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FALL 2015 1



Cover artwork by Sara Pedigo. Cover designed by Bridget Casey and Felix Chan. Minetta Review logo created by Carol Ourivio.


Minetta Statement

Annesha Sengupta Emma Thomas



Kate Busatto



Michelle Brooks

21 22 23


Ray Nayler



Charlene Ashley Taylor



Linda Wojtowick



Jaime Garcia



M. A. Istvan, Jr.



Kevin Beerman



Dylan Youngers



Y. J. Yu




Chris Ames



Nate Pillman



Christian Wiggs



Rachel A. G. Gilman



Jonathan Duckworth

ART 34


Clara Lu



Julia Gilson



Ivan de Monbrison



Eleanor Gollin



Deborah Baik



Alex Pears



Contributor Notes


Editorial Board & Special Thanks



We are incredibly excited to welcome our first issue as coEditors-in-Chief into the world. We’d like to take a moment and offer our profound thanks to the incredible gang of humans that have helped bring the Minetta Review to life. Our editors, Caroline Porter (Prose), Ahmed Sherif (Poetry), and Felix Chan (Art), who have worked tirelessly through the semester to discover genuinely exceptional content. Our communications coordinator, Sarah Colvin, who re-introduced Minetta as one of the Cool Kids on the Internet. And our events coordinator, Christine, who deftly organized one of the best open mic nights that the NYU Bookstore has ever seen. We would also be utterly lost without the help of our club advisor, Kristina Neuhaus, and the rest of the NYU team, including CSALS and SAB. Our issue is printed by Offset Impressions in Reading, Pennsylvania (pun unintended, but fully enjoyed). We have recently welcomed a new staff of incredibly innovative individuals, and we are always excited to hear their ideas. In addition, we extend our profound gratitude to anyone who has submitted, come to one of our meetings, or attended our events. This semester has been an exciting one for Minetta. We’ve recently gotten hold of Minetta’s archives—over 40 years of literary material—and have been working to curate a selection of content to share with our online community. It’s been incredible to see how Minetta started, and how many changes it’s gone through along the way. We’ve also been reminded of the deep roots that Minetta has in Greenwich Village, and have found Minetta alumni reading and writing around the world.


It has become our priority to honor and maintain Minetta’s vibrant literary traditions, and in that vein, we are looking forward to many collaborations close to home in the coming year. We were particularly excited to see the incredible range of writers, comedians, and musicians who attended the Minetta Review and The Plague’s Second Annual Open Mic Night. The night was a smashing hit, and as usual, we were thrilled to collaborate with our friends from NYU’s only intentionally funny magazine. In this semester’s issue, we are proud to showcase writers and artists from around the world and proud as always to feature many student contributors. There are some daring pieces in this issue, and we hope you will find them as evocative and honest as we did. It is our goal to bring you content that is as stimulating as it is enjoyable. This issue is dedicated to our staff, our mothers, and all dogs. We hope you enjoy. Annesha Sengupta Emma Thomas Co-Editors-in-Chief Minetta Review Fall 2015




he asks me where the street lamps are. coming down my patched road in a taxi cab from the airport, we were the last flight to land that night. the driver uses his brakes like a good kisser would use his tongue— sparingly, leaving desire somewhere between the jugular and the uvula. everything is coal black, rotted-out teeth black, until the bumper nearly learns that welding requires heat. i ask the driver where he stomped, where he crouched behind dumpsters and fire hydrants in games of hide and seek, where he let his mother give him haircuts over the kitchen sink. manhattan, he says, was the place he learned to lace his sneakers in twelve different patterns. i tell him manhattan’s a big place. sí, he resonates. not like here. streets are lit even when you’re on the last flight into the city.




The Statue of Liberty crosses Nine Mile, smoking a cigarette, a sign for some off-brand tax service tethered around his neck as I drive in the early morning hours, the tattered end of winter, all gray snow lining the edges. At the red light, I notice a health food store, a handmade sign in the window that says, Disease starts in the Colon, a video rental store, closed for good. On many Friday nights, I rented their movies about people I will never know, places to which I won’t travel. The Statue of Liberty grinds out his butt on the sidewalk, and raises his torch, ready to resume his duties while my life is lodged somewhere inside me, a sliver of glass I can’t remove. The poor, the tired, the huddled, they are all here like me, without a golden door, only matches from places that no longer exist and yet refuse to burn.




Let’s start by saying the moon is falling out of orbit. Not crashing towards us, but drifting away. (If you take anything, take my word.) Just as violently as she came; she’s leaving. Getting the science out of the way, ocean tides will still happen. High’s at noon. Earth will grumble internally. A few volcanoes. Solar winds will stir a largely serene sea. Shorter workdays. Darker nights. Heavier tilt. But, of course, none of these things really matter.

This is not an apocalypse story.

Not a man of science, I’ve heard it explained like this: the moon is our hammer. Picture an Olympic athlete in the hammerthrow event. As the hammer-thrower spins in place, he could be rotating on a hairpin. Yet as he releases, he flails wildly to keep from falling apart. The moon keeps this mad thing stable.


