LUNA NEGRA Spring 2010
the art around you
. Prose . Short
20. Graffiti / Chad Schayes 20. Architecture / Erin Perkins 21. Fashion / Chad Schayes
21. Body Modifications / Alexis Carek 22. Encouraging Peace / Gabz Ciofani & Andrew Metzger
Poems & Short Stories 6.We Might've Been Hydrangea macrophylla / Casey Nichols 6. 50th / Brianna Ries 7. September '09 / Erin Miller 8. D o You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio? / Emily Chick 9. My Squeaky Shoe / Jacob Sheahan 10. Leaving / Richard Wehrenberg Jr. 12. bellatrix / Erica Strauss 13. Pride / Alyssa Davis 15. Goldenrod / Randy Roberts 15. Texas Toast / Jamie Bloss 16. They Were Dancing / Allen Hines 17. Euro / Matthew Wayman 26. Finally Finding Myself in Athens, October 2009 / Gabz Ciofani
34 Photos & Illustrations Front Cover: Jill Monda 6. Jared Frankel 7. Jeff Hazelden 9. Alyssa Davis 12-13. Thisanjali Gangoda 14. Heather Haden 17. Alyssa Davis 19. Jared Frankel 27. Justin Roberts 28. Jared Frankel 30-31. Alyssa Davis 34. Jeff Hazelden 37. Alyssa Davis Back Cover: Jill Monda
27. a story about almost-regret but not-really regret / Brittany Wallace 28. The Cats and Why... / Cody Ray Hays 31. the death of december / Thisanjali Gangoda 32. Lines / Andrew Metzger 32. Sages, General / Kevin Pospichel 35. Those Summer Days / Sarah Spinelli 35. City / Jackie Fahmy 36. Literature / Erin Miller 37. Optimistic / Karly Milvet 38. Christ Figure / Jamie Ziemba 38. And All / Allen Hines
19. the art around you
Luna Negra Staff Co-Editors Caleb Jenkins Schuyler Kasee Assistant Editors Gabz Ciofani Andrew Metzger Brianna Ries Co-Designers Betsy Becker Alexis Carek
Contributing Staff Olivia Arnette Megan Melville Brittney Trojanowski Jessica White Adviser Karen Kastner Advertising Sales Representative Daniel Meaney
Staff Writers Erin Perkins Chad Schayes
FROM THE EDITORS
Schuyler Kasee There’s quite a bit of truth in conceptualizing art as an unruly, and, at times, seemingly mystifying being. This idea flows because art maintains no boundaries and knows no cessation. Likewise, as the philosopher Albert Camus noted, “Art lives only on the restraint it imposes on itself, and dies of all others.” This must then be the way we view art in our realm of perception. We cannot simply state, “That is or isn’t art because [insert wordy, highbrow view here].” We must materialize our own notion of what art is while simultaneously incorporating the creator’s statement of what the organism’s implications for artistic use may be. For the Spring 2010 issue of Luna Negra Magazine, the task to display the art we received was bestowed on our staff of thirteen members. We then had to decide how to present submissions and concepts in our own artistic declaration. There were, undoubtedly, some critical design elements the staff decided upon ahead of time. However, much of the rendering of the pages took place after the submission deadlines had come to pass. It’s an interesting idea to attempt to design a magazine without content. Surprisingly, no matter how much formulation there is prior to zero hour, the interpretation of the art received is the only fragment of the process that consummates the mission. What has ultimately been perpetuated out of the evolution of this magazine solicits and welcomes a critical analysis by the audience. This is assuming, of course, that the audience has first taken into account the ways in which they perceive. As the transcendentalist poet Henry David Thoreau once said, “It is as hard to see one’s self as to look backwards without turning around.” Please, take a few minutes to examine your own convictions about art and then delve into our perspectives. Oh, and have a little fun with it too. Thank you to all those who have guided and helped me through this wonderful process and thanks especially to our contributors who make this magazine possible each year. May you never stop questioning your perceptions of the art around you, Schuyler Kasee
Caleb Je nki ns The Mini-Zine Schuyler and I have come a long way since finding out we would be leading the magazine together. We began sifting through all of the old content available to us the summer of 2009 and quickly became engulfed in the history of Luna Negra. After a couple weeks of reading and interpreting, we gained a full sense of where this publication has been and where we could take it. We came up with the mini magazine idea after experiencing a budget cut to our publication, which goes to show our endless optimism for the magazine. Reintroducing old content alongside of new submissions seemed brilliant, especially on the subject of sex (which we found ever-present in all previous Luna Negra issues). The result gave readers a chance to see the works of previous Kent State students and to delve into the sexual perspective of said students. It also allowed Luna Negra to release two publications during my time as co-editor, which didn’t seem possible at first. As I look back on the time our entire staff invested in this issue, I couldn’t be more proud of the handcrafted mini-zine. The Art Around You When deciding what to do for the main publication, Schuyler and I came up with the theme “The Art Around You.” This was an open-ended way of saying “appreciate and find beauty in your total environment.” Analyzing studio majors became a main piece for the publication, which eventually branched off into finding beauty and aestheticism in every day’s routine. I believe our society doesn’t take the time to acknowledge our surroundings, specifically in an artistic manner. So, I felt it was a duty of the publication to recognize the beauty in Kent and define a deeper meaning of our surroundings beyond physicality. This allows us to view our city, our university, our community for what it’s truly worth, appreciating all that we have been given. I’d like to thank all those who contributed to the publication or submitted to our Wordpress website (LunaNegraKSU.wordpress.com). This was quite an era of reformation and ingenuity for Luna Negra, and I can only hope it continues to grow towards literary perfection. Thank you, Caleb Jenkins
Photo by Jeff Hazelden
Photo by Jared Frankel
We Might’ve Been Hydrangea macrophylla
they made it through the winter, layered hundreds of times over in snow. brown and frail like wasp wings, crinkled photosynthesized taffeta.
you’d think we’d found gold, the way we scattered to grasp hold of the marbles a child spilt across lorain road, but my eyes welled at the yellowed print of my father cradling me in 1990, his curling hair wrapped onto my chin-- dark slug-- and my sister, she saw the glass glimmer on the sidewalk, and knew its cold green would soothe me.
Scribbled lists and thick-rimmed glasses Two identical cars Parked next to each other In a parking lot Emotion needs no grammar Black trees against a backdrop of storm cloud-peach Pasta with a side of love Beehive ceilings Stagnant goodbyes That curious fluttering feeling you get When a stranger walks close to you Not a visionary or an inspirer but merely a dreamer Her body moves like air, as if born from the wind Swimming in burlap Daylight fades like an old photograph
shells for chlorophyll, empty veins an embellishment of ghost town charm. and my knees weak with lovelust for this fistful of pity i picked up.
Linear bruises against white skin Black rhythm The awful crunch of an apple between sensitive teeth A guy with a limp and a girl with hair as long as she is Taking blood from the vein of an arm Like siphoning gasoline from a car The feeling of walking at night When no one is around As if humankind ceases to exist The sudden impulse to taste or smell or feel a person Rather than see them When a dime looks like gold The sensation of feeling alive The soft, sultry way the smoke rises from a cigarette
Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio? Emily Chick Underneath the stomp of five-inch Fendi heels Sara confessed she knew nothing of Robert Plant’s golden curls or Led Zeppelin at all on the dark Queens Blvd. platform. Annoyed, I looked for rats— the live ones, not the dead ones— with exposed brain matter that made the girls scream on the way to John Varvatos— the boutique where CBGB’s once stood. Dace Morris explained the history of punk and rock 'n' roll in the seedy bar once meant for bluegrass. The shit-stained bathrooms— broken down floors and sticker-covered walls— memories and tombstones. I had stood awkwardly, as if I just gained Joey Ramones’ posture on the cover of Rocket to Russia. Later on the subway Dace told us live rats only come out at night— I think it’s to mourn.
