. I snatch it up and snap a couple of shots. It’s kind of artistic. Suburban Still Life: Frigidaire. My creative moment is interrupted by the sound of gravel from the driveway flecking against the siding of the house. Rick’s home and I’m not ready. Or the actual problem: I am completely ready. Shit. I open the freezer for something to stall with, yanking out one of the lasagna boxes and tearing off the plastic film. Microwave time — nine minutes? Hopefully it’s edible in five. I don’t even read the rest of the instructions, slamming the microwave door just as Rick sneaks in. “What are you doing? You can’t eat now! You’ll feel terrible,” he says. He starts unbuttoning the dress shirt he’s
Herschel Kissinger wearing, a blue one that he borrowed from my half of the closet. It fits him like a garbage bag. Rick sells clothes to rich people and needs to dress the part, but it’s hard enough to get him to wear a tie for a wedding. “I don’t know I’ve been feeling under the weather all day … maybe we should just take today off — ” “Nope. 5K in two weeks. I’m not the one who’s bitching about not being ready.” He presses the “off ” button on the microwave and pauses a second to look inside. “Is that one of my lasagnas?” “I couldn’t get them all to fit in the freezer anyways.” “You gotta cram ‘em,” Rick says, abandoning me in the kitchen, as he heads down the hall to the bedroom to swap his clothes. “I think all my shorts are in the wash,” I try. I take the half done lasagna out of the microwave and grimace at the faint reflection in the black door. It’s astonishing how fast my workweek grooming deteriorates over the course of a lazy Saturday. My face is greasy and sprouting an uneven beard.
“Borrow mine!” he yells from the other room. Rick comes out of the bedroom and tosses me a pair of black basketball shorts, which land squarely on my face. They reek of fitness and slip off my forehead into my hands. He’s already dressed in his nylon running shorts (of questionable length) and a T-shirt from his old ultimate frisbee team. While I change behind the kitchen counter I watch Rick go through his newest round of photos over the trash. He takes a disposable camera with him wherever he goes and gets the film developed about once a month. He’ll come home, the pockets of his windbreaker sinking with the weight of fat envelopes filled with developed photos. Then he stands over the garbage, flips through the photos like a blackjack dealer, tossing the ones he says are too blurry or dark. Normally it’s about one in ten. I tell him it’s a waste but he doesn’t listen; I resolve my self-inflicted guilt by fishing the outtakes out of the garbage and keeping them for myself. It’s become a tradition of ours, really. I use the
Sound Unheard; Candice Lindstrum; Photograph
photos as bookmarks or leave notes on the back. I put them in the back pockets of his pants whenever I do the wash, or in the box of granola bars in the pantry. When he finds one, in the ‘W’ section of the encyclopedia or behind the toothpaste in the medicine cabinet, he smiles at me and sets it back. Once they’ve been taken out of the garbage, they can’t go back. It’s the rule. I imagine eventually our house is going to be insulated with hundreds of lackluster photographs. I finish dressing as he files through the last of the pictures. He tossed six this time; I already have places planned for four. In the meantime I think of potential hiding places. Oh — a lasagna box. That’s five. “Ready?” Rick asks. I shrug. “That’s the spirit!” We get into the car and I reach for the GPS. “I think I know my way to Straus Park by myself,” he says. “Well I just want to make sure we have the fastest way.” I scroll the favorites for Straus, getting through the R’s: Riley’s Books. Reggie. Restaurante El
Rey, Rick. Rick Apartment. Rick Newest. He’d moved across town three times since I met him two years ago, when he sold me a dress shirt with a phone number tucked into the breast pocket. Now he lives with me in the semisuburban wasteland, but when we’re in town he gets as much face recognition as the mayor. I’ve mastered the fine art of bystanding as Rick catches up with Esty from kickboxing or T.J. from the West Side. They’ve always “heard so much about me” but I never know them, and when I do I have nothing to say that I think will impress them. He brought the photos (the ones that survived inspection) with him into the car, and I flip through them. There’s a nice vertical shot of Ellen Warby and me at Marty’s wedding. Her heels make up the difference between our heights but I still manage to look tall — taller than normal at least. I have my arm wrapped around her, the ruffles of her dress covering half the hand that’s holding her waist. I like it. I look like a gentleman, grown-up. I hold the photo under Rick’s nose. “Can I take this one to send it to
my mom? She knows Ellen Warby.” He glances down from the city street for a second, glances back up, and then down again. “Sure. You can send her a picture of us, too.” “Well obviously,” I reply, though I know there are no good candidates in the stack. There are a few pictures of the two of us, and I look too queeny in all of them, and in the only one where I don’t, Rick’s hand is dangerously close to my ass. But next time. I flip to the next picture. It’s of a couple. They’re pushing thirty, a bit older than us. I don’t recognize them. Again I hold out the photo for Rick to see. “Who’s this?” I ask. His pupils shift down once, then back to the city street, and then down again. The voice GPS tells Rick to turn left. He doesn’t. “Oh yeah, they were at the wedding. I took their picture for them. Except I accidentally used my camera first. Couldn’t tell you their names though.” He didn’t know anyone at that wedding; he was just my plus one. This is just something he does. He’ll see a man taking a picture of his beautiful
wife, and he’ll run across the room just to offer his assistance. I can take your picture together, you both look so nice. No really, it’s fine. Even our earliest dates were punctuated with impromptu photo shoots with strangers. Everyone loves it. Everyone loves Rick. We arrive at Straus, and I take a deep breath before getting out of the car. At least the park was pretty. I could see myself getting married at Straus. I’ve thought about it. I’m the only one of my family living in the city, but I still want to get married here. Mom likes church weddings, so maybe the reception. The parking lot is right off a busy road with a really good Italian place. A short walk from the lot there’s a big open-air pavilion — I’ve seen weddings and receptions there. Based on the Etta James song wafting through the oak trees, I can tell there’s one this evening. Past the pavilion there’s a big grassy area dotted with some more trees and a long stone fence that keeps you from falling in the lake fifteen feet below. If you follow the fence to the end you get to a makeshift staircase that leads to a running trail that weaves along the lake. Most people don’t know about this; Rick does because he lived over here for a year. It’s a fun area; I almost feel guilty for making him leave. Knowing him though, he couldn’t afford the rent. Rick gets out of his car, pulling the drawstring bag out from under the seat.