It didn’t come to me in a dream. It came on slow, sure as a kidney stone. At the market, two women are fighting over the last bundle of organic mint like they don’t even know the world is ending. Where is the panic? Where is the looting? Instead, they swap recipes. There’s a Cold War rumor about blowing up the moon. Curiosity and pride. The flash of explosive light would have been visible to everyone at the same time. A shared event, a show of force, a boost of domestic morale in the second-place shadow of the space race. Even a young Carl Sagan was on board. If they blew up the moon, good and proper, it wouldn’t disappear. The remaining pieces would float around the earth, forming a ring around the planet, like Saturn. Beautiful, you think. But a ring is not a stable thing. Periodically, meteorites would break off and slam into earth. Pieces of rock, like mad school buses on fire, would careen through the sky and take out entire city blocks. And there’s a reason the moon is covered in craters. It’s been acting as our shield. So in addition to our ring’s sporadic tantrums, we’d be subject to all the normal violence zooming through the universe. Question: is dealing with an occasional act of violence better than dealing with a constant absence? Oh brother—isn’t it always like that? Funny that whenever God chooses to speak, he only tells one person. Like a secret. And now this person (usually a man, perhaps this man) has to walk around convincing the mouth-breathers that he’s got all the answers, straight from the tap. Why wouldn’t God speak to everyone at once? He could blink and make all our telephones ring. But no. It’s like every act of divine intervention becomes a test of campaign strength. How exhausting to be prophetic. How lonely and self-serving to build a brand people can trust in. How unappreciated, the manic spit-fire enthusiasm of the a.m. radio preacher. (This is me 16

and I am right and I am going to place my thumbs over your wrinkled eyelids and will you sight. Will you receive me? Will you? Will you?) So the world is changing, and I’m the only one who knows, and I don’t even have Eisenhower’s burgeoning nuclear stockpile to play with. Have you heard the song “I’ll Be Seeing You” as sung by Billie Holiday? It opens with a light ba-da-de-di-di from the piano, where it dances alone for thirteen seconds, until the low lull of the trumpets come in, slow and long. And then, Holiday’s voice: mmm. That ache, that ache. I don’t know where to begin. It comes on easy and fluid, yet carries this immense silvery heaviness. She sings like mercury. A quicksilver that crawls in the ear, pools in the heart. Like many love songs, this is about distance. When released, the song became an anthem for those serving overseas in WWII. When you’re in love, I mean really deep in it, you may begin to interpret the world through another point of reference, like parallax. (I am reading the distance between you, me, and the small cafe. I am reading the distance between you, me, and the wishing well, etc.) This is how astronomers measure the distance between stars. This is how your eyes work. When you lose this point of reference, you become displaced. She’s trying to conjure her man through the places they’ve been together. She’s seeing character in setting. All these common farewells transform by degrees until we’re hit with the soft climax of I’ll be looking at the moon / but I’ll be seeing you.

 ——— I don’t want to lose this song. How selfish to think of art at a time like this, in the face of catastrophe. But I can’t croon into an empty sky. Think of the dogs, howling dry into hollow rafters. So, walking the dog. It does its thing. Neighbor’s moving his mouth at me like well I could have told ya this would happen then my mouth goes well it was only a matter of time and I could almost cry 17

because sometimes it’s so easy to read the lines they give you. Then on the bus, a woman is taking up three seats with her filth. Her smell fills the bus, becomes our smell, gets in the nose and eyes, we breathe her in, carry her ’round, and in this we’re family. Trash bags of wet recycling clank at her feet, rank with last-sips of stale whatever. She talks aloud to no one, everyone: ...they’re screwing us again / Disney, Clarke, and that Jew
Kubrick / Hollywood faked the moon landing, and now it’s coming back to punch a hole straight through the firmament / get this, last night I dropped my cigarette and my beer and they hit the ground at the same time / don’t you get it? / we’re in a hysterical vacuum, the lot of us / oh you’re just like them / Homer, Hesiod, and all those conniving idiots thinking the whole universe is rotating a flat earth / I tell ‘em, I always tell ‘em, but no / always the same: attend the lunatic! attend the lunatic! / you’ll see / when the white mask is revealed, the burning fist of God will come down like an ancient rain to rid the world of celestial heretics like you / you Ptolemaic fuck / you flat-headed fuck / this will be your stop... I see an ad about hormone medications causing what’s sometimes called a phantom (or hysterical) pregnancy. That is, the appearance of life where there’s none. Sniff pity and think oh to be on the committee for naming human trauma. In the bathroom with a gallon of distilled water, trying to pass. Grime hugs the corners. Nose-breathing while gulp gulp gulp so fat and heavy now, proudly sloshing ’round the room like am I glowing? Cue the sterile laughter. Can’t measure a family by water weight. Hunched over the toilet waiting to piss, it’s never been more clear: God is everywhere. Then mounting pressure, fizzing of salt and calcium, pushing crystal through pinhole, passing stone, blood in bowl, but the pain don’t come because I was finally right about something. Ha-ah. 18

Kidneys aching to the beat of a feeding chicken. Grapes from thorn. Figs from thistles. Surely, a good tree can bear bad fruit. A beast, a beast, I can’t recognize a thing. An abscess fills the tissue of my forehead with - pop - nothing. Well, a stone in the bowl and a rock in the sky. Most things fall apart so slowly you barely notice it. Going grey. Air in the tires. The hammer-thrower. Sleep, death, and waiting in line. Moon as metaphor. Moon as distance. Moon as 238,900 miles. Moon as Cold War. Moon as Le voyage dans la lune. Moon as bare human ass. Moon as common denominator. Moon as extended metaphor. Moon as kidney. Moon as bad tattoo. Moon as menstrual cycle. Moon as barking at nothing. Moon as Li Po alone and drinking. Moon as Dickinson around the house. Moon as not yet. Moon as soon, but not now. One last try before the grand exhale blows us all away. I’m looking at the sliver. Maybe you’re looking at it, too. What did you call it? An open parenthesis? No, that wasn’t it — {Each one will claim that he is a scientist; but I am the last of them, and there will be no astronomer after me.}

— God’s thumbnail. That’s it, isn’t it?

