Visit Taproot Online at newark.osu.edu/taproot An anthology of creative works from current and former students of The Ohio State University at Newark
Taproot An Anthology of Creative Works from current and former students of The Ohio State University at Newark
Volume 6 ÂŠ2010 The Ohio State University at Newark 1179 University Drive Newark, OH 43055 Printed in Mount Vernon, OH, by Printing Arts Press Front Cover: Hilaryâ€™s Adventure through the Looking Glass by Hilary Frew Back Cover: Reading a Book by Alexandria Joris 1
Experience TAPROOT online: www.newark.osu.edu/taproot Expanded writing, full-color art, music and videos 2
Welcome to Taproot The sixth edition of Taproot, the anthology of creative works and interdisciplinary journal of The Ohio State University at Newark, features student- and alumni-created essays, art, fiction, creative nonfiction, photography, and poetry. It appears in a new print format this year as well as an expanded online edition with access to more great content plus full-color art and a variety of multimedia submissions. Next year, the Taproot chronicle will continue to evolve with a brand new set of student editors in the winter quarter class of English 662 Literary Publishing. Members of this class learn about the history of print and digital publishing and then put this information to use by serving as Editorial Associates of the anthology, advertising, editing, and designing volume seven of Taproot. For more information, contact Dr. Elizabeth Weiser at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope you enjoy the following cross-section of texts within the journal, several of which won prizes from various departmental writing contests. We invite Ohio State Newark students and alumni to submit their work at any time during the year, from any class or creative endeavor, for publication in Taproot, by sending any original text, art, poster, music, or video to email@example.com. Again, you may submit up to 10 pieces of your work at any time before January 31, 2011 â€“ it will be evaluated next winter for possible publications in spring 2011. Taproot: itâ€™s your journal.
- The Board of Editors
Table of Contents Award Winners: History Award Adam Snoddy
Reaganomics in Retrospect … … … … pg 13-25
Seaton Award Ashley K. Caggiano
Same Old Hell: Passivity and Aggression in Feminine Satire … … … … … … … … pg 60-70
Promising Writer Award Misty Farley
Star Trek: My Link to the Past … … … pg 99-101
Prose: Ann Langfitt Kristen Rocca Nancy Yoder
Cicadas and a Tomato … … … … … … pg 11-12 The New Diet Wave … … … … … … pg 47-48 Outcasts of Society … … … … … … …pg 87-96
Fiction: Ashley K. Caggiano Renae Hersman Doug Moser Erica Pullins Daniel Terry
Turn Around … … … … … … … … … pg 80-86 Little Gray Farmhouse … … … … … pg 30-38 The Silver Flame … … … … … … … … pg 74-76 Taking a Climb … … … … … … … … pg 42-44 A Night to Ourselves … … … … … … pg 57-59
Poetry: Marie Ashley
James Cannon Della Carver
At the Cedar Mill … … … … … … … … pg 8-9 Early Summer … … … … … … … … … … pg 8 First Words … … … … … … … … … … pg 40 All Those Things … … … … … … … … … … pg 78 Anti-Poem … … … … … … … … … … … pg 52
Terry Gomes Renae Hersman Ann Langfitt Chelsea Long Doug Moser Keari Nickells Kristen Rocca April Sears Devan Toncler
Cheryl Tucker Katie Waldrop Leeland Waller
Some Light Background Music, Soft Thunder, and Serious Conversation … … … … … … pg 28-29 Surreal Escape … … … … … … … … … pg 79 Walk a Mile … … … … … … … … … … pg 41 Every Time You Come Around … … … … pg 77 Go Haiku Yourself … … … … … … … … pg 51 Sensing My Apocalypse … … … … … … pg 102 Human … … … … … … … … … … … … pg 10 My Boy, Oliver … … … … … … … … … pg 49 Immortality … … … … … … … … … … pg 104 Deadly Reproduction … … … … … … … pg 50 In Church … … … … … … … … … … … pg 50 To Observe Flirting … … … … … … … … pg 46 Guilt … … … … … … … … … … … … … pg 27 Sweetness … … … … … … … … … … …pg 29 The Beast … … … … … … … … … … … pg 73 When Hunting … … … … … … … … pg 71-72 Days Gone By … … … … … … … … ... … pg 98 Ignorant Bliss … … … … … … … … … pg 26 Vita Dictata … … … … … … … … … … pg 26
Art: Ashley Burton
Hilary Frew Renae Hersman Alexandria Joris
Chelsea Long Christina Porter Kristen Rocca
Long Horned Goat … … … … … … … … pg 59 Summer Shoes … … … … … … … … … pg 55 Untitled … … … … … … … … … … … pg 86 Watch Your Step … … … … … … … … pg 41 Abandonment … … … … … … … … … pg 55 Bicycle Cushion … … … … … … … … … pg 39 Leaky Faucet … … … … … … … … … … pg 97 Reflected Building … … … … Front Cover Art The Form … … … … … … … … … … … pg 49 Boy in Water … … … … … … … … … pg 101 Building Frame … … … … … … … … … pg 9 Reading a Book … … … … … Back Cover Art Road Rage … … … … … … … … … … pg 52 Railroad … … … … … … … … … … … pg 25 Water Twisted Tree … … … … … … … pg 44 Cinderella’s Castle … … … … … … … … … pg 54
Cheryl Tucker Katie Waldrop
Bridges of Knox County … … … … … … pg 29 Concealed … … … … … … … … … … …pg 76 Guardian of the Young … … … … … … pg 103 Guardian of the Young 2 … … … … … … pg 70 Happy Independent … … … … … … … … pg 54 Hard Knox… … … … … … … … … … …pg 56 Getting Around … … … … … … … … … pg 98 Taking Flight … … … … … … … … … …pg 2 Caged Hunter … … … … … … … … … …pg 51 Love in Old Age … … … … … … … … …pg 53 Rocky Beach … … … … … … … … … … pg 45 Spying on a Fairy … … … … … … … … pg 46 Startling … … … … … … … … … … … … pg 7 Ultimate Camouflage … … … … … … … pg 72
Marie Ashley Early Summer All day the blackberries leave their mark on me like bruises, as she asks, headily, where you been? Well, I’d been walking along the uneven trench of a gravel road past West Branch, past the county line, when the blackberry bushes stretched out their good arms to me like friends, and the wind churned orange dust into carnival air, that summer I ate and ate the blackberries, a traffic of gnats in my hair. A tree swallow nesting in a molting white birch told me it was time to turn back, the swollen sun setting now, but I knew I was in for it. Out helping Joyce Murray fill her buckets, I told my mother, but I’d been a liar all my life, and she couldn’t change that. After awhile the branches offered less and less as I grew out of reach, the purple and green of her anger fading. Even now I still lie to her about nothing in particular, I can’t help it, in early summer when I want to disappear, when she calls me to it.
At The Cider Mill The sign reads see you next year. Along the trail the fallen apples roll gently away from us and down to the railroad tracks, sometimes bruised or overripe, a swarm of yellow jackets still obscuring the weather between seasons. She lifts her coat and I see how short the sleeves have become, 8
how last autumn sheâ€™d cradled the rotten ones as if they were abandoned babies left near the river, leaving not one behind she couldnâ€™t carry. None held more beauty, that innate sense of fairness you and I once lived by. Until another year shed its skin and she began to hesitate beneath the weight of so much fruit, seeing now the spoilt and discarded ones, the heavy undertaking of them all.
Alexandria Joris 9
Keari Nickells Human I feel like a failure, At everything. I feel like an outcast, Sitting by the hero. I feel like dirt, That everyone takes for granted. I am human. I live, breathe, and dream like you. I am not a failure or an outcast. Not even I could call you that. Soon we will both be heroes, And be the dirt people take knowledge of. I am not going to allow you To make me feel like a failure at everything, Because I am not. I am not going to allow you To make me feel like an outcast sitting by the hero, When I am really the hero sitting by myself. I will make you become me, And make you human for once. Just make me feel like something Rather than nothing at all.
Ann Langfitt Cicadas and a tomato I need to write something exquisite, something so ethereal as to touch the spirit. It must be quiet with a deafening impact. My face in the mirror isn't so bad until I put my glasses on. Unfortunately, they improve my vision and I can't help noticing that my chin has lost its clear definition. I wouldn't use the term "jowl" just yet, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate cheek from neck. There is a softening of features. I began writing long before I lost my chin. Then, my chin was pointed and elfin and it was my writing that lacked definition. Somehow it seems an unfair exchange. I must begin carrying a tape recorder at all time. Frequently throughout the day, I have flashes of such genius as to impress the staunchest cynic. But generally, by evening, my flashes have become doused with fatigue and apathy. Once I could influence people with my face. Now I must draw on resources below the surface. I have a story to tell, one that will leave ripples in the literary world for generations to come, one that will touch the very soul of humanity. I don't remember when I stopped wearing eye makeup. It used to be a ritual. Lately, it doesn't even occur to me. But though my eyes are unadorned, I remain a visionary. I wait patiently for the burgeoning odyssey within me to emerge. It can't be far away, as my writer's instinct senses the time is near. I place my hands on my cheeks along the jaw line under the ears. I push the skin up and my chin resumes its normal contour. My entire appearance is altered. I look more credible, even alluring. Beads of perspiration appear between my eyebrows. The heat is oppressive. I spend the greater portion of each day in breathless anticipation of autumn. Autumn evokes an intensity in my creative libido. I'm sure that October will herald the birth of my finest work. Yes, all of my efforts will culminate under that achingly brilliant October sky, to the cacophony of the first cicadas.
There is a soft rap at the door, breaking my reverie. A final, quick appraisal of my face confirms my observations. Aging certainly does lend character. But nary a soul has been moved by character. I open the door and there, on the floor outside the bathroom, lies a tomato on a plate. It's about the size of a tennis ball and its presence here on the floor both surprises and delights me. I pick the tomato up and carry it to the window in the kitchen where I hold it up to the light filtering in through the shuttered window. The tomato is not unlike a work of art, its color unique, and the weight of it in my hand links me to the tangible things of life, those lending substance and purpose. The warmth of the sun radiates from the tomato into my palm. I bite into it and its warm juices run down my tanned neck. Transported backward in time, I am at the kitchen table in our house on North Liberty Road. There is a freshly butchered calf in the freezer and we are gathered around a sumptuous feast of corn on the cob, hamburgers, and thickly sliced tomatoes from the garden. I am pregnant and life has a charmed quality. I am in a state of grace and writing is the furthest thing from my mind. My life is writing itself. I finish the tomato with a languid flourish and am awed by the spirituality of this simple vegetable. I walk out the door and pad through the grass, feet bare and cooled by the glinting dew. The cattails dip and nod as though choreographed and the first cicadas are positively symphonic. My story remains a burning desire, a driving force, but the tomatoes, beckoning me, are waiting to be harvested.
Adam Snoddy Reaganomics in retrospect Best History Paper 2009 The 1980’s brought a new era of economic and political ideologies to the forefront of American life. The most significant of these reforms was “Reaganomics,” a series of economic reforms nicknamed for and implemented by President Ronald Reagan from 1981 through 1987. These reforms produced a wide variety of results and have been the basis of ongoing controversy over American economic policy for nearly three decades. The need for a thorough dissection of Ronald Reagan’s economic policies has greatly increased because many of the underlying principles of Reaganomics have come under intense scrutiny in recent months. When all the evidence is examined, two main conclusions become obvious in regard to the legacy of Reaganomics: the programs undeniably resulted in increased economic prosperity for the vast majority of Americans during the 1980’s, but they also produced a few unintended negative outcomes in critical aspects of the American economy, particularly in regard to the federal budget deficit. The rise of Reaganomics came about as a result of the 1980 United States presidential election. Then-California Governor Ronald Reagan ran against incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter in a contest marked by Carter’s unpopularity. In late 1979, Carter’s approval rating was as low as 28 percent, and it improved little before the 1980 election. Carter’s low standing with the public stemmed from two overriding issues – Carter’s lack of progress in the Cold War conflict with the Soviet Union and the poor state of the American economy. The public’s low opinion of Carter led to a landslide victory for Reagan, who won 51 percent of the popular vote and 489 of 538 electoral votes. Reagan’s colossal victory margin gave him a mandate from the public to change the direction of American policy both domestically and abroad. When Ronald Reagan became President of the United States in January 1981, he had the challenge of reversing the disastrous economic trends that had either been created or perpetuated by Jimmy Carter’s administration. Several key economic indicators had shown signs of rapid 13
collapse under Carter. The most blatant example of the economy’s fragile and worsening state was worker productivity. Worker productivity increased at an average annual rate of three percent from 1947 to 1973; average annual increases in worker productivity dropped to .8 percent from 1973 to 1979, with 1979 and 1980 being the worst years for worker productivity in decades. Another critical problem during the Carter years was inflation. From 1977 to 1980, inflation rose from 6.5 percent to 13.5 percent, one of the worst periods of inflation growth in the 20th century. Coupled with growing concerns about the federal budget and ever increasing spending for social programs, the American economy was on the verge of disaster when Ronald Reagan took over in 1981. Ronald Reagan radically changed the face of American economic policy in the 1980’s because Reaganomics was based on several key principles that were diametrically opposed to the fundamental theories that had been the foundation of American economic policy for nearly 50 years. The major change was a shift away from demand-side economics to supply-side economics. Demand-side economics, which had almost exclusively been the underlying principle of American economic policy for the past several decades, called for increased government spending in order to increase demand for goods or services by the general public. In contrast, supply-side economics called for a decrease in both government spending and personal income taxes as a vehicle for stimulating the supply of goods and services to the marketplace. The belief was that by lessening the tax burden on both individuals and corporations people would have more incentive to work, save, and invest their money, all of which would spur further economic growth. While “supply-side economics” became the common media catchphrase for Reaganomics, President Reagan had more specific goals in mind for the American economy. On February 18, 1981, Reagan presented a four-point plan to Congress called “A Program for Economic Recovery.” The first of these proposals was to slow the growth rate of federal spending; a policy that Reagan hoped would combat inflation. Reagan’s second proposal was to phase in a massive reduction in personal income taxes. Reagan’s third and fourth policy proposals were to deregulate certain aspects of the economy and restrict the flow of money from the Federal Reserve into the marketplace. All of these policy 14
proposals were designed to diminish the role of government in the economy and allow individuals and businesses to more freely earn, spend, and save money at their own discretion. In the summer of 1981, during the early Congressional battles over Reagan’s economic proposals, the president posed a question that succinctly summed up his beliefs on economic policy: “Are you entitled to the fruits of your own labor or does government have some presumptive right to spend and spend and spend?” Despite Ronald Reagan’s national presence as the face of Reaganomics, several influential advisors and congressmen were the key cogs in developing and implementing Reagan’s economic strategies. Appointed as the director of the Office of Management and Budget in 1981, David Stockman served as the chief economic policymaker for President Reagan. As a member of the United States House of Representatives from Michigan’s Fourth District, Stockman was the architect behind Reagan’s 1981 tax cuts – the largest in American history – and the subsequent line-by-line dissection of the federal budget that followed shortly thereafter. It was Stockman’s opinion that a balanced budget should be the top priority of Reagan’s economic proposals with tax relief only coming after equal cuts in spending had been approved. One of Reagan’s staunchest Congressional allies was Jack Kemp, a potential candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 1980 who, instead of running for president, threw his support behind Reagan. Kemp was the leading political voice for the kind of massive tax code transformation that Reagan eventually ushered through Congress. In fact, Kemp attached his name to a legislative proposal that favored massive reductions in both taxes and spending without much regard for balancing the federal budget, a position with which Stockman vehemently disagreed. Texas Congressman Phil Gramm also served as an important Congressional ally, but he agreed with Stockman that a balanced budget should have been the top priority. Ronald Reagan’s main attempt to reshape the American economy in the 1980’s was through legislative proposals aimed primarily at restructuring the tax code. The first and most sweeping reform of Ronald Reagan’s presidency was the 1981 Economic Recovery Tax Act (ERTA). ERTA was a proposal to drastically reduce the tax rate for all income 15
levels; accompanying cuts in federal spending were supposed to cover the cost of the lost tax revenue. The law served as a perfect microcosm of the overall effect of Reaganomics on the economy â€“ it undeniably produced economic growth and had an overall positive effect on the economy, but it also had a negative impact on certain areas of the economy, particularly the budget deficit. Because of the billâ€™s complexity and controversial subject matter, it took several months for President Reagan to get the bill through Congress with the final vote not coming until August 3, 1981. The immediate effects of ERTA on the American economy were profound because they signified an abrupt shift toward the theories of supply-side economics. ERTA served as the largest tax cut in American history, with various stages of tax reductions to be phased in annually over a five-year period. While tax rates declined for every tax bracket, the top tax bracket benefited the most as their tax rate was cut from 70 percent to 50 percent from 1981 to 1982 and lowered significantly further in subsequent years. It was this seemingly preferential treatment of the rich that caused the most furor and protest in opposition to the bill; however, this accusation is not entirely accurate. It is true that in raw numbers the richest Americans benefited the most from Reaganâ€™s first major economic proposal, but even those at the lower end of the economic spectrum benefited. People earning one-half of the median income in 1980 saw their tax rate drop from 18 percent to 16 percent by 1984. Without this tax cut, those same people would have had a tax rate of 21 percent in 1984, based on projections using the previous tax code. Other major successes of ERTA were the immediate impacts it had on inflation and the gross domestic product. A staggering 12.6% in 1980 (and even higher in previous years), inflation dropped to 9.6% in 1981. The gross domestic product also began to rebound after a disastrous year in 1980. Topping $3.1 trillion in 1981, the gross domestic product grew by nearly 2.5 percent from its 1980 total, a year in which private domestic investment actually dropped. Most notably, the production of physical goods increased a whopping 4.3 percent in 1981 after having fallen by .7 percent in 1980. The most promising figure from the gross domestic product calculations was that the automobile industry experienced a
