Minetta Review Fall 2014

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Cover designed by Bridget Casey. Carol Ourivio.

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Minetta Statement

Eshani Agrawal Claudia Sbuttoni



Hannah Dow



Jane Huffman



Bruce McRae



Cameron Schneberger



Simon Perchik



Faith Johnson



Abby Kosisko



Daniel Ruefman



Brian Centrone



Don Hogle 5



Joey P.D. Bui



Kaila Allison



Emily Bannon



Thaddeus Rutkowski



Christopher Moylan

ART 37


Rachel Liu






Franco Aguilar



Max Lovera



Medha Dutt



Contributor Notes


Editorial Board & Special Thanks



This year marks the fortieth anniversary of Minetta Review and our self-imposed midlife crisis. As the oldest literary publication at New York University, we’ve certainly experienced our fair share of issues (ha!) and changes. It was with this spirit of examining one’s perspective and purpose that we willingly took a step back after forty years, reevaluated the essence of our magazine, and put on the reading glasses we were hesitant to admit we needed. This past October, we had the pleasure of representing Minetta Review at the 2014 Intercollegiate Literary Conference at Princeton University. There, we met wonderful friends and exchanged novel ideas with editors from other institutions. We also learned that Minetta Review is unique in that we have the pleasure of accepting submissions from all over the world rather than exclusively from our own university. This revelation emphasizes that Minetta Review is truly a product of both NYU and its global reach. We are especially thankful for our staff who stuck with us through this process of change. No change is easy and no change is permanent in its first iteration. As we made decisions to alter the structure of our group, increase our selectivity, and reevaluate our presence both in the physical world and the digital one, our staff has remained accepting and optimistic about our potential. More than that, this is a staff that realizes that with each change comes a challenge, and with each challenge comes an opportunity.


For our Fall 2014 issue, we are pleased to present an edition of Minetta Review that both hearkens back to the core values of our creators--original and high quality pieces without presumption-- while also evolves to meet our new needs. We listened to our aching corpus and embraced the changes we deemed necessary for the most efficient functioning of our system. We shed a few pounds by shortening the length of our issue in order to make ourselves even more competitive and unified as a magazine. This edition of Minetta was our most competitive yet. We looked for pieces that were inventive and emotive, and those pieces were sent through rounds of assistants, genre editors, and chief-editors before they were accepted. With this edition of Minetta, we worked with the wisdom of 40 years past, but also the knowledge that we have so much more ahead of us.

Eshani Agrawal Claudia Sbuttoni Co-Editors-in-Chief Minetta Review Fall 2014




At the scene a custodian pushes blood into jars with a broom. Briefcase quiet folded pajamas shaving cream set to leave in the morning. Man on a balcony mourning. Wants God. Answers. To plunge toward another derelict building. A ghost in this one or blurred man walking. Agnostic photographer says man, blames an eye that blinks too slowly, as if resurrected photographs were not some embryonic ghosts.



They were married on the same Sunday, bore daughters in the same April, and found the same opportunity in escorting men to their balls, their operas, receptions, silent auctions. They wore the same white gowns every weekend and the men paid them the same compliments, the same sums. They kept the money to themselves, told their husbands it was midnight mass. It was a type of communion. Men ate their crusts, spat back their wine, paid for sins. Watch as they lean toward one another to whisper a secret. Tonight, they were promised rose champagne, lobster soufflÊs, cocktail sauces on three-tiered trays. Not these bored lion keepers and seats in the nosebleeds. They’ve known better company, sat in finer chairs, seen finer worlds. But they will go back to velvet curtained beds and uncover their heads, unpin the wool capes of their customers. They will stand in front of oak mirrors wearing too-big tricorne hats and bend, bow like ballet dancers, with backs of hands brushing the ground, bare-chested among gladiators.