Photo by Alyssa Davis
My Squeaky Shoe Jacob Sheahan My left shoe is old, it squeaks. Everything I do, everwhere I go, it squeaks. I go through a lot of shit. The whole time my shoe, it squeaks. My brother’s sick in the hospital. I walked there and my shoe, it squeaked. He gets weaker everyday. Doctors don’t know if he’ll live. I needed to leave the room
it squeaked. I wanted to get him something. Checked wallet; nothing. Went past the gift store, it squeaked. I heard my brother vomit. Sighing heavily, my body wanted to not be there, to decompose. My feet, my shoes carried me back into the room. My brother laughed, he asked, “What was that?” I said, “It’s my shoe, it squeaks.”
Leaving Richard Wehrenberg Jr.
She didn’t press keys—she felt them. Mrs. Huber, my best friend’s mother, would have me sit down at the piano with her when I came over to play with Aaron. Aaron called her by her first name, Bonnie. Bonnie had an eagerness inside her that was continually napping then waking, the pulsations of collected nervousness from years of struggling faith. The skirmishes in icky swamps with it. The victories and defeats piling up in her body like dirty clothes. With little recompense over the years (a few missionary trips, “Only as far as Costa Rica”) and no other outlets for her divine love besides her worldly relations, her enthusiasm began to make itself alive in her gestures, mostly inhabiting the arms, which came alive like snakes being stepped on. Jumping up from their grounded side, pointing towards eternity. And her voice, a kind of middle-aged contralto, became more animated, and she would end up this kind of inaudible thing, like a whale’s song, mostly felt, half-heard. In truth, it didn’t seem like she belonged on this planet, with these people, with words like clarity and consistent. Bonnie would have me fiddle around on the piano for not quite a half hour and then let me go run around with Aaron outside. Before I left her, I would pause and turn to look back at her thin fingers feeling the blacks and whites. It did look like she was genuinely feeling them. Her face twisted up as in agony and endearment at the same time, eyes closed, fingers coaxing out the throes, the leftovers of melodies that white and black teeth closed over and hid inside them. She would sing the same two or three Psalms repeatedly, thinking herself alone, sun trickling in between blinds making what looked like faded notebook paper on the wall. And I would sing a few lines with her secretly under my breath
before leaving her, pretending I knew the words, my own atheistic youth swept under a rug, my back against the hallway wall tucked around a corner. It was only here, at a piano with her eyelids pinned down like curtains, that the tremors in Bonnie’s arms could be convinced to rest for a moment, and that I could halt, however briefly, the constant-movement of growing up. It is in the remembrance of her contour at a piano that I would come to fully understand the word respite. It is a remembrance that keeps biting at me. That fragments my life into places, rooms, chairs, people, hands, teeth, bodies moving. The sound of voices, all gone—the echoes just terrible substitutions. Everything forever gone, already gone before anything even happened, much more past tense than gone, everything gone’t. When I went out to play with Aaron I left her there, a wax body melting into a wooden stool. I felt like I shouldn’t have gone. Leaving meant people became mannequins. Empty faces facing a wall. But Aaron called. His trumpet of a mouth. It was reserved, but it tore into your skin and latched onto the nerves leading up to your head until you couldn’t ignore it any longer. It came up like out of an ocean somewhere, bobbing and floating like a piece of wood. He called me over towards the garden. Tomato plants stood tall, latching on tightly to a nearby fence. It was June and everything was growing or showing off how much they had grown. Aaron picked up a small ant and crushed it between his finger and thumb, rubbing it until it dissolved like ash back onto the ground. I laughed, not knowing what else to do. It was what we did. The ending of lives in order to fill up the lack in our own. We were small, but there existed things
smaller than us, and should we have not given up all together, we would crush ants (who planned to crawl in through our ears and nibble slowly at our brains) between our tiny fingers. There were other things too. There were the lightning bugs smacked with Wiffle Ball bats in pale moonlight, the neon stains on plastic burning tiny holes into the black night. There were the endless bird bodies left by Grey Cat on the welcome mat of the Hubers' one-story faded fire orange home. (A kind of mercenary of ours, Grey Cat would kill the things we missed, in the places we couldn’t go.) The bird Aaron fired at from forty feet away with his grandfather’s BB gun in a thicket of tree branches, floating down like a leaf. The cat in the shower under the milk crate. Soaking wet, mewing like a prayer, paws clasped around tiny milk crate holes. We tucked ourselves under their dead skins and furs. Collected their tiny hearts and would maybe one day have enough to fill up our own. It seemed the only thing that could mean something to me. ... Aaron was a good-looking kid. His perfect teeth, forever white despite a diet of Dr. Pepper and Doritos. His curly hair popping out of a long face like broccoli out of the ground. His metabolism, that of a hummingbird’s, kept his stomach flat continually. I was the preservative feed stock blend, plain hair and crooked teeth, my body never knowing the appropriate place to store excess fat. It would send it to my stomach
and my calves, these places looking like I had tucked small pillows under my skin. I was awkward in my body, and whenever I saw Aaron jumping around comfortably on his skinny stilt-like legs I tried to do the same but quietly fell over. He’d help me up and it’d be okay, but I never had a confidence like him. I felt like I had no idea why I was alive. I could do things, but really, I had to have someone with me. Only with Aaron could I feel like the things I did were real, like the things that happened to me were supposed to happen. I’d find myself standing on a baseball diamond, some parents sitting in metal bleachers to the left of me yelling things and clapping sometimes. I would pick up baseballs and step on first base and run around like I should. I often thought too far ahead. The “good-game” handshakes. The finding of your buddies and hurrying off with your mitts. The after-game snacks. The Leaving. Always the Leaving. I would hug people for way too long. They had to pull away from my body like a giant spider web, my fingers clutching at a sweater, a hand, a feeling. I remember doing things, but the images come back blurry, the sounds fuzzed over with a kind of television static. I would be so baffled at the loudness of the moments of good-bye that I could never say good-bye how I wanted to. How I wanted it to feel. Impermanent, never-lasting. Knowing I’ll see you soon. But it was always deafening. The syllables screamed through megaphones at me. Announcing the death of something. Not sure what. Everything just seemed to move towards leaving. Continually, forever. When I went on to new places I knew I would leave them eventually, and this thought preoccupied most of my actions. I would seem half-interested.
People wouldn’t come to me for passion. I would stutter my speech or speak like I lost my voice, lifting my arm timidly, too busy thinking of how the movement of my arm was a movement towards an end. I don’t think I knew it exactly in those words, but that was the feeling. Though, there were moments that felt somewhat okay. Mrs. Huber’s piano sessions. The time we spent in Aaron’s backyard. No rushing. When I could look at my feet and my toes and think about them finally as my feet and toes and not transporters to somewhere new and terrifying, where things were in flux. Everything in the backyard seemed fixed, permanent, and I could believe in it. Finally, something. Look at Grey Cat lounging under the oak tree next to the swing set, head resting on his front paws. Scan the yard for movement. Start walking. Summertime. Nothing to do. Collect a bucket full of toads. See them hopping around on each other in it, not knowing what’s happening. Light a fire, feel cold. Rub your arms, smooth out the goosebumps popping up like tiny snow-capped mountains. Feel warm. Watch the sun drooping down, peering over the Huber’s roofline. Squint at Mrs. Huber’s voice from the kitchen window. Crouch behind a tree around a small fire. Matches, lighter fluid on the ground. Crumpling paper. Fire crackling. Toads burning. Grey Cat chewing on something. Not saying a word. We trudged back inside, Grey Cat peering in at us through the cloudy glass door with a lamenting look, left to work through the night shift alone. Mrs. Huber
made spaghetti and meatballs. We sat in chairs too big for our bodies and poked at our food. Aaron held forks in a fist, like how you hold a knife when you are stabbing at something. I sat under the weight of light bulbs burning, eyes blinking in awe and smallness behind glasses too big for my face at how I had ended up at where I was today. Where I was right now. The ever-present now. Everything gleamed, the plates reflecting the overhead light. Mr. Huber came into the room. He was a man who looked like a clown without makeup on, the mouth squirmable like earthworms, lips the color of pinkish dirt. He said something about the smell of the food and sat down rubbing his hands together. I remember being happy then—it was easy to be happy inside of moments—you could laugh and talk about things and feel people close to you. Their heat. You could love things. It was when you got beyond them, and it was hard to discern what was left, what you carried away. Remembering a place where faces have the eyeballs and noses and lips erased like chalkboards. A small smudge of chalk where things used to be. You saw things happening— people moving, animals dancing, plants laughing—and it meant a certain thing for a while, and then slowly it moved out of you, beyond yourself; you no longer had it and it expanded outward, then came back one day changed, inevitably, forever. You thought you made things, but really things came in and made you, swooping in and adjusting your arm position or the pace of your step, then were gone.
