IVORY TOWER 2015
The University of Minnesotaâ€”Twin Cities Undergraduate Art and Literary Magazine
Copyright ÂŠ 2015 Edited, designed, and produced by students enrolled in a two-semester course offered by the English Department, Ivory Tower is an annual journal that publishes the best in art, poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction by undergraduates on the University of Minnesotaâ€”Twin Cities Campus. Ivory Tower University of Minnesota Department of English 207 Lind Hall 207 Church Street SE Minneapolis, MN 55455 www.ivory-tower.umn.edu email@example.com Printed by Versa Press, East Peoria, Illinois Front Cover Art: Gabrielle Montes, Pines on My Mind Back Cover Art: Gabrielle Montes, Growing Room
Ivory Tower Staff 2015 Editors in Chief Claire Bramel Sarah Carlson
Art Editors Madeleine Hamilton Zach Simon
Managing Editors Hailey Hall Wynn Pratt Shelby Schirmer
Nonfiction Editors Wynn Pratt Laura Schmidt Shelby Schirmer Lindsey Wente
Development Director, Online Editor Laura Burnes Design Manager Laura Schmidt Marketing Director Joslyn Lillion Publicist Zach Simon Copyeditors Hailey Hall Megan McGrath Shelby Schirmer
Poetry Editors Michael Gould Alex Hepburn Mason Nunemaker Fiction Editors Muna Farah Hailey Hall Megan McGrath Joseph Moen
Ivory Tower 2015 8 Cultivations
9 Spring Dreams
12 Feel Your Sexiest
13 Sacred Stars Inverted
14 The Joy of Self-Delusion
15 O God What Have I Done
17 But Seriously Though, I Am Crazy,
I Will Hug All You Guys (An Ode to Sampson Starkweather). 18 Together Since Noon
19 Earthly and Heavenly Truth
21 Chergosky Park
31 A Letter
34 Winter Spirit
35 In Fall, In Winter
48 The Noon of Thought
50 Bubbles in an IV, Taunting
Nicholas A. Heinecke
52 The Trepidation of Man
53 The Navel
54 101 Things to Do Before Youâ€™re
Happy 58 Hallowed Canines, Decay Minds,
and Twenty-One Summers 59 Thrash Unreal
Nicholas A. Heinecke
66 Some Things I Recall
67 History, Apparent
68 The Conversation
69 Prohibido Pasar (Buenos Aires,
Argentina, 2014) 70 Garden View
71 Strangely Dry in the Dreamscape
72 the place between
74 The Same Blazer
77 Street Corners
80 Daylight Saving
82 Stress Relief for Beginners
84 The Cellist
85 De vin et vainquant
93 Just a Boy
99 Mississippi Stars
102 Two Harbors
105 Nouveau Collage
Grace Katherine Eggan
107 This Is Where We Are Now
108 Man of the Lake
Mica Standing Soldier
109 American Dream
110 The Mirror
Grace Katherine Eggan
Cecilia Mazumdar Stanger
112 Just in Time for the End
ArtWords Undergraduate Winners 2015 115 Carmencita (1894)
117 Configuration of Space
119 Living Room
Letter from the Editors
vory Tower celebrates the diverse talent within our undergraduate student population. This year’s theme, “Making Room,” grew from our desire to encourage creative growth and campus-wide participation. The ongoing conversation among our staff has reflected an eagerness for innovation and inclusion. As Gabrielle Montes, the artist of this year’s cover art, Pines on My Mind, said, the mind (and, we believe, this issue) can be “mysterious, sometimes messy, beautiful, perhaps a bit dark or dirty at times, but also a place for relaxation and reflection, a natural place where things just are what they are.” We hope you will find a space within Ivory Tower to call your own. Our vision for this edition is to emphasize myriad, unique perspectives and experiences. The magazine represents the collective spirit of students on the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities Campus. Our contributors are from numerous majors and disciplines. Making room is the connective tissue for seemingly disparate voices, fostering an inclusive, imaginative community. Ivory Tower is a space for exploration, reflection, and imagination. Come on in; there’s lots of room. This year’s publication is one of the biggest yet. Including mixed-media work, photography, paintings, prints, drawings, and more, this year’s edition demonstrates a full range of expression in visual art. The array of light and humorous to serious and even chilling writing, and the stylistic spectrum from traditional to experimental reflects student creativity on this campus. Explore, share, and read on, because we’re making room.
Cultivations Gabrielle Montes 8
Spring Dreams Shiva Sharma
The strong wind sways the forest, the lilies bloom Nature rejoices; I see the greens of spring Emotions more powerful than the Indian Ocean burst through my veins and I run through the meadow, feeling the crops I look at the sun: a giant ball of fire, feeding the grass its fierceness I run through the meadow again I often slept amidst the corn dreaming of days when I would get out of this tiny town I sit in this plane today holding on tight to my seat as it accelerates I carry my dreams, twisting and turning waves, tightly packed in my red suitcase And I look down at my tiny town The green meadow and the yellow corn
CYLINDER David Echavez-Valdez
Hi, my name [BK], and I am lab rat. Err. Was lab rat. Not lab rat anymore. You with [BK] in important moment of life, about to get big promotion. So listen and get crud out of ears, or will beat crud out of you (!) Apologies, apologies. Meant as joke. Me kicking your crud is complete fiction. I do not kick crud. Will not attempt to kick your crud. Never kicked anyone’s crud. Which is why [BK] deem unfair being put into CYLINDER for kicking someone’s crud that [BK] did not kick. Although, person’s crud [BK] was accused of kicking probably deserved good kicking anyways. Bound to happen, really. Now, probably wondering why [BK] write so bad/funny, yet punctuation impeccable. My spelling really good too, now that I look at page. Well, I’m wondering same thing(s). In fact, just used apostrophe to omit letter “a” when saying “I’m” instead of “I am” in prior sentence (!) How can remember to omit/spell/punctuate/use backslashes, when have troubles remembering which foot come after right foot when walking (?) Can’t remember. Have bad memory. Will tell you nonfiction anecdote proving I have bad memory. Remember one time I work at pet store. One day get put in charge of whole store. Next day(s) smell like old spaghetti. Everyone smells. Smell definitely not fiction in my head. Then, boss find out problem: I forget to change old pet food bags. Old spaghetti smell is actually rotten dog food smell. I get fired (!) No, quit. Because boss handle my feelings poorly. Yells at me in front of all employees. Hate old job. Bound to quit, really. Remember contest at work for who sold most pets in month. Winner get to hit boss with dodgeball after work in back of store. Made work more fun for us. Wish I could win. Oh well, next time. Maybe get rehired (?) Use fake name and mustache. Work hard. Get put in charge of store again. Remember to change dog food bags this time. Become favorite employee. Sell most pets. Win contest. Win prize of hitting boss with dodge ball. Practice at home. Develop new, extra painful throw. Dent in garage door after all of practice I do. After work boss give me dodge ball and pat on back and says,
“Won’t hit too hard will you?” Winking, I say, “Will try,” and return gesture of pat on back. Everyone gathers after work. All eyes on me. I get in stance of new, extra painful throw I develop on own. Boss, with cheeky smile, puts eyes on me now. I take off fake nametag and mustache. “I quit,” I say, and throw ball. Dent in boss after all of practice I do. But will never get job again. That notion is complete fiction. My brain is mushed now, because of CYLINDER. Wish I could remember CYLINDER. But just now remember why can spell so good. Err. Spell so well, rather. In CYLINDER, I part of team that come up with words. We sit in room. Write ideas on PINK Post-it® notes. At end of session(s) put all PINK Post-it® notes in Ziploc® bag. Hazmat Man comes and takes bag. Gives us pat(s) on back. Looks at me and says, “Good job, Bloody Knife.” Turns head, making plastic rustle noise with Hazmat suit, “You too, Crazy Horse.” Hazmat Man makes gesture like is winking at us under suit. But cannot tell for sure. Didn’t realize it at time, but looking back on CYLINDER makes me realize time there not worth big bucks (or small bucks). Didn’t do things not proud of, or anything like that. But all sense of control gone. You know feeling of control inside (?) Can’t always control outside, but no matter what can control inside. Can control emotions, thought bubbles. Can choose when blink, or hold breath, or when bite inside of cheek. In CYLINDER, lost control on outside, sure. But lost control on inside too. Could not talk when wanted to, or flare nostrils, or flex calf, or release teenage angst, or control thought bubbles in head. CYLINDER change how I think. How I do normal. Wouldn’t wish that on worst enemy. Not even pet store boss. •
Breck Hickman 12
Feel Your Sexiest
Sacred Stars Inverted Ben Iburg 13
The Joy of Self-Delusion Stuart Levesque The snowflakes winnow and dart on the walls Like upstart eddies that crash over falls, And me, these wasting bricks enclose.
Permit me a thoughtless momentâ€”to laugh, Though soon I shall bubble up with the chaff, Alone amidst this vain repose.
O God What Have I Done Dan Forke 15
Portrait Ivan Krasovec 16
But Seriously Though, I Am Crazy, I Will Hug All You Guys (An Ode to Sampson Starkweather). Brendan Brophy The limits of poetry are what we believe they are, like a gang of exclamation points following you through drop-kickable silence or a group of coyotes eating a wolf and other historical shit that never gets recorded.
Antique radiators keep e-mailing me nightmares just to say that letters are more honest than two clouds battling for rookie of the year. But the longer I wait to cut my hair, the more I feel like Gandalf. So yeah, sure, I guess I’m a warlock stuck in human week, which is just shark week but with humans and civil war swords. Except gravity is as fucking boring as the world’s last sentence to a kid who keeps asking why he’s part of an unwilling collaboration with the supernovas. Like the softest hammer on a jar of wind that the oblivious stars fall victim to, while the action figures who have a crush on you admire the salty ocean floor skin that confounds your magic.
Together Since Noon Danylo Loutchko I give you the endless never-ending not because you lack it, but because it is mine to give.
The painter gives all, the infinite in a single stroke and we, standing statues in the desert wind, dissolve, unchanging.
