Purchase College Purchase, New York Issue 12.2 Spring/Summer 2015 Italics Mine showcases the new, creative literary voices of Purchase College students—majors and non-majors alike—through print and web. The diversity of the student population is reflected in the pieces we strive to share with the entire college community.
Italics Mine is a notable addition to the Lilly B. Lieb Port Creative Writing Program at Purchase College. The program’s close proximity to the cultural life of New York City, its numerous writers in residence, and its summer writing program on the French Riviera make it unique among undergraduate programs. It is the only program in the SUNY system to offer such a major. Special thanks to the Purchase College Affiliates Grant for their generous support in the printing of this issue.
The Creative Writing Program at SUNY Purchase College, in Purchase, New York 10577, publishes Italics Mine. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of either the magazine staff or any institution. Following publication, all rights revert to the authors and artists.
“Walking on a Dream” Cover Art by Daisy Padilla-Gutierrez
| summer 2015
Olivia Behan Joe Kryzyzewski Graziella Randazzo Nick Stewart
Alexis Anderson Riley Dixon Luke Jennings Rachael Smith Cassie Valencia
Whisper Blanchard Michael Callari Carly Fowler Martin Reinhardsen
Layout & Design
Whisper Blanchard Riley Dixon Graziella Randazzo Cassie Valencia
Alexis Anderson Olivia Behan Rachael Smith Nick Stewart
Elizabeth Shove Michael Callari Carly Fowler
Luke Jennings Joe Kryzyzewski Martin Reinhardsen
Submission Manager Meagan McCabe
Faculty Advisors Mehdi Okasi Monica Ferrell Catherine Lewis
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Table of Contents Poetry Power of a Line
stephanie louise opper
Your Body Far Away Like Dead Road
You and I in the Forest in the Hive
Pop Was a Farmer Once
The Collected Saying of Manhattan
The Man Who Died in My Arms
stephanie louise opper
stephanie louise opper
Do Not Touch My Stomach
kourtney naomi fullard
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We (A Manifesto)
kourtney naomi fullard
How Something So Lovely...
Fiction Guardians and Strangers
gerald i. deis
Little Soldier Boys
A Burdensome Man
I Used To Be A Writer
Nonfiction The Visit
Surf and Grace
On the Lam
table of contents 5
Art Koi Fish Ink
Up the Hill
Fear and Loathing
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stephanie landi 7
The Power of a Line kourtney fullard
And the defining characteristic of its color. The positioning of its points on a plane. Whether it be perpendic Ular or partner paralleled. Its height and Or width. Whether it be a tally mark or Tick. Drawn in the sin of sand by dead Twig or stick. Forming backbone of print Or of Sanskrit. Aramaic. Arabic. The equivalent of the atomic base Unit of the written word. The hum of architectural soundness. The arc, turned curve, of the earthâ€™s Roundness. The connecting bridge Between youandI. The collapsed Isosceles between sea and sky.
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Wife’s Critique by kevin domanski
Why do you always use me as a vulgar subject in your poems Why can’t you write Romantic Thoughtful Caring Poetry about little things I do for you Write about that time I….
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by stephanie louise opper
I’ve had one too many beers I realize as they flow through my bloodstream – into my veins – exploding them as when they rupture, emptying themselves into an idling container of running warm water. Draining toxins from bodies made of pure scum, turning blue to purple to black – black – the same color as the world around the Night Children. I swear that vampires can say God’s name without choking and Holy Water won’t burn their throats too because I’ve seen it. They have been undead more years than you can count and you’ll forget about them before you can question my logic. Yes, try it, because all you know is that I haven’t slept in ten days and you wonder how reliable of a narrator I am, seeing as one more and I’ll be gone. But just remember, I’m not dead
stephanie louise opper
Guardians and Strangers by bridget dease
“Everything is going to be alright,” was the biggest lie my mama ever
told me. On Thursday afternoons in December, we used to stare blankly into our fireplace, just her and I, watching silver sparks rage their way through a dimming fire. When I looked over at her, she was humming. I recognized the tune from somewhere, but couldn’t think of the name. She lit a cigarette and it clung to her bottom lip. When I looked away she said, “What if I wasn’t your mama no more?” “You are my mama,” I said, still looking at the fire. “But what if I wasn’t no more? Who would take my place?” “Nobody, ‘cause nobody can ever replace you.” My mama turned to look at me, but her eyes weren’t open. Her eyelids were greasy, glimmering in the light like a gem we could never afford. She was fighting back tears and failing miserably. “I keep thinking about all the things I’ve done, and can’t think of a single reason why I deserve to be forgiven for ‘em,” she confessed, shrugging. “Ain’t nothing more I can do, is there?” Her voice cracked and she covered her mouth to suppress her sobs. “God’ll forgive you, mama. Ain’t that what you always tell me and Rodney? If we do something bad, you always tell us to pray to God. Because he’ll forgive us.” “I do say that,” she said. “Don’t cry, mama.” I grabbed her hand and laid my cheek across her knuckles. One of her bright red acrylic nails was loose and fell off as soon as I pulled away from her. She just picked it up and shoved it into her eggshell colored nightgown pocket. “If I wasn’t your mama, would you believe that?” she asked me. “Believe what?” “That God is a forgiving God. That he’ll forgive me for all I’ve done wrong. Would you still believe that if I wasn’t your mama?” Mama had been the only mama I’d ever known. As far as I was concerned, I wouldn’t get another one. I didn’t know what I would believe if some other woman with black nappy hair, dry skin, greasy eyelids and thighs the size of the Pacific Ocean had raised me. So I said “No. I wouldn’t believe nothing.” 12 italics Mine
I always had a habit of saying things I didn’t mean. She grabbed me by my uniform shirt collar and wept into my perfectly combed fro. I was sitting on the floor next to her, my torso twisted at an uncomfortable angle, legs sprawled over her thighs which seemed to increase in thickness every day. She was rocking back and forth to the beat of a silent song. The cigarette still clung to her lip. Little pieces of ash fell onto my legs and slowly, the fire dimmed and made a scary noise like dirty souls breathing towards their vicious end. I was ten and that was the night mama told me
“I keep thinking about all the things I’ve done, and can’t think of a single reason why I deserve to be forgiven for ‘em.” she had a Devil living in her head. “I can’t control it, boy. No matter what I do, I’ll always be part Devil,” she said. “You understand what I’m sayin’?” I nodded my head, but I didn’t understand. When mama said “Devil,” I thought of the Tasmanian Devil from Looney Tunes. Its slobber and incomprehensible speech frightened me at first, but I got used to it. Taz was a ferocious beast who destroyed everything he touched. I guess I would get
used to my mama too. “What kind of Devil is it?” I asked. I also had a habit of asking questions I didn’t want to know the answers to. “I don’t know. It’s only one kind of devil out there, and he’s in here.” Mama pointed to her temple with the butt end of the cigarette. “Is the Devil gonna hurt us, mama?” I asked. I wasn’t looking at her. “Not unless he wants to,” she said. I watched her light another cigarette. She had already smoked two packs that night. “Mama, ain’t smoking bad? You never let Daddy or Rodney smoke in the house,” I said. “That’s ‘cause Rodney’s too young and your Daddy’s about a pack away from cancer. This here is my house. I say who can and can’t smoke.” “Can I try? Just once?” Mama looked at me as if she was about to slap me. I had become immune to her ‘I’m about to slap your ass’ face. Her eyebrows, which now resembled brown bushier versions of the mold that grew in our basement, were lowered. Her neck was stiff, a vein protruded on her forehead. I didn’t flinch; I wasn’t afraid. She slapped me, though. My stillness must have angered her. “Boy! Didn’t I just tell you your Daddy’s a pack away from cancer?” “I’m sorry, mama. I just thought—” “You just thought nothing!” She rolled her eyes. “Don’t ever ask me stupid shit like that again, ok?” “Yes, ma’am,” I said. “You ain’t never gonna smoke. You ain’t never getting cancer. You bridget dease
ain’t never turning into your Daddy,” she said with more attitude than I’d ever seen a black woman exhibit.
“Please, you just a little speck in the wind right now. Wait till you’re the whole storm.” “Yes, ma’am,” I said again. I looked at her, still holding my left cheek. It stung something terrible. My mama’s hand had left an imprint around the base of my ear to my nose. I couldn’t imagine a mama with hands bigger than hers. A couple of Thursday afternoons later, my mama and I gathered by the fireplace again. I had turned eleven and everything about getting older terrified me. I thought I’d turn out like my brother, Rodney, who at eleven was already smoking (behind mama’s back at first, but when she caught him, he was slapped into the next century). God knows I didn’t want to be anything like him. Rodney was out with friends that afternoon. He was told to be back before the streetlights were on which meant he wouldn’t come back until the next morning (or night) hung over, reeking of garbage, shit, sex and alcohol. My Daddy was God knows where. I hadn’t seen him in a month. “You want some beer?” my mama asked. I looked at her, eyebrows stretched so far above my head I thought they’d snap out of place. 14 italics Mine
Surely my mama wasn’t trying to turn me into Daddy. “You want some or not? I got some fresh ones in the fridge. Your Daddy don’t drink ‘em like he used to and Rodney’s thirsty ass’ll come in here and drink all of ‘em.” “Beer? Beer’s bad ain’t it?” I said, thinking it was a trick. I hoped I wouldn’t get slapped again. She shook her head, smiling her usual crooked smile. Sometimes mama’s smile angered me. I just wished she had a normal smile, one that somebody would want to smile back to. There were bits of food wedged in between her two front teeth. She smacked and smacked until it was out and spit it into our white carpet. She smiled again, looking as if she was going to laugh out loud; red lipstick was smeared across the front row of her teeth. God, I hated my mama’s smile. “Root beer, boy! Not real beer. You think I’d give you beer? Please, you just a little speck in the wind right now. Wait till you’re the whole storm.” I nodded, but I knew I never wanted to be a storm. It sounded too risky, but also too promising. Mama went into the kitchen and came back with two cold sweating root beers. The water droplets dripped down her ashy legs, and for the first time, I could see that my mama’s legs were brown. The ash had always made her legs look white. She scratched herself a lot; little flakes embedded themselves in our carpet which hadn’t stayed white for very long. That should be my art project,
I thought. I’m gonna call it “My black mommy is a part of my white carpet.” She refused to grease her body. Something about Daddy not being able to ‘grip’ properly. I know what that means now, but then, I didn’t want to know what being ‘gripped’ was or what being ‘gripped’ felt like. It sounded barbaric, but then again, I guess my Daddy was a sucker for the Devil in Mama. “A song came into my head the other night. I couldn’t make it out to save my life, but it’s sweet, and I remember I always hated it when my mama sung it to me,” Mama said. “Why did you hate it?” I asked her, sipping my root beer in small gulps. I knew it’d be the last drink I’d have for the night. Mama didn’t like me doing those late night sneaks down to the kitchen. “Because it was about her. It went something like Mama’s little baby, don’t you fret. Mama’s little baby, you’re all set. You are mama’s little baby, I’ll protect you with all I’ve got. Or something like that.” “Did you ever sing that to me?” I asked her. “Yeah, once or twice, but you wouldn’t stop crying.” “Really?” “Yeah. The only thing to get you to stop was to rub your tummy nice and smooth-like. And then when you stopped, your glossy eyes looked up at mine, like you saw stars in them, or a Devil.” “I didn’t see no Devil, Mama.” Though, I was too young to remember, I was sure I had. “You don’t know boy. You was
‘bout as little as my pinky finger. You don’t know what you saw,” Mama said. She started to light another cigarette. “Does Daddy know?” I asked. “Know what?” “About that song you used to sing to me. The one Grandma sang to you.” “Oh, no. Your Daddy don’t know nothing about that,” she said, coughing on her rushed cigarette puffs. “Does he know about the Devil?” I asked. “He’s never not known, but I ain’t never needed to tell him neither.” I looked at my mama, confused. She made no sense.