Everything deflating. Everything that made you departing like passengers on a cruise ship waving from the deck, faces too far away to see what was held within them. They could have been saying anything. Good luck! Good bye! Good dog! I like to think they were just waving, hand hovering back and forth, hiding a smile. ... Maybe it was because of the way they felt in my hands. When we dropped those toads into the flames, the charred-wood ash-salted ground, I felt them. I felt them leaving where I was left. Me, left with my hands, my eyes looking at my hands. My hands swelling with cuts and dirt. Something vibrating into my side, an uncomfortable massage. Before these, all deaths had seemed inconsequential. Small graves had been erected. The bodies of things, still, could be looked at for a while. They could be held. We could crawl into them. But now the cases had been burned up. Space had been obscured. I didn’t feel worthy of living anymore. Looking at the fire pit the next morning, creeping up to find it vacant, I tip-toed away slowly, like from a slumbering bear. Nothing left to see. Nothing left to collect. Grey Cat looked up at me from his shady grass bed, old and lonesome, and announced his retirement, mournfully. And Bonnie, before we ate the night before, was yelling about something Aaron had or hadn’t done, his messy room or
the pop cans and chip bags we had left crumpled in the basement, her arms flailing around above her head, alive in their own right. Then calming down, drawing a deep breath and looking at each of us at the table, clasping her hands to say grace for the food we were about to eat. She ended it how she always did — And we thank Him for leaving us like he did, without him. Left here with all the love in this world. We know it is because of Him, and we are forever grateful. What hope we have. Amen. ... After dinner Bonnie took me to the couch in the living room and talked to me about Him. I had no idea what she talking about. I could only think of burnt grass, the black hole in the ground where we had dropped those toads, a hopeful wormhole that would take them to some new universe where little boys didn’t have to be so curious. I could only think of Bonnie’s outline at the piano, fingers grazing over porcelain keys, her voice soft like first snow, myself suddenly in flames, burning like an effigy, trying to find the hope in her. When she left me sitting there I closed my eyes and saw hands feeling for each other in an impertinent darkness, trying to hold on to any sort of solid being—a finger, a face, a feeling—trying so hard, and getting it for a moment, yes, but never quite knowing how to keep it for very long.
bellatrix Erica Strauss
it was seven years ago i was dark clouds & i poisoned myself with adolescent toxins & played the ultimate teenage trick as “tragedy” dripped from my body in tiny droplets & my mother just sighed when she found me with soggy hair swimming in rose-colored water in a fruitless effort to forget the vampires who pushed their porcelain fangs into my veins & stole the very force that gave me life & all the doctors just said: sad things have to happen so i started to think less talk more drink less smile more fuck less be more cheerful forget the past kiss less strangers remember more names cross two things off my to-do list every week smile at kids at school brush my teeth forget his name destroy the pictures detangle my hair my life my mess
Pride Alyssa Davis
I was sure that love would be in the form of a rainbow today. My voice would grow hoarse while I shouted equality hugged the men in fishnet stockings perfume sweeter than mine. I would slide into a bar that serves sticky liquor, let it coat my belly, rip down my walls so I could try to kiss a girl with spiky black hair. tattoo on her neck. In dark, crowded bars the line between love and lust is smeared with a mascara brush. Everything playing a role of something else, I bet you don’t know what my left hand is doing, As my right pulls down your fly. The days I long most for the anonymity of dance floors, music too loud to talk, I find myself in the most intimate of settings. Straddling a leather chair, dumping a bottle of wine over my insecurities, Telling Aunt Sue that I like to kiss girls. I wanted a forest to light on fire. For whales to throw themselves onto the beach, For that frog who was too high on the window To jump onto the sharp rocks below. Maybe this is all for shock value, Or maybe I am just trying to prepare myself for the worst. But she hugs me and kisses my cheek, tells me next year she wants to march alongside me. Pride.
now they say i’m an adult because i’m slowly teaching myself the things my parent’s didn’t like how to say “i love you” to a stranger, or dance the fine line between sanity and vanity or make art that comes from a soft place but i know that i’m not an adult no, i’m something much different than that i’m a little girl who—for the first time is finally beginning to see the beauty in breathing
Photo by Thisanjali Gangoda 12
Goldenrod Randy Roberts
Lifeless, brown stalks stand in rows Like monuments to the past. Life that engulfed us all Their last gift is no longer for our eyes; Spores and seeds scattered around the field after the super nova consumed the season. They lay ugly and unwanted by passers How aesthetic do these latents have to be to survive the white crystal blanket? Now is not the time for superficial pleasings, but for a somber attempt to drop the seeds of a new age.
Texas Toast Jamie Bloss
Illustration by Heather Haden
You are as good to me as frozen yogurt in the mornings and the warmth that comes through my window. But I wonder about you sometimes, you were always asking for more. We agreed to meet today to talk it out like adults, but waiting for my stomach pains to subside and this unwashed breath, I can’t help but think that I am going to throw myself into your arms or maybe cry. Thunderstorms make excellent backdrops for making love. I used to hate that phrase and it’s proof that I’ve become overtly sentimental; it now holds a certain romantic charm. And I am drooling over the neighbor’s miniature tulips that look fake. I want to carry them in my mouth and feel the shapes. I want to climb a tree and feel the bark in between my legs. Hot weather is what brings us together, all spread out shirtless, suffering the heat in various degrees. I wish I turned as brown as you. Adjust the lighting. Cast shadows behind my body and try to get a clear representation of what I really look like, the shape of my eyes. Stretch my back, to see the muscles and sinewy lines. Phone vibrates. We walk through town. Try to remember snow. I imagine silly things, skipping down the road, truckers honking at us, people waving at us, cheering cause they finally get it.
g T hey Were Da ncin
You're sitting uncomfortably in a smoke filled room without the smoke, and someone says, “That's the kind of thing you wear once for 10 minutes as a joke, and then never wear again, but that guy wears those everyday.”
They were dancing They were dancing in front of riot cops beside bike cops surrounded by National Guard troops in St. Paul, Minnesota, while across town John McCain was nominated anachronism-in-chief.
You agree with this statement and take it a step further, lambasting the gentleboy's attempts to produce an aesthetically pleasing style that is based on the use of solely the ugly. Yet, your words ring a bit too loudly apparently, as another patron, someone you considered a friend, or an acquaintance at the absolute least, derides your loud statements. “I work with his girlfriend every day”, she states, in a tone that says she's trying desperately to distance herself from your words.
They were silly stringing. They were silly stringing each other in the streets across town from the Republican National Convention in front of riot cops backed by bike cops flanked by the National Guard.
And you realize, only you are singled out as being rude because he who started the conversation is generally seen as a nice guy. And you realize she has said things much like these exact statements before when she's out of sight (and most likely out of mind) of those you are speaking of. And most of all, you realize it doesn't really matter what you think, or say, or do, but what people think you think, or say, or do. It is all merely perception, and the truth of the matter is, there is no truth. There is only what the majority (whether it be the majority of the world, the country, the city, the table you're sitting at, or inside your own head) is convinced of.
