TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1-2 3-7 8-10 11-14 15 17-20 21 22 23-26
Letters from the Editors Getting “Sick” by Ayo Oladeji
The Art of Falling Apart by Tom Garback
Waterlines: An Ode to Isolation by Kenna McCafferty
This isn’t the Poem about Wobbly Freedom by William Brodeur
Unbreakable Connection by Liz Lavender
Whatever our Souls are Made of by Ana Hein
Woes of a Tornado by Tom Garback
The Mean Side of Being Nice by Alex Brown
Pales in Comparison by Sara Bastian
Provincetown by Althea Smith
Aliens and UFOs (Unacceptably Familiar Oppressor) by Lauren Rego
I Think it’s a Bear by Ana Hein
Moments and Memories
by Owen Elphick
by Maya Pontone by Lauren Rego
by Maya Pontone
FICTION EDITOR Graham Crolley
FICTION READERS Erin Sherry Kasey Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Connell Hannah Wolfe Audrey Iocca Mackenzie Deeonfio
POETRY EDITOR Melinda Fakuade
POETRY READERS Lydia Albonesi Dana Gerber Kate Cunningham Morgaine McIlhargey Emma Campbell
COPYEDITORS Alyssa Caraher Kyle Eber Olivia Carey Brooke Angell Leah Heath Melinda Fakuade
Kenna McCafferty, Ayo Oladeji
MANAGING EDITOR STAFF WRITERS
Kenna McCafferty Ayo Oladeji Sara Bastian Maya Pontone Lauren Rego Liz Lavender Alex Brown
PHOTO EDITOR Samantha Branch
Katelyn Saia Emily Bunn Eloise Parisi Jess Monroe
Alessandra Sy Natasha Arnowitz Ileana Perez Florian Uku
Chiara Kung Zoe Dalton Morgan Lalikos
Letters from The editors Growing up, my favorite constellation was Orion’s belt. Three stars in a line signifying of a once strong warrior watching over the Earth. Sometimes, at night, when my mother would take the trash out I would follow behind just to stare at the warrior’s belt. I was so naive as a child believing that any three stars in the night sky were Orion’s belt. I would point any line of stars and let everyone know that was Orion’s belt to be promptly told that was just three stars, but what was the difference? The night sky was millions of tiny little white crystals spilled onto a dark navy blue canvas. Every planet, star, asteroid, to my naked eye, looked exactly the same. So why couldn’t any three stars be Orion’s Belt? Or an undiscovered planet? Or an asteroid coming to wipe us all out? I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Our Earth is surrounded by lightyears of unnerving secrets. Little white mysteries dot our night sky they watch over us, surround us. Who’s to know what will come of those mysteries.
My parents used to greet me ever morning with “Good morning starshine, the Earth says hello.” I didn’t know about the song it belonged to or the movie it scored, but I learned to rely on that odd expression day in and day out. It doesn’t mean anything to anyone outside of our family, despite my valiant efforts, but it speaks, now, to the particularities of communication—the things that make us feel outside and those that help us fit in. All groups have their own lexicon, their own verbal signaling that grows and swells across distance, but maintains throughout time. This is ours for this moment. Whether it wraps you in its aluminum blanket or you orbit it from the cold beyond, it holds a special space for us. Good morning starshine The Earth says hello You twinkle above us We twinkle below Good morning starshine You lead us along My love and me as we’re singing Our early morning singing song Gliddy glub gloopy, nibby nabby noopy la, la, la, lo, lo Sabba sibby sabba, nooby abba nabba, le, le, lo, lo Tooby ooby walla, nooby abba naba Early morning singing song
(I am a satellite. I am a lonely celestial entity that orbits around bodies of energy. It is redundant and, quite frankly, it makes me dizzy. Did Zenon feel this dizzy during her first trip to earth? Yes. How do I banish the dizziness? Reach. Reach until you feel your bones pop and your fingertips graze something familiar. It should be warm enough to feel like home.) Being a satellite can be a lonely and disorienting experience, but in the end, it is a rewarding one. Eventually, the solo orbit ends, we scrape the metallic residue off of our tongues, and we ground ourselves in humanity. We’re better (than before.) The most important thing about this issue is that hopefully you’ll realize, as I have, that although being a satellite is a solo experience, it is one that most of us go through. So, despite the dizzying loneliness, we’re all connected. That makes all the difference.
Photos by Baolong Song
Getting â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sickâ&#x20AC;? by Ayo Oladeji
I spent 16 years hating where I was from. The people, dirty beaches, my neighborhood, it all made me uncomfortable in my own skin. At 17 I got my license when autumn crawled into winter. I crawled out of my skin, on to the icy asphalt and never looked back. With my wheels on the ground, I explored the white forests of my town. I found myself outside for hours until my fingers were numb and my cheeks burned.
Winter in Boston is ugly. The snow is mangled by the dirt and left in piles of ice on the side of the road. Grey, light-polluted skies block the stars that used to comfort me on snowy days back home.
At night, the lights from city buildings block the stars; Boston makes me quake with uncertainty as if I am back in that shell of a 16-yearold kid. With numb fingers, I wipe solid tears from burnt cheeks on an empty street.
