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SUMMER 2020


JUNK DRAWER is a prompt-based art and literary magazine edited in

Milwaukee, WI.

We are so inspired by the contributors’ interpretations of these prompts and hope that their work encourages readers to create something of their own. Feel very free to check the prompts at the end of each issue and send your arts our way. Thanks for giving a shit! Yours,

No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced without permission from the artists. For more information, contact junkdrawermagazine@gmail.com Cover art by Ali Berry


CONTRIBUTORS

DAN BOVILLE

Multimedia artist, Travel thirster, Jeopardy! enthusiast http://danboville.wixsite.com/beta

JAKE CAUSEY

Official job title was once “Jake-Of-AllTrades” which sums up his existence pretty well.

DEREK DE VINNEY

Really cool guy putting out just like super chill vibes. lingerer.bandcamp.com


CONTRIBUTORS

NELLIE GEHRIG

Works with her hands and makes things out of clay, flowers, and fibers. Her day job is teaching others creativity, and hopefully, kindness.

ED MAKOWSKI

Ed Makowski is a poet and writer and photographer. He works at a nature center and prefers two wheels to four and arrows to ordnance. edmakowski.wordpress.com

JAKE MILLER

Dreamer by day & engineering designer by day job. Insomniac creative & inventive time waster by night. Nap enthusiast by necessity. Fall submissions are all mixed media collage works, investigating issues of identity, place, and the clash between the technological world and natural world. instagram.com/cosmicdoge


CONTRIBUTORS

CASEY O’BRIEN

writes, mostly about water and mirrors and smoochin’. She currently lives in Milwaukee, WI where she reads physics books she can’t absorb and dystopian YA novels in Spanish. brocasarea.webflow.io/

MARINNA SHAREEF

Caribbean artist “Mahrinnart” distorts self portraits to visually make sense of the thoughts and feelings she experiences due to her bipolar disorder. mahrinnart.pb.gallery

STEPHEN STRUPP

isn’t always sure about what he spends his time doing. Sometimes when he tries to remember what he did yesterday, he can’t think of anything.


TORSO IN TROUBLE


TORSO IN TROUBLE

1

NELLIE GEHRIG


JUNE

It was misty then I was julienned. Night owl called morning the best part of the day. I’d had to leave the party in the backyard. Outside it was all sidewalk colored. There wasn’t enough dark to turn on a light. Fog rolled the kitchen up.

TORSO IN TROUBLE

2

STEPHEN STRUPP


TORSO IN TROUBLE

3

JAKE MILLER


CH O K E D O UT

moving back to the old neighborhood where the birds still make nests with the hair I lost losing you the decade comes down the air thins and from the surface of the river like razors cuts the soft skin around my eyes with such precision I can’t feel a thing at the park there are needles in the batting cages dogs off leash in the diamond running first-second-thirdhome and home again the geese picking at the grass remind me of my ma who called everything a pest and of the shapes my fingers can easily make a shadow bird or a cage around your wrists in bed

TORSO IN TROUBLE

4

CASEY O’BRIEN


as little mammals dart across the boulevard thinking only of the round, pithy things that will sustain them this winter I think only of the way I got my torso in such trouble when I had friends at all the bars in all the bands little x’s on my hands every night a journal that didn’t listen a shame that double parked a whole city block this wood chipper’s exhaust is enough to soften my posture and make me think thick about how your knuckles became a rosary I could never wear out how I would have spent my life in backyards that smelled of beer and coffee - malt and toast where you had a mouth only for me where the vining berry bushes and Creeping Charlie wrapped me by the wrists held me down and I gladly let myself be choked out

TORSO IN TROUBLE

5

CASEY O’BRIEN


A TRUE


INSIDER

EVER EXPANSION


LO ST & LOST

It’s odd that we call it a Lost & Found. If it’s still there maybe we should call it a Lost & Lost. Maybe it’s like lumber forever in some brackish state of claimed or reclaimed and by whom. Schroedinger might say it’s both lost and found at the same time – We just don’t know which, yet. A tree walks into a bar, says “working the pine til close.” If a cowboy dies in the forest without a 21 capgun salute does he rust or rot? If a flag flickers, caught in the winds of tree branches with no one offering a salute was there ever a republic?

EVER EXPANSION

6

ED MAKOWSKI


The roots of oak trees travel through forest soil enmeshing with the roots of other trees, bracing together through hundreds of years of turbulent winds. Sometimes things are rare because nobody wanted them. There. Sometimes things go extinct because people wanted them somewhere else, some way else. It seems the overall point of our society is to acquire enough that you can opt out entirely and soon die of lonely cowboy boredom. Cowboy walks into a bar falls down dead. Bartender says, “You don’t speak root, I don’t hear you either.”