Earthly and Heavenly Truth Shea Stoner 19
Portals Milo Tacheny 20
Chergosky Park Dylan Scott
THE WOMAN THAT the principal was to host arrived at his door at 3:32 p.m. on a Saturday. She was a new teacher, having just finished her training at a university in the United States—largely inexperienced but offered the job nonetheless. Two weeks prior to her arrival, the principal had received a postcard in the mail with a picture of the Catedral de la Almudena. On the back it read: En route to Lisbon. Be there the 23rd. She was a beautiful woman, blessed with soft features as if her face had grown out of the buttery porcelain of a washbasin. Carved out of her ceramic-like front were two large, tawny orbs for eyes. To her English class, she was Ms. Johnson, but she had told the principal to call her Lucy––a name she had always wanted. It wasn’t long until the principal forgot her actual name, only to be reminded of it when he passed her classroom and a pupil raised their hand, saying, “Senhora Johnson, question.” The principal was very glad to host Lucy and welcomed her into his home graciously. He lived only two blocks from school and quite conveniently near a marketsquare that sold olives and little pastries. Twice a month, the principal would travel to Ericeira and return with sardines caught fresh from the Atlantic––their little eyes gin clear. The principal even returned with a pair of espadrilles that he had bought for Lucy from a woman selling goods at a market near the sea. Lucy was usually quiet and seemed to prefer silent solemnity to engaging conversation. When asked a question, she was accustomed to smiling yieldingly––something someone might do when confronted by a foreigner speaking in a different tongue. The principal had often thought about why she did this, whether it was an act of irritation or simply because she was taciturn, maybe timid; he wasn’t quite sure. Lucy came to preoccupy the principal’s thoughts throughout the day, and he often wondered who her parents were, or what her childhood was like. One night, when Lucy had been gone, the principal went into her
room––unobtrusively of course. It was his house after all. Her suitcase was open, still lying on the floor as it had been the first day she arrived. She hadn’t cared to unpack her belongings, and the closet had been left barren and white. The shutters to her window were open and through the little interstices of the blinds, the glow from streetlights shone in geometric patterns on her unmade bed. The principal sat down and pressed his face against the bed linens, inhaling deeply, breathing in the smells that clung to the sheets. On her nightstand sat a relic from her home––a little yellow-tinged block of resin with a green beetle floating in the midst. Under the insect, gold engraved letters read Chergosky Park. “BEAUTIFUL MORNING,” the principal had said as he and Lucy walked the two blocks to school. Along the cobblestones, clerks cranked handles to the rolling grilles of their storefronts, and splashes of water hit cold concrete as housewives brushed the sidewalk with bristled brooms. As passersby went on their way, a vendor arranged cod and other, smaller fish on slates of ice and yelled the price of his catch in escudos. “They don’t gut the fish here,” Lucy had said. It was a straightforward comment, or maybe it had been a question, the principal wasn’t sure. Either way it seemed rendered for her own gratification, announced as if she had seen a street sign and, in the process of reading it in her head, had said it aloud. The principal knew very little about how fish were prepared in other parts and paid little attention to the comment. “There is a nice park down this road if you ever want a place to read. My wife and I went there many times,” the principal had said. As the two walked, the principal had told Lucy about his wife; how she had died many years ago; that they had tried to have a child but were unsuccessful; that her father had never approved of their marriage; that his family lived on the other side of Portugal and rarely visited. Lucy smiled, nodded, but knew the story of the principal’s life couldn’t be told in the span of a block. His words were voluble,
like the constant flap of birds pecking chaff from the cobblestone streets. Soon the two parted and went their separate ways; Lucy to her classroom and the principal to his office. When the day had ended and Lucy’s fingertips were coated with a fleece of chalk dust, she and the principal walked the same route home. As he talked of the unusually cold December, she watched as fish-sellers directed vociferous curses at prowling cats; as young mothers scolded their mischievous youth; and as clerks rolled down grilles, their wives placing bowls of rice on street corners for the same greedy cats the fish-sellers had turned away. It was like this for many months. The principal always spoke to Lucy for what seemed like an appropriate amount of time while she nodded and smiled for as long as she could without responding. She may have had little to say but the principal still appreciated her presence, and even when they retired to separate sections of the principal’s house, he felt less lonely. The principal concluded that she was nice company. THE WEATHER HAD BEEN uncommonly cold that December, just as the principal had said. Even the soft morning light that burned red against terra-cotta roofs couldn’t warm the store clerks and their wives, who now donned wool. At lunchtime, while the other lady teachers complained about their cold classrooms, and while the smell of roasted chestnuts and fish hung languidly in the air, Lucy walked the extra block to the park the principal and his wife had occasioned and sat alone in the shade. It seemed as if the whole of Lisbon had fallen prey to a peculiarly cold, ephemeral wind. Even in Lucy’s room, little mites crawled near the edges of her window to escape the bitter drafts outside. She could see their little black bodies as they moved in and out of ill-fitting window screens and scuttled along the white walls, losing their way. The black specs aggravated Lucy, and she became accustomed to pressing her thumb against their exoskeletons until they gave
way under pressure. And after Lucy had ended one, all that would be left of that journeying mite would be the little yellow streaks of its entrails smeared on the bleak alabaster walls––walls of a room that had anticipated a child. “YOU’LL STAY HERE,” the principal had told Lucy when she arrived the first day. A smile and nod told the principal that she was not apt to responding. “If I had had a child, this would have been their room. My wife had it made up real nice in preparation. She got on a big ladder and peeled off all that old wallpaper that used to be hung up––painted it a nice yellow. It was her favorite color. Fantastic––made the room look like it was gold when the sun came up.” Lucy had taken to the bed and removed a pair of heeled shoes from her feet, ones just like the kind the principal’s wife had worn when she was Lucy’s age. “––painted over the yellow because it got to be too much. Your parents must be awfully proud of you being over here. It’s a good job, I tell you.” “Bet you have never seen a view like that,” the principal pointed toward the window, which had a view of a little square with vendors selling goods. “They sell the best pastéis de nata, bacalhau too––the best in these parts. Say, do you want to see what this place looked like back in the old days? I have some photos of my wife and I. I’ve been all over the country, everywhere, I tell you.” As Lucy sat on a couch in the sitting room, the principal went to a large armoire and grabbed a handful of photo albums. He arranged the albums in front of her; each was covered in gingham and imprinted with little daisies, sprigs, and red beasties. He turned his back to tend to a pot of soup on the stove in the other room. Lucy flipped through the album’s laminated pages, which were stuck together at the edges as if to prevent visitors like her from seeing the contents. She had decided that the books
had been stored away for many years; they may have even been forgotten. The photos were pinned down with yellowed tape––a feminine scrawl captioning each––so memories might endure even after the mind had been disfigured with age.
Maureo and I in front of the Monastery of Santa Cruz; Coimbra, 1979 Maureo, binoculars and all, birdwatching at Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais, 1981 Feliz Natal from Paris! 1983 Maureo climbs on to the funicular at Santa Luiza; Viana do Castelo, 1984
The principal’s wife had been beautiful, with blonde hair and eyes like the blue and white azulejo-tiles that adorned washrooms and church façades; she looked American––or at least not like any of the women that Lucy had seen walking about the streets near the principal’s home. The pictures moved in quick succession: the principal and his wife on their wedding day; the first house they had bought together; a Volkswagen the color of a robin’s egg; friends and family crowded around tables with steaming provisions; the leafy terrain of the Portuguese countryside; of parrots on the shoulders of loved ones; of laughing, and of bustling streets; but then, of severe expressions, of white-washed rooms and IVs and white-cloaked doctors. As Lucy paged through the albums, the years passed, and soon the captions weren’t written in dainty, clean penmanship but in illegible Portuguese with accents floating aimlessly in the white spaces beneath photos. And then there weren’t captions at all––just piles of old negatives that had accumulated in the back of the albums as the years passed. LUCY HAD TAKEN TO spending more time in the park as the weather changed from cold to temperate. She would go after the school day ended when it was quiet and deserted, and the principal would walk home alone. When she returned to the principal’s home, a record of Amália would sometimes be
playing and the principal would dance to the rainha do fado with a large wooden spoon in his hand as caldo verde simmered on the stove. When Lucy was away, the principal’s curiosity would be piqued, and he would amble into her room, lying on her bed with his feet dangling off the end. Sometimes he imagined her next to him––her long blonde hair, a soft voracious aspect around her fair face––or sometimes he would just stare at the ceiling, comforted by the warmth of the linens. On one occasion, he had opened the closet door in her room, suspecting that, like always, it would be empty. He was surprised to find a shoebox lying on the floor, and inside––lined up in a neat little rows––were various colored insects, each with a long pin puncturing its abdomens. He could easily imagine their final breaths: a gasp for air as a cold, silver bar lanced the chest of each one. They held a strange, particular beauty; the scintillating green of a beetle shone even in the dingy, gray light of the closet. Once the principal was finished looking at the contents of the little cardboard box, he replaced the lid and closed the door to Lucy’s room. It wasn’t long until the principal made haste to Lucy’s room every time she was gone, checking to see if any additions had been made to the collection in her closet, and always remembering to return the lid of the box with care afterward. It went on like this for a long while, her private accumulation growing by the week, and the principal knowing more about her secret box than she probably wished for him to know. The principal reveled in his clandestine explorations––that she didn’t know he lurked about her room while she was gone was rousing. But then one day her suitcase was no longer sitting open on the floor, and the shutters and blinds had been shut, and the bed had been made, and the little bug box had disappeared, and the yellow resin block that had rested on her bedside table was no longer there. And while her smell lingered, Lucy was no more.
“YOU KNOW, I HAD A HOUSE IN LISBOA,” the principal recounted years later. “There was a nice little room that overlooked a square––always had great light in the morning. Well one day, I walked past the room and noticed she had left a note on the bed saying: Had to leave, thank you. Didn’t even sign her name. Probably the first time the bed was made too. Shame she was gone––such a good job and to be in the city. I mean, she hadn’t had to pay rent.” “And you never heard back from her?” A voice feigned politeness. “Never, not once. Beautiful girl though––if I had had a daughter, I swear she would have looked just like her. Blonde hair, just like my wife. Didn’t talk much; she wandered around a lot too, always used to go to this park near the international school. That’s probably where she collected all those little bugs. I always told her not to go to Intendente, it’s so seedy there, I didn’t want her to the get the wrong impression. Lisboa––it’s a beautiful city, it really is a beautiful city.” The principal walked out of the space where curious, foreign strangers had often listened to the grousing iterations of his story. Making his way down unfamiliar streets, he looked to the power lines, which were pulled taut, lacking the weight of squalid, watchful birds. Here in a place where cats didn’t roam on cobbles, skinned fish fillets were sold in clear plastic wrap, and their eyes were not as limpid and glossy as the ones he had often known. And now, in a home that didn’t have a view of a market-square, and where pastéis de nata was not in reach, the principal sat on his own unmade bed. Resting on his bedside table was a little, green bug with a long, silver pin stuck through its center, balanced on a cork that once had stopped a bottle of vinho verde. But there was no one there to peer into his room while he was gone and revel at its beauty. •
papa Gabrielle Montes my papa likes to watch fútbol with a glass of brandy, neat likes a decent bottle of wine
my papa likes to call himself a father says he raised us gave us a good life but his love was a draft come in through a door open just a crack brush my hair and drift on past papa held me sometimes, told me no te llores, set me in mama’s arms after his voice seared my eyes bruised my lungs and I was the good-loved daughter papa’s papa was a ghost too gone and gave a whisper hijo cuidate and papa grew to be a caballero boxing in the alleys ’hind the guanajuatan bars a learned boy by way of dirt under the nails and blood between the teeth
papa’s fists still raise themselves sometimes like when he was a boy haven’t fallen though in the last twenty years I’ve seen at least
Organized Makenzie Flom 30
A Letter Erica Beebe Jack: remember that year up north when we found a body at the bottom of the tallest pine tree— and how splintered it was, like its bones were made of Christmas ornaments? It had feathers the color of lemonade and its wings were clearly not full-fledged, so we named it Young Yeller and buried it in grandma’s trinket box and shook our tiny fists at God. Boy, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you cry so much, before or since. Well anyway, I am that bird. Poetry 31
Bestrew Samantha Oxborough without you these stacks of books are just palimpsests of wasted personality, interests, ambitions. bobby pins, dimes, and quarters collect in small piles in the corners of the bedroom. I wake with pennies stuck to my thighs and wonder if the divine universe understands tautology or if the tacky copper is just stuck change.
the clothes pile, the water glasses surmount with small opaque lip prints along the rimsâ€” reminders of the people who have passed through. like vintage insulators the cups prevent the surge of electricity from delivering the shock. the cups allow me to suspend like the dust and the cat hair floating in the water.
Untitled Kaitlyn Olson 33
Winter Spirit Julie Xiong 34
In Fall, In Winter Damian Johansson
At least twice a week, I drive back and forth between Red Wing and Lauderdale, Minnesota. This takes just over sixty minutes. I call this my Crying Commute. After I pass the exit for Treasure Island Casino, as my old Honda begins to climb the bluffs that ring all sides of Red Wing, I put my music on shuffle. My electronic music device is loaded with three thousands songs; anything could play, from opera to polka, from punk to the music we used to make together. It doesn’t really matter what plays; I almost always cry. Something about being alone on the drive, having time to think, and being surrounded by all that nothing between Red Wing and the city: farmland, refineries, small towns, and burger shacks. Air’s “Universal Traveler” works every time. I’m fine until the twenty-six second mark of the song, when it changes from the repetitive verse/intro into the unexpectedly expressive chorus, backed by strings, suddenly, without vocals. At this point, whether stopped at a traffic light or driving the open farm highways, I am immediately, crashingly terrified and can feel my consciousness being torn away from my face, anticipating my self completely shattering, disappearing, joining him in some non-entity form in the unknown. Along with this, I get my forever-image of death, a little movie that plays in my brain whenever I imagine what death will be. It starts with an image of the Earth from space, in the right hand and bottom sides of the frame; perhaps one eighth of the Earth. Algid, white cirrus clouds brilliant against the marble blue, and the blackness behind them. As the viewpoint moves away from the Earth, there is a sound like the white noise rush of air during a commercial flight. I’m so used to this—imagining death cinematic, then realizing again, as real as the ground beneath me, that he’s gone. This realization allows me to pull myself back into place and obliterate the image before I go away into complete terror. 35
Once, near the Koch refinery, still thirty-eight minutes from home, I screamed in my empty car; I still hadn’t achieved separation from the death-image. The scream broke up my moving away, stopped my slipping from the Earth, and I remained in my seat, the scream turning into laughter as I knew I’d made it through.
to one. Mirrors. We weren’t mirrors, more like complementary images, like that famous picture of Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady on the jacket of On the Road. Jack Kerouac died vomiting blood. Nine years earlier, his favorite cat, Tyke, died the same way the day after Jack left for a trip to Monterey. Once we’d keyed onto the Beats, we were always playing the Past Life Game. In a combination of mysticism and proto-literature-review, I suppose, we’d make arguments for which Beats we were reincarnated versions of. Ginsberg was still alive, so he was out. As was Gary Snyder, who I felt was a dubious addition to the list—he wasn’t really a Beat, was he—but I admired him so much I might have chosen him if he’d been dead. Matty always just said, “Bukowski, Bukowski,” so we didn’t play the game much with him. “He’s not a Beat,” Tony said. “I don’t care how many poems he wrote about fucking.” We knew that it wasn’t true, of course; if there are past lives I don’t expect many of us were Marie Curie or Archduke Ferdinand, more like Doug, the guy who fixed your faucet, or Lonely Phillip, the man that rides next to you on the bus. I’m sure the closest most people ever got to fame, even in past lives, were people like Edwin Meese’s secretary, or the guy that held the cue cards for Ed Sullivan. I suppose it’s just mirroring; we want to see parts of famous people in our own makeup.
