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Volume 2


IT RATI

E

Volume 2 Spring 2011


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C aitlin K elley


Literati Volume 2 Spring 2011

Editor Michael Bagwell

Cover Art Rebecca Miller Design: Michael Bagwell

Copy Editor Kris Jackson

Sponsored By English Club West Chester University

Faculty Advisors Dr. Timothy Ray Dr. Kuhio Walters


Contents Prose Ben Segal

When Glen Made Something Beautiful 16 The Future of Dogfighting in America 18 What We Desire 20 Weather Days 21 Girlfriend, Interrupted 25 Kevin Basl In a Break Room 60 Dave Reinersmann The Object 84 Tara Tanzos Deafened 127 Adam Townes Words 161 Rogue Tears 163 Melancholea 167 Danielle Karthauser Puzzles and Pieces 176 Poetry J Daly Christopher Schaeffer

Megan McCormick

Timothy Essex

Mark Sepe

Bumper Cars The Oldest Song Mr. O’s Face Books About Bensalem Maxwell’s Demon Konigindernachtnagel/ Klytamnetranagel Adorno Naked on the Beach Chlorine Ghosts Crickets Rustle Dry Leaves Millipede Leaves Bicycle Spokes The Temptation of St. Anthony My Life as the Unspecified Object of Your Song Lyrics Pixilated Empire Maps A Sleepy Poem From One to Another Whoever Knew the Heavens Menaced So Connecting Dots

10 12 14 28 29 31 33 38 39 40 41 42 46 48 57 76 77 78


Poetry Cont. Mark Sepe Emma Gould

Justin Howe R.C. Long Tara Tanzos Britta Fogerty Michael Bagwell and Rebecca Miller Luke Stromberg

Adam Townes Chelsea Leusner

Sarah Robinson Jack Fuget

Kris Jackson Julie Pacaro Joe Calvarese George Davis Deanna Vasso Andrew Lloyd

Like Cats We Need What is it That Epic Really Means? Arm’s Length New World Refrigerator Poetry Look What We Can Do [brown paper six shooter] Morning Cerberus Wept January 09, ‘33Ghosts Many Roads  Garden Plans The Weed Cycle

80 81 82 96 97 98 99 114 116 118 124 132 133 135

Falling in Love Again Advice for Lonely Young Men International Kissing Day (July 6, 2010) [The days grow ever longer] Melancholy Kissed Me [The sounds my ears catch] [Soul hemlock] [The pain that weights] [Solitude you invade my body] [The cosmos have brought a stillness to flesh] We Hit the Wall And Suddenly There You Are The Carpenter Ignore Me, Heavens Footfalls Funk Serenade Winter Dawn To All Who Listen Righteous Breeders A Father to Be Symbios The Self-Evident Truths Brain Vomit Autumn Leaf [We must soon create]

154 155 156 161 165 170 171 172 173 174 184 185 187 192 194 195 196 198 200 202 204 208 210 214 216


Poetry Cont. Laura Valentin Amber Marcoon Justin Monturano

Dawn Flower in Rain [The Earth, dry and cracked from embracement of the sun Hannah Peters [I lost my train of thought] Meredith Spratt Mustard My Happiness Brings Unhappiness Gem;en;i. Jessica Marie Cavaliere Silver Lane Embers/ Sands of Time Papyrus Flow Billy Lockhart [As the steam rises]

218 222 224 226 228 229 230 232 234 235 238

Artwork Caitlin Kelly Sara Crawford Marty Maaskant Tug Deluce Megan McCormick Rebecca Miller Augustus deSimone

2, 102, 103, 219 8,9,15, 27, 37, 101, 108, 109, 112, 113, 117, 123, 131 4, 43, 44, 45, 57, 72, 73, 110, 111, 219, 220, 223, 227, 233 63, 64, 66, 67, 68, 70, 72, 83, 95, 104, 105, 189, 190, 191, 197, 203, 207, 209 106, 107 135, 136, 138, 140, 144, 148, 150, 212, 213, 215, 217 152, 153, 159, 169, 175, 183


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S ara C rawford


J Daly Poetry


Bumper Cars Streetlight snow piles around our shoes, melting and wetting socks; prickled flesh is rosy with adrenaline. We don’t move, we just tip over, I always say, in the place where gravity works best. I stood in the snow off to the side, looking, I imagine, like something that had been scraped off the street. Bouncing lights harshly caress the tableau of big-kid bumper cars. A creeping ache begins at the base of the neck. Awash in the mixed flavors of defeat, my whole body is a mouth: swollen tongue and cracked teeth, a hair caught in the throat. We feel crushed, piled in our jackets, checking wreckage. Metal twists and braids like so much thread, lit and softly exposed, like an art piece. 12

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We make a meal of our nervous bile, feeling small like never before, confronted with the monument of our unpreparedness.

J D aly

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The Oldest Song Lurid blood on my moon-white horn, a stark painting as I face the mirror. Colorless stains on sacral flesh where a leg protrudes from the layers of blankets piled in depth on my dampened bed. The statuesque body unmoving, like Grecian marble, the skin of the dead. Humming the oldest song I know, not waking the somnolent lull, open wide to the night: no dreams haunting the hollow skull. The wind from far-off Crete does not chill my austere shelves, nor the stone-veined basin where I wash myself of the iron flavor which soaks my gums as I recall the night’s savage affairs: in virgin colors they arrive, each one engulfed in prayer. From the house of axes I came, the intestinal labyrinth where I was undisputed master, eater of all who entered there. 14

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I reminisce on perverse congress, near divine my aberrant birth, such perversity my kingdom is: the wild gardens of the earth. No Knossos, this, no Minoan hall, yet a wealthy maze still, I uphold. Lines of youth in whited flesh whose blood yet fills the bowls in my secret rooms where I keep the many portraits of my paramours, their virtue sacked by animal desire. My maze digests those I adore.

J D aly

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Mr O’s Face Admiring Kazuo Ohno (1906-2010) Exilarch of dark harbors, he moves ankle-deep in the water, blue with dawn blooming on the soft wings of seabirds. Mr. O’s face, a painting, the artistic fact of flesh manifest like a promise: lines of black cotton dresses, haphazardly fluttering in the last atomic breeze. Clad in those shrouds he becomes truth, the feminine divine: Mrs. Christ on beaches of ash. Mr. O pulls broken limbs through the thick, watery air, hollow-boned and painted. Lovely like a burial at sea, jellyfish dancing, the rotten hulls of warships: Mr. O’s secluded steps. Childlike, the entire world makes a shrine for Mr. O’s face. 16

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Ben Segal Prose


When Glen Made Something Beautiful

T

hey have a pool in the backyard.

Things are going swimmingly. Glen is the kind of person who uses ‘chair’ as a verb and Mary forgets that ‘blackberry’ originally referred to fruit. Mary’s aunt died so they had to go to the funeral. The funeral was nine hours away in rural Ohio. They drove all the way there in one day and cried less than the other guests. There were deviled eggs at the reception after the ceremony. Glen thought that was a bad omen. Mary said her aunt was obsessed with dairy products and Glen told her that eggs weren’t really dairy. They were just mis-categorized as such in a lot of supermarkets for the sake of convenience. That same night they drove part-way home and stopped over in a motel. Glen caught a cold. He sniffled and coughed and spat


out ropes of mucus into the bathroom sink. The next morning the maid tried to hang herself with them but they’d dried hard to the sink’s interior. It was nice though, the pattern of mucus strands curving into the ceramic concavity. The maid took a few photographs before turning to the steel wool.The ideal bathroom is clean, white, and empty. That’s what the manual says. So bleach and steel wool. Bleach that filled the abrasions on her fingers while Glen and Mary couldn’t believe how few radio stations there were out here.

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The Future of Dogfighting in America

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hese humane days they’re teeth-pulled

and declawed, pawing and gumming til the loser walks off bored and mouth-slimed. Cruel’s a sport where our dogs tear out throats and bleed dead for the crowd. Now we garter belt them, slip in dollar bills for the slinkiest. Watch them dogs shake and slobber. They smile and wag, bruise each other up with blunt force. I rub mine down with no-stick PAM, work that fur gleaming and greased so no jaws can clamp his body. Just last week he took three hundred in slipped tips, cantering round the dirt pit, all mean and slippery. My boy’s pure rottweiler and dark coated. I’ve seen him gum a pit bull round his neck and lift that animal airborne so fast that other dog screamed womanly and shit liquid streams right into the crowd. My boy, they called him winner right there and banned that shitting pit for life.


Those clean-shirted boys and all, they don’t want to see bloodsport. So we listened. We took out the blood part, made the whole a slower greased up spectacle, made it all the more like exotic dance. I stuff a five down into my rottweiler’s belt and he sees fit to turn things back to nasty. He knows bred into him, a fight’s for killing. So he sidles down onto that doberman, greenbacks rippling fringe in his garter, and he traps that other snout between his buttered chest and the packed dirt. And he waits, and we all wait, and the doberman’s not kicking beneath my boy’s weight and the noise of the crowd.1

1. Originally appeared in Gigantic B en S egal

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What We Desire

W

e desire an aerodynamic man.

A missile of a man, shaven and oiled and smooth; lacking entirely the ripples of muscle and body-fat. Lacking sinews and veins that protrude from the perfect flatness of skin. In the water, hands out-stretched, shot from a marine cannon, he would not stop. He would not stop.


Weather Days

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t is raining and he is naked

and more likely to engage in

sex acts.

Wet streets fill with seeking people. Water skinned and hot people slide into each other, off. Bodies slop and soak, tangle stray hair. Martin says the sky is coming. A body calls him chicken little. Her skin is exactly his father’s and chafes him in spite of the wet. Martin likes the rain because at least there is motion and crying is permitted these days. t

t

t

It is bright and windy and he feels totally retarded. He is looking through his window at the corner store girl. Today is a still


day. The corner store girl looks enough like someone else. He isn’t going to talk to her ever. t

t

t

After heavy rains the street is worm-strung, nostalgic. Martin is thinking about himself and other people. There are so many skin blotches in the world that he wants to die. The girl with his father’s skin doubles his father’s multitude of discolorations. His own skin is strung out patches and wellings. Martin spreads cream cheese on bagels, runs a machine, parcels hot mugs. He has six crushes and says ‘the usual?’ to them when they come in. He has one regular who is probably the zoo crocodile he saw as a child. That was when Martin noticed that of all the animals, only reptiles have as much skin exposed as people. And frogs and some pigs. Martin’s mother said that Jews don’t eat things if you can see their skin. Fish don’t count because they have scales. Martin took this to mean that skin is dirty and disgusting, an evolutionary relic or species deformity. Martin took this to explain why Jews have sex through a hole in a sheet. He was just post- Bar Mitzvah and half his current age. He gives the crocodile lady his kind look. She takes non-dairy creamer and smiles a lot. Martin and she watch each other like maybe if they’d been born in the same year they’d have wanted to go out.

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t

t

t

The heat wave lasts a whole month and everyone is blissfully happy. t

t

t

Martin has the rain behavior before he sees the clouds. They suicide into raindrops, cue the milling crowds. Martin holds two girls and a boy for long enough to remember their faces. He goes to work at the right time and towels off with the employee towel in the back room. Dry Martin itches through the end of the storm, settles into his shift. The walls in the cafe are a calming institutional blue. This slow day busies.The little shop fills with post-rain melancholics. Martin serves. t

t

t

Martin is weatherbound, also unable to exceed or escape the limits of his material condition. The radical status break of the rain behavior is not revolutionary but ameliorating, distracting. Martin sees no place for revolutionary action or any kind of a transcendental, so is obsessed with surface and skin. There is a cold spell and Martin is restless, irritable. Martin is desiring. His desire is in the face of weather (which can be read as inevitability) and labor (which can be read in accordance with the standard Marxist analysis). He wears canvas shoes and a beard. He works and weathers. Martin will do this for as long as he lives.

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t

t

t

It is raining and Martin is face to face with the girl with exactly his father’s skin.They are coursing water and naked. Her touch is his father’s, firm and warm on his back. Now are touches he has never felt, still unmistakably his father’s. Martin is involved in her hairs. He takes them in his mouth, chokes down her ponytail. Martin’s father is bald. The ponytail slides down his gullet. He presses into his father’s birthmark on her shoulder, digs a fingernail into the mole. The rain lightens and he sputters, disgorges her blond locks. Martin and the girl step back a pace, turn, walk away from each other in the tapering drizzle.1

1. Originally published as a limited edition chapbook from Mud Luscious Press 26

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Girlfriend, Interrupted

T

he thing is, I didn't mean what

I said when I told you I thought we should see other people.” I was talking to my ex-girlfriend. I really hadn't meant it when I broke up with her. “I only said that because Becky said you were going to leave me first and I was terrified of that.”This was also true. But Becky had lied. I'm pretty sure Becky had lied. “Do you think I can take it back?” My ex-girlfriend and I were sitting across from each other in the organic hamburger restaurant across from her apartment. “No, you can't take it back.” “Why not?”


“Because it's been ten years.” She wasn't kidding. It had been ten years. Also, we were 14 at the time. I probably shouldn't have pushed my luck asking for details. This was all Becky's fault though. She'd lied to me and I'd broken up with the cutest girl in the 9th grade. “But you see, I just found out that Becky had lied to me.” I explained. My ex-girlfriend thought I was retarded. “So?” she said.