I take a shaky breath in and look up to the stars that arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t there, but there is still a twinkle. Boston buildings break through dirty smog breathing fresh air into the city. The lights sway and dance like the stars that used to give me comfort. 6
I sleep, snoring softly through clear lungs.
I The Cliff
Hearts are all that’s left when ends can’t mend their fractured shells.
ARTof falling APart by Tom Garback
These are morbid truths, sordid commotions, jagged rock edges— stratified. Life. Love. Loss. All I may do with words is materialize the fibers in one shade of my being for one to read, mull over, in a minute, on then, next, to forget. Call me confused. Tell me I maunder. It is my aim, and I can’t blame the English of things, the voice that bears both Humiliation and Humility. All they want is purpose, cohesion, clarity, direction; I’ve had enough with that. I’m descending into an anarchy of letters—my vindictive alphabet. I can’t feel anything anymore anyway. Living. I could feel like a star, for all of us were, all souls, genderless, faceless, until we were pushed, cast down to earth, to fall to one particular plot: Athens 525 BCE, Nigeria 1980, Edo 1639, Philadelphia 2000. It’s terribly cruel to be separated from my fellow stars, for when we fell, we fell separately, burning up the darkness around us. Here I am: disheveled and distraught. Where have my lights gone? I see them in a book every now and then, read of the famous lives they lived long ago. Maybe they thought before they died, “Where has he gone, that celestial flame I used to know?” Here I am, far too far, where everyone is a stranger, and all my once-upon-a-stars have by now lived out their brief, beautiful mortalities without me. 8
Loving. I can’t fathom it. Ephemeral agony, blinked-out bliss. rabbits, they say, make such warm coats that one forgets the way their eyes can shine, or burn, when the trigger is pulled. I think of all the beauty, like flesh, that goes unused before it is waste. Torn splendor used to paint eroded hills of time. Losing my mind, my skin, my ribs.
II The Plunge I guess I didn’t know I had my final straw ‘til it had broken already. Alas, the most I’ll ever be is history. Indeed, I wish I could say the art of falling apart is the promise of eventually coming back together, but I’d be a liar. Yesterday is all our ashes come to total. How simple it is to squash a fly, but—my—the leagues it takes to measure Death’s complexion. As we take our fall, our organs are undone. The coldest hearts break the loudest. I dream up worlds of truth, and cry because they aren’t real, and curse myself for having dreamt at all. Our own version of reality is the most comforting of lies. The only proof of our existence is our perception, its only vessel our memory, the former corrupt, the latter fleeting. The truest words are always dis-re-membered. It comes to me, the vision of my grandparents in Atlantic City sitting on the boardwalk bench at twilight, watching all the people pass. Taking a trip around the world, seeing tourists from places they will never see. This was their joy; they created it, loved it; it was all they had. Soon the sun would set on them and with it the hours, ours for now or… Cold, blue time; broken heart; swallowed up.
III water when I reach the end of worlds, where living things can’t go ‘til they’re passing on to other worlds… when said when all I can, when I’ve passed on to other… when said…when all… reaching for…but air is gone…and the ocean has me in her grip… when can…when I…one last breath for words… I want to see to run to want to see to feel to wish to need to hope devour want to leap from water speak it louder I’m a coward getting higher and am drowning I need air it’s there if release expand and breathe wanting years but much too much to hold is life is bigger than me tragedy is life is more than… to desire be to be desire but to lose to love to live to lose to
Art by Alessandra Sy
Art: “Width” Tina Jiang
It’s hard to have a serious conversation about Jesus with people giggling in the backseat. I’d rather be front row Motley Crüe I’d rather be having coffee with you I’d take mine black With a scone to go; Nathan missed his bus so you had to skip I miss you And I wish I could talk to you one last time I wish I could pump your gas Flash forward ten years And I’m in the town beach parking lot Pretending to be something I convinced myself I’m not. Staring as the horizon blinks Mesmerized as Gatsby Holding Daisy’s hand Her fingers feel like plastic I try to take it all in The fabric of her dress Two measures of rest on my sternum My heart expands in our hands closer and closer and closer and closer to meaning Thoughts like whispers begging and pleading and taut, tight and bitter and netting and kneading truth on a hollow shore: home is sleeping next to you
This Isn’t The Poem About Wobbly Freedom
Art by Laurel Frisbee
by Liz Lavender
Songs & Their Emotions Landslide by Fleetwood Mac
Radio Ga Ga by Queen
Should ve Known Better by Sufjan Stevens
Don t Let the Good Life Pass You By
Listening to a sufjan Stevens song
by Cass Elliot
I sat in the passenger seat while my dad drove down Route 1. All of the windows were down and the sky was an ethereal magenta. The summer evening air was perfectly humid and I felt a sense of liberation. My brother grabbed the aux cord and began to play a song that I had never heard. I was enthralled by its southern twang mixed with the sensation of driving through Malibu. I have always loved music. I grew up in a musical household and my first memory of life is hearing my dad play Bon Jovi on his speaker and something about that music resonated with my five-year-old self. As someone who defines themself as a free spirit, the message of the song my brother chose to play, “Take it Easy”, spoke to me. This record was foreign to me, yet it created an immediate sense of comfort. I later found out that this harmonious album was “Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975” by the Eagles. I fell in love with this band and felt inclined to research everything about them. I spent the rest of the summer listening to their entire discography, reading all articles or books on them, and re-watching their 3-hour documentary. I wanted to be well versed in everything Eagles. Being in the company of the Eagles meant that I never felt alone and would always have their music as a source of companionship since