The bathroom had pink tiles. That was one thing. Another thing, I told them, was a squat, oblong window above the sink. Too squat to let a body through, but enough to let the Buenos Aires songs come in, and keep coming in. It was a Tuesday night. I remember because as I was pissing, a guy was walking by outside, on the other side of the wall, and he was singing, ‘Saturday, Saturday, Saturday, oh Saturday night is over.’ I heard him like he was right next to me. The window was just above my head and had no flyscreen or glass or anything. I remember because I was drunk and I thought, that at least is true, because it is Tuesday and so Saturday night is over. It is true like so very few things are. But that’s what I was thinking, and I would have noticed if Gabo came in. Or if Gabo was there, because I would have wanted to talk to somebody about how it was Tuesday and Saturday night was over. I’m just trying to explain what I’m thinking when I’ve been drinking like that, because I think definitely, even if not properly. Definitely, Gabo didn’t come through the bathroom. 15

It was the night that Juan did a set on his own, or rather, with a different band. He was alright. He was doing acoustic, all soft and murmured, with choruses like a pop song and a guitar around his neck. That was around when he figured he’s a handsome guy and all the romantic guys were singing bossa nova like the Brazilians. He brought around a new girl that night, this skinny brunette. I don’t remember her name. She was on the edge of her seat just listening to Juan, not talking to one of us even though she was sitting at our table. She had a real sad face, although she was nervous and laughed a lot, with a dainty chin like a bird and wet eyes. She looked miserable all the time, that’s just the way her face was. She asked me about Gabo, when everyone was talking about Gabo. “You were with him that night, weren’t you, Manu?” she asked me. “We were all with him. He was with us.” She had never said a word to me before, and here she was calling me Manu. “But you were,” she stopped, “you were with him, weren’t you?” Then I wanted to kill her and I must have looked it because she took off. I was on a short fuse those days. I knew everyone wanted to ask me about Gabo, but she made me really angry. Maybe she was embarrassed that she couldn’t outright say we were fucking, Gabo and I. But that’s all it was, and it wasn’t a big deal. Maybe it was just her sad bird-eyes.

We all met Gabo at the university. The student union Zapatas held a midnight rally, one of the first ones. Mostly speeches and poems, with all these young kids in jeans and a manifesto sticking out the back pocket. They asked us to do some songs. Rafael’s sister was in the Zapatas and that’s how they knew us. I can’t remember the set list, because I already got high while the kids were doing their speeches and reading from Che or something. 16

So we got up and in the middle of this song I forgot what came next. I was playing bass as well as singing, and I got stuck on two notes for about five minutes. I think it was d flat and e and I just played d flat-e, d flat-e, d flat-e over and over. The guys were freaking out and the kids were getting uneasy, obviously. Rafael’s sister was probably shitting her pants. But then I started singing, ‘something, there’s something, something’s in the water,’ and I played that infernal bass line again while I thought of something else. It sounds like it was all an accident, but I sung it because I’d been thinking about this stuff for a while. I said, ‘there’s something in the water, you know, something in the water.’ The kids loved it. We were doing what we’d heard was going on in Tucumán. Los Perros had a song about building a raft and escaping, and Almendra was doing this song about ice falling over the city, freezing the city when everybody is asleep, that was probably the best one I knew. The guys and I hadn’t talked about it, but we played it and it was what the kids wanted, even though they hadn’t asked for it. It was a time when nobody was saying anything, not really. That was also before we really knew for sure that the kidnappings were real. We’d heard rumours about some activists and students in Rosario. But nobody knew their names and it was all very uncertain. Maybe they just read the Vedas and left for the Andes one morning, or got broke and went back to their mothers in Tigre. You didn’t know who you could ask, either, in case it was true. But at this point the vultures hadn’t come after musicians yet, or city kids. It was early enough that everyone was perversely excited about being involved. The whole thing was thrilling. Something was in the water. After the rally, we went drinking with some of the kids in La Boca. They were poets, carriers of the manifestos, and we had big conversations about things we didn’t really know. Gabo was one of these poets. I remember the first thing he said that night, because it made me wonder if he was retarded, and that’s why everybody fell silent when he spoke. We were all talking about Che, good Che, 17

