Issue 2: Haunting
Issue 2: Haunting
table of contents
Words 9 17 33 41
A Relic (after Adrienne Rich) Gilberte Oâ€™Sullivan Zaruhi Kristin Cass Letter Lynden Cline Digits Jae Green
Images 11-12, 34-35 14-15 16, 21 22 36 44-45
Kiana Honarmand Helen Lee Cristal Tadeo Sarah Pfohl Amanda Thomas Lynden Cline
Cover / bio page
“the main work of haunting is done by the living” – Judith Richardson, Posessions: The History and Uses of Haunting in the Hudson Valley
A Relic (after Adrienne Rich) Gilberte O’Sullivan Part of the skin dragged from your finger I kept in a mercurochrome vial dubbed with peroxide gurgling sea-foam white. You’d heal quickly, you said. You were leaving soon and didn’t mind the hurt. I should have buried your remains under the flaming Immortelle tree as the hags of bacchanal warned, those Oceanid island-daughters who came before me, bearing spells for those who pant for errant lovers before they cross seas. Instead I played Circe, chancing my own powers of compel and herbal remedy. I held your sliver in the cabinet until you came back— a relic twined around a hapless wand I had no right troubling enchantress mixology. No one undid the cap for years to ask how serious was the wound how graciously I had saved you from a fate worse than sepsis. To the hags of bacchanal, trusting hap is worse
transgression than rebel conjuring. Their vexation blazed, the obeah turned virago on me. Steaming salts couldnâ€™t mend the fever uprising. I grieved, aged, gasped warm and white, sinkers fell from my eyes. We bid farewell at the terminal gate. There were other voices pleading retribution; you must have heard them say do not give a sorceress air; leave her aground with the hags and hounds. You lifted high, crossed seas, dispersed the spell I railed all the way home, foaming at the mouth I cracked the vial crown, my own fingers violet I emptied the contents, watched it all go down.
MomMe Helen Lee
The Crying Closet Helen Lee 15
detail from Mood Swings Cristal Tadeo
Zaruhi Kristin Cass
Since I was a girl the images of women taken in violence have haunted me. The specter of my aunt swam before my eyes, against the current in a river of pain. What were my auntie’s secrets, only whispered? And when I knew the truth, I was haunted by the ferocity of her will that it took to survive the unspeakable. Zaruhi was fifteen when the gendarmes came for her. Gendarme is a polite sounding word they used to cover up rape, human trafficking and murder. Sometimes between the shouting and the silence I could hear her speaking to me. “We the survivors of genocide, trauma is the inheritance of our descendants. Violence and secrets. Seeking to forget, we cannot forget. Our ancestral lands colonized and stolen, we were raped, trafficked and murdered. Those who survived were scattered in a global diaspora, cut off from their history and identity. Their secrets we struggled to keep until all who knew were dead, and only the aftermath of trauma remained. Their legacy is the inheritance of our children, until all that is left is the destruction handed down to them and they never knew the source of all they suffered.” I studied the photographs, trying to decipher who she was. Zaruhi, how did you survive what they did to you? And you, who deserve all our respect, how did you survive when they found you an American husband to make you respectable again after the outrages done to you? 17
I began to reimagine photographs of the survivors, hoping you would speak to me again. Until the women in the photographs began to speak to me of their pain, of their suffering, and with steely determination, of their defiance. The grandmas and the aunties said the women were “outraged” because they could not speak the name of the what men will do to women in their lust for violence. They could not say what it is when the weight of a man crushes the slender body of a girl. No matter the weight, your spirit was not crushed and I felt only love and admiration and respect for a woman like you. Still, the stories of how the tribesmen and soldiers came to our village would not leave me. They came to the houses and took the men and boys away to be slaughtered. Then they herded the women and girls to the village church, separated the lucky ones, locked the rest in with their Jesus and burned them alive. And the lucky ones they forced into a living death. For years I thought of it, until my obsession drove me to search for the village where Zaruhi’s life took that fateful turn at the church. The name of our village did not remain on any map. In the nameless village at the foot of the mountains from which our people came, my feet could touch the soil of our ancient homeland and reclaim our history that had been so deliberately destroyed. Jolting through the mountains in an SUV, I discovered that our village, once called by its colonial name, was ironically renamed in our indigenous tongue, and populated by descendents of the tribesmen. I walked the streets of my grandmother’s stories, amazed to see them come to life before me. Wandering past village houses, I could see where some had been burned long ago and rebuilt with pieces scavenged from the ruins of other houses. The street of shops was just as Grandma described it, shopkeepers sitting in the shade of awnings in the heat of midday. But none of the people were our people and none could reply if I greeted them in our ancient tongue. 18
I didnâ€™t expect to find the church. Most of the churches I saw going through the mountains were merely rubble. Walking towards the community buildings at the bottom of the hill, I saw a blackened stone building in a distinctive domed style. Walking around it, I saw the place where long ago someone had tried to hack off the cross motif, but found the stone too hard to obliterate. The doors were padlocked. I began to cry. A man came from the municipal building with huge iron keys on a ring. He went to the doors, opened them and gestured for me to go inside. Zaruhi, come with me. Today we will enter without fear. Inside the church was empty. On the blackened walls there remained traces of the paintings, the blue of a holy gown, gold of a halo, traces of red, letters from our alphabet. Light streamed in through the oculus, filtered through the filthy windows. The air was cool, defying the flames that once consumed all herein. The silence that descended was peaceful, meditative. Yes, this is a sacred place. More than one hundred years had passed, and now I stood in a place I never expected to be. I had no words in that moment, only tears. Thank you, kind strangers who led me home. Who led us home. We canâ€™t speak of it, what they did to you. We must speak of it.