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Christopher Schaeffer Poetry


Books About Bensalem The taxi slows and then unslows, um, what Is that called again—the part where mass And energy work together to make Something loud and terrible and good. Fast, yes, Speed. The sun coughed this morning but nobody heard. It Pretends that nothing happened. There was Blood in its mouthwash and no good news on the radio. Morrissey had a bad weekend—more on that later. When it gets dark I pop in the bookstore and study The book of martyrs. The long flat child being interviewed At the next table describes finding Christ And traveling the country bringing glory to The name of God and the Church, but I thought That God and the Church had broken up years ago, Like exhausted clouds or forgotten bands. Maybe not. Everything Is coming back together. If you spill your coffee The beautiful barista with diamond hairclips will Refill your cup with something like infinite grace. Saint Bartholomew was a martyr, yes, With his skin slung over one arm.

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Maxwell’s Demon With its fingers splayed against the wall and moving close to the ground, It hisses and draws in dropped food. With its tongue, it eats black excess of toast, egg yolk, But has a taste for meat. We don’t Eat meat here. In other parts of the country our friend lives Somewhere beautiful, she takes photos In primary colors. The yellows she lives in Make us put our hands to our chests. The sunflowers of her town leap Over the buildings, thick as wrists, say, We will keep this town safe from undue meditations. The stairs entirely made of ivy, the door breathes, It sighs, it is green entirely. Come friendly bees gilding the inside of key-holes With comb, come home, the town says, Candied ginger comes from glad faucets. Yes of course they recycle there. I would sleep in their fountains, Or the pictures I have seen of the fountains even. Document: Those sunflowers twined together 100-feet high Like a cathedral. The day Maxwell’s demon Leaves the back-door open, leaves but lets in Stray cats and cold weather. The day I was eight and found a bullet in the street And thought this is what baptism might feel like, Terrifying and instructive on the problem of evil, C hristopher S chaeffer

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The day I was eighteen and Dahlia Ravikovich died, She too found something in the street. The day in 1936 Moritz Schlick left his apartment, missed the train, Arrived at the University of Vienna thinking of the broad Gardens in Prinze-Eugen Strasse and pausing half-way up The stairs felt his heart collapse around two Sudden wounds. Someone’s theory about the reincarnation of the ego, Which the stupid poet doubts, backed up by modest Schlick At the moment of death—his brain transforming up and out Of the skull and its soft white bed of hair, Going off on the smoke of the books that would burn, someday. It is his ghost that stands this morning at the foot of the bed, Polishing its glasses and chewing on candied ginger. It sneers at this poem but is gentle when it tells me poems aren’t real, That my German is atrocious. This poem will teach you some facts about ghosts. This poem will teach you nothing.

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Konigindernachtnagel/ Klytamnestranagel To attempt to add something to the Greeks: To pull one’s hands across the surface of the cliff, To leave something of yourself there, raised And striated, in interstices, in cracks“Is this code or hysteria,” a doctor of language will ask in the far future, “or prophesy or plain talk?” Or a deleted scene from the general downfall, Excised for reasons of pacing a budget. It is understood in one way when the fire makes Its transit from Ida to Lemnos to Athos to Macistus And another when it lights on the roof of your house, makes An apostle of you as everything you own melts into air. And it is understood one way, the system of marks and incisions On the back of the business card, and it is understood as The secret art of defacing the astronomy of paper, the mute agon between the right hand and the left. After the fact, the horuspex arrived in a black Rolls Royce And snapped his rubber gloves and brushed aside the grieving chorus, Cleanly bisected the young Cassandra, fixed his gleaming forceps on The gleaming wreck of the Ding an sich. Unidentified character On rooftop, in background, provides a helpful gloss on what Cassandra saw. Sometimes in this life a puppet will die on TV for no reason. C hristopher S chaeffer

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Described on the evening news as a plot that does not consume Itself, a sad excuse for coup de theatre, a waste of a perfectly good Apollo. That night, you wake up and find both hands unfamiliar, One commanding the whole of the mise-en-scène, tipped with Absorbing panels and redirecting the narrative flow at will, The other confined to the coordinates of the act itself, The scene of the crime.You find yourself in a crisis of translation Or decryption, in a blank forest of bad hand-writing. When you turn on the light you will find both exhibits laid out in purple. When you turn on the light one hand will be wax, the other salt. Cassandra saw traffic drawing a ribbon in the Suburbs of ATE’s dyed hair. She saw the kind of night where the deer lay traps for the lights. Oh home for wayward birds and crooks. Oh burglary. Oh man In black slacks on the side of the road, gesturing that each performance Will be the first take, sad, and the last, hilarious.

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Adorno Naked on the Beach “There is no love that is not an echo.” —Theodor Adorno I saw myself too much in the face of the birthday boy, So I ate the expense of the expensive birthday cake in the dark Diminished tones of empire. And then I ate the cake. I was a cartoon dog singing the praises of Hollywood blackface Driving drunk towards Adorno’s house in a stolen talking car. I was the blonde tennis god you asked for on your amazon wishlist. I loved only death and the image of the twelve-tone method. I loved only the twelve-tone method and the tennis-court voice of death. I used up each sound in its turn until nothing remained, I was grim like A selfish lover and as a knife-fight on camera. I wagged my small brown tail At each note flickering out along the ragged lines of scale. I was the three pound bag of sand. I was the polished heart and the scale. I was a cartoon dog singing the song of the unconsecrated Pacific. I am driving to your bedroom in a stolen talking car. As each tone turns up its lights and scales up production You become aware of me watching you through the keyholes Of each petite model castle lined up on the talking car C hristopher S chaeffer

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show-room floor. I become aware of you becoming aware. I pretend not to care. The prepared Piano sighs around a mouthful of pegs and nickels on the show-room dials. The tennis-court prepares for rain. Theodor Adorno runs through the silver Bars of sleet for the last haunted taxi to Ghost Planet 0. I was the man with the coupon for the haunted Rossellini box-set, The one that screams and cries blood and is remastered for blu-ray. I was the one that teared up at the end of Germany:Year Zero. I was an unbaptized dog on the planet of cartoons, haunted By the way my mouth barked mute around pegs and nickels, And how each saint I met on the road averted his gaze. In your bedroom, I found Christ at last, singing his grave-song and down for whatever. You were the queen of haunted cars, the king of the talking castle bed-room. You were stretched out on the mattress like a model heart stained with white wine. I was the silent lover you picked up at the bar for selfish knifefighters (even now, We twine our wrists together and swing cleavers around in the dust).You were The three pound bag of sand left unopened at the artificial beach The gods built to teach the Pacific something about humility. It didn’t learn. (even now, the waves, the bitter whale-songs. The motion of underwater blogging) In death, I found love in the underwater motion of the twelvetone method. 36

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Using up each sound turned me on. Nothing remained but atonal harmony And the ragged bathroom scale. I remained haunted by pegs and nickels and Bled from the mouth, a model patient. I pretended not to care about Each selfish ghost whispering drunk and coy at the door of Adorno’s tiny castle. I pretended I was a three pound bag of sand, gracefully deaf and aloof. I wrote cosmic on the beach like Stockhausen. I recorded myself stumbling for hot keys. I was the king in white wine twined to the dust by a knife. I was shut up in your room. I was the kind of typewriter ribbon you give to ugly babies with sonnets for teeth. I was the cartoon dog you sacrificed on the altar, and the three pound bag of sand The gods sent down in return. I was the last gently stained ghost on your amazon wishlist. I was sad, and you were sad. We were sad and dragged our feet along the Pacific ocean. I saw too much of the ocean in the wet floor of this car, drunk and in love with the death Of the twelve-tone scale. Adorno says: kiss me, cretin, with your two-tone lips! Dear reader, I—!

C hristopher S chaeffer

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Megan McCormick Poetry


Chlorine Ghosts Hotel bedroom above the 2am pool water shatters (candy wrapper) and children’s laughter (the whoops of youth) gleeful shrieks pierce through the floorboards vibrating along boxsprings slicing the pillowcase the sticky slap of wet feet on tile echoes in my left ear as I pray for sleep

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Crickets Rustle Dry Leaves The ocean swiftly pours; you can hear it Through the shutters and around the bend It drains again pulling beads of sand In harmony with the crickets as they bend waves

M egan M c C ormick

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Millipede Leaves dry leaves crinkle and curl rolled like toasted cornchips; twisted newspaper. One, an armadillo, a rotten-wood beetle, recoiling from an eraser tipped pencil encased by armor the warm the soft safe veiny and brittle it stiffens in the wind, only to be carried away like the poor victim of an automobile collision

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Bicycle Spokes clamber down the road engulfed by a shroud of sweat thoughts spin lazily

M egan M c C ormick

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The Temptation of St. Anthony The grey horizon slices through his translucent, shadowless body. Sinews bursting through flesh, he brandishes prudence— ligaments strained between rigid muscle, he clenches desperation in his whitened knuckles The whiteness of light mirrors her breasts. A procession of impossible beasts, hot-breathed, carry her, towering clumsily, stilted on spindling buttresses— legs reminiscent of a sprig of torment or the snap of a twig

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M arty M aaskant


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Timothy Essex Poetry


My Life as the Unspecified Object of Your Song Lyrics I love you in your doomsday robe, breathing silently with your fingers skimming the lectern and your moustache fingering your earlobes while whistling the James Bond theme. I love when you wear your Superman pajamas. I stay up most nights plotting to circumvent your eyes. It works like a vehicular shark fin spraypainted the color of the moon and hung around the neck.You send me crosswords and fancy boxes. I love that. I hate you.You love me adhesively. I’d leave you for a plastic soldier. In one box is a flower in slow throttle and an unlocked mailbox and a bubble of unsolved equations. In the flower, a spool of machinery and crunching numbers. I wonder if you keep mirrors around your place. I wonder where you get your ideas. I’m not closing the window, just coloring it your least favorite color, then embroidering it with flowers and chocolates and baby mice and red paper lips—all the things you never let me keep around. You dream like a drunk lurches and I can’t stop listening to your narcotic bedtime stories about the last days of this and that and how everything turns to salt and then falls like space shuttles into 48

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the ocean. You love the ends. I love the swerve of your shoulder blades. Hit me baby where you know it hurts uh huh and then lick my ears numb with your unpierced tongue but don’t leave me to evaporate in the sewers like the thousand times before. I’d leave your for a plastic soldier with a grenade and the guts to stick it in his mouth.

T imothy E ssex

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Pixelated Empire Maps I. Murder in the first scene, making me want to go find reality, shoot it in the stars in the park. I was in the dark, narrating your lives, my lives, the mirror swinging, her laying on the androgynous rocks in the wrong light, soaking sunlight with her mother who is a photograph, and a dancer. I want to fondle a bagel for each time you rise like bodies beneath bedsheets from the horizon of my dreamwork.You vanish into your elements and I lay the cream cheese down like palm leaves on the dirt and then I lay down in it, feeling not far from being a sort of god. Second scene, an epistemological shaking beneath the raven’s toes, 50

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a long nasal crack furcating the sway of silence. Winter on furlough, earth coddles seed, harbors stone. Miles waft between bridges. The mood settles into a bowl of lentils. The whole courtroom laments your girth, we barely even yet two pigments collapsing into one.

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II. She’s very real, we just can’t see her, clamped as we are unto earth, her rusting skies barely suitable anymore for our church picnics and nighttime revelries, extending dark and digital from the Via Dolorosa to the wanderers’ last song, where psychedelic mushroom Jesus breathes sweet catacomb water vapor to a few hazy listeners in the greasy blue morning. She wants to dance with flowers, beneath the creeping trees, who’ll clap for any damaged, dying damsel, and she wears her worn stilettos like a ravaged forest on the last leg of a billion-year learning curve. I feel these things when I open up to the mirror, defrocked and moving at quarter-trot, fluid as a dying religion peddling its stilts, bleeding your name form my lips which wither when your voice box trembles, molecules burping vibrations like autoerotic wind chimes. This happens oft and long into the night. She’s very real, we just can’t see her, dazed as we are between the ground and the smashed laver, aerator of wasted epiphanies, burnt lamb cologne. Third scene,

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the whole half-truth spills onto the reddened granite countertop, the motion funneling into an eroded synchrony, photo-op with the queen, shopping lists for the children’s children, my pulse naked in the alehouse, flirting with the boatmen, wasting numerically, beginning with the thumbs, leaving this world to the nighttime shift of your pinstriped clean-up crew, the mops and stardust, phallic representations and botched resurrections— whatever slams the spit back down the ocean’s throat. The rain drops from the hole in my brain, is what she whispered through the pores in the pavement.

T imothy E ssex

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III. The instructions are written deep inside my throat. In the first life I have no regrets, only horrors. Leave a callback number beneath the doormat. Cinders. Giant tumoral lullaby. Croon till your eyelids snap, and waves caress the broken moon. Leave a dollar in my pocket. Alms for the deceased. Entropic marbled floor, marry me to the sounds of the universe spilling systematic and hyper-hyphenated into the sound of shadows embracing. Marry me cold-blooded and castrated, beneath and archway molded of elephant tusks. Bring me an elephant tusk when you get back. Get it back cold with ideas. Now everything looks like a path—the asphodel flag, smoked rose-stems, spastically patterned garments to wear abstract and out-of-rhythm to the waterpark pageant. Write yourself an elegy and paste it to your better epoch. Peel me open like the desperate rain, drip the lavender down my nostrils, weave your lapidary diaries into the irony-free zone of my pulmonary alveoli. I’m tired of stars neither hot nor cold,

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and of the stars. Leave a throwback necktie beneath the ashes, neither hot nor cold. In the second life, I fall repeatedly over the balcony. Then I mark notches in a legion of balconies, rifling my illustrious midnight form from the earth, with a crowbar and a straight flush. I slip it musically beneath the parole officer’s door. I think he winked. I think he just slipped me a baggy of blue pills. I bombed the infirmary seventy times for the seventy times you sent your puerile ghosts to haunt the groundhog tunnels that haunt the boneyard of my well-intended gestures. So much for semantics. Now I am a failed orator, proscribed to the space between your yellow buckteeth, to sleep fitful as a crime scene, to wobble away from your window like an anaphylactic beaver. Scene four, your memoir debuts like a scourge of locusts or a thousand fiddling fiddles. It reads like a porno script, her lips brushing flowers like wind fingering the contours of a corpse.