father of the young Latin American poets, saint of the Latin American bar room, and the baptism into his patronage by spirits, by which I mean fernet, loud and drunk, and suddenly Gabo said: “I don’t care if I fall.” He hadn’t spoken all night. It was a high, stringy voice, like it had to be, to be squeezed out of such a skinny body. But it was lyrical, like he was reading poetry. Everybody stopped to wonder what the fuck. “As long as somebody picks up my gun and starts shooting,” he said. Then another student, who recognized the Che quote, shouted out and squeezed Gabo’s shoulders. It left his dark green sweater ruffled and showing a bit of his collarbone. I looked at him, and felt uncharacteristically embarrassed when he stared back at me. He was a pale guy, his brown hair so light that it sometimes looked ginger, and he was slim, no, slender with almond eyes like an Asian. He was the weakest person I’ve ever seen, and the most serious. In bed, he embarrassed me with his seriousness. I took him with me, after the bar, thinking that his serious looks were seductive and wanting to reward him for his Che quote and the obvious respect that the other students had for him. But I was unsure, because I didn’t get any other signals. Even when he started taking his clothes off, slowly, studiously, it was as though I wasn’t there, like he was at home and didn’t want to leave a wrinkle in folding up his green sweater, his khaki pants, his thin t-shirt, and his cotton briefs. I was embarrassed again of his skinny body. I stood watching him because I didn’t feel like I could touch him, which made me strange. That was Gabo’s trick, he made me strange and melancholy, although mostly I was just wondering what the fuck, is he retarded or a poet. Then I got mad at my own strangeness and went after him.


Gabo wrote a song for us in September, or was it November. He’d been at a lot of our gigs. He’d come from the university and sit with the other kids, not drinking or talking with them, but they always saved his seat for him and fell silent when he spoke, like their secret god. I still don’t really get it. We were hanging out with the university kids a lot by then, and some other odd people that talked about rock and poetry — and who drank a lot, of course — just hanging out, like we were all waiting for something to happen. After ‘Something In The Water,’ the guys and I only played songs like that. New songs, nothing sentimental anymore, and about the thing that nobody was talking about. Pablo knew this other student poet, Maria, he was sleeping with her, and she wrote an insane song for us called ‘Mister Scissors.’ It was about a guy that worked in the theatre backroom, cutting out scenes from a film that starred his lover, editing and rearranging the clips, and at night he comes home and cuts her up in bed. It was good, really freaky. The first night we rehearsed it, Maria was standing right up next to the stage, in front of me, and she kept shrieking ‘louder, louder, louder.’ I listened to her, because honestly I was scared of her, and the song gets into a climax that is everything shrieking, like the lover in the song when she’s being cut up. I don’t know how Pablo gets into bed with someone like that, but good, because we started getting more attention with that song. Maybe Gabo was jealous of Maria’s success, and that’s why he wrote a song for us. “I wrote you a song,” he said. He got up in the middle of the night suddenly, like an alarm had gone off, and walked over to his window ledge where he had the piece of paper folded up. He didn’t have handwriting like a poet, his letters were big and childlike, and the song was about dinosaurs. “Read it slowly,” he said. That wasn’t hard because my hangover was coming. “Imagine the dinosaurs in your streets, imagine the dinosaurs in your bed, imagine the dinosaurs disappear.” “Slowly, slowly.” I didn’t even sing it, I was too tired, but Gabo nodded, his 19

eyes serious and his body naked. In my stupor, the song made sense, although in the morning it sounded a bit funny. But by then I had trusted him enough, this strange, skinny god of the young poets, and the song became our greatest. We performed ‘Dinosaurs’ in Tucumán in November. It was a huge gig, they called it a happening, and all the kids came down from Buenos Aires and Rosario, even Santa Fe and Montevideo, for it. The greatest bands were there, it was a big deal. Almendras were there. They knew about our dinosaur song like we knew about their snow song. They even looked like us, these four guys in their 20s, haggard like they didn’t have a mattress between them or a mother. We had Juan, though. Nobody had a handsome guy as Juan. Gabo travelled with us, not anything special, by which I mean, not with me. A group of Buenos Aires students had started coming with us everywhere, including Gabo and Maria, who was sleeping with Juan by then. A couple days before we left for Tucumán, I passed this kiosko in Buenos Aires that had kids’ books next to the chips and candy, like El Principito and Mafalda. They had a children’s book about dinosaurs and when I saw it, I had to get it. But it felt stupid when I brought it home so I gave it to Gabo. I thought, he might like it, he’s strange. He took the book delicately like it was going to crumble, which made me impatient. I grabbed the book and flipped over to this page I’d flagged. “This one is you,” I said, pointing at one of the dinosaurs. “Apatosaurus.” It was one of the vegetarian ones, with a long skinny neck like Gabo’s or rather, like Gabo’s body, and scaly skin. “You are not one at all,” he said. I was angry for a second, and then I realized it didn’t matter if I was not any of the dinosaurs in the book, it was a stupid kids’ book, but if I was, I think I would be one of the big flying ones, with bloody wings. Things got really crazy after the Tucumán performance. There were thousands of people in the hall, and even more outside on the grass. Everyone was camping because the hostels were full and nobody 20