We always argued, interestedly, amicably, which of us was Kerouac and which of us was Neal Cassady. Who was the writer, and who was the acting force? Now that I’m left here writing, does that make it more likely that I’m Kerouac? Or since I’m the only of us still able to act, in this dimension, am I Cassady? Survivors get to decide because they’re what’s left.
October, walking in the experimental garden, my hands stretched from my sides, touching prairie grass tops, a two-year-old on my shoulders saying, “Twees!” and trying to touch the limbs above him. A woman rises out of a group of basil plants like a character from an absurd children’s story, but not Alice in Wonderland; that story terrified me more than this. The sun is down, the moon is out, quarter orange-shaped. You can take it, she says. Take it. Take it. Take it. The students told me I could take it. Do you like basil? They compost it after the season. They don’t even eat it. I wonder if this is a test. Maybe she’s a sociology student. Her senior thesis: “Confrontation of Strangers with ‘Free’ Herbs: A Study in Morality.” She could be a ghost, an unfortunate casualty of a love triangle between horticulture students, her body buried beneath the purple basil. She pulls off a sprig, chews it. Tasty, she says. Take some. I look around, confused, but the others see her too. I’ve seen a ghost, so sometimes I check to make sure. Isaac, atop my shoulders, under branches, in awe: “Twees!”
678 I am old enough to get up, get a drink of water by myself, but it is still new. In winter, lying in my bed under the simple down comforter I got for my birthday, I slowly open the big window near my head. As it slides
horizontally, I feel a burst of cold air and pull my comforter up to my chin. I look out on the wastes of the yard, the neighborhood. Everything in white, from tiny shapes by the garage that look like miniature, ghostly white sand dunes, to the heaps of glinting silver snow back near the alley. By moonlight, it could be the North Pole, Antarctica, Novosibirsk, Neptune, if Neptune had a surface for snow to fall on. I imagine that my bed is my personal spaceship, equipped for terrestrial landings and mammoth journeys between planets, stars. This planet is in winter. My spaceship has a bubble top, impervious to cold, heat, anything. It arcs over me in a half oval as I lie at the controls, under this down comforter. I see an Eskimo. Okay, so this is Earth. I press a button, retract my impervious shield. Are you cold? I ask. I sit up, press another button revealing the apple cider machine and video game display. I always liked apple cider more than hot chocolate.
1, 2, 3
My therapist has suggested I number my thoughts, more toward categorization rather than away from it. This is a change in therapy, but she hopes that this will allow me to focus on things Iâ€™ve been avoiding, things that come up in my dreams. Structure is good, she says. First, write numbers. Next, write something after them. Anything? I ask. Anything, she says. Does it matter what the numbers areâ€”should they have some sort of order? Just write any number that comes to mind, she says.
And this will help? I ask. Letâ€™s hope it will help, she says.
inches from me on the bus, a coal-haired woman moves a baby from her shoulder to her lap. She looks tall, but is sitting, so thatâ€™s only a guess. Her arms are uncovered; I am having trouble not looking at them. I am near to staring. The distance from her shoulder to her elbow is so long, and as I stare I keep thinking: long muscles. Long muscles. Long muscles. I look up and she has caught me looking at her. The blue/green veins in her arms (long muscles) stand out from her yellow/orange skin like seams in leather; she is beautiful in indignation, shifting the baby again.
maybe five times a month I drive to the Experimental Fields, eight acres of unexpected farmland in the city, behind the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota. In fall, it becomes a sea of wheat and soybean. At harvest, it looks desolate, but is decorated with mounds of the blackest, most nutritious soil God ever created; the black mounds are more beautiful than the fields in bloom. In winter, it is a lovely tundra, a wasteland with dead wheat branches rising like giant, half-buried forks from the snow. I sit in my car, not smoking anymore since he died. I sit and watch the frozen wheat lean in the wind. In summer, fall, and harvest time, I walk through it as the noises from the car radio drift over the fields to me. I run my hands along wheat tops. In winter, I listen to the radio in my car talk about UFOs, shadow people, the chupacabra. The fields themselves are used for experimental variations of common midwestern plants, grains mostly. The edges of the fields are gilded
with a large Experimental Garden (Twees!). We called it the Spearmint Garden. A raptor house slumps near wooden signs on the western edge of the field. A row of antique-looking Edison lights run along the fields, leading you back to reality and the road. Places like this remind me of old attractions, of times when things like the Electric City and the Biggest Ball of Twine brought spectators, just because someone couldn’t stop winding thread together and it became as big as a house, or just because a town had lighted streets, and it was 1912. The fields are perfect for kite flying.
I begin writing a poem about him. Simple. A poem. Just a few words. Forty-six times I erase the word I’ve written, finally tearing the page, then the book, in half. I stand up and walk away from the table.
Last night I dreamt he was still alive. Mixing music in our basement studio, splicing guitar over thick beats, fitting them around halcyonic bass lines that always urge, always confirm, driving listeners into a beautiful sky. He turns to me, asks if I have a cigarette. I look away from the screen to him and his sockets are eyeless, black voids, but he’s still talking. His skin slips from his cheek; he’s decaying, and I realize he’s dead. This is a dream, but he’s still talking. Small things are moving in the abscesses and the absences of his face as he stares at me, eyeless, smiling, waiting for a cigarette. I wake up in sweat. I hate the number six.
times today I touch my necklace, mostly the big wooden beads that recur every two inches. I breathe in and imagine “Slowly Revealed,” a song that calms me, brings to mind images of what I affectionately call “Robert
Heinlein Clouds,â€? clouds like glacial walls that appear in May. Most of Heinleinâ€™s 1980s reprints have pictures of near-naked women standing in front of these types of clouds. At the base of my necklace hangs a raw piece of schorl, black tourmaline, given by Native Americans to the grieving as funeral gifts. It is vertically striated, earthy, and alien. My girlfriend made the necklace for me; I think of her tiny hands moving along the string of beads as I touch them, and this calms me. It was my favorite stone before; it is still my favorite now, in the afterwards.
100 times a day it feels like I force myself to see him, but itâ€™s probably more like thirty. I see him put a cigarette in his mouth and laugh around it. I see him raise his eyebrow in communication, anticipating my response, enjoying the banter as it goes between us. I see him turn to look at me from the edge of the Grand Canyon and feel his spirit as it moves to me in beatitude, vulnerability, awe; it moves to me and encompasses me. I see not-him as he smirks in his casket, not-him. I see him, eyes yearning excitedly to me as I drive fast around a sharp turn on a rural county road, miles from anywhere, him, me, the car, combining, forming one multi-conscious being, interacting differently with the road, the pine trees, the stars, and the national park fire towers we encounter than we would as solo units.
200 years ago. This is a thought experiment. Two hundred years ago, my brain existed. Wait, strike that.
years ago, my brain existed, but was a barren slab of granite. 200,000,000
Sentient granite. Tremors under my mind cause fissures to crack the granite. Submind magma flows up between the fissures, covering the surface of my mind with naked, ardent lava. The sea around my mind washes ashore, eroding and shaping the glassy obsidian into rich, loamy soil. Soon, palm fronds and grasses grow. Pleasant ferns and prairie grasses, here and there a cattail can be seen, poking up from the fecund grasses my mind has grown. Later, wheat joins the prairie grasses; lotuses fill up ponds in my mind. Dinosaurs eat the ferns and each other. Succulents, poppies, other beautiful and soft plants emerge, providing a soft landing space for difficult thoughts. It’s okay to have difficult thoughts. I’ve cultivated my mind. It is ready for them.
1,000 s of times, probably, I’ve heard macabre stories from friends. Getting
off the bus from elementary school, Alison was witness to an automobile accident. The windshield of one car shattered, the driver, a young mother on her way home from retrieving the children from daycare, decapitated. Her head shoots over the dashboard, rolls down the hood of the car. Alison and the other children are shooed away by bystanders. My girlfriend, in her job as small-town mortician, is pulled away from bed to a smaller town nearby. Someone has had an accident, what’s called a single-car accident, in the night. She helps a policeman pull the remains of a man from the front seat of his pickup truck, his body charred, adhered to the vinyl seats. He was smoking meth when he lost his handle on the lighter. His car was full of accelerant.
These stories are colored a lurid Halloween tint in my mind, not truly gruesome, but stimulating in their ghastliness. The story of his death, what the therapist calls “my own tragedy”— (This is too corny for me to acknowledge in session, but it rattles a bit in my mind, sometimes resonating, sometimes sounding like dumb, simpleton-words that I will not accept.) This “tragedy” has become Halloween-colored, too. I suppose this is just another way to avoid. studio albums, over twenty-five years, were recorded by the Beastie Boys before one of the three members, Adam Yauch, died of cancer in 2012. The Beatles released twenty-three albums before they broke up in 1970. John Lennon released eleven studio albums before his death in 1983, finding it difficult to obtain success outside of his single “Imagine.” Albums like Double Fantasy are considered noteworthy for their strangeness rather than their listenability. George Harrison released twelve studio albums after the breakup until his death in 2001, one of which was called All Things Must Pass. His songs “My Sweet Lord” and “Here Comes the Sun” come up frequently during the Crying Commute. Ringo released sixteen albums solo, if you can believe it. I’m pretty sure that not even death will stop Paul McCartney from releasing mediocre albums nearly every year. Working solo is difficult.
trillion raindrops fall, according to USA Today, during the “average” thunderstorm, none of which are teardrop shaped. The actual shapes of raindrops range from tiny spheroids to middling hamburger bun shapes to thin parachutes of water with tube-shaped drops toward their bases.
Elegant, sundry, and terribly amusing, I didn’t feel any of them as they rained down on my head as I sat on my scooter waiting for a stoplight. Earlier, a camera watched me as I cried my way through ninety minutes on the treadmill, perhaps just another version of the Crying Commute. The common denominators are the music, the movement (although one is actual movement of my limbs, the other is just movement across space and time), and laughter. I laugh because I imagine the bored gym attendants folding towels, watching the monitor screens like televisions. Look at that fat guy on the treadmill, they might say. He’s working out so hard that he’s crying. Another attendant looks up from her phone. Aw, poor guy. This makes me laugh, then cry and laugh all over again. I imagine Tony, like an immense cumulous cloud on the horizon in May, his arms resting on the broccoli forests in the deciduous belt of Minnesota that we lived in for so many years together, his confident face and awkward hands— (Jack Kerouac “Sweet face—hard to describe . . . swaying to the beat, tall, majestical.”) And it doesn’t matter what teardrops or raindrops are shaped like. I know they are there, but I can’t feel them. I’m raw from the crying and the laughing, and the survivor’s guilt finally releases from my body in waves like a flood over the prairie that surrounds me. •
Hypersomniac Annelise Rittberg
I stick my finger in the socket and coax out the electric mice who live behind my walls. I invite them to tea, and they quickly turn against me. They begin gnawing at my toes, static shocking through their teeth. They crawl up my veins; their voltage sets my heart to double-time. They build a hive in my ribcage and declare their king upon my forehead. After seven nights, my radiative body becomes their kingdom.
Appetite Mara Rosen I am searching for you inside envelopes, on the backs of postage stamps. Licking the sticky side and pressing the edges down. I can taste the blood on my teeth where I bit the flesh of the dayâ€”I can promise it hurt that bastard as much as that bastard hurt me.
Where does Lake Michigan meet the sand, is that even a definite line? Why am I staring at a horizon if there is no cliff, no leap of faith, no pitted darkness, no belly of the beast, nothing I can fall off of ? Why did you have to tell me the earth is round, that I cannot run far enough until, suddenly, I drop into voided space? Now I know my feet will hit the ground forever until one day all of me is underneath. The street outside my window is glowing, and it reminds me of an airport tarmac at 4:00 a.m. Mitchell International sending up its first plane to Vermont or Cozumel. Or just to the watercolor sunrise to kiss the nose of the jet to the clouds and come back down again. The street outside my window is glowing in that unsettling way, like headlights
against the panic of early November snow, or your eyes after too many drinks. Iâ€™m waiting for a Boeing 747 to crash on my front lawn so I can pretend to run outside and save people from the wreckage. Seven limb reattachments and four bouts of CPR later, receive an award for my bravery in times of crisis. I still cannot watch American Horror Story by myself. I am a million fragmented ideas reading essays on political theory, hoping I will come together by the time I am through. I am the terror in the blurred edges of a Wisconsin skyline. I am searching for you inside envelopes, tearing up the letters when they are not written in your voice. Still, I am taking a bite out of the day. These thoughts have already eaten enough of me and I am starving.