Your Body Far Away like Dead Road by loisa fenichell
The way there are stripes of light that cross my wall like small bodies of jesus; the way a boy once dampened me into his chest and then spit me out again, like a spoiled goat; the way the crumbs that have spilled onto my bed remind me of your body; the way there are flocks of geese here instead of blocks of concrete (The way I am not a wolf like you think I am, the way there is no fur to cover my belly) These days I feel much more related to my father than to my mother – these days there is wine in my system the same color as the blood from my first period these days I am looking at my body the way a man with a gun looks at deer kill I picture a beach covered in deer kill with you somewhere in the middle of a pile of gory antlers On this beach it is winter, my hips shivering with ice, your hands over my skin – skin like the walls of a slaughterhouse. Your hands are somehow not trembling; but somewhere I smell jellyfish as though it were a corpse and somewhere my body is as brutal as another boy’s bed For a week I was sleeping in another boy’s bed and proud to tell you. Some nights it is as though you are the one (still) looking at my body the way a man with a gun looks at deer kill: the beach is gone now; please, stop talking to me. 16 italics Mine
by thomas luke
I have fallen in love with the color pink again—all because of an arti-
cle in Time Magazine. Time Fucking Magazine. The same magazine that published an annual “Man of the Year Edition” until 1999. Now it’s “Person.” How heroic. I thought I could use this time to reflect and look back on life. Barnes & Noble book store is giving away free cookies for education. It’s hard to deny the current state of affairs when they’re so chunky and delectable. I used the rag as a placemat for this mustered up array of sweets. Sesame chicken, a day old bagel, and now academia nut. The headline in question: “Does the Color Pink Exist?” Sounds like something my stoner brother would say. Does it even exist? My relationship with the color pink has changed drastically with a headline. Pink triangles were used to label homosexuals in Nazi Germany. This concept had scared western society into dressing babies like thumbs. There were military studies that found out that pink is the least visible color at night time, the most stealthy. Yet these men persons grow up to be sailors and need to look totally badass. Heaven forbid we have pink naval fleets protecting the nation’s blue waters. Black, white, and gray, contrary to popular belief, are a lie. If you ever watched The Addams Family, set in a cob-webbed haunted mansion, you might be surprised to learn the morbid set was wall to wall pink. Those who are well versed in photography (note: I didn’t say people) know how pink allows a greater scale of gray to be caught on film. As a child I went to the American Television museum. What I saw shocked me. There’s a complete diorama of the show’s set and seeing it feels as if you have been put in a time machine. The curtains, the archways, the regal mirrors; a family of the undead completely replicated. That’s not so hard if you ask me. I remember my brother’s red eyes darting to the Addams Family’s hookah. I wonder if it worked...I wonder who bought it. I knew much less about drugs back then. I was 6 at the time so I cutely called it a, “Who-Are-You,” a la Alice in Wonderland. “Awesome,” is what he called it. A pair of hairy hands dragged us along to the much more family-friendly I Love Lucy stage. My teenage brother proceeded to call Lucy a “fire crotch” under his breath like the smokes he would sneak behind the tool shed. I didn’t get what that 18 italics Mine
term meant either. It’s like your first cigarette: the nicotine gets its way in eventually. My parents always had some uncanny trouble listening to Tim’s snarky comments. A regular Greg Brady situation. Perhaps they were temporarily deaf from arguing about the admission price for a Cable Catacomb. What quality do you expect for a Cable TV museum in rural Ohio? Smoke and mirrors? To me, being trans was about as poignant a discovery as color in film. It was so simple to ignore. Now only dogs are left to see in black and white. Your parents take you to a museum to show you something millions of
“Black, white, and gray—contrary to popular belief—are a lie.” people see every evening. You choose not to talk about it until the car ride home. At one point the conversation stops but there’s still plenty of hot air in the car. “Open the window,” my unmowed lawn of a brother demanded. Tim, being the oldest sibling, could lie all he wanted and be treated with higher praise and respect. This made me so tragically angry not too long ago. I wanted to kick Tim in the shin for how lucky he was. If my memory suits me, I did. He laughed when I kicked him. Fucking druggie. You could hot box inside his bowl cut, pun intended. Every color exists, you
just can’t see it. Like a bruise under the skin. That’s my color theory anyway. I’m not one of those “post-racial” types who refuse to see color. I’m not so fond of what rainbows are hovering over our heads: marriage. If you hear the word “marriage” on a sitcom there’s always a laugh track after it. It’s the same for other classic punchlines such as “women” or “in-laws.” See a pattern? The most common scenario is a pig skin of a husband and a field goal of a wife lashing it out. Those shows were always on too late for me to watch. I could still hear it echo from the den. It puts you in a trance; parents talking about you when they think you’re asleep. Her high pitches and his low ones. Their voices tossing you around back and forth. You play the role of sleeping child for as long as possible. I forget my dad exists sometimes. I have my strong avian features to remind me. It was a “WHAM” to his Penguin face when I came out to him. It was Father’s Day so I freed a copy of “It’s a Girl!” from the local book jail for him to own. “From Lucy,” it said in red sharpie. He fainted and cracked his hook nose, our hook nose, in half. He got a new shell and it’s been his Facebook profile picture for about a dozen days. Turns out people come in all shapes and sizes. The first heavy person I saw on television was actually the Penguin on Batman. The Penguin: outcast by his family, a hook nose, a chain smoker. We were a match made in heaven. My mother was a math teacher. She saw me as a complicated parthomas luke
parallelogram that needed proof to be real. I always thought it was a given. If my math is correct she vacuums three times a day (ever since the wiener took my room) and showers ap-
“I miss the denial of youth. I am recycling my money to watch new movies every day” proximately five times more than the average person. This schedule allows her more time to devise in her own little cone of silence. The evidence piled up, literally. One day she came in to my mess of a room and told me to pick up my laundry. That was code for, “Throw out your dresses.” I told her it was my own goddamn mess and we have not talked since. On the way back from the museum, when I still couldn’t ride in the front seat, my brother put his hand out the window to smack a cow-patterned mail box. Anyone older than 12 is oblivious. “You’re mean,” I said. “Not everything is black and white,” he said, blazed and bruised. I had no idea how much that stoner-ism stuck with me. Not every shade of red is so black and white. It’s all Technicolor through a shiny 35mm lens whether it is a Valentine or blood on my bed sheets. I went from being someone manly enough to wear pink shirts to school, to being 20 italics Mine
someone gay enough to wear dresses, to some...thing completely different from the two. I became Cousin “It.” It is getting dark out. My food barely fills my stomach as if I have four that need filling. All I want is a glass of milk. That’s as much as I can muster. I wonder if I could camp out in the Children’s section and start over. I miss the denial of youth. I am recycling my money to watch new movies every day. Buy, receipt, return, repeat. I’m watching the cult-classic The Goonies. It’s starting to feel like home here. Only I’m finally in the room watching late night TV instead of pretending to nap. My portable DVD player is going to die soon. I’m Sean Astin screaming from a well, “IT’S OUR TIME DOWN HERE!” Statistically, I’m dying sooner than my mother’s little “dash hound,” as she calls it. I’m kicked out and a dog takes my place. Tickle me pink.
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by gerald i. deis
Boyle: shy, awkward, overweight, young teen, much better online than in person Minerva: fun, flirty, the online object of Boyle’s affection, they haven’t met in person Production Notes: if a Word is Capitalized, it indicates Emotional Impact on boyle dialogue appearing in boxes is an online instant messenger conversation, displayed on stage by a large screen facing the audience SCENE IV:
lights up. boyle and minerva. online. Together.
boyle: i think she likes me minerva: oh yeah? boyle: i think so minerva: look at boyle, boyle’s got a gf boyle: gf? minerva: girlfriend boyle jeez boyle: oh minerva: you are not very good at this online thing boyle: i’m better in person minerva: i hope so
boyle is confused, taken aback.
gerald i. deis
boyle: what’s that supposed to mean? minerva: when we meet in person boyle is even more confused, pulls away from the computer, types furiously. boyle: we’re going to meet? minerva: oh yeah definitely it’s destiny boyle: it is? minerva: mhmm energy.
boyle is overcome. boyle backs away from the computer. paces. full of nervous
boyle: what does that mean? destiny?
we’re Destined to meet?
we are? i didn’t know we were. we’re Destined.
how does she know. how could she know? she can’t know for sure.
i mean, we’re Destined. Destined to be together. i didn’t know.
boyle can’t sit down straight for the rest of the scene.
each ping of a new message will draw boyle back to the computer, if only for a moment. boyle cannot be contained.
boyle types at the computer standing up, or sitting crouched in the chair.
minerva is calm and collected. smiling pleasantly. minerva: it’s you and me kid
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boyle: cool when are we going to meet? minerva: in time it’ll happen don’t worry boyle: i won’t
boyle continues pacing. bouncing. expending kinetic energy.
minerva spins in her chair. back and forth. nonchalant.
boyle: this is crazy. Destined. but if She says we’re destined then, i mean, you know, what am i supposed to say?
what can i say?
what do i say?
we’re Destined to be together. i guess i never felt it, but yeah.
boyle walks with a little more determination.
yeah. i FEEL it too.
minerva: this is a weird question boyle: okay minerva: don’t take it the wrong way boyle: okay minerva: you can’t take it the wrong way boyle: i won’t minerva: how often do you think about sex? boyle practically knocks the chair over. leaping, bounding, shooting away from the desk.
gerald i deis
boyle: oh man!
what do i say?!
how can i answer?! i can’t tell her the truth… can i?
i should just be honest.
boyle: every once in a while minerva: not often?
boyle hesitates to answer.
boyle: not really i don’t think how often do you think about it?
boyle sits forward, face inches from the screen.
minerva spins in her chair.
minerva: a lot more than you do apparently boyle: really? minerva: yeah boyle: oh minerva: i think about it a lot i imagine what it’s like some of my friends have had sex that’s what they say i think becky hasn’t she said she has but i think she just said that because we know that tracy had sex tracy had sex with darren ew darren is so weird anyway
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tracy definitely had sex with darren at her house becky says she has but i don’t believe it she says it was with darren too boyle: would you with darren? minerva: ew no way how often do you really think about sex?
boyle: a lot minerva: i thought so boyle: i lied minerva: it’s okay it’s normal you don’t have to be ashamed or scared or whatever boyle: it makes me nervous minerva: i think everybody gets nervous boyle: i wouldn’t know how to do it minerva: don’t you watch porn boyle: i can’t really minerva: why not? boyle: parents minerva: there’s ways to hide it boyle: there is? minerva: you are not good at this online thing boyle boyle: i know minerva: watch porn it’s easy that’s sex gerald i. deis
boyle: okay minerva: it’s not scary boyle: i know minerva: would you have sex with me?
boyle falls to the ground. exuberant, elated, befuddled.
boyle: what is happening?
what is going on?
oh my god!
what is this?
this is amazing!
i can’t believe… i don’t know… what is… how…
this is crazy!
boyle is on the ground. minerva types quickly, impatient.
boyle rises at the sound of the pings. minerva: would you? hello? boyle: sure i mean yeah i would minerva: what would you do?
boyle is shaking.
minerva is curled up in her seat. still spinning sit to side. she rubs a hand against her arm slightly. minerva: what would you do to me
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boyle: i donâ€™t know minerva: ugggghhh watch some porn boyle you can hide it from your parents itâ€™s easy you have some studying to do boyle: okay
minerva logs off and exits.
gerald i. deis
You and I in the Forests in the Hive by alana costello
Lip-licking—curses for the time in the cabinet there was only honey A finger in the jar—stomach in your mouth—only honey In heat—a ritual of bees flying in the Virginia sun Females puzzled and angry—rip off heads to get to the honey Tobacco smoke—5 o’ clock—in the spirit world—Chinatown in the dark A feeling that home will never come—snot dripping from your nose like honey Intoxicants kill—right? You’re rotating—sitting still—stop/move— stop/move Hyperventilate/They slap you—shut the fuck up—pass you a blunt dipped in honey Bee-keepers allergic to venom—bow in shamanic prayer—another day another day I am found with my finger in the jar—dead—
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by margaret levin
The walls were yellowed and the lights were cold. Pamphlets filled with details about every STD imaginable cluttered the end tables. Avoiding eye contact with everyone and everything in the waiting room, I once again questioned why I was there. I only turned 15 three weeks ago. My mother must’ve seen my face start to glow red out of embarrassment because she began to reassure me once again that this is just something every women has to do and it’s better to visit before any problems occur. The small amount of relief to my anxiety that this speech gave was completely extinguished by the nurse calling my name. I gave myself a minute before getting up to follow her to the examination room. I’m not sure what I was expecting to happen in this time span, but it gave me a moment to realize what was about to occur would be way more horrific than any scenario my imagination was capable of creating. If I were asked to describe the examination room in one word it would be florescent, very florescent. The nurse handed me a gown and instructed me to remove all my clothing, put it on, and sit on the table. I didn’t understand why I had to completely undress, but I didn’t question it. I sat down and was immediately blinded by the lights. I thought to myself that this would be the perfect moment for aliens to come abduct me, but then it occurred to me that it wouldn’t matter if I were on this table or in a spaceship – I was about to be probed either way. The seemingly endless ridicule and mockery from my mother was brought to a quick halt when the doctor walked in. He was a very male doctor, a significant characteristic that I suppose was purposely left out. I looked at my mom in horror and was met with sheer laughter. I urgently sought relief from this moment in the blinding lights above and zoned out the events that followed the doctor’s arrival. I was brought back to reality when the doctor stood from his chair and instructed me to get dressed and meet him in his office. I never enjoyed putting my clothes on more than I did in that moment. It was immediate relief. I figured nothing could be more embarrassing than that experience... I was very wrong. As we walked down the hall to his office my mother congratulated me on my first experience of someone “getting a look at the goods.” I could’ve 32 italics Mine
died right there, but I must’ve really pissed off the gods somehow because they showed no mercy. His office was interesting. The shelves were lined with books as well as a large collection of photographs of his family. I was glad to see that there weren’t nearly as many diagrams as you’d expect in a gynecologist’s office. My inspection was cut short when he started to discuss his family, which was a conversation that apparently required my attention.
in his footsteps, which seemed like a peculiar aspiration for a 15-yearold, the doctor wrapped up the appointment. As he was leaving the room he looked to me and said, “Well you have a very nice healthy vagina,” and then turned to my mother and continued with, “Compliments to the chef.”
“He paused for a moment and then informed me that I had a very healthy vagina, a statement that he continued to repeat.” He began to go into great detail about his son, who was around my age. As he talked about how wonderful his beloved son was he started to examine a slide under a microscope. He paused for a moment and then informed me that I had a very healthy vagina, a statement that he continued to repeat. I could tell that he was thoroughly enjoying how hard I cringed every time the words left his mouth. He then swiveled his chair grabbing a picture of his son and handing it to me to admire. I thought to myself, at least it’s just me and my mother here experiencing this painfully embarrassing moment, and it’s not like it’s being read aloud to a class full of people I barely know. After a 10 minute conversation about how his son wants to follow margaret levin
Pop Was A Farmer Once by alana costello
He’s reading the weekly mailers— sifting through Plows and iron tractor parts the china cabinet shakes when she walks dusty farm on the wall with cherub children shifts uncomfortably on its steel cord he admires them—golden haired—immobile feeding ducks from their peach pit hands eddies tremble in the bowl of soup on the table (note: check the Richter scale) “I’m in love with him,” she says biting the clear filmy skin off her bottom lip Are you listening? he folds his pink hog hair arms says—
“It’s nothing personal—just— his kind are a different species— they don’t mix well whiteblack/blackwhite/black/white/black/pig
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I’m sure he’s a nice boy.”
Her mouth is on fire a fly sucks the sweat off her brow a cold plastic bag hand crawls across her face
shh don’t speak to your Pop that way No cursing Shush up
the soup inside chokes— sears the gums he is crumbling the plows and iron rods in his finger tips Shhh….
“Let’s take a drive
to the farm,” He says The plastic hand gags— sweating carcinogens into the skin— harvesting tiny tumors beneath the eyes—
the cord snaps the cherubs off the wall.