They were offering. They were offering flowers to riot cops and they were pepper-sprayed. They were rubber-bullet-shot. They were beaten in and out of jail by the defenders of the state at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. They could’ve been hula-hooping. Actions feed each other. A kick breaks a nose. It is so with one of these hoops swung once round the body with the arms, then picked up by the hips. Force makes it all go round.
Photo by Alyssa Davis
Art you the
rt lives and breathes all around us. It is presented in various forms, many of which the untrained eye refuses to see. Examples exist everywhereâ€”the
murals sprayed on the sides of old, brick buildings, the way a building can line itself with surrounding streets. Art is even presented on every human being, printed patterns on their wardrobes, proud displays upon their skin. These next pages will focus on the art around you, encouraging an extra glance at art that thrives in the Kent community.
Photo by Karl Walker
Graffiti Chad Schayes
The world of graffiti is misunderstood by many. We pass by its existence every day, but, as outsiders, we do not understand. Scared of the unknown, we label it: vandalism, illegal, the underground. However, graffiti, with all of the negative connotations, is a beautiful world. This is a place where artists give the public amazing work on grey, bare cement. In the world of graffiti, war is not fought with bullets but with art. Competition is based on which graffiti artist can get the most work up—the bigger the better. So we must ask ourselves, why have we not socially accepted graffiti yet? I sat down with a local graffiti artist to get the real deal. He or she must remain anonymous but take a guess at who he or she could be. She could be your not-so-happy grocery bagger at Wal-Mart. Or is he the kid that sits in the front of the class that wears New Balance tennis shoes and takes every note word by word? Last night, the barista at Starbucks could have spray-painted an entire mural before coming into work. Remember the waitress at Ray's the other day? Her purse may be filled with rattle cans to use after her shift ends. Q: What made you start creating graffiti in the first place? A: I guess I got into it just from seeing it. In a way it is all anonymous, just something someone left for everyone else. For me, I started with stencils and wheatpaste posters. Then, my interests moved into doing the more classic letter styles. I still do stencils just in a more studio style on canvases.
Q: When you are working on any type of your art, is there anything specific that inspires you? A: Well as far as inspiration, when I did stencils it was a lot of zombies and horror movie characters. I’ve done a lot of ghosts and skulls with my freehand. I have a ton of inspirational material. I find it everywhere. Q: I am guessing you have a tag? A: I have written “Dead,” but I’m not feeling it much recently, so I might change it. Q: What do you enjoy most about graffiti? A: It’s a rush. It’s pretty epic to ride down the freeway and see your bomb thrown up. Think of the thousands of people who drive by that every day. Plus, I love to paint. I love to draw and, to be honest, a lot of my art is never seen. I have books of drawings, boxes of paintings. With graffiti, it’s out there in a public setting. Q: For people who have a negative view on graffiti, do you have anything you would say to them? A: Graffiti is often confused with vandalism. I guess it does cross over at points. Graffiti takes practice. People just automatically see spray paint and assume it’s graffiti. Recently, there were a few hate crimes in the form of spray paint on a wall. I know many of my painting friends, as well as myself, felt some pressure relating to that. The media portrayed that as graffiti, not vandalism. It just seems whatever steps graffiti artists take to make it a more acceptable art form, stupid vandals knock it back down.
Photo by Alexis Woodworth
Architecture Erin C. Perkins
Ask almost anyone about Franklin Avenue in downtown Kent, and you'll most likely be told about a cobblestone street where people park diagonally. Or you'll be directed to Taco Tantos, where you can buy an overstuffed burrito. There may even be mention of Ray’s Place, a great place to grab a burger and beer with friends. But if you were to ask architecture major George Bartulica, he will tell you a different story about Franklin Avenue. He will note the shape of the avenue and how people maneuver through it, or the way in which people occupy the little brick buildings lining the street. He’ll say how funny of a thing that “wedge of a street” is. It seems to him the businesses go unnoticed in downtown Kent. The people don’t linger—they rush and go, and go and go. What makes downtown Kent intriguing, Bartulica suggests, is that it is not a destination, rather a passing point to a destination, especially Franklin Avenue. “It’s not a place to be or stay, but to get through on your way somewhere else,” he says. “People pass through downtown because they have to; it’s on their way to another place." As a senior in the architecture program at KSU, Bartulica tends to notice the space around people and how they use it more than the average person. He begins talking about the architecture of Starbucks on East Main street. He mentions the way in which the tables line the windows, how the windows themselves play in to the building and the exact view they give to those looking out of them. He suggests changes to make the atmosphere more appealing for the coffee junkies that pour in and out of the shop. “It’s impossible not to [examine the architecture] around you,” he states while analyzing the inside of the Starbucks. “Architecture surrounds us in ways other than occupying space—it has purposes.” In addition to having a purpose in society, Bartulica also notes that architecture changes as society changes. It is the possibility of this change that fuels his passion for architecture. “Will a cross always represent a church?” Bartulica asks, crossing his index fingers over each other in the shape of a cross. “When you do this,” he says, using both hands to create a triangle, “people know this represents a house, but could that change?” Bartulica describes himself as a futurist, which is one who observes a form of architecture characterized by anti-historicism and long, horizontal lines suggesting speed, motion and urgency. As first described by 20th Century author Günter Berghaus in International Futurism in Arts and Literature futurism, this form of architecture has been reinterpreted throughout the decades, but is usually marked by striking shapes, dynamic lines, strong contrasts and use of advanced materials. Futurist is a term that fellow architecture major, Micah McKelvey, easily identifies with. “Futurist is a term I would like to use to describe myself, but now I feel unoriginal,” McKelvey says, laughing from an apartment in Italy where he is studying for the spring semester. “I’m very interested in science-fiction and have been since birth, basically.” Both stories continued on page 26
Photo by Alyssa Davis
Body Modifications Alexis Carek
The broad spectrum of body modifications vary in permanence and extremity, but many of those that find themselves immersed in the surrounding culture are given their first real glimpse by the tattoo industry. Body modifications are considered to be most non-medical procedures that deliberately alter the body. Many people obtain them for reasons that range from spiritual to cultural to aesthetic. While carrying a negative connotation in many Eastern cultures, tattooing is quickly becoming more widely accepted within mainstream Western culture. An estimated one in every seven people has a tattoo somewhere on his or her body. With numbers like that, it is difficult to ignore the art around you, especially when it is on the bodies of your friends, peers, and co-workers. The popularity of shows such as “Miami Ink” and “L.A. Ink” are proof of this subculture’s emergence from the underground. “My experience being heavily tattooed is mixed. Some people stare and whisper but the phenomena of [these] shows made people more accepting… Thank God for horrible television,” says Megan Hodge, 25, of Akron, Ohio. However, the way popular television has portrayed the tattoo industry in recent years has also served as somewhat of a double-edged sword. Kyle Cornette, 24, of Arkham Tattoo in Akron, say he believes that many people are hindered by the notion that each tattoo must hold a deeper meaning, not realizing that when it comes
to tattoos the design itself can be meaningful enough, much like in traditional art. “You really feel like you’re a part of something—something no one can take from you, and I think that’s what getting a tattoo and being a tattoo artist is all about.” Cornette used this reasoning when it came to his first tattoo, which he had done at the age of eighteen. He now works full time as a tattoo artist, but his interest in art and the industry at an early age was not enough to get him where he is today. “I started apprenticing when I was 19 at Pulse Dermagraphics in Kent, Ohio under Eric Starr,” he says. “I was always very interested in the industry. It was all I wanted to do, so I just worked until I got an apprenticeship.” Describing the industry as tightly-knit, he explained that he first developed a friendship with his artist before he was accepted as an apprentice. “You get a whole different family that other jobs don’t offer,” Cornette stated. His experience as a tattoo artist has been nothing but fulfilling, whether through producing his own work, meeting his heroes within the industry, or creating lasting friendships. When asked what the best part of his job is he answered, “Everything. I get to do what I want, for the most part, wear what I want, say what I want... I’m kind of like my own boss. I meet interesting people, hear interesting stories, and get to change someone’s life forever. It’s a great experience. I couldn’t see myself ever doing anything else.”