EVER EXPANSION

7

ED MAKOWSKI


EVER EXPANSION

8

JAKE MILLER


ON BEIN G

knowing that it’s what you’ll work at start to finish morning to tomorrow morning but won’t ever master / not the way the insect masters being insect perfect just for surviving and making copies of itself for rebuilding the hill the dog will walk through again with absolute indifference / it’s almost ever expansion almost being a universe almost but book-ended / it will scare you half to death back to school into therapy onto the internet studying hypnosis and forgiveness and rock records / whatever your life’s work whatever callouses you blackens the fingers on your leather gloves / whatever your lucid dreams teach you to hate about yourself won’t help you pin down what it was all for / “it” “for”

EVER EXPANSION

9

CASEY O’BRIEN


THE X-RAY UNDERS


STANDS M WEH B AE T TO TF E RT H E I R H O M E S


WHAT OF THEIR HOMES

10

MARINNA SHAREEF


B OR E D WI L D D I Z Z Y

A vestibule Seems a lot like a serpent’s skull I used to eat my vegetables Like an owl swallows fur and bones Pull apart the pellet in two Back when I went to summer school Teacher taught me to shake out my shoes Never share my sole with a recluse I’m like a child Bored wild and dizzy Tripping inside The carpet dents my knees Geodesic domes The walls of the girls who played home I used to dream of filling a role But instead I hit tetherballs Rubber, rope, and metal pole Tina beat me because I was slow Bee sting on my middle toe Because it lost its honeycomb

WHAT OF THEIR HOMES

11

DEREK DE VINNEY


H OW A H O U SE WR E N H OU SE B ECO ME S A H O U SE WR E N H OME

In spring, male House Wrens seek and choose their preferred territory, then construct several partially built nests. Humans call these “dummy nests” and they’re placeholders so other male wrens won’t build there. Wrens don’t finish their nests until they encounter a mate. She selects her preferred nest and finishes the foundation with strong twigs and sticks, then decorates the interior with the softer comforts of home.

WHAT OF THEIR HOMES

12

ED MAKOWSKI


WHAT OF THEIR HOMES

13

DAN BOVILLE


I N SI D E WI L DS

21 years. It had been 21 years since the Permafrost virus had hit its peak, and since this house was still taped up and in pretty decent shape, Sofia figured it hadn’t been touched in at least that long. Being the only home outside of what used to be a town, it must have gone unnoticed for longer than the other buildings picked clean off the main stretch. As she approached the house, she checked for all the signs of life that she was taught: warning or territory marks carved onto fence posts or mailboxes by previous Reclaimers, footprints, blade marks in the overgrown yard, any damage to the windows or crowbar marks on doors. She’d been told too many stories while training for her Reclaimer license about insane, wild people making traps out of seemingly untouched houses and turning unsuspecting Reclaimers or would-be squatters into corpses. Most of the other Reclaimers and roamers she’d met in her travels through the Inside Wilds regarded most of these warnings as ghost stories. Sofia still held her breath when she drove past old cemeteries and the Soul Pits outside of towns, and more importantly, knew she was alone and too far away from any Outposts or known homesteads to take any risks. After a full circle of the house, she saw nothing. If this was, in fact, a trap, whoever made it was a master. Returning to the front of the house she approached the front porch and took out her knife from its place on her hip. Two pieces of pink-orange tape left by hazmat officers two decades before crossed the front door in an X, and as she had done many, many times before, Sofia slid her knife through their center point and cut them apart with much less fanfare than most other ribbon-cutting ceremonies back in the civilization of the Outer Ring. She checked the door. Locked per usual. With a few exceptions, every door Sofia encountered was locked. “They thought they’d be back,” Sofia thought for the thousandth time as she pulled out her crowbar from her bag and began breaking the door away from its frame. After a few minutes it finally gave, and the afternoon sunlight hit the foyer of the home for the first time in two decades.

WHAT OF THEIR HOMES

14

JAKE CAUSEY


The house gave up the story of the previous occupants, like an old man reminiscing about a long-lost friend. The house was in good condition she noticed, placing her crowbar back into her pack. The majority of homes she came across were full of mold or had a tree through their roofs, but, besides the wallpaper peeling in the dining room and a thick layer of dust on all the now slightly saggy furniture, the place was in great shape. There were shoes stacked neatly beside the door, the living room looked lived in but neat, and as she moved into the kitchen, the pantry was full of now very expired canned goods, rice, and pasta and had a distinct brown stain on the floor from what she guessed used to be either garlic or potatoes. Silverware was placed neatly in the drawers of the buffet in the dining room, which she carefully wrapped up and placed into her pack. There was even a sealed bottle of wine left on the kitchen table. After doing a sweep of the downstairs and finding a few other treasures, an old handheld game system in the living room, a couple of hundred dollars in old bills stuffed in a vase on the bookshelf in the hallway, Sofia went off to find the way upstairs. Three bedrooms. The first was what appeared to be a teenage boy’s judging by the lived-in mess of clothes and schoolbooks strewn around the floor. Nothing of real interest in here besides a stack of games for the console she grabbed earlier and some books to keep her company on the road. The second was the master bedroom. From the wedding picture that she knocked over while raiding a jewelry box on the nightstand, Sofia deduced that this must be the parents’ room. Clothes hung half out of the chest of drawers, which unlike the room she had been in before, seemed very out of place in the tidy room. Someone in the house must have taken a turn and this family was pulled by emergency teams quickly. After poking through a few bathrooms and a hall closet, she made her way to the last room down the hall. According to the plaque on the door, this was Ashley’s room. As she made her way into the room, it became more and more apparent that Ashley was patient zero for this household. The