T imothy E ssex

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IV. She’s very real, we just can’t see her, for we are hamstrung between dirges, heaven barely a blip approaching our landing strip. Give me up to the imperial window. Sell it like a corporate takeover. Suck the powder off my face, love, then dig in with your little nails. Not one jot shall fall with notice. and everyone said, Amen. I meant to find a reason to litter your doorway with heartache, and then leave. I didn’t so here I am, metafunctional and hypertrophied as a leaf, dying of double chocolate muffins. In the first life the weather remains almost safe. The ambient stars aspire to be showgirls. Soon the ‘medicine’ cabinet is drained of purse and stature. In the second life, I sit on the sidewalk, waiting for a storm, which is a nasty idea—sitting on the sidewalk, I mean—unless you’re a worm. The prophetic oaks have moved into the sunlit meadow, which is to say, they’ve gone on. Ditto the prophetic swans and bed of pure anarchic form. She’s very real, we just can’t see her, which is to say, she’s gone on, she’s getting very sleep, she’s on a bad trip in the backseat, she’s in skimpy negligee thinking up ways to isolate time. In the third life, we are measly neglected and left mostly just with songs. This one’s two rhinos in collusion against a sandstorm, this one just a guy and his bagel keeping it real on the slow56

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track, this one a left nipple drained of nectar and stuffed into a war-town mouth, and this one, gristly and nearly over, makes me almost believe cuddling could rid the world its scourge.

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V. Flanked by seven jars of tears, he sank into the windshield’s luster. Where the moon is darker is where god has put out his cigarettes. Like a piano she only danced when played right. They covered peace for decades with songs, new moon and old moon shuffling lazily. No one bothered to decode the lamplight, for it was clear. He gathered himself into a bottle, eyes blinking calmly. Like a river no one bothered to build homes in her. Like peace she was only in the songs. Like god you had to go to the text to get it. Finally the appearance could almost be put into words. Final scene. Electrocuted moth graveyards. Numbers. These were golden times.

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A Sleepy Poem 1. The flowers wilted in a pink-papered box. The letter en route to the destination. The words somewhere in the mishap. The meaning never stood a chance. 2. I feel like something only a goat would eat. I’d like to be eaten by something not a goat. 3. I love the way my fingers can bend. I love real paper money. I love your synthetic heart, remotecontrolled brain, prickly little eyes barely bothering to peek through the hole. I love all that happens under blankets. 4. She bakes me cookies. I am decisively between states. Let’s not throw him overboard, he’s just a sleepyhead.

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Kevin Basl Prose


In a Break Room

I

this morning while stuck in traffic on my drive to work. Maybe you heard it too. I’m referring to the news segment about the city river police’s apprehension of a man floating ocean-bound in a homemade raft. You didn’t hear it? Well, if you’re not in a rush to get back to work, I’ll tell you about it. A couple nights ago, sometime after midnight, a patrol boat responded to reports of a “large dark mass” drifting near the concrete retention wall that buttresses the Gamble Street shoreline. The newscaster said the dark mass was passing through a high commercial traffic zone, off limits to non-motorized boats and swimmers. Like anyone would want to swim in that river anyway, you know? I figure the broadcaster must have been talking about the section of water near the new industrial park that opened last year, around the area just before the suspension bridge if you’re driving south on the expressway. That’s a pretty foul strip of river to be rafting on any time of the day. caught something amusing on the radio


At first, the police thought whatever was drifting was just trash or a dead animal. But then they put the spotlight on it—him— and realized they were looking at a man paddling a homemade raft. One cop said following his initial shock he burst out laughing; that the scene reminded him of a child playing on an inner tube at the beach. Another cop told reporters it looked like the guy was trying to make a jailbreak. I wish I could have been there myself to see this idiot get put on the spot. They pulled him in before he could get away. He wasn’t carrying much. A backpack with a change of clothes and some food. No money on him. Police figured he was a bum until they found out he had an apartment, a job, car, everything. Crazy, right? That’s not all though. They actually arrested him—for trespassing. I couldn’t believe it when I heard the announcer say that. I laughed so hard I almost rear-ended the car in front of me. Apparently, that section of the river is technically within bounds of the wastewater treatment plant. What’s more, because he tried to ignore the river patrol—he just kept paddling after they called him in—they also got him for evading arrest. It’d be pretty tough to top the misfortune of this whack-job. But it gets even better. After arresting him, they took him to the police station for processing. They were able to obtain a search warrant for his apartment due to the nature of his crime: trespassing on water works property. Seems a little absurd doesn’t it? I thought so at first too. But, you know, these days we can’t ignore suspicious behaviors—especially when it’s a guy rafting through the city after dark. Wasn’t there an incident a few years ago where a terrorist tried to cross the border on a makeshift raft? It seems likely. The cops found nothing odd about the guy’s apartment initially.Then they looked up at the ceiling in his bedroom. Freshly spray-painted across the skylight were the words: Did he ever really live at all? Obviously he’s insane. He wouldn’t answer any of the cops’ questions either. I guess he wanted to make it look as if he had K evin B asl

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dissolved into thin air, just like something out of a movie. Or maybe by getting caught he got exactly what he wanted: public exposure. Start by getting on the news, spin an unfortunate childhood, maybe work it up to a book deal. You see a lot of desperate cries for attention these days. Well, I should get back to work. I have a million things to get done today. I’ve been backed up for weeks now.You too? Sometimes I get so stressed that I feel like I’m going to snap out there. I’ll grab another coffee, then get back to it. Anyway, it’s reassuring to know that they now have this urban mountain man locked up in a mental care unit, off the streets. People stop taking their medication—or never start it in the first place—and they can’t function in normal society. They become a danger to everyone. Problem is, anymore you just can’t pick out the crazies from the rest of us. Alright, I’ll talk to you later. Time for me to get back to the grind.

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Tug Deluce


A rtwork

by

M arty M aaskant


Mark Sepe Poetry


From One to Another i. Today: the autumnal equinox, change, six pomegranate seeds inside a mouth and ready to be swallowed, planted in our bodies, watered with December's ice. In spring they'll sprout from us. In spring we'll eat the fruits we've been tricked to grow through winter. ii. How is it that new faces creep into these quiet dreams, slip in without notice? I woke up in the middle of the night earlier this week to temperate breathing and nostalgia—the sound of the person next to me and a relived memory. iii. We've transitioned slowly with the season, laid secrets bare no different than the trees.

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Whoever Knew the Heavens Menaced So? “There is no great sport in having bullets flying about one in every direction, but I find they have less horror when among them than when in anticipation.” —Umberto Eco Tonight the wheels in motion here is lightning here is Cassius from nothing somewhere in the storm. Tomorrow no fleering tell-tale, made ruin what could ever come of it? Those that with haste will make a mighty fire begin it with weak straws I'm lost somewhere in next March and yesterday’s dead questions.

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Connecting Dots I found the eight millimeter video reels that you asked about tucked away in a closet in a box with all the other stuff you had left when you left the matches the baseball your name on plaques and contracts and the old Sports Illustrated magazines. I found the wallet too in there the one you didn't say and I'd forgotten worn brown leather tri-folding plastic cards from another time another place that seemed always out of reach. Years ago I couldn't even tell you now 80

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how many times I looked through that old thing read what I could find inside it tried to make something from the pieces. Back then I never really could you know but now now with this splayed right out in front of me pulled apart and dissected I think I've fit the bits together, I think I've closed an open circle.

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Like Cats we Need Like cats we knead blankets, make temporary nests of warmth and comfort to satisfy nostalgia, spur jejune memory into ebullient matter bubbling up and cloying until we scratch, bite the hand in close proximity. At night we nestle, lithely curl round lamps and candles all tapering out or down while daylight, ambling, creeps its way into our rooms, writhing through the windows, the slits through doorways that wait patient to be unlocked and opened.

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What is it That Epic Really Means? There is no Trojan Horse or Cicones no foul winds and lotus-eaters. In the corner Polyphemus sleeps soundly a paper tiger, nobody bothers him. Circe forgot her spells Helios takes better care of his cattle and Calypso's isle is for the birds (some fleeting daydream lost between quick blinks). There is no ship, no twenty years tonight there is only me and the bus: brief stops between myself and you.

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Arm’s Length i. If Pelops was anything but Pelops he'd be the welcomed tune I used to hum the veins that carried once congenial blood. Late last night between sleep and not I dreamt about the kind of man I used to be: he was fruit on the trees for which I'd reach but could never catch, water in the lake for which I'd bend but could never drink. ii. I've opened every door and drawer inside my apartment tonight trying to find something I can't name—I've forgotten now what it was I was even looking for. There's a hide and seek game going on here and no one's playing but ghosts and shadows.

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Dave Reinersmann Prose


The Object

A

steroids are like snowflakes,

no two are alike. That’s not entirely true, though, is it? A truer statement would be ‘no two are identical.’They are obviously all alike: rocky, irregular, pitted with craters. But they do vary quite a bit in composition, and while there are many smaller than your fist, some are larger than cities. I am referring to asteroids, of course, not snowflakes. Asteroids come in a great many shapes as well, but none of these shapes is perfect. That is to say, there are no perfect eggs, perfect cubes, or perfect spheres. So when The Object was close enough for its precise shape to be defined, we were all quite stunned. NEO’s There are millions of Near Earth Objects in space, but only a few thousand have been catalogued. Identifying and tracking small space objects has never struck the world’s gov-


ernments as a sensible way to spend their limited intellectual and fiscal resources. As everything else that had been overlooked through the course of human history, it seems more pressing in hindsight; I assure you. Come to think of it, this will be the last mistake we ever make. When a new NEO is discovered, it does not usually make headlines; it is scarcely noticed outside of the community which studies them. The only types of objects which make news are those which pass particularly close to Earth, and are of sufficient size to compare to an American city. Telling someone a rock 100 meters across is going to pass the planet at a distance of 400 million kilometers doesn’t make for as good a story on the 10 o’clock news as scaring the bejabbers out of the public by saying Atlanta is going to fall on their house. This Near Earth Object made headlines—it made all the headlines. From those papers that attempted to calm the public: The New York Times’ “Governments Cooperate to Save Earth,” to the somewhat less helpful Post: “Killer Space Rock on Collision Course,” to the ridiculous Enquirer’s “Street Prophets Finally Right—World Ending This October,” the media are essentially making up stories. There is no international cooperative to send Bruce Willis or anyone else to destroy it, or nuclear missiles prepped to be sent into space. The world governments are panicking, and for reasons the public isn’t even aware of. Detection According to his bio on the web site, Dr. Martin Prettal had worked in the Observation Institute’s Near Earth Object Project for nine years, and during those years he had personally catalogued forty-four objects, none of them particularly large or particularly close. According to Dr. Prettal, his job was mostly tedium, broken up by the occasional blip of excitement when identifying a new object. However, on this particular Thursday, things would be very different, and quite exciting.This Thursday, D ave R einersmann

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he would discover The Object. That’s not quite accurate, though. Prettal only led the team that discovered it, but that’s how these things go, I suppose. The discovery was made, oddly enough, by a woman named Rock. I will recreate their dramatization here with an admittedly dubious degree of accuracy from an interview on television. Graduate student Elizabeth Rock called across the lab to Dr. Prettal, “Doctor, I think I’ve found something!” She had only been on the project a few months, and so of course was very excited by what other, more jaded technicians found routine. On her lunch break, she would re-canvass areas of the sky to try to “discover” previously catalogued asteroids—practice, she told herself, but it was mostly fueled by boredom. It was during such a practice session that she noticed a large NEO, roughly spherical, and called Prettal’s attention to it. He was surprised.“You did! Nicely done, Elizabeth, and I must say I’m surprised we missed that last year. It’s either very big or very close.” In truth, it was both. “Let’s do some more digging— find out where the big guy really is, and where he’s going.” As they would discover, the object is on a direct collision course with Earth, and would arrive approximately seven months after their discovery. The answer to that “where” question is a hard enough pill to swallow, but “how big” left many choking and gasping for air. The Object is roughly 2,300 kilometers across. It has a mysteriously low density, however. Judging by the very minor gravitational effects observed as the object passed rather closely to Jupiter, it masses only on the order of hundreds of billions of kilograms. Comparatively, a chunk of Earth’s Moon that size would mass approximately 50,000,000,000,000,000,000,00 0kg—that’s 50 thousand million millions. This duality can’t be explained, at least not yet. When The Object gets closer, we will be even more confused. The scientific community didn’t release any significant information, but stirred discussion by only ever referring to it as “the object.” As more data fell into public hands, it became less and 88

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less clear what it was, but extremely clear what it wasn’t. The Name The media gave it a name early on, or rather they permanently avoided giving it a real name. A frustrated news anchor scolded a scientist on her show, saying “Now wait, you need to stop calling it an asteroid. We’ve heard a hundred guesses about what it is, but you’re all pretty sure it’s not an asteroid, right?” This scientist, of a peculiar breed that values science enough for the extensive schooling, but finds himself ill-suited for actual scientific work, had become a talking head for cable news. He responded, “Well, we have to call it something! What do you want us to do, just call it ‘The Object’?” One could clearly hear the inflection in his voice, capitalizing the letters. He continued his sarcastic rant for a few moments more, but none of that is remembered. The odd name was quickly picked up, printed in newspapers the next day, and found its way into the popular lexicon. It was a safer name than had been used by others. It was a more comforting name, even if it did leave some ambiguity, perhaps because of that ambiguity. Too much knowledge can sometimes be unsettling. Crisis During the Cuban missile crisis (among other such times of great tension), Walter Cronkite and his breed of hard-news journalists were a great source of information, and for many, a source of calm as well. Cronkite was still on the air, saying comforting things about Kennedy being in control, talking with the Kremlin, and fixing the problem. Progress was being made, and although the situation was grim, our success was all but inevitable. This generation could have used a Cronkite. The New Media is ratings-focused, and that means sensationalism. Graphic after graphic of rocks smashing into the ocean, D ave R einersmann