Little Soldier Boys
by molly mcnally
The shell blasts were faint enough that they sounded like thunder, gentle and rolling in the distance. The light that flashed in the sky could have been lightning, the black smoke storm clouds, and perhaps, if one pretended hard enough, the bullets would be no more than raindrops, poised to fall harmlessly over the edges of the trench when the storm was finally ready to break. “Have you ever seen the Highlands after a rain?” Francis asked. He leaned against his rifle, eyes staring calmly at the line between dirt wall and sky. His voice rolled steady and low, a quiet Scottish mumble weaving through the other men’s ears: “I mean, it’s raining all the time so it’s hard to ever catch a break, but when you do, on that rare day where the clouds actually clear away and the sun can come out…it’s like nothing else you’ve ever seen.” It was the color of the flashes that were the tell, more than the screeches of the artillery, or the distant spray of earth or even the way the clouds were illuminated from below rather than within. The color of the explosions were too orange, too yellow, rich with the promise of fire. Lightning was pure energy, white and hot and instant. “I went on a ride once, through the end of a rain, because the clouds were thin and grey and could not hold up to the sun for long.” Beside him, one man vomited, a sudden, violent action that occurred without sound or theatrics. On the other side, a man muttered incomprehensible prayer into a small golden cross hung around his neck. “They were the kind of clouds that burn away in patches, in layers, some here, some there, until finally you can see spots of blue.” Francis’s eyes grew bright with the thought. The crashes were louder, more frequent. Thunder could not roll that fast. Flash after flash, roar after roar, like two or three storms were colliding, clamoring over each other to prove who could yell the loudest. And there was no smell of rain. “It was coming down light, in a mist, a gentle spray that dewed up on my hair, my skin, the saddle, the horse’s back.” Francis gripped the rifle more tightly. The bayonet reflected an orange flash onto his face. “We were going slow, since the grass was slick with raindrops, but I wanted to get out in the open, out away from people, buildings.” The smell of gunpowder. Metal. Dirt. The smell of sweat dripping down faces, down noses, down chins, down necks. Collars of olive uniforms drenched. The smell of sewage, shitfilled mud squished beneath boots and weeks of fermentation. 36 italics Mine
The smell of the man’s vomit dripping inconsequently off the toe of his boot. No smell of the dampness of the earth, the dust kicked up by the first drops. No smell of moisture hanging heavy in the air; just dry, singeing breaths. One man near the ladder was crying. He tried to keep it silent but still the tears mixed with snot somewhere above the upper lip and swam there, thick and damp. A man near the front was shaking, his rifle wobbling so hard in his hand it threatened to fall. And Francis just stared at the horizon above him. “Already some clouds had burned away, leaving small patches of light on the sides of the hills. I slowed down the horse in the glen. I waited.” The praying man’s whispers grew faster. “It wouldn’t be long.” A few blasts of a machine gun. Tittering across the field. The bullets would be gentle. Just a part of the storm. Francis’ voice. “And then—” Droplets of metal, bouncing off the skin. Tickling. Gentle. “—with the rain still falling—” As gentle as the roll of a Scotsman’s tongue. “—the sky exploded in light. The sun cut a huge hole out through the clouds and spread its rays in every different direction. Damn near blinded me, near blinded my horse. He reared up against it and almost threw me.” A smile played around his lips. “But then my eyes adjusted, and the glen had – it had transformed. The grass looked more alive than any plant I’ve
ever seen. Every blade was bursting with color, magnified by the dew. You could see every shadow on the hills, every nook and cranny, every slice of rock. And through the sunlight, the rain kept falling, coming down from
“Flash after flash, roar after roar, like two or three storms were colliding, clamoring over each other to prove who could yell the loudest. And there was no smell of rain.” where the clouds held together. There was no rainbow over the mountains or anything like that. No, the sunlight mixed with every single drop of rain and they were like diamonds, thousands of little diamonds, falling from the sky.” He smiled, white teeth cutting through the dark air. “I sat there on the horse, suspended in a moment, transported to a world where I could catch precious jewels in the palm of my hand. And then it was done.” Perhaps they’d laugh when they went over the edge. Laugh with the boom of shell-blast thunder as the bullets pecked at their sides. “In seconds it was over,” Francis said. He repositioned his gun in the muck for a better position to lean. His eyes watched the wall of trench, unwavering. “The clouds took back over, the sun disappeared; the rain was just rain again. The same rain we had for weeks before, the same rain we’d have for weeks to come. The same rain molly mcnally
in Scotland right now.â€? Francis fell silent, and the only sounds came from the praying man and the artillery above. The man to the side watched the vomit slide over his boots. The man by the ladder dared not breathe too hard, for the others might hear his air turn to sobs. The man up front willed his limbs to hold still, for any sense of calm to fall over his heart and allow his gun to take steady aim. And they stood, watching that dark horizon between dirt and sky, listening for the shout of â€œUp! Up!â€? tongues dry in their mouths, rifles hard and final in their fists, little soldier boys all waiting for their turn to play in the rain.
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by nicolas hornyak
I. I gave a great big yawn once and hooked the scent of winter Burning past my nostrils, cold air impacting like a nor’easter. February should not smell like anything, but it smells like the promise of June And the dirt beneath the snow, a sprout which wants nothing more soon Than to emerge, brushing against the soil with a wayward caress Screaming “I am normal. I am normal.” Because it’s more a grasp To bring about the imagination and let the taste run to the back Of your throat and up the windpipe to your nose; we’re under attack. II. I wonder if piercings have ever taken away a bit of a person’s sense of smell. A better thought is probably what it costs to get into hell— Or purgatory, rather. I’m pretty sure I’ll spend time there with the family. Mother said so. Mom is a witch, but to be fair, only sparingly.
The Collected Saying of Manhattan by jalen garcia-hall
I grew up amidst gray flowers. There is no hope for this place anymore, The crown of green—building tops cropped with vines— Those are just dreams of Babylon, Here you are always moving: Sun crosses the sky, but you don’t see it, Moon hangs like a beast, its great eye seeing through the glass But who hears its howl? When you are sitting on the train, Beside the man masturbating, Beside the man with piss stains, Remember that you are in heaven And all the sons of the earth have killed to see this place. They are your forebears, and you sit on the graves of Iroquois And you’re smoking the peace pipe of Hiawatha. Remember that there is a balance Between sitting and falling here Some people are seated—so many are seated At the front step, at the great height of the opera, And so many have fallen—those men lay there small asses on the concrete And beg for coin. But they do not bow, Not like they do beside cathedrals in Rome. Here is how you sit: When crossing north on the 5 train, Stand beside the nearest seated white man: There will be so many, But they will always get off at 86th St. If they don’t, you’ve got a long way To Pelham Parkway.
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Seasonal Fruit by chris stewart
The sun was soft yellow on the dark brown marble. In the kitchen, grandma used a paper plate to stab the tangelo. â€œCut it down the middle,â€? she said, revealing a juicy red Hollywood heart. I thought of hers when I was smaller, smushed to her hollyhock bosom. The summer painted fruit came to inhabit her abdomen. The old-lady pink I associate with women of later ages was primed orange because the tangelos grandma stole from the summer would become the tangelo tumors vined from her gallbladder. The cancer in her core never stopped climbing her pulped rib cage. The seasons changed under the sacrificial blade from golden to stell.
by loisa fenichell
My parents when they slept they slept with snakes. My parents when they slept they died, every night, in cycles, like monthly blood: the first time I got my period I was 12 years old and wearing jeans newly stained and thought that I’d killed a man. There are still times when I think that I’m killing men, or boys, by accident, because of all the milk swirling around inside of my collarbones (there are still times when I think that I’ve killed you) When you sleep you whisper to your parents. Did you already know that? Have you already told somebody else about the way your body looks when you sleep, all stretched out like the legs of a newborn? You’re a boy with hair as red as emergencies, a boy who belongs best on subways, with your body lanky, with your hands like skies gripping onto the metal pole. Later after dinner I am that metal pole, only with a larger stomach. My stomach is always largest after eating dinner. Your hands are always the most over a girl’s body – your hands the most like skies – after dinner: this is the worst horror movie: my stomach popping like a mountain or an ear high in the sky (or, worse, my stomach never pops, it is always there). In November we are in a parking lot (it is late it is full of rain) 44 italics Mine
and you don’t know my voice, a voice sounding like fucked up broken jewelry. For my birthday you gave me a bracelet you found in your mother’s bedroom. It broke two days later, beneath a softly lit streetlamp. Somewhere in the middle of a sidewalk somewhere near the East River I am holding the bracelet and crying water from littered water bottles but nobody sees me (or: it’s all a dream, and it happens over and over again, cyclical, the way my parents used to sleep, used to die). The two times that you’ve rejected me: once: my parents with banged up bruised bodies in the hospital; when I saw them lying in between sheets cotton like your t-shirts I fainted twice: the funeral is back home. I fly there and my ears won’t stop popping, like a mountain, like a too full stomach. At the funeral I forget hands like skies at the funeral I fall in love with everybody I see at the funeral I forget that I am no longer in the city I can trust people I see you now as a ghost: when two ghosts fuck we are horizon over a snaky river when two ghosts fuck we are flying back to the state of my birth when two ghosts fuck (in ghost parents’ bed) we sound like car crashes
Universal Countenance Chapter One: The Common Man
by sage musk
every face in the world. He knew every eye and its brow, every chin and its cleft, every ear, nose, cheek, forehead, freckle, follicle and frown, and not because he had a good memory, or even a particularly decent one. Rather, his own stern and ashen features, prominent and stark in design and structure, were the only ones available on the Bodily Market. And the face they belonged to was one he’d seen much too often. Mass-produced, widely syndicated and praised as the gift of a god, the face of Steven Kross was the perfect mask for a species that had no faces of its own. It came with his prestigious 20/20 vision and each of his thirty-two teeth—the molars and front teeth being the most popular, followed by the wisdom teeth, which sold rather well amongst aspiring philosophers. The ears came lathered in wax, with instructions on how to clean them written on the lobes. The noses came with a mucus-capacity of sixty drops per nostril; all buyers received a starter pack of twenty with their purchase, along with a box of tissues. But the allure of the Universal Countenance lay in no individual feature. Every square inch of the product, from stubble to scalp, was something to be admired, adored and respected by its wearers, which was why ultimately no one understood face value quite the way they did. Should Mr. Kross venture into town on any ordinary day, he’d be met by the infinite praise of his infinite doubles, who’d appear to him on every corner of every street of every province in town, willing to bend over backwards to salute him, even though the “Bowing” sections of their textbooks told them to bend the other way. They would hold their faces against their chests to gesture their allegiance, sing hymns of his Holy Looks, and beg him to autograph their cheeks and limbs and whichever other sacred parts were on sale. On days when the public felt like getting their hands dirty, they’d make the effort to kiss his feet as he’d pass by, resulting in a trail of facelovers crawling at his ankles, and a great deal of speed-walking for the Lord himself. As shown in a recent poll from The Nothington Post, civilians unanimously supported the claim that such methods of worship were “completely foolproof,” which certainly came as a surprise to the paper’s Department of Logic, seeing as it had published a piece the day before proposing that, since there were no discernible differences be46 italics Mine
tween the townspeople and their beloved King of Countenance, it was very likely that they’d been saluting each other the entire time. Then again, the Department of Logic was known for being a flawed institution. When civilians craved a more private correspondence with the Lord, they’d often head to the mailbox at the foot of Icarus Hill, where they’d stuff their thank you cards and letters of worship, bodily offerings and money for smiling classes, rave reviews of his facial expressions and the occasional coupon that offered a 99% discount for a face that was already his to begin with—along with a lifetime supply of nasal hair. Afterwards, they’d scurry back into town. They’d check their mailboxes every few hours and make routine trips to the post office. And just when they’d begin to fear the Lord would never respond, they’d spot pictures in the paper of his mailbox up in flames and, every so often, a silhouette in the corner of the photograph, stumbling up the hill with a flamethrower tucked under its arm. The town, the people, and the Post deemed it was a sight worth grieving, one that demanded action. So after serious discussion with town officials, citizens elected to open up a mailbox factory specifically to “facilitate the epistolary needs of their Facemaker should spontaneous combustion prove to be a recurring theme in the postal industry.” Unfortunately, it did. No matter how many mailboxes they staked into the hill, there were always enough flames to wither them into the grass. But the people kept on building them and staking them and filling them, and the beloved Mr. Kross,
the universe’s portrait of the ideal man, kept stepping out to burn them. Today, however, the cycle came to a halt. It was the third anniversary of the Universal Countenance. Mr. Kross’s face had finally reached toddlerhood, and in celebration of the grand milestone, citizens had flanked the foot of Icarus Hill with a battalion of thirty-six mailboxes, into which they crammed their letters and packages until the doors couldn’t shut. The mailboxes stood jaw-dropped and gaping throughout the morning like a school of horrified sea bass. And there was no fire. There was no flamethrower. No silhouette. No activity on the hill, around the hill, atop the hill or in the wreckage at the summit. And certainly no logical explanation, until the townspeople came to the conclusion that, in wake of the holiday, the great Mr. Kross must’ve been out on the town for a day of celebration, just like everybody else. So the citizens took the liberty of burning the mailboxes themselves, as it was most likely in the Lord’s best interest. Plus, they looked an awful lot like birthday candles from afar.
by eva-milan zsiga
Honestly it’s you. you. You do, honest. Words stumbling out upon us Thrill me. You thrill me. Cut me. Double edge sword work and wore down my bones. This … Last…. Hit….. Eyelids falling down, Heavy. (In my mind,) Slow motion records spin. Violin strings like whirlwinds and Hurricanes Tumbleweeds and tornadoes. Lightning. Lace skulls laying amongst the Dry and dead Leaves, crumbling.
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Am i terrible ? Gotta get up. Seeds to sow and marrow to grow In these weeping gardens that smother me. I lay here. With bits of lace skull caught in my hair, whispering bad things in my ear. You are the willow tree that reaches down, To lift me up, With your gentle tendrils and soft ends you’re the only one. in this garden not weeping. (it’s ironic) (it’s beautiful) (it inspires me to get up.)