Appendage Ring; Margaret Petri; Cast Sterling Silver
“Are you sure you want to take that?” I ask. He nods. “I’m going to want my water bottle right after the run and my camera — Eli said there’s been a juggler down here the past couple days.” He gives me a light kiss on the cheek and jogs towards the public bathroom. (When we run here, Rick ‘hides’ his bag behind one of the sinks. I use the term loosely because the bag is in plain sight to any guy who goes in there. His trust issue is that he trusts everyone.) We start our run, and at first he stays behind me. It’s a nice gesture, but I stop three times in the first fifteen minutes or so and he gives up and goes it alone, pushing fifty yards ahead. A woman passes me. I don’t see her face, but I quickly become familiar with the braid that flops between her shoulders. It’s like a tapered sausage, limply flapping against one strap of her sports bra, flying across her back and bouncing off the other. She’s not the thinnest, but the steady beat of her breath tells me she’s an experienced runner. Her braid hangs in the air like it’s in suspended gravity as she hops over a tree root, the same root I trip and fall over. Gravel presses into my hands, and I skin my knee. I take a second to catch my breath as Sausage Braid stops for a moment and turns around. “Are you alright?” she asks. She doesn’t sound winded — definitely a real runner. My “yes” is cut short by my giant inhale, and I force all the air back out in an attempt to control my breathing. “I’m … fine. Sorry, not used to these new shoes yet.” My shoes did look new, despite the fact that I bought them in March. She nodded. She was pretty. You can’t tell much about taste from someone’s running clothes, but she looked like she’d wear clothes well. Her skin was as pale as mine; this was a girl I could’ve dated in high school. Rick flies past me in the opposite direction. “Turn around at the marker!” he says, before zipping off back towards where we started. I nod between
wheezes and continue forward a hundred yards before stopping and standing with my arms behind my head. We’ve done this run almost a dozen times before, and I have never seen the marker. Sausage Braid keeps going, what a star. The run is [erased only] apparently only four miles long and that’s if you go all the way to the marker. I assume I did at least three (that’s a 5K, right?) and deem it enough to turn around. Five minutes into my return to the park I hear the familiar footfalls of Sausage Braid catching up behind me. I can’t match the tempo of her stride, and compensate by lifting my feet higher when I take them off the ground. I go faster as a result but she’s never out of earshot. Eventually my pace lapses and she ends up right behind me, and then beside me. Her wrists dangle when she thrusts her arm forward; I make sure mine aren’t doing the same. The steep hill sloping up to the park kills any energy I have left. Wood planks set in the dirt create sort of an au naturale staircase that is ridiculously easy to trip over. It’s not safe. I’m probably going to call someone about it eventually. Rick probably took it three steps at a time. He always catches a second wind that leads him into a sprint. It’s like a little burst of speed that he keeps tucked away in his pocket in a Ziploc bag labeled “for last mile only.” Rick might be done, but I’ve given Sausage Braid a run for her money. I hop up the stairs, expelling my exhaustion in the form of an unattractive moan. She runs parallel, and together we slug our way up the hill and burst out into the park, like a bridesmaid and groomsmen being announced at a wedding reception. I immediately double over and wheeze as she walks over a few yards and turns back to give me a polite smile, as if to say “we did it.” The wedding at the pavilion is big. People are spilling out of the sides and the dance floor is packed with bunny hoppers. If I get married, the Bunny Hop is going to be banned, and there’s only going to be three slow songs. I
thank him. He sticks a hand on each of their shoulders, like a priest, and lightly shakes them. “Hey, I’m rooting for you guys. You look great together.” Rooting. That’s what he always says. I just root for them. I give the man by the fence a closing nod before heading over to Rick. “Want to go to El Rey’s?” “Yes, I’m starving,” I said. “I bet so. You did pretty good back there!” I give him a sarcastic glance and he shrugs. “You did. Honestly. Buns of steel in no time!” He draws himself in and slides his arm down my back, over the elastic waistband of the basketball shorts and resting it on my butt. I look past him and see the man by the fence watching. His graying brow casts over his eyes, and his friendly face hardens into a Frankenstein-like mold. Our eyes momentarily meet, and his gaze darts to the ground. I swat Rick’s hand, and he playfully retracts. “I’m gonna grab my bag. Be right back,” he says, bouncing off in the direction of the public bathroom. I’m by myself. I saunter over to a bench facing the lake and sit down. It’s pretty quiet. The music from the wedding reception over at the pavilion drifts over — a corny love ballad from the eighties. Some kids from the party come jetting out, setting up an impromptu game of red rover under an oak. I can’t believe they’re not baking in their pullover sweaters and floral skirts; my t-shirt is damp and sticking to my back. I get a whiff of my own sweat and decide it’s best to stand three feet away from all strangers. My eyes drift back to the man in the denim shorts. He was watching me, again, and again he snaps his head in a different direction.