they introduced me to a whole era of music that would become more than just music to me; it would fulfill my loneliness. Loneliness is defined as experiencing sadness because one has no friends or company and it was something I had never experienced. I was always someone who was surrounded by a variety of people for eight hours in school, or during sixhour shifts at work; I was always someone who, on the weekends, spent many late nights with my friends or long afternoons with my family. I was okay with the idea of my own company so when it came time to be alone, I felt at peace, I never felt lonely. In March 2018 I found out that I was accepted to Emerson. I only got in for the spring semester, but I was elated, filled with positivity and satisfaction that I got into my dream school. After a summer filled with innumerable memories created with friends, August came, and suddenly everyone disappeared. I took on two jobs, tutoring English and working at Urban Outfitters, but after work, I was always by myself, usually in my room. Four months is a long time to spend alone and I missed constant interaction with friends and yearned to have a night out with them. That semester was my first interaction with loneliness. Photos by Katelyn Saia 18
Sitting in my small New Jersey town for a semester, while all of my friends were off discovering their passions and gaining an education was a taxing experience. I spent many nights on social media viewing friends’ Snapchat stories or Instagram posts. I recall seeing numerous photos of my friends, exploring their new homes or sitting in a common room sharing a pizza and a film with their new friends. I felt inadequate, as if I were as missing out on something formative. I have always been an optimistic person, but I often found myself feeling depressed and in tears, thinking about the experiences I was missing or fearing how my friends would replace me with new ones. Messages from my friends decreased and soon, some became obsolete. I could not help but wonder if I would be forgotten. I also thought about Emerson, and how everyone would already have their friends. I was lonely and prepared myself to feel this way at Emerson too. My heart and my mind always felt empty. I needed to feed my passions, so during my gap semester, I found solace in music. Music became my best friend; since I did not have much contact with friends, I created interactions with music. I began to discover new music and analyze what I was listening to. I spent four months conducting intense research on the 60s, 70s and 80s music as well as the music business and how it has grown. This passion fulfilled my loneliness. I began to find myself feeling excited about a future career in the music industry, and my mind was filled with
extreme amounts of knowledge on the subject. At first, this hobby filled my gaps and I was conscious of this, but soon I no longer felt lonely. My favorite poet, Maya Angelou, perfectly explained the relationship between music and loneliness; “music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” If I ever felt extreme loneliness, I could turn on music and be brought back to my safe space. I formed a strong connection with music that is unbreakable. Everyday, I do something music related. While my friends were at school, I also felt as if I was missing out on four months of education, but music provided this for me. I learned invaluable life lessons and stories through music. While my friends were sitting in general education courses, I was becoming well educated on the thing that matters most to me. As sung in Queen’s famous Radio Ga Ga, “Everything I had to know I heard it on my radio.” While I did not use a radio, I did learn everything I wanted to know about life, love and the world through my headphones. There is a song for every emotion and we can use these songs as a form therapy and emotional release. Music unconsciously becomes a part of our lives and evokes emotions in us that are often relevant to our current mindset. If I did not have music during my gap semester I would have experienced immense loneliness. But the relationship I created with music was so communicative and strong that I no longer felt empty. Music is my best friend, and my relationship with it is lifelong.
WHATEVER OUR SOULS ARE MADE OF. by Ana Hein Photo by Tom Garback
I like to think that we are created from stars handpicked from the sky, like they are apples in an orchard cultivated by the gods.
I like to think that those handpicked, sparkling stars get mashed into a sort of star-stuff paste that gets folded up inside of our skin, like tarts getting filled with sweetness to the point of bursting if even one more cherry gets added to the mix. But most of all, I like to think that you and I are filled up with the same sparkling star-stuff, like we are the cosmic version of Adam and Eve offering each other our own forbidden fruit 21
By Alyssa Caraher
the woes of
I never wanted to be a Tornado. I never wanted to hurt people, destroy homes, decimate towns, wreak havoc and mayhem and hell. I never wanted to be a Storm or a Drizzle or even a Breeze. I just wanted to charge the air with my presence, to be felt all over your skin, and prick your fingers ever so lightly so you could tell that I was there. But I charged in too much and the heat met the cold and the cold met the heat and then chaos flew and now never shall we meet.
Words by Tom Garback Photo by Baolong Song 22
“The Mean side of Being ‘Nice’” by Alex Brown
Photos by Jess Munroe
My whole life I’ve strived to be nice. It’s all I’ve expected from myself. It’s ranged from being afraid to complain at a restaurant or store in fear of upsetting the employee, to sacrificing my own issues to be there for a person who consistently used me. In every aspect of my life, I want to make others happy, which seems wonderful on the surface. Life isn’t that easy though. Being nice to everyone works in the short term, but when you start losing parts of yourself to help others, life turns into a chore.