A Burdensome Man
by DYLAN HARRISON
Old Din was guarding the gangplank to the ship, the Siren’s Sigh, and he
looked up from his pipe with squinting eyes as Kynvalah made her way down the pier. “Cap’n,” he muttered around his pipe, little puffs of smoke emphasizing his syllables. He was squat like Kynvalah herself, though just a hair taller, with skin made ruddy from years of saltspray and sun, neither of which could touch her already dark skin. “Din,” she replied. “No trouble I trust?” “None, though we had a mite of a scuffle with that greenhorn we took on at the last port.” Kynvalah rubbed her temples and released a drawn out sigh. The greenhorn, Demikas by name, had come to her asking for a place in her crew, life experience and adventure his reasons. When she had refused him, he had pulled a heavy purse of gold from his pack and insisted it should be more than enough. The gold had outweighed her trepidations over taking him, but perhaps it hadn’t been worth it. “He seems to think himself something of a big shot—tried to strong-arm his way to more grub before everyone had their firsts.” “Did he now? Who straightened him out? Was it Ren?” Kynvalah asked, referring to the ship’s cook and relishing the thought of the willowy woman losing her cool and wielding her ladle like a war-mace. “It was first mate Brell, actually. I expect you’ll hear all manner of complaint against him once the greenhorn knows you’re on board.” “Lovely. I look forward to it.” Kynvalah stepped onto the gangplank and immediately felt the sway of the ship beneath her feet. Her knees bent naturally to compensate, and she made her way smoothly towards the deck. “Cap’n,” she heard Din call as she neared the gunwales, and she turned around to regard him. “Watch out for the greenhorn; he’s got something nasty in his heart.” Nodding her understanding, Kynvalah finished her ascent and stepped foot on her deck. She smiled at the scene before her: the crew was scattered about, 50 italics Mine
enjoying the dregs of their dinner with steins of ale held in the crooks of their arms. The few who were unlucky enough to draw the short straws were attending to what chores there were: sweeping the deck, checking the knots and lines, and making sure that the small personal catapults, or ‘sprites’ as the crew liked to call them, were tied firmly to the deck. The Trade Captains had been reluctant to allow the pots of burning pitch used as ammunition on their ships, but after Kynvalah tallied her tenth victory over the pirates plaguing the trade routes, there could be no doubt as to their effectiveness. She turned and walked along the edge of the deck. Tracing her hand along the railing, she felt every imperfection, every scar. This cut had been made when a marauder’s axe barely missed her shoulder and bit into the wood. The puckered scars further along had formed when a fire broke out and sullied the coat of lacquer. She made her way to the heavy table that was bolted to the deck near the bulwark, behind which Ren was busying herself with packing up what was left of that night’s meal, some kind of thick fish stew from the look of it. Kynvalah wrinkled her nose as she drew close, and Ren raised an eyebrow at her. “Something wrong with my cooking, captain?” she asked with an edge of false sweetness that Kynvalah knew was just in jest. “Nothing at all—at least not if you like tasting nothing but pepper for the next few days.” “Well,” Ren scoffed, all false bluster. “If you want to eat bland,
tasteless fish then far be it from me to argue.” “Personally I’d rather taste the fish and the pepper, but you are the cook after all. I suppose I just have to defer to your judgment; that’s why I hired you.” Ren’s mouth cracked into a grin, and she pulled her hair out from beneath her kerchief. Kynvalah constantly forgot just how old Ren was; her face showed no signs save for the crow’s feet at the corners of her eyes, but her long, cascading hair left no doubt, streaked as it was with a liberal dose of silver. She wore her age as her armor, using it in place of youth, a fact that Kynvalah would always respect. Ren pushed her large cauldron
“The gold had outweighed her trepidations over taking him, but perhaps it hadn’t been worth it.” aside, adding a new set of gouges to the collection on the table. Kynvalah tossed her brigandine and axe onto the table with a grunt and reclined, leaning back on her elbows and closer to Ren. “I trust Din filled you in on what happened?” the cook asked. “He did. Where is the greenhorn now?” “Sulking somewhere near the figurehead,” replied Ren, gesturing with her chin. “What do you think of him? Is his dylan harrison
gold worth the trouble we’re sure to deal with if he stays onboard?” Ren stayed silent for a few moments, working her thoughts over. “How much gold did he pay?” she asked. “Thirty-five.” Ren’s sharp intake of breath and subsequent low whistle clued Kynvalah in to her changing opinion. “With ship taxes, that gives us a solid twenty gold in profit,” Kynvalah added. “I could actually buy us some of the good spices,” replied Ren, her voice a mere whisper full of barely contained excitement. The laughter bubbling from Kynvalah’s chest surprised her, but she embraced it. Leave it to her cook to think first of the spices she could buy with the extra money, nevermind the fact that the Siren’s figurehead needed to be repainted or that they needed to replace much of their equipment. The holds were empty of cargo as well, and moving back up the coast would take months without a wizard to work the winds into their sails, something the surplus gold could provide. Her outburst drew the attention of much of the crew, who simply smiled to see their captain laughing and quickly returned to their activities, but Kynvalah spotted a figure moving across the deck towards her at great speed. It was the greenhorn, all one hundred and sixty pounds of his sandy-haired self. He broke free of the crowd and tried to stalk towards her with seriousness in his step, his braid swinging behind his back as he marched, but it just seemed like he 52 italics Mine
was contending with a particularly bad case of gout. Kynvalah stifled her laugh, striving to maintain her professionalism and authority as well as avoiding starting the oncoming interaction on a bad note. Ren was not so gracious, however, and laughed into her cauldron as she lifted the iron monstrosity easily onto her hip and disappeared down into the galley. Demikas watched her vanish with a strange look in his eye and snapped his attention back to Kynvalah as soon as the galley door shut. “Captain, I have—” he began before he noticed her attire. He took in the silks encompassing her legs
“She wore her age as her armor, using it in place of youth, a fact that Kynvalah would always respect.” and the damasked fabric covering her stomach. His gaze lingered on the plunging neckline of her dress for an uncomfortable amount of time until Kynvalah interrupted his staring with an impatient cough. “Y-Yes, right. Captain, I’d like to lodge a complaint. I paid good money to be on this ship, and as such I expect to be treated well, which includes fare as well as lodgings. Now, I’ve made my peace with sharing space with the other crew members and with being forced into a hammock, but I will not stand by and be denied the food I so rightfully dese—” “Is that what you think of us?”
Kynvalah interrupted. “That we are beneath you simply because you paid us gold?” “Wha—No, I, I simply meant that since I’ve placed so much stock in this ship, perhaps the crew should be a little more grateful to me—” “Let me remind you,” snapped Kynvalah, interrupting Demikas once more and taking an angry step forward, “that you paid me to ‘be part of the crew,’ not to lord over my crew, and I will remind you that they are my crew, as are you if you recall. How much you paid me holds no bearing on how you are treated as a member of my crew.” She punctuated her final statement by stepping very close to Demikas, making up for her lack of height with every ounce of her indignation being forced into her glare. The boy seemed unfazed by her attempt, however, and merely looked down on her, eyes resting once more on the cleavage afforded by the neckline of her gown. “Well, I’m glad to see that my funds have gone towards something more… fitting for a woman, though not so much so for a ship captain. I wonder how your crew can see you like this and not…” he trailed off for a moment before he finished his statement, voice dripping with venom, “take advantage.” The nearest crewmate gasped audibly and took a step forward, but Kynvalah stalled him and the rest of the crew with a raised hand. She felt her rage welling up in her breast, felt her heart quickening, so she turned from Demikas and stepped to the table again, intending to collect herself for a brief moment. His gold wasn’t
worth this. “It begs the question doesn’t it?” Demikas looked around as he spoke, as though he expected support. He found nothing but stony-faced glares barely holding back violence. He proceeded without heed to the danger. “What else might you do for a bit more gold?” Kynvalah whirled on the boy and saw the smug, disgusting grin plastered over his features for a split second before her balled fist smashed into his chest, blasting him from his feet. As he struck the deck, a look of disbelief on his face, the crew jumped to descend on him, but Kynvalah stalled them with a shout. “Let him stand,” she commanded once it had quieted. “I would see if this simpering man is capable of more than sour words and coinrubbing.” She stalked forward and offered Demikas her hand, but the greenhorn knocked it away. Rising shakily to his feet, he regarded Kynvalah with contempt. “No man would ever have interest in a woman who answers a mere question with violence. Let alone one of your stout stature.” Kynvalah barked out a laugh at the feeble insult and refused to rise to his goad, deigning not even to grace him with her words. She merely raised her fists and beckoned to him. His face purpled, the hue climbing from beneath his color and appearing in splotchy patches across his face. He looked around again, still searching for support where he would find none. After a few moments of futilely searching for an ally, an escape, he spat on the deck. dylan harrison
“I’ll not fight a woman,” he stated with finality, as though that settled anything. Kynvalah smiled to herself; clearly this boy was sorely lacking in social graces. Women were not merely delicate things meant to be put on a pedestal and stared at, nor did they need to shuck everything feminine to achieve strength. She almost felt pity for him, lamenting his stunted maturity, but Brell was surely wanting for his captain’s help in tallying the numbers in the hold—a concern far more pressing to Kynvalah than
seams of her dress, but it still forced Demikas to stumble back a few steps, and he glared at her from behind a few strands of hair that had made their way free of his braid. Din’s words came echoing back to her then, and she saw in Demikas’ eyes the nasty something that Din had mentioned. It was a look she recognized, having seen it burning in the sockets of many of the pirates she had fought. She wasn’t surprised when Demikas slipped the dagger from his belt and charged for her, point diving for her chest. She did as she had been
“No man would ever have interest in a woman who answers a mere question with violence. Let alone one of your stout stature.” Demikas, but she couldn’t simply let him fester like an open wound on her deck. “That doesn’t mean I won’t fight you,” she cried, dashing forward and snapping another punch towards Demikas’ stomach. To his credit, the boy managed to suck in his stomach and throw his hips back, avoiding Kynvalah’s first punch, but the following left jab took him hard in the chin and she heard his teeth crack together. Demikas spat again once he finished reeling from the punch, his spittle tinged with red. “Bitch,” he growled, swinging at her, all qualms about her being a woman seemingly vanished. Kynvalah ducked under the blow easily enough and landed a quick uppercut below his chin. She had to halt the punch to avoid tearing the 54 italics Mine
taught and leapt to the side, grabbing his wrist and twisting it around. His momentum carried him past, and the twist she levered into his joints caused him to cry out in pain and drop the blade. But Kynvalah wasn’t done; she yanked back with all her might on his arm, and as he stumbled towards her, she slammed her outstretched arm into his chest in a lariat that knocked him from his feet. The crew cheered the moment Demikas hit the deck, and Kynvalah motioned for a few members to lift him. He stared at her sullenly through his tears and began to mouth an apology, but she didn’t want to hear it. “Throw him overboard and tell Din to come up with the gangplank. I’ll not have trash like this on my ship.” Demikas tried to fight against his captors, but they held him in iron
grips, frog marching him to the railing. Just as they were about to hoist him, he cried out— “My belongings! You can’t simply steal them from me!” Kynvalah walked slowly to him and smiled sweetly, drawing a feeble, almost hopeful grin from the boy. “Don’t worry,” she assured him. “We’ll throw them overboard, too.”
Scum Summers by avery morgan
Let it be known: no upswell of violence can turn my tongue away from its slick tick tick ticking. Legs snap for shame in their piss scum jeans, and sticky lops of paint erode you like the summer job we havenâ€™t mentioned since then. I unravel in time with your beard (a darkness your father still slaps your face with) though under its weight burst and slow my hapless mind. Abundant and tired, spilling out of what you knew would not contain you, muscles churn the hair from your skin and you think you deserve it. What disgusts me the most and why I need you: your red body fumbling in and out of scummy jeans You, gobbed by such a life gobbed right up by it are unfit for any place but this one. 56 italics Mine
by karla herrera
My credit score is shit And I wish it could be a modest number Maybe 575 Like the education haiku I wrote When we were young teachers in training on the cusp of what was going to be this grand and awesome adventure: I’m clever and bright GPAs can’t define me I’m not my test score Well I have a new haiku for you, My dear old friend who is now buried in Boston: My grief overtakes me, “Where did my friend go?” I cried, “Why did you leave us?” There— I finally wrote a poem for you (just like you asked) Hope you liked it Now let’s go analyze each stanza Scrutinize every bit of symbolism and teach it to the proverbial class that was supposed to be our students.
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The Man Who Died In My Arms
by stephanie louise opper
The man who died in my arms leaves his grave to come visit me sometimes. He says that Death is not all it’s cracked up to be. People line the walls, trying to climb them, trying to push their way through another uterus. They don’t get that for them there is no exit. When I ask him how he gets out, he says that the walls are made of fabric. Nobody but him has figured it out because they believe that the walls are real walls, so in their reality they are. And they will never think otherwise. The man who died in my arms would look like every other man on the streets of Manhattan if he dressed in normal clothing. Instead, he puts on a pink bunny suit and walks around mooing like a cow. He says that this makes him the normal one and that I and the rest of society are the odd ones out. We just have to wait and see. He has a pink bunny suit for me, when I’m ready for it. Maybe one day I will be. The man who died in my arms has me bring him peanut butter every time I see him. He says that it’s the meaning of life and that I should let people know. I think he just likes it a little too much and that Death cut him off. He once mentioned that he tried to convince people that the walls were made of peanut butter. They called him insane and continued their climbing. He shrugged and said that it was their loss. The man who died in my arms wants to stay longer, but his pocket rings. It’s Death calling, saying that God is lost and the people are rioting. The man must go back because if not for him, who would keep the peace? Who would play God?