This time, though, he actually does something — he waves to somebody. A woman, his wife, approaches him from the bathroom. She’s a fitting
Snow Plant; Elise Berry; Cast Glass
scan past the pavilion, back toward the lake to see Rick about fifteen feet away with someone’s camera in his hands. He’s taking a picture of a middle-aged couple that wandered away from the wedding. “Oh this looks great. One for the kids, right?” he asks them. “Yeah, I could tell you have kids. Parents just have a different look to them than the rest of us. Warmer. Don’t tell that to my sister!” He looks to me and smiles. Tonight he would bring up this couple and use it as a springboard to talk about kids. He wants a lot, but I’m firm on one. He’ll flip through one of our magazines for the Gap ad and point to all of them in plaid, suggesting we adopt them. He’ll be smiling the whole time to keep the conversation in the realm of the hypothetical, and I’ll steer it towards which of our favorite clothing stores would make the best line for toddlers. It’s going to be a real fight later, but that’s later. “OK, wait, how many do you want? Can I take a couple more? I am getting inspired!” he says to the couple. I lean against the stone fence by the lake. There’s an older man not too far away, between Rick and I. He’s wearing hemmed denim shorts, bought in a time when denim shorts were cool followed by a time when they weren’t. A starchy polo is tucked into them, straining slightly against his middle. He was staring at Rick and shaking his head, amused by his overenthusiasm. “What a ham,” he chuckles. I nod in agreement. “Yeah, he’s a bit over the top sometimes,” I say. “Oh I’ve got buddies like that, too. You just got to go along sometimes,” he adds. Rick hops a few feet backwards until he bumps into a shrub. “OK, I am going to take one with you two in the center, and then I’m going to take one last one of you in the bottom corner so we can get some of this sunset in there. What? Oh, I know, it’s gorgeous. We’re so lucky to have this view, right?” He takes another shot with their digital camera and hands it back to the woman. They smile and
complement, wearing a sleeveless gray blouse and white capri pants that match her motherly salt-and-pepper haircut. They chat for a moment before the man pulls a digital camera out of his shorts. She leans against the fence with her hands modestly clasped in in front of her as he backs up, turning his head to look behind him, maybe just to make sure I’m watching, watching a demonstration of a proper relationship. He snaps a shot of her closed-mouth smile and calls it “beautiful.” I look for a rebuttal to demonstrate I’m not all that bad — where’s Sausage Braid when you need her? I find her ten feet away, using a tree to support her weight as she pulls her leg up behind her back. I jog over, careful to slow down when I enter her frame of vision. “You sure beat me back there,” I start. She responds by answering a phone call on her Blackberry. The jingling of keys breaks my train of thought, and I swing around. Rick’s back from the restroom, dangling the drawstring bag at his side. “Wow, it is hot out!” He sits down on the bench and starts to pull his shirt off. “Don’t do that,” I say, grabbing his hand. He keeps going. “What? It’s hot,” he says, wrestling his head out of the collar. “And you’re
telling me you wouldn’t want to see this?” He motions to his now bare torso. “It’s decorum.” “We’re in a park, not a country club. People run in parks. Without shirts,” he snaps. “Yeah, but this isn’t just a park. And there’s a wedding at the pavilion. I mean, look around, everyone is dressed all nice. I’m surprised those people let you take their picture; you look like a homeless person.” He rolled his eyes. “Fine. Fine. But it’s coming off later … along with yours.” He tugs at the fabric of my sweat-stained T-shirt. I slap his hand away. “Stop it!” I say, but I can’t help but smile. The man’s occupied with his wife, fidgeting with his camera or something. Rick places his hand on my back and pulls me toward him. My feet are planted on the ground so I trip and stumble into his lap. “Whoa there, nelly,” he says, “Aren’t we eager!” He grabs my chin and pulls it towards his face before I can push myself up. He kisses me. I let him for about two seconds and then pull away. Behind me I can sense the gaze of the man, and when I turn, I see that the wife’s watching this time too. Their bodies face the lake but they crane their necks back just to confirm what they had already assumed. Both their faces look dead and this time they don’t try to avoid eye contact as quickly. I’m the one who has to look away first. “Thomas, what’s wrong?” “Nothing, I just … just not right now.” I stare out at the sky over the lake. I want to distance myself from Rick, to convince people that he was just a friend, just a good friend, and no, we don’t sleep in the same bed. His fingers wrap tight around my arm, and I feel a layer of sweat between my skin and his. “Thomas, is this what I think it’s about?” he asks. He’s using the same voice he puts on to console me when I had a rough day at work or when I complain about my failed New Year’s resolution to fit into my college jeans. “Thomas?” He grabs my other arm, and I finally look at him.
“This is a liberal city. People here are understanding. Your grandmother is not watching, OK? It’s not like we’re not sodomizing on the playground.” “God, Rick!” “Seriously, you can’t worry about it.” He pulls me in for another kiss, angling his head forward with halfclosed eyes. I let him hang there. He lets out a sigh and then stares over my shoulder. “Who are they?” I don’t respond, but he spots them. He lets me out of his grasp and slowly walks toward the two of them standing, a sly, cat-like smile on his face. “Did you need someone to take picture of the two of you?” he asks. “I noticed you had a camera, and it’s such a beautiful day.” The man nods slightly and feigns a grin under his mustache. He doesn’t think Rick is asking seriously until he held out his hand for the camera. “Oh, that’s OK, she’s the beauty,” says the man. His voice was higher than you would think, like a cartoon dog’s. “Oh nonsense. I mean, your clothes even match! Here just let me—” “I don’t know, sir,” said the husband. His eyes went past Rick to focus on me with intensity, but he spoke nervously. “This is a pretty nice camera. I’m still learning how to use it myself, and I don’t think it’s the best idea to pass it around. Not to say anything against you and your … friend.” “Oh, I know I’m looking scrubby right now but I swear I do it all the time. I actually helped out that couple over there — wedding people.” “Rick, it’s fine,” I interrupt. The wife was starting to pace away towards the fence. Rick turns to me. Mad is not the right word to describe how he looked, but I knew the look he was giving and it meant he was mad. I cautiously step towards him as he starts to speak again. “All right, all right. No need to tell me twice — well maybe. But would you mind taking our picture?” he asks. “Rick, what are you doing?” I ask under my breath. Instinct tells me to reach for his hand, but I stop myself. He smiles at me. The man is confused
too. He looks at his wife, who was slowly pacing in her all-purpose tennis shoes. He then stretches a smile across his face, pulling his lips back with pain. “I’m not much of a photographer,” he says, the same way I say to the people with petitions who accost me at the grocery store: Oh thanks, but I already signed one last week. “Oh, I’m sure you’re great,” Rick says, tugging at the drawstrings of his gym bag and fishing through it. “Now if I could just find my camera.” The wife has walked ten feet away. Her arms are firmly crossed, and her eyes are on the waterfront. Completely still, except for her left foot, which is roused to tap ever so slightly to every quarter beat of the Macarena, which is drifting over from the wedding pavilion. The man starts backing up to meet her. “You know me and my wife actually have to get home soon and—” “What’s five more minutes?” Rick asks, and to the wife: “You don’t mind do you?” She tilts her head toward Rick and pushes the corners of her mouth up for a brief second, and says nothing. “OK, I know it’s in here somewhere, a cheap old — oh! Got it. Here it is.” He pulls out a disposable camera and jogs over to the middle-aged man, who doesn’t make an effort to take it. “Thanks so much for doing this. Do you have kids? Something tells me you have kids.” Rick playfully pulls the man’s arm up and pushes the camera into it. He’s so rigid you would’ve thought his joints would squeak like the tin man’s. “Take two, please.” Rick comes over to me, responding to my glare with a smile. I realize the wife and I are holding nearly identical body postures: two awkward bystanders, two old-timey wives who idle by as their meathead boyfriends duke it out behind the neighborhood bar. His hand tries to snake through the purposely narrow space I left between my arm and my side, the same way you try to force your arm through an uncooperative sleeve. My arms hang dead at my side, and I don’t even try to keep my back straight. The middleaged man hesitates, but then lifts up the
18 Final Layout.Content 2013.indd 18
4/18/13 5:36 PM
I got twenty-four minutes in the 5K. Rick tells me that’s good for the first time, but he also told me he needed to start training alone if he was
going to be ready for the half-marathon in September. He was out running when I came home from the office, left a post-it on kitchen counter: Went for 15 miles XO. I reach in the cupboard for a glass and open the fridge to grab the milk. The gallon is new, and I twist the lid off. That plastic ring comes off with it too and falls onto the floor. I pick it up and take it over to the trash. I’m about to drop it in when I stop. A pile of disposables sits at the top of the garbage, just waiting to be taken. The top picture is a really blurry shot of Rick jumping into the aboveground pool at Sarah’s Fourth of July party. The pictures of us from the park would be in there. Unless he kept them. I needed to know. Once they’ve been taken out of the garbage, they can’t go back. It’s the rule. Even alone, I would be so embarrassed to look at it. I imagine the two faces staring up at me from my hands. Two awkward people, one much more tan and lean, and the other wider, paler. The expressions on the faces are strained, with eyes squinting into the sun that’s already behind them. I look sweaty and uncomfortable, and Rick only looks a little better. You wouldn’t know how we were related. We could be friends, cousins, a man, and his
dentist. It was American Gothic, sans pitchfork and plus nylon. I bet Rick kept it. He would. He would have it framed and sent it to my mother for her birthday. But if he didn’t, it’s in the pile. It’s in the garbage. I would have nowhere to put it. I couldn’t just stick it in the medicine cabinet or sneak it into one of his slippers. It would be so weird. Maybe the sock drawer? It was still sandal season. No one would find it there for a while. The basement utility closet? Wedge it in the old rug that’s been rolled up in the garage for years? There’s nowhere. I close my eyes, and walk away from the garbage. Then I turn around, come back, reaching into crumpled napkins and banana peels, reaching for a stack of photos that I could only hope were too blurry or dark.