slept that weekend anyway, except with each other. I didn’t see Gabo again because the band was constantly swarmed with people, and also I was blind drunk the whole time. We had made it then, really made it. We played Dinosaurs over and over, everyday, and it was great every time, everybody wanted more. The kids worshipped us and chanted our names. Different kids came back to Buenos Aires with us, though some of the same faces stayed, but it was hard to keep track because like I said I was drunk the whole time and there were a lot of people around.

Everyone saw Gabo for the last time on the Tuesday. We weren’t doing anything in particular that night, we were just out drinking at some bar in Palermo, the guys, Maria, and the kids that came with us. He didn’t come home that night and the next and the next and soon we realized that we had seen him for the last time. No one could talk about anything else, not for the usual reasons, but because we were really scared. They asked me about it. Did I know where he lived? Did he seem scared around then, did he seem like he knew what was going to happen? Once, we all sat down and talked about what we remembered of that night. “He left early.” “He was acting strange that night.” “He’s always strange.” “The bathroom had pink tiles,” I told them. I was passed out in the bathroom when Gabo left, on his own. It must have been a long time, because everyone thought I had left too. But I was sitting in the bathroom, staring at the pink tiles because I was dizzy. In the end, we didn’t figure out anything and didn’t feel any better. We didn’t meet to play anymore, there seemed to always be something more important to do, although I didn’t really have anything to do, except drink. 21

By the end of the month, Juan and Maria left to go to Juan’s country home. They didn’t tell us where it was, exactly, and we didn’t talk about the band again. Nobody talked about much. There was a lot of moving around, and I saw Pablo and Rafael a couple more times. But then once, was it two months after or three, I came to knock on Pablo’s door and nobody lived there anymore. So then I was alone mostly. One night, I found myself in the same bar again. I didn’t mean to come, I really didn’t want to see that place ever again, but I couldn’t tell at first. It seemed to be any dingy place in Palermo with a neon burger sign out front. It was the same neon burger sign as a couple spots I know in the city. I sat at a low table, unreasonably low for a regular adult. It made me feel overgrown and sad. My knees hung out to the sides, bent because the seats were too close to the floor. I sat anyway and I forgot to order a burger so I had a lot of beer instead. I must have been there for a while, drinking beer, because I began to feel very bloated. My stomach felt baggy and my knees were cramping like the table was getting even lower and closer to the ground. Yes, I must have been drunk, and the vertigo made me feel like I was falling into the floor, not like an upright person falling over, but like I was swelling and swallowing up the small furniture. So I made myself get up and go to the bathroom. When I washed my hands, I looked up and saw the squat, oblong window and started screaming. The vertigo, or whatever it was, swelled up in me and I filled up the room. I saw the whole tiny bathroom from bird’s eye view and it clearly had white tiles, and it was clearly the same bathroom as that night. I looked and even though I was swollen and giant, it was clear that the window could have fit a person through. Then I heard bird songs coming through it and a woman’s voice. “You were with him, Manu.” It was clear that it was Maria’s voice, it was Maria with the sad bird eyes, but why didn’t I know it? And it became clear why the tiles were pink that night and why I spent such a long time staring at 22

them and never forgot that they were pink. The room swelled with bird songs, with Maria’s voice, and I thought I might die but then it passed. I pissed. I was sitting back on the toilet seat. I kept pissing and the room deflated, so did I, and the bird songs wrung out dry. I smelt fried meat and remembered that I had ordered the burger after all, and that I was ravenous, so I washed my hands again and went back to the bar, which looked all the same, and it was like nothing had happened, nothing could have happened at all, not really.




The Brotherhood of Right Angles, who meet in the old potting shed out back every other Tuesday at nine o’clock. Tonight’s guest speaker, Zeno the Eleatic, his discussion concerning infinity and its paradoxes. Among the small gathering is the philosopher Voltaire; who once said, ‘If triangles had a god they would endow it with three sides.’ Behind him sits Bobo, the celebrity chimp, making the hand signs for ‘Caca in the head.’ And that’s about the yes and no of it really. No mention of ‘Unity, Duty and Destiny.’ here. Meanwhile, overhead, the recording angel, perched upon her cloud and writing just as fast as she can.