WHAT OF THEIR HOMES

15

JAKE CAUSEY


bedding was still bunched up and pulled to the floor among decades-old used tissues knocked out of the overturned trash can. Bottles of cough medicine and cold and flu medicine stood above another stack of used tissues on the nightstand beside the bed. Just like in the other two rooms, clothes were hanging in the same haphazard way that said that someone had packed what they could in a hurry. A collage above the bed was made up of pictures of a dark-haired girl Sofia presumed was Ashley at the beach with her friends and a few pictures of her in a cap and gown. Sofia took a long pause to look at the collage, and walked back out of the room, closing the door softly behind her. The story of this family was a story that she heard in every house that she’d been through during her time as a Reclaimer. Twenty years ago, most thought they had seen the worst of climate change when the ocean levels rose so far that many major coastal cities were underwater. They were wrong. Very, very wrong. Along with all the water from the ice caps came all the prehistoric microbes that were frozen beneath the permafrost. The worst of which was the Permafrost Flu. A virus that was spread through air and moisture and had a survival rate of .002%. Within 3 years of the first documented case in Russia, around two-thirds of the world’s population were dead. The apocalypse came not as a nuclear war, or meteor, or Ragnarök, just a prehistoric microbe, a cough, a rash, and then death. If someone in a household tested positive, government emergency teams moved in and moved all the residents to a quarantine holding facility and taped up their homes until they returned, but usually, they remained taped. Just like this one. As she made her way down the stairs, she took more care to check out the pictures hanging on the wall. A few of the parents on their wedding day, a couple of kids in sports uniforms, older folks that she assumed were grandparents; a one-story memorial to the people whose lives were imprinted into this house. The final picture looked the newest. A picture of the little nucle-

WHAT OF THEIR HOMES

16

JAKE CAUSEY


ar family crowded around the daughter dressed in her graduation robes. In it she couldn’t have been more than a few years older than Sofia herself. For some reason she couldn’t stop staring at it. Thinking about the life the girl had ahead of her. Without thinking she took the picture and slid it carefully into her bag and walked out the front door. After securing the front door and carving her identification marks to set this as her property, Sofia headed back to her van. She carefully emptied the contents of her bag, all of her work clothes, and the bag itself into the DEACON for a deep decontamination session. As it began to hum, she rolled out her tablet and began inputting the coordinates and notes on the house, she couldn’t stop thinking about the girl in the picture. What happened to her? How did she catch it? Did the rest of the family make it out of the camps? In the two years that she had been out of the academy she had scavenged at least one hundred abandoned homes and businesses, but for some reason, this house stuck with her. The van shivered, signaling that DEACON had done its job and that she had been staring at a blank screen for the last half hour. Sofia crawled to the back of her van and unloaded the unit, organizing everything by value in her own little system. Eventually, she came to the picture. Why had she taken the picture? It didn’t have any value. No one wanted personal things like this except for in the rare case that the original owner asked you to retrieve it for them, but the people in this picture and anyone else that cared about them were gone. Until she put a crowbar to their door, they were dead and forgotten. She found a space on the previously bare wall of her van above her bed and hung up the picture. Now they had value to her, and if Sofia could help it, they would not be forgotten. The afternoon wore on Sofia, decided to pack it in and head north back towards the nearest Outpost, passing all the empty houses full of stories yet to be reopened.

WHAT OF THEIR HOMES

17

JAKE CAUSEY


WHAT OF THEIR HOMES

18

JAKE MILLER


E D I TO R ’ S PL AYLIST

TO R SO I N TR OU BLE

Storms - Fleetwood Mac In The End - Ryan Beatty i finally understand - Charli XCX EVE R EXPAN SION

Around U - MUNA Onward to the Edge - Symphony of Science On My Way - Reo Cragun WH AT O F TH E I R H O MES

Lonely Town - Brandon Flowers Door - Caroline Polachek What Used to Be Mine - Faye Webster


S U BM I SS I ON S FO R WIN T E R 2020/ 2 1 D E AD L I N E N OVE MB E R 1 J UN KD R AWE R MAG AZ I N E@ G MAI L .COM

Dawns On You Crowded Here and There At The Node

Jerks need not apply.

Profile for Junk Drawer Magazine

Junk Drawer Summer 2020  

Summer 2020 Issue of Junk Drawer, a prompt-based art and literary magazine.

Junk Drawer Summer 2020  

Summer 2020 Issue of Junk Drawer, a prompt-based art and literary magazine.

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