Spread on pages 20-21: Aurora Borealis; Brian Thue; Oil on Canvas; 18”x24”
Voiceless; Jen Quilty; Mixed Media: Ink Acrylic, Watercolor, Colored Pencil and Collage; 18”x24”
camera. “Say cheese, I guess.” Rick runs back to him and snatches it up. “Thanks so much man, enjoy the rest of your night!” When he turns back around to face me he’s smiling. The couple quickly scoots away in the direction of the pavilion, leaving Rick and me alone. “Dinner?” he suggests. “What was that?” “Oh, come on.” “I just—I just can’t believe the lengths you’ll go to make a point, Rick. Leave the poor couple alone!” “Leave them alone? Listen to yourself, Thomas. Get some perspective for Chrissakes!” “I don’t know why you always need to make it an issue whenever we’re together.” “Make what an issue, Thomas? What is the issue?” “You know exactly what I’m talking about. Don’t do this right now.” “No, Thomas. What is the issue? Because you can’t even say it. It’s so much of an issue right now that you can’t even say it. I don’t give two shits about decorum, and even if I did, I don’t think decorum says I can’t be acknowledged for what I am in a public place. I feel like I deserve that much, bro. Honestly, don’t try to solve the problem by cutting your balls off!” “That’s not fair—” “Say it out loud. Tell me what I’m trying to do here, and then tell me I’m out of line.” “I just don’t even want to talk about it right now.” “Yeah, what’s new? For once I’d like to see you rooting for us.” His face was red. He wasn’t going to cry, not now. Maybe later I would walk in on him sniffling, but he wouldn’t do it here. Even though he had finished running a while ago, he was suddenly sweaty. He swallowed, wiped his brow, and walked away from me towards the car. He shouted from thirty feet ahead. “Come on, let’s go to El Rey’s!”
19 Final Layout.Content 2013.indd 19
4/18/13 5:36 PM
Utica Lake: The Ice Harvest and a Private Park David Britton Utica Lake, quite small at 14 acres, is one of many lakes in western Waukesha County. Nowadays, the lake goes unnoticed by most who pass by. Those who do stop to notice the landscape, however, will notice signs of the lake’s intriguing history. My family has owned property on Utica Lake for over a century, and the land and its story hold a special place in my heart. Gazing upon the land my great-great-grandfather bought at the beginning of the 20th century, one notices that the wide, grassy areas and sandy beach do not agree with the marshy, overgrown environment that lines the rest of the lake. A small, white shack and a pair of wooden outhouses gesture at the place’s glorious past. Across the lake, wooden poles poke out from the surface, overgrown by reeds and lily pads: ruins of a structure that has otherwise vanished from the lake, remnants of an industry long forgotten. A few hundred yards
Bird Man; Jen Quilty; Mixed Media/Sculpture: Ink, Acrylic, Water Media Oils, Watercolor, Charcoal, Colored Pencils; 18”x24”
beyond the southern shore runs the Glacial Drumlin State Trail, whose shallow grade and straight course follow a deserted railroad. This railroad is a good place to start the story of Utica Lake. The Chicago and North Western Railroad opened the Milwaukee and Madison Air Line, whose route the Glacial Drumlin State Trail follows today, in 1882. Rumored to have been built to transport politicians between the cities and thus influence them to favor the railroad in their legislation, the Milwaukee and Madison Air Line ran across the wetlands south of Utica Lake, coming within a quarter mile of the shore. 1, 2 At the same time that this rail line was being built, Milwaukee was becoming famous for its beer and Chicago was home to a growing meat packing industry. In the days before electric refrigeration, brewing beer and preserving meat relied heavily on natural ice. With
the growth of these industries, and rising urban populations in the region, the demand for natural ice increased rapidly. Large icehouses, used to harvest and store ice, lined the Milwaukee River and waterways in Chicago. But as populations continued to grow, urban water became contaminated by sewage and decay.3 By 1902, Illinois’s State Pure Food Commission had discovered “flagrant breaking of the law forbidding the sale of impure ice for domestic use,” and blamed such ice for unusually high rates of typhoid.4 The Illinois Medical Journal published a story headlined “Frozen Animal in Ice,” reporting that decayed remains were found inside ice sold to a family by a major ice company.5 At the turn of the century, cities were quickly running out of safe and legally marketable ice, and therefore turned to the countryside to meet their refrigeration needs. The lakes of rural Wisconsin were looked
to for dependable supplies of natural ice. In 1909, Conrad Fox travelled to Utica Lake to assess its value as a source of ice. Fox, owner of the Racine-based Fox Ice Company, was impressed by the quality of Utica Lake’s spring water and the lake’s proximity to the Madison and Milwaukee Air Line. He decided to expand his business accordingly. That summer, Fox purchased the land necessary to give him access to both Utica Lake and the railroad, and by November the Fox Ice Company had started to build on the land. One hundred men, housed in boarding cars at the railroad station in the nearby village of Dousman, completed a railway spur to the lake in less than a month. The new rails stretched 546.75 feet from the Milwaukee and Madison Air Line to the spot where construction was underway on the ice house. Construction crews used machinery and materials delivered on the railroad to complete the ice house, which stood 126 feet wide, 180 feet long and 45 feet tall. 6 The Fox Ice Company began its first winter’s harvest on Utica Lake on February 1, 1910, by which time construction had been completed and the lake’s ice was 10 inches thick. First, a team of horses cleared snow off the surface, exposing the ice. Then, an ice plow (like the one held by the leftmost man in Figure