10 MAXIMS FOR THE GHOST HERD Cameron Schneberger


I don’t understand where the ghost herd comes from, but it roams northern Wisconsin grazing through hills, giving milk to no one.


Please explain how any loving farmer could coax an entire herd of brown velvet beauties into a barn and set the barn ablaze.


What do you mean when you say you can’t drive through them? Course you can drive through ghosts, it’s unusual, but you can’t kill the cows twice.


What is this matchbook for? What is this daisy field for? What good is a living flower to a hungry ghost? Lean in and I’ll tell you how to feed the herd.


What’s going to happen when the Marshfield police see an entire field of crunchy black daisies? The herd will be filled and drunk teens steal the credit.



What about the white cow? The one who waddles in the shade of the hill oak, trying to eat live acorns. A ghost cow without a herd might be the saddest thing.


Do I want to be here when the cows follow one another back the clearing to where the barn crackled and toppled? Can they give birth to ghost calves?


Drive slow down dirt roads. Tourists have a habit of swerving to avoid the herd. When the police aren’t hunting arsonists, they’re towing ditched minivans.


Every drunk teen in Marshfield knows the myth. The swim team held a contest. Which brave freshman could jump over the bonfire on that brittle Friday night?


Please continue drinking warm Pabst in the roar of the waxing moon. If the white cow wanders through your camp, burn an acorn and nothing else.



DEEP SEA Kaila Allison

“Close your eyes,” said Dr. P. His voice was echoing like a deep-sea sonar and I was slowly, slowly turning into a whale. It had already begun, and I was wishing it hadn’t. “I’m a whale,” I said. “I have a blowhole!” “Breathe in and out,” said Dr. P. “Slowly, slowly.” I was a whale floating through the sea. The water was cold and dark, and I could see the faint light of a submarine approaching. My eyes were like telescopes. And I saw, swimming beside the submarine, in a neon scuba suit, my father. He was a human. My logic told me that normally humans would be crushed at these depths. But my father was swimming beside the submarine, not crushed, and he appeared to be waving at me. “Father?” I called out. But my voice dissolved into a highpitched sigh, almost like a song. “Do you see your father, Mr. Cadamen?” I felt a touch on my hand; a dry, human touch. I remembered this was all part of the 29

experiment. That the hand that touched me belonged to Dr. P, and that I was still Sherman Cadamen, a human, not a whale. “Father?” I called again in my new voice. I tried to swim toward him, but as soon as I thought I was there, he seemed another ten leagues ahead. I thought it was peculiar that he was wearing a neon scuba suit, first of all because I had never seen my father in a scuba suit, and second of all because I had never seen one that was neon. “Get me out of here,” I said, grasping for Dr. P’s hand. “Just breathe, Mr. Cadamen. You can get through this. You are safe here in my office.” I was brought to the scene of my father’s funeral, just as it had been in reality, twenty-two years ago, only this time in my mind it was underwater. My father was locked away in his floating casket, which shone neon like a haunted treasure chest. My mother and sister were there, weeping in black, their hair floating like seaweed. The strangest thing was that they were weeping but I could not see their tears, because one cannot see tears underwater. They had no scuba suits to protect them, yet they too remained uncrushed by the immense pressure of deep sea. All of this moved me, and Dr. P grabbed my hand again and started to rub it. “There, there,” he said, handing me a handkerchief. In my grief I was suddenly transported to a field, and I was no longer a whale. I was now a little insect submerged in a pool of sticky nectar inside a ravenous-looking plant. I was stuck inside and could not escape. Then, the plant started to tremble. Its leaves and petals were shaking, and I realized that it was being uprooted, and me along with it. We were riding towards the sun, and I remained fixed inside its well of glorious nectar. And even as an insect, I felt myself smiling, for never had I felt such great joy in all my life.




Simon Perchik

Though it gets dark earlier and earlier you were already weakened at birth –without a shrug let go things the way each grave is graced used to being slowly moved along blossom and in your mouth a somewhat pebble half fruit half sweetened, not yet broken apart in your throat –you can’t make out where in the turn you are clinging to its path that led you here, not yet strong enough or longing for some riverside or rain or the night by night, warm still falling off your hands.