The Noon of Thought Cassandra King
It was almost 2:00 a.m., the latest I’d stayed up in years, when I pinched the bridge of my nose and pushed the heels of my hands into my crinkled eyes. I knew I couldn’t yet. It’d been poetry for hours, but I knew I couldn’t. My heart pushed against my bones while the rest of me was still. The seams of myself were straining and tightening. I pressed my lips together in case my lungs came up my throat. Felt like it. Tough. “This dead of midnight,” I recited, letting it trail away. Out the window, the dingy street lamps pressed on the brown-yellow sky. I shook my head. When I got outside, a nighttime breeze plucked my cheeks cold, and I burrowed my chin further into the soft collar of my sweater. Leaves rustled around me. I pulled and tucked the sleeves around my hands. I nestled into myself, so carefully. It wasn’t any less explosive out here, despite the cold, but I’d expected that. It didn’t go away. The air smelled chilly and old in a crinkled sort of way, like how a book would smell if you let it get really old and left it outside for a while. I breathed deeper, feeding my heart what it needed. I knew I was leaking; I knew there was nothing I could do about it and that I was overtired. Not yet, though. I couldn’t yet. I would just let the air ripen me for a few minutes. “The noon of thought,” I recited into my sweater. I knew what came next, but there were no stars. In the city, there were rarely stars. I looked up, and the sky looked sick: brown, yellow, purple, gray, and all the colors a sky should never be. I could even see puffs of clouds, as if nighttime weren’t a real thing anymore. It didn’t matter what I thought. But I did think. In one big ball of wham I thought of beginnings and endings, of making love, of cooking hash browns on a Thursday. I thought of us laughing like the ascending trill of piano keys and wind chimes after a thunderstorm. I thought of discovery, of remembering to put the milk away, of forever and ever. Patience, warmth behind my heart, and thirty-three years. Cut short.
The weight of the truth hurt again when I remembered it. It jerked me down from the sky and into myself again, again, again. Over and over, after all that time, all I could feel was the moment it ended, as if the rest of it didn’t matter. Which hurt, so I pressed my lips together again and tried not to think. I blinked up at the sky, mentally crossing my fingers for stars this time. There were no stars. Which hurt. There was a plane, which hurt. My socks were getting damp, which hurt. It all tried to explode out of me again, stretching the seam in my throat and in my chest. I breathed deeply once and let my arms settle at my sides. Okay. There were no stars, but there were stars somewhere. At home there were stars. The black roll of mountains would point me in the right direction: up. Up and up, forever into silver glitter on a blue and green velvet sky. Make me feel small, please, an ocean of infinite and forever. It didn’t matter what I thought. It didn’t matter, and it didn’t have to. I could go on knowing it didn’t matter, which was okay. It felt good. I opened my eyes and carefully returned to my self. The trees rustled together in a gentle breeze. I moved gently, afraid at first to feel my bones crumble under the weight, but then with more confidence toward the house. The cold didn’t matter; the stars didn’t matter. I was alone, but I could do it now. In the house, I navigated the dark hallways with familiarity. I found my phone and called my son. Voicemail. “Hi, I know it’s late. I’m sorry…” My throat clenched. “You told me to let you know when he was gone. Your dad passed away this morning. Give me a call back. Love you,” my voice breaking on “you.” •
Bubbles in an IV, Taunting Nicholas A. Heinecke
She bought me a leather-bound journal / we are parked at the drive-in, listening to At the Drive-In, because she likes to imagine dialogue more than speak or hear it / I’ll write “abandoned pain,” and she’ll wonder if I mean letting go of what hurts or the hurt of being let go / I’m constantly worried that she finds me / dull and lifeless / Adrien Brody movies / ubiquitous assimilation / heavy handedness when the only thing I want to be is a handsome man about town / anxious Mesopotamia / I’m so full of shit whenever I speak in absolutes like “the only thing I want,” or “the only one I want,” or “everything is going to be just fine” / learning German for the sake of a language requirement is objectively worse than cancer / my Lady Gaga tattoo / Glade brand-scented cat shit / she warns me that perforated hands and dashboard lights are the only things separating humans from less savage beasts and, oh, what savage beasts we have become / straddling the nativity of our ground zeroes / sentimentally peeling scabs in the daylight of our elbow-parched stupor / I pantomime a gun with my hand, mouthing the words “bang, bang” repeatedly—seamlessly / up the volume / her lipstick proposal offers hypodermic teeth / inseminating circuitry pulping within the back-road veins of Amerika / we throw fits into lullabied shambles, falling down and clutching our stomachs / darling, discern for me the differences between blood and rust, should any exist at all / my appetite has improved, I thought you’d like to know / though I am tired all the time and drifting like the snow / up the volume / circumcised memory / my slithered larynx can’t find the words / fingerflirt with frequencies on stereo nipples in the front seat / leather-bound like dead skin, the journal howls hollow, broken/open / I break my spine into paper fringe-scattered vertebrae / hands and knees, pick me up.
Raspberry Gabriel Levin
Hello, dear sodium. Come out of your teepee now. Show me the acne in your cough, the lonely, vindictive pimple sprouting from the darkside of your earlobe like a tiny raspberry pancake only cooked on one side. If I bite into your demisoggy flapjack, half of my teeth become very sad. Very jealous. They are standing in a department store watching their mother buy the tongue a new pair of suede moccasins. They are an analogue for comfort. They are suede. And good. They feel good to the tongue like a pleasure in its firm, leech-like hands. Small and black in the river or outside of. Small and black as the river.
The Trepidation of Man Ben Iburg 52
The Navel Ivan Krasovec The navel, asserts Plato, is the scar that remains of the violent separation from our respective others; we do not remember this because we repressed it, asserts Freud. I do not have a navel. My hair runs in a steady trickle from my chest to the delta of my groin, uninterrupted. I was born unattached, the un-Siamese twin.
A man I met stroked my stomach and noticed this peculiarity. He tried to bury his finger in my belly, saying, â€œStrange. I cannot enter you.â€? He didnâ€™t call back.
101 Things to Do Before You’re Happy Justin Tanner
1. listen to The Smiths 2. read Vonnegut 3. drink cheap wine 4. think about your old town 5. about how shitty it was 6. and the people you hated 7. and the people you loved 8. and the people you wanted to fuck 9. and the people you couldn’t fuck 10. accept it 11. accept it all 12. but then . . . move on 13. it’s hard, but you have to 14. i haven’t 15. watch Lost in Translation 16. buy a ticket to Japan 17. get drunk on tiny bottles of booze 18. pretend you’re a giant 19. you are a giant 20. text someone 21. text anyone 22. you’re lonely 23. you’re drunk 24. you’re nostalgic 25. be in love with everyone you meet 26. unless they’re an asshole 27. but you’re an asshole too 28. it’s all right 29. your dog doesn’t love you anymore
30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57.
but your cat does her name is Schrödinger so it’s fine your grandma had cancer cancer is scary shit be afraid remember that person you wanted to be when you were younger you’re not that person how does that make you feel? like shit drive to Taco Bell at 1:00 a.m. with the windows down blaring “Born to Run” feel alive for a few minutes think about death think about God think about Santa Claus remember how devastated you were when you found out it was your parents the whole time you’ll make your kid feel the same way how does that make you feel? devastated all work and no play will lead to trying to kill Shelly Duvall Tom Waits is a god but so are you you’re a god ride the bus don’t sit next to anybody feel bad that no one wants to sit next to you
58. avoid unnecessary social interactions 59. when you volunteer at a soup kitchen 60. you get free soup 61. watch a sad movie 62. like Philadelphia or Lost in Translation 63. cry 64. it feels good sometimes 65. fuck with gender stereotypes 66. get drunk on cheap wine 67. on Facebook, put up quotes by Charles Bukowski 68. talk about things that are uncomfortable & awkward 69. like porn, and watching porn 70. masturbating to porn. 71. it’s like that time you weren’t going to prom 72. but then someone asked you 73. and you went 74. and it was fun 75. there are days when i can’t get out of bed 76. so i binge-stream Netflix 77. right now 78. i’m on season four of Downton Abbey 79. sometimes i hate being alone 80. sometimes i like it 81. lie awake at night 82. think about what you want to do tomorrow 83. think big 84. tomorrow, do none of it 85. repeat 86. notice how young Scarlett Johansson looks in Lost in Translation
87. 88. 89. 90. 91. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100.
i won’t jerk off to her though she’s too beautiful it’d be like jerking off to a sunset i have a lot of things i want to say to a lot of different people but i won’t fear is a bastard walk instead of drive driving is too easy emotions are tricky walking through leaves is the funnest thing i’ve done in months do you hate that you have to do things and be places? most of the time i do being trapped is preferable to being dead
Hallowed Canines, Decay Minds, and Twenty-One Summers Jonathan DeDecker 58
Thrash Unreal Nicholas A. Heinecke
Snow began to fall on Cedar Avenue as a girl beside me spilt her stomach onto the sidewalk. I’d never seen anyone vomit midstride before, but she cocked her head to the side as she spewed and managed to keep pace as we ran toward the same Mecca. Her indifference to the act didn’t stop me from doing a double take and burning the putrid glory of it all into my mind. She wiped her mouth with a denim sleeve and we locked eyes. This city is an ashtray, she said. The narrow entryway of the Triple Rock was a cramped amalgam of crust punks, riot girls, and anarcho-kids that stretched on farther than my bladder could appreciate. I’m still not sure whether I was shivering then from the cold or the need to take a leak, but the ogre beside me must have assumed the latter. Just go, he whispered in my ear. Ain’t no one here that’d notice a lil’ extra piss in the air. He belted out a quick laugh that echoed off the glass walls. I could have sworn they shook. When I reached the bouncer, he ripped my ticket and X’d my hand. The flow of the crowd led to the stage front; I drifted away and found the bathroom. Before me were two urinals and a toilet, sans stall. I took the one closest to the door, unbuckling my belt as I did, a clamor of studs and steel muffled by the shuffle of footsteps on the damp, tiled floor. I stared at the wall, as one does, and admired the Sharpie masterworks that covered it. A Sistine Chapel of dick drawings and angst-ridden mantras enveloped the room. I’m seeing double at the Triple Rock, one read, inches below a downright impressive caricature of President Bush with a banner over his eyes, declaring, 666 Kill ’Em All. I shook myself off and zipped my pants. I didn’t wash my hands before returning to the main room. Nobody seemed to notice. There’s no barrier between the floor of the Triple Rock and its waisthigh stage. Bodies pressed bodies. The lucky ones were either tall enough to see over the crowd or slender enough to slither through its cracks. Many tried force to reach the front, using justifications such as I skipped work for this, or, They’re my favorite band. Few by the stage gave a shit. They’re everyone here’s favorite 59
band, asshole, was a standout response usually coupled with the backward thrust of a defensive elbow. The battle to be stage-side was trivial in my eyes, as the venue is marginally more spacious than a cardboard box, though I was in awe at the brilliance of it all. There was a love in that room, unspoken at the time, but there all the same. It could be felt in the heels, transmitted through the soles of one’s shoes from the seismic stomping of anticipation. In the midst of it all, the climbing fever and rising tide, I was there. Lights dimmed and the band took the stage. In an instant, any arguments over who-stood-where ceased. We fused, a completed jigsaw of patched denim jackets and torn band tees. Electric, my bones, as feedback jostled their cores. It was a downward strum on a tattered Rickenbacker that incited the revolution of sound and flesh, a gospel of freedom from all binding ties that only punk rock could deliver. For me, it was an absolution of anxieties, borne from every heavy sigh that had then become both weightless and worthwhile. They were everyone there’s favorite band, yes. Most importantly, they were mine. I couldn’t tell you whose sweat soaked my back. I’d recognize faces, maybe, but voices were muted by the total treble trembling in the air. Arms around me, noise above, a sea of bodies waxing and waning by the gravity of guitars. This is religion, I thought, a collective consciousness worshiping those who set us free. A chorus we all knew, a choir of misfits and nine-to-fives and those without labels that would sing along forever, if we had the time. Me and them and the walls in unison until the house lights came up. •
okay Makenzie Flom 61
Once Jacob Lindberg Once in her youth, she had been taught that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. It was universal. But maybe even then she could not believe anything scientific was universal; she knew the world was so much less than fact. Now, years later, she sits in discussion with herself, transposing her thoughts on two eight-and-a-half by eleven-inch sheets of computer paper flat on her coffee table between permanent non-spill bottle rings and dried, rigid crumbs.
Page 1â€”Her Formula: Action 1: She and he lie on the hill behind the house that sloped up from his driveway and down to the woods and furthered to the creek. Reaction 1: The dew was on the ground and it neither came down like rain nor rose up like worms and their backsides were wet and frontsides dry and he looked at her and said she was a beautiful thing and the sky was as dark as it could be and the clouds worked more as colored plastic over a stage light when she reached across and kissed him and their backsides were both slathered with dew even though when they had lain down the ground was dry. Action 2: They had intercourse on the hill after his discourse of proposing to have intercourse. Reaction 2: Love, what else it could be? Every time there was dew on the ground, his smell was the air and she would walk barefoot on the grass like it was the first time the grass had ever been wet without rain. And then the liquid took form. It took form in her stomach and she grew a hill of her own that rose either up from her feet or down from her hair. Action 3: She told him they were having a child. Reaction 3: He suggests they are youngâ€”we are much too young for a child. You should get rid of your child. Action 4: She has her child. Reaction 4: He is gone. He is out and in the world and some humans are more dimorphic and their bodies and minds rear what they will not have.