rebound year with sales up over seven percent from 1980, a year which had seen a nearly 25 percent contraction in American auto sales. The boost that the American economy received from the immediate reduction in personal income and business taxation was countered by two sobering economic realities. First, the decrease in inflation occurred at a much quicker pace than the Reagan administration had expected, leading to a rapid increase in unemployment and a short recession. When ERTA was passed in August 1981, unemployment stood at 7.4 percent; in August 1982, unemployment had risen to just under 10 percent. The sudden increase in joblessness among American workers came as a surprise to Reagan, although this criticism is mitigated by the precipitous drop in inflation. While a temporary rise in unemployment was an unfortunate side effect of ERTA, the direct cause of it was the decrease in inflation, arguably the single greatest detriment to the economy under Jimmy Carter in the 1970’s. The second negative effect of ERTA was its impact on the federal budget. Initial estimates called for the budget deficit to be approximately $42.5 billion for the fiscal year of 1982, but the sudden drop in inflation and rapid escalation of unemployment severely slowed economic growth in late 1981 and early 1982. The grim forecast led Reagan to deliver a prime-time speech to the nation in which he announced that he would ask Congress for an additional $13 billion in spending cuts, most of which would be coming from welfare and entitlement programs. Despite a bitter partisan struggle that was waged over which areas of the budget should be trimmed, Reagan’s spending requests were passed in December 1981 by Congress. In the end, the additional budget cuts accomplished very little. As a result of this economic slowdown, the actual tax receipts for 1982 produced a $140 billion deficit, easily the largest federal budget deficit in American history in terms of raw numbers. Another situation threatened to undermine the effectiveness of Reagan’s economic platform, but it was not economic in nature. An article in The Atlantic magazine in December 1981 revealed that David Stockman, Reagan’s chief economic advisor, not only had doubts about ERTA but also questioned some of the underlying principles of Reagan’s economic policies. In the article, Stockman was quoted as saying that 17
Reagan’s economic policies were nothing more than “a Trojan horse to bring down the (top tax rate).” Stockman added that supply-side economic theory was not new but was rather the most recent attempt by the Republican Party to package trickle-down economics in a palatable form. In his own book (published after he resigned his position as the director of the Office of Management and Budget), Stockman argued that Reagan’s early attempts to transform economic policy had failed, but his reasoning was very different from that presented in The Atlantic. Stockman claimed that the key to making Reaganomics work was to balance the federal budget with a combination of both tax cuts and spending cuts. For this reason, not because he lost faith in supply-side economics, Stockman opposed ERTA. At the urging of Stockman and other budget deficit hawks in Congress, President Reagan made a concerted attempt to address both the federal budget deficit and the rise in unemployment in 1982. The Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 (TEFRA), the second of Reagan’s major legislative proposals aimed at the economy, was largely a response to the impending economic distress of late 1981 and early 1982. The law is also an example of how Reaganomics was not a rash attempt to cut the size of government but rather a concerted effort to make government spending more efficient and allow average citizens to keep more money out of their paycheck. For all practical purposes, TEFRA was a three-year, $100 billion tax increase, although nearly all of the increased tax revenue resulted from a delay in previously promised tax cuts rather than actual tax increases. In the short run, TEFRA proved to be ineffective in fighting the rising unemployment that had begun in 1981. Unemployment continued to soar through the first few months of 1983, eventually beginning a steady decline by the summer of 1983. In the long run, TEFRA, along with several other Reagan-supported economic measures, began to turn the economy around. By June 1984, unemployment was down to 7.2 percent. The gross domestic product also saw a dramatic improvement, growing by 4.5 percent from 1982 to 1983 and increasing by a whopping 29 percent from 1983 to 1984. The positive results of TEFRA extended beyond government economic indicators to the private sector as well. Immediately following the implementation of TEFRA in August 1982, the stock market began one 18
of the longest bull markets in history. The stock market had what at the time was its single biggest one-day rise on August 17, 1982, spiking nearly 40 points to finish at 831.24 points. Reagan’s hope of combining sensible and restrained tax cuts along with cuts in spending to stimulate the economy was finally working. And as Reagan wrote in a 1982 letter, the extraordinarily positive response of the economy that resulted from TEFRA did not involve direct tax increases in most cases because “$31 billion of the $99 billion tax bill consists of better compliance in collecting taxes that are owed under present law.” Once again the federal budget proved to be the major downside of Reaganomics. TEFRA was specifically designed to tackle the constantly rising federal budget deficit, but while the tax increases in the law did stimulate a tremendous amount of economic growth in 1983 and 1984, the budget deficit continued to rise in an unfettered fashion. By 1983, the federal budget deficit had topped $200 billion, and, with the exception of 1984, remained above $200 billion for four consecutive years. Ironically, increased government spending was not the only significant factor in the budget deficit. Despite the tax increases imposed by TEFRA, personal income tax revenue collected by the federal government fell by about $10 billion dollars from 1982 to 1983. The decrease in income tax revenue is likely attributable to the brief recession and period of economic decline that occurred from late 1981 until the spring of 1982. Ronald Reagan’s tax policies came under significantly less scrutiny from late 1983 through 1985 because of the tremendous success being experienced in the American economy. Where ERTA had proven to be too drastic of a change all at once, TEFRA balanced the national tax policy to the point where economic success was almost inevitable. During the mid1980s, the gross domestic product exploded, reaching an all-time high in 1985 of $4.2 trillion, nearly $1 trillion higher than it had been in 1982. Personal income also increased dramatically in all major sectors of the economy. In particular, the service sector as a whole saw a nearly 35 percent rise in total wages and salary disbursements from 1982 to 1985. The tremendous success of Reagan’s first term economic policies help lead to his reelection in 1984, an election which saw Reagan win in every state except one.
The third and final of President Reagan’s major legislative attempts to overhaul the tax code was the Tax Reform Act of 1986 (TRA). TRA was an attempt to simplify the cumbersome tax code that was tens of thousands of pages in length. The law condensed 14 separate tax brackets down to just two primary tax brackets of 15 and 28 percent. Even though TRA significantly reduced the top tax rate to 28 percent, 80 percent of American families still fell in the 15 percent tax bracket, keeping the progressive structure of the tax code intact. In exchange for the reduction in the overall tax rate, several widely used tax exemptions and loopholes were narrowed or eliminated altogether. TRA also shifted approximately $120 billion of the tax burden from individual taxpayers to large corporations. While TRA radically restructured the tax code, its effect on the overall economy was limited. All of the major growth trends of 1984 and 1985 continued through the end of Reagan’s presidency, and the budget deficit continued to be the biggest economic problem. Despite the enormous economic impact of Reagan’s major legislative achievements, there are several other important legacies of Reaganomics that did not directly involve the legislative process. The first of these legacies was the shift toward deregulation of the economy. Throughout his presidency, Reagan attempted to remove government rules and regulations, such as price controls and production means, in important sectors of the economy. Reagan moved to deregulate much of the communications industry early in his presidency, starting with simplifying the renewal process for radio licenses in 1981. The most famous of Reagan’s deregulation tactics was the removal of price controls on oil in 1981. In spite of fears that energy prices would rise to the levels of the Carter administration, oil and gasoline prices declined steadily. In fact, the deregulation of the oil industry led to a 34 percent reduction in the amount of oil the United States imported from foreign countries in 1982. Reagan’s attempts at deregulation were relatively successful during his first term, but further attempts at deregulation were often thwarted, sometimes on the advice of his own economic advisors. For instance, a 1983 attempt by Reagan to deregulate large sectors of the banking industry met strong opposition from Paul Volcker, chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve; subsequent attempts during Reagan’s second term met similar fates. Reagan’s administration also 20
made overtures to strip away certain labor regulations that they believed were harmful to business. In 1983, Reagan proposed reducing the federal minimum wage from $3.35 an hour to $2.50 an hour with the ultimate goal of completely eliminating the minimum wage. Not only did Reagan lose the minimum wage battle in 1983, but he lost it again in 1987 when Congress approved a substantial increase in the minimum wage. In light of the economic prosperity that arose in the mid-1980’s, it would be hard to argue that Reagan’s strategy of deregulation was an ineffective policy. The removal of price controls from the oil industry proved to be a terrific decision because of the almost immediate decline in oil and gasoline prices. Reagan’s opposition to communications regulations opened the door to new and creative media outlets and personalities. More importantly, the deregulation of the communications industry meant that taxpayers would no longer be forced to subsidize failed media outlets or programs in the name of fairness. And while Reagan was active in deregulating much of the economy, he stopped short of stripping away the needed financial regulations that help prevent corporate greed and theft. Another legacy of Reaganomics was the growing realization that globalization was a fundamental part of the American economy. Despite the common belief that President Reagan was one of the chief architects behind the United States’ firm embrace of free trade policies, Reagan was initially opposed to such measures out of fear that the trade deficit that would grow exponentially, costing thousands of American jobs. The first international trade issue that Reagan faced was decline in American auto sales and the increase in imported cars from Japan in 1981. Reagan not only opposed free trade in this case but he also pressured the Japanese government into severely decreasing the amount of cars they exported to the United States each year. This policy was relatively popular among the American people, but David Stockman was outraged. Stockman had argued that free trade was a crucial aspect to economic growth under supply-side economics. In fact, Stockman quipped that the decision to pressure the Japanese into lowering the number of cars they exported to the United States was a “most troubling development.” Ronald Reagan’s reputation as a prominent supporter of free trade came not through his overwhelming support for such a policy but 21
through the opposition to free trade by his Democratic rivals. Because many leading Democratic political figures were vehemently opposed to free trade and often advocated trade barriers to imported goods, Reagan’s slow softening on free trade policy allowed him to claim the mantle of the country’s leading supporter of free trade and globalization. Many Democrats, especially those who leaned toward the Keynesian economic model that had been America’s basic economic policy for most of the presidents before Reagan, argued that before the United States adopted free trade pacts with other countries those countries should make concessions in regard to defense spending and labor rights. In light of the fact that Ronald Reagan’s actual influence on globalization was small in comparison to his successors, it is hard to argue his administration’s international trade policies left as strong an impact as is commonly believed. The final legacy that Reaganomics left on the American economy was the spending cuts in government social programs. One of the earliest economic proposals put forth by David Stockman, and later Ronald Reagan, suggested that the Social Security benefit levels for early retirees be cut from 80 percent to 55 percent. Another Reagan proposal would have reduced the annual cost-of-living-adjustments for Social Security recipients in order to pay for the tax cuts in ERTA. While these proposed cuts never actually took place in their initial forms, the simple thought of such drastic cuts outraged members of the Democratic Party. Former Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill led the fight against such spending cuts, particularly those pertaining to Social Security and other welfare benefits. O’Neill recalled one particular conversation in which Reagan claimed that many of the people receiving unemployment benefits simply did not want to work, a claim that caused O’Neill to “explode.” The claims that Reagan’s social program spending cuts were devastating to those receiving the benefits are inaccurate. A prime example is the spending cuts to unemployment benefits to which Tip O’Neill referred. Despite the cuts to unemployment benefits, which still increased three of the eight years during Reagan’s presidency, unemployment went down nearly every month from December 1982 to March 1989, one of the longest stretches in American history with a 22
constant downward trend in unemployment. The charge that Reagan slashed social program spending for his tax cuts takes another blow from the federal statistics on overall social program spending. Such spending increased every single year of Reagan’s presidency, but the rates at which they increased declined, dropping from approximately 10 percent annually under Jimmy Carter to five or six percent by the end of Reagan’s time in office. Having examined the key legislation and legacies of Reaganomics, one must conclude any thorough analysis of the time period by simply looking at the economic statistics and indicators. Reaganomics proved successful on a number of levels, but there were several blemishes as well. One area of great success for Reaganomics was unemployment. Ronald Reagan was able to slow the growth in welfare and entitlement spending at the same time unemployment was plummeting. Having increased by over 10 percent from 1981 to 1982, spending on unemployment benefits grew by barely five percent by 1988. Over the same time span, unemployment dropped with an amazing quickness, going from 10.8 percent in December 1982 to 6.7 percent in January 1986. The only hiccup in the area of unemployment was the sharp increase that took place after the passage of ERTA in 1981; however, this problem was rectified by the sharp decrease that occurred immediately after the passage of TEFRA in 1982. Inflation was another area of great success for Reaganomics, especially compared to the disastrous inflationary period during Jimmy Carter’s presidency. The general inflation rate had increased by over seven percent annually during Carter’s four years as president, but this changed very quickly under Reagan. By 1982, the annual increase in inflation was down to five percent, and it dropped to just over three percent in 1983 before leveling. Interest rates also declined quickly under Reagan, although this did not occur until after the passage of TEFRA in 1982. Energy prices also came down as a result of Reaganomics. As a result of Reagan’s deregulation policies, oil and gasoline prices dropped over 30 percent from early 1981 to the end of 1982. Reagan was also able to substantially increase the amount of oil in the strategic petroleum reserve, raising the total number of barrels from 100 million in 1980 to 500 million in 1986. 23
The levels of personal income and worker productivity both increased as a result of Reaganomics. Real median family income grew nearly $4,000 during the Reagan years after having seen little to no growth under Jimmy Carter. The total amount of money that was counted as personal income also increased dramatically under Reagan. In January 1981, total personal income was $2.4 billion. When Reagan left office in January 1989, total personal income was nearly $4.5 billion. Worker productivity also saw a dramatic increase under President Reagan. Worker productivity went up every single year during Ronald Reagan’s presidency except for 1982. In 1983 alone, worker productivity increased by 4.5 percent, the highest annual increase in two decades. While Reaganomics produced many great economic realities during the 1980’s, the budget deficit remained a problem throughout the decade. Having entered office with a budget deficit of $79 billion in 1981, Ronald Reagan’s tax policies led to a ballooning of the deficit. In 1983, the deficit topped $200 billion for the first time, and it continued to rise until 1986 when it peaked at $221 billion. While the ever-increasing budget deficit was largely attributable to Reagan’s tax cuts, the Cold War served as a mitigating factor for the budget deficit. In an attempt to bankrupt the Soviet Union, President Reagan ordered the defense budget be increased by seven percent annually from 1981 to 1985. The result was a defense budget that totaled over $1 trillion for that five-year span. Whether the increased defense spending was actually needed to win the Cold War is irrelevant from an economic context because it was widely assumed that such a spending spree was warranted. The Cold War is not an excuse for the gigantic deficit left behind by Ronald Reagan, but it certainly accounts for a sizable portion of it. The statistical results of Reaganomics are clear evidence that the supply-side policies of President Ronald Reagan were quite successful in both jump-starting the American economy after the disastrous Carter years and producing a formula for sustainable economic growth. By cutting taxes on both individuals and corporations, Reagan gave new incentive to increase the supply of goods and services and the demand for those same products. Charges that his policies favored the rich at the expense of the poor have little basis in economic fact. The overriding legacy of Reaganomics should be that significant tax cuts and spending 24
cuts are a proven formula for economic growth. Ronald Reagan led the economic revolution that swept across America in the 1980â€™s with great confidence, and that confidence was well founded in the knowledge that his economic policies succeeded by most economic measures and standards.