From here, everything seems solid, stable, and unmoving. In other words, completely at rest. Something I remember from grade school: the earth is spinning so fast that we can’t feel it. In truth, it’s got nothing to do with speed. We don’t feel consistency, only change in motion.

Empty rain falls on all the living 19

blank, blink, blank

the living stare back.





The beehive looks like swirls of graying hair, a mass of fragile curls, with a small branch of the bare tree stabbed through it. An impalement. A beheading in the early winter tree, filled with intricate, abandoned structure. I know it is a husk, but still I fear the bees. Have they truly gone out from the hive? Or are they still inside—a globe whose crust dies of the cold, cored by their queen? And why Should this bee-ruin make me think of you, pollen-heavy moth and dandelion hair, buzzing your labyrinth through dry gray air, congregated in from time-drowned fields to this abandoned muteness of the world?



The birds will still return here from some weeks. City sparrows, come back out of habit to the place where, in the warmth, they liked to drink or to clean themselves of summer fleas. They come down, strike unexpectedness of ice and skitter, tumble-winged, across. Flap up a foot—six inches—dive again. Jab the new cold element with their beaks. Stand unsteadily on aching joints of fact, on nagging injuries. Peer down into the frozen bath, the fallen leaves suspended in the ice like meat in aspic. How human of them: dumbly flown back to a place that will not save them out of season.



I must have missed the fact that poets were all supposed to minor now in botany and know the names of plants (as if those names could make the reader see). So I can’t really say what these pink bells are, blossoming on a leafless, thorny tree. December, between the sidewalk and the street, near the gas station at U Street and Fifteenth. They bloom immune to cold and dreariness. Maybe it’s just something in the genes— the same excess impulse which drives the oaks in California to sacrifice leaves to winter frosts they’ll never see: the clockwork of an ancient urgency.



PATERNITY Nate Pillman

From the inside of his idling car Vince stared at his old house from halfway down the block. He drove by often, especially on nights when it was his turn with Kenna and his wife would be free. Tonight there was a black truck parked in Vince’s old driveway so he was waiting. His phone buzzed. It was Duane again. Vince wanted to answer but Kenna had finally fallen asleep. He turned the radio up to hide the buzz. The radio Kenna could handle. It put her to sleep, unlike Vince’s voice, which always woke her. In the rearview mirror her head looked smaller than normal. It rested against the side of the safety seat like a piece of soft fruit. Even closed, her eyes were sideways commas, the outsides the tails. Vince had round eyes and so did Rachel. They also had attached earlobes while Kenna had detached. Once Vince ordered a paternity test off Amazon but threw it away when it arrived. He walked it all the way down to the dumpster. In his driveway the truck was tall and broad and charcoaled with dust. It stood out in this neighborhood. Vince had loved this 27

neighborhood when they first moved in. He still loved it. What he didn’t love were the things his wife chose to do whilst living in it. On the radio the song by the nasally teenage girl about the different kinds of alcohol for the different days of the week came on and Vince turned the dial. Lebanon was attacking Syria. Vince turned the dial. It was amateur night at Star-Butts. Vince turned the dial. He decided on his go-to station for when he was feeling down. “…and Mrs. Canwell made it across the street without concern. This is Cynthia Whipplehorse reporting, 93:9, Normal News.” A commercial for step-by-step tree pruning came on. It wasn’t trying to sell anything. Vince had discovered Normal News when another radio station was making fun of it during their morning show. Vince was considering killing himself that morning. Two nights before he had pressed a steak knife to his throat hard enough to leave a line of small holes there. When Duane asked about the marks Vince said a crazed squirrel had attacked him. Vince knew that morning that he was one step away from something more. When he got home from work he might have dragged the teeth back and forth until he stopped thinking. But then the cold-voiced female DJ and the hopped-up male one went from talking about peeing in the shower to talking about the lameness of Normal News and Vince got curious and tuned them in. He never looked back. Listening to normal people doing normal things was the only thing that got Vince through his abnormal life. A block of light appeared. The front door of his house was open. Rachel was there. A man was there. They shared a kiss and pawed at each other’s shoulders. Vince waited until the man left the doorway for his truck so the man couldn’t retreat into the house. Once there, Vince put his car in drive and pulled into the driveway so he was bumper to bumper with the truck. A pair of metal testicles hung just below the license plate. Vince grabbed a pamphlet from the pocket of his door and stepped out. The man was frozen. He still had his key in his door but 28