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Surf and Grace
by kevin domanski
Dave and I stood up on the cliff watching the surf. We had been in Baja for almost a week and the Pacific had been docile. It was early in the morning and the rumble of the surf had woken me up—there is nothing like being arisen by the gentle crashing of Mother Ocean. I had unzipped the tent, allowing the heavy summer morning air to creep in, helping with the awakening process. It was a typical June morning in that the gloom was all around us. The cool fog usually burned off in the late afternoon, but in the morning it seemed to envelope me. As odd as it sounds, I had come to enjoy the gloom. It felt like my childhood winters in the northeast; that grey sky before it snowed, which always gave an ominous yet calming feeling. The cold damp sand between my toes made me realize I was no longer dreaming. There was an offshore breeze sweeping in from the beach behind me, making a sly grin of my sleep deprived face. As I looked out at the steel blue water, the grin morphed into a beaming smile. The conditions were perfect. Our camp was atop a sandy cliff about a hundred yards from the water. From that vantage point I had a picturesque, panoramic view of ideal surf. The point break was moving left to right, head high. The ideal wind smoothed the normally choppy water and gave the top of the waves an appearance of ghostly mist flowing out into the expanse. We donned our wetsuits, grabbed our boards, and applied a fresh layer of sex wax. It was time to go. The two of us cautiously descended the cliff down to the water’s edge. After wading in calf deep, I paused a moment to reassess the swell. The waves looked a little bigger now, and a bit farther off shore—it was nothing I couldn’t handle. This was a foreign country and a desolate beach. There was no way of knowing if any treacherous rocks lay just below the surface or worse, the man in the grey suit. Still, the more I studied the impeccable waves, all I could think about was the rush and thrill they were about to provide. The promising crash of each swell against the shore out-spoke the adverse thoughts flooding my mind. The two of us paddled out, side by side, until we hit the first break. The swell there was only chest high, not the dream waves I had observed before. Dave was content stopping there, just happy to have ideal surf without having to fight off kooks to catch them. I wanted more. I left him and continued to paddle out. When I had gone about another fifty yards, I sat up on my board and looked back for Dave. It took me a few seconds to find him in a trough, clinging to his 60 italics Mine
board with a moderately panicked look on his face. When I started paddling in towards him to make sure he was OK, that’s when I knew I was in some trouble. Hard as I tried to paddle, I was getting no closer to shore. I knew what I had to do. Calmly, I turned around and paddled away from the safety of shore toward my dream break, which was still another forty yards out. Ten yards before I got there, the waves suddenly ballooned to twenty feet. I was still unable to paddle in towards shore, and was starting to get pulled into the impact zone. Reacting quickly, I duck-dived the approaching wave and got beyond the break, but the rip was relentless. The gnarliest, heaviest set of waves I would ever experience was bearing down upon me. These liquid giants were over three stories high. Since this was a bigger set, they broke outside, placing me right back into the impact zone. The first one crashed down with a thunderous force and swallowed me up. As I was pulled under, time suddenly slowed to a snail’s pace. I was being tossed around like a rag doll. My limbs felt as if they would simultaneously rip off; I didn’t know up from down, and my chest burned as the oxygen depleted. My right leg suddenly pulled the rest of my body upward—my Al Merrick board had surfaced, and pulled me up with it. Thank God for leashes. Frantically, I gasped for air as I broke the surface. It seemed like I had been under for twenty minutes, though it was probably only twenty seconds. About two breaths in, the second wave hit—it was more of the same. I felt like I was in a giant washing machine. With less air in me this
time, the end seemed near. I managed to get above the water just before I was going to pass out. Reaching down for my leash, I attempted to retrieve my board: this time, it wasn’t there. Full panic mode set in. The foamy water all around me started to look like the plush inside of a casket. Looking behind me, I saw the reason for the lull. The last wave in the set was going to be a monster. Time slowed again. My eyes widened as I stared at the wall of water building, positive it would be the last thing I saw on this earth. Something turned me back towards the shore, and emerging from the froth was my surfboard. It seemed to be in defiance of nature that it was there, floating in front of me. Grabbing it, I instinctively laid on top and paddled. I didn’t paddle towards shore, though—I paddled to catch the wave. By some miracle, I was in just the right spot to catch it. As the salty water gripped me, I held on for dear life, making no attempt to stand up. It was the fastest I have ever gone without the aid of a machine. The wave delivered me all the way into shore and placed me gently on the beach. I sat on the sand, staring at the largest body of water on earth. I was weak, shaking, and out of breath. I knew deep down that someone or something had given me my surfboard back. As the sun broke out from the fog behind me, salt water stung my eyes. But I didn’t move; I could only manage to mouth the words, “thank you.”
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by kevin domanski
She flows like a thousand cups of coffee turning my carapace into a warzone. My body fights the cunning intruder, feverous fidgeting allows ticks to surface ordinarily held hostage in undiscovered orifices. Grey matter sizzles with distraction. I vacuum the room for the third time today hoping to quench the thirst of a woman that doesnâ€™t drink.
I Used To Be A Writer by nic inglese
I used to be a writer. Then I ran out of things to write about. I thought it was
writer’s block, but writer’s block doesn’t last thirty years. I tried. I’d lock myself in my study with this typewriter. I typed, but I never wrote. I published my first book when I was forty-nine. It was a New York Times Best Seller. It got turned into a movie. And that was it. After that, I spent a year and half working on a short story that I never published. I’ve had colleagues say to me that a writer is always a writer. Bullshit. You stop being a writer the moment people stop reading what you’ve written. And so I used to be a writer. ✴ Josephine and I moved in yesterday. The room is small. The walls are freshly painted, the carpet newly installed. There are pictures of my family scattered throughout the room to make it feel like home. But home it is not. Even if my favorite chair is here. ✴ We wake up at eight. We go downstairs for breakfast. We come back up to the room and watch the television. We rot. We sit and rot until lunchtime. We go downstairs for lunch. We come back up to watch the television some more and to rot some more. Sometimes Josephine wants to play cards or bingo or make arts and crafts and I have to go down with her and play games. Then we eat dinner. We go to sleep around eleven. I stare at the cracked ceiling until my eyes are too heavy to keep open. ✴ Jo is so beautiful. She catches me looking at her when we’re supposed to be watching the television and she’ll smile at me. Her smile was always the youngest thing about her. It was always beautiful, and it will always be. I hope I go first. ✴ There’s a nice young lady downstairs named Rachel. She helps Jo and I downstairs. She plays games with us and asks if there’s anything she can get for us. I like her. The other day I saw her writing in a black leather journal. I told her I used to be a writer and her eyes lit up. She asked me for advice. Specifically about how to overcome writer’s block. I told her the best writers don’t get writer’s block. Today I saw her writing in the 64 italics Mine
black leather journal again. I hope she’s one of the good writers. I like her. ✴ I haven’t seen Jo smile in weeks. Last night in bed she asked me if I thought we’d lived good lives. This morning I asked Rachel to help me make a collage of all the pictures of Jo and me. There were photos from the Grand Canyon and Big Ben and the Berlin Wall. There were photos of our children and our children’s children. There were photos from our wedding and our honeymoon in California and our fiftieth wedding anniversary dinner. There was a photo of our dog, Rosie. There was a photo of our first house. And our second house. We lived damn good lives. ✴ Rachel and I showed Jo the collage at dinner tonight. I hadn’t seen that big a smile since our son was born. ✴ Today my wife asked me what my name was. ✴ Rachel and I talked for hours today about writing. She told me about her favorite writers, none of whom I’d heard of. She told me about the book she’s working on. It’s about a little girl and her dog and their mission to find the little girl’s birthmother. I told her I used to be a writer, too. ✴ This morning Rachel came to check on Jo and me. Jo was sleeping, but I told Rachel to come inside. I told her to sit at my desk. I set my typewriter down in front of her, stocked fresh with paper. I told her to write for an hour while I watched the television. She said she could only stay for twenty minutes, so I told her to write as much as possible.
When she was finished, I asked if she’d be comfortable with me reading it. She’s going to be one hell of a writer, that girl. I like her. ✴ Tonight I asked Jo if she was ready for dinner. “I’m waiting for my husband to come home,” she said to me. “I am your husband,” I told her. “I’m waiting for my husband,” she said again. ✴ They moved me into a smaller room after Josephine died. The walls are freshly painted, the carpet newly installed. Pictures of my family everywhere to make the room feel like home. But home it is not, and they replaced my favorite chair with a new one. It is softer and nicer than the other one. But I do not feel comfortable sitting in it. ✴ Today Rachel told me that she is going back to school. She is going to study for an English degree. I’m going to give her this typewriter as a going away gift. I’ve run out of things to write about.
by micah havrilak
When I think of you, I get white hot, my ears sear with the blood of affection and the chip on my shoulder slowly erodes off just for a hint of your grace for me to bestow. Your strength surpasses mine, your height towers above mine, your needle in my arm with heroin(e) that breastfeeds harm.
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The Jarmusch Shuffle by terence brosnan
Location is one of the major elements in cinema, but auteur Jim Jarmusch puts a higher emphasis on this necessity. Throughout his career he has explored stories that contrast cities from suburban areas, cities with other cities, and the effects of different geographies on people in general. Jarmusch tends to compose many of his locale shots in a similar fashion, with the street forming a diagonal across the frame on which the character(s) move across. Starting with his student film Permanent Vacation, Jarmusch has mastered the art of location and continued to strengthen this image to relate to his philosophical concerns. In this location consistency there are three films with a major emphasis on this diagonal composition in regards to existentialism: Permanent Vacation, Down by Law and Only Lovers Left Alive. The opening of Permanent Vacation presents a skewed relationship between human bodies and the city as the image of people’s feet walking do not sync to the sound of their steps. It quickly reverts to normal when Aloysius is first seen walking down the street in a long shot moving to the right, closer to the screen along the diagonally constructed street. In the classic Jarmusch shot structure, his protagonist walks along and the camera does not obstruct his path as straighton shots or sideways tracking shots result in. Jarmusch presents his locations as isolators that overwhelm his characters regardless of urban or rural traffic, and Aloysius, though in the already established crowded city, is now alienated in a lonely alley. Combined with the diagonal-street composure, Jarmusch is showing the audience the infinitely continuous atmosphere of the city. Rather than a straight on shot, where the street appears to start and end at a defined point, the end point being the camera, Jarmusch employs this diagonal composition. With this set-up, the street, like a graph, gives the effect of possessing the potential to go on forever, making Aloysius a small dot on this illusion of time and space. Jarmusch often deals with detached and depressive characters, making their emotions clear with this visual construct. Creating a web of interesting, delusional, sad, and warped characters in this endless city, the film’s atmosphere becomes increasingly pessimistic and existential. The camera’s positioning plays the biggest role in this idea, making Aloysius alone on the road’s potential for eternity; and Jarmusch makes him tag the wall with his name. Andre Bazin called photography a form of art that, “embalms time,” which Jarmusch is representing in his (character’s) attempt to leave a mark, or name, on this wall of forever. Aloysius, after marking his name, terence brosnan
continues to walk down the street along the diagonal, rendering his marking feeble and overpowered by time and space. If the street was shot in a different, straight-on angle, the section of the street would be seen as the only area of interest, yet Jarmusch shows that as his character continues to walk, his mark becomes smaller and smaller. Although only his first feature, Jarmusch was aware of his thematic quandary of being obsolete in the world and shows his commanding presence as an emerging filmmaker. The ending of the film includes a shot of Aloysius leaning on a guardrail before the ocean with the rail making the signature diagonal. Defying the usual Jarmusch effect of a city as the backdrop, the vast ocean lies behind the lost character. The stationary figure of Aloysius is quite impactful after quickly passing through the map of people he has encountered throughout the film’s constantly mobile environment. His stance suggests Jarmusch’s acceptance of humans’ inferiority to the world around them, manmade or not. Instead of walking down the endless roads of diagonals trying to mark his name, Aloysius stands back and personifies the often Jarmusch-associated word: “cool.” The backdrop of this shot, the ocean, connotes the idea of being free. While sounding cliché, Jarmusch shows the character surrounded constantly by things that will eventually decay, including his graffiti-ed name. Once Aloysius understands the existential philosophy of the film, he stands before water, where he can be free of other peoples’ attempted reaches for immortality and wait. Besides the auteur’s acceptance of the extreme weight of existentialism, 68 italics Mine
the choice of the diagonal street represents his filmography. Low budget, independent cinema had