1) was used to mark off cakes of ice by cutting down about two-thirds of the way through the frozen surface. Workers chiseled these ice cakes loose and floated them down a channel towards the ice house, where a steam-powered conveyor lifted the ice up into the ice house through a series of windlasses. Men then guided the cakes down chutes, stacking them in between layers of marsh hay and sawdust. The ice was stored in the ice house until it was either sold to locals or loaded onto railcars and shipped to Racine and Chicago. The essentials of this harvesting process remained constant until the Fox Ice Company stopped operation on Utica Lake in 1940, the proliferation of electric refrigeration having turned the natural ice harvest into a relic of the past.7 Conrad Fox was more than pleased with the ice harvested off of Utica Lake, once telling a reporter it was the best ice he had ever seen. As justification, he claimed that the ice “is so clear you can read a newspaper through a cake two feet thick.”8 The local economy enjoyed the opening of the ice house as well, as the Fox Ice Company employed over 40 men at the ice house and paid farmers high prices for marsh hay, which was used as insulation.9 The purity of its waters, through their use by the Fox Ice Company, gave Utica Lake economic value. Disaster struck the Utica Lake ice
house on November 6, 1913. A spark from a railcar ignited the wooden structure, and it went up in flames. “Hundreds of farmers and villagers,” the Milwaukee Sentinel reported, “rushed to the scene ready to help fight the blaze, but upon their arrival the fire had gained such headway that the building was doomed.” Damage to the ice house was estimated at $35,000.10 Sparks and embers from the fire were carried across the lake by a strong wind out of the south. Fred Buth, my great-great grandfather, was out in his fields when he saw sparks falling on his buildings and straw stacks. His farm started to burn. Rushing back home, he hastened to get his livestock to safety. He was successful, except in the case of one horse which was trapped in the basement of the burning barn. Although his farm buildings were lost, it was not too late to save his house. The volunteers who had hoped to save the ice house hurried to Fred’s aid and turned their attention to the Buth residence. The local fire department organized their efforts, and the “heroic work of the bucket brigade” saved the Buth house, as well as neighboring houses and the nearby villages of Dousman and Utica.11 The Fox Ice Company rushed to rebuild its ice house, and was ready to harvest ice later that winter. Fred Buth also recovered from the property loss, and continued to farm his land on Utica Lake. In the farmhouse saved by the bucket brigade, Fred and his wife Katherine raised eight children. One of their sons, Lester, would go on to take over the farm. After his marriage to Adela Zastrow in October 1930, Lester made a deal to rent the farm from his father, assuming control of the farm just as the Great Depression set in. At that time, Utica Lake’s boggy shoreline allowed little direct access to the water. In one spot, some sand
had been taken from a nearby ridge and spread along the shore to allow cows to walk up and drink out of the lake. The Buths also had a small pier, on which Lester and a neighbor, Elmer Gaul, each kept a rowboat. The Buths were very poor during the depression. When one of Elmer Gaul’s friends said he was willing to rent Lester’s rowboat one Sunday for 25 cents, the Buths readily accepted. Drawn back to Utica Lake each weekend, Gaul’s friend began to bring his family and friends to the lake. Word slowly got out about the crystal-clear water and good fishing at Utica Lake. As more and more people came to the lake, Lester decided to buy more rowboats, and a small business slowly started. In the winter of 1936, Fred Buth and a hired man started a project to support the rowboat business by making the land more accessible and useable for visitors. Needing something to keep them busy during the winter months, this project seemed like a worthwhile endeavor. First, they built a fence to keep the cows away from the lake. That completed, they began digging sand from a surrounding ridge, hauling it towards the lake, and dumping it on the boggy shoreline. A team of horses pulled wagons full of sand across the frozen ground, helping to spread tons of sand along the shore. The work transformed the waterfront; the marshy shore was replaced by a
beach, and the boggy cow pasture became an attractive park. With the shoreline now more enjoyable for the visiting fishermen and their families, the Sunday crowds started to grow larger and larger. Lester and Adela provided picnic tables for their visitors, and started charging 25 cents per car for parking. Without truly planning for it, they had started a business running a private park on Utica Lake.12 When Adela Buth was asked how the park on Utica Lake was started, she said, “It just sort of happened.”13 Such an explanation encourages us to look at the social circumstances in which a park of this nature could develop. Utica Lake is, geologically, a feature of the Kettle Moraine. Interestingly, the growth of the park on Utica Lake can be looked at in the context of the formation of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. In 1936, the State of Wisconsin made its first purchase of land towards the beginning of a state forest, the same year that Fred Buth spread sand along the shore of Utica Lake. C. L. Harrington, the first superintendent of Wisconsin’s state parks and forests, wrote that during the mid-30s “there was a growing appreciation for the need for a forest type recreation area to serve the heavily populated parts of Southeastern Wisconsin.”14 This motivated the state legislature to create a forestry program and
purchase broad areas of land in the Kettle Moraine in 1937. While forestry and conservation were the basic ideas behind the program, Harrington related that its “primary impulse arises from a broad concept of outdoor and wildwood type recreation.”15 Utica Lake offered that kind of recreation to the public, more and more of whom were seeking leisure in the countryside made accessible by the automobile. Social desire for outdoor recreation during the mid-1930s both motivated the government’s creation of the Kettle Moraine State Forest and led a growing number of people to rent Lester Buth’s rowboats. Other government programs set a precedent for the type of work the Buths did to transform their property into a park. Around the same time the Buths were creating their park, New Deal programs like the Civilian Conservation Corps were undertaking projects to alter the landscape and environment of public places. During 1935, eight CCC camps were opened at Wisconsin state parks. The CCC worked to improve these parks for its visitors by landscaping, creating networks of trails, installing stone steps, building shelters and constructing benches and tables.16 When the Buths transplanted sand to transform their shoreline, bought more rowboats and put in picnic tables, they were improving their land in a way similar to what the CCC was doing in Wisconsin’s state parks. The New Deal did not have a direct effect on the landscape of Utica Lake, but its programs would have provided inspiration for the work that the Buths did in changing their shoreline. As the years passed, the Buth family continued to make their park on Utica Lake more inviting to visitors. In 1942, Fred planted a large number of soft maples which have provided shade to visitors ever since. Lester started to cut a larger and larger grass lawn to fit the growing crowds, and planted grass seed in any bare spots. He also kept the shoreline clear, removing reeds and