Emily Bannon

You are told to tell the principal that he used his finger, not his penis, and that it only happened once. You are not to mention the others. You oblige gratefully, age eightfully, because you are too scared to say that word even to yourself, anyway, even in your mind, and once you almost said it in the dark in your bed but you didn’t because God was sitting there at your desk like he was every night with his craned neck and cleft brow, listening.

The next morning, you wake up awash in the ruins of a childhood bedroom. You walk to school with a Ziploc sandwich, breaking your own bones quietly, contorting into a calmer self. Every day, you marvel at your classmates’ clean eyes and hair. Most girls have best friends, but now there is soil under your nails and between your teeth and legs and if anyone came close to you they’d see it. Some girls have boyfriends, but if anyone kissed you they’d taste something bad. Really bad.


You wake up on hardwood to your mother’s voice – Honey, why are you on the floor? You think of what Ms. Young said about gravity in Science, how because it governs everything we know it took us thousands of years to see. Your mother comes home from work one day to find you in a quiet, twitching heap at the bottom of the stairs. Pressed, you point desperately to your new shoes; an asymmetry between them so subtle that your mother can’t see it at first or second glance. They don’t match, you squeak between heaves, breathing still ragged, tears pooling along your orbital bones. They don’t match. Years later, with downcast eyes, your mother will cite this as the moment she knew you were out of your mind.


Finding Alaska

Rachel Liu



Out of the Smoke, Part II Franco Aguilar

Max Lovera

Medha Dutt

Medha Dutt


QUILTING Faith Johnson

I tried to sew a quilt. Burrowing my thoughts between crooked cuts of whispering fabric, Secrets kept slipping through the breath between stitches.



30 DAYS OF REHAB Abby Kosisko


Stoppard once wrote “Every exit is an entrance to somewhere else,” which is complete and utter bullshit when you think about it.

Because if that were true, you and I would have already tied cinder blocks to our feet, jumped into the ocean, and never looked back.


When I think of you, I think of peacocks: extravagantly useless, poisonously vibrant.

I also think of broken bones.


I gritted my teeth today, mortar and pestle. Then I yanked your I.V. from my arm.


Caught in rain that fell from windowsills, I read a headline today that started with: “The City Never Sleeps”.


Sitting at the kitchen table, I wiped my pincushion eyes glittering with needles, weaved with strands of red thread.



I can’t help but imagine your lips, two children skipping— red buckets of dirt swinging.


I think my hand has become a foreign object.


Remember when my fingernails crawled down your arms and dipped into your skin like a quill into an inkpot?


Several doses of therapeutic LSD later;


Imagine a needle being pushed through the sensitive, fleshy triangle between your thumb and pointer finger.

Can you really imagine the caliber of the pain?


These horizons broke the boundary of beauty with disgusting innovation.


I have been inflated to sizes only dirty pictures could capture.


I admit I used to be a very likable person, and everyday I wonder why that changed.


I can’t imagine myself as anything more than decoration for your cement garden.


Someday people will admire our bones in a glass case—


the plaque next to us won’t say anything about how we were some poor fuckers that never gave a shit about anything.


Today, smog poured out of my eye sockets.


Somewhere, the world fabricates into a reality that you own and you must think I am very cold and majestic, like the mountains painted on your window.


You forget that love lives like a stray cat outside of your doorway.


My breath used to wrap around you like a noose.

Every thrust brought me closer to kicking the stool


You don’t know, alone at night, I contemplate the merit of green awnings as protection against kamikazes.




CITY VISIT Thaddeus Rutkowski

When I first saw the city, I thought it was filled with hospitals. The buildings visible through our family car’s windshield were rectangular, with rows of identical windows. To me, the buildings looked like the county hospital where my mother worked. “What kind of hospitals are those?” I asked my father. He turned from the steering wheel and said, “They’re apartments.” Next to him, my mother made no comment. In the back seat, my brother and sister showed no interest in the structures. Suddenly, the buildings vanished as we entered a tunnel and my father turned on the car’s headlights. In the city, the streets were strewn with newspapers. The wheels of our car kicked up the sheets of newsprint as we rolled. “We never liked the city when we lived here,” my father said. “That was years ago, before you kids were born.” “I could walk to my training program at a hospital,” my mother said. 73

