THE MAIN STREET JOURNAL
Dear Reader, The Main Street Journal is a student-run literary and art magazine on the University of Delaware Campus. We publish a biannual magazine of creative writing and visual art from students at the University and from the outside community. This publication marks the ninth issue of the Main Street Journal. We hope you enjoy this eclectic collection and welcome any feedback at UDMSJEditor@gmail.com. We also invite you to submit your own works to our upcoming fall issue by sending them to UDMSJSubmissions@gmail.com with a short 1-2 sentence bio. For the most up to date deadlines and complete submissions guidelines, please visit our Facebook page, Facebook.com/MSJNewark. Sincerely, The MSJ Editing Team
STAFF CO-EDITORS POETRY EDITOR PROSE EDITOR ART EDITOR GRAPHIC DESIGN PUBLIC RELATIONS TRASURER EDITING TEAM
Audrey Landmark Christine Barba George Ianuzzi Lisa Tertault Lily Bonasera Emery Coopersmith Stacy Bernstein Jake Kairis Charlie Jenkins Tyler Kline Christian Mallon Jason Hewett
TABLE OF CONTENTS ART A Foreign Galaxy by Christina Patti............................................................... 6 Nice, France by Mickey Lu.............................................................................7 Domestic Bliss by W Gosnell.........................................................................8 Delaware Water Quality by Kirsten St. Peter.................................................9 Sugar by Julia Epps.......................................................................................10 Carried Away by Ashley Bostwick................................................................11 POETRY A More Worthy Repair by Jessica Fenton....................................................14 Sleep by Lauren Hanak..................................................................................17 The Hubris of Garden Tomatoes by Tyler Kline...........................................18 Matyroshka Doll by Stephen Curbello..........................................................19 Sunday by Karina Evans............................................................................... 20 If This Were Only 2005 by BT Hickerson..................................................... 21 The Earth In 50 Years by Tricia Pennington................................................. 22 VT by Erin Dodd............................................................................................ 23 Dear Memory by Harrison Stigler................................................................. 24 Goodnight Termite by Jake Kairis................................................................25 Will Not Wake by Gregory Holt.....................................................................26 Cairo, Illinois by David Smith....................................................................... 27 Identification by Mike DeMarco................................................................... 28 Blowing Smoke at the Sunflowers by Sara Coughlan............................... 29 ART (continued) The Headless Cellist by Christina Patti....................................................... 32 Burn Pattern by Randi Homola.................................................................... 33 Lost in a Magic Garden by Michelle Stafford.............................................. 34 Lonely Robot by Kirsten St. Peter................................................................ 35 PROSE Everything Will Be OK by Rachel Carey...................................................... 38 A Memory by Gabriella Mangino.................................................................. 45 Breakfast Before a Funeral by Ellen Skirvin................................................48 Ramble On by David Smith.......................................................................... 52
A FOREIGN GALAXY
DELAWARE WATER QUALITY
KIRSTEN ST. PETER
A MORE WORTHY REPAIR He played on the old memorial bench With his foot propped up on the rail, Angled in a way That hid the tattered soles of his old Birkenstocks, And each person who meandered by, Reminded him Of the journey of those shoes. The ones who passed And dropped change into his guitar case, Reminded him Of his talent - gone unnoticed by so many Of his purpose Of his aspirations Of the way his father Cherished that dingy t-shirt That bore mustard colored sweat stains And the signature of a famous musician. Reminded him Of the way he sat atop his fatherâ€™s shoulders At his very first baseball game, glove in hand. Beaming. The ones who passed And did not contribute Provoked no negativity. But those who passed And avoided eye contact Reminded him Of his inherent invisibility, Hiding behind the musical notes That he cannot read, but can only distinguish by ear. Reminded him Of the years caged inside himself. Of the day he told his father he was gay And the silence that has persisted since. The ones who passed And reached in their pocket Only to emerge empty handed Reminded him
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Of that tale from the Bible Wherein the poor woman gave her last two pennies To help those even less fortunate. Reminded him Of how long it had been Since he had gone to church. Of the sudden hush In the whispering of the parish secretary When he would pass by the pews. Of the way the priest looked away As he reluctantly delivered the “host” onto his tongue. Ridden with guilt - as if it were a sex act. But on this day, he was reminded of something else. A young boy approached, Still dressed in his sweaty baseball uniform, So small he was barely eye level with the man’s shoe. And the boy grabbed his mom’s hand tightly, As tightly, As the man himself had clutched his father’s hand As he boarded the bus on his first day of school, The first time he had ever had to let go. And the boy exclaimed, “Mommy, Look! A Rockstar!” “Mister, can I please have your autograph?” And the man smiled at the boy, And pulled out a permanent marker from his cap, The same marker he used to tally the years it has been since his last family Christmas. And the mother playfully rolled her eyes and nodded approval. He smoothed the fabric of the boy’s “Astro’s” tee, And signed the boy’s chest - in script, with many loops, Wondering If the parish secretary would deem it inappropriate. Interrupting this thought came the plea of the boy, “Can you play a song, Mister? One day I want to be a rockstar too!” And the man answered him with a smile, but no words. He began to play. His fingers danced across the strings, Guided not by convention, but by an innate sense of tune.
And as he approached the climax of the song, He felt a tenseness in the strings, A stinging feeling -reminiscent of something familiar, but unrecognizable. And then the string snapped from its place, Lashing back at him, Violently. Instinctively, he reached into his jacket pocket for a replacement string, A repair he is accustomed to, But as his fingers felt inside the pocket for a string of the correct thickness, They came across an object much thinner, much more worn. Confused, he pulled the item from his jacket. And as he looked at the picture, Whose corners were stained the same blue As the jean material that lined the inside of his pockets, He was reminded Of his well-worn shoes â€“ and the loose flap of leather at the sole, Of the people walking by â€“ who noticed the abrupt halt in the melody, Of the boy standing in front of him - concerned, Of the 6 tally marks at the top of the picture, The latest a fresher black than the others. And he put his guitar down for the first time in a long time, Deciding instead to make a more worthy repair. And he sat Indian-style on the bench, Not caring who could see the holes in his shoes, And he dug in his guitar case For the thirty-five cents that it would cost To make a call at a nearby payphone.
I Flowers, mocking innocence, their petals, blushing red from the soil watered in blood, surging up through their roots. II In South Afghanistan beside fields of poppies, he thinks of his mother wrapped in veils of tragedy and silk, like an ivory hand, slight, clasping a cup of tea gone cold. Her son, his brother, sleeping, in a trance of obedience, sleeping in a thicket of stems and leaves, nowhere to be found. In South Afghanistan beside fields of poppies. he thinks of his father buried in wars of politics and soil, like the pale roots of poppies that stretch through the earth never to see the sun or the ruby of its own petals. In South Afghanistan beside fields of poppies. he thinks of his young wife in solitary silence, like a devoted monk, only she has no choice. Beside fields of poppies, in South Afghanistan he thinks of himself, calm to a fault, standing on the lips of sleep like a child in the arms of a stranger worn down from tears. III Out of bulbous green pods, fair red petals grow. By the petals, tiny black seeds grow. Out of the seeds, sleep grows and out of that sleep, grows death.