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the landmasses, particular cities, the polar caps, etc., show the viewer exactly what kind of hell they will experience in a few months time. Tsunamis, great black clouds, discussions on the Chicxulub crater and the dinosaur extinction fill the airwaves constantly. The number of times that our own extinction was discussed is just overwhelming. Some level of panic was apparently inevitable, as were many other things: mass suicides by some, extremely heightened religious fervor for others, the collapse of several weak governments, and severely decreased civil liberties in most others. The early casualties of the madness included Dr. Martin Prettal and his family. A small and particularly mentally unhinged group of fanatics set fire to his home near Santa Fe, New Mexico. Martin, his wife Mary, and their children Jared and Martin Jr. all died in the fire. That level of panic did not last very long. Maybe that kind of mass hysteria can’t be sustained on such a large scale for months on end. Localized pockets of riots and other “public disturbances” have continued, and will likely continue until The Object reaches us. I suppose when it does we’ll all have a few moments of panic. A depressed few have actually found peace in the news of their impending destruction. They have found a certain solace in the inevitable. If one’s future is entirely unavoidable, it stands to reason that one should face it without fear. Our greatest fear is that of the unknown, or is it “fear itself?” The Object is coming, and will likely destroy a great deal of humanity (if not its entirety), its accomplishments and constructs, and there is nothing we can do to stop it. There’s nothing to fear about that, is there? Shape The Object’s shape was called into question early on. Officials discussing it would ignore or deflect questions regarding the shape, as though there were something strange about it. There isn’t—it is a very normal shape. It is unusual, however, for this 90

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very normal shape to be found in space, or indeed in nature at all. The Object is a perfect sphere. Perfect! It is now close enough to be examined by instruments with amazing observational powers (and equally amazing price tags, I imagine), which have revealed it to be a perfectly smooth, perfectly spherical object.This little tidbit has naturally caused eyebrows across the globe to leap skyward. The aforementioned amazingly expensive instruments were entirely overhauled and recalibrated, and repeated their original results exactly. Those results were then independently interpreted by three separate public and private agencies, all of which reached the same strange conclusion. Spheres do not exist in nature. The Earth is not a sphere, nor even the Sun. They both bulge slightly as they rotate, centripetal forces pushing them outward. The Object is also perfectly still, except for its forward motion toward us. Almost every observable cosmic body rotates on an axis, but not this object.The same side has been facing Earth for as long as we have been able to observe it. Interim I feel I have written all I can about The Object and its effects on us. I do not wish to delve too deeply into the darker side of humanity it has brought forth.There have been‌ terrible things.Whole countries doubt its existence, cursing the panic as Western duplicity, their governments refusing to take any measures to protect their people. Perhaps they truly believe their propaganda, but I prefer to think they are acting in the best interests of their people. There is a high probability that no one will survive the impending disaster, and if that is the case, denying its existence could very well prevent large-scale panic.To be trampled in a panicked horde is not a dignified way to die. There will be a break in my writing until I come into new information. But I will continue writing until I am unable to do so.

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Stunned Again and Again Several months have passed. The Object is now much closer, nearing the orbit of Mars, and we now have a much clearer view of it, however confusing that view may be. The observable surface of The Object is nearly featureless, except for a small circle in the very center of the leading face. This small circle, estimated to be one hundred twenty-five meters across, garnered as big a media frenzy as the initial discovery of The Object itself. The meaning was debated endlessly by all who deemed themselves expert, but no theory has yet proven viable. If the circle has any deeper meaning, it is still lost to us. This has virtually settled the question of origin started by The Object’s shape. While such a spherical object is not technically impossible in nature, it is extremely improbable. But this small, perfectly centered dimple pointed right at the Earth is too improbable to contemplate. This object is artificial, and it certainly wasn’t made here on Earth. This object, hurtling toward us at mind-boggling speeds, will be our first and last official contact with an alien race. The peculiar shape cannot help but be compared to George Lucas’s Death Star, but the idea of an intergalactic death ray was ridiculed fairly quickly. If an alien race could build such a large device and send it traveling across vast distances at such tremendous speeds, why would they bother spending the energy to slow it down to fire its giant laser weapon? The energy expended to do so would greatly outweigh the alternative: just let the giant object smash into its target. This target speaks, however: we have sent out messages of all types to the object’s senders. People are begging, threatening, promising, accepting, bargaining, and sending myriad varying messages with equally varying objectives. I doubt anyone believes their message will reach their target in time to do much good, but I suppose it can’t hurt. Besides, at the speed the object is traveling, there is no conceivable way it can slow down in 92

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time. And at that speed, despite the strangely low density, it will release enough kinetic energy to destroy every living thing on the planet, likely down to the microscopic level. Final Moments The Object will impact on Sunday, January 1st, at precisely 12:00 am local time at the coordinates 0° 0’ 0”, 0° 0’ 0”, precisely where the Equator meets the Prime Meridian in the Atlantic Ocean. No one believes this is a coincidence, either. We are all wondering why they would choose the center of a halfway arbitrary coordinate system, if only to send the message that they are already familiar with our cultures. Still, it is an odd choice: the area is of no strategic significance, although I suppose that won’t make much of a difference. These coordinates place the dimple of the object a few hundred miles into the Gulf of Guinea, the large curve in Africa’s west coast. But the object’s size means that 1,150 kilometers to the east, the edge of the object will crash into Africa’s westernmost countries. The western edge of the sphere will hit the ocean, sending up a wall of water and earth that will swamp every coastal city, and extend hundreds or thousands of miles inland. The crater will be more like a mass missing from the Earth’s surface. Due to The Object’s amazing size, the crater will reach the level of the Earth’s mantle, spilling an ocean of magma onto the surface. Like a probable impact on Mars billions of years ago, there will likely be a bulge through to the other side of the planet, rocketing mountains of material into space. There is so very little hope that—I apologize. I am writing this in our last few moments, and very quickly, and I have become morose. The object is minutes away from coming within the Moon’s orbit, and there is panic everywhere. Rioting is now constant, and across the globe, nuclear and conventional missiles are being readied to launch as soon as The D ave R einersmann

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Object is in Earth’s orbit.While it may be futile, it seems we will not be extinguished without something of a fight. I will now write everything I see for the last few moments of my life, although I don’t know for whom. I suppose I could transmit this document out into space, to let the Universe know how our existence has ended. Although, I have no idea how I might do that. I have no such equipment, nor the technical knowledge to do so. Still, I suppose I need some distraction. To continue, then: Every high-resolution camera on the globe is in position to capture the object as it obliterates us, and their images are being shown on every channel. Most channels have mercifully silenced their talking heads for the broadcast. Everyone already knows what is about to happen. It has now entered the Earth system, and it is about to enter our atmosphere. Already, tidal forces are reported to be affected around the globe, and—wait. It…has stopped. The Object has stopped in…orbit! It did not slow down, but just…ceased motion entirely. There are cracks— no, lines—forming along its surface, and the small dimple that caused so much confusion has disappeared, having sunk into the body of The Object. Has George Lucas really prophesied the end of humanity, or…? No, it appears not. The audio on the news feed has stopped, and is being overridden. I will transcribe if I can. “We are not the harbingers of your death, and we did not anticipate the violent reaction our arrival would cause among your people. We have need of your assistance. We are seeking sanctuary. We bring a peaceful welcome from the People.” … … … The short message has repeated itself several times now, and The Craft, as I suppose I must now refer to it, has opened up like a flower. The Craft is almost entirely hollow, though there is 94

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some strange distortion at the center of the empty space—perhaps The Craft’s engine? As the distorted space fades back to normalcy, we can see hundreds of thousands of smaller craft— life pods?—that are attached to the interior of the craft, waiting to descend. We are now hearing that they are…yes, life pods, of a sort. It seems they wish to live among us—their world was no longer safe for them. They are pilgrims, fleeing oppression. They have come light-years to the only world they could reach, desperate but hopeful. They wished to restart their lives—for us to accept them when their own race would not. They came to us for help, to live out their dreams, and we have destroyed them. The first of the missiles, launched several minutes ago, has reached the craft, exploding in brilliant color.

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Emma Gould Poetry


New World I saw images pass one at a time of people doing as people do and I was as though before a window: hands pressed to the glass and then I was there. not watching behind glass. it was like when we climbed the fence in the summer and slipped into the water, letting cool, wet darkness dress our bodies. that's what it was like to be there suddenly. and I became the girl I was watching, who had hair and eyes and lips and wanted to know everything. and I knew what it was to see the strange and beautiful for the first time. and I learned what it meant to be human with words and touching and my heart. and I learned how love does. and then I learned how men do and how flesh dies and I thought that when ends come that I could see the great thread that runs through us all. and then I was taught to be civilized. and I learned how to be away and I rubbed ashes on my face and wound my hair into braids and covered my body. after this it ends, or I didn't care to remember anymore. but I do remember that I never really did learn how to walk in shoes.

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Refrigerator Poetry in time we students of night and world make lives from music and moonlight on bare feet and worn clothes we pass by and touch reaching hands and leave behind a story in a house that you've only ever stood on the outside of and moving on in morning mists stepping forward and back no same place twice there is a faint trail of footsteps to where we have been and what we have seen eyes and hearts fixed on the meeting line of sky and land these star lighted dreams are precious and few and wander on summer's green nights take no one with but you may come if you can arms always open to new love and songs that lead us to lives in no place long

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Look What We Can Do today, oh, to day i came back and peeled off all my clothes into a pile on the floor and then sat in the shower and, under the flow, scrubbed away this old worn-out version of me that i wore around to see you “well now, i'd like to be doing this in the rain but this old bathtub will do” this me that used to fit so well and tight across my hips and breasts i washed it all away with a bar of soap i watched it slither off me, every last scrap and tatter, into a grimy puddle at my feet. then with my big toe i sloshed it all into the drain. and i found on my skin red, angry scratches gouged into the soft parts of my forearms, thighs and belly. every time we meet i find these souvenirs in the aftermath— glistening and sanguine and all carved into the smoothness of my epidermis—little sosays and idos that scar and pucker into my new selves “well now, my friend, this will just not do and this will not be how the go-to does.”

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[brown paper six shooter spirit] 1. brown paper six shooter spirit shaman slander faux pax ignition trebel in the gasoline gut of a paranormal effigy sittin' slung back in Satori pose under florescent sing song shingles soaked in sun-bathed semantics carrying flipant adjectives and objections to sable-ringed sunrises on moonscapes and cataclismic carbonated craters. fabled? maybe, yes. interrupted? immune? insolant? infinite? imbesile? incarnate? icabodiranianinfantileimmobileimpish? definately. 2. we have a map of the piano i think that WE SHOULD RUN AWAY to where it snows all day and be normal on the edge of a crater

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Art Gallery


mixed media paintings by

C aitlin K elly


graphite drawings and haiku by

T ug D eluce


pen and ink drawings by

M egan M c C ormick


L eft : pen and ink drawing R ight : paper cut out by S ara C rawford


pen and ink drawings by

M arty M aaskant


A rtwork

by

S ara C rawford


Justin Howe Poetry


Morning Stale and angry, clawing as it does up the insides of my cheeks, is the leftover of last night’s reverie. It is not the best keepsake in a grim Friday where even the weekend seems unlikely. A preponderance of doubt-effects turns us to books. The next instant the wind speaks with leaves in its yellowing voice. It is a stupid belligerence, and you might tell the wind it’s drunk if it was sober enough to listen. Well, I don’t mean to rain on your parade, but you really are mumbling something awful. There is no response. There is never response. You compose idly as if the practice held meaning. It does to you, anyway, and you don’t smile as you realize the act of composition is that which excites, and not sharing or congratulation. It’s all wasted effort anyway. The better parts of you are hungry and thirsty. You remember once that famous photograph from the photographer who killed himself of the vulture standing over the swollen starvation. You are not amazed by the cruel ironies. They strike you as a little juvenile.Yes, 116

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certainly you would have laughed at them as a younger person, but you’re older now. That much is certain at least. An hour and a half has passed and we have not kept time. Suddenly is the first for-real moment, with actual stomach and liver, and that growling inside us is something akin to what we might have been, once. But time passes whether we keep it or not. Please don’t take this all the wrong way. If it was ever your fault, the earth has forgotten. That big dumb slug was never much for posterity anyway. Look, it’s just us, there’s a dog over there and God in the bleachers. We didn’t write the rules. It’s unlikely we’ll win. That doesn’t mean we can’t try. It’s a clumsy sentiment, but it’s mine. I’d like to try. Would you? You don’t even have to.

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Cerberus Wept He had nine long necks. He was crying because he was the most beautiful, because his glossy sable coat and long thin necks were always the most beautiful. His necks writhed like serpents, his round and un-canine heads and round wide eyes faced forward as he adorned a red clay vase. This was all a dream. To the Greeks, Sleep was the brother of Death. I wonder what it means. I am not well enough familiar with the works of Jung.