Constantly taking on the role of the “mom friend,” I would drop everything to help those I care about. I never said no when a friend needed me. For me, I was nothing without my niceness and I couldn’t begin to imagine what it would be like to make a decision based on how it impacted me. Life turned into one continuous sacrifice, where I slowly became a supporting character in my own story. The worst part was that I didn’t even see the problem. In my eyes, there was nothing about me that would lead me to pick my own self-interests over someone else’s. I thought I was happy and content, but I was complacent. Friendships were comprised of me investing my everything into people who only viewed me as an outlet to vent to. When a friend had a bad day, there was no question what would happen. I would forget my own issues, no matter how urgent and rush to their side. While my family life was in shambles, my best friend was conflicted over a boy she might like. Instead of validating her problem and taking care of my own, I pushed all my problems aside and rushed to her, completely disregarding the urgency of my own situation. This happened so often, that it lost its importance. Instead of my friends being grateful when I would put my life on hold for them, they started to expect it of me. My role in life was to care about others and if I didn’t fill that role, I viewed myself as inadequate. My obsession with being nice set unattainable expectations for myself, leaving me discontent and insecure. While I wanted to think I was satisfied with the nice image I had, I was deeply unhappy and couldn’t understand why. I was a great friend, so what else could I want? The change didn’t happen until I started thinking of myself the same way I thought of my friends. I looked at the way I was treating myself- with neglect, disdain, loathing, disrespect- and that's when realized that I would never treat anyone the same way. That left me with the question: Why was I okay with treating myself like that? When you’re always prioritizing others you forget to view yourself as important. Constantly placing others on pedestals can feel good in the moment when you see them at their best. You can take a sort of pride in knowing that you helped them get there. Except there comes a point when you look around and you’re the only one still on the ground. I’m not going to act like it was easy to stop thinking of others as more important than me, and I’m still not great at caring about myself, but I’m learning.
It took someone calling me out, for me to realize how destructive my thought process was. Whenever someone would ask about my own issues, I always tried to change the subject and focus the conversation back on them. It became nearly impossible for me to validate my struggles and eventually that started showing through my lack of self esteem and confidence. It didn’t take long into my time here at Emerson for me to start sacrificing myself for others, except this time people noticed. When a friend asked why I always prioritized others over myself, I explained that all I wanted was to be a good friend. He responded by telling me that if I really wanted to be a good friend, I had to learn how to prioritize myself. That threw me off when I first heard it. I couldn’t comprehend how learning to be what I saw as selfish would help others. My view of friendship was so skewed I didn’t see how lacking self-value will eventually catch up to you and create an inability to form meaningful relationships. That’s not a nice truth, but it is a truth. It’s excruciatingly difficult, but people, especially women, need to stop holding ourselves to such toxic standards. Being a woman, I grew up understanding that my purpose was to never create problems and help others through their own. If I tried to explain my feelings to a male friend, all he would have to do is tell me I was complicating things and I would shut up. I never wanted to be the, “messy girl,” or the, “dramatic girl,” but no matter which type of girl I was being, there were always going to be men who took issue with it. Women are too often unfairly placed in the position of being others’ “therapists,” and the moment we differ from people’s personal expectations of us, we become useless. Because we tend to exhibit our emotions more freely, we also allow our emotions to be used as a weapon against us. When we start teaching young women to stand up for themselves and to stop making excuses for those around them, we’ll create a generation of girls who understand that being nice isn’t everything. They won’t need to hit such a low that they have no other choice than to speak up. They’ll know that the only way they can really help others and themselves is by taking care of yourself first.
When you view everyone as more important than yourself, you become a machine whose only job is to validate others. The effort that is supposed to go into relationships becomes automatic, gradually losing its meaning.
Life isn’t as simple as ‘nice or mean,’ and it’s unhealthy to live on either side of that spectrum. You can’t be nice to everyone without forgetting yourself.
Find intrinsic value within yourself, instead of spending all your effort finding other people’s values for them.
Pales in Comparison On the Ideality of Whiteness
By Sara Bastian Photos by Emily Bunn
Ms. Longley is our new Religious Studies teacher in grade eight. Her voice matches her body — petite and fragile. The air is humid and hot as always because summer melts into autumn in The Bahamas. They are one and the same. Our uniforms are crisp, fresh off the ironing board. Our shoes are shiny and black, fresh out of the box. We are used to Jamaican teachers, so Ms. Longley’s accent is easy to interpret. Forsome, it is even easier to imitate amidst snickers at the back of the class.
Ms. Longley is our new Religious Studies teacher in grade eight. Her voice matches her body — petite and fragile. The air is humid and hot as always because summer melts into autumn in The Bahamas. They are one and the same. Our uniforms are crisp, fresh off the ironing board. Our shoes are shiny and black, fresh out of the box. We are used to Jamaican teachers, so Ms. Longley’s accent is easy to interpret. For some, it is even easier to imitate amidst snickers at the back of the class.