THE HUBRIS OF GARDEN TOMATOES Knowing I blistered for them in August. How I spent weeks cajoling them to grow up straight and tall while their greenish defiance hooted when my back was turned.
They were too mesmerizing to put down. The perfection of those painted wooden figures drew in both my mother and me. We saw them once, and only once. For months we struggled to find the name of our new, foreign, obsession. We failed. Anxiously we returned to the original site of her nesting, only to realize that bird had already flown. An eight-year-old boy and a thirty-year-old woman sharing the same fascination. Although we never found what we were searching for, our mutual desire trumped any happiness that the doll could have brought us. Twelve years later, I saw another Matyroshka Doll, on the desk at Dr. Burzynskiâ€™s office. I smiled, and thought of my mother.
SUNDAY Afternoon heat hangs around, kissing my skin It crawls around the room In an attempt to fight the sticky air Sheets have been kicked and crumple to the floor The clock is honey, slowly pouring into the next hour We laugh and sigh and sink Into the furniture Lazy weekends suit me best My mind and body get to rest
IF THIS WERE 2005
The first summer storm, coming in the evening as was expected, filled the creek and pushed back aways the floodplain. one hundred years? No one could tell, the USGS had lost its touch. The second summer storm, attacking us with little force, and at the predicted juncture, allowed the creek to bare the water, smoothly but without grace, the ease of young lips on cheap wine, red and cold. The third storm then, arriving in the morning, in a daring, perhaps tactical attempt to hold our precious, valuable attention. But it was too wet, and cold, and we were very tired.
THE EARTH IN 50 YEARS I often wonder what it is to see The waving limbs of an ancient oak tree. Gracefully dancing in the light warm breeze, Kissing the ground with autumn painted leaves. Of the trees, standing tall above the rest Keeping caringly safe a blue birdâ€™s nest. Concealing the children of hide and seek Offering shade to a babbling creek. Giving a spot for a bibliophile Providing a place to rest for a while. But all of the trees have fallen to dust Because of mankindâ€™s insatiable lust For power and prestige above the earth, Thus killing the Mother that gave them birth.
Tree trunk tapped once, twice Syrup trickling amber rain Snow shoe walk back home
DEAR MEMORY The filing cabinets in my brain are too fragile for you. Everything is filed sloppily Haphazardly out of place; I can never seem to find that time I was six and first learned to ride a bike, Pretending it was a motorcycle, Playing cards in the spokes. The cabinets are top heavy, bound to topple And burn in a house fire. Dear memory, I want to keep you forever; I’ll pen you to paper, Ambiguously immortalize you So I won’t have to share. I know words fail— They can never capture the hues in a sunset, The subtleties of a lover’s breath, Or any of the thousand things they say pictures are made of. Dear memory, Chances are I’ll excitedly file you in the wrong place, Like it never happened. Paper is flammable and ink water-soluble. Dear memory, It was great knowing you.
Now I am a drinking man I take it home to bed at night I’m tucked in sleeping on the floor Goodnight centipede goodnight termite Don’t explode on my fine clothes But even then I’ll lap it up She carries me to paradise I carry her in solo cups Calling out in transit from my Fever to the attic stairs I Float around the naked ones That wild beast it gives me glares All night long I think of her In ecstasy I touch her hair We surge in electricity My skin falls off but I don’t care
WILL NOT WAKE I woke again to your still and quiet face. The night was long, and this morning’s dark, but you won’t wake in this dark familiar place. Your presence is distilled in me like grace as you slept in silence, my eyes, firmly shut; I woke again to your still and quiet face. I moved about you in a controlled haste never breathing the questions who, why, what? You won’t wake in this dark, familiar place. And as the morning’s virulent cold chases away the night’s dead silence from a rut— I woke again to your still and quiet face... “If, I do this, I’ll never lose your face...” and I stood over you, chest heaving, but You won’t wake in this dark familiar place. Fingers frozen clutching an iron case Containing: What you didn’t anticipate. “I woke again to your still and quiet face and you won’t wake in this dark familiar place.”
Upon being told the Faro game in Cairo, Illinois was crooked Canada Bill Jones said I know it’s crooked, but it’s the only game in town.
IDENTIFICATION Your friends’ in-jokes, Family’s respect, The smiling glance from the cute blonde at the coffee shop down at 4th and Walnut dissolve like alka-seltzer in a short glass. Soluble relationships and fast-acting connections effervesce, leave behind the sediment: Your weary green eyes, cracked hands, your disposition extracted from kinship’s titrations. And each synthesis reveals the constituent elements colored, tinted, shaded, with the impurity of others. Some incidental, some inevitable, until the compound is unrecognizable. Worth more or less, definable by complex permutations and formulae: Independence and self-confidence polluted with daddy issues and that one time your date never showed, Carcinogenic codependence or tempering dedication, replace hardness with malleability. Pettiness and resilience in equal parts integrate into the self that’s left until your component elements decompose into the entropic soil from which you came.
BLOWING SMOKE AT THE SUNFLOWERS
All things pure and good are crushed like flowers under a lawn mower— They call it reality, I’ve heard— this adult world, a hellish haven for children whose parents punished them for dreaming with toxic words like “Be realistic” and so they did. like crumpled paper cranes they stumbled forward mechanically one after the other. Everybody lived, and nobody was happy.