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R.C. Long Poetry


January 09, '33 I have no fun yesterday, but today, what freshness I feel, what an early morning wind I breathe today. I spent a lot of the morning just swallowing up whole mouthfulls of that special air and I’m planning to suck down more than my fair share by the end How do you say about a morning like today’s; “Chilly and crisp, golden blue and shiny, with a whole lot of beams!” With a whole lot of leaves, there are today, puff-clouds and the whole world clucks along today like a fat clucker in the yard. Today you could spit pips in the air and they’d never land. Today you could watch some bugs go about their day. Today you could try something new and it would probably work. you could taste an orange today, I swear In the kitchen, in the icebox, today an orange, today, I swear, and delicate raw meats, ever-so sweet and tender and there is more— a 12-tone rainbow of shiny tiny spring fish on cake, a drizzling of honeydew yogurts and a cast of mustardy fruit. I digest. As I remember it, today, just after breakfast, whilst putting away the wheelbarrow and table cloth and cushions, 120

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they drove up in Busy Moose’s rosy-red two-story ‘17 Growler, which pumps out a whole lot of growl and black thick smoke, from the furnace, but it’s shiny and red, and honks like a giraffe. They swished into the driveway Busy Moose, driving of course, with his driving scarf and driving blueblue goggles, Nap Tiger, riding shotgun, startled into waking life by the sudden stop, Alouicious Raccoon and a blue hindu cow, sitting behind them, and two more, riding on the second story (seated around a small cards table). Well, thats who was there. But gosh, you oughta see that two-story ‘17 Growler! Tubes and pumps, I swear. It’s a machine to arrive in. It’s a machine to zip off in, a swing around turns machine. It’s a beaut. Aloucious Raccoon would say, clasping his claws in joy, “A beaut! A real nice machine! A darling!” and give it a nervous pat on the tailpipe. Anyway, those buddies want to go play tennis or badminton at the shore— Hindu Cow has brought some fine, black English tobaccos and Nap Tiger has a few big bottles of unbranded celery champagne and a carton of Gitanes, and I have a pack of my own tobaccos and cheap bottle of blueberry wine, which tastes an awful lot like nailpolish remover, but it makes your eyes spin and flushes all your giggles out so next thing you know yer a spring chicken R.C. L ong

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and they’ve packed towels and blankets and all the rest that you’d expect, and very little that you wouldn’t expect. Perhaps a letter book. Anyway, so, the ride was nice. It was a little windy, so those two playing cards up on the second story would have to use paper weights or they’d blow away. That musta been why there was so much cursing, and scalp scritchin. Oh yeah! We saw an Injun -- a Native American. Those people are to die for. I always saw about them in Britannica but never in real life! He was riding in the hay to the right of us on a long straightaway, around him were floating many atomies. Probably pollen or sprites. We waved. He had a bow and arrow, and white and brown chaps, and his horse was probably named Patience or Dotty, and I bet he valiantly rescued her from those southern boys and their log cabin. Above the red was a blue big Sopwith Camel doing funny aerials. Hindu Cow said ghosts, I said not true, they are people just like you and me and Nap Tiger. We go to the shore in the afternoon while the sun was bubbling over like a hot mess but you wouldn’t believe it we arrived right in the middle of a battle so we had to wait for the damn Germans and good British boys to be done with their rabbling and rousing, which they were after an half hour and so we set down our blankets and umbrellas and trunks and chests and took in the whole scene with the pelican and sand fleas and whale bones and walrus and Hindu took a lot of 122

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funny pictures of us playing badminton but none of them came out and we played some other games and went fishing we couldn’t get nothing and after a while we got all sunburned and sleepy so we went and left and the ride was much shorter and the cool breeze felt good and everone had real interested things to say like Business Moose said “Always holy, the beach has names written in both Allah and Krishna’s manuscripts!” and Hindu Cow said “There are only three ways out—a triumphant horn, a peacock or tern.” but, as much as I liked all the interested things they were saying, I felt asleep with Nap Tiger in the back seat and we rested heads on heads and when I got home and slipped into my own bed it was cold but burning hot on me and I felt asleep again. Oh! But before you go let me tell you the story I wrote at the beach “The Market The Market is a place where people go to buy things that they need, If you need to sandwich, a new table or some chicken feed. The Market is a place where many people are at the same time, Perhaps they are here for fun or perhaps they need to buy something. Do not come to the market if you haven’t got much money, you will look silly, people will say that you are very funny. Come to the market if you need to buy a loagh of bread, or even if you need some spread for your loagh of bread.” So, that’s my story and that’s what happened today! But tomorrow, who knows what could happen! The worlds a topsy turvy sorta thing and you could almost imagine that you’d end up in a garden R.C. L ong

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or hanggliding in the big city or perhaps you’d find yourslef in a submarine machine deep under the sea fighting damn Germans or looking for Bessie or perhaps you’ll just spend the day at home or in a cafe reading a story

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Tara Tanzos Poetry and Prose


Ghosts I embrace spirits, misunderstood, and their struggle to hold on in this world. I don’t think they cower in some middle ground of existence, some balanced interlude between life and whatever’s after. Great-times-three-Grandpa, [whom I’ve never seen in photos] stood one day at my vanity. I knew it was him, shining and out-of-focus to my all-too-living eyes. He beamed at me, with my father’s smile. His cool hand rested upon my cheek for one, full, minute, then he left without a single syllable of farewell. I embrace spirits, misunderstood, and their struggle to hold on in this world. I don’t think they crave a vengeful purpose or that they’re sent from hell to hover and halt our calm. A wrinkled woman once settled on my sill at the house on Marfield Drive. After I asked her for her name, she plucked her patterned dress and instead asked me for thread [“please”]. I gave her a spool, 126

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then wished her to let me sleep. She grinned, and swept herself away. [but not before, as my eyes slowly closed, she nabbed a needle, too]. I embrace spirits, misunderstood, and their struggle to hold on in this world.

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Deafened “Scars are the paler pain of survival, received unwillingly and displayed in the language of injury.” —Johnny Traunt, House of Leaves

S

cars… In the language

of medical examiners, “cicatrices,” an Italian word, taken from the Latin root “cicatrix” it marks healing; fibrous tissues replace the normal skin layers through a biological process. Scars mark strength: scarred skin is less resistant to ultraviolet radiation, and sweat glands and hair follicles cease to grow on this battered dermis terrain. In terms of combat, scars are success. A war, won over the prolonged inflammation of an injury, warrior-like fibroblasts and collagen fibers overtake the open gash, leaving a slight discoloration and rough texture to the battlefield. Whether in disgust of admiration, the general stigma of scars points to the fact that something has been overcome, survived, but scars are silent. Their only outward mark is, in fact, that they are marks. Blemishes on the skin rubbed into oblivion by the self-conscious, aided by a cream of false promises, minor interruptions of beauty, medically removed by the vain. Hopeless stains smudged on and left by the careless.


There’s always talk of emotional scarring. Damage. The attention has shifted from what can be seen on others to what we don’t know. Why is there so little overlap? No physical scar tells its story. No emotional scar can be visualized. The only way to blend each purpose, to reveal a scar’s story, is to let it breathe. Let the collagen meld with the flames that licked the skin. Allow the soul to show the cracks and splinters that caress like pine needles. Speak. One on the left kneecap from a small scrape as a child. Running before the heart knew it couldn’t, cousins screaming during the Easter family football game. Uncles cheering, aunts with cameras.Ty, currently in possession, flashed a smile quirked at the upper corner that meant “run left.” A mud-covered football slid itself between your hands, positioned amongst arms and heart. Looking straight ahead, Laura began to bear down towards her target, you. Throw the ball up, to continue play of the game and be sacrificed. Trip—a rock. Fire along the skin. Tears. An eightyear-olds lost battle with sparse, dry ground. Concerned family. A surrender of the game and proud eyes. The house at Marfield Drive had a three-car garage, with a small, two-step drop, off to the backyard’s sidewalk. Behind the top step, Father used to spray for wasps each summer, when the sun parched the grass to match the insect’s stripes. Spring clothing - this June wasn’t quite sweltering enough for shorts - but the same, constant bare feet, crinkled with dirt and grass like a miniature map of the world. A prick, slight swelling, healed with ice for twenty minutes, directly applied to the sting. A singular white dot between the first and next toes. Father forgot to spray that year. Learning pool tricks in grandpa‘s basement.You always selected the one billiard stick that properly matched your awkwardly tiny height. Mike passed the cue ball, but too quickly for your hand-eye coordination. A skid up the finery, levitating from the T ara T anzos

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green, to scathingly embrace the hand and shatter the tooth. A gash where the nail followed the ball upon the arm. Power Rangers Band-Aid and a dentist bill. Cousins play rough. Frantic egg hunts, basketball on shitty asphalt, too many children crammed into one playroom. One scar each on the elbow, left wrist, small toe, right shoulder; four scattered on the legs, and one on the right ankle, directly beneath the bottom curve of the bone, paralleling the concave arc of the ligament hidden beneath. A river, cascading from ankle to the edge of the sole. A drinking game: one shot for every Phillies’ run. Created with bases loaded, Ryan Howard at bat. One hour later, falling into a folding table, human and metal legs entwining in a drunken dance. Rocks are nature’s way of telling people with bad hearts not to run. Your brain never seemed to understand your heartbeat’s shortcomings. Bright lights of every color and gravel. Chin. Burns from his cigarette, pressed into your skin against any will, creating a circular pattern of melted ash, embodying his distaste of your restraint into flesh. This is your price to pay for resisting temptation, for holding off his inevitable overpowering of your body. Seven Marlboro-sized circles upon the left arm. The scars from his later forced pursuit are deeper. Left and right thighs, four slices, each interruption of skin matching the width of a chef ’s knife. They bled less than your heart that day. Dried chemical burns along both hands, recognizable by the lighter pigment. The only downside to that job would be working with chemicals that eroded skin. Everyone had to do some of the cleaning in the restaurant. You always did forget to wear gloves. A summer spent in jeans and avoiding backyard pools. Fiftyseven small scars, gradually appearing out of the tan of my skin, with no injury, with no cause. Mom worries, takes you to the doctor. The afterthought-like pigment of one of these fifty-sev130

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en eerily matches the office walls. Dr.Verma returns with a chart, an intimidating, thick, medical text and a doctor whose name is unknown. “The case is very rare,” he says, halting his speech every four syllables to lick the left corner of his lip, as if to taste the feeling in the air as he speaks. He introduces Dr. Terry, specializing in skin disorders and (apparently) excessive hairspray usage. She explains the past four years of testing have done nothing but determine anemia, and one other condition: “Mucha-Habermann.” It sounds like a rough sneeze. You do not understand. You request clarification. After a long jumbling of encyclopedia-referenced words, the medical sneeze of syllables is put into terms you understand. It is rare - only three percent of the population ever sees a stroke of it. A genetic mutation, not hereditary or contagious; small lesions suddenly appear on the surface on the skin, due to eruptions of papulovesicles (vindictive, sub-dermis blisters) underneath the membrane. The lesions scar, and never completely fade. Outbreaks occur, but the amount and frequency depends upon each person. There is no cure. There is no real consequence besides random scarring, but there is no cure. “You have it lucky,” says Dr.Terry, opening the tome she made Dr.Verma lug into the room. She points to a picture, a girl with so many lesions on her skin that it seems her body’s color was inverted. What a cheap shot. “Here’s-a-damaging-disease-thatyou’ll-always-have-but-here’s-someone-worse-off-with-it.” Fifty-seven. Arms. Chest. Forehead. Chin. Legs. Stomach. Back. And more to come. Fifty-seven unexplained scars with no real story. No scrape, bruising, or pain to justify their existence. Is this the overlap of physical and emotional scarring? Pain, held so deeply within the body, that hormones, chemicals and enzymes find a way to produce the image.Why must any mental T ara T anzos

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torment seek a visible outlet? A “paler pain of the survival,” wrought onto skin by pure bodily will. An effort made to show sheer personal strength. Mental or physical, etched onto a person’s frame, all that can be revealed is through a combination of both senses. Scars can speak.

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Britta Fogerty Poetry


Many Roads There isn't quite a word for us. My hand on the window left a smudge that was less than the print of my hand and I consider: the slow melt of coming and going, of meeting places and blurred boundaries. Many roads, I thought. But you are my one, and golden. You are here. You, and me. The smudge on the window, your breath on the glass my whorls and arches and the lines of my palms. My fingers were there and will be. Many roads, and golden is mine.

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Garden Plans Rippled earth, dreaming in green. (cool breeze, falling leaves) Snipped and saved botanical nomenclature, an inked paradise: a trove of treasured petals, an uncovered bounty. In season, the transformations: buds and bunches scallops and speckles curling posies on a blooming lattice: sun seekers, climbing, bright, (busy hands. everywhere green.)

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The Weed Cycle

Artwork by Rebecca Miller and Poetry by Michael Bagwell


Flora The tangled fibers of Rosin stalks drift like the locks of some wind-wed goddess, wrapping the entwined limbs that we stretch from our hidden places. What are we to the world? Lovesick lice, bugs crawling on an irritated scalp? I cannot see you in this darkness. There is more, there must be, else this soft touch of lips means nothing. I have lost you again, your hand turned to soil in my grasp. The maggots there, in this handful of dirt, do they have meaning? When they caress each other in moonlit prairie grass, is it like this? I have found your hand again, buried in the thick blond threads, and I grasped it as if it were the sun.

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Things You Knew The streets ran past like the children you once knew, green skirts billowing with their rising knees of asphalt. They let out giddy laughs as you tried to name them, tried to cast some shadow of yourself into their lives. You call it home, though the word is like a cast-off skin. Walking from the fire we built, the branches grow long and thin, impossibly fine threads that first seem like a net, but recede when we look closer.