End Note: On which side does a hill rise and on which side does it fall?
She poses this question as a hypothesis. On restaurant napkins and bathroom stalls, on the mirror in her rented trailer, on church bulletins, on pamphlets she finds at various daycare visits and job interviews, on blog sites, on emails she sends out at random. Her representative sample. Self-surveys in the hospital waiting room magazines: Does a hill rise from the south and fall in the north: 1—strongly north, 2—slightly north, 3—neutral, 4—slightly south, 5—south And sometimes they are answered—days later, months later, years later; when she returns and find strings of comments from different hands in different strokes, different fonts, different lengths, different sizes: 1 5 3—does it ever fall or just lead to another hill? What if the fall only inverts into another; what if the world is only the constant rising and sliding of hills and it never falls and just rises? 1, 5—it depends on what side descends lower 3—hills are neutral because there is a reaction to most things, almost everything. She does not curse herself for not researching this now. Not devoting her life to that of fractured science. The data is consistent; a hill’s rise to some may be its fall. And because of this she cannot accept this law that she had once been taught as universal, because she has taken great measures to scientifically research such universal laws and determine how far their apparatuses stretch. Page 2 - His (the one who left) formula, written by the one he left:
Action 1: Invite high school girlfriend over. Date for two months. Bring up sex. Proceed to sex. Reaction 1: She comes over. Action 2: Do not buy a condom because he already asked her to come over and he will not make her wait at his house because that would not be gentlemanly; it is never gentlemanly to make a woman wait. Reaction 2: Save seventy-five cents and a trip to a gas station bathroom that has continually smelled like rot for as long as he can remember. Action 3: Seduce her. Reaction 3: Pregnancy. Action 4: Leave. Reaction 4: Pending. End Note 1: Reaction 4 is still pending; all further reactions within this situation shall be directed solely toward the secondary party. Rejected Predictions: Rejected Prediction 1: A diaper bag lies next to his bedside and is filled with generic baby powders, pacifiers, and apricot baby food. Rejected Prediction 2: There is a pile of used diapers propped alongside his garbage can stuffed in Walmart bags because he has not only run out of garbage bags but space in his garbage can, and he will soon run out of Walmart bags and will walk to the trailer next door to borrow more. Rejected Prediction 3: He tells his daughter that she did not have a mother and that her mother had been nothing more than a hill, the moon, and a tide that does not rise from the ground or fall from the sky but is moonlight itself FLIP PAGE (Rejected Prediction 3 CONTINUED) and so he tells his daughter that she was conceived by the elements of the Earthâ€”the grass, the dirt, the moss, the earthworms, the centipedes, the mill-bugsâ€”when the crust that forms at the root of the grass and head of the dirt exhales and conjoins itself with the lunar spotlight.
Rejected Prediction 4: He signs a WIC check and runs his food stamps, which is still not enough, so he swipes his card, which is declined, so he puts his deodorant and toothpaste and razors back so that he can get food, which is already more cardboard than food, and by the time the card is approved the people behind him in line whisper to each other and to themselves, and when they sneer, he knows they sneer at him. End Note 2: Rejected Reaction Hypotheses do not follow the scientific rule of falsifiability; no reaction can be fully disapproved due to disappearance of subject in question. In vacancy, subject relinquishes right to reaction and universal law, thus secondary subject assumes responsibility. Once, she had been told that all actions must have an equal and opposite reaction. She watches her daughter, who has formed healthily through the last seven years, sleep quietly in her bed. Her breaths rise up and down from her chest and the air whistles through her disproportionate teeth. Her mother leans in the doorway and watches the blanket rise and fall, rise and fall, unsure which side rises first and which side falls. Perhaps her question is one that was formulated to never be answered, one that will never be fully answered, one that will only hold the partial truth: one side rises and one side falls and she will never know which is the former and which is the latter. She walks to the bed and sits beside the girl, stroking her brown hair. Once, she had lain on a hill with a boy. Once, she had loved that boy. Once, she had gotten pregnant. Once, she had gained a heartbeat and lost one at the same time. Once, she had not received an equal or opposite reaction; she received a greater and similar one. One handed down by the moon and earth and dew. One that creates landscapes with its breath. She leaves the door open and resumes her place at the coffee table, tucks away the paper in its drawer, and drifts off to the sound of her daughterâ€™s whistling exhales, which is so much more than fact had offered in a world that was so much less than fact. â€˘ 65
Some Things I Recall Eva Moe I. I thought the remnants of you had shrunk in my stomach, but they crawled from the pit like the pale girl in your horror movie. Those frail edges pinned me drinking from the wishing well, and in your town the water was sacred. I was always into magic, and like every risk gone wrong you came back. Of all people, I should have remembered what’s dead should stay dead.
Let me prove I’m better at bygones than you think. I’ve read my words from last year’s pages, so swollen and blotchy like the lumpy figure next to me. I don’t remember feeling like I swallowed the new cancer, but it’s written, so I must have. II. When you capture my journal, Detective, mind the chicken-scratch. It was hard to quit the motion. I don’t remember my fingers unzipping her neck, her back, her corpus callosum. But there it is, dried and stuck to the hardwood floor, so I must have.
History, Apparent Damian Johansson 67
The Conversation Annelise Rittberg Spread bare like a carcass Filling empty planets in my mattress Your skin stretched taut across the ceiling Dripping cold sweat onto my forehead My back pressed thin Growing moss in the heat
Fingernails breaking off at their tips And collecting in your penny jars
Prohibido Pasar (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2014) Sophie Glaesemann 69
Garden View Milo Tacheny 70
Strangely Dry in the Dreamscape Lisa Tolles The parenthetical thoughts in the midst of sentences we spoke were in two different languages. My words stuck like bean sprouts in my throat where I choke on the things Iâ€™d really like you to hear. Biting apples in place of silence, I wanted to rip your skin down to the core, peel you and put your secrets in my mouth.
You examined splintering sensations within the vapors. I got so desperate I stuck tweezers up my nose to pull at scabs caused by your acidic breath inside me. We absorbed transparent delusions near the flowers. We breathed blue meaning under the mud. You were so sensuous next to the grave of our decaying friend held in a musty snare. I confound in dream, like sounds within the trees.
the place between Jennifer Peterson 72
Jessika Louis Fine 73
The Same Blazer Nathan Lemin
I upped my pace to a near jog, slipping the glove off my hand to snatch my phone in and out of my pocket so I could check the time. I hated being late— my punctuality was all I had in a life of disorder. I could see my breath and feel the wind bite my ears, but beneath my coat and blazer and shirt I was sweating. I scowled at the sweat and the dirty December snow soaking my dress shoes. At 6:30, I rounded the corner with great speed and disregard, smashing a passerby’s paper bags into the slush and forgetting to apologize, but I made it to her front door on time. Then, as only people who are regularly on time do, I waited ten minutes for her to come get me. She looked pretty, giving me her best. I had told her it was better to wear a dress to the orchestra, so she did. Her eyes shone bright through a shroud of heavy makeup, like a welcome sun through winter clouds. I gave her a light kiss on the cheek, wiping the powder from my mouth when she turned to lead me into her apartment. In the elevator, with nothing to talk about, I apologetically presented the remains of the bottle of wine I had intended to share with her. In the time between its purchase and that elevator ride, the wine had mostly disappeared. She didn’t care, or didn’t seem to. She never seemed to care about what I did wrong. We sat on her pleather couch. The squeak of the plastic voiced our discomfort as we passed the lonely glass of wine back and forth. She talked some as I searched the room for something to say, then, finding nothing, I said nothing and she listened. Before we left, she insisted on taking a photograph together since we looked nice, and we were together. I had no desire to remember how we looked but conceded. Her eyes sparkled in the flash of the photo; mine were closed. We walked out, not into the cold but struck by it. I winged my arm so she could loop hers through it. She did, happily—our shoulders shrugged to cut the wind. Her heels clapped twice to each of my steps and I considered slowing for her, but it was cold and we were almost late, so I hurried on. We said little, 74
letting her heels and the wind fill the otherwise silent night. She kept her arm curled around mine as we were funneled slowly into the filling auditorium and to our seats. They were good seats—on the aisle and close to the orchestra pit. She paged through the program, and I read some over her shoulder. I let my eyes dance around the auditorium, looking for nothing in particular. An old man with a wide grin cut through my wandering gaze. He moseyed down the aisle, calling hallo to the people around us, shaking hands with whom I took to be regulars. He had a certain looseness about him that comes only with familiarity in a setting. After establishing his presence, he sat down just in front of us. I examined the small, colored squares of his blazer, then glanced at my own. The patterns appeared identical. I had just bought the blazer; the salesman had recommended it, said it was “a young look.” I suddenly resented the old man and the salesman: I was young and needed no special blazer to preserve that, but the man in front of me shaved ten years simply by slipping into that coat. If our look was young, then he was early; I was late. Sitting next to her called for obligatory hand-holding. Each time the conductor waved the end of a number, our hands would separate for a moment of applause, and then crawl back to the sweating company of one another. Much like the two of us, our hands stayed together when there was nothing better to do. I watched it all unfaithfully, my eyes fixed on a lonely violinist. Her eyes were sad, dark circles standing against the harshness of a white stage. I wondered if the violinist had seen me. I didn’t wonder if she had seen me seeing her. We watched the final performance swell to climax, then dwindle note by note until there was one, and then a longer one, and then none. The wave of the crowd stood in ovation and those dark eyes bowed behind a closing curtain. I looked at the old man in front of me as we stood. His elbows danced with applause, and they were covered with round, black patches. I scanned my own and saw nothing. 75
I left in a rush; she was clinging to my arm, struggling to keep up. I said nothing as we bustled back to her apartment. She didnâ€™t break my silence. I held open her front door, and she walked through, turning for me to follow. I was already gone, throwing a hollow goodnight over my shoulder, faltering through the icy world. I was late for nothing, but hurried all the same. â€˘
Street Corners Erica Beebe 1.
There is a born-again boy on the corner of 4th and 14th shaking a sign in the air that says Repent or Perish. It is a Friday night and you are making your way to a party in your strappy black heels and you want to say loosen up, kid; why don’t you head on home, the world isn’t going to stop turning if you take the night off. Go get drunk or something, so drunk you can’t feel the heat of burning brimstone anymore; make your fears hazy, lord knows that’s what the rest of us do. Everyone else on the sidewalk is avoiding his eyes, but you can’t look away and so he asks what you think of his sign. And you keep walking because you have that one party, but you yell over your shoulder, Honey I don’t believe in God, but if I did my god would be a lot more fun than yours. He would probably look like David Bowie, and he’d save you with music and he’d be really into putting glitter on his face. The other people on the street laugh and it trails you to the next corner where there’s a boy with the same sign who asks you the same question.
2. There is a homeless man on the corner of 4th and 14th jingling a tin cup and begging for your pocket change. It is a Friday night and you are making your way home from a party carrying your strappy black heels and you want to say listen, I don’t have any money right now, but maybe the next time I see you I can buy you a cheeseburger or something. There is no one else on the street and if there were they’d be avoiding his eyes. But that is something you have never been able to do. This man’s eyes, they are infinite, they seem to say you are forgiven for your wanderings, for your desperate boozed-up nights and your sweaty forlorn-ication. He knows how scary it all is, what with all these boys on street corners. There is a lot of forgetting that needs to be done here. The homeless man with the Jesus eyes, he knows. He seems to love you anyway. You say to him, You’re the sort of thing I want to believe in.
Mirror Kimberly David 79
Daylight Saving Melanie Stimac Last night For one hour I didn’t remember your name It didn’t echo in my mind Or spill itself onto my pillow Last night For one hour I couldn’t remember the color of your eyes Or how your lips moved so beautifully As they lied Poetry
Last night In that hour I didn’t feel the ache Of the hole you dug in my stomach With your bare fingertips
Afterward Shea Stoner 81
Stress Relief for Beginners Annie Burdick
“Two deep breaths. Two deep breaths. Two de—” I stop myself as my voice begins to speed up again. This is a yoga studio, no place to show off who I used to be. In my mind, I stress the used to be because if I can convince myself, I sure as hell can convince some middle-aged women in a yoga class. I smile calmly at the group of women seated around the room. Every eye is locked on me. They wait for me to make a move so they can copy it exactly. Dictating the actions of others is something I’ve always been quite fond of. As an auctioneer, I led crowds of people to pursue their spending habits. Making other people squander money was my own bad habit, one I’m trying to break now. They said the yoga would help. So far, I’m not noticing any significant improvements. “All right ladies. Warrior pose, one-one-one (stop that!) more time.” The therapists all said the inner monologue would stop the external dialogue from getting out of hand. “Warrior One, can I get Two? Warrior Two-Two-Two (stop). How ’bout Three? Who’s got Warrior Three?” The staring has gone from respectful to bewildered. My voice has sped up considerably, and I’m almost shouting at them. My auctioneer side is showing. Half of the women are somewhere between Warrior Two and Three. Some, still at One, look even more confused. A few seem to have lost their balance and have toppled over completely. I’ve created a disaster out of a perfectly normal class. (Pull it together.) “I apologize, ladies. Let’s all have a seat, close our eyes, and take a few soothing deep breaths.” Looking around at the peace I’ve regained, a smile forms at the corners of my mouth. “Good. Moving on.” Class proceeds rather well from there, with just a few more hiccups. (Sun Salutation, with its many-numbered steps, trips me up several times.)