Progressively, Ms. Longley comes to class lighter and lighter. By the end of the school year, we are exhausted and fragile and our shoes have lost their shine. By the end of the school year, our teacher’s blackness has reduced to a color that waddles between brown and grey. At break time, we cram for exams and gossip about her paling complexion. Everyone knows why. 27
At lunch, boys diss each other for laughs, using each other’s complexions as the butt of their jokes. Michael is so black that when the lights are off we cannot find him. Leon is so black that we could scratch white chalk onto his skin and call him blackboard. We are all so black that if we were to flatten each other, we’d melt into tar under the sun and form new roads to self-deprecation. Eventually, we are no longer shiny and new. We are grey, bleak. We are decorated with potholes and scarred with tire marks. We are Ms. Longley. Lighter. Are we happy? We don’t know, but we laugh at the boys’ jokes anyway. Michael is so black.
At fifteen, I transfer to an all-girls boarding school in North Carolina. For the first time, most of the people around me are white. In all of this unfamiliarity, I find solace in the few black students, their southern drawls, and their unapologetic occupation of space. It is not home, but it is close. When Barack Obama is re-elected, a blonde girl whose closet is filled with Lily Pulitzer apparel tweets “keep white in the white house.” Screenshots float around, whispers and gasps fly down the halls. Even though the headmaster sees the tweetin all its white glory, the girl does not get expelled — she’s perfectly white, perfectly rich. She only receives a warning.
I think about the white house, about how it is nothing but a tourist attraction to me. I think about Obama’s light skin and the way he would be adored at home. I think about its ability to offend whiteness. Blackness, in America, should be eradicated, not lightened. It is something to eclipse and then expunge. In 2014, Mike Brown, an unarmed black teenager, is fatally murdered by Darren Wilson, a white police officer. Over the November break, I go home and learn that Wilson was not indicted. I hope for the headmaster to stand in front of us during assembly, to say something — the way he did when Lily Pulitzer girl tweeted about her desire for a fortress of whiteness. I hope for him to say something meaningful the way he does when tragedies occur, the same way he speaks every September 11th. But he does not. We do not matter. My black American friends and I grow weary of the quiet. We ring around the rosie of rage and confusion. We yearn for them to see the darkness in all the white nonsense. We mourn in all-black. Hoodies become veils on Trayvon Martin’s birthday. Our mouths are taped shut for the school day and we refuse to speak. We write “don’t shoot” on the tape— as visible as our hands in the air.
When we try to start a Black Student Union, we are dismissed. That would be too exclusive. Everyone should be able to join. Our revolution isn’t appropriate for school. Our anger, our grief isn’t rational enough to evolve into something magnificent. We are too black to congregate. We’ll cause a ruckus, a riot even. But we have meetings anyway. In people’s dorms, in common rooms. At lunch, at dinner. In all of this connectivity and pride, I realize that Ms. Longley is not to blame for her disdain. The ideality of whiteness has been shoved down our throats and down our ancestors’ throats for centuries and regarded as something to aspire to. If people are mistreated long enough because of the color of their skin, eventually, they will begin to resent their skin. But that is exactly what they wanted — whiteness on a pedestal. As time passes, I sketch blackness deeper and deeper into this illusion of whiteness as quintessential. It is an act of refusal, but most importantly, it is an act of gratitude and pride. 30
Provincetown By Althea Smith
Art by Kali Melone
We drove down with the wind in our hair and the dial on the radio turned as loud as it would go. The four of us had planned this trip back in high school, back when nobody understood. Provincetown was a kind of promised land to us. Not only acceptance but a community. Here, we were not other.
In the day, the sun had beat down on the sand and pavement around us, forcing sticky waves of heat across the town. We bought sickly sweet cups of lemonade and explored the cool dark corners of the enclosed shops, examining handmade trinkets and niche books to escape. But now, by just the light of the moon, it was cool. I laid practically bare on my blanket, staring up at the stars through the canvas of my tent, feeling the sea breeze against my skin and through my hair. It was approaching midnight when the light of my phone screen filled the tent, imprinting shadows across the fabric walls. 31
I had seen her first in the museum, among the black and white photographs. Her dark skin stood out against the stark white walls and with her burgundy curls hanging loosely across her shoulders, she looked radiant. There, with the beautiful and sincere creations of queer artists hanging all around us, it felt cosmic. I wanted to walk up to her and press my lips to hers. God, I wanted just to walk up to her and say hello, but something in me was frozen. It wasn’t until later, as I sat on the pearl white sand watching crystal waves lap onto the shore, that my chance came. Her face flashed across my phone screen, and my body moved almost without my permission. My finger swiped across the screen, to the right. Twin suns, I could see her over the horizon, rising just as I set.
Hey, didn’t I see you in the museum earlier? My heart beat against my ribcage and my fingers hovered over her picture. Her somehow familiar smile lit up just beneath my palm. Yes, I wrote back I think so. Now, in the dark, the text across my screen said something different, something that made my emotions spark and my fingers shake. I’m here. Slowly I stood and unzipped the tent, stepping out into the damp night air. The morning mist already tickled at my feet as I quietly made my way through the campsite. Just over the hill, I could see headlights. Silhouetted against the lights, I saw her beautiful curves and soft edges.