THE HEADLESS CELLIST
LOST IN A MAGIC GARDEN
KIRSTEN ST. PETER
EVERYTHING WILL BE OK
“Oceans. They love to be looked at,” Tori sank down in the sand so that her face was at the level of her brother’s oversized nose. She was taller than him, even though he was about three years older. “The same goes for mountains with snow on top. And me.” Matt shook his head, looking her in the eyes, flicking her shoulder just to watch her ankles fall back and create fissures in the packed sand, “Yeah. You’re drunk.” “And you’re not? Don’t hate.” “Hey,” he stepped clumsily around her, accidentally tripping over a protruding seashell, “I have an alcoholic dad. I’ve gotta watch what I do.” Tori tried to glare, but broke into a smile, “You G.I. Jackass.” “G.I. Jackass…that’s original,” Matt leaped toward the water, making a big show of kicking his feet into the shallow water. Droplets flew into the air, and he braced himself for their cold on his skin. But hardly any of them fell where he thought they would. “When’s Dad coming anyway? We can’t finish what we have here,” Tori held up a half empty bottle of Jose Cuervo, “until he brings his weekend’s worth of a stash for the party.” “Last time I talked to him, he, Loretta, and the baby belly of honor were leaving their love nest around 9. It’s now noon. So soon, I’m assuming.” “Good,” she held a sandy finger to her chin. Particles of sand were stuck between her fingernails and they dug into her face. As she took a sip from the bottle, the sand that was stuck to her lips washed off and floated to coat the bottom of the glass, “I wonder. Is it universal custom to have an open bar at a baby shower?” Matt looked back toward the cottage on the edge of the dunes that the family had owned ever since he and Tori were kids. Its orange shutters had bleached to an almost- white in the sun years ago, and the deck served as more of a picnic for termites than anything else at this point. After years of abandonment, after years of strangers renting the empty shell of a house out just to fill it for a week and return it back to nothing after, they were back. Their family hadn’t been there since their mom shipped herself off to the nunnery. No communication, no pictures, no nothing after that. She was the one that had wanted the cottage in the first place. When she left, their dad had paid movers to come and clear everything out. No family memories, no family vacations, no nothing after that. “I would assume not,” He shook his head, “Although Dad said it was less of a baby shower and more of a Welcome the Baby Party. Hence why I, a male, am here. I’m thinking one of two things: he wants a lot of money from all the people that are coming, or he wants a lot of distractions. Either way, he’s probably getting it.” “Do you think Loretta knows?” “Is that a serious question?” Suddenly, Matt was sober, a big brother again, even after drinking more that Tori knew she could ever stomach. “Of course she knows. And she probably thinks she can change him with little pea brain in there. But
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she doesn’t know anything.” Tori stayed silent, nodding, taking her turn jumping into the water after carefully setting the bottle down in the sand. Salt sprayed and frizzed the thick, blonde mane that she’d spent a century straightening that morning. She’d also decided to put on her party dress early. The bottom of it now stuck to her bare legs from the wet, and the ruffles just below the V of her chest were stained brown from the alcohol. “Should we try to sober up, then?” Matt asked the wind and picked up the bottle. He didn’t wait for a response as he threw its contents into the ocean, “Yes. It does.” She scowled back at him, “Is Alicia going to grace us with her presence at this wonderful soiree?” But he’d already turned toward the house, empty bottle shuffling from hand to hand as he walked. The waves were breaking harder as Tori walked back to shore; she’d been pulled out farther than she expected. She fell over and her dress became a seethrough that she tried to hide as she stood back up. The sand was hard to get through, too; so dense that each step she took brought the sand past her ankles, making it nearly impossible for her wobbly legs to support her six-foot frame. Each time she took a step forward, it seemed like the deck and the haphazard mess of dandelions growing on its perimeter took a step backward, threatening to disappear altogether. When Tori finally made it to the wooden structure’s rickety steps, she had to sit to catch her breath. The footsteps that had taken so much effort had already been covered over by the wind, like she’d never been their maker. She stood a while later, becoming too depressed by the refilling of the sand to sit any longer. She rotated sharply and spun, arms out, toward the door until she got close enough to pull it back and walk into the kitchen. It slammed unforgivably behind her. Matt straightened from his slumped position against the fridge. He was on the phone, “Hold on for one second, okay, baby? Tori just came in back in,” he ran a feverish hand through hair as he looked over, “What the fuck, Tori. What have you done?” “We were having so much fun. Why’d you have to come inside? Throw the bottle away and…” The bottle now sat on the round dining room table, label-less; he’d put dandelions in it to make it look less innocuous than it actually was. “It’s time to grow up. Go—“ then, into the phone, “Alicia, I’ll call you tomorrow.” Pause. “Yeah, I’ll put that in my calendar.” Pause. Quieter. “I should be able to move in by the end of the week.” Tori shivered, “Planning your future?” “Go shower, Victoria. We don’t even have a washer and dryer in here. So good
luck looking presentable.” “You’re not my father.” “Yeah? Please, tell me, who is the man you call your father then? Is he the one who showed up drunk to your high school graduation this past spring? Does my memory serve me right?” “My father, our father, is coming here,” her arms flailed helplessly and she screamed until her head pounded, “with a new woman and a new baby. He’s—he needs—hel—“ “He can help himself,” Matt eyed her up and down, a curl of disgust forming on his lips, “You’re drunk.” “I can clean it,” she motioned toward her dress, pulling apart the stuck together fabric, “I can clean it in the shower with me and dry it with the hairdryer. I’ll look presentable.” “Of course you will,” he stared up at the water stained ceiling. “You and dad both always look fucking presentable.” “Everything will be okay.” The car pulled up an hour later, tinted windows making it impossible to see anything but the shadows of the man and woman on the inside; gravel and sand flew out from underneath the tires and hit their metal mailbox. Matt and Tori stood bracing themselves against the front door. Her dress was now fully tinted brown, the alcohol having filtered through the fabric thanks to the steam in the shower. Matt wore a freshly ironed blue button down and slacks. Matt’s hand flew toward her as the engine died, “I’m gonna help dad with his bags. Just make sure Loretta doesn’t fall, okay?” Tori laughed, “You really think I’m the one that should be stabilizing her?” “Right now, I don’t think you have a choice.” Gregory Frankum exited the car first, dressed in his Sunday’s best. He ran a hand through his hair and flashed a too-wide smile to no one in particular, then advanced to the passenger’s side door to gather his new wife. Loretta, with her blonde curly hair and fitted dress, looked less like an expecting mother than a Barbie doll with a bundle of towels beneath her homecoming dress. She wore high heels, but only stepped on the toes, and her hands gripped Gregory’s forearm tightly. “Heya kids, how’s the beach treating you?” he sliced his hand through the air as hint for them to move away from the front door. “Go ahead in, Loretta. I’m just gonna get Matt here to help me with the rest of my bags. Tori, go keep Loretta company.” Loretta had already reclined in the ottoman parked in the middle of the family room. Her hand drew infinity signs on her swollen belly; when she saw Tori trip through the front door, she smiled. “You and your dad. Both of you are the perpetual klutz.” Tori shrugged and stared at a painting of the waves crashing above the fire-