I resist the urge to point at people and loudly declare their victories. (Shannon, you’re going home today with a brand new understanding of relaxation! Margie, you’ve just acquired a new breathing technique! Congratulations on nailing that pose, Laurie! You can take that home with you!) These thoughts I’m careful to keep to myself. We finish the class with guided meditation. My words manage to stay calm while my thoughts race uncontrollably. “Focus on your thoughts. Relax your mind.” (Fifteen seconds of silence. Can I hear thirty? Thirty? Sixty seconds, going once, twice…) “Now, pay attention to your emotions. Accept any emotions you may be feeling.” (Stress. Anxiety. Despair. Helplessness. Longing.) When the class finally ends, I stay silent while the women file past me, offering them only smiles as rewards for their hard work. I’m far too afraid of a repeat of last session’s “I’ll-see-you-in-a-week” debacle. That got out of hand quickly. •
The Cellist Louie-Paulo Darang 84
De vin et vainquant Brigid McBride
The boy worked at a vineyard three miles from her house. “His mother is French, but you wouldn’t know it,” whispered her cousin Marion one suffocating summer day in 1955. The two girls had ridden their bicycles down the road into town to steal cigarettes, Marion sweetly asking the pharmacist for a bandage for her bloody knee as Aurélie slipped behind the counter and grabbed two packs of Gauloises, her mother’s favorites, and pushed them into her pockets before running out the back door. After giggling their way farther down the road and dismounting their bicycles in an open field, the two lay in the tall grass, lighting up the cigarettes with the matches they had taken from the brasserie next to the pharmacy. The grass shivered and shook around them, reaching up toward the sun and the woefully cloudless sky overhead. “His father is Algerian, one of the rebels, Maman says,” Marion continued between amateurish puffs of smoke, weakly released into the still, hanging air like warm breath into a January evening. “That’s why he’s so dark.” Aurélie stared at the boy working a short distance across the road, holding her own cigarette between her two fingers just like she had seen the girls do in the movies. He was dark—brown skin glittering with sweat under the oppressive sun as he climbed up his rickety wooden stepladder to grasp the tops of grapevines. “What’s he doing here, then?” she said, more to herself than to Marion. “The vineyard belongs to his mother’s brother,” her cousin responded anyway, relishing the way the gossip dripped off her tongue, slippery and delicious. “He usually lives in Paris with her, but she’s ill, so she sent him here. Maman says she’s in a wheelchair.” Marion and her mother, Lucille, had moved in with Aurélie’s family four years before, but Aurélie never seemed to hear even half the gossip that Marion absorbed from her perch on the countertop of the tiny salon in town where Lucille cut hair on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Marion would sit, swinging her stubby legs, sandals hanging off her dirty feet, as Lucille snipped at split
ends and giggled, shrieked, and whispered her way through five hours of haircuts and colorings. There the two would waste away the afternoon, scandalizing the most minute details of the villagers’ lives, aware that half her rate included laughing along with the neighborhood ladies like rabid hyenas as she reported on the dirty magazine she had seen tucked into the postmistress’s purse the day before. “He doesn’t look very pleased to be here,” Aurélie mused, leaning back and taking a long drag of her cigarette (trying desperately to cover the wheezing in her throat and the water in her eyes that resulted). As he cut through the thin, pale brown branches, clenching the bunches of red grapes in his hands, fingers jutting like claws, his thick eyebrows pulled together over something more than just determination or fatigue storming in his eyes. He threw the fruit almost too forcefully into the wheelbarrow at the foot of his stepladder, his lips moving in a whisper that Aurélie couldn’t hear or decipher. “He’s a Muslim, you know,” Marion said, suddenly exaggeratedly serious. Aurélie broke her gaze from the boy in the vineyard to look over with a raised eyebrow at her cousin, who stared back knowingly, eyes boring into her. “Maman says not to talk to him.” Aurélie rolled her eyes and looked back at the boy. He was not the first person Lucille had instructed them to ignore. From the old Jewish woman with the large bosom and a disapproval of children in the boulangerie to the large family of gypsies with big hair and big smiles who sold candles out of their house a mile outside of town, Lucille had several of these perceived dangers to their safety on her list. Whispering in the girls’ ears against approaching the Turkish boy with a broken leg who cheerfully sold papers by the fountain in the center of town, she would scoff, clucking her tongue, “The scum that wash up in Nice and make their way north. It’s disgraceful.” But Aurélie knew what people said about Lucille. Knew that, even though she held the title of biggest gossip in all of Saint-Martin-du-Var with a
whole brigade of other sharp-tongued, well-styled vultures, their whole family heard the whispers about Lucille. Why her husband was gone, why she and Marion lived with the Morels, about what she was. Collabo, they whispered, even nine years later. When Aurélie had asked, at ten years old, only a few months after the two Fourniers had moved into their spare room, tears streaking down her red cheeks and a red mark around her wrist, why Tante Lucille had forbidden her from speaking to the small Romani girl who had shared a peach with her, her mother had tapped the ash off the end of her cigarette into the sink and yelled out to the living room, “Ach, Lucille! Enough of this!” But Lucille simply blew smoke in the direction of the kitchen and stared at the magazine she was reading, expressing enormous interest in a hose advertisement. Letting out a long jet of smoke that impressed even herself, Aurélie kept her eyes on the boy, watching his hands. He couldn’t have been much older than she, only fifteen or sixteen, but he had hands like a man, large and brown and rough with thin, squared fingers, veins and muscles bulging as he cut through vines with the large, jagged knife he had pulled from his back pocket. “What’s his name?” she said after several moments of silence, catching Marion off guard. “What?” she said, staring at her, eyebrows creased. Aurélie turned her head to face her cousin. “What is his name?” she repeated, slower this time, meeting Marion’s eyes. “Does your mother know that?” Marion frowned and looked up at the boy once again. “I’m not sure. I don’t think she knows.” She cocked her head to the side as Aurélie rolled her eyes, matching her cousin’s posture as she, too, eyed the boy. Unaware of his two spectators, he continued his coarse sawing of the grapevines, elbow moving back and forth, back and forth, over and over and over. His eyebrows remained married, thick and upset. “We should talk to him.” The collar on Marion’s dress ruffled, like leaves tripping over the ground, as she snapped her head to gape at her
golden-haired cousin amongst the golden grass, all hazy smoke and long golden crossed legs, an aspiring coquette. “Maman says not—” “Your mother says a lot, and my mother says not to listen,” Aurélie responded, putting out her cigarette on the frame of her steel bicycle. She uncrossed her legs and tried to rise gracefully to her feet, stumbling slightly and shifting her weight to her right leg. “So I’m going to talk to him.” She crossed the remainder of the field, bare feet cushioned by the swollen dirt, jaw set and eyes forward, with a determination arranged in her shoulders. “Aurélie!” Marion squealed, hurrying to her feet as well and following close behind, her short legs swishing in overtime to keep up with the taller girl. “You can’t!” she hissed as they reached the road, pulling on Aurélie’s arm with stubborn urgency. She was immediately shaken off. “Hush, Marion, no one’s going to tell your Maman,” Aurélie responded, keeping her eyes on the boy who had yet to notice his approaching audience, continuing his battle against the upper reaches of the grapevines, having moved on with his wooden stepstool to a new plant closer to the road, grapes red in his hand like an old wound. His sawing continued, more frantic and frenzied in movement, and the white shirt riding up his arms was translucent with his perspiration. “Hey, you!” Aurélie called as Marion gaped by her side, silent from disbelief at her cousin’s mutinous yell. The boy turned his head, surprised at the interruption. He surveyed his confronters, looking over each of them top to bottom before turning back to his grapevine, continuing the sawing, his eyebrows still hard and creased, but something almost like a smile gracing his face. “What do you want?” he said, not unfriendly, but not welcoming, with no indication of stopping his work evident in his body. His shoulders still held tight as his arm moved back and forth. “What’s your name?” Aurélie said, attempting eye contact, staring
vigorously at the side of his head. Her hands were on her hips because she thought it made her look older, and Marion just looked distraught. “What’s your name?” the boy said, turning back to her and leaning on his ladder as he played with the knife in his hands. Then he smirked at her, the first indication of accord, and she smiled back. “Aurélie,” she said with little hesitation. “This is my cousin, Marion,” she said, specifically to rile up the girl at her side, who began to protest, hedging and spluttering, earning her a pinch on the shoulder. “O-ray-lee,” he said slowly, tasting each syllable between thick lips, smirk growing. “O-ray-lee. What does it mean?” She shrugged, smiling back at him, eyes squinting in defense of the sun. Drawing a circle in the dirt with her bare toes, head cocked to the side, she said, “So what’s your name?” He looked over her head at the open field beyond the road. Then, looking back at her, he stepped down from his wooden ladder. His brown-booted feet hit the soft ground. “Victor,” he said, stepping closer to the girls. “Victor Kateb.” “And what does Victor mean?” Aurélie asked, raising an eyebrow, trying to match his smirk, but the boy just smiled. “Aurélie,” Marion whined at her shoulder. “Aurélie,” she said, pulling on her arm. “Aurélie, I want to leave. Let’s go home.” “So soon?” Victor said, still staring right at Aurélie, never shifting his eyes from her to her tiny cousine. “I’ll be back,” Aurélie said as she turned, keeping eye contact. “I have to learn what your name means, after all.” Victor bared his teeth in a dangerous grin as the two girls walked way, Aurélie throwing her gleaming hair over her bare, almost sunburnt shoulder. She glanced back once more at him, eyes narrowed and searching, lips quirked. He watched as their bare feet padded across the gravel road, bottoms too calloused
to feel pain. He watched as they descended into the tall, golden grass, Aurélie’s hair blending into the ocean of stalks surrounding her, rolling like stormy waves in the light wind and blinking back at him in the sun. The girls mounted their bikes; Marion frantically pedaling and Aurélie gliding effortlessly down the road behind her. She glanced back once more, matching his hungry stare with insatiable green eyes, before she turned away for good. As they rode out of sight, becoming just specks of dirt on the dusty road, he sighed, wiping his sweaty forehead on his sweaty forearm, stepping back up the ladder. Sawing just as forcefully as before, he now held a secret smile on his face, the smile that his Uncle Jean would gruffly inquire about, mustache drooping and wet with wine, two hours later when Victor finally walked back inside against the backdrop of the orange evening sky. Hope for those two words—Je reviendrai—swelled in his chest, and the stagnant heat hanging in the air seemed to disappear, if only for the afternoon. •
Fear Susie Kofuji 91
Nox Devon Lee 92
Just a Boy Matthew Bruch-Andersen The world is but a winery verdurous and purply My six-year-old neighbor likes to come over and squash the grapes between his toes likes to jump in the juice still wearing his shoes and they have to dispose of the batch and try again I donâ€™t much care for him but heâ€™s just a boy Poetry 93
DJ Anya Anderson S贸lidas en el oscuro plano del 煤ltimo momento, tus palabras me tocan por hombro inmaterial, y me ponen a tierra. Que alquimia preciosa que permite la sombra besar al hombre.
Solid on the dark plane of the last moment, your words touch me on an immaterial shoulder, and I crash to Earth. What precious alchemy that permits the shadow to kiss the man.
Interview Jake Sorensen
As soon as I enter, I feel incomplete. My stomach drops as my dress shoes clop against the marble floor. The collar of my shirt chafes my throat as I crane my neck up, then left and right. The walls reach up so far I’m not sure if there is a ceiling. The entrance hall is narrow and long, snaking around the corners to either side. The wall across from me is decorated with a set of complex directories, which, upon inspection, I suspect not even a cartographer could properly navigate. I wince at the harsh glare of lights I cannot locate, bite my lip, and adjust my tie. There’s nothing to follow, no chatter or footsteps. My credentials crinkle in my hand. My feet dance a little. I remind myself there’s no time for deliberation. I hang a right, praying that I might find reception. Another hallway, just as thin, just as tall, just as long. This one also turns a corner at the end. I don’t notice the doors until I’ve walked some way down the corridor. All of them are unnumbered and painted to look like the marble of the walls. Or maybe they are made of marble. Their knobs are gold with ornate patterns of spectacular shapes and figures etched around the keyhole. One sort of looks like a lion. Another looks like a great raging fire. The third looks like a flower. It’s beautiful, with violet tips and foaming seagreen petals. I pause to admire it more closely. It gleams as if actually dripping with mid-morning dew. I can smell it. I want to reach out to pluck it. Give it to Nana like I used to at the cottage in the summer. Go down to the beach and get sprayed with the saltwater. Brush the wet sand off my palms. I can almost hear the tide come in. “Excuse me?” There’s a woman down the hallway. She’s far away. Her right hand rests firmly on her hip; the other is holding a leather binder. I stand up straight and clear my throat. “Do you know where you’re supposed to be?” she asks me.