hadn’t yet opened it. Vince closed his door softly. He didn’t want to wake Kenna. “Can I help you?” said the man, only Vince realized it wasn’t a man, but a boy. His voice didn’t sound like the voice of someone who would drive a large truck. He had a patchy beard that disappeared before it got to his sideburns and wore a Carhart cap. “This is my house,” Vince said. “Huh?” said the boy. “Rachel is my wife. She’s married.” Vince held up his ring finger. “Whatever,” the boy said, but he didn’t get into the truck. Vince handed the boy the pamphlet. “What’s this?” “My wife is ill. She has a problem.” “She isn’t married,” said the boy. “Read it,” Vince said. The boy squinted at the pamphlet cover. “Historic—” “Histrionic Personality Disorder,” Vince said. “Man, you’re nuts,” said the boy. He opened the truck door. “You must have just met her,” Vince said. “I bet you just met her tonight.” The boy kept standing there. “Why do you say that?” “I haven’t seen you before,” Vince said. “You’re wrong,” the boy said. “I’ve been here before. I’ve never seen your car here.” “I live in an apartment,” Vince said. “You said you were married,” the boy said. “We’re separated.” A block of light again appeared. It brought out the boy’s acne. Rachel stood in the doorway, her head against the frame. “Baby,” she said. “Pretty young, Rachel,” Vince said. It was the first time he’d raised his voice in days. The boy looked at Rachel and shielded his eyes with the 29

pamphlet. “Is this guy stalking you?” he said. “I told you,” Vince said. “That’s my wife.” He was getting angry. His phone seizured in his pocket. Duane. “Holly, I’m worried,” the boy said. “Will you call the cops?” “Her name is Rachel,” Vince said. He was yelling now. “Her name is Rachel Holland McDonald and she is ill. She has a problem that she’s trying to get help for. You are now part of the problem.” “Baby,” Rachel said again. “Shut up,” Vince screamed. A noise like a mitre saw started over Vince’s shoulder. Kenna was crying. “Jesus Christ,” said the boy. Vince took several steps forward. The acne on the boy’s forehead looked like a sideways South America. “This is my home,” Vince said. The boy said nothing. He looked uneasy. “Baby,” Rachel said. “This is my home and that is my wife and this,” Vince said. He walked to his car and unbuckled Kenna. Her wails gave him goose bumps. He walked Kenna over and held her in front of the boy. “This is our daughter.” He was trying not to yell but he was angry and he had to over the screaming. “Her name is Kenna Rachel McDonald. Look at her. You tell me she doesn’t have my ears and my wife’s eyes.”





Charlene Ashley Taylor

shadows drool in my garden like milk and honey smearing beneath the skin and swimming through the rock like eggs to eat a rose bitter with diamond petals I tongue the smell of rust and watch the water moan ripping hair from my throat but I do not scream as the lather licks my forest red the blood on the moon sweats quick up my dress like a peach boiling juice into rain it shines raw above me and burns my bed bare




Momentary Infatuations

Clara Lu

Julia Gilson, Water

Ivan de Monbrison

Figures in Circle Figure Two Figures

Kill Bill / Film Stills Eleanor Gollin

Untitled Deborah Baik

Hello Darlings Alex Pears




His doctor tells him to taper his personal entanglements, to singe them clean. But he can think of no one, nothing to burn. Though he is often a guest in homes and is known and liked in the shops, he has no blood roots or kin. He lives alone and delivers breads and cakes to the town. He vamps the storekeepers and asks after their children and the price of flour and health. One morning he pulls Par Svensson aside by the deli case, by the deep lime pies, the almond buns tawny and shining with egg. Say this word for me, he says, and hands him a note: sarcosporidiosis. Par grows heavy with shame and concern. Oh it is nothing, nothing! assures Costoluto, shaking his hands. Now, in his age, he thinks of love like a saint traveling north. Began in heat and milk and moving up through high ice and winds. Though the women in the town do not confuse him for a home, for a man with a head, they sometimes come to him and he beams and is grateful and in the mornings he brings them espresso with garden fruit. Though they do notice


his eyes are growing tired and his hair is lank and thin. They smell something on him—a new medicine makes his skin chalky and rank as turned wheat. At night after wine he goes to the yard and stands inert in his brambling grass. He thinks about all the life he cannot see but which, surely, continues just the same. The shed imps displace his tools. Crumbling moths tumble at screens thirsting for light. He feels the town on the hill below him and the muted longing of wives. The nominal streetlights hum. Men are paving roads on the way to Failing Creek. He thinks he can hear the flat wheels and tar. He opens his mouth and sings to the gray aching boards of the fence. His neighbors groan warmly and palm their scalps. There is Costoluto, like a dog under the moon. His soil bursts down with wounded seed. Like the tomatoes on their vines, his belly grows fat and green.



SOME RELEASE Christian Wiggs

It seems that all of my life has been a series of stumbles — chasing the rabbit of a great clover field. At eighty-four, a man cannot help but relive each moment that his fingers brushed the animal’s fine white pelt. Her beating legs just beyond his youthful reach. Infants until we can finally grasp the little beast, we clutch our fingers just centimeters behind her straining neck. Our dreams that we may stroke her, just once, contain in them the future while she carries the past in her stomach like an unborn litter. I never could take her and, because of this, I have depended on those around me all these years. I am old now, and everyone I’ve known is gone except for my middle son. I have asked him where I should pass, but I don’t know that it much matters if I shit my pajamas on a forest-green hospital mattress or in my son’s guest bed. (His mother made the block quilt folded into neat thirds on the foot of that bed. I remember her working in our apartment’s little office until very late, struggling to understand the inner workings of her powder blue sewing machine. She took great pride after it was finally finished, showing us its greens 71