Leeland Waller Ignorant Bliss In the eternal garden, forbidden fruit grow; just one bite will tell what you yearn to know. It will also condemn us for all time on earth; weigh the options, what is the worth? In hindsight, Eve kill the snake and let it go, since that day what we have found, we would rather not know.
Vita Dictata Laying in the afternoon sunshine I was gazing at the stars, Contemplating the moon and soaking up the raindrops. I know this does not make sense To most of you now; pay no mind. One day you will learn there is no Order but your own, and life is just A canvas waiting to be painted; Let go and see; all will become. Clearer then.
Cheryl Tucker Guilt Taken under the cover of night Danger, undetected: allowed to linger Panic gives way to confusion and disbelief This canâ€™t be real Our whispers stifled: never to be heard again Gasping for air but relief is slow The pain sets in My heart is broken I watch you take your last breath and as your chest fills I take with me the guilt of breathing still.
Sweetness Loving the way your eyes light up when you see me; your heart skipping beats, anticipating, me. You are my Sweetness, my love, my heart and soul. Looking into my eyes with such purpose; I know where this is headed. I can't wait to taste your sticky sweetness. Ascension into your pleasure palace: ecstasy. We lay in the glow of the morning after; satisfied Please come again. And again. Every scratch on my back: reminiscent of a job well done. I am proud to be yours. I can't get enough but for now I will settle for that look of euphoria. My Sweetness.
Terry Gomes Some light background music, soft thunder, and serious conversation
You’re not being very sincere. You have on black socks. What about it? You’re wearing shorts. You call soda, pop. White shorts. Pop is onomatopoeic. It’s after Labor Day. That’s a fun word. Pop? Yes. Studying your diction? Yes and no. Robert showed me that one. I couldn’t tell if he was deaf or European? He was both. What part? Eastern. Europe? Eastern European. And hard of good ear. Agreed. How are the words coming? Last Words? In any other words. I like it. Writing it? No. Just what I’ve written. Is it sad? It’s melancholy. Do you cry? When the time’s right. Remember that girl? The one who never cried? Precisely. 28
Probably something medical. Perhaps. If not, it’s something else. Like a gimmick. That doesn’t compute. I was talking about this centavo. What about it? The eagle’s on the wrong side. I’ll be darn. The five should be on the other side. Obviously. Let us treasure this. Less than five pence? No, the occasion. To the occasion.
Bridges of knox county
Elyn Tibbs 29
Renae Hersman Little Gray Farmhouse She had only been doing it for a week but Lisa’s new nursing job at West Lake Psychiatric Hospital was already taking a toll on her, physically and mentally. Working the 2p-2a shift would be hard on anybody but she was definitely not used to it yet; not to mention what working at a psych hospital does to your emotions. Drab white walls, the smell of urine and vomit burning through your nostrils to your brain. Every day it was the same eccentric, chaotic routine. She would now go home to fend for her mother: who most certainly will still be plopped in the recliner puffing away at those Marlboro Lights (because the ‘Lights’ implies less deadly) sipping away on the $5 strawberry wine bottle. More than likely she’ll be bitching about how fucked up society is and how everyone is out to get her: no wonder Lisa found herself at home in the psych ward, her home was crazier than any room in that hospital. “I’m heading home, I’ll see you guys tomorrow,” she said over her shoulder to the nurse relieving her of her shift. In a daze as she stepped out into the warm autumn blackness. Eeerr was the noise that came out of her mouth when her keys clumsily fell to the ground as she pulled them from her bag. Oh, I hope mom is passed out. I really don‘t feel like dealing with her shit right now, she thought to herself with a big yawn and got into her little white Honda. Her long blonde hair fell down her back as she pulled out the elastic band, scratching it free of the tension; it had been pulling away at her scalp all day. The engine roared under the hood and she began the dreaded trek home. She pulled onto the dark county highway; it ran mostly through corn fields and old farm lands; the crops were just about ready to harvest. The only light on the road was that of her beaming head lights and that of the moon: full, shielded by the occasional cloud. As usual, hers was the only car on the road this time of night. Beep, her phone was reminding her that she had missed a call a little bit ago. 30
“Hey Lisa, it’s mom. Um…I’m sorry about earlier, you know how I get when I lose my temper. Uuuhhh…Anyway, I was wondering if you could stop and pick me up a pack of cigarettes. I could probably pay you back next week. If you aren’t still mad…may…have…lu…row…beep beep beep,” call lost? I guess I don’t get a signal out here…Cigarettes? Really mom? Why don’t you just ask me to kill you now? She asked herself as she fumed about that realization. To cover the roaring of the engine and the too many thoughts running through her head, she started up the radio. As she turned up the volume she heard the whining of some country singer come through the speakers, Well, that’ll put me to sleep. The next station was some heavy metal band screaming about something that couldn’t be made out, And that’ll give me a headache. While sifting through the static she decided to give up. Great, she thought, remembering that her cd’s were still sitting on her desk at home. She huffed and just turned it off. Her eyes began to feel heavy; she blinked them open and closed, opening them long enough to see ahead and closing them just long enough to make the burn go away, I wish I had some caffeine… She felt her muscles jolt and her eyes open brightly when she heard the loud static push through the speakers. “What the hell?” she said aloud. Did I accidentally hit the knob? She fiddled with it, twisting and turning it back and forth. The car slowed to a crawl while she let her nerves calm. As she looked up from the radio she could see a dark shadow on the side of the road about 40 feet ahead. She could feel her hands starting to tremble as she continued on and noticed that it was a man standing about 5 feet from the road, almost hidden behind the dark row of pines. The only thing illuminated was the white of his face: shadow consumed the figure as white clouds shaded the bright, glowing moon. Without thinking, her nerves told her to get out of there. As she passed the man she couldn’t take her eyes off of him. He stared at her with dark hollow eyes, not moving anything but his face as she went by. Her eyes were stuck on his until her foot gunned the pedal and she noticed he was covered in blood. She continued to speed up. It wasn’t until she glanced at the speedometer waving at 90mph that she started to slow down. What the 31
hell is going on?? Do I just need coffee?? Did I fall asleep and start dreaming?? She could feel her heart beating in her fingertips as she wiped the sweat off of her brow. She had a million things running through her head; but then her nursing instincts kicked in. Maybe he’s hurt…how could I have just left him like that? He was covered in blood, he’s probably hurt. Or maybe he hurt someone. She reached for her cell to call 911, crap, still no signal. She contemplated for what seemed like hours on whether she should go back and help or get the hell out of there. Without thinking anymore she reached into her glove box to pull out the 9mm her best friend Sarah had given her (they had gotten their concealed carry license together a few months back on account of a bet). At least I’ll have some protection…okay, let’s do this. She reached for the gear shift with her intensely shaking hand, put it into drive and u-turned back the other way. Many minutes went by; she had no idea she had driven so far so fast. Again, almost jumping out of her skin, the static of the radio screamed in her ears. This is so strange. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed something she hadn’t before. The overgrown rows of pines providing about a 10 foot gap, revealing a narrow drive overgrown with weeds— and the man was gone. She pulled into what appeared to once be a stone driveway; though now had grass and weeds devouring it. It seemed never ending, but finally the beaming of her headlights pointed right into a little gray farmhouse. It was dark inside: no curtains, no movement. Maybe nobody lives here, she thought as she glanced around. The gutters were half hanging off, resting in the uncut grass. The gray paint was chipped to reveal the peat green color that it once was. Weeds were even growing up through the porch, taking it over as much as the driveway. The porch ran around the house, off into the shadows. Examining the entire scene, trying to make some sense of it, her eyes moved back up to the window above the porch. Wait…There he was. He gimped passed the window hunched over as if in pain; same bloody face, same hallow eyes. He is hurt, she quickly turned the car off, reached for the door handle and got out. She kept her eyes on the house as she slyly backed up to the trunk, opened it, grabbed the flashlight and 32
started making her way through the tall grass to the porch, almost crouching as if she was nervous to be seen. She tip-toed up the porch stairs, being careful as they creaked, and reached up to knock on the door. Realizing it was already cracked open, she pushed her way inside. “Hello!? Is there anyone there? I’m looking for someone…Hello?” she yelled louder to reach the second floor of the house. There was a lingering smell of musk that was somewhat familiar to her, but she wasn’t sure where it was coming from. She reached around the corner to try the switch…nothing. Losing the light of the moon by stepping further into the doorway, she flicked on the flash light and found herself in the living room. An old, flower printed couch and a broken rocking chair sat along the long, yellowed wall, and a little black piano on the short wall. She walked over to the piano touching one key, revealing a mass of dust left on her finger. She began to play the beginning of Beethoven’s 1st Piano Sonata (she remembered it flawlessly from the lessons her mother forced her to take her whole childhood). The noise coming from within made her cringe at the un-tuned keys. Her playing slowed to an instant stop. That’s him! she said to herself as she wiped the dust off one of the pictures sitting upright on top of the piano. He has a child…what a beautiful baby. As she was setting the picture back down she heard the creaking of stairs. She rushed around the corner to find an empty staircase. “Hello? Are you okay? Are you hurt? It’s okay, I’m a nurse, I can help you,” she yelled up the stairs as she slowly started to ascend. At the top of the stairs she shined the light of the flashlight down the hallway trying to steady her shaking hand so to be able to see better. As she walked down the drab, dark hallway she glanced into what seemed to be the baby’s nursery. An incredibly serene feeling overwhelmed her as she tiptoed in. It was painted pink and the crib was lying on the floor, fallen from age. She crept across the room over to the closet to see it still full of faded dresses and bonnets. Why would they have just left all of this stuff? She walked back out into the hallway and continued down it. She walked into a bedroom that gave her chills down her spine, and an instant unsettling feeling. The bed was made neat, but that too was covered in dust. On either side of it were the nightstands and across the room was 33
an armoire leaning to one side. She walked around the bed and over to the nightstand, it’s open…a letter… My Dearest, I am so sorry that I have been distant from you and our child lately. I know you have been depressed and I haven’t been there for you. I want to change even though it’s probably too late to win your heart back. It’ll be hard to change, to stop being such a monster to you. I think that we should get help. I hope we can get it before anything too drastic happens. I don’t want you or our baby to get hurt….. She stopped reading, still holding it to her side. Wow…what happened here? I should go… She started to put the letter back into the open drawer but then noticed the picture that it had been sitting on, blocking it from the aging of dust. Her knees gave out and her body went limp as she fell to the bed. Her mind went blank, her face pale, and her skin cold. She couldn’t believe what she saw. The man was dressed in his red overalls standing in the field. He had the biggest smile on his face as he was holding the baby from the picture on the piano. Standing next to him with a less than content, half grin on her face was a tall blonde woman…Lisa’s mom. This doesn’t make any sense…She kept staring at the woman in the picture trying to find something that would prove it wasn’t her mother. Her eyes, her nose, her mouth…it’s exactly the same. She even still has the same crooked smile… She picked the letter back up to finish reading it: …I sent Lisa to your mom’s so that we can talk. The reason I’m writing you this letter is for hope that you aren‘t too angry with me. At this point I‘m afraid that we won‘t be able to hold our tempers. I’ll be out in the barn, come talk to me when you read this. And please hold off on the wine, talk to me before you start drinking, it’ll be easier that way. I love you, Jon
So that means…he’s…this man…is my father? The barn? She glanced out the window to see a two story, classic red barn. It too was falling apart; the door lay in the yard, and the whole structure leaned a little to the left. She watched in disbelief as the man she had been looking for— her father—crossed the overgrown yard and walked straight into the barn. “Hey!” she yelled as she pounded on the window. She left everything as it was and headed back down the stairs. Things were starting to make sense and she wasn’t entirely surprised at how easily she had found the kitchen. It was a mess, not only from years of not being touched but someone apparently took their anger out in there. Empty wine bottles covered the counters; some smashed on the floor, amongst various dishes that were now too, covered in a mass of dust. At the back door, she stopped. She wasn’t quite sure how to collect herself. She lied to me, why must she always lie to me? She told me that he left us, but he never left, she left him. But why…how…how did I come across this? How did he know? As she reached for the door handle she had to use both hands, she felt so weak from all from the trembling. She wanted to break down into tears but didn’t know how to at that moment; didn’t know how to feel anything except the numbness in her heart and the shaking of her limbs as she slowly opened the door. She hesitantly walked to the barn, again crouching, not knowing what to expect. Now, not a cloud in the sky. The darkened field was fully illuminated by the now fully exposed moon. “Hello?” she yelled as she reached the door. She curled her nose to the heavy lingering smell of death. It was black inside; her little flashlight barely effected the darkness. She had begun to walk in trying to look around with what little light she had. There was an old tractor in the corner covered in cobwebs. This must be where that smell is coming from? …the musk? Dead musk? She gasped as her little light revealed animals’ bare bones in the locked pens. Oh, how they would have suffered. Why…why would a person let them suffer like that? Above her head she could hear rustling in the hay. She grabbed the bars of the ladder, holding the flashlight in her mouth, and started going up. When she peered over the top she nearly fell off the ladder as her 35
body jumped in fright: Oh my god, it’s just a mouse…okay…it’s okay. She slowly continued over the edge. Old rusty tools peeked from under the spread out hay. She didn’t know what she was looking for but she could sense that someone was there. She walked around frantically pushing the hay out of the way, making sure she didn’t step on anything sharp. Stumbling about she realized she nearly tripped over the sharp end of a pick ax. She bent down to examine it a little more carefully. Blood, dried blood. She reached for her gun, not knowing exactly how old the blood was or what the tool had been used for. She began picking up more and more tools as she made her way to the far corner. She shrieked in shock and could only stare at what she was looking at. She reached over to touch the tattered, blood stained overalls that were piled in what used to be her father, but was now only dry, paler bone. Tears started pouring down her face; she could no longer hold in that abundantly overwhelming sensation of reality. She felt a chill stream down the right side of her body. She hesitantly turned her head to the right to see that the man—her dad—was now dressed in his clean red overalls. He placed his gentle hand on her shoulder. She closed her eyes. “Lisa’s mom walked upstairs looking for her husband upon getting home from work. As she walked into the room she could see the letter that he had left her sitting on the bed. ‘That ass-hole! He doesn’t think I can hold my temper?! I’ll show him what I’m like when I can’t hold my temper!’ As she came to the kitchen she chugged a bottle of warm beer she had just picked up from the store…then another…and another. When the six pack was gone she threw the empty bottles at the wall. All of the shards flew all over the kitchen. She stumbled over to the door and threw it open knocking over the dishes that had piled on the counter. ‘Where the hell are you?!’ she screamed as she reached the barn. ‘Up here stacking hay. You’ve been drinking haven’t you?’ he disappointedly asked from the loft as she clumsily ascended the ladder. ‘You son of a bitch. You’ve insulted me for the last time! I’m done! I’m leaving!’ she screamed at him with a punch to the jaw. She fell to the ground as he shoved her back in defense. He didn’t see her grab the pick-ax. Holding it behind her back as she spoke, ‘You don’t deserve her’ she said in a demonic tone. ‘What?’ he asked in confusion. ‘You know I cherish our Lisa more than you do. She’ll always be daddy’s little girl. 36
You could care less about her; you probably wouldn’t care if she were dead! I love…’ he was cut off in agony. She had driven the pick-ax into his stomach. Blood dribbled from his mouth as he fell to the ground, just staring at her with hollow eyes. She stabbed him again-and again. He slowly crouched into the corner, profusely bleeding. She threw down the ax, stumbled back down the ladder, falling halfway down it, and left. Left everything, not even a glance back.” Lisa had been lied to her entire life. She opened her eyes and blankly stared at him. “I’m sorry!! I had no idea!!” she said as tears poured from her eyes. “And no, she never loved me—never.” The glow that came off of him made her squint her eyes a little but she could see the same big grin stretched across his face as in the picture; and as would now forever be in her memory. He bent down and softly kissed her forehead. Then he was gone—disappeared forever, leaving only the darkness that voided where he once stood. It wasn’t until she could see the beginning of morning light that she stood up to leave the barn. The dark orange sky was blinding to her as she stepped out of the barn with soiled eyes. As she made her way to the front of the house she was alarmed by the flashing red and blue lights. “Is this your car?” the officer asked. “Yeah…” she said with a sigh. “You left your lights on. I saw the lights from the road and was coming to see if you needed help. This house is abandoned—nobody lives here.” “Yeah…” speaking in a dull monotone. “Are you okay ma’am? No, offense but you look extremely distressed. Can I help you with anything?” “Well, actually. Yes….I need for you to arrest my mother.” Her words dragged, her eyes stared straight ahead, not even looking at the officer. He looked at her with concerned eyes. “What has she done to you?” 37
She looked down at her feet like a little girl who just had her whole world stolen from her. “She lied to me. She told me he had left us. She lied…he’s in the barn.” The officer grew even more confused. “You need to calm down ma’am, and tell me what happened,” he demanded. When she didn’t speak he walked closer to her to get her attention. “He’s dead…” He jumped when the words came out of her mouth. “Is your mother still here?” he prodded as he reached for his gun. “No…it happened years ago.” She grabbed his hand. “Here, I’ll show you.” Still in absolute shock, she began walking back to the barn with the officer by her side. *** After Lisa’s mother confessed to the murder of her husband, Lisa got her own place; she began to transform the quaint little farm house that her family once owned to make it a place of her own. She had painted it a dark gray with bright white shutters. It had a wraparound porch surrounded by a lush, beautiful garden which delivered a flowery, musky scent that covered the whole farm. Crops grew on every inch of the field. She worked hard to make it capture the love and passion her father had once put into it. When Sarah, her best friend, pulled in the driveway at about 2 o’clock in the afternoon, Lisa was just painting the last of the red door. As she heard the car pull up she gathered her things and slowly shut the big red barn door. Before she fully shut it though she couldn’t help but to glance up to the loft. Every time she works in that old barn she gets a strong feeling of compassion—true deep love. The kind of love that could carry a person to persevere through anything: a kind of fatherly love.