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place, “I get most of my traits from Dad, that’s for sure.” A tremor rose to the surface of Loretta’s skin, “Oh come here, sweetie, the baby’s kicking. Come feel,” she waved her over spastically. But when Tori touched where the movement was, she felt nothing. She pretended she did. “Life is a miracle. I can’t wait for your step sister to be born.” Tori nodded and glanced at the clock. “When is the rest of the party coming?” “I think your father said six thirty,” she smiled wistfully, “But mostly I’m just excited to get to know you and your brother more tonight. It’s all about family, ya know? This is the beginning of something beautiful.” Tori winced just as Matt and her dad crashed the cooler into the wall. “Oops,” said her dad before bursting into a fit of laughter Ice fell to the floor and Matt cursed loudly then raced to the kitchen to find duct tape. The first slew of Oldsmobiles and Land Rovers arrived at 6:35. Men in business suits, towing their children and hair-sprayed wives walked in single file lines to the front door. Matt stood and waited there to take coats to the closet, where a bottle of whiskey waited for him behind the already hanging collection. Tori sat with Loretta who was reclined in her seat, one hand traveling in patterns over her swollen belly while the other was thrown out behind her to grab the hands of the people that she recognized as they walked by. “So have you picked out a name?” “We’re actually not sure. Your dad and I were talking about it on our way here but couldn’t come up with anything that stuck. For a boy he really liked Jack, and so that lead us to Jacqueline, but I’m not sure how well that works.” Loretta finished speaking to the ceiling, then righted herself frantically and started looking around the room, “Speaking of, where is your father?” “I’ll go get a refill and find him,” Tori swirled her cup of Jack and Coke; as soon as she rose, a women took her place, grabbing Loretta’s hand and talking baby talk to her stomach. The floor around Loretta’s chair was littered with opened cards and twenty-dollar bills. Tori stepped on a card with a baby bear on the front as she made her way to the kitchen and it made a sickening crunch. The kitchen was empty, only the faint hum of the icemaker and the dandelions in the bottle created any sort of presence. She made every effort not to look toward the round table, deciding to pour more than half of what was left of the Jack Daniels into her glass. There wasn’t any room left for coke, but that was okay. After taking a long pull from it, she noticed a light on beneath the closed door of their old bedroom. He had shared it with their mom. Since she’d gone, the space had been converted into an office, filled with shelves and shelves of books set up against each wall. He stood, back toward her, replacing a book on its shelf. The long slender neck of
the bottle that he’d just put back stood behind and above the book spines. The door clicked as she shut it and he turned to face her. “Heya sweetheart. Sorry I haven’t had the chance to talk to you since I’ve gotten here,” his finger swirled in his drink, “been kind of busy welcoming the guests.” His clothes hung slack. He’d lost weight, a lot of it. Last time she’d talked to him on the phone, he’d outlined the workout regimen that Loretta had him on, in order for him to be at his “healthiest best” for their new baby. “I haven’t seen you out there. Matt’s been the one taking the coats from everyone. I’ve been with Loretta, in perfect view of the door, the whole time.” “Oh, I just let him do that because he wanted to. I’ve been in the kitchen. You can’t see the kitchen from where you and Loretta are.” “Where are we?” His eyes grew wide. Tori felt the alcohol slide through her, warm her extremities, and she shivered as she waited for his answers. “Tori. I think you should go back to the party,” he took a long drink from his glass and seemed to relax immediately. “I don’t want you to be like this. If nothing else, than just stop for little Jacqueline in there.” “There is no harm in a drink like this. None at all. I swear,” he finished off his glass and turned back toward the bookcase to grab another. Once it was full, he turned around and pulled her into an awkward hug. Hands found her bare back after a couple of seconds of trying to find a piece of dress that wasn’t stained. “I promise. Everything will be okay.” But she could smell the alcohol on his breath, and on his clothes. It was a smell she’d come to associate with him. Vodka, straight. “Matt’s leaving, you know. To move in with Alicia.” “He did tell me that over the phone last week. What do you think you’re going to do? I’d invite you to stay with us, but—”he threw his hands up, liquid sloshing the front of his shirt. Tori shrugged and left the room as her father turned to the bookcase for a third time. It was quieter in the family room now; Loretta was alone again. The guests had created a circle around her, close enough that they looked involved but far enough away that they didn’t have to speak. Tori appeared above her, and ran her fingers through her hair until she looked up. “Did you find him?” “Yeah. He’s just organizing a few things in the office. Something about having to make sure the insurance is right before the baby comes. He says he should be out within the next half hour. Did you need anything?” “I’d just like my husband to be with me during our baby’s party. But I guess—
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maybe I’ll go in and keep him company?” Tori’s heart launched into her throat, “Oh no, no, it’s boring in there. You might as well be out here with your friends.” Looking around, it was obvious that most of the guests were Gregory’s from the law office. The party was crowded, but with just as many men as women, and every woman was clinging to a man’s suit sleeve. “I suppose you’re right.” Loretta straightened the chair so that she could get up and walk around, and that’s when Tori saw it. Her dress didn’t cover what it normally did and the bruise seemed to grow up from her spine and she could only imagine how far it spiraled, beneath the fabric, down her back. Tori put her hand on Loretta’s lower back to help her up and she winced, “I’m tender there sweetie. Please don’t.” The room shook as Loretta waddled over to a lone woman standing next to the fireplace, and the ground continued to shake as Tori walked over to where Matt sat against the wall near the front door. He swung his head up lazily at the sight of her. “Tori! Where has Dad gotten to?” “Drinking in the book room,” she stifled a laugh that she didn’t mean. “Don’t you mean the booze room?” Matt chuckled to himself, staring up at a plant hanging from the ceiling and then back down at the half empty bottle of whiskey at his elbow. “Look. We need to talk about you moving—“ “I was going to say, you can come move in with me and Alicia. That way you don’t have to worry about Dad or Loretta ever again…that’s my plan anyway,” he shrugged. “Your alcoholic mood swings are giving me whiplash.” Matt jumped up and skipped into Tori’s crossed arms, “Does that mean you will?” “Dad hits Loretta.” He withdrew, eyes narrowed. “What?” “You heard me.” He tried to slap his hands together, but fell short, hitting the wall with his right hand instead. “Which is why you need to get away from him.” “I’m not leaving. Loretta needs help.” “She doesn’t need your help. She’ll figure it out, just like mom did.” “Mom didn’t figure anything out. Mom left.” He shook his head, “So? It’s no reason to put a hold on your life. Everything will be “Why does everyone keep telling me that it will be okay when it won’t?” “You said it first.” She shook her head. Matt’s hand found the crook of her elbow, but he squeezed too tightly for it to
be comforting. “It’s okay now, isn’t it?” Matt slid back down the wall, bottle clinking against plaster as he hit it while trying to cross his legs. When he was situated, he looked to Tori, “Isn’t it?” “Not when you’re leaving. I need your help to help.” “I have no choice,” his face fell into his hands. “What is going on?” “Alicia’s pregnant.” “No… No.” Tori walked quickly through the crowd of people, toward the back door, almost tripping over a spilled glass hiding behind a couch. Her father’s glass—she could smell the stagnant peach of the vodka that was his choice from six feet above. They were playing stick the duct tape to the belly, a game her dad had made up when he’d realized he had forgotten the pastel binkies and measuring tape. Lorettalaughed, eyes closed and bracing herself against the brick, while everyone else tore pieces of gray from the roll that Gregory held above his head. It was all in slow motion, steps reverberating more than they needed to. Smiles stretching wider than was natural. The painting of the waves crashing above the fireplace threatened to spill over on to the crowd, drowning them. She drained her drink and left it on the counter. She needed both hands to open the paper-thin door. The wind was cold, bringing sand and salt with it off the ocean. As she stood still against it, feeling the water run over her toes, she let the breeze hold her up. And she fell when it died. The flickering lights from the party played across the water that already reflected the waning moon as it rose onto the shore; light dissolved into everything. Matt found her the next morning. Everything will be okay was written in the sand above her head, far away from the tide. Her footsteps from the house were there too, mocking him as he set the empty bottle, filled with browning dandelions in the “o.” Everything was not okay. Dandelions were just weeds that died when pulled from the ground.