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Pretentions of Eternity Following the Fibonacci sequence1 The dim forest lies quiet in dampness as if the clouds have drifted in with their vapors and their silence. In the percolating glints of August sunlight, hands of ancient grasses reach upwards from the soil to brush along the souls of our passing boots. Their green-veined palms also graze each moment and remember. When she steps over a rotting log, she turns, and ‌ she turns, and she 1. Sequence: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 and reverse, meta-structure: 1-poem, 1-final line, 2-final syllables 3-repetitions, 5-quintets, 8-stanzas 144

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smiles at me, then points so as not to break the silence. Turkey tail mushrooms spread in staggered sails from a decrepit mast. I rip off two, handing one over the log to her, and then feel its smooth pores between my fingers. I chew slowly and taste moves down my throat as if pulled by elaborate pulleys, dumbwaiters of rope-bound bamboo, and I ‌ laugh at that thought.

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And Into the Poem i. the storm put its lips to the hollowed-out1 section of my chest and pulled in its lungs to produce a long, clear note. I have filed there, images of organs— pen-scrawls of dense weed on cardboard— in rows arranged like a harmonica so that the wind can play the blues. ii. a stillness, wet like the skeletons of drowned men, seeps through these open petals and deposits itself in cold drops like whole histories of mankind at the tattered edges of cardboard just below my skin. iii. there is awe. iv. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------148

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v. Together we trained a mirror and drank more than the dark unveiled. The small objects, the tangled blades of grass, the unknowable stalks, slipped like outstretched sinews from our tongues.

1

1. First line influenced by a stanza from Tomas Transtrรถmer 149


[the bird flutters

through midnight] The bird flutters through midnight, a red pearl tangled in wind. It is at your breast, this magnificent blur, perched under your charcoal skin. The darkness is vast and your immaculate heart too. With each breath, it weaves sunlight into its nest of veins. When it rose up from your branches in that first dawn, a second sun rose in me. In our shared warmth, I heard the singing of the worlds.

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The Corpse I came upon the corpse under the falling circles of cicada calls. It was in the middle of my life, blocking the path back to the house. I looked down at that deer’s body and realized that there was a language for those things life cannot decipher and that its letters were traced out by my course. I made a habit of returning to this dense section of the woods, marveling in the pure deconstruction of a thing. In a matter of days, leaves covered the fur and wormholes punctured the exposed muscle and sinew so that a network of tunnels weaved into what was once alive. As the days fell past, I began to imagine myself beneath a roof of decaying branches, carving those tunnels. I walked down the steps to make a cup of coffee through the complex layers of tissue in the hind leg. I read the paper and burrowed through the snout. I said hello to the man I passed on the street and found myself tunneling through the stomach lining. I found that I was alive and had always been so. 153


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Luke Stromberg Poetry


Falling in Love Again What a horror, falling in love again— And with you, even after I was sure It was over for good, that I'd closed that door And left you in the arms of better men: Scotch drinkers, suited types, urbane And lecherous, gray-haired, entrepreneurs. Though love's too dignified a word for when You grieve and tremble for another man's whore. Three lines from an email, catch-up drinks, And that blue blouse you wore so thoughtlessly Recalled how warm you were beneath my hands. I'd rather be a man that never thinks Than one who sucks this rind of memory, Bitterly in thrall to love’s demands.

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Advice for Lonely Young Men Find a girl and stop being so goddamn lonely. Have another drink and get the fuck over it. Talk to the waitress at the diner about God. Find yourself a cat and pretend that it loves you. Call a friend, refuse to tell her what you’re thinking, But indicate your interest through your tone of voice. Then masturbate before you go to sleep each night. Whatever you do, don't write any poetry. Playing the piano is much preferable And easier to listen to than your whining. Get some potted plants; keep them on your fire escape. And for Christ’s sake, smile when you water the damned things. Plan every night around what's on television. Never get too excited about anything. May 16, 2010 / December 20, 2010.

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International Kissing Day (July 6, 2010) So sad to think, On this, International Kissing Day, I may never kiss A woman in my life again. It’s always been the longing for a kiss That kept me up at night. The way a face looked Turned up beneath a streetlight, Fingers on my sleeve, My hand on a hip, A smile. A smile That’s never for me— Never again. Listen: The pearly whites of lovers on a tube of toothpaste, Their mouths so intimate, Banged me up at seven, left me with an ache Not in my tooth but deeper. I had to kiss or break. That was in the Eighties. I still feel the same As an almost-thirty creeper. Kid, these Twenty-First Century girls Have teeth you wouldn’t believe. I cup my mouth with my hand. My breath is never fresh— Their faces always are.

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Love is an advanced case of Stockholm Syndrome. Her smile’s a bear trap, Her laugh a nail gun, And I’m snarled up in her. It’s no use. I cry When someone tries to set me loose. Please don’t try. Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m obsessed with sex. My head’s a wreck.

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Adam Townes Poetry and Prose


[The days grow ever longer] The days grow ever longer Daylight fades Leaving only remembrances Idly prancing across the mind Afterimages drifting Through closed eyes Leaving only remembrances Bespeak the name of morrow It shall be Light to come again Leaving only remembrances Etched across awareness Be it near or far to dreams Leaving only remembrances Memories a flutter in the mind Recalling the autumn Beckoning spring Leaving only remembrances Day, oh celestial light, why do you enrapture me so Leaving only remembrances Vacantly calling Leaving only remembrances ...only remembrances... ever remembrances

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Words

O

of breath conveys meaning, from the absence of breath descends oblivion. Celestial spark every rekindling respiration, draw breath unto life. Speak ever! Sustain social epistemology in all its dusty gilded pedantry. One is defined by their actions, but characterized by the curiosities of the coalescence of thought and speech. nly a momentary exhalation

Articulate the coincident coruscation of nigh infinite synaptic faculties. Bespeak of gray matter fueled deliberation. Voice fanciful contrivances, whimsical desires yet untold. Sultry voice stir lewd inclinations of insatiable thought long dormant, fraying threads of cerebral abstraction to fine filaments of singular, primitive mind conjugation.Witness the reduction of consonant thought to vapid pulp.Vacuity follows the descent into the void. Imbecilic rants, hysterical laughter surge forth. Enflame the stable mind to eccentric flights of belief, conjuring heretofore


unimagined aggregations of base thought. Parlance of unpretentious paradox, supplicate oneself to semantics! Indenture oneself to meaning!

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Rogue Tears

T

ears fall deftly from sodden,

carmine cheeks. Like so many raindrops never seen by anyone. Crashing errantly come what may. Falling ever falling never rising, expressing the mood of which they are the heralds of. Yet even as the rains come, the clouds dissipate and the skies clear. The soft patter of solitude, welling up in the eye’s mind. Sweetly caressing the skin as the hand of someone lost to us. Why should happiness be ever so fleeting and so sweet? So that we may spend hours, days, weeks...years dreaming of those sweet soft moments, when for once in a life of pain and anguish, we were for just one precious and unforgettable moment...happy. Reflected from mists of time and imperfect memory. Recounted a thousand fold, each time more flawed than the last. The ideal of life and love. We deny ourselves the joy of the moment, for the imperfect counterfeit of the past. Such are the de-


signs of time and despair, that memory should lacerate the soul with pangs of fear and doubt. Over and over as the flagellants of old. A cilice mortifying the heart, clarifying the voluntary penance that is regret. Flagellant of pain and regret. Sanguine rivulets of self-inflicted trauma, prelude to felodese. Oh mortal reproof, yearn for the coming of the light. Spurn the entwining folds of nocturne, hasten not the coming darkness. Enduring are its beckons drawing ever near, impelled irresistibly by time and age.

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Melancholy Kissed Me Melancholy kissed me and I knew night. A kiss laced with sorrow of untold height. She left long ago, blame me if you will, My heart her tears did fill, Do not hasten to bid me adieu Up the somber canvas I would stride If you would sit by side And love me How lonely, how sad I will be Knowing you loved me so true Oh my love, my one love so true Gone my darling, gone...gone...gone... And sad I sit, a mural sadness drew In the streets I walked unto dawn Do not hasten to bid me adieu I promise that never Would I cause you pain For my heart is now yours forever Only say that you'll love me again Knowing you loved me so true From my life I know you have gone, I have missed your bright eyes and sweet smile You have taken the sunshine that brightened my path for a while A dam T ownes

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Do not hasten to bid me adieu Broke my heart to see her go Time I beg you heal my woe Here I sit, praying you would draw near I would sell all I hold dear To know you loved me so true...

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Melancholea

I

and I want it blotted out. No colors anymore I want them to turn black. I look in the mirror and know my darkness will never pass, nor do I want it to. When the shroud falls, it is an abrasive familiarity I know, almost as a sadist comes to appreciate the whip. Not like some lover, more like a pet. Almost an ever present companion, which is both unsettling and soothing. One day, I simply said, 'Be unto me as a blanket in the cold of night, I bid you stay...I will suffer you and bind you close to my breast. I give you my solemn embrace, I receive your fell offerings willingly and without reservation. Bind me ever in eternal darkness, so that I might revel in your dark delights. Immerse me in ebon pleasure, for adumbral light is better than no light at all. This pact I make so that the affliction might not recede but become my pure thoughtstuff. Be you ever in my soul, bound to my fate so that I know some joy be it ever tarnished and hollow.' Having completed this fell litany, my eyes closed and my mind fell into darkness. It was as see the petulant sun flying high


though a stygian dawn broke, my torments of old left me and I wondered at the somber glory of the first of many dark morrows. Sickly red light pours into my mind's eye from which emanates sanguine feelings of remorseless melancholea.

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Chelsea Leusner Poetry


[The sounds my ears catch] The sounds my ears catch Drip below my shoulder Emulation now out of my sight I am still young, though I feel older The passing moments cradle Former memories of dislike No longer do my bones stretch But my mind seeks anywhere to strike Fiery thoughts burn down fences Those gates that keep in and out Ideas of superficial pretenses There’s a subtle sweetness that falls from your eyes An anomalous patients that cynicism denies

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[Soul hemlock] Soul hemlock Makes me curious Same chase Different color Why bother? It’s just another endless road With no turn off No turning around No music No sound

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[The pain that weights] The pain that weights Begs to sedate But conciousness is the only way home The more idle time The more build up of grime Necessity’s mean is a finely toothed comb What the mind lables years Work will swifty pass by In recognition of it’s impermanent jeers No need to frustrate No need to regenerate Limbo will start to desinergrate soon

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[Solitude you invade my body] Solitude you invade my body Like an incubus holding me still There is no other reason to find you But only to refresh the intent of my will Your presence might paralyze me But the frost keeps my mind sharp Many troubles aren’t worth the battle So I just choose to lay frozen and harp

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[The cosmos have brought a stillness to flesh] The cosmos have brought stillness to flesh Tragedy has grown over with the miracles of Life’s serendipitously humored guests Meaning every coincidence it’s made Light’s waves glow with a phosphorescent hue This stillness brings enlightenment, this stillness bring peace Although it is new There is no mystery only satiated curiosity A product of well matched philosophy Probability is kind to transcendental thoughts That are begging to intertwine Longing for the hope of similarity For normal craves to redefine itself In the happenstance of a spark That results in clarity

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Danielle Karthauser Prose


Puzzles and Pieces

C

to let her go to Maine all by herself this summer. She told them that she would make all the plans and pay for it herself. She wanted to see the theatrical production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit, Maine. Her favorite actress was starring as the character Betty Schaefer, a young writer who wants to make it big in Hollywood. Courtney sat alone, reading a book she had just bought a few weeks ago called The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Beside her sat a bag of McDonald’s food. Inside were chicken nuggets and french fries. Next to the bag sat a medium root beer. Courtney reached into the bag and pulled out a few fries. She tried not to look at the people around her. She felt as if all eyes were on her because of what she was eating. She felt fat. Every time she swallowed a chicken nugget she felt her arteries close up a bit more. Her excuse for eating like this was that there was no Subway in the Philadelphia airport (or at least she hadn’t seen one nearby) ourtney had begged her parents


and she wasn’t going to search the entire airport for something healthy to eat. McDonald’s would have to do for now. She wiped the grease from her hands on her pants and continued reading as if this were normal. She couldn’t help thinking to herself, though, that it wasn’t everyday she was able to go to the state of Maine to see her favorite actress in an Andrew Lloyd Webber production. It wasn’t everyday that an opportunity like this arose. She was going to fly from Philadelphia to Boston, then take a taxi to the Amtrak station, then take the train to Wells, Maine and finally take a taxi to her hotel in Ogunquit. This experience was going to be far from normal. Ben sat inside the Philadelphia airport awaiting his flight at 2 p.m. to Boston. He held a diamond ring in his hand and flipped it over time and time again with his fingers. He had paid a fortune for this ring because it was for his girlfriend, Laura. He was in love with Laura. He wanted to marry her. Last week he had driven up to York, Pennsylvania where her parents lived. He had asked her father for permission to propose to his daughter. Her father had said yes. He continued to flip the ring over and over again still. The smell of McDonald’s french fries loomed toward him and he saw in the corner of his eye a young girl sitting down in a seat about five feet away from him with a book in one hand and a bag of McDonald’s clutched underneath her arm as her other hand was pulling a suitcase. He looked away, not wanting his mind to focus on anything else other than what had happened last night. Last night he had taken Laura out for a nice seafood dinner and afterwards they took a walk in the park. There, he planned to propose. The ring was in his back pocket and he was getting nervous. He wasn’t so much nervous about proposing. He was nervous because Laura looked nervous. She hadn’t looked nervous at first. He had sat her down on one of the park benches and then gotten on one knee before her and her eyes grew wide. She began to fidget as he recited his proposal speech. When he finally said the words “will you marry D anielle K arthauser