Marie Ashley First Words We never spoke of the time you entered Jefferson Elementary School D-R-U-N-K, as I was learning to spell back then, writing words down as if they lived in a separate space, D-R-U-N-K, as the neighbors would spell out above our heads, before we could put letters together and really understand them, like friends. In first grade it was S-H-E is a D-R-I-N-K, when we were to define, in writing, the ones held to higher standards. Not as in drink of cool water, not as in drink of sweet dewdrop, but as in the misspelling of drink by U. Pictures in magazines we chopped out to honor you, honoring the mother, the entire first-grade class with our working-class hands, wanting to please, oh please you, to find the picture most illuminating of your beauty then, in our small eyes. And I chose that bottle, with its blue, sea-blue lettering, V-O-D-K-A, I suppose I chose it for its extraordinary coolness, it lulled me with its soothe of shape, the glass the feminine curve, the liquid the ocean the vessel I had no power yet to describe, the blue lettering, the first words I really remembered, remembering you then.
Ann Langfitt Walk a Mile I know you don't like my shoes. They're an odd size. No one but me can wear them. They're unique, not at all like any shoes you've ever seen before. I've worn them through a lot of storms, so they're pretty stained. Parts of them are nearly worn through from such frequent wear. I hardly ever take them off. That too is a source of irritation to you. I never try to hide my shoes. I wear them everywhere regardless of the dress code. I think, like you, most people find my shoes controversial, a bit questionable. I'm sure most people find them impractical too ... too flimsy for some affairs, too durable for others. And the quality of my shoes must surely be in question, and the origin of their material a mystery. Why do I persist in wearing them? I must surely have grown too big for them by now. Perhaps I could find a way to set them quietly aside and think about buying a new, more practical, less fear-inducing pair. I think, in the end, you are in fact afraid of my shoes. And your fear has made you blind and critical and inflexible as well as incapable of appreciating any shoes that are in any way different from your own. And I also believe that you harbor a deep concern that someone, somewhere might think perhaps you had some small part in fashioning these eccentric shoes of mine.
Watch your step
Ashley Burton 41
Erica Pullins Taking a climb My foot connected with the solid concrete trail with one foot following the other. I looked above searching for any sight of the stars. To my delight, I saw the moon play peak-a-boo from behind a dark cloud, as I watched the towering trees sway above me. Listening to the wind whip through my surroundings sent tingles down my spine, knowing I had better pick up my pace. I continued walking up the steep terrain, basking in the essence of the enchanting summer night. I reached the first pinnacle in my assent, as I glanced below me at the miniature waterfall. It had a quiet flow, emptying its refreshing, clear contents into a smaller, yet very wistful creek. I could not bear the beauty of the moment, sucking in a long, airy breath, and turning my back to that beloved waterfall whispering to me. I absorbed every step I took, feeling the coarseness of the trail I was following, just waiting to grab hold of the next sight that lay before me. To my surprise, I realized simultaneously that I was under a slight thunder cloud. I had never expected this delight, to what I hoped to be an invigorating rain shower. I turned my eyes up towards heaven, as the raindrops began to greet me with their illuminating presence. Listening to the raindrops gently hit the concrete, while dancing on the tree leaves, sent a song into my heart. I carried on with a spring in my step, climbing that glorious mountain, still inviting the friendly droplets of water. They seemed to be telling sweet stories of their journey from heaven above to earth beneath. With its greeting of firmness, the first drop claimed the journey to be long and strenuous. Following was a mellow drop, seeming to state that the journey was tiring, but every step of the way had made it into its beautiful countenance, to hopefully be absorbed by a luxurious rose. I froze in mid step, not believing my sensitive ears. It seemed every aspect of the forest was calling to me. Trees were dancing with their absolute majesty telling of all their ailing woes but triumphal victories. They had sprung up from a minor tiny seed to be these magnificent plants, on an earth much needing them. These astounding organisms 42
never would have imagined their potential, but as they gazed upon me, I knew they could sense their impression upon me. Every little entity in the forest was coming alive, as they seemed to be telling me to get a move on. Taking a quick, vigorous step, I picked up my pace, leaving behind the remains of what seemed to be a supernatural moment. I loved the feeling of the rain flowing down my face, delighting in its journey down my smooth, cool skin, encoding a message into my tender heart, and ending with a subtle gentle splash on the ground. I then saw, with much anticipation, an implausible, fanciful, astonishing sight before me. It was the end of my journey, the top of the mountain, which looked down deep into the crevasses of the world beneath. It was mind-boggling, as I looked straight in front of me, noticing the vastness of the valleys and the greatness of the mountains unfolding around me. I took a moment to pause, knowing I was touching a piece of heaven on earth, cherishing the new moment, sending a sentiment of emotion of passion through my whole core. My life had been drastically changed forever, feeling almost a numbness settling into my heart. Experiences like this did not come along all the time. These moments were meant for once in a life time, to be shared with loved ones, noticing that lives have been perpetually touched. Nothing could be misrepresented in this time; nothing could evoke such a passion within me, soaking in the magnificence of it all. The whole area seemed to welcome me with its presence, finding to my inquiring mind that I was going to feel an immense sense of loss, once leaving this instant. I felt the tears making their way up to my eye beds, feeling the burning in the pit of my throat. There was no controlling the urge of my emotions as the tears cascaded down my cheeks. I had never envisioned such an exquisite peace, turning away from the joy before me, ready to set foot into another dimension. Following the trail back down the mountain sent a twinge of regret through me as I reevaluated my life. I was still young, full of ambition, but my life could be summed up with much ambiguity. My life was full of many dreams, longings that I never thought were possible, but in this hour, I finally realized their breadth. This trip up and down the majestic 43
Rocky Mountains seemed to light a fire in me, knowing my life was just beginning. Every inch of the forest seemed to sense the change in my spirit as the entire world joined in a heavenly chorus. The mountains in their divine relevance had made a tremendous impact upon my life as they seemed to tremble below my feet. In an instant, I felt like my whole world spun out of my grasp and I felt myself tumbling. Moments later I felt as if I had just awoken from an incredible expedition as I met the man of my dreams, standing tall and proud at the end of the trail. I ran into his strong, massive arms as he enveloped me. I had not beheld this man in what seemed like years, as the reality of him being right before my eyes sent a shudder down my spine. I felt in my very core this was the turning point in my life the mountains were preparing me for. There was no denying the splendor of the moment as he met my sweet lips with his intoxicating kiss, leaving me motionless, finally surrendering to whatever my future would hold.
Water twisted tree
Christina Porter 44
Katie Waldrop 45
Devan Toncler To Observe Flirting Philosophy class she smiles heâ€™s nice she tosses her hair he tells her a story she laughs he continues she blushes. But you know what... heâ€™s not into her at all. An enlightening view...
Spying on a fairy
Katie Waldrop 46
Kristen Rocca The New Diet Wave A Satirical Essay on Healthy Weight and Dieting It is no surprise that Americans today want to be thinner, and because of that more and more people are going on what they are calling, “the The 90lb Diet.” This is a shock as we are now finding that almost the whole nation is over 130lbs!! Today this is an average number, but it didn’t used to be. We have found that the rules for this diet are relatively simple because the amount of people that are trying it is almost the exact number of people who are succeeding at it. The Center for Health Rehab has done a thorough study on this diet and is thrilled to give us the scoop on what the diet entails and what you can do to begin getting to 90lbs. This diet is excellent in that all of the exercises you do involves being on the ground. The Center for Health Rehab has a one of a kind work out facility and they took three subjects and followed them on their diets and here we have a wonderful example of the kind of workout they have to endure. The exercise requires that all they need to do is lie on their back. Can you believe that this was all they were required to do? It’s amazing with the food that you are required to eat and this small amount of exercise that you will without a doubt get down to the weight that you desire in no time. For the food portion of the diet The Center of Health Rehab has developed a very healthy and weight conscious eating plan. First you are to eat a very big plate of pancakes or waffles and then your choice of bacon or sausage and then a side of white toast not wheat. You have to be sure that you don’t eat the wheat bread as that will mess up the system. To drink you may have a Venti sized Starbucks latte or a large Orange Juice. You are then instructed to eat every two hours so be sure and bring some snacks with you for the day. Whatever you do, make sure that it is something with at least 100 calories or more. If it is any less it will throw off the system and in turn you will have to start over. For lunch they recommend that you eat anything with a good amount of bread and something carbonated, and then pair it with your favorite bag of chips. 47
Don’t forget that after lunch you must continue to eat something every two hours. And finally for dinner you are to have a pizza or something equivalent to the amount of calories, this is your chance to splurge, and at the end of every night you may indulge in a bag of carrots and ranch dip. Of course these are just some of the options; when you sign up for the diet at your local gym, you will be given a full list of all of the foods that are oaky for the diet. Some may worry that they won’t see the results correctly, but if you give it some time you will see that in time you will lose the weight—it will just come off—and soon you will be at the goal of 90lbs! We have some comments from some of the people who have tried and succeeded. Heather Smith, 42, said, “I weigh 129 lbs. and all I wanted was to get back to how I used to be and this really did work!” Travis Appley, 24, said, “I never thought this would work, but I had to lose the weight; my health at 115 lbs. wasn’t too good, but with the correct foods I was able to lose the pounds.” You see this is something for everyone. As long as you follow the directions of the diet you will quickly watch all of those pounds come off like magic. When you look into the mirror you will see a whole new you, a better you and you will be able to do it in record time. This new and improved diet is for our new generation and will soon take the world by storm. For more information please visit our website: http://www.c4hrjournal.com/90lb.
Kristen Rocca My Boy, oliver I bought a cat named him Oliver James He is my favorite that I can’t deny From the shelter is where he came Purchased on the seventh of July He likes to play when the moon is high And make a mess that he can’t clean In the morning I always wake to his cry My boy is that handsome color of citrine I think I would be lost without him here He always makes me feel all warm inside I can’t imagine him not being near My boy that loves to run and play outside He is my buddy that I hold in my heart Nothing in the world could keep us apart
Renae Hersman 49
Devan Toncler Deadly Reproduction Place me, where you will. Prod me, to move your way. Push me, to conform. Put me, in your home. Play me, like you always do. Punish me, like it does much better. Protect me, with your harmful love. It doesn't matter you made a person NOT A CLAY POT!
In Church Monotone words, spoke by devoted children? Monotone prayers, for our sins? Monotone thoughts, right in His eyes? Monotone dreams, make us happy? Monotone questions, running through my head. Hell? or forgiveness? in church.... 50
Doug Moser Go Haiku Yourself Internet
A great learning tool Expansive place, full of porn Youtube rots our minds
Corporate Fascism Tila and Jackasses rule When the music dies
Pretty flowers grow Animals live happily Bulldozer kills all
Running through the woods Youâ€™re loyal to your brothers All howl at the moon Rebel
Screw this shit I will write haikus my own damn way Fuck syllables!
Katie Waldrop 51
Della Carver Anti-Poem This is My poem, I wrote it, just me. I did not put any meaning in this poem. Stop looking for it, it's not here. It never was, it never will be. This is My poem, it means what I say it means. Which is nothing, because I say so.
Chelsea Long 52
Love in old age
Katie Waldrop 53
Cinderellaâ€™s Castle Kristen Rocca 54
Amber Dingess Summer Shoes
Ashley Burton 55
Elyn Tibbs 56
Daniel Terry A Night to Ourselves The night was cold, dark and windy outside the bedroom window, but inside we were warm in our bed, hidden under layers of blankets. Only the light from the streetlamp shined, casting a slightly odd amber glow over the king-sized bed in the center of the room. I gently squeezed my bed companion, to me reveling in her presence, enjoying the quiet solitude of a night alone. “I missed this,” she murmurs through the pillows. “I missed you.” “So have I.” “You’ve missed yourself?” “No,” I reply. “I have spent too much time lately away from you. Too much focus on work, money, and other repetitive stuff. But right now I just want to focus on this moment.” “I like that idea,” she sighs, pressing herself closer to my body. Her fingers entwine with mine, pulling my hand to her belly, the feel of her green satin nightgown soothing to the touch. With my other hand I gently begin caressing her neck-length auburn hair. She lets out slight whisper of a moan. “That feels good. Don’t ever stop.” Then, “what are your plans like this weekend?” she asks. “Well, I need to clean up the yard, finish putting together that damned curio cabinet for your mother, and I would like to go get a new pair of boots…Now wait a minute,” opening my eyes and raising my eyebrows, “Stop with the questions. This is our time alone, to enjoy each other’s company in the quiet.” “I was just asking,” she remarks coyly. “You stopped playing with my hair.” “Yes, Mistress Zoe,” I jibe back and begin twirling her brown locks between my fingers.
“Now, don’t start with that again,” she says, turning her head towards me. “It wasn’t an order.” “I know, my mistress.” “Stop it,” she giggles. “Of course, my mistress,” I quip, smiling innocently at the back of her head. “I said stop it, Keith,” she growls through clenched teeth, and pinches the skin between my thumb and forefinger. “Ow! You little minx,” I squeak, and I begin to tickle her satin covered side with my fingers. She giggles and shimmies under the assault. “That’s it, you’re dead,” she snarls, rolling to face me. Her fingers like little cobras, striking my arms and chest with tickles, tweaks, and pinches. And with that the tickle battle begins. We tickle, roll, and wrestle like children. The bed springs creak a march as we roll and twist in affectionate combat. Pillows fly through the air like grenades; making casualties of the floor, dresser, and closet door. The blankets hang onto the foot of the bed like sailors clinging to a piece of flotsam. Suddenly, my lovely nemesis has the upper hand, pinning me to the bed, my arms under her knees. She revels in tickling my sides and pinching my cheeks while I fight to free my hands. Her lips meet mine for a quick peck. The next peck leads to a smooch. A smooch, in turn, deepens into a kiss. Tickles become caresses. The tune of the bed changes; the creaking slows as our squeals and giggles change to grunts, sighs and moans. The Earth seems to move and so does the mattress, tilting towards the headboard with a loud, long cracking sound as the bed supports break. My lover grabs the headboard with her hands, stopping her fall. In turn, I slide down toward the wall, connecting with the drywall just below the headboard. Swirling lights flash across my vision and I fade into darkness.