and yellows as she tested each stitch. This was the only thing I can recall her making of that sort. She was never like her own mother, who spun little crafts for anyone who she thought might appreciate them.) ——— He says he wants me to die in his guest bedroom but no one would want to clean his father’s death-shit. This is what one does when one dies: a great shitting until your body has released everything inside of itself. The great joys in my life have come after shitting, so this has been a comfort for me. A satisfying shit before an interview or particularly hazardous social interaction has always preceded some measurable success. Perhaps one subconsciously reallocates to his brain the energy he would have used to tighten his asshole if he didn’t relieve himself. When I cross the great chasm of death into heaven or hell, my soul’s asshole will not be burdened with a final turd. My father died in the same office where my wife tried her hand at sewing. In the tiny rental on the Upper East Side, this was the only room our garage-sale furniture could be shuffled in such a way that we could fit a folding cot for him to lay. He looked there, in the last painful months before he passed, more a fixture of the room than a man, imperceptible from the haphazard stacks of tax forms on our vulgarly painted tables. I found him on a Saturday in late June, when I came to offer him a tuna fish sandwich. Before the ambulance arrived to take his corpse, my wife and I prepared to wipe the discharge from his thighs and ass. After pushing away endless layers of sheet and blanket to reach him, we found his skin clean. The pasty flesh between his bedsores, while offensive, smelled only of his oldness. I believe it’s how ghosts come to haunt the places they die: unsatisfied in death with a full colon. Maybe he’d simply had nothing to shit in the end. When the uniformed paramedics finally arrived at our door, we’d prepared my father for a final elevator ride. He sat limp in his wheelchair behind us as we opened the door to greet the responders. 72

Our little trio, lukewarm in our faces, must have looked very alien as they passed the threshold into the room crowded with so many things. “When’s the last you saw him awake?” the taller of the two asked as the other briskly wheeled him into the hall. I told him that I thought it was sometime the night before, but I couldn’t be sure. ——— We moved away to Annapolis shortly after this in order to distance ourselves from any paternal hauntings. This was strictly precautionary and, mostly of my wife’s accord, we found ourselves in that place. “‘Uh-nah-puh-less’ not ‘an-apple-is,’” she liked to remind me. Most of my life was lived there in that city and I didn’t feel strongly one way or the other for it. My middle son lives in New York City now — on East 82nd — in the same building my wife and I did. Two floors above the old cramped flat, he scurries around like the many rats living in the spaces between furniture and walls, invisible to pedestrians on the sidewalk below. He was born five or six years after his grandfather died and can’t fear his ghost. I take the stairs the six floors up to his place when I visit. This isn’t easy for my dusty lungs and, often, I can feel death creeping into me as a when I come around the fourth floor landing. The feeling is strange, like a handful of nickels being dropped into my throat, sliding slowly into me. Their tiny thuds reverberate in my stomach acid and this somehow pushes my head forward. For a moment I want to vomit, but it passes and I climb the rest of the way to the boy’s door. He always greets me with that smile a young man uses when confronted with a little thing he has much power over. I am the rats behind his refrigerator, and he will clean my last shit.



THE RED LANDS Jaime Garcia

Everything watches me too. What was the state’s advice? Become a crowd or find yourself evolving through rooms. On paper this planet is much less hysterical. Our preamble has two trains walking into a crowd of people to start some shit. Then ocean by ocean they closed the beaches. It became evident that grief was now communicable from mouth to shimmering mouth. I figured out, finally, that it was all about what fills the empty spaces inside. See, officially, what we once thought was visitation is actually just the furniture being moved from a house across the universe. And our experience here is like an abbreviation; a kind of unflinching communion with that long-ago distant parking lot. One time I saw us disassemble like the three-piece dining table. I saw you standing over the body of our dollar-store china trying to pull yourself together. In that moment it was like I could smell the metallic expanse ballooning through us. Sometimes the furniture walks backwards through this memory and settles all across the back patio. And sometimes it’s a yard decorated with signs. But mostly the furniture in these accounts functions as a form of punctuation, that pauses or closes the scene and shuffles us into the next, shivering building. People, though, are always people. There are no exceptions.



JELLY HIGH M. A. Istvan, Jr.

For many years as an adolescent, I would return home blown from ganja and make my midnight PB and J. My mom’s room was right at the kitchen. This had me clench through the sound of breaking the fridge’s sticky-gasket seal and try to minimize open-door light time. At the counter in dark, white bread laid out on paper towels torn with like clench, I would be thinking how I was rocking this. My head would bop to a secret beat kicked up so strong from notice of the application grace, and the small and few knife clinks, that often I fell into worry that I had been beatboxing it. I would wake up to my mom yelling about jelly down the counter cabinets. I started to wonder whether my stepfather might have been fucking with me these nights. Before taking my sandwich into the room, I would make it a point to wipe everything even when, as usual, all was already clear.