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me?” she shook her head. She then began to apologize. She said something about there being someone else. She then gave him the ring he had just slipped on her finger and told him that she still loved him. She just wasn’t in love with him anymore. She then ran away in her blue dress and high heels. As Ben sat in the airport, flipping the ring still, he couldn’t help but remember that he had bought her those heals. She had seen them at some designer shoe store and didn’t want to buy them because she thought they were too expensive. That was when Ben had stepped in. The expensive shoes he had bought her had helped her run away from him. He didn’t feel like living anymore. He wanted to make Laura regret what she had done. He was planning to commit suicide once he arrived in Boston. The question was, how? He glanced back over at the girl with the McDonald’s. She looked nervous, as if it were her first time on her own. He guessed that she was about 20 or 21. She had sandy blonde hair and brown eyes. She was beautiful. Ben glanced down at the diamond ring and squinted as the sun reflected into his eyes. It was women like her that blinded him from reality. Just like the ring that reflected the sun’s light into his eyes so that he couldn’t see ahead of him, beautiful women blinded him from seeing reality. He knew that he wouldn’t be making these mistakes once he was dead. He wouldn’t be throwing his life away for a girl anymore. Taylor had caused quite a scene when he went through the security check at the Philadelphia airport. He was too excited not to cause some sort of scene. He was told to stop eventually by a police officer so he let his excitement go for the time being. An hour ago he had been sitting in the hot sun by a dumpster, shivering. He was starving and hadn’t eaten in almost a two weeks. Twelve days to be exact. He was also trying to withdrawal from heroine. It had been four days since he stopped using. As he sat there in a bit of a haze, he saw a piece of paper float by him. He grabbed it before the wind blew it away. It was 180

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folded in half. He opened it up. It read A 39; Flight from Philadelphia to Boston. Taylor knew this was his chance. This was his chance to get away from living on the streets of Philadelphia. This was his chance to start his life over again. Now, here he was an hour later standing at the gate that would be opened 20 minutes before two. He looked at all the people around him. He saw a 30-some-year old man with an expensive looking ring in his hands. He saw a mother trying to control her three children. He saw a young girl reading an oddly colored book and eating McDonald’s. His stomach then began to gurgle. He hadn’t eaten McDonald’s in the longest time. He longed to taste their french fries again. His mouth began to water. This wasn’t fair. He had no money and he was starving. He glanced over at the busy McDonald’s that was less than 20 feet away. Maybe they could give him a burger for free. He then kicked himself inside. What was the use? They weren’t going to give him anything for free. He was in an airport and employees expected him to have cash. He reached in his pocket, hoping that a miracle would happen and money would be right at his finger tips. His pocket was empty though. All his pockets were empty. He began to shiver again as he glanced back up at the girl again. She was shoving her face with fries and he couldn’t stand the sight of it. She looked nice. Maybe she could give him some food. He was frantic for anything at this point, even for a half eaten box of chicken nuggets. He stared at the floor for a moment and then stood up and began making his way toward the girl. She would give him her food. Courtney shut the book. She had finished reading Chapter Thirteen and she set the book aside to finish her lunch. She had three nuggets and a half a box of fries left. She pulled the box of fries out and set it on her lap. She looked around at all the people quickly. She saw a man sitting a few seats away from her with a beautiful ring balancing on his fingers. She could hear a mother yelling at her children behind her. A man loudly yelled D anielle K arthauser

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at someone on his cell phone. Courtney then saw a young man. He was staring at her. She looked away and continued eating her fries. She then saw, out of the corner of her eye, him get up and walk toward her. “He isn’t walking to me,” she told herself. “I’m freaking myself out. He wants nothing to do with me. All he wants to do is go get something to eat.” She saw that his jeans were ripped in places and his shirt was stained with God knows what. She picked her book up and opened it to pretend she had started to read again. The man didn’t continue walking though. He sat down right next to her. She held her breath for a moment as he stared at her hands. He then began to speak. “Are you going to finish that meal?” he asked her. It was a silly question and it was all Courtney could do but bite her tongue and not throw the box of fries in his face. Why would he want her food and what would he do if she said no? “What?” “I’m just really hungry,” he said. “I want your McDonald’s.” He came across as arrogant. He acted as if he wasn’t even asking a question. It sounded like he was telling her to give him her food. She shook her head. “Sorry, but…this is mine. The McDonald’s is right over there. You can buy some there.” She regretted the words right when they came out of her mouth. “Why did I say no? He looks hungry. I don’t want this food anyway. There is probably a Subway at the Boston airport. I can wait an hour to eat.” Underneath all of her doubt, she still felt as if she had said the right thing. After all, this was the real world. She wasn’t going to be pushed around by some random guy in an airport. “Give me the food,” he said in a stern voice. Courtney saw the man next to her with the ring staring. She made eye contact with him and felt her cheeks get hot. She couldn’t tell if the man was feeling sorry for her or this stranger. “Am I doing the right thing?” she thought. She looked down at the man’s ring. The morning sun was making the diamond shine brightly in her eyes. Her mind raced as she tried to think 182

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of something to say. “Maybe he could ask that guy for cash. He looks rich. He has an expensive ring. The girl who is getting that must be lucky.” She looked away from the ring and back to the guy. She swallowed hard as her mind raced, unsure of how to phrase what she was thinking. The stranger stood up before she could say anything. “Fine!” he yelled. Courtney jumped, as did many other people sitting in the airport. People were definitely staring now. “Fine!” he yelled again. He began stomping away and Courtney sat frozen in her seat. “What is he going to do?” she thought. He looked a bit ridiculous. His hands were shaking and he was pacing back and forth. The world seemed to be moving in slow motion as Courtney watched nervously. A police officer was walking toward the guy and Courtney felt relieved to see that someone was going to take action. Suddenly, just as the police officer stepped next to the guy calmly, the guy turned around and grabbed the gun from the police officers belt. He aimed it at Courtney and she screamed and squeezed her eyes shut. A gun shot rang out and Courtney felt nothing. People were screaming as the police officer knocked the gun out of the guy’s hands and wrestled him to the ground. The guy looked like he was in shock as the officer pressed his face against the carpet. A woman rushed to Courtney and asked if she was okay. Courtney nodded, trying to figure out what had happened. She heard children crying and saw police officers running toward the scene. There was a thumping in her head. She couldn’t understand why everything had gone from moving so slow to moving so quickly. She felt a tear stream down her face and she wished she were home with her mom. People were still in panic. Police men were hushing the crowd. Courtney could feel someone rubbing her back but she didn’t want to see who it was. She wanted to figure out what had just happened and why it had happened to her. The scene played out D anielle K arthauser

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in her head. The guy had pulled the cops gun out and taken a shot at her. “So how come I am in one piece?” she asked herself. She wasn’t upset about being alive. She just couldn’t understand why. She then saw a man lying on the floor directly in front of her. There was a hole in his stomach. Someone called 911 and Courtney put her hands to her mouth. Everything was pieced together. She saw the man’s shirt was covered in blood and it was continuing to ooze out, soaking his white t-shirt. Blood stained the ugly airport carpet and reminded Courtney of the time her brother had spilled fruit punch at her 6th birthday part. Courtney recognized the man instantly; not because of his face but because of the beautiful ring that had fallen out of his hands and had landed right next to his head.

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Sarah Robinson Poetry


We Hit the Wall The words we spit are foreign venom. We stand at a distance in this alley. I close my eyes to remember the first time... then re-open to this sobering finale. When love collides with a wall, there is little else to do but sob and lean upon the brick. No sense arguing with “we’re through.” If you say this is the only way, then save your excuses. For now I must ring my soul out to dry. You’ll no longer sleep beside me, my love. And I’ll never understand why.

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And Suddenly There You Are And suddenly there you are at my side again, chest rising softly, that twitch in your right leg. Without a word you roll over apologetically, but still away from me. I wish you couldn’t do that, turn your back on me, whether in sleep or in waking life. But wishing for something like that is like yearning to turn back time. Yes, your arms are soaked with the mess of our recent past, but inked arms are still arms to hold me. I can think only of this moment. While the looks, the touches are familiar, nothing can quite ever be the same. I know it somewhere deep in my bones. First our bodies, then our hearts, will unravel again. I lay silent, awake before you. My naked flesh, which you smothered S arah R obinson

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with your own then quickly discarded, will soon slice through the dark morning. And I’ll stand to dress and leave, searching for my socks, my sanity.

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The Carpenter I know an amazing man. Just like yesterday, and last week, this morning again he is up with the sun. His job is to fill someone else’s empty space; his work is never done. Coffee, first. He’ll skim the news. Then straight to the shop, dust clinging to his boots. A new shipment of poplar is there to greet him inside. One by one he places them atop shoulders, worn and wide. Burning daylight is never part of his plan. Once all materials are gathered he starts the engine of his old work van. In little time, he has arrived at the job site. He nods to the space, ‘’Eyes on the prize,’’ he always says, noting the challenge of its blank face. His faded green tool-belt sags on aging hips. He sharpens his pencil with a knife. In shirts covered with glue and dirt, this man is nothing at all like a suit. S arah R obinson

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With splintered, calloused hands he can perform this magic. He will build something, from nothing, for you.

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T ug D eluce


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T ug D eluce


Jack Fuget Poetry


Ignore Me, Heavens Animal Farm Incorporates Out, about The building stalks [Like the jungle] Swing ovineAnthropoid visitors Testing, teasing The Tension In The Vines. Swinging from one Window cleaning flet To another, another. Recognized avian Regicide. WHO IS THE KING Bleat the sweet tunes of Revolution. Set yourself apart By instituting NEW LAWS To replace the structure Of the former kingdom. 194

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The first decree is this: Cease preening! And bring something, anything To eat. The second decree states that: “No ant, no animal shall ever again be considered Above Any other.” Climactica Exceed, Proceed, Recede. Time on top is short. Stella’s Journeying It is so good to share! So we give And give Alike. Time sways and suddenly BAM The canine free market, yonder, Appears to have made great strides, Not least among them is Abundance. Followed closely by Tolerance. Seems We struggle In vain, This hope. J ack F uget

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Footfalls Once nested in I’m wrested out and left to linger in my doubt And, listing even to the south, I’m pondering potential routes. Fortunes fade and money’s made, but never having held a spade Is tragic for the sleekest pate, routine enough for us chipped up plates. So walk away and nary stray, ignore des dons et appareil For while my countenance is fey, my mien’s set in this foray. The fleeing frock has no frills, no clock, but ever footpaths will be pocked And ever will the sock be shot, but windy wounds you may outwalk. Somber is the stroller while the socialite is droller, Butterflies are quick to die while tortoises live longer. Striding’s good for striving for the structure in a lecture And the world that’s left is not bereft of trembling blooms and breakers. The line is fine and mine And patiently is tracing time.

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Funk Serenade Soft and expansive, Turgid silence beats, Beats And heats the moment. The stoic moment; Book opening Mind enfolding Enclosing Moment. With a slide, jive into place The moment, The silence waits for A beating heart to Listen, To encase and face Itself Face and encase to ,Listen To heart beating a For waits silence the ,Moment the Place into jive, slide a with That music. That silence.

J ack F uget

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Winter Dawn Frosty convalescence’ brawn Adroitly covers up the lawn, Feigning innocence of dawn Besmears nocturnal strength of song. That ghoulish light without the fear Illuminates your coming near, Which consequently lifts the drear That tilts the axis half the year. And soon the appellation “I” Decamps for you are drawing nigh, It’s your proximity thereby We learn to try the deepest sigh. By pure winter’s tepid end, That is the path of Coeur descent.

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Kris Jackson Poetry


To All Who Listen Melodic vibrations from cement to cinder block ears. Pronouncements and productions perpetrating feeble minds. Postulates of the cognitive imperative. A righteous claim to what human may become. We feed on the oscillations of lights and tabloids We produce waste not only of the body but of existence. We breed and become less of what was. But there is never a problem that can’t be put off. The procrastination of dreamers is the slop that sticks like syrup. Ideas never grown but birthed and unholy. Symbiotic allotments in the city dwelling nightmares. Where tattered stick strings usurp our barren actions. We will be bottled up and kept to our expansive wonders as needs. We will hang lines and wires peer heads out windows with quills. We will become bored with greed and hatch many nuances. Our suffocation will suffice for television. Eager to bathe in clearer skies we artificially design enlightenment. Seeking the duller questions we will desire foreign goals. Symbols will only translate tangibility touch and gain. Sex will flourish in the dark encouraging blindness. Invention is the key to holding this present tense originality forgotten. Individuals will become museum incarcerations crying for color. We will peer into their eyes ignorantly forgetting pain. Their ends will be met with new beginnings. 200

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In this dystopia, revelry will drown, choking will be laughter. Redemption is too soft a soliloquy to understand. Cohesion will bellow in brown water incautiously. Motion will reflect the sponged midnight tension. Life is Grand will be told to all who listen. ClichÊ will be branded on the ones who don’t. Stereotypes will be carved by textbooks for the prestigious. Success will be measured by longevity. Thus the black air that sifts in and around, will impede our atmosphere. Sight is soon to leave cuff in cuff with free thought. And hope is beneath the seas waiting. Only to meet death from the putrid pedestals.