Suddenly she was there, our bodies pressed together, entwined, against the hood of her car. We collided. The engine was warm beneath us, and as she pressed me against the car, I felt like I was sinking into it. The heat felt like it was burning against my cool skin, but I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t care. All I cared about was her skin against mine and her hands against my thighs. Our meeting was an explosion. The trees stood tall above us, and when I looked away from her it was only to stare straight up into the night sky, and the soft light of the moon. Satellites blinked across the sky, never touching, only able to look from the outside. But she was right here. She touched me until I could swear I was staring up into heaven; like the sky above me had disappeared, and all that remained was simply us. Later, we sat side by side in her backseat. She rested her head in my lap, her hair spread around her like a halo. I couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t help but run my fingers through it. She reached out and kissed my fingertips. I closed my eyes and listened to the soft music of her radio. . 33
â&#x20AC;&#x153;That was fun,â&#x20AC;? She said, finally. I leaned over the door, through the open window, to give her one final kiss. As I walked back to my tent, with barely enough strength to keep my legs moving, I thought what a shame it was that we would never see each other again. Once again, we blinked across the sky. I laid down on my blanket, stared back up, and prayed for heaven
Photos by Eloise Parisi
(Unacceptably Familiar Oppressor)
Four-foot tall beings with large black eyes,
vibrant green skin and enlarged foreheads. Too different, too bizarre, and too strange to be human. Plotting in planets far away, planning how to go about their next invasion. Rounded spaceships breaking through earth’s atmosphere, posing a threat to all who live in this world. Cryptic bellows and screeches with the faint message of, “We do not come in peace.” This is what comes to mind when you hear the word “Alien,” right? Or do you think of the family who has been living on the floor below you for the past five years; the ones who moved here from Iraq in 2010, the ones who lent you money for rent last month when you were let go?
Or that seven-year-old boy from Mexico City that you saw at the market last weekend; with a smooth babyface and dark tousled curls, clutching a soccer ball in one hand and his mother’s skirt in the other? 35
by leah heath
Or the twenty-year-old girl from Syria you met at your friend’s birthday dinner; previously forced to spend her days at home after her street became a war zone, now about to attend the pre-med program at Tufts University? The United States has been using the word alien to refer to immigrants for hundreds of years. United States immigration policy uses the term in official documents--including Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 and Title 8 of US Code--while news networks such as Fox use this language in headlines-like, “Illegal alien criminals hurting Americans,” and “Illegal alien accused of killing officer, death may have been prevented if it weren’t for California sanctuary policies.” Despite the connotations that exacerbate discriminatory views of immigrants, the word is used by US authorities as the proper term for referring to those who reside in America but are not legal citizens—including immigrants who
are here both legally and illegally. This language is not just accepted, but promoted as correct. United States legal documents refer to undocumented immigrants as “Illegal aliens” specifically, painting them as foreign beings who have invaded our country and threaten American life as we know it. This, of course, is in direct conflict with the fact that immigrants cannot disrupt American life if American life was built by immigrants in the first place. Immigrants are a crucial gear in the American mechanism. Aside from working the jobs nobody else wants to, they also diversify thought and integrate their personal cultures into American life making the nation a richer tapestry of individuals. As a collective group of individuals, they have significantly impacted what it means to be American and live within this country. So how can we see them as aliens? How is this their correct label? The word alien was chosen with a specific goal in mind. Those who support its use claim it is necessary in validating the severity of violating US immigration law. Therefore, these negative connotations are purposeful. The word ‘alien’ is meant to incite feelings of fear, of danger, of a lack of safety. However, aliens are not just undocumented people. American citizens who immigrated from another country are still referred to as, “Legal aliens,” in official US policy. The term is meant to categorize a group of immigrants as a whole other,
dehumanizing them in the process. Simply put, humans are of this world, aliens are not. Even the ones who have made the effort to be legal participants within the country are not worthy of validation in terms of their personhood. The world that the United States has fabricated dreads the threat of outsiders, and imposes this reaction in their legal language as a way to validate this fear. This is why the trending ideology of “No Human Is Illegal” is a clear statement of protest against the current treatment of immigration within US legal language. Human beings cannot be illegal in themselves, and so the term, “Illegal alien,” infers that this group of individuals is not human entirely. The use of the word ‘human’ reminds us that these are actual people the government is oppressing. These are the generous neighboring families and scared boys clutching their mothers and twenty year old university scholars that make up this community around us. By calling these people aliens, the US government is asserting that these members of the community are not valid individuals participating in human life and are, therefore, not worthy of living on American land. Alien itself did mean foreigner before it ever meant a person from another planet (though the original definition also means strange, and so the connotations of the word are still quite derogatory). However, the brutal dehumanizing aspect of the label was not established until the 1950s when the Space Age emerged and the idea of an alien as a non-human being from another planet permeated the media. After this occurrence,
Words are not just combinations of letters. They hold the power of impacting and influencing individuals â&#x20AC;&#x153;
the term has instilled a more specific meaning within media and political speech. Although its original use was less harsh, today the term alien is offensive and disrespectful to the very personhood of immigrants. Just as other terms deemed discriminatory have been changed in political language, so too should the word alien as a title for immigrants. Native and African-American people were once given more negatively-coded titles in American legal language, but these terms were changed as the country progressed. It is about time that alien follow this chain of change.