Illustration by Heather Haden
Fashion Chad Schayes
This is not just another piece to hype up the Shannon Rogers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising. But the truth is that Kent State University has serious influence upon its students, especially in the realm of fashion. KSU plays a big part in shaping the lives of each person who steps foot on campus and the school of fashion runs a prestigious program that teaches and prepares students for the future that fashion holds. It all begins at Kent State and stems out into the world. When Margie Paolicchi was in high school, fashion would have been one of the last things on her mind. During her freshman year, she may have appeared to be at KSU on a basketball scholarship, based on her height and how often she wore sweatpants. Now the sweatpants are long gone. Margie, wearing a tan, draped cardigan, knitted skirt, and a belt she may have stolen from Carrie Bradshaw, is now the epitome of a fashion design major. Throughout four years of college at KSU, she has been able to find herself as a person as well as a designer. In July, the school of fashion hired new director, J.R. Campbell. Coming from Scotland and a four-year stint in the British academic system, Campbell is bringing new and exciting changes to the fashion program. Over Christmas break, Rockwell Hall received a facelift that included redesigning the computer lab and creating more classroom space. In addition, the talk of a graduate program is being considered. The School of Fashion Design and Merchandising understands the importance of global connections in the fashion industry. The program, though based in Ohio, offers many opportunities to travel and learn in fashion capitals around the world. Probably the most popular would be Kent’s NYC Studio, which offers sessions all year round. Other outlets for fashion majors are studying in KSU's studio in Florence, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, American Intercontinental University in London, and The Paris-American Academy in Paris. Skip back to Paolicchi in the process of discovering who she was as a designer. While the rest of her family members are engineers, she chose a different path. The road has not been a short one. All the way from Chicago, Paolicchi came to KSU because she was impressed with the fashion program when she visited. During her first two years, Paolicchi was bombarded with illustrations and outlandish designs. She went through the whole process but later found out this was not the type of designer she wanted to become. This realization came while she spent a semester studying in New York City. Currently, Paolicchi is finishing her final semester at KSU. Paolicchi’s design aesthetic is elegant and classic with clean lines. She looks up to designers such as Donna Karan and Carolina Herrera. The inspiration and knowledge from New York is under her “Carrie Bradshaw belt” and her senior fashion portfolio is a direct reflection of this growth. Both stories continued on page 26
e cannot make peace that will last until we heal our collective
wounds of war,” said Dr. Edward Tick, poet, psychotherapist, and founder of Soldier’s Heart, a national veterans support organization. “It is a fantasy to believe a person can go to war and come home the same as before. Any war will impact the survivor such that he or she is
"Visting the Flower Market" by Huynh Thi Thuy Loan, 13, courtesy of http://dept.kent.edu/wick
Encouraging Peace The many ways in which the Wick Poetry Center promotes healing within the community
Gabz Ciofani & Andrew Metzger Tick has worked extensively with veterans to heal psychological war wounds since the late 1970s before posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was a recognized diagnosis. Through Soldier’s Heart, Dr. Tick “teach[es] that there is a spiritual warrior’s journey” for all veterans to complete, leading them past PTSD and on to healthy lives as warriors. In Fall 2009, Tick visited Kent State as a part of the Wick Poetry Center’s Fall Reading Series to read some of his poetry and to discuss the healing workshops he conducts with veterans in Viet Nam. “Part of Tick’s mission has been to create regional veteran support organizations modeled after his national program,” said David Hassler, director of the Wick Poetry Center. Last fall, the Wick Poetry Center helped meet this mission by partnering with Warrior's Journey Home to create the Veterans Writing Workshop, a workshop focused on healing through the process of writing. Warrior's Journey Home is a veteran support group in Tallmadge founded by Rev. John Schluep and modeled after Tick’s design. Tessa Saylor, an intern for the Wick Poetry Center, explains how the writing workshop helps veterans to heal. “The workshop gives an opportunity to rewrite
suffering. Writing allows us to make our pain concrete enough so that we can forgive and reconcile the painful experiences in our lives.” Saylor assists poet and Kent State professor Maj Ragain in conducting the Wick Poetry Center’s veteran writing workshops each week. While beneficial to the veterans involved, this opportunity has also been an awakening experience for Saylor. “The workshop has changed my view of all war in general. I see now, in these men and women who have seen the ugliest of physical war, that they are still battling war inside of themselves.” Thomas Saal, a Viet Nam veteran and charter member of the Warrior's Journey Home group, agrees. “The experience I’ve had with the workshop has been fantastic. I have been able to heal from the scars of Viet Nam, at least to some degree. My life today is pretty freakin’ good. I no longer do drugs or drink tequila 24-7. I’m also writing poetry, something I could never do during thirty-three years of teaching poetry.” Hassler began conversing with Tick by phone and e-mail last July and was immediately struck by the mission of Soldier’s Heart. “It feels like there is a constellation of energies, calling out
these ideas—and all we need to do is say yes to them,” said Hassler. One of the many projects the Wick Poetry Center is saying “yes” to is a collaboration between Soldier’s Heart, the Kent State University Downtown Gallery, and the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam. Together, these organizations are working to create an unprecedented international arts project: The Vietnamese
Children’s Art Exhibit. The exhibit will debut—for the first time in the United States—in September of 2010 at the Kent State University Downtown Gallery and then travel nationally. The exhibit will showcase a collection of Vietnamese children’s artwork on themes of peace and war alongside the poems of grade school children, senior citizens, veterans, and established
American poets. This exhibit is largely possible because of the support it has received from The National Peace Academy, the U.S. Writers in the Schools Alliance, the U.K. National Association for Writers in Education, and the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence at Case Western Reserve University. Until May 1st, the Wick Poetry Center is taking poetry submissions (from all ages) for participation in the exhibit—visit its website, at www.kent.edu/wick and click
on the “news” tab to view the children’s paintings, drawings and to learn more. As the exhibit travels nationally, The National Peace Academy and the Writers in the Schools Alliance will organize creative, educational programming around the exhibit to engage community members and to encourage their own writings on peace and reconciliation. “The Vietnamese Children's Art Exhibit speaks to all of the world's military conflicts," said Melissa Barrett, the Com-
"Children All Over the World Flying to the Dream of Peace" by Ta Hoang Thai Duong, 11, courtesy of http://dept.kent.edu/wick
munications and Education Specialist for the Wick Poetry Center. "The exhibit is a tremendous opportunity for Americans to begin a dialogue with the Vietnamese and to start a healing process that is long overdue,” said Barrett. Before The Vietnamese Children's Art Exhibit begins traveling, the Wick Poetry Center has already helped to place other poetry in motion. Traveling Stanzas, now in its third season, is a collaborative project that places student-illustrated
poems in PARTA and Akron Metro busses. The project was first conceived and implemented in the Spring of 2009 when Valora Renicker, creative director of Kent State’s award-winning student design studio, Glyphix, approached the Wick Outreach program to join her in this project. Traveling Stanzas combines original poems written by area students, veterans and senior adults involved in Wick writing workshops with the creative, unique talents of visual communication design students involved
"Peace" by Chau Thien An, 7, courtesy of http://dept.kent.edu/wick Illustration b y Branden Vondrak
in Glyphix student design studio at Kent State. “Some students researched different illustration styles, for example, traditional Asian woodblock printing or tissue paper collage, then proceeded to experiment in creating imagery to accompany the poetry,” Renicker said. “In our mission to promote literacy and appreciation for design, we have incorporated a positive message that is timeless and speaks to all cultures.” Each year, a theme for the Traveling Stanzas is chosen to meet a specific community concern or need. Appropriately, this year's theme is Peace Stanzas. “This year’s edition of Traveling Stanzas focuses on the theme of peace and reconciliation to resonate with the fortieth commemoration of the May fourth tragedy and to address what has been on the hearts and minds of many Americans because of the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Hassler. Traveling Stanzas, while similar to the Poetry in Motion project that started in the early 90s in New York City, is the first project that does not exclusively