*** “And, that’s how I ended up here, Doctor. Or at least, I think it is,” I conclude, pulling a bit of drywall from my hair. Silence steals a few seconds as I shift uneasily on the bed. The crown of my head throbs and my neck spasms as I look from the doctor to my lover, both of them trying to avoid my eyes. The light behind the young ER doctor’s brown eyes hint at laughter as she looks up from my chart and stammers out, “I see… Well, Mr. Brooks, that explains everything.” Hurriedly, she writes several things down on my chart. “Now, I am going to order your X-rays. And after I look at them, we’ll figure out what to do next.” With that she left us alone in the patient alcove, pulling the curtain as she went. About three minutes later I heard the nurses in the hall break out into a loud chorus of laughter. All I can do is sigh and blush.
Long horned goat
Ashley Burton 59
Ashley K. Caggiano The Same Old Hell: Passivity and aggression in feminine satire First Place Seaton Award Winner 2009 Women never riot. Sure, in a crowd of television looters during a Los Angeles brown out you might spot a lady or two swinging a baseball bat through an appliance storefront or setting a Sedan on fire, but women have never come together, as a unit, and mutinied against “the man” on behalf of femininity everywhere. We may propose countless reasonings for this and argue over the either in-born or social creation that is feminine passivity, but perhaps the truth is that women do, in fact, riot— it’s just quieter. Satire may not be a traditional form of rioting, but it is a subtler, gentler form of uprising that women engage in. Satire, in its paramount form, is subtle, passive-aggressive, and invokes emotion and connection from the reader. Feminine satire is superior in that these rhetorical devices that make the genre work have a particularly female quality. When a piece of satire is too aggressive, the writer can lose or alienate her audience, and the overuse of context as opposed to appealing to pathos turns a piece from satire into an editorial. Furthermore, to be humorous, the satirist needs to engage her audience and make them feel safe enough to laugh, which is achieved through the use of pathological devices like using digression and familiar references that are very feminine. There is much satire, specifically by males, that is aggressive. Howard L. Mencken embodies this through an elitist tone and quite a broad lexicon, all of which ultimately demeans the reader. He does not offer the reader emotional comfort nor does he often digress; he continuously hits the same subject. Though his pieces are regularly short, this method makes them feel inexhaustible. Ambrose Bierce, another man who writes in a very masculine manner, similarly is straightforward and avoids digression. It is in the subtleties that these men use that they truly succeed: Mencken’s intense vocabulary can catch the reader up or trick him into not being offended, and Bierce, specifically in The Devil’s 60
Dictionary, can win the reader over with humorous charm when he appeals to the reader personally. When satire works best, however, it is passive-aggressive, and this is a feminine quality. This is not to say that men are incapable of feminine work, and even satire that appears overtly aggressive-aggressive by men, like that of modern television personality Stephen Colbert, can actually be perceived as quite passive. Colbert, for instance, is not being blunt toward his actual target (Conservatives) despite that he is often shouting and telling the viewer what to think, but he is instead mocking his target in a very safe way. It takes a somewhat keen eye to see what he is doing and this is therefore femininely subtle. Women, however, are often either overlooked or focused on solely for their gender and comments about gender roles when we look at their work rhetorically. Women writers of satire, though they will often focus on the issue of feminism, should be models for all satire because of the subtle, passive voice they often bring to the genre. The most prominent name in female satire is easily Dorothy Parker. The coupling of a scathing wit and progressive views during the rise of feminism in America made Parker a woman with a lot to say but initially without an arena in which to say it. Parker is synonymous with satire because she demonstrates everything that makes satire successful, and much of this is done with an extremely feminine flair. Her use of aggression, though we may read much of it as pacifistic now, is coupled perfectly with her employment of narration and ability to connect with the audience. Parker wrote in a narrative voice for much of her work. A narrative, as opposed to an editorial, automatically gives the author an opportunity to say more outlandish things; it acts like a safety net. However, it was less of a safety net for Parker and more of an “only” net. For example, how does one write about abortion without using the medical term? To accomplish this feat, Parker, in “Lady with A Lamp,” tells the tale of a fictional woman recuperating from said procedure instead of discussing the procedure editorially. Although narrative, this piece is also quite aggressive in its execution. Told through a single voice, as is much of Parker’s work, the reader takes on the persona of Mona, a bedridden, sobbing, post-op, and, most importantly, silent young woman, who is trapped listening to the overbearing, interminably righteous narrator. 61
Without the ability to interject or even given a moment to think for ourselves, we, as Mona, come to see the narrator as all of society, judging us without a sincerely comforting word. Parker places us into the position of this woman to illustrate the lack of sympathy for women during this time, and, as we read further into the piece, we become defensive of Mona against the big, bad world coming down on her. Similarly, in “The Waltz” Parker sets us up with a one-sided narrative that is aggressive. Although we do not become the useless, oblivious, repulsive male target in this piece, we have no choice but to agree with the disparagement of the female narrator and condone her violent flights of fancy. Though we are not defending a weak and sad character in “The Waltz,” we still connect with the narrator. In both of these pieces, Parker employs narration and clearly defined characters in order to make the reader emote. It is a very feminine strategy to appeal to the emotional, rather than the logical, side of the reader. Akin to how she uses the typically passive narrative voice in an aggressive way, Parker also uses non-blunt language aggressively. “Lady with a Lamp” is the best example of this. In a time when the “a” word could not be used she comes dangerously close, “Yes it is on account of him. Even if you didn’t have an--well, even if I was mistaken about what I naturally thought was the matter with you when you made such a secret of your illness.” In many ways, the avoidance of the word “abortion” is even harsher than using it. Instead of putting it bluntly on the page, the reader is forced to complete the sentence in her own mind. Narratives work by doing this, by making the reader identify with the characters and filling in the blanks as they go, and normally this is a very passive tactic; it is almost tricky in its convincing of the reader. However, Parker is boxed into this method rather than freely choosing it, and so her use of “trickery” is almost done with a chip on her shoulder. There is incredibly blunt, even violent language in “The Waltz”; it is impossible to deny the ferocity of lines like “I wonder what I better do—kill him this instant, with my naked hands.” The language of her poetry is likewise aggressive, as in this excerpt from “Song of Perfect Propriety”: I'd like to straddle gory decks, And dig in laden sands, 62
And know the feel of throbbing necks Between my knotted hands. So what does all of this mean? Parker, in her employment of these methods, is still able to remain a feminine author, and not simply because of her subject choice but because she evokes a sense of the reader into her characters. We feel offense and vulnerability along with Mona trapped in bed, and we feel the anger rise up within us when metaphorically kicked in the shins by our dance partner. Nearly one hundred years after Parker, satire has evolved and Parker’s aggression is watered down when compared to a Gloria Steinem or Ann Coulter, but her feminine rhetorical devices are mimicked in nearly every woman satirist, and we see how those, like Fannie Flagg and Sarah Vowell, succeed when writing in the most passive of ways. Though Gloria Steinem may not be known as a satirist, the voice she brings to the genre is important, especially when juxtaposed against a contemporary of hers, Fannie Flagg. Together, they embody opposing ends of the aggression spectrum of satire during a time when feminism was rising in America. Steinem is often cited as being an outspoken, radical feminist, and we can see this in her piece “If Men Could Menstruate.” Published in 1978, the piece begins immediately by inciting logos: “A white minority of the world has spent centuries conning us into thinking that a white skin makes people superior.” The conviction and gravity of this argument offers the reader a solid basis for the further argument she intends to make that the male population has similarly oppressed the female population by purporting that male characteristics are superior to those of females. She frames all of this in a very academic line of reasoning to assert herself as an expert on this subject then offers us the main suggestion of the piece: “What would happen, for instance, if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and women could not?” Much happens in this line. Before this moment, she has presented herself as a very masculine author. Unlike Parker, there is not necessarily a narrative flow to this piece, and she has already used a very scholarly voice. She has not digressed, and her language is at least forceful if not blunt; she makes the claim that we all have definitely been “conned.” But this last line is poised to undo all of that. Firstly, she has undermined the severity of her original argument by using an example that is ridiculous. It 63
is an impossibility, presumably, for this biological change, this menstruation migration, to occur, and so the reader is immediately taken aback. Steinem also includes her first expletive, “for instance,” to interrupt the cohesion of the line. Placing this in the middle of the line rather than at the beginning lightens its directness. Similarly, using the word “magically” heightens the sense of whimsy to the line as well. This is not to say Steinem is not still aggressive, for, in fact, she is quite direct in making this suggestion just by the very nature of it. What is most prominent, though, is that she is making the reader aware that she knows how ridiculous the suggestion actually is, but she still proposes it in order to illustrate for the reader how amiss the status quo truly is. She goes on to present to us a world where this bizarre proposal is a reality and creates an alternate universe gone amuck on male menstruation. The rest of the piece reads much like a chronological list, but avoids being simply a catalog of humorous sanitary products. Instead, Steinem elaborates on why these things will occur, and in that we see her true aggression, but she does so in a story-telling way: Military men, right-wing politicians, and religious fundamentalists would cite menstruation ("men-struation") as proof that only men could serve in the Army ("you have to give blood to take blood"), occupy political office ("can women be aggressive without that steadfast cycle governed by the planet Mars?"), be priest and ministers ("how could a woman give her blood for our sins?") or rabbis ("without the monthly loss of impurities, women remain unclean"). There is a progression from the military, to politics, to religion, three bedrocks of American life, and she shows us that, although these things seem ridiculous, we can easily see that the opposite is actually occurring in our real world. Also, the many sets of parentheses at work here allow her to continue on with that direct, quick stream of outrageous possibilities, but elaborate and digress. She is direct and somewhat abrasive, but her feminine qualities of false clairvoyance and idealism, and her miniature digressions are what make this piece exceptional. She ends by saying that these “power justifications could probably go on forever” and then, in its own 64
paragraph, adds the simple line “If we let them.” Steinem shakes us back into our world with these four words in a very simple, blunt way but with a feminine wink as if to suggest there is something known in our real world that perhaps not everyone is aware of, which makes this piece incredibly effective. Blunt and abrasive language was not an alien concept to Fannie Flagg, but, unlike Steinem, Flagg utilized it in a different way. Writing around the same time, Flagg relied more heavily on comedy, as she was foremost an entertainer, but she writes her satirical 1986 piece “A Perplexing Question” with a feminist twist. In it, she employs the shock value of the word “balls” in its most vulgar sense, and practically chokes the reader with her frequency of its use. Taking a narrative approach to her subject, she writes in a gentle tone, but it is juxtaposed with her abrasive word choice. Simultaneously, that abrasiveness is undercut by the innocent use of the word, like the speech of a small child: “Why was Ed so scared that someone was out to get his balls? What were they, anyway? Just little pouches that carried sperm.” This piece is particularly interesting in that Flagg is writing in such a limited third person perspective that it is practically first person, but we are still aware that there is a separate narrator. This is quite useful because we get to be inside the head of the character, but we are not actually reading her thoughts. In this way, Flagg has set up a trustworthy narrator because the narrator isn’t actually the flighty woman, but an omniscient being who gives us a glimpse into the character Evelyn’s mind. Flagg has created a character who embodies female stereotypes or expectations (flighty, over-analytical yet dumb, inclined to get lost in thought, and ultimately dismissive) to point out how ridiculous those stereotypes are. Evelyn is not offended by her husband’s treatment of female coworkers, only curious. This also allows us to forget that the actual author is a woman, which is quite clever in that it blurs the idea of the default male voice. There are suggestions of a male presence: the piece starts with Ed Couch’s tale rather than how Evelyn heard his story and similarly ends with Ed’s overwhelming presence in her mind: “Evelyn quietly finished her lunch and thought, Lucille Ball? Ed might be right. I probably am going crazy.” In the most subtle of ways, Flagg has reminded us of an 65
unhealthy, masculine haunting of femininity, even in this initially comical setup. Steinem’s direct bluntness, though compelling, seems to pale in the light of Flagg, and this is because Flagg takes a more circuitous route to her point. By presenting her argument in a narrative form and burying meaning with a nod and a wink, Flagg is more apt to be convincing to a reader, and this is satire’s ultimate achievement. Self-described as a polemicist, it is no surprise that current syndicated columnist and political pundit Ann Coulter is at the most aggressive end of the feminine rhetorical spectrum for satire. Indeed, her strategy is quite often to argue in opposition of rather than for something. The most obvious opposition to Coulter is Sarah Vowell, who represents perhaps the most subtle end of modern, female satire. Also on opposite ends of the political spectrum, these two ladies are major players in satire today and are most successful when embodying traditionally feminine rhetoric. Coulter employs a rather unique approach to her writing, or, rather, character creation. She is often photographed in a hyper-sexualized manner as opposed to most feminists, and she sets herself up as a person who embodies all things conservative and angry. Her style strays quite far from the narratives we have seen from almost all other female writers of satire, and in this she is a good candidate for losing readership. Often reading her writing feels like reading the blog posts of a raving fundamentalist, but this is the clever vehicle she employs to communicate her message. Much like a train wreck or any horrific occurrence, it is difficult to look away when reading Coulter and therein, paradoxically, lies her success. If for no other reason than to sell books, Coulter will string together the most antagonistic words possible to grab the reader’s attention. This is clear from some of her titles: How To Talk To A Liberal, Godless: The Church of Liberalism, and If Democrats Had Any Brains They’d Be Republicans. This is a quite masculine move, but Coulter contrasts this against her physical femininity. These things would be outrageous from Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly, but are magnified exponentially in a body with breasts.