A thin layer of smoke settled just under the popcorn ceiling. The source of the smoke came from a single, twisting line from a lone cigarette resting delicately on the side of a glass ashtray. The room itself was dark, and aside from the smoke it smelled like stale, rancid air. Only a pink-yellow glow from a metal lamp on the wooden antique side table set light to the elegant furniture. Thick red draperies sunk to the white carpet floor, and two white silk-patterned couches framed in dark, glazed wood stood parallel to one another. A tall, thin glass of rich red wine lay next to the ashtray on the side table on the right. The woman sat still on the couch and occasionally lifted her arm ever so slightly to grab the tip of the cigarette with her two dominant fingers. She closed her eyes slowly as she breathed in the cigarette and slowly let out its smoke in a perfect upward line. As the smoke traveled toward the ceiling, it warped around the chandelier, its crystals glistening from the light of the lamp. The woman opened her eyes again and looked forward at the dark-wood framed picture over the cold marble fireplace: the black and white portrait of a woman, in fish-netted stockings and a black leotard, posed sideways on a white silk-patterned couch framed in dark, glazed wood. She looked calm and composed, yet the fierceness found in her eyes up close made her seem powerful and controlling. Her hair fell with a slight wave to the front of her breasts, and her bodyâ€™s curves were seductive. The woman in the room loved that picture of her herself and spent days staring into her youthful eyes and at her beautiful body. She used to be gorgeous; model agencies swept her up like gold leaf. She went from city to city and posed for the camera; these seductive shots were looked over by working men smoking their cigars in the local crowded bars. Women would see her image and envy her; the woman received numerous dirty glares as she walked the streets in her fur coat and dark sunglasses in the winter. Her life made her happy; she loved the attention she received daily by low lives and married men. She gave out her number almost as often as she signed autographs. She seduced these men and did so just because she knew she could. But, her heart was never in the nights she spent with them. She could just as easily leave in the morning, slipping into only her fur coat and red heels, as if she had never spent a night with the man at all. That didnâ€™t mean she was a prostitute though; she was just a beautiful girl who knew how to work the crowd. And now, she lived her days through the picture over her mantle and through it remembered each and every aspect of her life, her lovely life. She wore fish-netted stockings that covered the veins protruding through the skin on her legs and a long brown wig that went down to her breasts to cover her own gray locks. She plastered on makeup to cover the flaws and wrinkles on her cheeks, under her eyes, and wore bright red lipstick through every smoke. She knew her beauty was gone, slipping through her fingers more with each passing day. She would not let go of her past, that beauty, that got her so much attention; when she closed her eyes she saw the flashes of cameras before her eyelids, and when she was in a quiet room she heard the whistles of men as they walked past. She could visualize her perfect legs standing
steady as she clicked in heels and wore seamless makeup on her way to clubs. She could feel the warmth on her body from those of countless other men. Now, she was alone. She sat days and nights in her own small apartment, closed off from the world and other people. The couch started to dip where she sat by the side table. She smoked on her couch and watched as the smoke gathered by the ceiling and drank wine elegantly yet voraciously from morning till dawn. She never opened the drapes in fear that the bright light of the world would blind her, shed an undesirable light upon her that would make her look just as old, and just as regular, as every other old person. She crossed her legs and closed her eyes again, diverting her mind yet deeper into her past than just the picture portrayed. She met a man in a dark alley just outside a clubâ€™s back door and fell in love with him immediately. The night was so dark, and the smoke from the open door wafted out into the alley. The woman was drunk, laughing against the brick of the building under the dull sky. The man approached her and asked if she was really who she appeared to be. She answered affirmatively and took him back to her apartment. In bed she felt powerful yet vulnerable around him, a vulnerability she had never felt before with other men. She fell in love with him quicker than she could control, yet at the very same time her career was collapsing. New women came in to replace her, and she saw the cities themselves as dark and entirely cruel. No one looked at her anymore because, like with anything, they had moved on to something better, the next best thing. More importantly, even the man moved on. His luminescent blue eyes and muscular, tan arms became shadowy figures of her imagination with each progressing day she did not see him. She became frustrated and isolated herself in her own thoughts and in her own apartment. Her walls, tables, and floor became the shrine of every picture of every magazine she ever posed for. She only left when it was absolutely necessary, and then no one took notice to her; she was just a regular. The man never called, and even if he tried to, she already threw her phone off the balcony and watched as it smashed into little black confetti onto the dirty sidewalk twenty feet below. She tore at her lips nervously waiting for a call, waiting for a knock at her door; the thoughts of their moments together were eating her away. Every time she blinked she could see his face, his beautiful face. The thought hurt the woman now, as she realized her life was only lived through short fame and one big heartbreak. She was as miserable now as she had been thirty, forty years ago. She tapped the last of her cigarette into the ashtray. The fresh ash shrank and quickly flattened against the glass bottom of the tray. The small, pathetic stub lay over it. Just like the smoked cigarette, she had been run dry herself, having lost everything and having let it all get away. She grabbed for her wine glass and took a gulp, a single gulp, then placed it down. Her eyes diverted back to the painting but closed immediately instead. She sat there, with her head back, allowing her vivid memories to haunt her. Though they were all she still had, all she ever had. She loved them and
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wanted to go back, but the pain was too extraordinary; it hurt to dream of unobtainable realities, realities of the past. The smoke filled her lungs as she took in another deep breath. She could not go back.