“Jarmusch was aware of his thematic quandary of being obsolete in the world.” already been popularized by John Cassavetes, George Romero, and countless others, yet Jarmusch still makes his distinct mark. By having one of his most repeated images a skewed slant of a street, he is also pointing out that film doesn’t have to always appear so coordinated. Shooting his characters from far away and at an offkilter angle, Jarmusch shows beauty in the weird and unconventional. The choice to not shoot in a straighton fashion is a subtle but ultimately effective way that this filmmaker fights mainstream movies and makes a thematic significance. In his prison-break film, Down by Law, Jarmusch is arguably at his best in regards to location, spanning the cities of New Orleans, the bleak yet visually stimulating prison, and the wooded country of the South. The first shot of the film shows a hearse parked on the side of a street presented on the slanted angle. Already establishing a dark image, Jarmusch again uses this diagonal shot as a means to explore existentialism through movement and location. A handful of quick shots of streets breezing past the screen follow the first shot, strengthening the theme that Jarmusch made clear in his first film. With this film, however, the philosophy is more overwhelming as the streets are made to seem endless
in the fluidity of the editing combined with the camera position. Through this process, the roads seem to merge into one long road, creating the idea of powerful locations and the collectively weak, invisible people. After exploring the morally corrupt city through the three main characters, Jack, Zach, and Roberto, the film moves onto the even more alienated prison. The three men escape from the prison through the sewers, which are shot using the diagonal. Given the dire circumstances, the men are running, and continue to do so out of the frame towards the right, similar to Permanent Vacation. Not only are the characters being overpowered by their surroundings, but by their situation, which makes Jarmusch’s suggestion of the endless road (or sewer in this case) so terrifying. As Aloysius searches for meaning in the streets of New York with no answer, he sits back and understands the random, existential life around him. In Down by Law,
“As Aloysius searches for meaning in the streets of New York with no answer, he sits back and understands the random, existential life around him. ” the men run away, and their worry combined with this monotonous life show the struggle of coming to grips with this philosophy of nothing. At the end of the film the men wind up in the forests of the South, meeting a young woman who gives
them food, shelter, and comfort. Since they are still on the run, the three converse about leaving the house to their various destinations. Roberto, however, falls for the woman and chooses to stay with her as Zack and Jack decide to go their separate paths. Before the three men part, Roberto and the woman dance together to Irma Thomas’ “It’s Raining.” The lyrics to the song are quite relevant to the film as a whole with the depressingly existential feeling, “I guess I’ll have to accept the fact that you are not here. I wish tonight would hurry up and end, my dear. Counting every drop, about to blow my top. I wish this rain would hurry up and stop.” The woman provides Roberto comfort, he knows he can still be caught by the police, and knows he will in fact die, but she provides comfort; and like Aloysius, he sits back and accepts this. Again, similar to Permanent Vacation, the setting is unique, being the open woods; Roberto and the woman are alone with nature and apart from humanity’s attempts at immortality. Zack and Jack still part ways and will presumably keep trying to avoid the crushing fate of every living thing, as they have not accepted this ideal yet. This provides Jarmusch a chance to split the characters up using two diagonals, with Jack going off on one slant and Zach going on the other. By showing two characters continuing to search, and to run, Jarmusch conveys the idea that we are virtually alone and should find solace. Jack and Zach are afraid and want to find a more meaningful and safe answer to life and to humanity’s presence on earth. Jarmusch, however, displays Aloysius as heroic in his coolness and Roberto is now shown being aware of this acceptance, too. terence brosnan
Jarmusch is so aware of his thematic consistencies that his 1991 film, Night on Earth is entirely reliant on time and space. As the sun sets in the first part of the film, Winona Ryder gives a casting agent a ride home, ending with Winona getting an offer to be a movie star. She winds up turning it down, because she says she is already happy and has her own plan; starting the film on a positive note, her character has no desire to make her name
“After directly confronting the ideas of time and space, he moves on to challenge another obsession of his: immortality.” remembered, she, like Jarmusch’s earlier works, is “cool” with her life. As each new section begins the world clocks are rewound to the same starting time. Jarmusch shows how he has power over time, reverting back and starting over four times in the movie. Soon after the clock begins to tick again, however, the auteur shows that regardless of having the power to control time and space (spanning the world as the film does), life results in aloneness, alienation, death, or tragedy in another form. After directly confronting the ideas of time and space, he moves on to challenge another obsession of his: immortality. The vampire characters in Only Lovers Left Alive still fall victim to the tradition of depressing alienation of Jarmusch, except these 70 italics Mine
three characters are in fact immortal. Jarmusch takes a new view on the existential philosophy with characters that defy his consistent problems. Still using his classic shot structure of the diagonal, Jarmusch comments on and films immortal power through his merely mortal eyes and camera. In the film’s opening, spinning bird’s eye shots of Adam and Eve, the camera gets closer to the characters as the montage continues. Purposefully, the spinning stops on each character in their separate rooms on a heavy slant. Already fresh for the indie director is the odd sense of stylistic flash: spinning camera, oblique angle, slow motion, and fast motion. Though the streets are what he usually creates as his endless planes, he turns his immortal characters into this overwhelming landscape; angled in such a way to connote infinity. Jarmusch cross cuts a sequence of Adam (in Detroit) and Eve (in Tangiers) walking to their respective “feeding grounds,” opening an opportunity for Jarmusch to establish his existential visual of the streets. Eve’s journey is incredibly significant, employing slow motion with his usual shot construction. Since the protagonists are both immortal, they even mention witnessing cities rise and fall; Jarmusch’s usual idea of overpowering environments is moot. As seen in his earlier films, he often presents his characters in a long shot walking along the slanted street. Here, Jarmusch keeps the slanted street but chooses to shoot Eve in a close-up that moves up and down her body, interchanging slow-motion with normal speed. Eve is unlike any Jarmusch character before as she is more powerful than her surroundings and time. Most significantly, she is
shown more powerful than Jarmusch, who almost possessed the power to control time like Eve, in Night on Earth. But the overwhelming isolation and sadness of the film made this power more of a fault, unlike Only Lovers Left Alive, which has such unusual style because the director is inferior to his characters. Already Eve is dominant compared to the city around her and Jarmusch has her tackle his other consistent theme of time by showing her walk in slow motion. Even when Jarmusch himself had control of time in Night on Earth, reverting the clock each segment, Eve is the only one who can slow down time since she is the physical embodiment of it. With the peculiarity of the stylistic techniques used throughout the veteran auteur’s film, time is often shown as being tamed by the characters rather than the director. Superimpositions are used frequently in the film, another oddity of the filmmaker, making it all the more impactful as he deals with characters who are better than him (Jarmusch). Used when Eve packs for Detroit and as the couple travels, these are the only characters to be authoritative over time, and it is presented to show time works around them. Other than the opening of Eve walking along the diagonal street, there are two instances where this diagonal is used to show the power these two lovers have against the
world. First, and most related to Jarmusch is when Adam and Eve kick Ava out of the house into the street. As most of Jarmusch’s films deal with loners walking the street into the diagonal off screen, Ava takes her suitcase and walks down the diagonal of the Detroit street. Though seeming to perfectly resemble the filmmaker’s pattern, this instance is unique because of the oppositely facing diagonal. Instead of the character walking along the diagonal out of frame, Ava is shown walking in a diagonal that goes on forever towards the background of the frame. Her immortal character, it is shown, will wander the streets, witnessing them fall and rise, into forever down the new diagonal. The second major use of this typical Jarmusch shot structure is on Adam and Eve’s way to dispose of Ian’s body. Like with Ava, the two characters are driving into the diagonal, going to forever before they stop at an intersection where a police car passes them, quickly driving out of frame. With a mortal body in the trunk and a cop passing, the immortal protagonists are shown being powerful over mortals. After the cop passes they continue to drive into the diagonal, where if filmed forever, they would never exit the frame. All during this time the invisible presence of the dead Ian makes the diagonal even more significant in Jarmusch’s newly experimented immortal theme.
“With the peculiarity of the stylistic techniques used throughout the veteran auteur’s film, time is often shown as being tamed by the characters rather than the director.” terence brosnan
Though I am only focusing on this formal shot construction in three of his films, it is present throughout almost all of them, and one (almost still) image in Stranger than Paradise demands to be mentioned. The three characters in the film take part on a road trip, and take a break to see the Finger Lakes. Standing against a guardrail set up in the diagonal, the three (backs to the camera) gaze out into pure nothingness, as the film’s black and white cinematography assists in showing. Backgrounded by total white space, the pinnacle of Jarmusch’s existential displays is shown by the expectations of the characters to see a beautiful sight. Instead they see nothing, and the never-ending illusion of the diagonal suggests that all of mankind could look past this guardrail and see the same fate. Like the characters blankly staring out into the vast emptiness, the audience watches the screen. Jarmusch is a part of his audience in this case as he, too, is just staring and hoping to see something. He is trying to shed any visibility he can through his films and making his characters relatable to the audience. Sharing the acceptance and awareness of this dark philosophy with some of his characters, he makes important films and tries to give something to be watched, and to give comfort. American independent auteur Jim Jarmusch is one of the first filmmakers to make existentialism look so “cool.” He creates an intricate and intimate string of environments for his characters to wander, starting his career with a mortal and ending up in 2014 dealing with immortals. Though this polar opposite focuses on characters, his philosophical approach to film is presented through his distinct visual display of characters against a street backdrop. With this constant image Jarmusch shows the power that time and our surroundings have against us, and is merely observing and accepting this idea rather than trying to change anything.
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by karla herrera
Frightened of my own shadow I keep looking forward Regardless of the sun’s light burning my sight The farther I walk the larger my shadow engulfs the horizon If I ever glance back it’ll swallow me whole It’s comprised of well-educated and manipulative demons Monsters influenced by greed and corruption Those traits make a most benevolent marriage The result is what I have following my every move That black void tied to my ankles Waiting for me to lose my footing When I maneuver over these mountains and trenches At night this entity is all around me I’m forced to wrestle with it till morning And then I can’t help but smile When I have the advantage as the sun begins rising I welcome the sweltering heat that comes with high noon I’ll obtain the sun’s glory Grasp at Apollo’s power To make my shadow catch fire Create valiant wings made of an inferno That extend from my back like arrows And ignite the darkness within me Instead of leaving the past in my wake It shall become a blazing trail of brilliance— A legacy of shadows—ignited and scorching karla herrera
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by stephanie louise opper
What’s your favorite food? “All of it,” he answers as we chow down dollar pizza from the 2 Bros on St. Mark’s. I laugh because the answer is nothing I don’t expect. Next stop is the Trash and Vaudeville a few doors down so that he can buy a ruffle shirt that costs $124 while he complains how expensive it is to look homeless and I roll my eyes because I’ll never understand why he’s buying it anyway. We walk to 4th Ave so that we can look at accessories in New York Costumes, Halloween Adventure because accessories are always needed when you LARP as a hobby. He buys meat hooks for his fighter while I get daggers for my assassin and we role-play our characters as we walk down the block to the comic book store called Forbidden Planet where we’ll browse but probably not buy anything. There’s a choice to be made upon our exit; we can catch a movie on Broadway and then take the 4 train to the S or walk from Union to Times Square. It could be that there’s nothing good playing, but really we just want to talk, so we start out on our 30 block journey. stephanie louise opper
I like to listen as he tells me stories about his childhood while we walk. Like the time his family went on vacation when he was five, he found a dead fish by a lake, and decided to take a nap with it because he refused to let the fish go. I rarely talk because I’m more intrigued by his words than my own. When I do speak, it’s to recall memories of other city walks we’ve had. Times Square is the flashy, busy place where he complains about the Spidermans and Elmos – there’s only supposed to be one – I moan when there’s no way to avoid bumping into people – and we laugh because we still love coming here. Our only stop is M&M World, to take our annual picture in the photo booth. Every year is different, but instead of a funny face, we decide to look at the camera with genuine smiles. With the printing of the picture and the purchase of overpriced M&Ms, the two of us travel back to Grand Central so that we can return to the reality of Westchester. On the train we hold each other as the it takes us closer to our destinations – mine at Fleetwood and his at Crestwood – where we have homework and chore, with none of the adventure of the city.
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While the train pulls into the station, he and I embrace, sharing a kiss that feels like the first. I walk to the doors and we say goodnight: “I love you.” I love you too. “What do you love most about me?” All of you.