feature poetry written by previously established poets. “Why not take outreach poems from area school kids that can be just as powerful and moving and promote those voices? And from senior adults? I thought such a good idea surely had been done before,” said Hassler. After doing some research, Hassler found out that the Wick Poetry Center is the first organization in the country to give voice to poems written by children in the Traveling Stanzas manner. In addition to being featured on all Akron Metro and PARTA buses in the region, Peace Stanzas are currently on display in area businesses, libraries, and classrooms. Fortunately, though, the Peace Stanzas do not stop traveling there. These ten Peace Stanzas have been printed, following Forest Stewardship Council certification standards, as posters and greeting cards available for public purchase online at TravelingStanzas. com. They have also been adapted into animated e-card, sponsored by The Poetry Foundation in Chicago that can be sent from the Traveling Stanzas Web site—for free—anywhere in the world. “Traveling Stanzas is a wonderful
way to bring both the writing and reading of poetry to our communities,” says Nicole Robinson, Program and Outreach Coordinator for the Wick Poetry Center. “This is an educational program that truly has the ability to encourage people all over the country to create their own traveling stanzas, promoting local voices in their own communities.” An additional community-centered effort made by the Wick Poetry Center is the upcoming theatre production, May 4th Voices. Using a script of authentic voices adapted by Hassler from the “May 4th Oral History Project,” Kent State theater instructor Katherine Burke has spent spring semester instructing a devising theater course with the main objective of bringing May 4th Voices to the stage. “There seems to be a need in individuals, in this community and even in the global community for healing and understanding around May 4th, 1970,” said Burke. “As we began to work on this play, reading the script, hearing the words of survivors, community members, veterans, I have been struck by how much individuals are still immersed in and
working through what happened. Many still find it very difficult to talk about.” Burke began working with interactive and applied theater for social change several years ago and has had the opportunity to use theater to address challenging social, political and emotional issues. May 4th Voices is no exception. May 4th Voices will premiere on May 2nd, 2010 at 7 p.m. at the E. Turner Stump Theater in the Music and Speech Building on Kent State’s campus. The performance is free and open to the public. “I think that somehow when we break out of our ordinary patterns of living, we change and grow and understand things differently,” said Burke. “I hope that by making or seeing this performance, we will all grow and learn new ways to live in this world.” Hassler echoes this sentiment, adding, “To hear the authentic voices of people speaking from their different life experiences gets us out of our own selves in a way that is healing for a whole community.” Through multiple outreach projects, the Wick Poetry Center’s promotion of
peace is helping to heal the wounds caused to the Kent campus previously as well as currently. Through continued writing workshops, Traveling Stanzas, the Vietnamese Children’s Art Exhibit, and
the May 4th Voices theater production, the potential exists for the world to begin to use poetry as a means of not only healing on a national level, but on a global level as well.
The Wick Poetry Center is seeking poetry submissions for the Vietnamese Children’s Art Exhibit. Visit the center’s Web site to learn more: www.kent.edu/wick, and click on the “news” tab.
The Wick Poetry Center’s peace stanzas are currently on display in Starbucks and Scribbles Coffee in downtown Kent, in Moulton Hall on Kent State’s campus and at the Summa Health Systems Hospital in Akron. They can also be found on the Akron Metro and PARTA busses throughout both the Akron and Kent area. To purchase posters or greeting cards of the WPC’s Peace Stanzas, visit TravelingStanzas.com.
"Preventing My Sister from Toxic Chemicals" by Nguyen Hoang An, 14, courtesy of http://dept.kent.edu/wick
Honors AD “The May 4th Oral History Project” is open to the public and free to access. To hear authentic audio of recollections from May 4th 1970, visit the University Library’s website at library.kent.edu.
May 4th Voices, a student-devised theater piece adapted by David Hassler from the “May 4th Oral History Project” will be performed for the community on Sunday, May 2nd at 7pm in the E. Turner Stump theater in the Music and Speech building on Kent State’s campus.
"The Sleep of an Iraqi Child" by Huynh Chi Trung, 15, courtesy of http://dept.kent.edu/wick
"War Threatens Peace" by Nguyen Manh Nam, 14, courtesy of http://dept.kent.edu/wick
Finally Finding Myself in Athens, October 2009 Gabz Ciofani
I am one of four elements floating through Athens yesterday. I am painted patterns of leaves my hair, a nest of roots and dried dandelions. I rotate casually while water waves and changs a tambourine. Look left: sister wind whispers while she wanders a beauty delicately dusted with light leaves. Straight ahead: the sister who singes breathes fire to fuel our insides, the start to the spark. Together: lightning strikes. Tsunamis ensue. Whirlwinds wander. Volcanoes give in to bad days. Roots grind deeper into ground.
Graffiti continued from page 20 Q: What is the next step for you as an artist? A: Graffiti is all about who can get up more and bigger. My next big project is a bug sprayer. It can make like 20-foot letters. They look awful, but it’s huge, and it’ll be around for a while because you pretty much need to repaint the side of a building. Kent’s graffiti is part of every day life as Body Modifications continued from page 21 Tattoos and other “body mods” are not just rewarding for those doing the work though. “[The best thing] about having modifications is of course being myself, and making [the] ballsy statement that I am who I am,” says Hodge, who has two piercings and eighty-five tattoos on her body. “I of course plan on having more tattoos done." “The only extreme modification that I would ever want or would have done is to have my tongue split, but will I ever actually go through with it? Probably not.” Despite this, she also realizes that being heavily modified is not always convenient. “Companies will not hire a person with throat and hand tattoos because it doesn’t look professional, so it’s honestly a Catch-22.” However, a failure to appeal to conventional employers does not discourage her enthusiasm for her tattoos. When asked which piece was her favorite she replied, “Either my hippo on my
we drive by it, walk beside it, and lean on it. Graffiti can inspire the community in many ways, be it with color, design, or imagery. The pieces trickle down through music, fashion, and other forms of art. The art of graffiti is continuous. These artists who give society inspiration and amazing artwork deserve thanks and positive recognition from the community.
hand or the elephant on my shin. They are the most beautiful pieces I have.” Despite the stigma that surrounds body modification, Cornette and Hodge are only two of many that hold a positive outlook in regards to the future of the community and the culture that surrounds it. Tattooing especially has opened up the art world to a medium that takes art from the gallery to the streets and more importantly, incorporates it into the everyday lives of people. The ever-increasing number of those that consider themselves to be a part of the body modification community is living, breathing proof that self-expression does not have to come on a traditional canvas. * All third-party information taken from: http://www.spiritus-temporis.com/bodymodification/
Architecture continued from page 20 McKelvey says he believes architecture ties into science-fiction in many ways. For instance, he views all designs as a prediction of the future. He describes the futurist approach not only as creating and inventing the buildings and spaces in which we occupy, but as a means to improve the way people experience life (similar to creating a digital magazine or inventing a functional spoon for those without thumbs). “I think (I'm drawn to) the possibility that I can see the world around me and make it better. But I can’t explain why I’m like that specifically,” he says. “I’ve always had a bizarre connection to space…. I think a lot of it is re-thinking the way architecture plays its role in this world. A lot of things are taken as they are because that’s the way they’ve always been. So, I think if we can re-consider the precedent, then maybe another way is better, or more exciting, or more economic, or more efficient. The list goes on.” “Perhaps we could help design self-sustaining homes on the lunar surface eventually,” McKelvey suggests. Only time can tell. But architecture isn’t just shelter. We certainly need more than a roof to cover us, and wanting more isn’t pretentious or frivolous, McKelvey insists. Architecture is about getting our space to work for us. “Architecture is one of the rare art forms that jumps boundaries when you consider the everyday person,” McKelvey says. “Most art is kept in museums or galleries, but architecture is beyond that. I mean you need architecture (in order to) house art. I think that says something.” McKelvey continues, “It’s pretty obvious that architecture is all around us. We live our lives in it and through it, and I like to relate life as an art in and of itself, so the two go very much hand-in-hand. Beautiful architecture allows one to live a beautiful life.”