Now more than ever, ‘alien’ is being used to provoke negative responses to immigrants. Current President Donald Trump, as well as other politicians today, often use the word alien in lieu of immigrants when they speak of them in terms of dangerous criminals or terrorists. In the current political discussion on immigration, alien has become synonymous with threatening characters. It is a word used to target a specific person or group of people who seem to threaten the power of the white male elite. It is a word of oppression. It is a word of ignorance. It is a word of fear. The word alien is so ingrained into the everyday political vernacular that even my father did not realize the gravity of the word until years after his legalization. My father immigrated from the Azores to the United States with his mother illegally in 1975 at the age of eleven. Having not gained citizenship until eighteen years old, the constant harassment that my father en-
dured made the word alien just another term that separated him from the American citizens around him. However, when studying Immigration Law under a Mexican professor, the severity of the word’s connotations was illuminated. The professor deemed the label unacceptable, refusing to comply with traditional United States legal vernacular in hopes to teach his students to resist familiar discriminatory language in politics. The use of the word alien to refer to immigrants actively contributes to the anti-immigrant attitudes in today’s United States. If we wish to maintain our reputation of a land of freedom and refuge, change must be made in the language. Words are not just combinations of letters. They hold the power of impacting and influencing individuals. The language used in relation to immigration prevents progress and perpetuates the current negative views of people immigrating into the United States, and those who have resided here for years. I have decided to give new meaning to the acronym UFO (Unidentified Flying Object), just as the government gave meaning to the word “Alien.” In this context, I am establishing a UFO as an Unacceptably Familiar Oppressor; the word alien is a xtype of UFO. It is a term that has become all too familiar within the American legal language and continuously oppresses the immigrants of the United States. “Alien,” as a synonym to immigrant is highly offensive, and like my father’s professor, we need to make an effort to eliminate it from American speech. 38
I Think It’s a Bear Words: Ana Hein
Art: Natasha Arnowitz
We look up at the stars, so infinite in wonder in the sky, dancing and swaying in the cosmos, and we see the connections between Them. They form these elaborate, grand pictures and tapestries, and They make us feel whole for some reason. The stars look down at us, and they think to themselves, “How is that supposed to be a bear?”
By Owen Elphick From this high up, there is an ashiness to the snow, falling steadily like the disintegration of a burning heaven, dusting the ground around the graves with a gray that could swallow any body, each flake like a fallen angel, or a fleck of feather, each stone a shadow, the whole yard a crowd of shadows, assembling amidst the decay, the trees above them black and bare as death, or burnt skeletons, or maybe just people trying to live through this winter, amidst the swirling cold, amidst the infinite fragments of a falling sky.
Art by Laurel Frisbee 40
Photos by Katelyn Saia
Moments and Memories By Maya Pontone Growing up, my home was full of photographs. Hanging on the walls, lining the hallways, propped up on bedside tables and bookshelves, decorated with magnets on the door to the garage, stashed in desk drawers, and displayed in extravagant frames covering the bathroom— photographs of family, friends, and even one portrait of Abraham Lincoln covered nearly every square inch of our house. I didn’t think twice living in a house surrounded by so many images from my family’s past; in fact, I often turned to these pictures as a source of comfort. As a little kid, I found solace in flipping through the plastic-sleeved pages of the 15 photo albums scattered throughout my room. Especially in times when I felt overwhelmed and distressed by life’s chaos when I felt completely out of control of everything happening around me; the photographs contained within their pages helped ground me and remind me of my own sense of self. They were so much more than images printed at a pharmacy, but a timeline of my entire life thus far. Even though I couldn’t remember half of the moments, I still treasured each captured memory. In one photo, a picture of me at two years old, meeting my sister Cleo for the first time on the day she was born; in another, a still of me with a pixie cut and blue overalls, digging in the garden with my father; in another photograph, an image of me and my two younger sisters wearing pastel-
colored footie pajamas and sitting underneath the Christmas tree, laughing with excitement as we eagerly waited for Santa Claus. No matter how depressed or anxious I was, I could easily revisit some of the happiest moments from my childhood simply by opening a book specifically curated to display my life’s highlight reel. Years later, however, remembering the past has deteriorated from what was at one point a therapeutic practice to what is now a stressful, anxiety-inducing burden in my life. It’s hard to completely be in the present when so much of my daily life is laden with the past. I can’t check my phone or go on my computer without seeing some sort of reminder of things let go long ago. I don’t need Google to remind me that two years ago today I didn’t leave my room because I felt too depressed to do anything else, or that on this day I took an exciting trip I took to the grocery store during high school and bought….groceries. So much of our identities are comprised of memories. Of the good, the bad—these memories have taught us valuable lessons that have helped shape us into the people we are at this very moment. As we each go through our lives, we carry with us all the experiences and knowledge we gather along the way, each one leaving some sort of trace that over time, helps transform our character. 42