“Not exactly. I have an interview at three o’clock with the managing director,” I reply. I check my wrist for the time. There is no watch. “Could you tell me where his office is?” “Of course, right this way.” She turns and disappears around the corner. I follow briskly, ignoring the remaining doorknobs. I close the distance in moments. I turn. In an elevator, the woman with the binder is patiently waiting. “Do come in,” she instructs. The elevator is painted a translucent white on the inside, the color of frozen glass. There’s no music and eighty-seven floors to climb. The doors close, though it doesn’t feel like we’re moving. I resist the urge to shiver. “Do you work here?” I ask. She looks at me. Her face is remarkably ordinary, like someone I’ve seen a thousand times and yet reminiscent of no one in particular. “Why yes, of course,” she replies. “What do you do?” She shrugs at me. “This.” “Which floor do we stop at?” “The top.” The doors open. The woman nods at me. I step off the elevator, out into a richly furnished waiting room. Upon the walls hang countless classical paintings of historical figures and landscapes; a filigreed silver trim lines the edge of each wall from the floor up to the endless ceiling. The lights are dimmer here. The whole room smells faintly of wood polish. On my right, a thin old man sits behind a massive, arcing mahogany desk. He is typing something into his computer. He does not appear to have noticed me. “Excuse me?” I ask. His typing halts. He cocks his head at me. “Hello there,” he says. “Need help with something?” I shuffle over to him; my resume tremors in my hand. “I’m here for the managing director. We have an interview at three
o’clock,” I tell him. “I will let him know. Though you’re quite early.” “How early?” I ask. He smiles and motions to the other side of the room. There’s a leather sofa and an armchair that looks plucked from the court of some mythic kingdom, hewn in radiant golden upholstery so dazzling they make the rest of the space seem utterly tasteless in comparison. “You may have a seat,” he says. I go over to the exquisite chair and sit. It’s not remarkably comfortable. The old man resumes his typing and does not look at me again. My eyes search for a clock. I find none. I make friends with the artwork while I wait. A portrait of George Washington and I are quickly drawn to one another, exchanging glances every few minutes, silently agreeing that the painting of the farm with the purple silo and endless brassy wheat fields should get over itself. Eventually, George tires of me. I take up with Marie Antoinette, then Elizabeth, Galileo, even Mona. In time, they fade, their faces swallowed and replaced and swallowed again. I see people I don’t recognize. I see places I’ve never been. They are vaguely familiar. Most are gone before I get a good look. A door opens beside me. A barefoot man in a white undershirt and cream-colored khakis steps out. I give him my best smile. He doesn’t look at me right away. When he does, he beams back. “You’re my three o’clock?” I stop smiling. “That’s me.” I start to stand up out of the chair but cannot commit entirely. “Right this way.” He motions with his arm through the doorway. I finish leaving the chair and follow him. Immediately we’re descending a staircase. A long staircase. I cannot see the bottom. While we climb down, I hand the man the tattered paper in my hand. He reads it aloud to me, every syllable. I just listen. “This seems just about right,” he says when he’s finished. He shakes his
head and gives me a grin. We reach his office not long after that. A small room, warm and colorless. There are two pillows on the floor to sit on. He takes one; I take the other. We sit cross-legged like children. I feel tears well up in my eyes. They’re hot and thick like blood. “What do you think?” he asks. “It’s nice,” I say. “Not much to it.” “I’m a simple man,” he replies. In the distance I hear the listless break of waves onshore. I scratch my nose. “What sort of questions do you have for me?” I ask. “How much time do you have?” “I don’t know,” I say. I feel water seeping through my suit, the beach licking my heels. I cough. He smiles again. “I lost my watch.” He laughs, “Well then, you’d better find it.” As soon as I leave, I feel whole. My eyes burn; my chest seizes. The taste of salt. The air stings. I blink and I choke; it’s so dark out here. Are those stars? I can’t tell. I can’t wipe my eyes, my palms are crusted with sand. I’m lying on my back, wrenching the life back into my lungs. I remember my name. They’re shouting it. Soon, they’re cheering. Someone hugs me. I gasp. I shudder and hack. One more breath, tears running down my cheeks, head thrown back. Those are stars, and they’re spectacular. •
Mississippi Stars Lauren Cutshall 99
Mahat Connor Prizy in gym class your back would sweat and stain your shirt the shape of a charizard you’d throw bad pitches and get mad when they wouldn’t swing and look at me and we’d laugh
i’m sorry i was a mess at your parties you dropped so much money on booze yet never seemed to mind
i cried at your funeral the air hung hot and sticky and tasted like shoeless feet
your mom screamed in gujarati and it reverberated off the walls and was swallowed up by the metal fans and our sobs i couldnâ€™t ask for a tissue i hung my head and stared down at writhing hands and wet socks
this year i was sad around your birthday i got too drunk and yelled at people and cried and yelled at you i miss you come back
Two Harbors Alexandra Stieglbauer
The air is different here. Not just the smell, the pine and wind smell that somehow always embeds itself into my hair and clothes by the end of the trip. Not the cool mist either, that Lake Superior breeze that drifts off the water and straight into my heart, a melancholy breeze I yearn for all year but have yet to find anyplace else. No, the air is tangibly different; I can feel it in my skin on the back of my neck and behind my shoulder blades. It is the air of calm, of simplicity, of quiet. When I step out of the car each year, I feel as if I am simultaneously engulfed by two strong arms and also as if I am taking off a huge wool sweater, not bothering to fold it before I toss it aside. I am welcomed and find myself melting into the familiarity, the comfort that waits there for me each year without asking anything from me in return. Unlike the relationships that I find most of my comfort in, Two Harbors does not demand my time, effort, or phone calls. This is what I love best. When I am in our small cabin, almost tasting the wooden walls, I am free of my life. My cell phone has no service and therefore I am not tied to anyone via ghostly telephone poles reaching into the sky. School is over by June, and the stress of papers and tests can be tucked away for three months, subsiding into nothing so that when the new school year starts, I am once again overwhelmed and surprised. For these few months, and especially in the warm cabin with its huge windows framing the lake, I can once again read simply for the love of it, read all of the books and essays I have kept track of during the semester but havenâ€™t yet opened for lack of time. My eyes can close as I sprawl over the outdated, scratchy couch, the worn pattern supporting my tired body. Work is without worry as well. Groceries will continue to be rung up without me, and transfer students can be toured around the university by someone else. There is no constant checking of a calendar, of a schedule, no running to punch a time card this week. I am tense almost everywhere but here. Perhaps everywhere is a little too broad, a little too all-encompassing.
I adapt to the world just fine, but the fact that I can manage better than most doesn’t mean I enjoy it. Leaving my apartment each morning and returning ten hours later can be daunting, and being the hardest worker takes effort at all of my jobs. I am constantly smiling, impressing, achieving. I cannot imagine anything less though, and a few dark months of static free time proved to me that I am healthier the busier I am. But a break is nice every once in a while. All that I need is a blank space on the page where my eyes can rest for a moment. I am constantly running, often playing catch-up, and eventually must veer to the curb, bending over and gasping for air. While I don’t equate my whole life to a race or a marathon (there are enough of those clichés), I can trace my mood and my life through a series of hills, flats, and finish lines. Two Harbors is my curb, the place where all of the things that keep me awake at night are briefly packed away in tissued boxes. Beaming light streams through the window of the room I sleep in each year. The rectangular patterns the sun makes on the bedspread are familiar to me. We have come here for so long, since I was six. Some may argue that only fourteen summers does not constitute “so long,” but in the span of my short, young life we have returned here without fail for seventy percent of my years. The days here are both endless and fleeting; minutes spent looking over Superior last hours but then slip behind the horizon before I can even sip my coffee. I love this ambiguity of time. It allows me to simply exist and leave all of the deadlines and schedules I am tethered to behind. There is only this lake and these woods, this cabin and that rusty teeter-totter that I used to ride as a child. One year, the armyworms came, their bodies strewn across the gravel road that leads to our cabin, number seven. I was astounded at how easily the truck slid over them, so great in number but so small in size that we did not even feel a bump. They had come to graze on the wild grasses that line the main highway connecting Duluth to Two Harbors, the one that my family runs each year for the marathon, across from the Mocha Moose Café.
This place has become mine, but I share it with my family, the select few whom I grant access to my truest self. When I am in my purple moods, a phrase taken from Ondaatje, my favorite poet, they understand. Dad simply sets a mug of coffee down next to me and briefly puts his hand on my shoulder while I stare out across the rocks and into the blue. When I see old pictures now, I am surprised at how different and yet similar I look. My face is the same, brown curls still unruly, but there is a melancholy that hangs around my shoulders. Not depression, just years that have been lived and things that have been seen and heard. There I am, eight and already dreaming of marathons, posing in front of the lake. Grandma hugs me and her lipstick has marked my cheek, the same lipstick marks I can touch on my face now as I’m looking. It is here that we are the best versions of ourselves. I am older now and when I see candids of my mother in the little cabin kitchen, her face in profile, I have to look closer to make sure it isn’t my own. I can trace my life by these woods, this cabin that is mine. Every few years or so there will be a new bedspread or rug; the wooden floor will be scuffed in a new place. This is how I know time has moved on, has not stood still as it does for those few short days each June. Minutes and hours and days pass by and I must catch my breath to reflect. I cannot make sense of it all at once; I crave a respite from my usual self. Two Harbors is where I find that, is a literal harbor in the metaphor of my life. As we drive home, I slowly break from my reverie, the landscape out the window changing from pine trees to old houses to highway to city. I am both leaving and returning as I take a small piece of stillness back with me, one that I can remember on quiet, gray mornings throughout the year. A home can follow you wherever you go. •
Nouveau Collage Grace Katherine Eggan 105
Girl Cassandra King I unraveled the layers that winter requires and became myself enough to notice a soft, beautiful girl sitting across from me. Her long dark hair and small face shone and I wanted her.
The most significant things about her were the line breaks. The leading The pause before the word girl. And when I stared for only a moment, which was not long enough for a stranger to remember, she looked up from her book with round, amber eyes accusing me of wanting her. A sad, gay poem and she was only the inspiration for the leading and the line breaks.
This Is Where We Are Now Dan Forke 107
Man of the Lake Mica Standing Soldier
By the fireside I adore a man in blue. Fleeting shadows waltz across soft fabric. A sea of unguarded wishes lay tame on a chest I adore, and narrow spotlights capture all. If I dare look back, I shall be cast down a fate of Lotâ€™s misery. His fragile image I adore, like the shapes born again amongst the flickers and embers. Heâ€™s a sapphire cut to cure.
American Dream Maureen Gleason 109
The Mirror Grace Katherine Eggan 110
Crayons Cecilia Mazumdar Stanger Waxy saints, keep me from getting lost in gray matters.
Just in Time for the End Nina Riedy 112
ArtWords 2015 Undergraduate Winners
his is the second year of Ivory Towerâ€™s partnership with the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum and ArtWords. Launched in 1998, ArtWords is an annual writing competition held by the Weisman Art Museum in collaboration with the Creative Writing Program in the Department of English at the University of Minnesota. Participating students select a work of art on display from the permanent collection at the Weisman and develop an original short piece of prose or poetry in response. Open to undergraduate and graduate level students enrolled at the University of Minnesota, this unique competition has successfully brought studentsâ€™ voices into the museum year after year. This rewarding collaboration has strengthened the connection between art and writing on our university campus. Ivory Tower is proud to present the undergraduate winners of the 2015 ArtWords competition.
Kenny Scharf, Moda de Mangue, 2010, oil, acrylic, and spray paint on canvas. Private collection; dedicated to the memory of Jean Jachman.
Carmencita (1894) Matthew Bruch-Andersen
Hollowood trees Flaunt curved legs feminine And botoxed countenances Lifted in sylvan CGI. Acrylic static Or silver-screen kerosene Illume lush chivalry The Gibson Girl uprooted Of phallic pedestals green. Desperately Emulating daughters emaciated Idyllic flamingo mimes Drained of pinkened gleam Forgetting that before Carmencita She was Norma Jeane.
First place. Inspired by Kenny Scharf â€™s Moda de Mangue.
Dorothy Waugh, National Parks, 1935, lithograph on paper. Collection of the Weisman Art Museum. 116
Configuration of Space Jessica Eckerstorfer Owning a yard. Your house sits as the spectacle, bordered by hedges, beds of river rock, planked fences, a child’s play space, a mailbox. You mow the lawn, plant the flowers. Bordering your lawn is another lawn, another set of hedges, and the child’s toys of the family next door. Owning a farm. Your house sits as the space you live in, surrounded by either the animals, plants, or both that take refuge under your care. You dig up the dirt, water the ground, feed the animals, build the structures. The land you own is distanced from others, carved out of dirt roads and crowded around by clusters of trees.