stephanie louise opper
The Accident by franco paz
I Mike Summers was dead. His girlfriend didnâ€™t know yet. She was pregnant. He was on his way to get a pack of cigarettes from the neighborhood bodega when the drunk driver in the red Camry ran him over at exactly fifty-three miles per hour on a rainy windy Tuesday night. He had seen the headlights speeding in the cold. He froze with the image of her laughter etched into his mind like a carving in stone. She was making dinner. He died instantly. He didnâ€™t know she was pregnant. II Rose Kavanagh was a kindergarten teacher she made more money than Mike Summers did, 86 italics Mine
but she didnâ€™t care about things like that. They had enough. III He had saved one hundred dollars from each paycheck for one year and had bought a small diamond ring two weeks before. He had hidden it under the mattress. He was going to give it to her that night. IV He was a journalist, had been since his college graduation three years earlier. He covered crime. He didnâ€™t know she was pregnant. She was going to tell him that night. If he had known, he would have quit smoking. V Rose Kavanagh found the small diamond ring three days later. She wore it for the rest of her life. Her husband did not mind. He was an accountant. He made more money than she did. VI Rose Kavanagh wandered outside half an hour after he had left. franco paz
The medics would not let her see his face. She recognized his jacket. VII They wanted to get married in the summer, in Central Park. Closest friends and family, that was all they could afford. VIII Rose Kavanagh was married in the Bahamas. Her fiance invited five hundred people. She walked down the sandy beach wearing a beautiful twenty thousand dollar white gownâ€” her monstrous diamond ring glistened in the sunlight. No one noticed she was somewhere else, walking among the ruins of her desolated memory. No one noticed the small diamond ring delicately nestled at the root of her finger. IX Sloane Summers never knew her father. Her stepfather was an accountant. She called him dad. 88 italics Mine
by karla herrera
The Masquerade has begun Shielding our integrity behind their porcelain irises The questions have reached their peak And the countdown to midnight creeps near The concept of reality is contorted And the jesters have yet to begin their show These lies flood the ballroom floor A fiendish wave that breaks through the windows And divides the crowd into allies and foes While the orchestra plays a fast-paced crescendo Would you take my hand to dance with me? Take a chance and endure this twisted scenario Our fate is cruel, of that Iâ€™m sure You want to survive? Then hurry, pick up your tempo Try not to step on the tails of the conniving and wicked Or our lives will be over in an instant Jack, be nimble Jack, be quick Jack, jump over the damned and sick
On the Lam by jake lam
If you are ever running from the law and need a place to lay low, I know of a little restaurant where you can hide out. It’s called the Alexis Diner, in Newburgh, NY. It’s got good food, pretty standard diner fare, omelets and burgers and such, so you know what you’re getting into if you head out there. Now, this is not an official endorsement of their establishment and I’d hate for the good people there to worry about having hardened criminals such as myself walking into their joint on a regular basis. I’m sure they don’t want their name synonymous with shirking the long arm of the law. It’s just that I feel like I should thank them for their assistance while I was “on the lam.” About a year ago, I was attending SUNY Potsdam College in upstate New York. It’s a small college in a small town up by the Canadian border, about six and a half hours away from my home in Carmel. One weekend, I had to come home for a follow-up doctor’s appointment after some eye surgery. So, not willing to take a tour bus for a grueling seven hours down state, I decided to rent an Enterprise car for the weekend. After an extensive bout of paperwork and signing my name in blood, they showed me to my car, a tiny Kia that was the most hideous shade of neon green I had ever seen in my life. Seriously, this car was the kind of radioactive green that had a 50/50 chance of giving you superpowers. Folding myself into it, I joked to myself that I would attract the attention of every police officer from here to Los Angeles, so I should drive carefully and try not to push my luck. Now, I don’t like to brag, but I’m a very cautious driver. I never speed, I don’t text or drink while driving, I don’t race or peel out or do donuts in the Walmart parking lot, I’ve only been in one accident (when a motorcycle rear-ended me), and the only time I’ve been pulled over for speeding, the officer let me off with a warning for good behavior (much obliged, sir). So when I took off from Potsdam to Carmel, I had no idea the kind of unforgivable criminal behavior I would engage in by the time I returned. The trip down on Friday was lovely and uneventful. I listened to the radio, stopped a couple times to snap some photos on my phone of a pretty lake and to break for lunch at McDonalds, popped out by Albany to stretch my legs and refuel, and made it to Carmel relatively easy. The next day, the eye doctor told 90 italics Mine
me that everything was fine and that my surgery was healing up nicely. That Sunday, I got back into the Lime Mobile (as I started calling it) and headed up I-84 for the long trek back up to school. The stretch of highway between Beacon and Carmel is a gorgeous cut of the wonderfully scenic Hudson Valley. You climb up a steep mountain, which breaks away to reveal endless lowlands wreathed in giant ridges and modest peaks. The road flows smoothly over the hills, rising and falling like waves over the earth, and the green stretches into the clouds of the horizon, dotted with small settlements and striped in roadways. Occasionally, the view is broken up
“There were patches of blue sky that mixed brilliantly with the gold beams and the gray veil over the lush trees. To call it picturesque would sell it short.” by some unsightly locales. The Fishkill Correctional Prison, a giant castle-like institution sat on a hill menacingly overlooking the straight road, where a sign helpfully reminds drivers not to pick up hitchhikers. The road before me curved to the right, which led to the Beacon exit, and past that, the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge connecting the two towns, called that colloquially because people aren’t creative. I-84 is a four-laned highway, divided by a me-
dian of grass and gravel in the middle, with only a few turnarounds breaking the green belts up. Looking at the prison, I noticed the mountains behind it. Even though it was eleven in the morning, there was still daybreak fog crawling down from the summits, creeping over the trees with long, wispy tendrils that disappeared at lower altitudes. The sun was high, pouring little streams of light upon the fog through the clouds like lights illuminating a misty stage. There were patches of blue sky that mixed brilliantly with the gold beams and the gray veil over the lush trees. To call it picturesque would sell it short. I looked ahead of me. No cars in my lane. In my mirror, there was a car a good thirty car-lengths back in the passing lane. I fumbled around in my pocket and took out my phone, placing it in the window to get a couple good pictures of the vista. While I wasn’t in any danger of driving off the road, killing myself or someone else, or even swerving on the straightaway, what I had done could have been dangerous. It was distracted driving, and I’m man enough to admit when I’ve done wrong. However, while I managed to keep an eye on the road ahead of me and the lone car behind, I had not noticed the state trooper that was coming east on I-84. I passed him with my phone plastered blatantly in the window, aiming in his direction, practically in his face. A second later, his lights went up as he zoomed down the highway. I quickly pocketed my phone, cursing loudly and eyeing the rearview mirror. jake lam
“Ok, it’s ok,” I reassured myself aloud, “He probably… was called in or something. There’s probably a crime going on somewhere, like, something bigger than an idiot with his phone in his window.” I tried to think positive thoughts. “Hey, maybe someone was murdered! That’s probably what he’s responding to!” I didn’t believe myself for an instant. The trooper was undoubtedly going for a highway turnaround, but the nearest one was half a mile away heading east, so, as I headed west for the bridge, I plotted my next move. I met the Newburgh-Beacon, which stretches over the Hudson River, and mingled some of the cars that had joined me from the Beacon exit, trying to blend in, act casual, lying to myself that there was a million different crimes going on right then, and there was no way that my stupid, petty phone were more important than any of them. My rearview mirror and I got very well acquainted in that time. Halfway across the bridge, the state trooper appeared around the corner, racing fast with siren screaming and lights glaring. He was on my side of the highway now, about a mile back. Even though there was distance between us, I knew I couldn’t outrun the cop. That was out of the question, as it would just be stupid of me. And I couldn’t get lost in a sea of traffic when I was driving a car that could set off Geiger counters with its color. 92 italics Mine
But getting a ticket for taking a couple hipster-y photos of some mountain mist was out of the question. I thought about the highway around me. What’s the next exit? I demanded my brain. Next exit is Newburgh, I think. It’s just over the bridge. Excellent, I thought to myself, Where can I hide there? There’s a little diner right off the exit. You might be able to hide behind it. It seemed like a reasonable thing to do. After all, I could just say that I was going to the diner anyway. I had half of a fictitious dialogue in my head. “No, officer, I swear I was coming here to eat! I wasn’t running away from you! Come on, why would I try to run from you in a car that glows in the dark?” I slipped down the ramp off Exit 32 and tore down the road, pulling in right behind the joint. It’s a small place, the Alexis Diner, square with rounded chrome roof panels on the top and wrap-around windows and booths inside, facing everywhere but the back. The Lime Mobile snuck behind the place, and reflexively I placed the car next to a dumpster, which dwarfed the tiny Kia and cloaked it perfectly. However, while I was all but invisible from the highway, there is another avenue of pavement that runs parallel to I-84, a street called North Plank Road that sits beneath the thoroughfare. Adjusting my side mirror, I eyed both the highway and North Plank, looking for my pursuer. I expected to see him blazing across
I-84, still thinking that I was fleeing, trying to catch up. My mirror turned up to the highway, then back down to the road. Up to the highway, down to the road. Up, then down. Up, then down. I’ll wait it out, I glared at the mirror. I’ve got time. It must have been under a minute before I saw him, but it felt like forever. When he passed, he was driving on North Plank Road, lights still up, but no sirens, moving at ten miles an hour, far below the speed limit. He was like a lion in the Serengeti stalking its prey, but flashier and much more terrifying. He was looking for me! I thought, gasping aloud. I waited for another eternity, i.e. less than a minute, for him to continue the manhunt down North Plank, before I reappeared from my hiding spot and jumped back onto the highway. After a few miles, I took the throughway, knowing that there was no way he would be able to find me if I was half way to Albany. All the way back to Potsdam, all I could think to myself was that I had just escaped the law. I had cheated the system for the dumbest crime. This is the extent of my criminal history; fled the cops in the only car visible from space for taking pictures of some pretty mountains. I might just be the greatest criminal mastermind of our time. When I arrived at a rest stop outside of Albany, I unlocked my phone to look at the pictures. I had taken three;
the first was blurry and unusable, the second caught the reflection of the phone in the window and was unusable, and the third caught the glare of the sun and was unusable. It’s just like they taught us in grade school: crime does not pay.
Do Not Touch My Stomach by loisa fenichell
I sit on your brown and dirty couch with my legs folded underneath my ever-growing body. Your house makes me want to vomit, but I’m too afraid to vomit inside of your house. You never vomit: you’re too tall and lanky, your spine too well-dressed. You never bleed, either. I always do; always when I’m with you there is blood on my big toe, blood soaking up the skin that sighs in between my large legs. Do not touch my legs, or my stomach. I used to know when to stop with you, how to stop with you. I stopped feeling safe with you this summer. We both had chapped lips. The states we visited were as dry as your dusty and battered car. We spent this summer sleeping together atop unfamiliar grounds. Not once did we have sex in your house, but still, now that I’m here, my stomach is in pain as though we did. I still want to vomit. My mouth still tastes like your car, like exhaust. Somewhere in the background you are calling me beautiful, somewhere my eyes are closing, then everything is yelling the way a father does. I am trying to remember being three years old again, everything pink dresses against grey houses. How much would you take care of me if I told you I was sick? What would you do with my hair? I have dreams of you in which your body looks like that of a still born’s, your face like cancer of the bone.
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Whatsup, Bud! by nick hooshmand
It was London, August 2010. Not the Underworld, but some other tacky pub. It was the last night of the tour. Some of us were staying in Europe, others would be going home. For some of us, it would be the last time our tracks crossed through the next lifetime. I saw Elliot, my longtime U.K. contact, in the crowd before the show. I finally got to meet his dispassionate girlfriend. I love Elliot. We got very drunk. I blacked out. Throughout the set I can recall looking down at broken strings and a stagehand attempting to restring my rainbow franken-strat. I remember my guitar being out of tune and the feeling of sweaty, beer-soaked hands slipping off the plastic pick guard. I woke up later that night, in the van. The rest of the crew was going to sleep on the floor of a nearby flat just miles from the club. I volunteered to sleep in the van alone. This was an important duty, considering the location and timing of this specific night’s rest —a van full of amplifiers on this block made an espial crook’s bounty. I locked up and walked to the corner around midnight for a veggie-roll but the store was closed. I was hungry and barely had any pocket change left for the continuing trip. On my way back to the van I saw two boys attempting to climb up a telephone pole. One black and the other white. Neither could have been older than seventeen. I introduced myself. They asked me if I wanted to break into the nearby grocery outlet. Around the corner, we heaved a 10’ steel fence, plummeting onto the sheetrock of a dreary loading truck dock. Lighting was minimal in the genuine London fog. We crouched and crawled around the right side of the lot to the base of a large tent. The tent, 15’ high, was a professionally sealed tarp overshadowing a vacant truck. Our bodies sank into the tight plastic blanket as we traversed onto a concrete rooftop. At this checkpoint the white kid froze up. What lay ahead was a brick ledge of no more than 1’ width, which would get us around the corner of our current location to a point of entry for the compound. It was just me and the black kid. A two story drop into concrete abyss. We took our time. We crept across the last rooftop and lowered quietly into a glass-wall terrace. There were plants, a few dim lights. This was clearly a smoking section for the employee area of the shopping outlet. With the air this calm, nothing—not even nick hooshmand
the roaring street sounds below— could be heard from this secluded booth. There was a window open. We slid through the glass slit like origami. Despite the lights being on, the dining area was empty. It was a white counter cafeteria, presumably for employees. My counterpart threw me a spatula and I pried open a cash register while
“I had no reply. Those were foolish words and I was no friend to a fool in times of high risk such as this. I backtracked with a crease in my forehead.” he worked on another. Empty. We sank beneath the counter to discuss what would come next. Storage room. He suggested we find uniforms, to camouflage us upon discovery. We moved. Around the corner, through an open door were mannequins draped in striped button shirts and aprons. I suited up, long hair, tattoos and all. We kept moving. Next came paydirt. Down the hall we kicked through the swinging doors to the refrigerator storage. There was beer, cheese, bread and every other grocery product imaginable. I reached for the nearest sack I could find. A plastic trash bag. The weight of six packs, peanut butter and bananas sank into the white plastic, a transparent membraneous consistency. All those weeks of starvation, sleep deprivation and having to barter for fair treatment followed by a blind shot of sugar in 96 italics Mine
the arm: cookies. I was high. We ran around ravenous as rodents for several minutes, clanking metal trays against walls, emptying plastic containers and discarding them on the concrete floor. We were on camera—didn’t care. The next words to shudder out of his chapped lips halted my high tops. “Wait for me outside.” It ended there for me. I had no reply. Those were foolish words and I was no friend to a fool in times of high risk such as this. I backtracked with a crease in my forehead. I silently crawled back out the vertical window to the glass wall terrace, alone, in my apron. The dimensions of my loot were tricky. I knew right then I would have t o ditch it if I was to return to the van in one piece. Should I wait? There is no waiting. Why let one fool... ? Suddenly I saw movement. Twelve police officers with guns drawn stormed down the very hallway I had just crept. I slowly ducked behind a plant. Meaningless. I was spotted. “Hey, there’s one outside!” The chase was on. I dropped my loot. Getting back up on the roof was trickier than lowering in. My thin wrists levered my body weight against the support of a glazed gutter as I staggered onto the connecting rooftop. I was out of there. Like a wild impala in a tiger’s midst, I hopped from one wet rooftop to the next in my apron. The same ledge I had shimmied so delicately upon entrance was cleared in under 30 seconds flat. Do not look down and do not look back.
This brought me to the familiar rooftop where the white kid stood by, awaiting direction like a coward. “Your buddy is not coming back,” I told him, as I hopped and slid down the tarp waterslide. The pale mannequin stood there, frozen in a rooftop mist. I paced indiscreetly through the loading area and pounced onto the metal bar fence. I clenched the key in my pocket as I sprinted down the city streets.knew my body, my legs, my limbs, and my feet. My heart exploded through my brittle chest-piece with every pump of oxygen. At times like this, the energy in my bones shot my body through the
stratosphere, melting away the rubber sneakers and canvas clothing on my person. I was high as an astronaut looking down from space. My head floated away with the clouds. My lungs were dry. It always lasted for seventeen minutes. The van door slid open. Eric, our frontman, reached across my horizontal body for his toothbrush. My ribs still pulsated through my slim, white tank top. He looked at me and delivered his go-to: “Whatsup, bud?”
by kourtney naomi fullard
He’s not here yet. So I don’t think of music that moves like calypso, And sounds like beach water, Or singing a duet to Diplomat’s son. I don’t think of sun-skirts or jellies and jams, White swings on blue porches, Wide-brimmed hats or close knit hands, Butter skin, Or sterling black fingers Tracing and erasing dried tears. I think not on bare legs and silk slips among piles of cloud white sheets— Babies running after breadcrumbs Asking their mama for the last piece of cheese— I do not think on this distant dream. That eternity has been commanded to cease. I am letting go of suction cups of emotion. I am losing my grip and allowing myself to fall into other things besides sensual love Getting rid of my romantic addictions, Subtle anxieties because the reality is I don’t know who I will marry Be wed to, or be with. Or if he is still being molded in the midst of My God’s hand.
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I’ve dedicated so much time building relationships on illusionary intimations— You can’t think up love. You don’t find it in a bubbling cauldron at the bottom of a witches’ brew. It’s not something you find between foreign bed sheets, Or Pre-Dawn text messages, Or in a dusty basement at the bottom of Old English bottles, Or at the end of a marijuana clip. Love is still falling in line With God’s divine design While I yield to being defined and redefined Built up, bolted down, and being nailed into a less petty soul. Instead of fantasizing—respecting the present has become priority Remaining satisfied whether abounding or abased is Key And the lock is still vulnerable. The truth of it all is—I am not promised a fairytale happy ending For the first time in my life—I am not blindly in love. I am letting go of suction cups of emotion I’m welcoming the other butterflies that flutter from the free-fall.