Although we never truly forget anything, we have more control over the purposeful act of recollecting certain memories; taking the time to really remember the past takes time and effort. When I was younger, I had more power over when I chose to remember my past through the physical act of opening and closing family photo albums. But now it’s nearly impossible to choose to ignore the past when it’s practically everywhere, all the time. I don’t get to choose which memories I want to remember when Google is suddenly reminding me of some random day several years ago, or when I’m scrolling through my Instagram feed of photos from people who I don’t talk to anymore. And when I do take steps to rescue myself from this overload of memories, I can’t help but feel slightly guilty. The Internet has made me place value on memories and connections that, in reality, do not actually benefit me in any way. Unfriending someone online I haven’t seen since high school graduation feels slightly wrong at times, since I’m cutting off the only form of connection (however illusory it may be) that still remains. I’m constantly backing up worthless photos and videos from my phone to my computer out of the fear that one
day I might lose them and the memories they hold. Without realizing, I’ve been cluttering my brain (and my Google Drive) with hundreds of unimportant memories. I’ve forgotten the value of forgetting. It is a natural human process to forget. There are moments we do not need to hang on to forever—some painful, others simply just uneventful. Letting go of these moments allows us to move on and make room for new memories. While remembering our past is crucial for growth, but an overabundance of threatens to cut us off from everything currently happening around us. So much of our society today glorifies the practice of saving, whether it is in the form of Snapchat Memories, Instagram Archives, or simply just iPhone notifications to back up hundreds of old text messages. But there is freedom and power in the decision to delete. Deleting social media, deleting old messages, deleting meaningless photos and videos— there is power in giving ourselves a break from the past in order to fully enjoy the present. Disconnection doesn’t necessarily always mean isolation, but in fact can lead us to build new, meaningful connections with the people and the world around us.
You Should by Lauren Rego
You Should bask in it. This card signals positivity. It brings forth abundance and success. Take in its radiance, and allow its energy to direct you in your life. Let it lead you to what is best. Let it guide your thoughts and your actions. Let it transform you into both the child and the horse—joyous, proud, strong.
You Should rest in it. This card signals a chance for renewal. It brings forth peace and hope. Take the opportunity to recover from any past pain, and allow faith to resurface. Let it drive you forward. Let it heal your chakras. Let it make you like the woman—vulnerable, comfortable, harmonious.
Art by Alessandra Sy 45
You Should trust in it.
This card signals emotions over logic. It brings forth uncertainty and confusion. Take a moment of reflection, and allow the full truth to be revealed to you. Let it humble your heart and mind. Let it bring you to realization. Let it push you to emerge like the crayfish from the pool— cautious, intuitive, eager.
You Should dwell in it.
This card signals the cyclical nature of ends and beginnings. It brings forth completion and progress. Take the future in stride, and allow the past to remain in the past. Let it inspire. Let it prompt new accomplishments. Let it model your path after the laurel wreathe— continuous, balanced, triumphant.
Satellite images: images of Earth or other planets collected by satellites; this imagery can be used to capture and record weather patterns, changes in terrain, and other changes in the land and atmosphere Drought: a natural disaster of below-average precipitation in a given region, resulting in prolonged shortages in the water supply that can last anywhere from several days to several years My heart feels shriveled up, like a raisin, in need of connection. In pursuit of taking more time to understand myself, I’ve spent the last few days, weeks, months in a constant state of estrangement from others. Living life as an observer is fine until you realize how much you’ve deprived yourself of essential human contact to keep yourself grounded on this Earth. Wildfire: a fire in an area of combustible vegetation occurring in rural areas Too much time alone can cause a lot of pent up rage. Staging an imaginary argument in front of the bathroom mirror can only allow you to let out what’s been on your mind lately. It’s time to say something before the entire home you’ve constructed is nothing but a smoldering pile of ash. The smoke alarm has been blaring for far too long, it’s time to extinguish the flames before it’s too late. Hurricane: a rapidly rotating tropical storm characterized by strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain I don’t understand why my body is crying right now. My nerves can only handle so much confrontation before tears start spilling out of my eyes and voice starts cracking like a scared toddler. I can’t control my emotions, but I’m not overly-sensitive. I want to keep arguing, to keep yelling, even if yes, I’m also crying. But ignore that—my tears do not weaken my argument or make me any less capable of standing my ground. I want to keep communicating, as if my mascara wasn’t running and my body wasn’t shaking. I’m mad and I want to finish this argument, but can you hand me a tissue first?
by Maya Pontone
Blizzard: a severe winter storm condition characterized by low temperatures, strong winds, and heavy snow It’s difficult to know where we are now. Everything around us feels the same— cold. I try to rub my eyes to see better, but they’re still frozen with last night’s tears. I feel tired and lost. Which way is the right direction out of this storm? I can feel myself slowly sinking into the snow. It would be much easier to figure this out if I had the energy to find my way out, but I know if I fall asleep here, I might never wake up. I have to keep moving to stay warm, no matter how much the wind stings my face. I will get through this, we will get through this. Storms don’t last forever. Art by Laurel Frisbee 46
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