Owning a landscape. Your house sits as the single domicile within the space, the only place of human inhabitance, resting in the middle of mountains, fields, forests. Surrounded by things bigger than yourself. Owning it seems implausible. Owning a mountain that has existed and will exist regardless of your presence or land deed. Put an adjective in front of it and space is specific. Put a possessor in front of it, the space is owned. Put a poster up and the space is marketed. For recreation, for development, for hunting, for resources. People go in and out, take things, leave things, move things. Before you and after you, the space exists.
Second place. Inspired by Dorothy Waugh’s National Parks.
Julian Stanczak, Forming: In Four Reds, 1993â€“1994, acrylic on canvas. Gift of Neil K. Rector. Collection of the Weisman Art Museum.
Living Room Makenzie Flom Blinds bind the blinding sun. Violin strings under my eyelids and stings down my throat. E sharp sings. Our only mutual fan is our mother.
Third place. Inspired by Julian Stanczakâ€™s Forming: In Four Reds.
Alfred Maurer, Standing Female Nude, 1927â€“1928, casein on composition board. Gift of Ione and Hudson D. Walker. Collection of the Weisman Art Museum. 120
Peonies Dylan Scott You love the smell of peonies. When your body—reminiscent of a nosegay—is freshly perfumed, you are contented. You walk past others on the street and think your smell will rouse curiosity, yet you know not this: your buxom-self leaves a peony trail that is only a tangled mess among the other smells that slouch on shadow-ridden street corners.
A shower washes away the smell of peonies. The smell of skin after it’s been bathed is bland. Most showers have white tiles and sometimes small octagonal windows that can be used to view the trees against the sky. This tiled receptacle is perfectly immaculate, sterile, and hardly odiferous—just the way you like it. If it were raining and, by brazen inclination, you chose to bathe beneath rainclouds, you would smell the smell of wet leaves and fungi as it drinks from the downpour, and sometimes if you smelled hard enough, you would be able to decipher the smell of insects respiring. You are drawn to your vanity, where little glass bottles contain a modicum of well-concocted scents. Sometimes it’s spritzed on the neck, or the wrists, or your inner thigh. If, when busied in the morning, you forget to attend to that bottle (although you never do), people may wonder to themselves why you look different—but they will never be able to pinpoint the difference. You love the smell of peonies. Before the peonies were muddled and sheathed in glass, they too were just as you are. They found solace—nourishment, too— in the water that falls from brass nozzles and thick clouds. Peonies are braver than you, however. They wear themselves without accessory, but you, with your somber eyes, carry their memory on your skin. Honorable Mention. Inspired by Alfred Maurer’s Standing Female Nude.
e are thankful for the support we received from the Department of English and Student Unions and Activities (Coca-Cola Development Initiative, Coca-Cola Grant Activity Initiative, and Activities Grant Student Services Fee). We greatly appreciate our ongoing collaborations with the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum and Radio K. This year, the generous responses to our direct mail and online fundraising appeals resulted in more than double the amount of previous years. We are very grateful for donations from the following individuals: Scott and Danielle Aanenson, Vickie Benson, Roger and Patricia Bramel, Clinton and Lois Burnes, Dakota Cahill, Tim and Kathy Carlson, Gust and Sally Carlson, James Cihlar, Jackie Denninger, Mohamed A. Farah, Esther Franz, Robert Gaertner, Susan Gould, Arthur Hamilton II, Shirley Hamilton-Nehring, Sam Hepburn, Susan and Tim Huberty, Kevin and Sandra Irwin, Kevin and Tina Kearney, Dan and Maureen Kearney, Beth Leintz, Vincent Liesenfeld, Joseph and Rochele Lillion, Heather Lillion and Lee Urbaniak, Gino Marchetti II, Jessica Mattson, Robert and Rozanne McGrath, Jon and Stacey Moen, Ann Olsen, William Olsen, Daniel Philippon, Jim Reese, William Reichard, Raymond and Carolyn Schirmer, Jeanne and Russ Schirmer, Robert and Michelle Schirmer, Joel and Sandy Schmidt, Tim and Jennifer Schneider, Beverly Simon, Jeffrey and Elissa Simon, Brent Spencer, Amanda St. John, Sheila and Russ Stevens, Terri Sutton, Paul and Lucienne Taylor, Barbara and Mike Thomas, Vincent and Rebecca Vallera, Dale and Charlotte Weber, Robert Wente, and Shannon Wolkerstorfer. Thank you to the visitors who spoke to our class: Erin George, University Archives and Special Collections; Holly Harrison, Paper Darts; Sasha Grossman, Penguin Random House; Cassandra King and Jessica Troyan, Ivory Tower 2014; Lyly Nguyen, Fairview Foundation; Iris Page, WAM Collective; Terri Sutton, English Department; Paul Taylor, English Department Advisory Board; Shannon Wolkerstorfer, University Office of Institutional Advancement; and Steve Woodward, Graywolf Press. Thank you to those who provided help along the way, including Rachel Drake, Karen Frederickson, Patricia Hampl, Judith Katz, Priscilla Kinter, Pamela Leszcyznski, Josephine Lee, Samantha Morris, Jessica McKenna, Heather McNeff, Julie Schumacher, Caitlin Thompson, and Holly Vanderhaar of the English Department; Emma Strub, 122
Alison Taubenheim, and Melissa Wray of Northrop Auditorium; Megan Goeke, Luanne Stai, and Jamee Yung of the Weisman Art Museum; and Jennifer Howe and Garrison Keillor. A very special thank you to our instructor, James Cihlar; faculty advisor, Peter Campion; and English Department Chair, Ellen Messer-Davidow.
Contributors Anya Anderson studies foreign language at the University of Minnesota (Russian, Arabic, and Spanish). She is really happy to be here. Erica Beebe is a sophomore English major at the University of Minnesota. She wants to write greeting cards someday, as well as childrenâ€™s books. She also hopes to infiltrate a cult and write a book about it. Brendan Brophy is the co-founder of Bar Notes. Matthew Bruch-Andersen likes the way the wind trims the tall grass. Annie Burdick is an English major and freshman at the University of Minnesota. She has always been fascinated by words and the things they can do. Lauren Cutshall is a junior studying Journalism and Public Health. Sheâ€™s in love with movies, photography, and laughing. She likes to tell stories, true or imagined. Louie-Paulo Darang is a Filipino-American painter, sculptor, writer, and musician based out of Minneapolis. He is currently in the BFA program at the University of Minnesota. Kimberly David gives the viewer a chance to channel their personal struggles and relate to someone, whether it is the artist or the sitter of the portrait. Jonathan DeDecker is a senior at the University of Minnesota. He explores the overwhelming nature of information in contemporary digital culture. David Echavez-Valdez is a second-year undergraduate student. He sees writing fiction as remixing reality. Life writes all of his stories and it is his job just to edit them. Jessica Eckerstorfer, a third-year English and Philosophy double major, currently curates youth artwork for Free Arts Minnesota. Her writing focuses on creative nonfiction, and her research focuses on environmental rhetoric and ecofeminism. Grace Katherine Eggan is a senior at the University of Minnesota, studying Art and Art History. Louis Fine is a photographer and filmmaker studying Journalism at the University of Minnesota. 124
Makenzie Flom works in painting, drawing, and printmaking. She explores anxiety, failure, attitude, and control in her work, emphasizing process and the context of youth. Dan Forke is a jaded Graphic Design student and iPad owner in pursuit of the perfect hummus recipe. See more of his feverish scrawling at danforke.com. Sophie Glaesemann grew up just twenty minutes outside of New York City. She was raised by passionate patrons of the arts and took to them herself. She is a photographer, musician, writer, and supporter of all creative outlets. Maureen Gleason is a photographer. Nicholas A. Heinecke is often elsewhere. Breck Hickman is from Elk River, Minnesota. Ben Iburg is a Geography major, artist, and musician. His work represents the visual facet of the sonic explorations of his project, The Eye Unclouded. Damian Johansson will complete his BA in English in 2015, despite insisting he actually studies Astronaut Forestry and Exobiological Wildlife Management. Cassandra King is a senior studying English. If her thirteen-year-old self could see her name printed here, she would probably do a little dance. Without the support of a wonderful family and boyfriend, she would write much less. Susie Kofuji has been passionate about art since she was a child. She uses mainly graphite pencil, though recently has been digitally creating art. Ivan Krasovec was born and raised just west of Chicago, Illinois, and he intends to pursue a minor in Art. Devon Lee is a student in the BFA Art Program and is interested in realistic portraiture, working primarily in charcoal pencils. Nathan Lemin doesnâ€™t plan to create a resume but to create a manuscript, and then another after that, and maybe more, but first the first. Stuart Levesque was born in St. Louis Park and grew up in Minnetonka. He has been to Massachusetts and California. Gabriel Levin likes to write poetry in his free time. 125
Jacob Lindberg is an English major from Superior, Wisconsin. He is also an Executive Team Lead at Target, eventually hoping to get an MFA degree. Danylo Loutchko is a freshman studying Theatre, English, and French. He also writes, plays jazz piano, and does card magic. He’s apparently a published poet now. Brigid McBride is a bike warrior, cheese aficionado, and mix-tape queen hailing from the disgusting yet magical city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Eva Moe plays violin in a few Minneapolis bands and spends much of her time thinking about the theoretical biology behind superpowers. Gabrielle Montes is a third-year undergraduate at the University of Minnesota. Please contact her with job offers, particularly those involving the hand-pollination of vanilla orchids. Kaitlyn Olson was born and raised in Bloomington, Minnesota, in her life-long house on Beard Avenue South with her mom and dad. Samantha Oxborough learns every day while reading, writing a blog about her parents, struggling with statistics homework, and talking over cold drinks. Jennifer Peterson is a hopeless old woman trapped inside the body of a young person who just happens to be receiving her BFA in Studio Art. She cannot wait to actually grow old—wrinkles and all. Connor Prizy was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. He enjoys writing poetry and short fiction and spending time with his goldfish, Caligula. Nina Riedy is enrolled in the BFA program at the University of Minnesota. Her work is derived from the intuitive process of balancing forms within a composition. Annelise Rittberg is a sophomore studying Political Science and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. She is grateful to be included in this year’s edition of Ivory Tower. Mara Rosen likes dogs, the 1978 John Carpenter film Halloween, and Twitter. She’s only trying to sound as composed aloud as she does on paper. Dylan Scott studies English and History at the University of Minnesota. Shiva Sharma: Economics and Political Science major. Traveler, writer, aesthete. Draws inspiration from colors and different cultures. 126
Jake Sorensen is a senior in Communication Studies who’d like to write films one day. He splits the majority of his time between writing and general hooliganism. Mica Standing Soldier is a writer, student, and fan of thunderstorms. Although she is majoring in English and Computer Science, she intends to win three Oscars by her twenty-eighth birthday. Cecilia Mazumdar Stanger: Sloth. Clown. Goblin Queen. Alexandra Stieglbauer enjoys yoga, writing, men with beards, brunch, and laughing. She overuses the word “fabulous” and strives to live each day with gratitude and joy. Melanie Stimac is studying research in Clinical Psychology. She writes poetry and music to express her passion: the complexity of human emotion. Shea Stoner: “Art? Yeah, I can do that.” Milo Tacheny is a Minnesota native photographer and has earned degrees in English and Art with a focus in photography in the fall of 2014. Milo’s spirit tree is the quaking aspen. Justin Tanner likes to write stuff, mostly poetry. He also likes to drink box wine, and he helped create an online literary thing called Bar Notes. Lisa Tolles is a student of English Literature and an aspiring poet. Julie Xiong is currently a University of Minnesota student graduating this spring with a double major in French and Art. She is looking forward to obtaining her MFA at the University of Colorado, Boulder next year.
The 2015 issue of Ivory Tower was designed and typeset by Laura Schmidt in Adobe InDesign using the fonts Aracne Light, Garamond, and Quicksand. The magazine was printed by Versa Press.
Anya Anderson Erica Beebe Brendan Brophy Matthew Bruch-Andersen Annie Burdick Lauren Cutshall Louie-Paulo Darang Kimberly David Jonathan DeDecker David Echavez-Valdez jessica eckerstorfer Grace katherine Eggan Louis Fine Makenzie Flom Dan Forke Sophie Glaesemann Maureen Gleason Nicholas A. Heinecke Breck Hickman Ben Iburg Damian Johansson Cassandra King Susie Kofuji Ivan Krasovec Devon Lee Nathan Lemin
Stuart Levesque Gabriel Levin Jacob Lindberg Danylo Loutchko Brigid McBride Eva Moe Gabrielle Montes Kaitlyn Olson Samantha OxBorough Jennifer Peterson Connor Prizy Nina Riedy Annelise Rittberg Mara Rosen Dylan Scott Shiva Sharma Jake Sorensen Mica Standing Soldier Cecilia Mazumdar Stanger alexandra stieglbauer Melanie Stimac Shea Stoner Milo Tacheny Justin Tanner Lisa Tolles Julie Xiong