Illustration by Justin Roberts
Fashion continued from page 21 Through the entire program, Paolicchi had to create all types of designs that were not a reflection of her, but her exposure to several different types of designs helped develop her own style as a designer. It is obvious that the school of fashion guided her in the right direction. After graduation, Paolicchi wants to travel abroad and get to as many countries as she can. Fashion makes one realize there is so much more out there. In the ideal, immediate future, she would like to move back to NYC and begin as an assistant designer. Ten years from now, Paolicchi’s goal is to own her own ready-to-wear women’s line. When asked about how she feels her experiences have been, Paolicchi responds, “Yeah, I chose the right path.”
The Cats and Why... Cody Ray Hays Until the day she dies, believe me, she'll be torturing herself trying to understand the patterns of what it is she sees and hears. The cats and why they are what they are. Yora M. steps out onto her porch and lights her joint, taking long drags. It's another Saturday morning following a typical Friday night. Though this Saturday morning Yora is up and out of bed well before noon. Her obligations won't start for another three hours. Her foot taps the new song everyone has been playing on their guitars—their new guitars. Yora stares out to the street with her fingers loosely holding the burning roll of paper. Her hair is dark and curly, pulled across her forehead and tucked behind her left ear. Her facial features are distinguished by her large green eyeseyes that can stun. Yora has not called home since she left for school. Photo by Jared Frankel
She worries herself over the well being of her family, and she wonders if they worried about her. As the joint is finished, Yora's roommates are still not out of bed yet. She steps back inside, pours a cup of coffee, grabs a cigarette and meanders through her apartment. Soon she is back on the porch. Long drags. The neighborhood cat pride arrives, working as one. Each cat checks corners, investigates trash cans and looks under porch stairs. Each head seems to be on the same swivel—no neck out of tune. Yora stares plainly at the group of strays and wonders about the cats and why they are what they are. To Yora, this day has started out well. She relaxes the muscles in her back, rests her head (eyes closed) and begins to think of rhymes. A gray car speeds past with a friend of Yora's inside. They honk and wave, scaring the cats into hiding, though Yora remains
relaxed and numb to their attempted hello. “Whoa! What are you doing up so early?” Yora's roommate (and friend) Sheryl comes out of the apartment holding her keys. She sits next to Yora and lights a cigarette. Sheryl, exhaling, says, “Whats up? You okay?” “Fuck!” Yora says. “Feel my head. Is it warm?” Sheryl leans over and puts her hand on Yora's head, then pauses and looks off to better judge the sensation. “No, not warm. It's actually kind of cold.” Yora closes her eyes and hits her cigarette. “I don't feel sick, but my bed was a sauna last night. I had, like, five different nightmares and each time I woke up in a cold sweat. That's why I'm up so early.” “Well, I'm going to get breakfast at Panda's. Do you want to come with?” Sheryl says and puts her arm around Yora. Sheryl believes first and foremost in
genuine human interaction and she is practicing this theory on Yora right now. Though Yora is not particularly upset or in desperate need of company, she reacts well to the gesture and becomes more engaged with Sheryl. This just shows that a conscious effort, even if it's invested in minor human interactions, can be fruitful and everlasting. Besides, Sheryl did not want to go alone and preferred Yora's company over most. “Sure, but can we get a bag from Kyle before we come back?“ Yora asks. “You're a fucking stoner, Yora. Have you already smoked today?” “Yeah, it's fucking Saturday, and it helps take the edge off my hangover. It really does help.” “You should have invited me," Sheryl says. She acts disappointed. “I didn't even know you were awake!” “Okay, Yora, okay. Lets roll!” Sheryl says and laughs a little a bit.
eyes. She is upset over her mother's hardships. Yora thinks back on when she was a little girl. She was four and her mother, trying to raise two children alone, worked the third shift in a plastics factory. In the morning, when Yora's mother returned from work she would wake her two children and prepare the eldest for school. Her eyes were tired and the tone was always quiet. The three of them would never say much. After Yora's older brother would leave for school, Yora and her mother would fall asleep on the floor to the blissful sounds of “Sesame Street.“ Yora would always find the best place tucked between her sleeping mother's arms.
This morning spent on the front porch is but another short scene of Yora's day and life as it passes by so fast. She sees objects whiz by, both animated and not. Her soul searches blindly, swinging hard with both hands. She worries often, but she does not let it become her. Her surroundings seem so temporary that Yora often feels like she has already left or she was never really there or here. Anything that remotely feels permanent is scooped up and held tight in an attempt to forget time.
The phone is ringing. Yora is rubbing the felt pattern on the cover of her favorite notebook. Closing her eyes, she searches the cover, trying to illuminate the pattern with her fingertips. The call goes through to her mother's voicemail and Yora hangs up. The pattern on the notebook quietly pacifies Yora as she stares blankly at her lamp. Yora's thoughts return to the cats and why they are what they are.
Yora stumbles into her room and slams the door instinctively behind her. The room is small and dimly lit though her lamps illuminate the spaces needed. The room is unkempt with loose leaf papers. Last night's empty ramen cup sits stoic upon her nightstand. She sifts through the contents of her desk for her cellphone. She lifts up notebooks and syllabi, tosses empty bottles of beer into the waste basket. Upon finding the phone, she falls backward into her bed and scans through her messages and missed calls. Voicemail. “Hey Yora, I need you to call Mom. She found a piece of paper on her windshield today and it really upset her. Also, the credit card company is garnishing her wages until she pays them back. She should be at home tonight after she gets off work today. Love you.” Yora lays her phone down next to her and closes her
Those days are nineteen years in the past now. Yora and her mother talk over the phone twice a week and both, at times, desperately miss those days. At the age of twenty-three, Yora is done pulling away from her parents and now she wishes she never would have pulled so hard.
In the morning before work, Yora climbs out of bed, leaving her boyfriend behind. She struggles to remove herself from the pocket of warmth their bodies had created throughout the night together. Yora pulls on a pair of pants and her shoes, a sweater over her tank top, and her winter coat over her shoulders. Tuesday mornings are cold this time of year, and Yora wonders what the weather is like in other parts of the world (like Japan, for instance). Before she leaves, she gives her boyfriend a kiss on the lips. She locks the bedroom door behind her, then walks toward the front door of her apartment. On the porch, she lights a cigarette then heads down the drive towards the bus stop. The wind blows and the snow on the ground lifts and swirls around Yora's feet. Her eyes water from the cold air and she grimaces while she moves toward her appointments. Her eyes gaze at the holiday decorations on a brown house on the corner of the street.