Rachel A.G. Gilman

I’m starting to get a little paranoid that the train hasn’t stopped. It usually pulls into that one, funny-sounding named station I can’t remember the name of right now, but it stops and lets people off that look like they were rejected from getting house loans in the Hamptons, so they settled on something just a half hour or so train ride from Manhattan. Damn, the name of the station always reminds me of those little crackers that come with New England clam chowder, not so much because the words sound the same, but because the way they make me feel are the same. None of this is very relevant, though, because I’m not stopping. Well, technically I’m not moving. Actually, technically technically the train car is moving me while I’m inside of it. Being inside of things is odd, isn’t it? Like, the feeling of being inside your bed on a cold morning. Though when I tried to articulate that to Ben last year, he’d laughed and said if I was actually inside of the bed I would be smothered. Wiseass. He understood the concept of being inside something but he wasn’t really the type of person who would 79

ever be able to feel what it was like to be inside something, to get the emotional aspect of it. That should’ve been obvious to me in the way he wore a shirt from some band’s concert he’d never even heard of, just liked the design, that’s all. I can’t help but wonder if he’s on a train, too, right now, going south not north. I should’ve called. I wish it wasn’t dark, because at least then I would know where the hell I was. The conductor isn’t announcing anything. He punched my ticket and saw that I was to get off at Rhinecliff. Rhinecliff, the place where I first started to understand things like inside and outside, or feeling lost when there’s nowhere right that you’re meant to be. Can you feel lost on a train you spent so much of your life on? Because I am now. I grew up on trains until I tried to settle myself. There’s a logical, modern solution to this loopy mess. I pull out my phone, using the map feature, the feature I cared most about when purchasing it because I was worried that Ben would leave me on a cliff walk again in the middle of an argument about stupid fucking Borges and how I don’t think he makes any sense. But if I was really stuck on a cliff walk bordering the Hudson, chances are I wouldn’t have service anyway. Maybe it’s me that doesn’t make any sense. I watch the blue circle flash, locating me, slowly chugging along toward Poughkeepsie, Hyde Park, the places filled with historical bullshit only tourists and teachers care about. Oh, and Ben, but in some way Ben was neither and both of those things wrapped into one. Maybe he was a tourist trying to be a teacher, or maybe things didn’t work because I hate listening to those kind of people. Maybe I hate everything just a little bit. I hate this fucking train, and I hate the blue dot. The blue dot, moving along. Why’d they decide to make it blue? It’s not that I don’t like blue, it’s more that I’m just curious as to how many people Apple paid to study what color would be most effective when tracking locations on a map. Of course, I like blue. I spent an entire year drenched in blue. The blue Hudson River. The blue valley sky. Ben’s blue eyes behind his black, crooked glasses (because black and blue go together well, no? He always made me think so, assured me of it when he traced the bruises on my chest with 80

his shaky fingertips). Those blue sheets on that blue bed I wanted him to get inside of, but all he could say was, “you know, the way you keep your bed says a lot about how your life is going.” I now know he heard that on the Jersey Shore, something the worst part of him indulged in. I think it somehow made him miss home. But whatever, I’ve just been thinking about if there’s any truth to something that came out of the mouth of a well-gelled, juicehead Guido, if maybe it’s something I could learn to listen to, learn not to hate. It’s just getting darker and I wonder if maybe the train isn’t going to stop. Maybe it’ll take me up to Albany. Now that’s a reality show waiting to happen, the dirty Albz as they call it. Someone, alert MTV before Ryan Seacrest sticks his nose in! And we’re slowing down, but the little blue light is nowhere near anything, unless you count a dilapidated building as something, which maybe it is. “Attention, passengers.” Lovely, the conductor wants to get chatty now. I should have tried to take a nap. I shouldn’t have bought this ticket with just my purse and my coat in hand. I should get off and walk. Borges could write a story about the mess I’m becoming, then Ben could read it and say, “well, he’s had better,” talking about not just Borges but himself as well. I want to go home. I want to find home. Now I want to be smothered by that bed. “We’re having a bit of car trouble,” the conductor says. “Please, stand by.” I always thought that was a dumb thing to say. I hate it. You know why? Because the very nature of standing by usually requires sitting.




white lights, peppered linoleum, packets of flavored powder— ten cents per.



My asshole is not flowers by any means. My asshole is not inclined, botanically speaking. My asshole is not pollen and certainly My asshole is not blown to the field in the wind. My asshole is not bright colors of the Keukenhof. My asshole is not inundated by hyacinth nor carnation. My asshole is not thorny along the stem; My asshole is not wet after a spring rain. My asshole has not proven successful with condolences. My asshole has not made a proper anniversary card My asshole has not stomached a long, white orchid My asshole would not pair well with waffles.


My asshole does not accommodate the stinging of bees. My asshole is not mourning the deaths of bees that sting. My asshole is not disturbed by the disappearance of bees. My asshole is worn thin of the taste of honey. Like manicured Versailles and hanging Babylon, My asshole does not care for: nails bats fists spices hot coals river rafting incessant accusation vigorous tickling sky diving merry-go-rounds four lane roads wooden roller coaster rides garbage dumps unexpected jesuit ministers baseball players that try to steal home plate just the tip digital watches with alarms unrequited topless snaps frat boys that burst through the door floral shoe buckles soda cans rain coats razor blades. 85

My asshole is particular in its selection of retroactive subscription benefits of Harper’s magazine. My asshole learned the hard way what the land speed velocity of hunger was. My asshole in Spain in Amsterdam in Iowa made investigations of thought-provoking structures; My asshole in Portugal in Morocco in California climbed mountains and took private tours. My asshole is more enlightened as a consequence of gardening tips and it, my asshole, gives sunflower hugs of dynamic intensities.





From the Honeysuckle Messenger, October 2nd, 1921.