Disintegration Cristal Tadeo 20
Sarah Pfohl Photography
Letter Lynden Cline
Note from the artist: This was written about a man who was once in my life and who still haunts stalks me in my dreams after 20 years. It refers to letters I received while he was incarcerated.
A letter in pencil
written in the dark
words of apology
sometimes even regret
slant awkwardly upward
some ending off the page
others overlapping others
make it difficult to read
Amanda Thomas Photography
37 Barrack, Newell, CA
The Best Choice III
Digits Jae Green “I see you have someone.” I didn’t expect anybody to notice so quickly. Maybe my mom or stepdad if I went home that weekend. Or the clerk who sells lottery tickets at the Ravenswood 7-11. But, not some weird college kid wanting to chit-chat on the train. She’s got a backpack and a hood poking out of a cracked leather moto. And since it’s that cheap Mardi Gras purple it’s an easy guess she’s got Northwestern arching across her chest like a movie marquee....A rich smartie slumming on the Brown-Line for cred. Basic. I start to lift my left-hand and the engagement ring that my boyfriend Jimmy gave me on my birthday last month. No, not boyfriend. Fianceenow. He could have gotten a great deal on an icecube sized rock since I work at a mall jewelry store as a designer. He gave me his dead granny’s ring instead, the gold scratched to matte and the diamond discreet but clear as a raindrop. Really pretty. She had married his grandpa on the day she turned eighteen. She could smoke and he could join up in the army. But, they couldn’t legally have a champagne toast. They had to drink apple juice from dixie cups. But, then I realize she probably means my RIGHT hand and the rough-white gauze fading to ballerina pink on the tip of my index finger. “Welcome to the club.” 41
And she presents her own pinky finger. Two joints instead of three and a miniscule black mustache of stitches. Last night when I sat at my work station my boss Mark leaned over my drawings and tools and had traced my biceps and elbows with the heels of his hands. He had lifted my sweater and the polkadot blouse under that and the “Purple Rain” t-shirt I had worn under THAT because Chicago is cold. And it wasn’t as if anyone other than my boyfriend---fiance, would ever see it. Mark had bounced his fingers over my bra like he was checking to see if a cake was done. Like the way you’resupposed to examine your boobs for lumps in the shower. Thorough. But, I think he was actually trying to see if my boobies were fake. ‘Oh, and just so you know what my intentions are….’ And my boss had grabbed my crimpers from the desk and had tugged at my fingernail until the cuticle had bled and we both heard a broken pottery crunch. He had shown me how serious he was about me. Just like someone had shown the little Northwestern student how serious HE was. She leaned in and whispered, so close that you might think we were kissing. “Yeah, I’m from Lockport. It’s a suburb of Joliet. My mom’s a postal worker and my dad was a machinist before he wrecked his back. A lot of people I went to school with had babies and husbands and worked retail or do hair. Some of them just got fucked up on “H”. In Lockport opiates are the opiates of the masses. School was easy for me, though. And I ended up here.” Her eyes flicked to the city, and I could tell what she was thinking. From the “L” it was harder to tell who had money. It was all alleys and red 42
brick walls and blue back-porches. There weren’t any pools or gazebos to give you a hint. “I’m going to be a math teacher.” And she sat up straight for a minute and I could picture her even smaller and younger at a backyard barbeque. Her parent’s friends feeding her long numbers to multiply. And her spitting the answer back. Easy peasy. A party trick the way other kids twirled batons or popped wheelies. “I’ve got this roommate and she’s got this guy she’s been seeing. An engineer. Some nights he comes by so he can wait for her to finish her study group and he can mooch our WiFi. A few weeks ago he stopped by while I was reviewing for my multivari calc class. He cornered me and told me what he wanted to do. What he wanted ME to do. Or let him do. And if I gave him a hard time he would still tell everyone that I did it anyway. And he would get his little pals to say they fucked me too. He would make sure my name would be trash at school.” She put her hand on mine like we were second-graders on a field trip. Best buddies. “He did this with the knife I fillet fish with. The campus clinic sewed me up. The nurse didn’t ask any questions and neither did my roommate.” She was right. It WAS a club. You start noticing the absent fingernails, the renegade fingers that had healed crooked angled away from the others, a guy opening his wallet using four fingers but no thumb. Bloody thirteen year olds stumbling out of frat parties in pairs, tying their arms off with their belts like junkies. They called my stop. Damen. In the seats by the door there’s an old lady struggling with a stuffed Mariano’s shopper and a ten-pound sack of puppy-chow. When I reach to help, she turns and I see that where her right arm should be there’s only flat vintage black wool. 43
Her hollow sleeve was fastened to her chest, the safety-pin shining like a war medal. Her lips moved but her eyes stayed glued on a candy wrapper stuck to the floor between us, her â€˜thank youâ€™ melting in the moment.