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Righteous Breeders I’m overwhelmed by the mystery of accomplishment. It’s like buying a house then realizing you can’t afford to furnish it. The so-called blessed opportunity sits before me like an old man with too many stories but no ability to write them down…in order. However, my feet keep walking. My mouth is still talking. Hoping that knowledge and memory fuels me to the end and the beginning of my life’s road. The blissful gaping holes of ambiguous population has the weight that feels like a bag of books but no time to read. These faces are hungry for alternative truth but their tongues are swollen. Their eyes peer open down long roads with wonder but no curiosity. They wait for pavement and brick, but fear forests and grass. Their good and evil dichotomies disappear in gossip. Their questions are turning inwardly outward drowning and choking knowledge like the last breathe of a dying man. Hope in languages ability to enlighten is like holding dry sand. Words are currency for the information highway, but the hitchhikers are losing their thumbs. Ponder for a minute what potential the common man holds, but don’t miss the eight o’clock news. For thought is being smeared across glass screens and businessmen are shredding the modest dreams. Beer and tobacco remain prudent tasks of debate while political figures use blood to masturbate. 202

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Doctors provide psychological security and preachers steal the youthful purity. Teachers talk ardently to brick walls and the students’ beliefs crumble from sandwiches made in bathroom stalls. People see what they choose to believe while their lovers yearn for better chances to grieve. The books are written and poured to fit in tiny molds while the truest thoughts go unspoken in the minds of the bold. Steal the pedestals from the false leaders. Remember the spilled blood of righteous bleeders. Cradle the faith of beautiful baby breathe. Clean up after the fruitless bearings of all the rest. Sleep in the gallows when violence is silenced. Pick up the pieces of the devils trident. Peacefully agree on issues of nothing. Sustainably be for the history of bluffing. Drink the tall glasses and pour your enemies cup. Sing the evil to sleep, in your arms, like a miniscule pup. Wake up every day with something to say. Choose to walk down every path. Fear no fury, wreak no wrath. The souls of humanity hold the beacon of true wealth. So play the fuckin’ game with the cards you were dealt.

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A Father to Be The time is gone, the dawn is done, and your hour is not yours any longer. This day breeds the past into a look and a glance of life that does not flow through your veins. Everything that once held bearings is a memory caught in a southward wind. You are not you anymore, only who you ought to be. What man is this who thinks about the life that doesn’t hold the light of tomorrow? What man is this whose heart doesn’t consider the substance still growing? Forget the pains you need, swallow, forget the ways you try to follow. Become only and everything you need to understand Stop perpetuating the impossible imagination of your brotherly dreamers Your hour is not yours or theirs, it’s his, the baby child who wants you eagerly to be the giant amongst chipper insects. You are a man whom man doesn’t know, these thoughts dwelt heavily have been tortured deep into the longing of lodging in the freshest insolence. But time long last has provided answers, in a girl, in a boy, in the time of now where no one even you knows how or how long or how to or how at all. But answer whatever call and never forfeit nor succumb and fall. A father to be A man to be A child to be Be blind no more poor soul choose to see. 204

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Julie Pacaro Poetry


B

M I

Y S Y

O S O M I B

More than food More than air More than life itself Is my need to be there for you I scream within, so loudly all sanity is drowned and lost You scream without as Biology steels our souls He cannot understand the horror he sees so plainly cross my face When a late night’s work is announced As Mommy’s whispered promise Shatters into a million lifeless pieces And then evaporates from all space and time All meaning gone The moment seemed harmless To him, all time is equal But mother and baby live time differently 206

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Each moment expected and missed is urgent With hunger, and loss and longing A desperate need left unfulfilled as bedtime draws near I ache for you and you for me Life draws you urgently to my shadow In it lies your safety, your survival You are my siren I am your world I will cast myself upon the rocks for you and do it blissfully You will do anything to keep me whole The cord removed Separate to many We are still one

J ulie P acaro

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Joe Calvarese Poetry


The Self-Evident Truths stars and stripes, hearts in strife— we can barely achieve the american dream. picket fence, skip the rent— we are nothing without money coming about. feeble proof, evil roots— grow deep under the tree of the government's greed. keep your grin tight, live life— the plastic emotions we cast in the open. smiling face, hiding hate— the victim, the suspect, innocence to bloodshed. blue skies, bright lights, bullshit— truth hides behind pulpits and keeps the light from us.

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George Davis Poetry


Brain Vomit I want to be you. With your boll who emotions and all your what nots. With your sensation seeking, but ultimately deceiving crotch-rots. The allegory of the allegory, a quick fix that binds you. You mother fucker. I want you to recognize me Even in these strif-filled time. But! We can get through These troubled times together. We separate ourselves. You don’t know me, so I hate you. But you are my point of affection, though. In these dense times, I havn’t the slightest bit of mass. These things and more, some of time but most of the time All pull me down, all but give me a finger-hold to grasp. Finding archaic translations interpreted through dreams and I’m told to take them as signs. This transient discipline, all these redundant epiphanies Pull me towards manufactured humanism and dogmatic simplicity. If I think, so there I am, Why, for the life in me, can I not imagine what It means to be an end?

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If observation manipulates the observed Then life is truly my illusion, however absured. If your presence, reduced to an essence, will inspire my outcomes Then it’s a circular thought, and we’re the add of all sums. I’ve been thinking rather recently, of roaring rumors Where the biggest secret I’ve forgotten becomes your humor. All of the vulnerabilities and various values I assign to nothing Only to the shadows on the walls as the passer-byers say something. But somewhere, somehow, something changed (or changes) Things are disrupted rather abruptly, marking a progression through the stages. Chains are lifted, but with great weight placed Onto the threshold of ego and the direction of it’s ways. The more a tree grows, the less it knows of its roots. Life is but a mere metaphor, all ladders and chutes. Present is not present, but we all know that paradox How past, present, and future are based on a illusonary clock.. But this paradigm, Which effects the observers effect on the observed Brings me no conclusion. No “multimodal” mode of modual thinking No easier way put, my parallel to sinking. This, that, and more (I assure) Has brought me nothing but imagined delusion. With this extraverted way of perceiving, I loose sight of myself, and switch identities with the forms of the objects I seek. With this introverted way of perception, I become so involved with myself I loose touch with your reality.

G eorge D avis

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Deanna Vasso Poetry


Autumn Leaf Burning, stinging, hot to the touch. Skin flares at the sensation, teeth grinds hands clinch in pain. Outlines of black on porcelain accompanied by shading and blending of warm colors, enter in between the lines of black, creating an artwork, transforming the skin. The needle injection causes self-inflicted torture by cutting into the skin and putting pressure against the bone. Searing pain courses through the body, yet no cries or screams of agony escape. This trauma is an addiction, a way to mark her body by branding herself with an image.

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Andrew Lloyd Poetry


[We must soon create] We must soon create that which could never be known perhaps explore present eternity, sacred change. remember though, I am only like me when I will me to be

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Laura Valentin Poetry


Dawn Brave silence shatters this stillness— your hand weaves in search of mine. The air’s beating, lingered breath passes the hands of time. Fingertips trace shadows in the wake of morning light. Gently cradled by your arms, warmth settles where you lie. My bare back rests upon your chest. I sense every shift and sigh. Turning now to face you, there’s an urge I can’t deny. With lips upon my forehead, your hands caress my thighs. Kisses trail upon my neck enticing a reply. My body hums, entrusting you with a glimpse past my disguise. Infatuation, sweet release— Clasping heaven in your eyes.

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Amber Marcoon Poetry


Flower in Rain When I think of you, I feel the dream And regret as day breaks Like a flower After the storm, Mourning beauty in defeat You killed me One drop at a time: A “clean break� But I shrink away In the morning light, And think of you still My childish heart, Burning bright as the sun With a dream of love Pick me, To stay beautiful for you If for only days, Before it fades Pick me, To stay beautiful for you If for only days, Before it fades Before it fades 224

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Justin Monturano Poetry


[The Earth, dry and cracked

from embracement of the sun] The Earth, dry and cracked from embracement of the sun. Through the soil, the roots of our youth rise from a field of rye. Dusk will arrive soon, but prior the sun will be its highest in the sky. From the time of now until dawn, the illumination of our souls become transparent and visible to others. The night awaits as we intervene with the cosmos. Intertwined with the stars. The constellations tell stories of origins. And the past still evolves worlds apart, in another mind that could reflect with mine.

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Hannah Peters Poetry


[I lost my train of thought] I lost my train of thought— it’s probably next to my cell phone and my keys.

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Meredith Spratt Poetry


Mustard Creaming leaves, dripping off her spider web branches as we eat dinner under the mustard sun, I feel her nervous as I eat slowly, she glances at my spider web branches and grabs my web. She spins her prey in my web and moves it slowly down, among her roots, where I feel gnarled and leafless. My autumn colors have vanished in her winter frozen stems, frozen in time, I stare into her mustard reflected eyes.

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My Happiness Brings Unhappiness Like morning shine, I creep through windows and expose my internal rays am I to cure this heavy sadness, or remain blank in all of my ways? Shall I heal the broken, words brand new with courage, or repeat those that have already been spoken? Is this the job of plenty, this journey that tramples my ears or a timeless piece of evidence, that my life will see too many years?

M eredith S pratt

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Gem; en; i. The darkness upon your face is beautiful while the world is vast; winding rivers take over the nightfall, I think about your face during the night, when the moon and owls sing; while I am the moon Mountain peaks are covered with snow; the world turns endlessly yet I am still a Gemini by birth; my thoughts are forever changing, A semi-colon representing my thought process, forever endless and a constant stream, like rivers at the nightfall, of dissimilar mindsets.

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Jessica Marie Cavaliere Poetry


Silver Line I am beautiful and slender; she looks at me with jealousy. Fresh out of the shower, she quickly sits upon the brown, floral quilt; it comforts her. Anger in her eyes, she never leaves my crystal cold gaze. Once slender as well, we’d compare, now fat replaces as it bunches around her hips -- ghastly and gross. Her voluptuous breasts, once 32 C, stretch and contort with painful red, like those on her legs, now 36 DD. I stare in the distance at two lovers encased in glass, on exotic vacations, so happy on the ivory walls, freshly painted. I spend my days staring at these walls. I stare at these pictures, they deceive and contort the room. Her face distorted by black, she curses and screams— she wants to shatter me, but ends up shattering herself on the silver lines that lie. She loses herself in me— she hides herself in fruity, firming creams, they tell her she looks old, 234

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yet she’s young, too young: “I’m sorry, I don’t like people your age, you can never be the exception. If you were only four years older,” the crescendo shatters. Brushing purples and silvers, reapplying the silver lines and pretty plum or sparkling pink; sucking in, grimacing; the corset tightens. She smiles with perfection, but I see distortion and pain. “He’ll be sorry,” she whispers to me, “I’m gorgeous, how can he not see?” Each day I lead her to believe; I distort the truth like everything else; that a youthful, beautiful model will emerge from my reflection that can erase all the cracks and shatters of the crescendo of voices, distort all the distorted pictures to perfect. But, in me, I see an ugly monster emerging day by day—eating her alive.

J essica M arie C avaliere

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Embers/ Sands of Time A brush against the leg, whirlwind of feelings inside— an eruption of lava, hot embers sizzle, should I or shouldn’t I? a plunge into the unknown, drowning amongst the ash, the tidal flow of passion once dormant. He was born in Saudi Arabia, the golden sands, the chocolate camels, the longing runs deep into idiotic ramblings, shy laughs— why am I melting into soot? He’s a good sport—back home to care for an aging father after years abroad. Did I mention in my incoherence, the waves of sea and ash engulf me, that I’d love to go dance on the hot sands of Arabia and Egypt, the culture great. He pats then strokes my thigh, the wicker ignites, extends his hand, “Goodbye, it was nice meeting and chatting.” I’m left as embers.

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Papyrus Flow I stare upon the blank edges, Papyrus khaki, the water flows from mouth to body, my eyes wander the barren landscape; lost. ‫ا‬, the beginning, Humbaba’s mouth is fire; his breath of death—fight, fight for life! ‫ل‬, the perfect start, Humbaba’s roar, the roar of floodwaters, in death breathes life; ‫ط‬, exalted crane, your wings guide me through, let your belly be full, make merry day and night. ‫ب‬, climb the ancient staircase to the terrace; the planted fields fallow, study carefully. ‫ي‬, gather the wild asses, the bulls, the camels; their horns pierce, their humps comfort, raised by these creatures with tails— their tears flow, weeping day and night. ‫ع‬, you are the door, the window, the entrance in which the cold, dank, dampness travels; gather your reeds, prayer beads, Qur’an; Ishtar’s luminous temple, a distant past; sandy minarets, diamonds of the sun— ‫ة‬, gather your hijab and kufi, join me; as the crane, the falcon, fly peacefully and free, supplant man’s sin and hate; his is the fire that goes out; the house that falls. ‫ع‬, the seafarer that brings the water, the one that didn’t buckle with time— J essica M arie C avaliere

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he is the hero whose skin soaks water. ‫ر‬, the cod that swim, pink salmon glide, the village bathes their head in the azure waters, washing their silky tresses— ‫ا‬, mighty bulbul flies above, smiling, cawing with happiness, puffed in joy, let their young delight in their bosoms, black and brown down feathers— through the revived stalks of green, ‫ق‬, joyful nature lovers, embrace the marshes, sitting under the moon, stars and sun; delighting in the sounds of Iraq, the children that play, skipping school; the birds that sing and dance upon water, fish that glide and slide through weeds; forget the danger that might lurk ahead. I stare upon this piece of paper, Papyrus khaki, once blank and empty— in front of me lies a beautiful image, new and improved, it won’t be destroyed; quickly thrown in my knapsack, safe from the rain and cold, not from eyes that seek to learn and comprehend.

238

L iterati


Billy Lockhart Poetry


[As the steam rises] As the steam rises, This matter slowly fades away. Ice melts in my hand.

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L iterati


iterati is a magazine of creative writing and artwork

from West Chester University and the surrounding area

Literati Volume 2  

Literati is a magazine of creative writing and artwork from West Chester University and the surrounding area

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