BREAKFAST BEFORE A FUNERAL
Janie hadn’t seen her brother Simon in three years. When he slid into the booth in the Paper Moon Diner, the first thing she said was, “Where the hell are your eyebrows?” Simon rubbed his brow. “I plucked one misplaced hair, which led to another. They were all uneven and the next thing I know, they’re gone.” Janie slouched in her seat, flicking her lighter off and on and squeezing the dancing flame. She wore heavy dark make-up and a black dress that came midway up her thigh. A small fur vest covered her shoulders and cleavage. “Are you speaking at the thing today?” Simon asked her. “You mean the funeral?” “Yeah.” He arranged the sugar packets in color categories. “You should say something cause you’re the writer of the family and all.” “I can’t. It’s impossible for me to cry in front of people. Everyone will think I’m bitter.” She didn’t look up from the flame. Janie squeezed five lemon wedges into her water as Simon rearranged his silverware. “Jeez, who died?” Boomed a voice above them. They looked up to find the sly smile of their oldest brother Henry. He laughed and slid into the booth. Simon stiffened at the closeness of their elbows. Neither Janie nor Simon had seen Henry in about six years. His hair and beard stuck out at every angle and he wore an army coat with patches over a dusty, black sweater. “God, who chose this place? It’s a dump,” Henry said as he retrieved a crunched styrofoam box from the bottom of his backpack. Inside was a flattened, soggy cheesesteak. The scent of settling meat and warm grease thickened the air. In between chews he said, “Good thing some woman gave this to me yesterday. She must’ve thought I was homeless or something.” “You are homeless,” Janie said. “Not strictly speaking. I’ve recently become a couch surfer.” “So you’re a mooch?” “Buddha also chose to be homeless and live off the charity of others,” Henry said. “Then Buddha’s a bum and so are you.” “Enough with the name-calling. Our dad died on Wednesday. I’m in a fragile state right now,” he said with a smirk. The waitress stopped at their table, chomping flavorless gum. “Ready to order?” she asked as she eyed Henry devouring his sub. “I’ll just have some ketchup and mayonnaise. And a plate would be great.” The waitress folded her arms and chewed more furiously. “Ya can’t eat that in here.” “It’ll be gone soon enough. You’re not gonna get me in trouble are ya?” Henry smiled, showing off his dimples and high cheekbones. Though dark circles
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echoed his eyes and grease dribbled down his chin, Henry was naturally handsome and he knew it. The waitress lightly smiled and patted her hair. “I’ll let it slide.” “Are the sausages in link or patty form?” Simon blurted. “They’re flat,” the waitress said blowing a bubble. “Never mind then.” Simon rubbed the back of his neck in distress. “I’ll have a boiled egg with bacon that’s crispy but not burnt. And can you put them on separate plates so they don’t touch?” The waitress rolled her eyes toward Janie. “A handful of Special K with soy milk.” She said. As the waitress stomped away, Henry stared at Janie as if she had slapped him. “What the hell was that? Soy milk?” “I’m vegan.” “You must be dating a vegan then. Oh my god, he’s a hippie, isn’t he?” “No. If you need a label, then he’s an artist and his name is Ferdinand.” “Don’t let him brainwash you with all that hippie-voodoo crap.” Henry pointed at her with his dripping steak. “Didn’t I tell you that you had daddy issues? You mold into whatever your boyfriend wants. Remember when you dated that sadist and drank a quart of pig’s blood? I thought you hit bottom then, but obviously I was wrong.” Janie slammed her hands on the table, “He was not a sadist. He practiced Satanism. And I’m not vegan because my boyfriend is. I’m vegan to stop the war against animals, which is happening in your stomach right now.” “Yeah, and it’s a bloody war,” Henry spat with a mouthful of steak. “Aren’t you wearing a fur coat?” Simon asked her. Janie leaned back and looked out the window. “It’s a work in progress.” The waitress came back with their meals. Simon examined his bacon, unsatisfied. After he salt and peppered his egg, he tried to place the shakers in the center of the table, which seemed to take great effort and concentration. Finally Henry knocked the shakers out of his hands, scattering white and black flecks across the table. “Damn it, Henry!” Simon slammed his hand on the table. “You know how that bothers me. You’re exactly like Dad. Remember he used to slap my wrist with his knife when I tried to fix my silverware? Or that time he tied me to a tree next to that cemetery because he knew I would hold my breath and I nearly--” “When did you lose your eyebrows?” Henry asked. Simon buried his face in his hands. “I was born a hairless, sexless mole-rat. You never noticed that?” “If that were true, it would explain a lot. Anyway, bitch and moan about your family life to your shrink, not to me. You should’ve run away when I did.”
“You didn’t run away. Dad kicked you out.” Janie said. Henry opened his mouth but nothing came out. He wiped his hands on his shirt and calmly said, “You don’t know that.” The siblings ate in silence. Afterwards, they each pressed a hand against their cheek to hold their head up as they traced spirals and crude pictures in the salt and pepper mixture. “I got published,” Janie said without looking up. “That’s great. A book?” Simon asked. “Just a small poem in some dinky magazine. Nothing big.” “Let’s hear it,” Henry said. “I actually have it with me.” She shuffled through her purse and retrieved a laminated piece of paper. “Go on. Read it.” Simon squirmed giddily in his seat. Janie straightened out the paper and cleared her throat, “I was walking down the street when I saw a man walking toward me burst into flames.” She sighed and folded the paper back into her purse. “What the hell was that?” Henry blurted. “Excuse me?” Janie said. “‘A man walking toward me burst into flames’. What does that even mean?” “I’m sure there’s some deeper meaning.” Simon was holding his chin and wrinkling his brow. “There’s gotta be a metaphor there.” “A metaphor for what? The lobotomy the publisher had before he printed that? Oh, you know what you should do? Read that at the funeral. Dad will be rolling in his grave!” Henry broke into fits of laughter. Janie splashed the soy milk in his face and smashed the bowl on the table. “Fuck you!” The whole diner was silent. Simon cowered in his seat. Henry wiped his face. “You need to learn to take constructive criticism.” Janie held up her middle finger as she stomped out the door. Her brothers followed her while the waitress yelled after them. Outside the diner, Henry grabbed Janie’s shoulder, “So your poem sucks. Who cares?” “Everyone’s watching us.” Simon whispered. “God, this family is toxic!” Janie slapped them away. “I open up to you, and you spit in my face!” She paused to catch her breath. “You know I visited Dad before he died?” “I thought you just got in town today,” Simon said. “I drove to the hospital a week before his liver failed. I don’t know why. I felt like that’s what daughters do. I walk in his hospital room and he’s hooked up to all this shit. For a second I felt sorry cause I knew he wanted to die with his fists in the air, damning God to Hell. But then he turned to me and said, ‘Did the other nurse
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quit already?’” Janie laughed and threw her hands in the air. “Maybe it was the drugs or the illness, but he had no idea who I was. I turned around and drove back home.” The wind hissed in the thick, hot air. Janie watched a piece of trash flutter and dance around their feet, as her brothers stood with their arms folded. “It was probably the drugs,” Simon said “Yeah.” Janie sniffed and shielded her eyes as she looked at the far road. “What did he look like?” Simon asked. “The same. Except fat.” Henry perked up. “He was fat?” “Yeah.” she smirked. They let out a tired laugh together. “We’re laughing for once,” Simon said. “Yeah, Dad should die more often,” Henry snorted. “C’mon let’s do this thing.” “Wait, should we pay for our bill?” Simon asked. “They’re still staring at us through the window.” Janie and Henry ignored him and walked to their cars. Simon shrugged and fumbled for his keys. “Hey Janie!” Henry called back to her, “You’re an awful writer.”