She relies heavily on this, as the majority of her work is quite abrasive and masculine, but perhaps it only appears so because we know she is a woman and this style is not often employed by women. The short article “Why We Hate Them” is a quick jab at American Democrats and a good example of her brusqueness. Like Flagg, she uses repetition of a word to desensitize us to it, but Coulter’s word choice is “hate” which is emotionally demanding, as opposed to the humor of “balls.” Instead of speaking about a concept with an innocent voice, Coulter is an expert on the subject: “They hate us? We hate them. Americans don't want to make Islamic fanatics love us. We want to make them die.” This sentiment is blunt, bordering upon painful. She simplifies words to core meanings that she created. The reader may want to be included in her use of “American,” but cannot reconcile her insistence that what Americans want is to “make (Islamic fanatics) die.” Although she is alienating her reader, she contrastingly makes it difficult for readers to separate themselves from the piece with her use of “we.” In this, Coulter is employing the feminine tactic of sucking in her audience. She has done this already by shocking them into staying for the duration of the piece, but now she has included the reader, in almost a guilty sort of way. “We” includes “you” and that is all there is to it for Coulter. Coulter’s “The Best Man Turned Out to be a Woman” article, in which she discusses Sarah Palin’s suitability as a vice presidential candidate, is particularly clever in this minimalist approach: They claimed Palin was chosen only because she's a woman. In fact, Palin was chosen because she's pro-life, pro-gun, pro-drilling and pro-tax cuts. She's fought both Republicans and Democrats on public corruption and does not have hair plugs like some other vice presidential candidate I could mention. In other words, she's a “Republican.” Coulter uses aggression because she doesn’t feel she genuinely needs to defend her point of view, only point out how the opposition is wrong. She gives us pseudo-facts like “People started to notice that [Palin] has more executive experience than B. Hussein Obama -- the guy at the top of the Democrats' ticket” but does not actually offer us any 67
concrete evidence. This trend in her writing suggests to the reader that we must take everything she says as truth, or at least the truth that she believes. She also often targets a single person, another trait of aggression. By attacking something with a name and a face, rather than, say, the idea of men, Coulter personalizes her attack. And in both of these ways, Coulter fails at satire. She alienates too wide of an audience, even if they are reading, to make any impact on them. Though humorous at times (like her insistence on referring to President Obama as “B. Hussein Obama”) she is too harsh to chuckle at, and so comfort is unachievable when reading her writing. Similarly, she has told us what is right and what is wrong with no room for our own conclusion. Instead of gently, or even slyly, guiding us to a deduction, she insists on her own beliefs in the initial bits of her writing. Comfort and a sense of self are important for the reader and a successful satire, and Coulter, in abandoning too many feminine methods, begins to fail. Frequently cited as a “pop historian,” Sarah Vowell almost completely embodies what would probably be considered traditionally feminine. And, against the raving lion that Ann Coulter is, Vowell is a kitten. In an interesting and effective turn, Vowell often lets her targets satirize themselves. She presents for us, for example, in “Rosa Parks, C’est Moi,” myriad quotes that are ridiculous all on their own and often require little or no further comment. For instance when she tells us that Ted Nugent, “in his autobiography, God, Guns and Rock ‘n’ Roll, refers to himself as ‘Rosa Parks with a loud guitar,’” she barely has to retort, “That’s so inaccurate. Everyone knows he’s more like Mary Matalin with a fancy deer rifle” in order for us to completely take in what she wants to convey. And, in fact, she does so more effectively than if she would have droned on about the absurdity of the remark. She gives us this quote, and many others like it, almost completely cleanly, and in that she allows us to come to our own conclusions. Thus we are more apt to trust her when she makes judgments because she has allowed us to make some for ourselves. Similarly, she increases her trustworthiness via her narrative and incredibly personal style. She tells us in The Partly Cloudy Patriot of going to Gettysburg: “I guess Gettysburg is a pilgrimage, and, like all pilgrims, I’m a mess. You don’t cross state lines to attend the one hundred thirty 68
seventh anniversary of anything unless something’s missing in your life.” She offers us a more personal look, a way to connect with her and feel her words. This is pathologically very feminine and, likewise, inviting to any reader. In an excerpt entitled “Dear Dead Congressman” from The Partly Cloudy Patriot, her overwhelming sense of digression shines. In it she writes a letter to a deceased congressman in which she romantically recalls memories of him from her childhood and how he stirred her passion for politics. Along the same vein of using a target’s words against them, Vowell presents facts. This section is subtitled: A rosy letter written before an election day now infamous for poorly designed butterfly ballots, disenfranchisement of black voters, nationwide malfunction of voting machines, incompetent network TV coverage, and a snippy Hillary Clinton campaign worker insulting me as I walked into my polling place to vote for her candidate. These kinds of digressions are gentle and flowy. Though they can tire the reader, we are willing to go on these journeys with her because of their payoff at the end. Ones like the one above offer us a lot of factual information, while remaining entertaining and actually giving us more than the just those facts but a larger idea. Vowell is also a great citer of pop culture. To justify Al Gore’s loss of the presidency to George W. Bush, she analogizes Gore to “the nerd” from the “teen tv drama” My So-Called Life. This tricks us into thinking she’s not paying the closest attention to “real life” and that we don’t have to take her seriously, when, in fact, this may be the best way to communicate with an audience. She uses things they are familiar and comfortable with to gain their trust and allegiance. Vowell, in clever employment of all of these tactics, embodies femininity while not being flighty or any kind of stereotypical. Like a modern-day Dorothy Parker, she demonstrates narration, digressions, and a keen ability to connect with her audience and make them emote. While aggressive satire can be quite effective, it does not succeed as well as the passive brand because it can alienate too large of an audience. 69
Qualities such as comforting the reader and “tricking” them into buying one’s argument are ideal when writing satirically. Satirists often undermine logic and sometimes throw it out the window completely to “prove” their point, and there is no shortage of this in women’s writing because female writers, in embracing the expected stereotypes, can overcome them. Perhaps we will never forget that the female author is female and everything will always be attributed to her gender—she is either embracing it or breaking away from it—but the devices she employs, be they natural or created, and clearly superior.
Guardian of the Young 2
Elyn Tibbs 70
Katie Waldrop When Hunting Wait. Wait. Wait. The perfect moment will come. When hunting, waiting is essential. Some do not hesitate. Instead of choosing the perfect prey They settle with something easier And in the end they lose everything. The excitement, The carnal need, The ancient desire To find that trophy grows And builds And multiplies As time passes And others find theirs. Good hunters eventually know That special joy from finding the ideal victim, Urging you into making a choice To rush your decision Before making that fatal blow To the heart. But you must wait. Wait until your instinct tells you 71
Which one to choose. Because choosing early can lead to disaster. After all, The current divorce rate is Nearly fifty percent.
Katie Waldrop 72
Katie Waldrop The Beast I absurdly notice the red encrusting its fur The lifeblood of other Hapless victims.
It waits, watching For the perfect time To snatch me up. I live in fear, Hoping that day will Never come.
The unsuspecting ones And the evading ones, Each is eventually Caught by the beast.
This half-existence of mine Is better than nothing. I donâ€™t want it to end.
A boy passes by, lost in this strange world, No more than nineteen The beastâ€™s nose quivers.
I run It chases I wonder how far I can make it.
It straightens, stretches, and Grins at me. Then it turns, follows him, hunting a new prey.
It breathes down my neck, Dripping saliva from Snarling snapping fangs.
A sigh escapes my lips. For today, at least, I have Escaped Love.
I am finally cornered I can run no more. I heave a breath, searching for freedom.
Doug Moser The Silver Flame The crater of blackened dirt sat like a burn mark on a wooden plank. A man with slick brown hair stepped out of the cool shade of the forest and into the heat from the sunlight. Howls echoed out of the forest behind him, which were followed by the disembodied explosions of thunder across the sky. Instinctively, the man whipped his head around and sniffed the still air. Lūpfulgures, he thought, Lightning wolves. The man turned his head back around and strode towards the bottom. The ash he kicked up settled upon his worn-bluish grey tunic and trousers. A second man wearing similar clothes, only red, was kneeling at the lowest point of the basin. The man’s wirey white hair hung over his face, just enough for his bat-like ears to protrude. He knelt with his back facing the man descending the crater, transfixed with something lying in front of him. “Hello Faolan,” the kneeling man said, still staring at the object on the ground. “How did you know I was here?” Faolan asked in a gruff voice as he reached the bottom of the crater. The man stood up, and turned around. He smiled, displaying his incisor fangs as they pinched his lower lip up against his lower teeth. He pointed to his bat-like ears and replied, “How do you think?” Faolan smiled back and outstretched his left arm. The man with the pointed ears grabbed Faolan’s outreached forearm with his left hand. The two men shook each other’s hand and briefly pressed their foreheads against one another. There was another howl, followed by the crash of lightning, and the deep rumble of thunder. The two men let go of each other’s arms and looked towards the source of the disturbance. “The lūpfulgures are anxious about something,” Faolan said as he sniffed the scent of rain and the wild dogs in the air once again, “Does the reason you called me out here have something to do with them? 74
“I think so,” the white haired man replied, “Look at what I found yesterday morning.” He stepped to the side to reveal a strange moving metallic object lying in the dirt. Faolan stepped closer to the lustrous item, and both men knelt to get a closer look. The object was not lying on the ash, but in fact hovering just above it. Faolan tilted his head to the side with curiosity as he watched the object. “Donovan, is that what I think it is?” he asked with anxiety in his voice. “Yes, my friend,” Donovan answered, “It is silver fire. You know what this means.” “No,” Faolan gasped, “It can’t be. You must have never noticed it until yesterday. There must be a better explanation for this.” “I walk across this crater almost every day, Faolan. I would have noticed it a long time ago.” Donovan stated. Faolan did not reply. He sat on the ground, staring at the metallic fire as it danced hypnotically in front of him. His black and yellow eyes followed the flame’s movements, praying that the fire would be snuffed out if it was buried. Faolan grabbed a large handful of ash and dirt and dumped it onto the fire, but the ash and dirt slid off the fire and fell to the ground, creating a circular mound around the perimeter. He knew what this meant. Fear, disbelief, and amazement of this revelation dropped into his stomach, making him feel as though he had eaten the mountain that once stood here. Donovan continued, “I have been hearing whispers of the other animal elementals behaving strangely, not just the lūpfulgures. Stymphalian birds, water horses, Ice Giants, they all have been expecting something. We should be too. Faolan, the prophesy is being fulfilled. The Elementio are coming back.” With that, Faolan pulled his gaze away from the fire, and stood up. Both men looked to the south west and watched as a giant half circle rose over the forest canopy. The blue hemisphere stood out vibrantly against the red sky. Gusts of wind began to run across the tree tops and down into the crater, kicking up dirt and ash. Donovan and Faolan 75
watched as the visible half of Earth was obscured by rapid approaching steel grey clouds. The howling became more frequent and the thunder and lightning became more intense. The storm has arrived.
Chelsea Long Every Time You Come Around When I close my eyes, I see it and it’s beautiful to say the least. Every time I see you, I wanna grab your face and kiss you. I wanna tell you how you consume my thoughts. I wanna tell you how much you mean to me. I wanna tell you I respect you more than you know and that my word is good as gold. I wanna take your face in my hands and kiss you with more passion than you knew existed in a single person’s body. I wanna pull you in to me and keep you there. I wanna hold you tight, show you what it feels like. I want you not to be able to resist me. I wanna show you you’re worth fighting for. I hold back temptations because in my mind, heart, and soul, I know you’re the one I want. I want to interlock my fingers with yours and observe with you just how perfect of a fit they are. I want you to forget about the cons and look at the pros that outweigh them by a long shot. All I want, more than life itself, is for you to give me a chance. That chance to show you I’m not like the rest, I accept your so called flaws and think they only make you more beautiful. I want to make you believe this is what it’s supposed to feel like. I want the butterflies to go off in your stomach just a fourth of what they do in mine, every time you come around.
Jim Cannon All those Things All those things you told me Those youthful years ago A truthful prophecy The sorrow I now know
And so the past was written A life then destined worse Often wondering what you think If you remember me at all Do you also feel your stomach sink And feel that same icy ball
A cautionary tale of fear That you did once weave Upon the ears that would not hear And were so na誰ve
For you have one advantage In knowing you were right Your life that has had the sage Wisdom of your light
In the heart the deeper truth The mind would not admit A simple trap ignored in youth Sprung grip that never quit
Often wondering what we might say If we somehow came toe to toe I think I'd say I'm sorry now For those things so long ago My fear has always been somehow You'd say "I fucking told you so"
The path that lay before me Most everyone did see The choice between the stationary And to sail a wicked stormy sea To know the fruit forbidden Never changed the course
Renae Hersman Surreal Escape My soul must be someplace else today, Detached from all my being. I’m walking empty in this world, Confused by what I’m seeing. To me, nothing seems real, Like, with a touch it’ll turn to ash. I close my eyes and see many worlds, In a dream, where my thoughts all clash. In that dream lies shapes and colors, Those of which I’ve never seen. It’s where light and dark coincide; A place only seen in dreams. Outside of dreams things die. Some things pass, change, or fade Or, hide away behind a mask, Dancing in emotion’s masquerade. My thoughts are streaming with rage. But, through my dreams I’ll fly, For, outside that land we age, We suffer, we mourn, we cry.
Ashley K. Caggiano Turn around He watched her press the brush to her lips, how it indented the soft, pale pink flesh and tainted it red. Or he imagined her newly ruby lips were soft, maybe even as soft as they had been the last time she touched them to his--whenever that was. Through the bathroom door she had failed to close completely, he could see her lean toward the small mirror above the sink, her curls illuminated by all but the third pale yellow bulb lining the ceiling, too high for her to change, even in the stiletto heels she sported now. The revealed bit of her figure teased him, sheer scarlet material barely covering her breasts, clinging to her waist, falling away from her hips, climbing up her thigh as she inched closer to the mirror. Craning his neck to stare at his wife through the crack in his own bathroom door, he knew he should want her, yet his gaze shifted to the wall and the long shadows climbing across it instead. Soon the sun would completely slip past the horizon, and she would slip out the back door. But he couldn’t blame her, could he? Her with her gem-like lips, milky skin, her curves. Had she had those when he left, he wondered. When she marched down the aisle toward him, so obediently, so doll-like, young and innocent and glad to be there. She practically ran to him. No one had told them their decision was rash--no one dared. So they were just eighteen. So what? They both knew he might not come home, they might not have this chance again. And now, as he watched the shadows grow leaner and dissolve into hazy blue against the antique white walls of what used to be his parents’ house, he thought perhaps it would have been better if he hadn’t come back at all, and he shifted uncomfortably in his chair. She grimaced at the sound of the wheels squeaking, just catching his sitting figure through the cracked door, his dead stare boring a hole through the living room wall. “This war’s not mine,” he always said to her when they would lie in the bed of his truck, “but sometimes we have to do…things.” But that was before he left. And before they sold the manual because neither of them could drive it now. She bumped the bathroom door closed with her hip. 80
The clicking latch barely phased him. “I love you, Brian.” She had always said those words like how you say the things you mean. Things like “The sky is dusty rose” or “The desert is cold tonight.” He thought about suggesting she should take a coat because the desert would be cold. The cold can steal your breath away when it whips across the great flatness that is a desert. But she would only say that she wouldn’t be gone that long, which meant she would get in before the sun came up. Not to mention that he wouldn’t be able to fight the condescension in his voice anyway, and, God, he couldn’t stand her walking out that door again with narrowed eyes and pursed, painted-on lips. Those were eyes that meant what they said too. She came out of the bathroom then and hurried down the short hall, past him, and to the kitchen. “Niki, don’t go.” It was like he couldn’t help himself, but he wasn’t sure it came out at all. “What?” She was looking back at him over her shoulder, genuinely surprised, soft curls haloing her face. He sat there in his chair, the last of the sun’s rays hurting her eyes as it gleamed off the silvery metal of its awkward, oversized wheels. His silhouetted form was bent; he looked nothing like a military man anymore: unshaven, gaunt, pale. She imagined, for a moment, that, if he could, he would get up and rush at her, grab her wrists and pull her to him, force her to stay. But he said nothing, and the reflected light was too painful for her to keep waiting. How long had it taken her to get tired of him, he wondered, as she turned back to fiddling with her purse. How many nights did she lay unsatisfied beside him before she changed her mind? He loved her so much, he thought to himself, that he’d kill her, if he had the balls. Taking a tight grip on his wheels, he rotated to the window and the sandy expanse beyond it. He hardly left the house at all anymore, the desert made maneuvering difficult, and the novelty to old friends and family members of his return home from “over there” had worn off too, so no one even came to him anymore. When they asked, he would chuckle lowly in his throat and say it wasn’t that much different from home--it was all about sand--but that wasn’t the truth. It was loud there with foreign voices and boisterous laughter and gunfire, explosions, but 81
here there was only the slamming of the screen door. That and the car they got on trade for the old pickup turning over and driving off to town. But the truth was that he could move. Maybe not like she could, not even close, but he could. She had gotten mad the night before: he was drinking. She took the bottle and put it on the highest shelf in the sitting room, like taking a child’s toy and putting it up where he couldn’t reach. And Brian wasn’t a goddamned child. He thrust forward and took up a broom from the corner--it would be long enough--and wheeled over to that shelf, imagining her long figure, stretching to put it up there, annoyed, ignoring his slurred swearing, walking away and leaving him there. Alone. He blindly knocked at the shelf with the bristles until it caught onto the bottle then, ever so carefully, hooked it and pulled it to him. It peeked over the edge, amber liquid sloshing, coming to rest, then with a final pull and perfect positioning; it descended from on high and alighted in his lap. The broom clattered somewhere off in the corner where he threw it. He unscrewed the cap and threw back the bottle against his lips like a dust-ridden, parched, camel-riding sheik, the image swimming through his mind comically, and he sighed. Darkness came on quickly after the sun was gone. She was close to the city by now, the headlights falling over signs for places where people would be. And soon she’d be there too. He took another swig. She’d be there in red and blonde and glory. And her rings would be at the bottom of her bag--she didn’t even hide it anymore. She didn’t care at all, did she? And there he sat, caring. Without knowing, he had ended up rolling into the spare room. Spare--not guest, not baby’s. It was empty save for boxes he never unpacked and she hadn’t touched in his absence. He couldn’t decide whether it’d only been five years, or it’d been fiiiiive years. He saw the closet door, distorted wood grain, through the etching on the upturned bottle against his mouth. This was new, he thought. With all the time he had, he never bothered to come into this room. And if she were somewhere, he thought, why shouldn’t he be? Because he loved her? That was hardly a reason. 82