Just One Time
by billy manton
A note on staging: Just three chairs. Keep it simple silly! Characters: Doug – 23, Male-Identifying, Bisexual, loves to cook. Emily – 20s, Female-Identifying. Straight, listens to Katy Perry. Martin – 24, Male-Identifying, Gay, wears button-fronts. Doug sits with his cell phone, typing away at the keys, working on his “OkCupid” account. On either side of him, Emily and Martin do the same. Doug Emily Martin
Username: WingKing. PradaEmpanada. PadTaiBigGuy Age: 24 23. Don’t ask a lady her age~ Hobbies: Bad Horror Movies. Web Comics.
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Doug Martin Emily All
Such a foodie. Moody foodie, must watch Bob’s Burgers— Must watch Arrested Development— Must have a Netflix account.
Martin Emily Doug Martin Emily Doug
Must appreciate jazz— Be a lover, not a fighter. Gotta love bad puns! Interested in: Men. Men. Men. And Women.
Emily and Doug turn in towards each other and begin their first date. Emily Doug
I can’t believe you’ve never been here before! Yeah, I must’ve passed by it, like, a million times. billy manton
Trust me, the empanadas are out of this world— So THAT’S where the name is from! Emily gestures to her shoes.
Emily Doug Emily
PradaEmpanada loves Empanada Mama! Oh god, too much rhyming. What happened to Mr. “Must make bad puns?”
That’s not really a bad pun, just a mouthful of word. Word attack, bad mouth feel! Emily Doug Emily Doug Emily Doug
You know what has a good mouth feel? The ceviche— Oh god, don’t even get me started, my ex-boyfriend made the best— Ex... boyfriend? Yea, his name was Todd, he made it with— No no no… hold up, you said ex... boyfriend? ...yea?
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She turns away from Doug. Doug makes a 180-degree turn over to Martin. Martin Doug Martin Doug Martin Doug Martin Doug
Hey, itâ€™s really great to finally meet you! PadTaiBigGuy? I expected someone a little... Bigger? I was gonna say less twinky, but yeah, kinda. I get that a lot. But god, this place is amazing! Yes, one of those little, secret gems, you know? How did you even find this place?
Just know the right people.
You must really get around the food scene, this place is sooooo much nicer than where my last date took me; itâ€™s a nice change of pace. Martin billy manton
Why? Was he a McDonald’s kind of guy? Doug
No, she took me to this little place downtown, Empanada Mama. I mean, it was delicious, but— She? Doug turns back around to Emily. She’s on her phone.
Doug Emily Doug good! Emily Doug Emily
Oh my god, those empanadas were AMAZING! Yea... I don’t get how you had just two of those flavor pockets. They were so
Eh, I’ve had better. But I thought you said this was, like, your favorite place. Yea, I don’t know, just, not feeling it... Doug turns back to Martin. Martin stares at his phone.
Oh, you know who’s the worst? Guy Fieri! With his frosted tips and everything, bastardized the Food Network. ...what?
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Nah just…ya know, you go from cooking greats to that ass clown, being like, “I’m Guy Fieri here, eating out of a dumpster.” Perhaps some forced laughter? Doug Martin
Get it, ‘cause, he’s like a little, food gremlin... Yea... Doug turns back to Emily.
So listen, I don’t think this is going to work out... Doug turns back too Martin.
You seem like a really nice guy... Back to Emily.
I don’t really know how to say this... Back to Martin.
I know this is a little blunt but... Doug turns out to the audience.
Martin and Emily I don’t date Bi guys. Martin and Emily leave Doug alone. A moment of recognition. End. billy manton
We (A Manifesto)
by kourtney naomi fullard
We fluorescent. Luminescent; the way we swallow life with a light in our eyes— We dirt roads. How we run forwards and backwards—Leaving our mark For the beautiful babies that come after us We generation. We omnivore. How we chew on word and swallow pride Nourish idea, Manifest creativity, Exude knowledge, Defy expectation, Deny definition; We inexplicable. We mixture Of salt sweat tear tree street whip bullet— We verb How we be are walk talk exist We future. We are right now and in that sense— We position.
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How we had to force our way to the top because they said not even a penny would trickle down to our level But let me tell you; We revolution. We freedom incarnate. How we break shackles off blind mind With song lyric poem And make it look easy—but this ain’t easy— Naw— We original Though they say we lack origin We past. In our skin tone Whether browned from cotton or sugar cane Fed in house or killed in field We them children them folk was dreamin’ about. All them one days and mountains— We them dreams. We them songs. We them spirituals. We the truth. We complicated, and it ain’t tasty, but we here. We present And we ain’t going nowhere. kourtney namoi fullard
by najee-ana walthrust
I wanted to feel what my subconscious was always hiding, so I forgot all you said about morals and staying grounded during the storms My gum usually ends up between my gums and my bottom lip, but tonight I told it to find a new hiding spot I want you here. I spent $15 for this trip, but I’m not moving until I feel you I dare one of these psychonauts to tell me I got ripped off That there is a mistake caught in my blood stream That the weed won’t help if I’m not searching for something greater That you’re not coming And calling for you in the dark is pointless I’ll tell them I’m not interested in finding the philosopher in me I’m interested in fucking you That I want to write you among the stars in trails And wake up soaked in your aftertaste I’ll tell them: Yes, there’s poison in my bloodstream And smoke sitting in my lungs But there are parts of me I was given from mismatched handmedowns and I’ve begged far too much to have them taken back So I took this poison to drive those demons out And this L’s to ease the pain I called on you because I need you to recognize me when even I can’t I’ve been having too much FaceTime in bathroom mirrors tonight But none were in vain or arrogant enough to settle me down I fought wars against myself I don’t expect anyone to understand So I do not say I am afraid But I love you So I am
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How Something So Lovely Can Sometimes Hurt So Bad by eva-milan zsiga
My heart is like a Mug thatâ€™s been Dropped. A thing (Covered with crawling Cracks.) â€“ on the brink Of breaking when you look closely cracks that spread to bring separated pieces back together. This separation providing. A means to hold on.
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italics MINE eric avila is a 3rd year Graphic Design
major and origionally from East Harlem. Even though he studies Graphic Design, Eric also practices printmaking, painting, and drawing.
Max Bayarsky was born on the ground in Brooklyn. He was then raised from the ground to standing position also in Brooklyn. He makes movies, draws, and takes up space. Terence Brosnan is a Cinema Studies major and a junior here at Purchase College. He’s enjoyed his time thus far here and is very excited about the opportunity to contribute to Italics Mine. The provided essay is one he wrote for fun and out of admiration for Mr. Jarmusch. He likes the Grateful Dead and long walks on the beach and would like to thank the board of Italics Mine for their consideration.
Alana Costello is a senior Creative Writing major. She has been published in Five2One Magazine as well as Nat. Brut, and has been once nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She devotes most of her time to writing, art, and design. She collaborates as a member of the 99 Sublime, and is a founding editor of a magazine devoted to literature and art.
Bridget Dease was born and raised in Washington DC. She became serious about writing in high school when she attended The Duke Ellington School of the Arts. At Purchase College, Bridget has gone insane. She is currently a sophomore and has decided to double major in Creative Writing and Anthropology as well as double minor in Playwriting and History. The library is her soul mate. Toni Morrison and James Baldwin are two of her favorite authors. Gerald I. Deis is a senior Playwriting/ Screenwriting major at Purchase College. His writing generally focuses on the under-appreciated and ever-present social issues of our age. His feature length play, “Boyle’s Law,” deals with the difficulties of adolescence in the digital age.
Kevin Domanski is a thirty one-year-old, three time college dropout, with a mediocre grasp of the English language. He spent his twenties traveling America and Europe in a drug and alcohol-induced haze. He has no discernable understanding of poetry. His major is Creative Writing.
Loisa Fenichell is a freshman at SUNY Purchase, where she hopes to double major in creative writing and literature. Before attending SUNY Purchase, she took a gap year, during which she interned at the Poets House, in Battery Park, audited an NYU Gallatin poetry class, improved various skills (i.e., yoga, photography, navigating the NYC transit system, and taking care of herself), and, of course, continued to hone her writing. She likes dogs a whole lot. Kourtney Naomi Fullard is a Philadelphia native. She is a Literature major and is expected to graduate in May 2015. She is obsessed with honey and writes poetry about it often.
daisy padilla-gutierrez is a freshman Photography major from Las Vegas. Her work consists of things of a dark nature, dramatic lighting and things that will surely take you to another place. To see more of her work check out her website at daisypadillaphotography.smugmug.com.
Jalen Garcia-Hall has been writing poetry since the age of fourteen. He currently majors in Creative Writing and lives in the Bronx.
Dylan Harrison is a valiant wordsmith clad in armor of the finest literary make. His talents include flashing winning smiles that weaken the knees and making orcs seem more attractive than they should be. He strives to be a light to which others can flock for shelter in a world so full of shadows.
Micah Havriliak is currently an undeclared freshman attending Purchase College while pursuing endeavors such as acting and music. Micah’s interest in writing started at age 13 when he was composing songs and writing lyrics. Writing has been a way for Micah to express his inner feelings and to hopefully connect with others’ as well. Some of Micah’s favorite poets/lyricists are Sylvia Plath, Kurt Cobain and John Lennon. 112 italics Mine
K arla Herrera lives in Rockland County, NY and is a junior majoring in Graphic Design. She is rarely found roaming the campus with a social purpose. Her summers are spent sipping sweet tea or moonshine from a jar in Greensboro, North Carolina. Karla likes horror, comic books, movies, and her best friend is her green Volkswagen Beetle named “Gumby”. Nicolas Hornyak is a senior currently attending Purchase College. Born in Brooklyn, he grew up in Ardsley, NY, where he first began nourishing his talent for creative writing in the sixth grade. Since then, he’s been published in anthologies, magazines and newspapers, and was accepted into the Lilly Lieb Port Creative Writing Program in 2011. On the side, he is also an analog game designer and a freelance music producer. He is currently working on his debut novel, Aimless Sky, and preparing for his graduation in May 2015. For more about his work, his blog can be found at www.nicolashornyak.com.
Nick Hooshmand is a punk rock and mixed media songwriter from Oakland, CA. He advocates for artists’ rights and the clean/sober artist’s lifestyle.
Nic Inglese is a freshman in the BFA Film Program. An aspiring screenwriter and director, he also writes short stories which often focus on familial relationships. Nic tends to draw upon his own family experiences in his writing. He thanks his English bulldog, Matilda, for her love and encouragement.
Jake Lam is a Junior Creative Writing major who transferred from SUNY Potsdam in Spring 2015. He enjoys science fiction, fantasy, realistic fiction, the company of dogs and good music.
stephanie landi is a graphic design student at Purchase College. Her focus is illustration and hand lettering. Her works show a visual experience that is beautiful and serene with lines and movement, but also contains elements of the strange, surreal, and dream-like.
Jia-Lian lin is an Arts Management student, graduating in Spring 2015. Born and raised on Long Island, his passion for the arts began in elementary school and has remained constant throughout his life.
Thomas Luke is a senior studying Screenwriting/Playwriting. He wants to make people laugh, and being queer can affect that goal both positively and negatively. He dedicates his story to the names not said on black screens. We are not between commercials—we are living now.
Billy Manton spent most of the 20th century non-existant, and will most likely spend the 22nd century dead. Molly McNally is a junior double major in Creative Writing and Piano Performance at SUNY Purchase. She lived in Philadelphia for most of her life before moving to rural New Hampshire at the age of thirteen and now spends much of her time balancing the pros and cons of city versus country life. She hopes to spend her future pursuing her writing. Avery Morgan is a Literature Freshman at Purchase College. Avery was born in Los Angeles, California and has not yet adjusted to the harshness of New York weather. She is an avid reader, backpacker, rock climber and horseback rider, but started writing poems with sidewalk chalk before she learned how to do anything else. Avery writes to nourish her spirit, philosophize, inquire about perception, explore the nature of fundamental truths and provoke empathy in her readers. Sage Musk—contradictory to the results of Google searches—is not a deodorant, a perfume or any other kind of bottled scent. Sage Musk is in fact a sophomore Creative Writing major and Playwriting/Screenwriting minor at Purchase College, an aspiring author and filmmaker. He has been writing seriously since the age of nine and has received recognition from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards during high school, including a National Silver Medal and Six Regional Gold Key awards. He is unfortunately not related to Elon Musk.
Carla nguyen is a whimsical Graphic Design sophomore who loves to indulge in refined technical craft. A lot of thought goes into her work, as well as a lot of giggles. And bunnies. 114 italics Mine
Stephanie Louise Opper is a senior/junior Creative Writing and Theatre & Performance double major with minors in Mathematics, Gender Studies, and Literature. She began writing poetry at the age of thirteen and has only ever stopped when writer’s block has plagued her. Stephanie Louise has written several bios for productions that she has been a part of, but this is her first bio for a literary journal. That’s probably because this is her first publication.
Franco Paz is a History major in his junior year. He is a native of Chile, and migrated to the United States in 2007. He lives in Tarrytown.
Roger Richardson’s work is a result of my experiences growing up in several different environments. Most of my work is intended to accurately document the people, places, and objects that are around me. I create these images through personal observation and experiences.
Christopher Stewart is a Creative Writing student at Purchase College. Hailing from Long Island, New York, Christopher is a self-diagnosed neurotic and breakfast enthusiast. He also is a dog lover who has told too many people he once worked at J. Crew.
Najee-A na Walthrust was given the name Najee-Ana, but she goes by “Najj.” She is a sophomore Psychology and Theatre double major. She became really immersed in poetry her junior year of high school, and ever since it has been her foundation, helping her gain the confidence to branch off into new territories (like rap, which she began performing this year).
Éva-Milan Zsiga is a senior from Brooklyn studying Journalism and Anthropology—both of which were study choices inspired by her curiosity for life; Of nature, people, trees, tiny inch worms, the ocean, space!, considering how the brain works or wondering why men’s bathrooms don’t have baby changers. She has a desire to collect these things, marvel at and explore them, and then release them in hopes of stimulating the curiosity and compassion of others. This is the first time her poetry is being published.