brush that sprang up along the shore. The job of hauling sand to dry up the boggy land continued for years. After a neighbor complained to the state that sand was being dumped in the lake, an inspector told the Buths they could dump sand on the shore, but not in the water or on the ice. With crowds of swimmers tracking sand from the beach into the lake, this change made little difference to the lake. In 1945, Lester purchased two outhouses, twelve picnic tables, electric poles and wire, a change house and a refreshment stand from a picnic ground on nearby Golden Lake that was closing. After wiring electricity to the refreshment stand to power refrigeration, the Buths started selling soda and ice cream, as well as candy, cigars and cigarettes. A larger refreshment stand was built in 1957, and still stands today. The marshy shore of Utica Lake was transformed into a thriving park. With the exception of the war years, the crowds at Utica Lake grew each summer. The Buths attempted to enforce a 200-car limit and charged per car, so people packed as many as they could fit in car. Church groups organized outings to the lake, as did companies. Visitors came to fish, swim, picnic, shoot fireworks and hold dog retrieval trials. At the peak, crowds often exceeded 1000 people. It was not easy for the Buth family to keep up with the crowds during
the summer while also taking care of chores at home and maintaining the farm. They tried to close on Mondays, but people cames anyway. Hiring a few people to help deal with the throngs helped a little, but by 1964 they were tired of running the business, and posted signs saying that it was the park’s last summer.16 The park was closed at the end of 1964. Since then, the shoreline kept clear by the Buths’ hard work and the trampling feet of thousands of visitors has been mostly grown over, and is now home to invasive species like purple loosestrife and white cattail. The beach, which once reached around a whole side of the lake, is now only a few yards wide. After the closing of the park, a screen porch was added to the front of the refreshment stand, and the building now serves as place to cook, eat, and play cards. Although my life is decades removed from the building’s origin, I have still had many snacks and meals served to me out of this small white shack. Similarly, outhouses linger in a corner of the property. Their continued use is a symbol of the land’s ties to the past. The wide lawn of grass near the lake is often moist underfoot, a reminder that the land would still be a bog if it were not for the Buth family’s hard work. The Fox Ice Company saw Utica Lake’s value in the purity of its ice,
and the wooden posts which mark the former base of the ice house remind us of the lake’s former usefulness. Similarly, a bike ride down the Glacial Drumlin State Trail can stir visions of Utica Lake’s ice being distributed to a public eager to consume what the lake had to offer. Visitors to the Buths’ park also found value in Utica’s crystal-clear water, and were drawn back to the lake to fish, swim and picnic. My visits to the lake, on the surface, are not so different from theirs. For them, the lake could be valued by the few cents that bought their right to park their car and enjoy the lake for a day. For my family, however, Utica Lake is a priceless landscape, whose clear water reflects its deep history, rekindles our love for the people who dominate our memories of the lake, and replenishes our thankfulness for the times spent there together.
Notes: 1. Jim White, “History of the Glacial Drumlin State Trail.” Chicago & North Western Historical Society. Accessed November 10th, 2012. www.chwhs.org/articles/1345236510. pdf. 2. U. S. Geological Survey, “Wisconsin, Oconomowoc Sheet” Edition of 1892, reprinted 1907. 3. Joseph C. Jones, America’s Icemen: An Illustrative History of the United States Natural Ice Industry 16651925. (Humble, Texas: Jobeco Books, 1984), 116-121. 4. “State Pure Food Commission Thinks Prevalence of Typhoid Due to Ice, not to Lake.” The Illinois Medical Journal. (Springfield: Illinois State Medical Society, 1902), 183. 5. “Frozen Animal In Ice.” The Illinois Medical Journal. (Springfield: Illinois State Medical Society, 1902), 183. 6. Robert Duerwachter, “The Fox Ice Company, Dousman, Wisconsin.” Landmark. Winter 1993. Vol 36, No. 4 (Waukesha Historical Society), 2-4. 7. Duerwachter, “The Fox Ice Company, Dousman, Wisconsin.” 5. 8. Duerwachter, “The Fox Ice Company, Dousman, Wisconsin.” 10. 9. Duerwachter, “The Fox Ice Company, Dousman, Wisconsin.” 5. 10. “Large Icehouse Gutted by Blaze.” The Milwaukee Sentinel, November 7 1913, pg 6. 11. The Weekly Index, November 7, 1913. As cited in Duerwachter, “The Fox Ice Company, Dousman, Wisconsin,” 6-10. 12. Jo Buth, “The History of Utica Lake Park.” 1993. This is my grandma’s account of the history of Utica Lake. She based her writing on interviews with family members, personal memories, pictures and some newspaper articles. 13. Jo Buth, “Introduction” 1993. The introduction to “The History of Utica Lake Park.” 14. C. L. Harrington, “The Story of the Kettle Moraine State Forest.”
Wisconsin Magazine of History. Spring 1954. pgs. 143-145. 15. Carol Ahlgren, “The Civilian Conservation Corps and Wisconsin State Park Development.” Wisconsin Magazine of History. The State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Spring 1988, pgs. 184-204. 16. Jo Buth, “The History of Utica Lake Park.”
Figures: 1. The Buth’s lake frontage in 1931 or 1932. Lester Buth’s rowboat appears in the background, and the shoreline is mostly overgrown and boggy. Provided by Jo Buth. 2. Utica Lake in 1951. The shoreline is clear of reeds and brush, and the first refreshment stand is visible. Provided by Jo Buth. 3. Utica Lake on a busy Sunday, probably in the early 1960s. Provided by Jo Buth 4. Utica Lake in 2009. Taken by author.