Late in the afternoon of Saturday, October 1st, Honeysuckle’s mayor, Ronald Gates (born Reinhold Gast in Wiesbaden, Hessia), collapsed while on a stroll down Oliff Branch Road. Onlookers who rushed to his aid said that in between incomprehensible and guttural spouts of German, the mayor complained of palpitations of the heart. A doctor was sent for, but the mayor succumbed to cardiac arrest at approximately 6:15 PM. He was 52. The mayor is survived by his wife, Wilhelmina Gates (nee Schelditz-Krafthammerschild), age 54, a one time mezzo-soprano opera singer who we are told has never performed any Wagner, despite her girth. Elected two years ago by a slim majority (59 votes to 27) Mayor Gates was Honeysuckle’s first Republican mayor, and one of the few elected Republicans in the otherwise great Christian state of Alabama. Whether you agreed with his policies or not is irrelevant. It is demonstrable that Mayor Gates (or should we say Gast?) had no 89

policies beyond the construction of a new covered bridge over Milk Creek; one that is said to have cost the taxpayers an exorbitant ten dollars and fifty cents in lumber. As if we were not capable of carrying our shoes and rolling up our trousers! That his administration will be marked as one without any public scandal is a testament to his carefulness and subtleness, not noble conduct. There are allegations that the mayor engaged in the vicious act of parading his wealth and education before modest, humble boys between the ages of fourteen and seventeen. Parents whose boys were employed on weekends painting the mayor’s outhouse, dusting his library, and drawing baths for his wife should not be begrudged if the allure of pennies and nickels was too great. One must recoil at the thought of the mayor’s mean display, forcing these boys of modest means to walk past his book cases crammed with foreign ideas and his opulently decorated dining room, which features two gramophones. That is not a misprint. That a German mayor was elected in such a staunchly patriotic American town a mere year after the close of the Great War is as inexplicable as the late mayor’s gramophone redundancy. Certainly no one at this paper cast their ballot for a German. Perhaps those who did believed that with the Hun humbled in Europe, we were safe from Teutonic machinations at home. There are those who would protest at our calling attention to the mayor’s ancestry. Surely, they may say, not all Germans are bad. It is well known that of the Alemannic genus, that species known as Prussian is possessed of an inordinate malignance, and of course Bavarians are all drunks complicit, by dint of geographic complacency, in the horrors of the Catholic Inquisition. Hessians, too, are to be guarded against. That we cannot say what exactly makes the Hessian dangerous is not a feather in his cap. For just as death is a null shapelessness, and for this nullification is of infinite dimension, so too is the invisible cruelty of the Hessian boundless. While no one would imply that Mayor Gates was looking through the periscope before the RMS Lusitania was torpedoed in ‘15, would anyone deny that some small, mean fiber of the late mayor’s being was elated when little Belgium’s neutrality was violated by Teutonic boots in ‘14?


As is the custom of the Messenger, we will include a brief note from the deceased’s widow, Wilhelmina: “I will think of [The late Mayor] always as he was when we met in Frankfurt in ‘92. [The late Mayor] was so full of life. [The late Mayor] was so boyish then; why must men age?” She also added that she hopes, local families will continue to send their sons to ensure that her house and grounds do not fall into disrepair for lack of a man’s help. If for naught else but the spirit of forgiveness and Christian charity, we should grant her this.




wake up and smell the soap showering used to 1 be such a chore why cant i celebrate my new 2 roses instead of hide them sorry i meant 3 neuroses emotional crises should count as 4 college credits hey i finished a full semester and 5 a mental breakdown wheres my goddamn gold 6 medal goddammit i thought ive achieved 7 something 8 its your turn now tell me something i dont 9 know muster all your strength now you must 10 know something i dont know thank you for the 11 roses but i got my own theyre perfectly 12 beautiful let me show you my 13 new roses 14


CONTRIBUTOR NOTES CHRIS AMES is a writer who also draws. His work has been featured in No Tokens, Passages North, Big Lucks, and elsewhere. You can visit him at chrisames.net. KEVIN BEERMAN is a floundering senior studying Comparative Literature at NYU. When they aren’t catching up on the work they tend to ignore, you could probably find them at the Tompkins Square dog run, fantasizing about the day they can bring their own little pup to frolic with its furry peers. MICHELLE BROOKS has published work in Alaska Quarterly Review, Slipstream, and elsewhere. Her poetry collection Make Yourself Small was publihed by Backwaters Press, and her novella, Dead Girl, Live Boy, was published by Storylandia Press. She has recently finished a novel set in her favorite city, Detroit. KATE BUSATTO is an emerging poet who likes to pretend that Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret wasn’t hugely inspiring to her for most of her school career. Now, she draws her inspiration from little scraps of paper that went through the wash in her jeans pocket and people who don’t think she’s listening. JONATHAN DUCKWORTH is an MFA student at Florida International University, where he serves as a reader and copy-editor for the Gulf Stream Magazine. His fiction and poetry appears in or is forthcoming in Literary Orphans, Fourteen Hills, Lunch Ticket, Cha, The Penny Dreadful, Off the Coast and elsewhere. JAIME GARCIA is from Rubidoux, California. His poetry has been featured by dotdotdash, Voiceworks, Contrary, Word Riot and dewpoint. RACHEL A. G. GILMAN is a writer, wanderer, and probably the girl in the Kinks shirt trying to order Jamba Juice. She is currently Associate News Director at WNYU, NYU’s student-run radio station, as well as the executive producer of “The Rundown” and “The Write Stuff.” Additionally, she is a staff writer for The Odyssey at NYU and a weekly staff columnist for WSN’s The Highlighter. JULIA GILSON is a junior in Gallatin, studying “Business of Creative Production”. She is hoping to have a few fields to choose from after graduating, but photography and writing have always been a love of hers for many years and will continue to be. She takes at least 3 photos a day. ELEANOR GOLLIN was born in Houston, Texas and currently lives in New York, studying Studio Art at NYU. M. A. ISTVAN JR.’s wife of 10 years has just come to terms, after a lifelong struggle, with the fact that she is a full-blown lesbian. Biologically male and a mere 35% female in soul, Istvan thus has never been quite right for her. The two of them—best friends, family, co-parents—are now undergoing an amicable divorce, despite how heart-broken Istvan is. Visit Istvan’s page at https://txstate.academia. edu/MichaelIstvanJr. CLARA LU is a Studio Art major double minoring in East Asian Studies and Environmental Studies. Her recent works observe socio-economic issues and the obstacles they present for her generation. Momentary Infatuations catalogs the viral temporal slang of our generation and notes how these terms will last into the future, whether they become dated or otherwise. 94