Our backs stuck to the leather seats of Paul’s new Chevy Nova. The bright blue monster of a car must have stood out for miles as we sailed through the amber seas of wheat and corn. “God, listen to that roar,” he said. And we listened. Black birds flew out of the fields, fearing this terrifying beast that intruded upon their feed. “How’d you afford this thing, man?” I asked. Paul gave a sly smile and tapped his finger to his nose. I gave a half smile back. It was better not to know. The scenery was a blur of green and gold flying past the window at seventy, eighty, maybe even ninety miles an hour. “Jesus, Paul you’re going to get us all killed, will you slow down? What if we crash? Or worse, get caught?” Sitting in the back seat was Leslie, Paul’s girl, spazzing out on us. Her eyes were red enough to match the top she wore. I noticed she wasn’t wearing a bra. I felt bad for her. She was pretty, but dumb as a rock. I guess that’s how she ended up with Paul. It didn’t hurt that Paul always happened to be holding. “Come on, babe, nothings going to happen. You’re just getting paranoid. The windows are down, we’re airing it out. You just have to keep cool. Besides, there aren’t any cops on this road.” She sighed and took another hit of her joint before offering it to me. I declined. “Fine. I just need, need, need to see Zeppelin tonight. If we die or get arrested, I swear I’ll kill you.” I laughed. Paul didn’t. I don’t think she was trying to be funny. I should have expected this from them. Leslie and Paul didn’t have a care in the world as long as they had Zeppelin. They were devout disciples of the Church of the Four Symbols, with Page and Plant as their high priests. According to Paul, Bonham was a god on his own. They had been into this music for longer than I’d known them. Paul told me about Woodstock. Four years ago he stole his mom’s sedan to drive to some farm in New York to see Jimi Hendrix light a guitar on fire. I’ve never seen that on a farm here. I was raised by farms. Every spring, as soon as I got home from school, Dad sent me out to the fields to plant. Every summer was surrendered to feeding and harvesting. While other kids went trick-or-treating, I was treating the soil with fertilizer for the next season. Some nights before bed, I’d pray for a drought, or nematodes, or stalk-rot just so I could get away from working all the time. But by the next night, I’d pray for all those to go away. “A healthy crop means clothes on your back and food on your plate,” Dad would say. Corn was our farm’s specialty. Thirty-six acres of seven-foot stalks to take care of. I’d get lost in there when I was real young. I’d end up on the wrong side and have to circle around before finding the house. It was all my family cared for. “Corn is the backbone of America,” Dad would tell me. “It’s an honest to goodness miracle this
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country is blessed with so much. And we, well, we’re lucky enough to be the ones who make that miracle happen.” The summer after I graduated high school, we stopped caring for the corn, and started caring for Dad. The doctors said he had lung cancer. Too many cigarettes did it to him. He laughed when they told him. Twenty years ago the same doctors told him cigarettes would do him good. I remember that day well. Dad was coughing all day out in the field, and after dinner, he was coughing so hard he couldn’t even stand up. I had to drive him into town in our old beat up Ford pickup. It was a quiet drive, aside from the coughing. I sat in the white waiting room when Dr. Crane came to me and said they wanted to do an x-ray. “Just to be sure it’s not something serious,” he said. I didn’t answer him when he talked to me. I remember staring at his stethoscope. It looked like some sort of silver medal hanging around his neck. After Dad kicked it, Mom sold the farm, and we moved closer to Cleveland. And about a month ago is when I met Paul. I wasn’t sure if he was older or younger than me. It was never that important. We met through a friend of a friend of a friend. He introduced me to his music. “This will change your life, man.” I told him it was good, but I don’t think it changed my life too much. Everything about Paul said he did not belong in rural Ohio. His long feathered hair stood out from the crew cuts every other boy had. He traded those fashionable polos everyone wore for a few loose, ratty shirts that showed too much of his chest hair. He took pleasure in being the odd man out in a place filled with, what he liked to describe as, “the man.” “‘The man’ is everywhere man!” he said, spitting out the window. Leslie made a disgusted sound, and he looked at her in the rearview mirror, before carrying on. “I mean it. Do you know what cops are supposed to do? Protect. And serve. Have you ever had a cop serve you? No way, man. And it doesn’t stop there. It only gets worse the more power they have. Have you seen our president? Tricky Dicky himself, lying to your face, and you don’t even know it. Nobody knows it. And do you know why? Because the man is covering it all up!” I let him go on like this for a good half hour, nodding and saying, “Yup, uh-huh,” every so often for good measure. While he talked I looked to the back seat at Leslie. She smiled. “Hi.” “Hey. Has anyone told you have beautiful eyes? They’re like the sky.” She was higher than I have ever seen her. She pointed out the window, to nowhere in particular. The sky was pale blue, cloudless. My eyes are brown. “I can see into your soul, and it is wonderful. It’s almost…orgasmic.” “Thanks, Les.” “How come you never gel with us? You come around all the time, but you never smoke.” “I don’t know. I just never have.”
She took one last drag at what remained of the joint, before throwing it out the window. She looked disappointed. “You had a chance,” she said, singing the last word. “But I guess that’s just who you are.” I was about to speak when suddenly there was a tremendous bang, and the car jolted. We swerved around, crossing into the other lane. Les screamed and held on to the back of my seat. The car spun two or three times before ending up on the side of the road with a heavy crunch. “Oh god, oh god, oh god,” Paul repeated to no one. “Shit! Paul what the hell happened?” I asked. “I was talking, and I just got worked up and I guess…I don’t know. Oh God no…” Leslie climbed over me and was out of the car, storming off down the road. “Les! Come back!” She turned around. Her red shirt stood out like a bloodstain on the green fields surrounding the road. “No! I’m seeing Zeppelin tonight! I’m getting there any way I can!” She kept walking, holding her thumb out, waiting for anyone to pick her up. We knew someone would pick her up quick. I stayed next to the car while I watched Paul try to convince Leslie to stay. She wasn’t having it. “If I don’t see Zeppelin, I don’t know what I’ll do. I’ll…I don’t know! This is just typical Paul!” “Come on, babe, it doesn’t look that bad, it’s just a flat, I can fix it, we can get there, just stay, please come on, stay.” Words were just falling out of his mouth. An old white Ford truck rattled up the road before stopping next to them. The doors were covered in rust, and the engine sounded like it was on its last legs. The driver rolled down the window and smiled, showing his few remaining teeth. “Looks like you could use a ride, missy,” He whistled his S’s, “Where are you going?” “Not here,” Leslie said, opening the door and getting in. “Just get me away from him.” “Aw, Les, come on. Mister, she doesn’t mean it. Come on, Les, get out of the car. We’ll be good to go real soon, I promise.” The toothless man scratched at his graying stubble before saying, “I don’t think so. I’ll just take this pretty thing where she’s going, and if she says I can, I’ll be back for you later.” The truck sputtered off, smoke from the exhaust clouding the sky. We stood there and watched as it got smaller. We searched for a spare tire in the trunk only to be greeted with an empty circular hole where it should have been. “You don’t even have a spare?” I couldn’t believe it. “It’s not the first thing I check for when I’m…acquiring cars.” Paul sat on the