27 Final Layout.Content 2013.indd 27
4/18/13 5:36 PM
Dreaming: Illumination In Its Purest Form Possibly the most overlooked aspect of the lives of human beings lies in the comfortable slumber that encompasses almost thirty-five percent of the average person’s life. It remains a wonder as to why no modern mind has sought to somehow synthesize this experience in order to cultivate a more original world and allow greater insight into the human psyche. As Timothy Leary once purported to the counter culture of the 1960’s, “We are dealing with the best-educated generation in history. They are a hundred times better educated than their grandparents, and ten times more sophisticated. There has never been such an open-minded group. The problem is that no one is giving them anything fresh. They’ve got a brain dressed up with nowhere to go.” I have stepped into the unforeseen world of Dream-Synthesis on my own. It is my vision to stir up the sediment that currently lies at the bottom of the mind when humans sleep and subsequently dream via dream synthesis. The drug that will be created is to be called Frum ©. This potentially earth-shattering drug will create quite a stir in many scientific circles as well as amongst many humanitarian ones as well. Here is a more indepth look at what exactly will be achieved through the Frum Process. Once orally ingested in pill form, the recipient will begin to feel the onset of sleep—a work of the mild sedative in the pill. Once the recipient surrenders to feelings of sleep, the drug will continue to slowly break down in the stomach cavity, as with any ordinary drug. However, at the peak of the drug’s workings, which will arrive about an hour after ingestion, various parts of the brain will begin to be affected. The pons, which is located in the hindbrain and brainstem and a crucial player in the dreaming process, will be stimulated as well as the occipital lobe, which directs eye function. The third and final element of Frum includes a barbiturate/sedative function that paralyzes most of the muscles in the body. The body is now primed to induce a deep level of REM sleep, normally not achievable until close to a hundred minutes after the average person falls asleep. Since perfect conditions for dreaming have been introduced, Frum will induce the dreaming process in its recipients. The implications of this process will be threefold. Frum single-handedly will reinvigorate sleeping research through this amazing process, and it will undoubtedly attract scholars from various fields across the globe (this brings in another question of desirable stock options of which I will speak of later). Another implication contends that, because REM is the chief element of sleep, the person who has ingested Frum will wake up feeling very refreshed —even if the person slept for considerably less than usually required. This could reduce the amount of necessary sleep among humans to nearly half of what it is now! This alone is a colossal leap in the history of all humans, let alone neuroscience and dream research. Just imagine a world where a person would be completely content sleeping for only four hours a night—28 hours a week, 1456 hours per year—as opposed to the average grown human who sleeps 8 hours a night, 56 hours a week, 2912 hours per year. With half the sleep necessary, the average person would be able to experience that much more of life. The other implication suggested, and by far the most important, is the furthering of the mind. The genesis of the word “furthuring” lies in the novel The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, brilliantly composed by Tom Wolfe. I use that word in a purposeful fashion—for mind expansion is exactly the thing that I want to create through Frum. Some of the most amazing discoveries in the history of humanity have “come” to their creators through the unconscious medium of dreams. A few ideas that sprang from the depths of the subconscious include: in 1965, the melody for the song “Yesterday” came to Paul McCartney in a dream; two of the dreams of Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz led to major scientific discoveries (the Structure Theory and discoveries about the Benzene molecule); in 1964, Jack Nicklaus discovered a new golf swing in a dream bringing him out of a bad golf slump; and Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity was inspired by a dream whereby he was rushing down a mountainside and watching the appearance of the stars change as he approached the speed of light. These examples represent important contributions to the world in many different disciplines. Improvements in the fields of math and physics were dreamt up. Physical remedies that affected the ability of someone to better play a sport
were discovered. Pop culture was actually affected in a much broader sense, but I settled on giving “Yesterday” as the example for the simple fact that it is one of the most recorded songs in the world (and was conceived partly in a dream!). This is absolutely incredible. This is to display that dreams have already aided the genius of mankind in creating wondrous and potentially earth-shattering discoveries. An astonishing reservoir of untapped knowledge awaits! We as humans owe it to ourselves to synthesize the dream process. Frum, for all intents and purposes, is THE drug of the future. The only hitch as of now is the creation of the actual chemical concoction that will bring about the desired effects. I have various biochemists as well as students of neuroscience at my disposal, but they likely will not do. I need the brightest and best to achieve greatness. The business end of the drug will likely take off as long as some criteria are met. I will need a chief advisor of the media, because public opinion is what will drive or absolutely murder the sales of Frum. If Frum is pitched by others in such a way to induce outrage in the public, it will mark the beginning of the end, save for an independently funded project (which will be highly unlikely). This media advisor must deter any publicity from people that think Frum is simply like LSD or some other illegal drug. For one, it is a completely natural process being primed (and hopefully induced) and is in no way even marginally illegal. Secondly, again, this “illegal drug” connotation will extremely hinder any sales. Stock options will be open to anyone who desires, with me as chief creator and mind behind the idea automatically getting fifty-two percent of the stocks available. Steve Jobs, as you may know, was an advocate of mind expansion through the form of drugs as well. I am, therefore, coming to you after exhausting much of my funds and having my extensive research meet various roadblocks in the neuro-scientific process of the stimulation of both the pons and occipital lobe. Barbiturates and sedatives are a less important aspect of the drug and are easily manipulated, comparatively speaking. Ideas that carry this incredible weight behind them only occur once in a lifetime. This is the lifetime of Frum — here and now. Join my scarce research team and I in our pursuit for the most elusive, yet visceral, part of our treasured history as humans. Thank you for your time. Most Sincerely, Dr. T.R. Sanders
Guillermo; Paula Helmstedt; Oil on Canvas; 24”x30”
Behind the Altar, on the Persian Rug
Lauren Hodkiewicz Father stands squat on his tasseled, Persian rug. His hands are flat and open, like a flower stretching its petals. He looks up at ceiling beams and creates a special connection with God while he turns wheat and grapes into Jesus. I’m kneeling on the fringe of his Persian rug. My white robe is flirting with its edge, its darting lines and flowery pathways hidden behind black, serious soles. These are the corners of Mass that God’s privileged get to see every Sunday. I’ve missed my cue. The stage lights create a fog. My Velcro robe gets caught on the jeans that everyone can see. I knew I shouldn’t have worn them. God’s House requires formal attire. The glass tray with its twin glass containers trembles as I reach the Holy table. His red face is pulsing at the corners, his eyes burning my name into Hell. I am a performer off-step, and the old routine is ruined. I begin to pour the wine into a brass chalice. A drip dodges my foot and wets the carpet in a tear-shape. I’m too afraid to look up. What the fuck are you doing? His microphone is covered up. Just what the fuck in God’s name do you think you’re doing?
On Foot; Jen Quilty; Sculpture and Digital Photography
I Hear the Quiet Galloping of Horses
Larissa June Marie Hahn
I am adrift in a pool of angels or vipers: the most artistic branches numbed by the chemicals that line our food. Convinced the night is real. Our poems are prayers, and there is only one answer.