The End Lynden Cline
My Fathersâ€™ Chair Lynden Cline
Contributor Bios Kristin Anahit Cass is a photographer and writer whose work is concerned with social and human rights issues. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Cass’s training as a lawyer informs her commitment to social justice in her creative practice. With a
background in art history and design, Cass believes in art as a medium for change. Her
Borderlands Under Fire project was a finalist for the 2018 Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize. Cass believes there is a place for good wine and chocolate at every meal.
*Contributor’s Note: My family is descended from survivors of the Armenian Genocide, and the intergenerational trauma of violence has fallen especially hard on the women.
From my research on state-sponsored violence came the Fierce Will project and “Zaruhi” is a part of that. I recognize her strength and courage in facing oppression in women everywhere.
Lynden Cline: Sculptor contact at LyndenCline@gmail.com “I think of my work as an
expression of deep fears, of loss and of being lost…narrative pieces which center around issues of painful experiences and personal identity (a curator has called my sculptures 46
“metaphors of emotional history”). I now realize that all of it is inspired by a feeling of haunting, or perhaps a haunting of feeling.
Jae Green is a Chicago writer, cancer survivor, and second-generation artist. Kiana Honarmand is an artist born and raised in Iran. Her work addresses issues related to her cultural identity, the treatment of women in Iran, censorship,
surveillance, and the Western perception of the Middle East. Derived from her interest in different materials and processes, Kiana’s interdisciplinary practice
features the use of digital fabrication tools as well as traditional methods of craft. In 2012, Kiana moved to the United States to pursue and complete her Master
of Fine Arts degree. She currently lives and works in the Bay Area. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and Internationally.
Helen Lee: “The marks we make that cannot be undone. The many questions we have that are often unanswered.” Helen Lee. Asian American. Born in Chicago. BA University of Hawaii. MFA School of Art Institute. www. momentumsensorium.com
Beth McCoy came to art quite naturally as a child and was constantly doing some
sort of project. Her room at home was like an art studio; she was allowed to spread out and keep projects going for as long as she wanted. Studying design in college was an obvious fit. While studying architecture and design in New York City at
Barnard and Columbia, the basic design courses always started with the elements of design and the advanced ones always used those basic elements as a frame of
reference. For Beth, art has often created an escape from the world, but has also,
as often, served as a vehicle for exploring her feelings about the vast and sorrowful issues that plague the world.
Gilberte O’Sullivan is a poet and writer born in Trinidad, West Indies. She has
recently published work in Gargouille, Concrescence (Australia), Barren, Voice of Eve (USA), Zanna (UK) and other journals.
Sarah Pfohl is an artist and teacher based in Indianapolis. New work from The
forest rests also in you, Sarah’s ongoing photography project, was published as the
second issue of Halfmoon Projects’ TK series in January 2018. Sarah is currently at work on a book of drawings and short texts that speak to the vital role of mystery in teaching. The book is under contract with Information Age Publishing.
Cristal Tadeo (1993) is a Mexican artist from California who practices installation & video art. The process of her work is done in a ritualistic manner through its
repetitive movement and compositional nature. She received her Master’s degree at Maryland Institute College of Art. She was awarded the Perna Krick ‘31 &
Reuben Kramer ’32 fellowship and nominated for the Sidney Lake and Alumni of Leadership award. Cristal has served the community through interning and
collaborating with the Maryland Art Place, Maryland Film Festival, Chameleon
Gallery and has worked and shown in galleries throughout California, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
Amanda Thomas is a sculptor, painter, photographer and musician from the far northern stretches of California where she lives with her 8 year old child and a
black cat. Her current artistic obsession is a swiftly deteriorating abandoned motel which she has been visiting with her partner to photograph in the middle of the
night. She is printing the images on a moldy, expired pack of photography paper
inexplicably found in one of the motel’s deepest, darkest rooms. Her work can be found on Instagram @amandathomasart and at amandathomasart.com. 48