IVAN DE MONBRINSON is a French artist and poet born in 1969 in Paris. He currently lives between Paris and Marseille. His works have been shown in Paris, Brussels, Barcelona, New-York, and have been published globally. His poem-novel Les Maldormants, illustrated by him, was published in 2014 by Ressouvenances Publishers in France. RAY NAYLER has been published in the Beloit Poetry Journal, Weave, Juked, Able Muse, Sentence, Phantom Limb, and many other magazines. His novel American Graveyards was published in the UK by Third Alternative Press. His cross-genre short stories have been published in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and the Berkeley Fiction Review. He has lived and worked in Turkmenistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, and Vietnam. Ray is a Foreign Service Officer, and was most recently posted to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. He currently lives in Washington, D.C., where he is studying Azerbaijani at the Foreign Service Institute in preparation for his upcoming post to Baku, Azerbaijan. You can follow him and find links to his work at http://raynayler.net. ALEX PEARS is printmaker, illustrator, and writer studying at the University of Michigan. Her work focuses on the intersection of gender, sexuality, and family through the lens of her experience as queer and growing up in a conservative, Christian home where traditional gender roles, sexual orientations, and gender identities were woven throughout her childhood. Hello Darlings is a monoprint series that examines the way the traditional family structure and values contradicted her own identity and affected her understanding of what it means to be a daughter, a sister, and a woman within The Family. More of her work can be viewed at www. alexpears.com. NATE PILLMAN received his MFA in Creative Writing from Iowa State University. His work has appeared in PANK, North American Review, New Ohio Review, Bayou Magazine, Mid-American Review, and others. He lives in Tucson, Arizona. CHARLENE ASHLEY TAYLOR has a BA in English from the University of Louisville. She is the mother of two, works third shift, and volunteers as a writing labs mentor for Sarabande Books. Charlene recently released her first self-published book of poetry and fiction titled escapism. CHRISTIAN WIGGS is a sophomore English major at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. He has no previous publications, but looks forward to continued submissions. LINDA WOJTOWICK grew up in Montana. She now lives and works in Portland, Oregon, where she indulges her cinematic obsessions without restraint. She has just been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her poetry is currently guesting in Two Hawks Quarterly and Unbroken Journal. DYLAN YOUNGERS is a student at Sonoma State University studying Mathematics and Creative Writing. He has been previously published in the Suisun Valley Review, the Belleville Park Pages, Driftwood Press, and other journals. Y. J. YU is a poet, writer, translator, and mental health advocate. Find more of her works and thoughts on moments-fragments.tumblr.com.



Annesha Sengupta Emma Thomas Felix Ho Yuen Chan Ahmed Sherif


Caroline Porter


Samantha Craig


Abraham Gross Alexandra Reis Weston Richey



Vanessa Haughton Sofiya Joseph David Sobalvarro Mohsin Abbasi Sarah Colvin Christine Wang


Antonio Alexander Arrendol Sebastian Lopez Calvo Grace Fellman Coty Novak


Kristina Neuhaus

Minetta Review, established in 1974, is a literary and arts publication managed by undergraduate students at New York University. Please visit our website for submissions guidelines. Book design and layout by Emma Thomas. Copy edited by Ahmed Sherif, Caroline Porter, David Sobalvarro, Sofiya Joseph, Vanessa Haughton, Weston Richie, Abraham Gross, Alexandra Reis. Proofread by Annesha Sengupta, Sebastian Lopez Calvo, Bridget Casey, Caroline Porter, Ahmed Sherif, Samantha Craig. Minetta Review logo created by Carol Ourivio. All rights revert to the contributor, whose authorization is required for reprints. ISSN 1065-9196 A special thank you to Kristina Neuhaus, Nanci Healy and the All-Square Student Budget Allocation Committee at New York University, for their continued support of Minetta and its dedicated editorial board. An enormous thanks to Jim Federico and Abby Fick at Offset Impressions for printing yet another beautiful issue.

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Minetta Review Fall 2015  

Minetta Review Fall 2015  

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