And it’s possible I’ll choke on wine before I ever find the love inside of me. The key lies through my eyes, down the stories of synapses, and in my belly, the meaning of life is found. I did not care for it. I did not take it.
And yet this to know: how my senses are illusions like a mirror reflecting itself. I stare at poppy seeds on a couch that stands for chains, and my body bares the shackles.
The escape hatch underneath the pornography is to shake off the litter of our heart, to sing songs of being born again on the shore. To delete concepts of time and memories of that bed we made before.
I am engulfed in self-imposed burning as I watch two lovers play this video game for Eternity: the snake charmers charm snakes, and the snakes are the snake charmers. The Democrats and Republicans are two gangsters at a crapshoot, like the end of the movie when we find out the main character has been dead since the beginning. Still. It only lasts for a moment as I walk dripping to the locked door. I use my bloody hands, awakened to find a sword—but it’s a dull, tiny thing, fragile as any man’s ego. So easily fallen, they die to defend what was never theirs.
Sun Bear; Callie Mangan; Etching
Goodbye, Castle in the Air Joanna Jaeger Is there shame in settling for a normal existence? You wonâ€™t change the world. You might not even leave a lasting impact. Youâ€™ll be one of millions, no, billions. Your name will remain unknown outside of your circle. And when your circle passes, So will your legacy. Is there shame in allowing this to be your reality? For so long, legacy is what I have desired. To keep living, even once my body has finished. Youth gives you the power to craft these big dreams, The kind that leave legacy. With each year that passes, those dreams get smaller, or disappear. Do I call this a tragedy, or the way life is meant to go? It pains me to see these thoughts of grandeur leave my mind, As I become comfortable with the idea of a mediocre existence. How bleak.
Observations; Kelsey M Wenberg; Photograph
quantum physicality Emily Hegland so there’s a certain spirituality to the way he speaks of gravity and how time could race by (although i’ve seen it stop) nothing is stable or stony or statuesque as our bodies may believe—in fact, i can sense how they deceive: the kind of fluidity of he and me, the air we breathe, this perpetual probability of where we may be stone is unstable, too so let’s decompose to the stuff of atoms bounding electrons and unpredictable nuclei that make up our eyes (our you and i’s, our sighs), and i won’t know which atoms are me or he or the air we breathe religiously, and we’ll go from proper names engraved in stone to letters in the sand just curves among grains among waves to wash away
Gallery; David Michaels; Photograph
and remind us we’re just quivering parts of atoms we could trade
Sonnet to my Beloved Technology Trevor Dinsmoor
How could I have survived without a phone, Without my texts, my tweets constantly flowing? And just think if the world had never known How mobile communication’s growing. And too with no computer how’d I do My writing, reading, and widespread research? For these things all once took much longer too. Why now I needn’t even attend church. I love modern music on my iPod. I create playlists in my library To add to this my dear musical god. With my headphones, it’s a sanctuary. Without these holy three what’d my life be Except an empty, boring, slow story?
Upward; David Michaels; Photograph
Think with your World MT Schmitz
Our heads are illusions. Looking in and out, I think maybe our concrete thought blocks aren’t the boundary between you and not—you your housing looks to be. That, supported by the globe on our shoulders, there is more to you than you are. Allow a moment's noticing... Sigh through your eyes, and your round walls fall. Then flowing outwards, like rays from a bright idea, your mind fills not only your head, but the whole room. Feel your top, a tide pool halo, where the ocean of the world crashes in and washes out. On and on, waves lap life in, as every drop of light you daily drink intermingles in little eddies, whirling transitory, constituting you— estuary. I realize, immaterialized by way of an overcrowding of things that don't feel like me, and a resistance to the relief of swelling, a mind’s horizon. That off this coast and into a sea of stars lies the point where things that don't fall into you and eye hang in some strange web of someone else, un-sensed, and drift away. Chase this edge until you sink. You think with your world.
Forming; Jennika Bastian; Oil on Canvas; 24”x36”
Painting a Picture Jerome Murray Her hair, she dyed red one night, while on an art binge. Painting fingernails, toes, canvas, walls, notebooks, and lips, she lost it and painted her hair. It’s dark red now, and wet with dripping dye. The dye seeps into her shirt, turning the white and black plaid, a lumberjack red. It still looks good on her though. There’s never too much heat for her. I’d imagine she channels it, the heat, up and out her head. Like a play dough pumper, her hair streams forth, dangling and swirling in thick, marinara-drenched spaghetti swirls. That’s why she paints, I guess. The heat, the hair, it all has to be put up into something. Channeled, and organized, into something burningly beautiful.
I wonder what her hair tastes like? Maybe, it’s like the cherry jelly they put into doughnuts, or maybe it’s not so sweet, but more like a red pepper. In all honesty, it probably tastes like shampoo, which doesn’t taste nearly as nice as it smells. Either way, like a ruby-headed horse’s mane it sure looks soft and smooth, the painter’s red mop. I’ll bet she conditions.
Kinetic Disconnect; Jennika Bastian; Oil on Canvas; 24”x36”
Sonnet of a Caterer
This line of work, you learn lawyers are cocks and think they are the shit. Meanwhile, preschool teachers are the best patrons, shirts are smocks matched to bright skirts, dance as friends, look like fools. Lawyers wear their best “gowns” to their “ball” where they get fucked up to fuck each other, ask the “wait staff ” for their numbers. It’s not fair, maybe, for the black-and-white people tasked with pampering the patterned, sparkling guests to judge. But when we take off these ties and aprons, we don our own colors. Yes, behind this smile, dark feelings start to rise. The uniforms: invisibility Cloaks, and that side you try to hide, we see.
Reflection; Catherine Rutledge; Watercolor; 29”x37”
WUD Publications Committee Celebrating and Promoting Literacy We support six publications: The Dish - Food and Dining Culture Magazine Emmie - Madisonâ€™s Music Magazine Illumination - The Undergraduate Journal of Humanities MODA - Fashion and Lifestyle Magazine Souvenirs - A Collection of International Experiences UW Flash Fiction - Poetry and Prose in Under 1,000 Words And a screenwriting group: Fade In
This issue features: Lydia Caswell, Tyler Dedrick, Herschel Kissinger, Trevor Dinsmoor, Larissa June Marie Hahn, Joanna Jaeger, Grace O’Mear...
Published on May 6, 2013
This issue features: Lydia Caswell, Tyler Dedrick, Herschel Kissinger, Trevor Dinsmoor, Larissa June Marie Hahn, Joanna Jaeger, Grace O’Mear...