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hood of the car, where I joined him. He looked up. The sun was beginning to set, and no more cars had come by since the truck. “Well this totally sucks. We can’t fix the tire. And I’m not going to see Zeppelin. And Leslie’s gone. Shit.” He ran his hands through his hair and clenched his fists. Dirty brown tufts stuck through his fingers. “Hey, it’s not like this is your last chance. They tour every year…you’ll see them eventually,” I tried to reassure him. He picked up a pebble and flung it into the corn lining the road. It made a satisfying thwack as it hit an ear, knocking the stalk sideways. “…Besides,” I carried on, “there’s more to life than Zeppelin, right?” He looked at me in disbelief. “Are you kidding? Their music is the end all be all. That’s everything. I mean, what else is there?” I sat quietly for a moment debating whether to not I wanted to say anything. I did. “I’m thinking about going to school.” “What, like college? That’s so lame, man. What are you going to do, be a doctor or something?” “Yeah. Yeah, maybe. I could do that.” Paul opened and closed his mouth, then looked away. He paid close attention to a crow perched on a stalk of corn. “You know you’re just going to become one of them if you do that. Why can’t you just think for yourself, man?” “I am thinking for myself.” “Yeah, but you’re not thinking the right way, man.” “Well how do you want me to think? Like you? That’s not exactly thinking for myself. Man.” Paul stared at me, trying to wrap his head around what I just said. He furrowed his brow before muttering, “Well you’d probably be a shitty doctor anyway...” I muttered right back, “It’s a hell of a lot more than you’ll ever do…” At this he sat up straight. He glared at me and stuttered something before stopping himself. He hopped off of the hood, fuming, and walked around to the back, where he leaned against the bumper. The red sun reflected off the windshield of the car, shining its light onto us and the surrounding cornfield. The blue twilight began creeping in as the heat of the day succumbed to the stillness of the night. We took in the greatest display of beauty Ohio had to offer from opposite sides of the car. It pleased me to know we didn’t have to look at it much longer. White headlights were coming in our direction. “Holy shit, is that…?” The rusted out old truck had returned for us. “Get in boys, you can still make it to that show of yours if you hurry up.” We rushed into the truck and squeezed together on the single bench seat. “The pretty little friend of yours? Did she ever have some words to say! Whichever one of you is Paul, hoo, you’re in for an earful when you meet up with her again.” As the city’s buildings began sprouting up in front of us, a red light lit up the
sky. Then another, followed by blue, and white, green, and gold. Fireworks encircled the truck, like a welcoming party just for us. “Well look at that. God bless America, that sure is a sight,” Our driver said to us, not caring if we were listening or not. “Yeah. It sure is,” Paul said. His voice was distant, and it sounded like a child’s. I looked over to him. He was staring up, mouth agape, watching the display. I watched as the lights changed color on his face. His eyes reflected the myriad explosions that filled the sky. He was completely engrossed, and nothing could get him out of it. I opened my mouth to speak, but decided to let Paul enjoy his moment for a little longer.
CONTRIBUTORS ASHLEY BOSTWICK My name is Ashley Bostwick and I am an Honors freshman Communication Interest major. Although Iâ€™ve never taken a formal photography class, I bring my camera everywhere I go because inspiration can unexpectedly appear no matter the time or place. RACHEL CAREY I am a Junior English (Creative Writing) & Sociology double major. I love to write and hope to be a writer one day. SARA COUGHLAN Sarah Coughlan is an artist who hails from the suburbs of Hockessin, Delaware. Sheâ€™s your ordinary radical with an appetite for art and an unending love for poetry. Her current favorite book is The Road by Cormac McCarthy. STEPHEN CURBELLO My name is Steve Curbello, I am currently a senior at the University of Delaware, studying Biology with a minor in English. I am 21 years old and from Nanuet, New York. I avidly produce music, record artists and DJ at parties, clubs and the bars on Main Street, such as Deer Park. Creative writing has been one of my favorite outlets of expression for years. Similar to making a piece of music, writing a poem allows for an uncensored form of pure expression. I plan to graduate in May of 2013 in hopes of finding a job that can combine my love for writing with my knowledge of Biology (I know its an odd combo, but I love it.) I hope you like my poems! MIKE DEMARCO Mike is a senior English major at the University of Delaware. ERIN DODD I am a senior at the University of Delaware and I have loved writing as long as I can remember. It is the one thing that actually comes easy to me. It gives me a way to express how I feel and I love that my topics are limitless. JULIA EPPS No bio available. KARINA EVANS Karina Evans is an Junior from Santa Barbara, California. She is an English Major and hopes to own day publish her own novel.
JESSICA FENTON My name is Jessica Fenton, and I’m a senior at UD majoring in Neuroscience, English, and Psychology. I was born and raised in New Jersey and have the unique honor of saying that I am one of six children. I am currently looking for post-graduate positions (graduation is so scary!!) in the area of writing and journalism! W GOSNELL Will Gosnell lives in Amherst, MA. His work has been in several editions of The Best of Photography annual put out by Photographers Forum in Santa Barbara, CA. LAUREN HANAK Lauren will be graduating this spring with a BA in English and a concentration in creative writing, as well as a minor in Music Management. GREGORY HOLT I am a graduating senior English major who enjoys writing poetry, painting paintings. I plan to move to London shortly after graduation to continue working as an artist. RANDI HOMOLA I enjoy working with a variety of mediums to see how they work together to create a piece, so the nature of my work is always different. In this series “Burn Patterns,” I created designs on book pages with watercolor or a personal photograph and used a wood burner to in order to make an altered image. BT HICKERSON No bio available. JAKE KAIRIS Jake Kairis is a Political Science major who enjoys truculent women and international environmental justice. He has a band called Static Yaks and it is the best band in the world. TYLER KLINE Tyler Kline is an emerging contemporary poet from Chalfont, Pennsylvania. He writes primarily in free verse and has been inspired by poets such as Matthew Dickman, Billy Collins, and Tracy K. Smith. He currently is a student at the University of Delaware in Newark, DE.
THE MAIN STREET JOURNAL
MICKEY LU I major in European Studies! GABRIELLA MANGINO Gabriella Mangino is currently a freshman pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies, but her real love is for writing. Having been co-editor of a literary arts club in her high school, she is thrilled to now be the upcoming year’s Blue Pen Society’s Creative Writing Club President. Writing has always played a major role in her life in its ability to express her creativity, imagination, and willingness to experiment with new ideas. CHRISTINA PATTI My name is Christina Patti and I’m a freshman from New Jersey currently in the BA art foundation program. Also, I’m applying for a BFA in VC next year. TRICIA PENNINGTON No bio available. ELLEN SKIRVIN I am a Junior at the University of Delaware, majoring in English and Political Science. My father’s creative spirit and support inspires me to write. DAVID SMITH David Smith is a senior at UD. He takes these sort of things very seriously, except when he doesn’t. MICHELLE STAFFORD My name is Michelle Stafford, and I am a sophomore Math Education major here at the University of Delaware. Photography is one of my most intense passions, and I am eager to share this passion with the world. My photos represent the world through my eyes, and they show the beauty in the little things that most people overlook. HARRISON STIGLER My name is Harrison Stigler, Psychology and English double major, and graduating senior. I scribble things down when I can’t sleep. I’m a hippie at heart KIRSTEN ST. PETER Kirsten St. Peter is an aspiring illustrator, concept artist, and video game enthusiast from Oceanport, New Jersey.
HAVE A GREAT SUMMER!
COVER ART BY CHIP KEEVER
A literary magazine at the University of Delaware with works of poetry, humor, short stories and humor from university students, staff and N...