Yora’s feet begin to tingle as her shoes take on the temperature of the outside. Slowly, she gives in until her brain sounds the alarm that her feet are cold. Yora crosses the street toward the bus stop just behind a strip of old bars. They had been boarded up and spray painted, respectively. The bus drivers sometimes tell Yora that she is the only person they ever pick at this stop and when they do Yora always responds, “Something to keep the day fresh,” before taking her seat. Yora arrives at the stop just as the bus is turning onto the street. She climbs in and takes her seat waiting two or three minutes for the layover to catch up. Soon enough, the bus turns off the street and chugs its way up a steep hill. The heat in the bus is turned up high, and Yora is instinctively smug over her improving circumstances. She looks through to the front of the bus as they drive on. The streets are busy and everyone is starting their day just like Yora. The schools and the banks are filled with productive people who, like Yora, would prefer to be somewhere else. But everyone seems to be excited about where they are going. Yora sees a cat peering through a hedge further up the street. It’s licking its paws clean as it sits in the mud. The cat, suddenly spooked, takes off towards the street. Yora closes her eyes as the cat quickly rolls under both tires on the right side of the bus. The bus driver, half standing, screams, “Son of a bitch cat! Goddamnit!” Yora looks back down the street for the cat. The cat’s body, tormented, violently thrashes in a puddle of its own warm blood. The tail is fully extended as it whips around in a mess of fur. For the first time in a long time, Yora is overcome with emotion because of what she sees. The sight of the cat’s violent attempts at regaining composure struck a tender chord in Yora’s heart that rang out louder than the implications of what was actually happening. Cats die all the time. No, it was the visual component of this experience that showed Yora the raw power of the will to survive. Yora pulls her hood up as the tears slowly roll down her cheek.
the death of december Thisanjali Gangoda it’s never going to snow again. this being so, we must begin our month of mourning for the passing of december, found dead on a saturday afternoon sprawled out in the middle of a gas station parking lot, muttering something about the coming of spring and how she lost her gloves at the library her lips were swollen red, wet with maple syrup and honey dew she came to for a moment as people and cars dipped in closer for a look she blinked, and hiccuped a star the tables between the religion section and the children’s books moaned, oh agony! they’re at it again! throwing sticks and stones through the margins of their pages, screaming WE ARE RIGHTEOUS! WE ARE HOLY! the tables, in their constant bewilderment tried to reason with the sour-puss and stubborn books, saying come now you were once but trees lofty and green, please try and center yourselves around such patience and delight the gloves they laid still. they were forgotten, and with summer heat, lost Photo by Alyssa Davis
Lines Andrew Metzger Roads and highways intersect each other until they halt at a cliff or a dead end and she walks chewing the inside of her cheeks and lips like there are words meant to get out, but no courage to back them up. With rolled up sleeves, she is proud of her battle wounds in a war against herself.
Sages, General Kevin Pospichel
A new crease in the map. Amber waves of grain sway in the breeze like an ocean made of gold.
When I first arrived they gleamed like idols teaching me their ways, molding me to their standards I blindly followed with ambition and vigor consuming and repeating their mantras and credos
She wets her mutilated lips and presses them against her mother's forehead.
relentlessly their orders came, ruthless in size the wave threatened to vanquish my fire the undertow turning me every which way there were no guides leading me from the depths
Calm. Calm. The golden sea, calm.
Years passed and their tireless lectures persisted more fitting for mindless machines than students Often I thought of escape, quitting the barrage of faultfinding but a beacon, one of many, lifted the brush from the tow path
Sleeves back in place groping the wrist yearning to be bunched once again.
Now, leaving, I realize they teach their ways not to scathe the mind, for it is all they know, they teach me how they are like them so that I might become more like me
a story about almost-regret but not-really regret Brittany Wallace “that was wildly inappropriate,” said one side of the brain to the other. she woke up in the middle of a dream, one of the dreams you have when you are half-asleep and half-awake. in the dream she was sitting on a beach somewhere with a friend she was once attracted to. “remember when i came out to you last summer?” he said. “you probably don’t.” “of course i do,” she said. “i was so nervous,” he laughed. she pet his head and they said more things to each other and she felt very happy to be near a large body of water.
when she woke up she immediately thought “that was wildly inappropriate.” she didn’t think that about the dream, though. she remembered really wanting to eat pizza the night before. but she was very drunk then. now she felt hungover and not hungry at all. “let’s go get breakfast,” he said. “okay,” she said. in his car she thought about policemen and whether or not she should think of them as real human beings. she felt stupid and kind of bad for questioning that.
“i want to run into the kitchen and yell ‘BEAR ATTACK,’” he said, rather seriously. before leaving the waitress gave them a coupon for apple pie fries. “if i want apple pie, i want it in pie form and not fry form,” she said. she wasn’t trying to be funny but he laughed a little bit. there was a bear-sized hole in the fence near his parked car. “i told you i got funnier,” she said.
Day s r e m m u S e T h os Sarah Spinelli and in the summer it gets hot enough for us strip off our clothes so we can lie in your living room in the same fashion that we came out from our mothers, wet and sticky and naked. when the sun stays out longer so we can keep drinking beer out of champagne glasses as we roll around on your floor.
City Jackie Fahmy In the sweetest voice possible you told me some girls just can’t hold their liquor well every day since I’ve been holding it waiting out like its the hot commodity to be sold on corners of blake street and high When I’ve saved up enough I will sell myself to the arab cigarette dealer that made comments about my ass in a foreign language he assumed we couldn’t understand
Photo by Jeff Hazelden
NE GR A
Literature Erin Miller
It was twilight.
At the west side, a young artist’s dog has a curious look to him, Waiting for night-time to arrive.
A piece of chocolate sits dangerously close to the edge of a table. Behind a portrait of Romeo & Juliet, an invisible war Is stirring between the ghosts and the angels.
L U N A N E
LU 20 NA 09– NE 2010 GR A
ND YO U: SP RIN G
L U N A N E G R A ZIN E
I was 16 when I lost faith in humanity. Scanning groceries for 30 hours a week with other overworked, underpaid youths will do that to you.
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But it is merely a game, a game of different worlds, A story of what happens in a young man’s home When he isn’t listening.
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It was the grouchy old men in dirty flannel shirts, counting exact change with thick trembling fingers and breathing their sour breath in my face. It was the wealthy young women wearing too much perfume buying Yoplait and Weight Watchers, sliding platinum cards And signing their autographs. It was the disheveled mothers with litters of small whiny children with dirt streaked faces and sticky hands, wailing for Kit-Kat bars and coloring books. It was the thin-lipped men in snappy suits with wispy comb-overs and hollow eyes buying one TV dinner and a box of ultra lubed condoms. It was the old softly wrinkled women in neat knitted sweaters wetting shriveled fingertips and very slowly fingering their thick stacks of 20-cent coupons. It was the teenage mothers with nose rings and ripped jeans, sleeves of tattoos,
toting teething toddlers and pushing carts full of WIC eligible goods. It was the families on food stamps buying Cheetos and Rocky Road, courtesy of the government. Beer, wine, and cigarettes out of their own pockets. It was the heartless managers who disregarded every request-off form and handed out shitty shifts like Halloween candy unless you shared their bed. It was my coworkers, most of whom exceeded age 40 and slipped under the gaze of authority, taking excessive smoke breaks and shirking their duties off on me. It was my affinity with the place, with the customers and coworkers alike. Seeing their lives, a new determination and hope for my own life blossomed quickly. I would have more. More than a career bagging groceries and changing register tape. More than punching the timeclock every day and touching other people’s grimy money. I am empathetic. How would it feel, working eight hours every day, asking “Paper or plastic?” I realize it’s a lifestyle to get used to. And that some people have only the option to settle.
Photo by Alyssa Davis
I've learned and explored with you all day now sitting by the river sun already set you hand me a tin water bottle and as the sweet wine hits my lips I believe stumbling through the swift flow to the bank your sure hand steadies me and as we try to navigate the steep path headed home your pocket flashlight clicks on I see we make it back you invite me up and before the miracle even happens I am saved
I do not know at what point I breathed after I was birthed, life cord wrapped tight twice round my neck, twenty-two years ago tomorrow. When a chilled wind came to my lungs, I did not wail. I had to catch my breath unconsciously. Even when I knew nothing about poverty, race, sex, ability, I seized at the world, back arched in body-shocked meditation.
the art around you
Poetry . Prose . Short Stories
. Photography . Illustrations
Published on Mar 14, 2010
Luna Negra is Kent State University's literary publication. We print poetry, prose, short stories, photography, and illustration submission...