Then he remembered what had been hiding there, and it was dangerous. He laughed a slurred sort of laugh and nearly dropped the bottle. Maybe just looking at it would make him feel better, he thought, and then he could put it back and pretend he never came in here the same way she pretended she only went to go meet Sarah and Ellie every other night. Right. He wedged the bottle between his legs and rolled over to the closet. The door was a sad sort of splintery piece of wood with a gritty handle. The shadows inside were darker than those in the rest of the room, moonlight coming in through an uncovered window behind him gently illuminating its contents. A bulky coat hung directly in his way and he reached out sloppily, pushing it to the far side. Then there it stood, in the farthest corner, untouched, forgotten, ignored. He had seen his father kill a coyote with it before, so he knew it worked--once. He knew he could make it work if he willed it to. Taking a last, courageous drink, he rolled up to the door jam, his wheels stopping in the little space between the wall and how far the door would swing open against a tower of boxes. He leaned in, strained. It was just beyond his fingertips, the dull metal, unpolished grain, but he refused to let his upper body fail him like his waist down had. There it was just an inch away, and he hadn’t breathed for a full minute now from the straining, and he heaved, in danger of falling out completely and being trapped there on the floor until God knows when she’d come stumbling home in a beautiful mess smelling like some other man, like that asshole from high school, Pete Waters, who always looked at her like she was meat, and she probably wouldn’t even notice until after washing off the slime. But he couldn’t fail--his hand grasping and taking--his arms wouldn’t betray him tonight. *** There was another bill. Another goddamned bill. Nicole grunted, throwing it to the passenger’s side floor. She didn’t really care about the cost, the army was covering that, but they always showed up in her mailbox and she always had to look at them. And they’d stare back at her and call her “Niki” too quietly for anyone else to hear. She’d give it to him 83
to ship off to the insurance company tomorrow sometime in the afternoon. Behind that was junk mail. She glanced down at it as she sped down the flat, straight road. Brian always got the mail--it was what he did-but this morning he hadn’t. “What the hell?” Nicole came to the last piece: a second hospital bill. The neon flashing of her destination emanated through the front windshield then and she immediately recognized a handful of vehicles. Neither Sarah nor Ellie’s car were here, and normally she would smile at that—less competition—but she was tempted to tear into the letter with her polished claws and snarl at whatever mistake some idiot pathologist had made before going inside. She slid her nail along the short end. The papers fell out onto her lap like they were heavy, lead sheets instead of nearly transparent, ground up trees. They didn’t look the same as all the others that she’d caught glimpses of over his shoulder on sunny mornings every few weeks. There were words here she didn’t recognize from doctors visits. He had insisted on going in alone the last few times, but that shouldn’t change his prognosis. Permanent paralysis was permanent after all, wasn’t it? Movement at the bar’s door caught her eye and she glanced up to see Pete Waters motioning to her. Two of his cronies fell from the door into him, grabbing his shirt and pulling him back. He shrugged and disappeared inside, giving her a last wave. She sat there in her car a moment, her mind racing, then turned the ignition over and pulled away. Moonlight always seemed brighter up here on the plateau where they would park and nestle into each other when it was especially cold. Now the blinding light spilled in on brochures about hospices and coping with terminal illness and the crippling affects of some long word she couldn’t pronounce. That hadn’t been an option before. She shook her head. No, this was a mistake. They had said, they had told her and him both, that the chances of him dying were slim. So slim. And at his age and with her to support him he should have nothing to worry about. Absolutely nothing. She stared at the scattered papers for a long time. Below her were the lights. She hadn’t seen them in so long. She wiped at her face, not noticing the black mark that showed up on her fingers and had stained 84
her cheek. Brian would like to see this, she told herself, staring down at the blurry dots of illumination, and started the car. She listened to the low rumble of the engine. It sounded nothing like the fierce growl of the pickup, the vibrations were hardly there either, but it did make a noise. Taking the folded up papers, she stuffed them back into her purse where the moonlight caught a glint. Nicole picked up the band of gold and slid it down her finger then pulled away. *** What do dying men wish for, Brian asked himself as he ran a rag over the gun’s barrel. It had to be salvation--or that was the best answer. A cure? To see their beautiful wife’s smiling face once more? This was making him feel better, he reassured himself. This was what he needed. What they both needed. The empty bottle was on the floor beside him in the kitchen and his gaze kept flicking to the screen door. He could sit here all night. It’s what he’d do anyway. And for all he knew he already had. It was tomorrow night, the night after, and she just decided not to come home at all. Well that would just tear it, wouldn’t it? Maybe she finally ran off with Pete Waters. She ought to get something out of him. Then the car door slammed. He hadn’t even heard it roll up on the gravel. The sun, he thought, should be streaming in, but it wasn’t. He stared down at the gun and thought it was now or never; she’d find a way to stop him if he didn’t surprise her, if only to increase her own pleasure at his suffering. Nicole clutched her purse against her as she traipsed from the car, more tired than other nights which had been much more active. Words batted themselves around in her brain, trying to sort themselves out into something intelligible to say. She thought for a moment that, when she finally sat beside him, she would probably forget how to talk all together and the idea made her laugh, low and throaty, through a worn-out sniffle. But she would tell him that they would both go in to see the doctor next time. Her footsteps crunched on the gravel. That she’d done some terrible things. It was still dark but she could see the outline of the door. That she refused to leave the house without him from now on. She 85
tripped slightly when she reached for the door and pulled it open. That the lights were brighter than ever. The shot rang out--his will had been stronger than the years on the gun. It seemed to go on forever, singing across the plain until it was nothing more than the sound of a stopper being pulled from a tub. It sang off into nothingness. He knew he was imagining that golden glint on her hand--it wasnâ€™t really there, mixed in with her curls and the slowly growing pool of crimson beneath her. Gazing at that porcelain face on the floor he thought that she looked like she wanted to say something. Her ruby lips were parted just so and he imagined her telling him the exact temperature of the desert that night. But with the wind whipping in the open door no one needed to tell Brian just how cold the desert was.
Nancy Yoder Outcasts of society Each house is different, yet they are all the same. From the outside their stories are hidden. Few will have the opportunity to step into their realities. This is their life. Bad choices or no fault of their own; deliberate actions or faulty genes; torment and agony no one should have to suffer. Schizophrenia, bi-polar, depression, anxiety, borderline personality, dementia, drug/alcohol dependence, psychosis; each one leaving behind deeply scarred lives. House to house more stories. I walk up to the door, dreading what I might find. Knock, the door is opened and slowly I step into their nightmare. *** Walking up to Bobbyâ€™s door, one can easily be deceived. A deep green fern hangs from a hook beside the door. A small, well tended garden bears evidence of a devoted owner. Tomatoes ripening on the vines, delicate ground cover, and vibrantly colored flowers welcome visitors to Bobbyâ€™s apartment. A handsome fellow at first glance, Bobby is both provocative and prosaic. His hair is short and never the same color for more than a few days. Skimming down his face, you will find that four silver rings grace his left eyebrow and steel blue eyes pierce the sad foggy landscape of his face. Talking with him, even briefly, reveals a hazy brain that tries to force slurred words from his drooling mouth. In the summer you will most often find him baring a shirtless tattooed chest, stained baggy shorts, and flip flops stuffed with filthy toes. What skin is visible beneath the gray filth is tanned from his daily wanderings around town. No job, no family, nowhere to go, and few friends to go with. Every day is a monotonous repetition of the previous one. Each morning Bobby can be found passed out in his apartment amidst the cat
piss, dog crap, and sticky tipped-over Speedway cups. Great effort is needed to rouse him from his stupor. The first day I went to see Bobby I admired his garden and assumed, incorrectly, that he must have his act together. I knocked on his door and waited. After several minutes I knocked a little louder. The neighbor opened his door and looked at me, shaking his head. “You’ll never wake him knocking like a girl. You need to pound like this,” he said as he began pounding loudly with both fists. After repeating this several times, Bobby finally opened the door. As I walked into his apartment, the stench, not just from cigarettes and beer, slapped me in the face. Bowls of rotten food sat on the coffee table. Moldy half eaten pieces of pizza, cigarette butts, chunks of meat, fries, pickles, and some unidentifiable foods were strewn across the floor. As I looked around the apartment, I thought how ironic his well-tended garden now seemed to be. I learned quickly that Bobby had a morning ritual that not even his nurse, bringing his much desired medications, could break. Each move is slow and deliberate, yet jerky. First he grabs a huge bag of tobacco and clumsily rolls a cigarette, then he heads into the kitchen and lights his electric stove. This adds smoke and the smell of burning food to the already overbearing stench. Bobby talks to the stove as he paces, “Heat up already. Come on.” Once the stove is hot enough he lights his cigarette and then searches the half full cups of liquid until he finds one that suits him. Next step: Bobby needs his meds. I pour his meds into his hand and he looks through the pile. Four orange Haldol, two white Lithium, three purple Stelazine, two Cymbalta, and on he goes. There are 22 pills in all; I know this because I prepare his meds, but it is reinforced as Bobby counts and recounts them several times each morning. He knows each medication by sight and what each one does. He can recite every pill he has ever been on and why he no longer takes it.
Bobby’s doctors say large doses of psychotropic meds are needed to keep him stable, to keep his schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety under control. Stable. What exactly is stable? Is living in a foggy stupor day after 88
day stable? Stable is a matter of opinions, very passionate and divided opinions. While I understand that violent and dangerous behaviors must be controlled, I do not believe that medicating people into being oblivious to life is in any way therapeutic. Quality of life must be taken into consideration; it is just as important to the patient as controlling behavior is to the doctors. There is a fine line between being under control and being chemically restrained.
Finally, after Bobby takes all his meds in one gulp, I am able to do the daily assessment: blood pressure, pulse, respirations, and checking his smoke-filled lungs. We talk about how he feels; “Tomorrow is my Haldol shot day, don’t forget to bring it,” Bobby reminds me one more time. “I haven’t been up long enough to feel depressed or anxious, call me and ask me later.” Between laughs he adds, “And don’t ask, I shit and piss just fine.” I just smile and thank him for his frank answers. Every day I learn new things about Bobby. One day after I arrived, while Bobby was in the kitchen trying to light his cigarette, he held up a large kitchen knife. “How’s this one look?” he asked, looking me square in the eyes. “Look at this one. How do you think this one would work,” he added, holding up yet another huge knife. The word schizophrenic and all of its accompanying images flashed through my mind, reminding me exactly why it is that I always stay where there is easy, unblocked access to the door. I looked from the knives, which are covered with a dark substance, to his face. “Do you like to cook?” I calmly asked him, hoping to cut through the tension hanging thickly in the air. Bobby set the knives back into the sink and walked into the living room. “Yes, I do,” he said, with a glimmer in his eye I had never seen before. “Now cakes, I’m really good at baking cakes. Ask my friend.” How about that, I thought to myself, Bobby likes to cook and bake cakes. As I was taking Bobby’s blood pressure, I was all but knocked over when the door flung open. An old man with a long scraggly gray beard, wearing several layers of dirty clothes, walked in without speaking and sat down on a trash-covered chair. He sat with his head hanging down 89
and his hands in his lap. An awkward silence filled the room as Bobby looked at him and then back at me. Acting as if nothing had happened, Bobby started talking about cooking again. I finished my assessment and prepared to leave. As I opened the door I glanced back at the old man who hadn’t moved since he sat down. “Will you bring me coffee tomorrow?” Bobby asked. I promised I would as I walked out the door. I hesitated for just a moment at the garden and thought about the contrast between it and the rest of Bobby’s life. *** A small apartment complex sits back off a dead end road. There are only eight apartments in this two-floor, two-building L-shaped complex. One large oak tree stands guard out front. Patches of dried brown grass surround neglected flowerbeds growing nothing but weeds. Birdhouses seem to be the decoration of choice. There are 15 of various shapes, sizes, and conditions nailed to the tree, hanging from railings, and stuck on top of posts in the middle of the weed beds. One birdfeeder void of birdseed hangs on a shepherd’s hook, while pieces of bread and buns are scattered around the grass. Tess’ door lacks any personal touches, as do most of her neighbor’s. A white piece of torn scrap paper with her name sloppily written on it is clipped to her mailbox. Closed blinds cover her front window. I knock several times, louder and longer each time, until I hear Tess shuffling to the door. The door is opened by a short heavyset middle aged woman. Her half smile belies the forlorn look in her eyes. Neatly cut and styled dark brown hair flows over her black tee shirt. Small random tattoos and long, curled fingernails adorn her hands. Bare swollen feet stick out of her black sweatpants. I walk into her dark scantily furnished apartment. A torn black leather sofa faces the television set, a dusty coffee table covered with empty Diet Coke cans sits in front of the sofa, and a small half table with a bar stool sets up against the refrigerator. The refrigerator is full of Diet Coke, but lacks nutritious foods. The cabinets are home to roaches, 90
multiple bags of snack food, and odd plates and pans. The bedroom is full of junk and piles of blankets, but no bed. On the table sits a locked black tackle box which contains Tess’s medications. The lockbox and nursing visits are important tools utilized to allow Tess to stay in her own apartment. They are used to ensure that Tess takes her medications as the doctor has ordered and prevents her from taking them when she should not. I attempt to make small talk with Tess as I set up her meds, but her answers are always short, usually yes or no. I change strategies and begin to ask questions that require more explanation. What is your favorite TV show; I see you have a bowl of dog food on the floor, do you have a dog; what did you do over the weekend? She saw through my feeble attempt and answered gruffly, “I don’t know.” Once I have her morning medications set up, she pours them onto the coffee table and takes them one at a time. As I bend over and lift her wrist slightly (to take her pulse) there is an overbearing smell of nasty crotch. I briefly wonder where the smell is coming from; then she raises her arm so I can apply the blood pressure cuff, which puts her hand only inches from my face. Instantly I know the smell is coming from her hand. That smell has remained a daily part of her personality. I spent the next two weeks talking to Tess with little success, but I refused to give up. Eventually time and patience paid off. A few weeks after I started seeing Tess, she surprised me by speaking first. As I walked into her apartment she said, “I like Walker, Texas Ranger.” She followed that with, “My friend has a dog.” Nothing more, but at that moment, I felt like I had climbed Mount Everest. Tess began, ever so slowly at first, to open the protective shell she had wrapped around her. As I continued to see Tess, we chiseled away bits and pieces of that shell. Tess began to give me glimpses into her personal life. Tiny steps at first; the name of her friend’s dog, her favorite snack of Diet Coke and pretzel rods, or how she loves to sit by her window, with the blinds barely cracked, to watch the birds. Then bigger steps; she had two children and then what their names were. Since those first baby steps, Tess has begun to share more important events in her life. Tess recently told me about her daughter who had just 91
been married and her own inner battle to take a shower, put on a dress, and actually step out of her apartment so she could attend the wedding. What a huge step Tess made that day and she said she would do it again for her daughter.
Often when my work day is done, I think about Tess. I look for new ways to get her to open up, some common ground that we can share. One day while I was sitting on my porch a pair of hummingbirds repeatedly flew from me to the feeder. I realized their feeder was empty and they were trying to get my attention. As I filled the feeder I thought about the feeder in front of Tess’s apartment. The empty feeder and the scattered bread in the yard hit me hard. Tess never had bread in her apartment, but the birds had bread every day. Feeding the birds was important to Tess and I was able to use that as our common ground. Tess and I reached an agreement the next day. I would get bread from the outlet store twice a week for her to feed to the birds. In return, she would keep her fresh bread for herself. This small gesture was a pivotal point in her ability to trust me. As Tess continues to share the most private areas of her life with me, I am fully aware of the trust she is beginning to place in me. A trust that, once broken, will never be mended. Trust can easily be shredded by something as small as a look she feels is judgmental; a negative comment; or something huge, like taking away what little control she has left in her life. Trust must be handled with the utmost respect and furiously protected like a new hatchling. *** Candy is outside sweeping the cherry pits off her walkway when I arrive. “Stupid trees always making a mess” she mumbles as I walk up. “Could you cut them down for me so I don’t have to sweep all the time?” Knowing Candy is dead serious about me cutting them down for her, I try to explain that since I do not own the property I cannot cut them down. “I pay for it every month and I say you can cut them down,” Candy states in a matter of fact tone. I explain that paying rent does not give her the right to have the trees cut down. Candy stomps into her spotless apartment. 92
The lockbox containing her medications sits on top of a towel to protect her table from scratches. Not a spot or stain is found on her sofa or carpet; you will never find a dirty dish sitting in her kitchen sink; dirt or crumbs are nowhere to be found. Her shelves and refrigerator resemble a supermarket; everything organized and in neat clean rows. At 5’7” and weighing 130 pounds, Candy has a nice shape. Her eyes, which are the color of gray storm clouds, are dull and listless, her face is haggard, and her high-pitched voice can grate on your nerves. She is over dramatic when answering questions, but tries hard to hide her inner turmoil. Short chewed fingernails and a solitary wedding band grace her hands. It has been seventeen years since her life was forever changed. Candy graduated high school and went on to vocational school to become an OR Tech. She was a very pretty young lady with blue-gray eyes, blond wavy hair, and dimples as big as canyons when she smiled. She married her high school sweetheart and became pregnant shortly afterwards. Candy gave birth to a healthy boy they named Jason. Jason was born on New Year’s Eve, and his mother doted on him like any new mother would. Candy felt as though life couldn’t get any better as she and her husband prepared to celebrate Easter. But life was about to throw this young couple a curve they were far from prepared to handle. Candy vividly describes the Easter morning she found Jason not breathing in his crib. The emergency squad could do nothing but transfer the dead infant to the hospital for the official declaration of death. That cool Easter day, Jason wasn’t the only life lost. Candy lost her life as she had known it, and shortly after Jason’s death her husband walked out on her. Candy monitors her weight throughout the day, which determines if she will eat or not. If she gains weight she will use water pills and stool softeners to force her body to lose the extra pounds. Candy will skip meals for days at a time, pump herself full of Magnum 357 diet pills, and drink a bottle of Milk of Magnesia in order to lose weight. On the rare occasions that she does eat, she weighs herself afterward and if she has gained even an ounce she will purge what she has eaten. No weight will ever be low enough to satisfy her. 93
Candy could not control Jason’s life or death; she could not stop her husband from leaving; so she holds tight to anything and everything she feels she can control.
As I randomly shove groceries into my cabinet I think of Candy’s clean, organized kitchen. I wonder how much time she really spends every day cleaning and reorganizing her apartment. I have more important things to do: taking my son to football practice, working on my degree, completing my paperwork. I have no time to worry about how my cans are organized in my cabinet. I realize that daily life keeps me so busy I have no time to worry about “frivolous things.” My heart goes out to Candy, who has no one to love and nowhere to go. She is on disability due to her Schizophrenia and Borderline Personality, so she isn’t allowed to work even if she could get someone to hire her. I search for something that would give Candy a reason to get up every day. Sign Language is something she learned at a young age and has remembered quite well. Candy has a dream; to help others that are “less fortunate than me.” I am working with The Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to see if we can get her involved as a translator. My goal is to help her find something that will make her feel like she is a contributing part of society. *** Two duplexes sit among the houses on a narrow street in a rural town. The front apartment on the left belongs to Steve. A weight bench and foosball table sits on the small covered porch. A picnic table covered with ashtrays and beer cans is sitting in front of the porch. The window next to the door is covered by an OSU banner. Every corner of the porch is blanketed in spider webs filled with dead bugs. Before I walk up to the door each day, I spray my pant legs, shoes, socks, and nursing bag with the can of Off I keep in my car. This is the only way to avoid being bitten by the fleas, not to mention preventing them from hitchhiking to my house. The first day I went to see Steve I left with more than a dozen flea bites and several stowaways. 94
After I knock twice, I walk into the cluttered apartment. As I enter, I can smell fresh coffee mixed with stale beer. The small living room is crammed full of furniture. There is a narrow aisle way that leads from the door to the bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom. The kitchen consists of two cabinets, one sink, a stove, and a shelf that runs alongside the refrigerator, which holds a massive old microwave. The trashcan that sits in the hallway between the kitchen and bathroom is always filled with varying amounts of beer cans (depending on the day and his mood). I step over Steveâ€™s deaf cocker spaniel and around the beer cans to head into the bedroom to wake Steve. I rouse Steve once and then go set up his medications for three days. Steve has uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension, a history of liver transplant, and a history of alcohol abuse. Once I get his medications ready, I go back into the bedroom to wake Steve again. Steve is a tall, slender man with an olive complexion. His face is stern and foreboding and his eyes are brown, outlined by a thin band of gold. His hair is dark, almost black, with the occasional gray wiry strand here and there. His body is riddled with scars from his many surgeries. A wide colorful Native American band is tattooed on his right upper arm and a black thunderbird is on his back. I have never seen Steve wearing anything more than his boxers. While he lies in bed trying to wake from his alcohol induced stupor, I check his blood sugar level, which is usually very high. I can tell when I walk into his apartment how high his blood sugar will be based on the amount of beer cans laying around. I continue my assessment as he struggles to keep his eyes open.
While Steve struggles to wake from his stupor, I struggle to find the slightest bit of sympathy or compassion inside of me. He made a choice to abuse alcohol, which led to the cirrhosis of his liver. He was then given a second chance at life when he received a liver transplant. There are many people on the transplant list who in no way contributed to their disease yet who die before they get that second chance. And here is a man who is squandering that gift with his continued abuse of alcohol. 95
While I treat him with respect and dignity, I find it extremely difficult to empathize with him. I really have to work to put my feelings of resentment and anger aside, so I can care for Steve in a professional manner. While I have the right to my opinions and feelings, I cannot allow them to cloud my judgment or taint my patient care. I have set a personal standard of care that I follow for all of my patients. This is the only way I can put aside my opinions and feelings for people like Steve and still treat them professionally. My standard - I treat each patient like they were a dear friend or a member of my family.
When Steve is finally able to get himself out of bed, he staggers to the bathroom. I smile as I think about what his Home Health Aid said to me one day: “If you use his bathroom while you’re here, be careful because he misses a lot.” I thought to myself, I don’t sit on his furniture while I am here, so why would I ever sit on his toilet? Steve then pours himself a cup of coffee, makes his way through the maze in his living room, sets down his coffee and falls onto the sofa. As he lights up a cigarette he asks in a gruff whisper, “What was my blood sugar?” I tell him again what his level is and the amount of insulin he will need. I hand him the syringe I drew up, because he insists on doing it himself, and he injects himself haphazardly in the arm. I ask him several questions while I finish my paperwork. Once he signs the paper I head for the door. “Have a good day. Be careful,” I hear as I walk out of the apartment. “You have a good day too, Steve. I’ll see you Wednesday.” I step out of his world and back into my own. When I reach my car, I grab the can of Off and again spray my legs and shoes before climbing in.
Leeland Waller Days Gone By Iâ€™ve lived a thousand lifetimes; Each one made of sand, trying to catch one tiny grain from slipping through my hand. Of everything I have and have not, The one Iâ€™ll regret always Is holding on to thunderstorms And losing the sunny days.
We always long for bygone times When darkness kills a fruitless day Nostalgia invades to fill the void As the brain sets sail away. But memories are mistaken When trading grain for grain If you flip the hourglass over; Each one still looks the same.
Cheryl Tucker 98
Star Trek: My Link to the Past "Fate protects fools, little children and ships named Enterprise" —Commander Riker (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Contagion) Star Trek may conjure up images of pointy ears, warp speed, and William Shatner (hopefully not singing “Rocket Man”), but many people are attracted to the inherent “goodness” of Trek and I have always been one of them. I could never resist an episode where the child-like, superintelligent android Data failed to understand the “human condition” or Picard felt uncomfortable around the Enterprise schoolchildren. The cheesiness of these moments makes me cringe and grin at the same time. When I started watching the show as a kid, Star Trek was a peaceful contrast to my turbulent home life. My mother died when I was eight years old, and after being shifted around for a year, I went to live with my grandparents. They were still very distraught over my mother’s death, and even though they loved me, I was not an easy child to raise. In me, they expected a miniature version of my mother. However, I did not fit the bill, and (after much emotional distress from all parties involved) I was sent to live with my father. Dad did not have a lot of time to spend with my brother and me; his work always seemed to be top priority. To keep us entertained and out of his way, we had a TV in every room. Instead of going outside to play with the neighborhood kids, I would sit in my room and watch hours of television. TV was there for me when I was home alone, when I was sad, when I was missing my mother, and when my father was too tired to cope with raising me. The wholesome goodness of Trek is what attracted me as a kid and keeps me going watching today. The show makes being “good” seem so easy and attractive. Work hard, “do unto others,” and reap the rewards; it is the golden rule in action. When encountering a hostile alien race, don’t worry; the Federation will come to the rescue and right the wrongs. This seemed the ideal model of life when I was young. In Star Trek, there is always someone who cares about your well-being and the overall progress of your life. As I grow older, I realize that life can be much more complicated than that; especially when the people closest to you can 99
inflict the most pain. The crew of the Enterprise tries to help each other overcome any problem (whether you are assimilated by the Borg and forced to turn on humanity or your android daughter suffers a cascade failure). Every week the crew of the Enterprise extricated me from my depressing reality. While I lived a solitary life, these characters worked together to solve the mysteries of the galaxy, making new friends (and sometimes enemies) at warp speed. The crew of The Next Generation seems more like a family than a group of co-workers. The same six people bonded closer together with every episode despite hardships such as determining the sentience of the science officer and having the counselor lose her empathic ability. None of these setbacks kept them from their weekly poker game or from reviving Sherlock Holmes on the holodeck. It was easy and comforting to become wrapped up in this science fiction fantasy. The show definitely has its flaws: often the writing is cheesy and the premise weak. Every time someone is trapped in the holodeck I roll my eyes, and no matter how many times I re-watch the episodes, I am always confused when time travel is involved. The Borg scares the crap out of me, and the Klingons aggravate me. Wesley Crusher's puffy orange sweater makes me giggle, as does Data's poetry about his cat Spot: Felis Cattus is your taxonomic nomenclature An endothermic quadruped, carnivorous by nature; Your visual, olfactory, and auditory senses Contribute to your hunting skills, and natural defenses (Star Trek the Next Generation: â€œSchismsâ€?).
Star Trek inspires a wide range of delightful, virtuous, nerdy emotions in me, even though I realize how far removed from reality the show actually is. It seems that most science fiction has become gritty in comparison to the Trek universe. I recently started watching Firefly, where someone seems to get shot in every episode, they have a prostitute on board, and the crew makes very questionable moral judgments. This is more true to real life, where people die, cheat, steal, and cuss. I witnessed my fair share of gritty reality while living in Los Angeles. I will never forget the well-dressed young man I found lying in a 100
gutter with a tourniquet still around his arm, or the masses of mentally ill homeless roaming the streets: this is the real world. In the world of Star Trek there is no widespread sickness, poverty or hunger. Having lost both of my parents and having experienced the “Trials and Tribble-lations” of life, I know how important it is to hope for a better future. As a child, I dreamed that transporters and Vulcans were right around the corner. I still love Star Trek, but I see that our distant future will most likely be similar to the one portrayed in Firefly. Recently I saw Star Trek (2009), where I witnessed physical violence unparalleled to any other Star Trek movie. I think Star Trek is beginning to reflect a violent reality. The future is supposed to be bright. People will never be as “good” to one another as they are in Star Trek, but it is the hope that they will that keeps me watching.
Boy in water
Alexandria Joris 101
Doug Moser Sensing My Apocalypse Have you ever heard a dead man’s voice? That changed words’ meanings, killed your choice Have you ever looked into a dead man’s eyes? Old cold tombs, sealing past lies Have you ever stared at a dead man’s face? Once preaching the superiority of his own race Have you ever held a dead man’s hand? Which brought drought and plagues to this land Have you been cradled by a dead man’s arms? Who falsely promised no future harm Have you felt the beat of a dead man’s heart? Who tricked, and ripped, and stole others’ art Have you ever smelled a dead man’s breath? Rotted teeth tell tales of meth Have you ever tasted a dead man’s lips? His twisted smile, sensing my apocalypse For I have heard his whisper and seen his silhouette He left his mark that I shall never forget For I have felt his touch and smelled his stink Putrid revelations make me fear to think For I have tasted his hair and licked his skin For I am dead too, I am man, I am sin
Guardian of the young
Elyn Tibbs 103
April Sears Immortality All that has goodness shall rise, Just as all things living must die. But within deep sleep, A treasure I keep, The will and the hope to survive. Through writing I carry this task, For I write what's behind this mask. I scribble on pages, That dwell through the ages, Oh, letters and words fly at last! When finally body is gone, What is it that's showcased at dawn? So I leave behind, An imprint of mine, Through stories and poems -- my spawn. On paper or digital screens, This writing of mine shall be seen. The words will run savage, They'll mend and they'll bandage, Contrast to my physical gleam. Once my mission has succeeded, Peace shall find me; think; believe it. When my writing speaks, My soul is complete: Immortal life has been seeded.
About The Editors Della Carver is a Senior English Major who is determined to one day rule the world but will settle for command over an English classroom for now. Renae Hersman is a Senior English Major who hopes to one day travel the world and shower it with her words. Chelsea Long is a Sophomore Criminology/Psychology Major who enjoys long walks on the beach, watching the sunset, giving inanimate objects genders, and being late no matter how hard she tries. If the pen is mightier than the sword, then Doug Moser is an Olympic Fencing Champion. Christina Porter is a Senior English/Anthropology Major with an Associates in Forensics who is determined to become the real life Bones. April Sears is a Senior English major with a strong love of the written word, graphic design, and cats. Daniel Terry is proof that sleep is optional. At the time of printing, Erin Tobin will have graduated and finally have to act like an adult. Katie Waldrop is the ever present go-getter who knows everyone and can do anything with the use of her time-turner. Elizabeth Weiser, faculty advisor, spends her time asking â€œSo where are we now?â€? and is happy to report that someone always knows.
About The Contributors Marie Ashley is an ’09 Alumnus but is returning soon to pursue Nursing. Ashley Burton is a Junior in English. Ashley Caggiano is an ’09 Alumnus with a degree in English. Jim Cannon is an ’09 Alumnus with a degree in English. Della Carver is a Senior in English. Amber Dingess is a Sophomore and is Undecided in her major. Misty Farley is a Sophomore in English. Hilary Frew is a Freshman in International Studies. Terry Gomes is a Senior in English. Renae Hersman is a Senior in English. Alexandria Joris is a Junior in Psychology. Ann Langfitt is a Junior in Anthropology. Chelsea Long is a Sophomore in Psychology and Criminology. Doug Moser is a Senior in English with a minor in Awesome! Keari Nickells is a Senior in English. Christina Porter is a Senior in English and Anthropology. Erica Pullins is a Junior in English and Psychology. Nora Robinson is a Junior in English. Kristen Rocca is a Senior in English. April Sears is a Senior in English. Adam Snoddy is a Senior in Integrated Social Studies. Daniel Terry is a Senior in English. Elyn Tibbs is an ’09 Alumnus with a degree in Psychology. Devan Toncler is a Freshman in English. Cheryl Tucker is a Senior in English. Elizabeth Varasso is a Senior in History and Geology. 106
Katie Waldrop is a Junior in English. Leeland Waller is an â€™09 Alumnus with a degree in English. Nancy Yoder is a Junior in Social Work.
Taproot would especially like to thank BigStyle for creating the new Taproot icon. If you are in want of artwork for any reason you can email Scott Lees at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (614) 485-9442. Visit BigStyleâ€™s webpage at: http://bigstyleproductions.com 107
Taproot Submission Guidelines All submissions should be sent to email@example.com at any time, for review each winter quarter and publication that spring. General Guidelines: Maximum of ten total submissions per candidate, all types. Please include the following in your submission email: o Full name (include name preference for publishing) o Academic status: If student: current rank and academic majors/minors If alumnus: current title, degrees, and year of graduation from Ohio State Newark Text Submissions: We accept submissions of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and academic essays. We prefer text submissions in Rich Text format (.rtf) or Word. All text submissions should be sent with file names that include the author’s last name (“Jones California poem”). Include the author’s full name and email address at the beginning of the document. Music Submissions: We accept original music pieces of any style for our online journal. We prefer submissions in Mp3 format. For submissions made by bands or groups please include: band or group name, each member’s contact information, and a list of band member’s position (such as singer, guitarist). All music submissions should be sent with file names that include the musician’s last name. If the piece does not have a title, then a number and last name is sufficient. Visual Art Submissions: We accept submissions of digital photography, drawings, paintings, animations and short films. Please send the highest resolution version of each submission. We prefer submissions in jpeg or avi formats. All art submissions should be sent with file names that include the artist’s last name. If the piece does not have a title, then a number and last name is sufficient (not “DSC370046” but “Coshocton Snowfall” or “Jones1”). 108
Published on Jun 6, 2012