“They found the head of a person in one trash can,” my father said, “and the body in another, right outside our apartment building.” We went through a metal door to get into the building where my father’s friend Steve lived. We took a lever-operated elevator, then walked through a sliding metal door into a loft. The space had only a couple of pieces of furniture: a foldout couch, a glass coffee table and a bed. Clotheslines were strung from wall to wall. Most of the space was taken up by worktables with silkscreen presses on them. In the bathroom, the toilet bowl was cracked, and the water tank was near the ceiling. “Don’t worry about it,” Steve said. “It works like this.” He made a sound in his throat of gurgling, rushing water, then of banging metal. “Just pull the handle.” “Whatever you do,” my father said, “don’t open the front door for anyone.” Later, there was a knock at the door. Without asking who it was, my mother unlatched the lock and slid the metal bar open. A young woman was standing outside. She had straight brown hair pulled into a ponytail and appeared harmless. She turned out to be Steve’s girlfriend, Pat.

In the loft, there wasn’t much for me and my siblings to do except play with the resident cat. We threw a string out a window and let it dangle down to the tar-covered rooftop below. A cat prowled on the lower surface. When it saw our string, it batted at the moving strand. When my turn came, I cast the string out the window. I worked the line from side to side, jiggling it, until I felt resistance. “I got a strike!” I announced. I “landed” the cat as I wound the string back up through the window. The cat jumped onto the sill and chased the end of the string into the room. “Got him!” I said. “You’re a good cat-fisherman,” my brother said. 74

In the evening, Steve showed a black-and-white film. “It’s called The Bird,” he said. “It’s been screened in art museums and galleries all over the world. These actors are stars in foreign cities.” In the movie, Pat was wearing a tutu, tights and ballet slippers. She ran over rooftops as a man in a bear suit chased her. A man in a clown suit chased the man in a bear suit. “Those are our neighbors,” Steve said, referring to the men in costume, “They do it all — art, teaching, acting.” When the bear and the clown got tired of running, they left the picture. In the end, Pat was alone on a tarpaper rooftop, next to a water tank, dancing. “Look at this,” Steve said. He brought out an old issue of Time magazine and pointed at the cover. The layout showed a collection of posters under the headline “Happenings.” “See?” Steve added. “There it is!” We all looked closely and saw a postage-stamp flyer for The Bird. “That’s great,” my father said, “but I don’t make popular art; I make real art.”

At night, I slept on an air mattress on the floor, and the rest of my family slept on the foldout couch. My siblings were small, so there was room for all of them. In the middle of the night, I saw Steve get up — no walls divided the space. Naked, he walked across the floor, under the clotheslines. Over his head, paper silkscreen prints hung from clothespins. Once awake, I noticed that the air had gone out of my mattress; I was resting on the hard floor. I blew up the mattress, but I was too tired to inflate it the whole way. When morning came, I was again lying on the floor, with only a sheet of plastic between my body and the wood.


During the day, my family visited the city’s main zoo. We walked through an aviary and past many animals in cages, then stopped in front of a rock garden that held gorillas. “They’re so handsome,” my mother said. I looked at the male gorillas’ protruding brows, huge shoulders, short legs and long arms. Their hair was matted. To me, the creatures were ugly. When they looked at me, they seemed to know what I was thinking. They studied me with hatred. “I want to take a picture,” my mother said. My father handed her a Brownie camera, and she held it in front of her waist so she could look through the viewfinder. She pressed the shutter button a couple of times. “We didn’t have gorillas where I grew up,” she said. “We had pandas, in the bamboo forests, where tribes lived.” “Which tribes?” I asked. “You’d call them aboriginal Chinese.” “We want to see the pandas!” my brother and sister said. The zoo, as it turned out, had no pandas. My sister picked up on a pop song she’d heard and sang it repeatedly for the rest of the day. She could carry a tune, but the sound of her voice hitting the same notes and phrasings soon became bothersome.

Back at Steve’s place, my father looked into cabinets until he found some opened bottles of liquor. He drank what was left and returned the empties. “A gorilla is not very smart,” he said to my mother. “Why do you prefer a gorilla to me?” “They are very handsome,” my mother said. “I don’t need handsome,” my father said, “and I don’t need a family. That’s my problem — a wife and kids. I’d be better off without you.” 76

When Steve came home, he opened cabinet doors and asked, “What happened to my whiskey?” “I drank it,” my father said, “and now I’m going out to get more. I’m going to shake up this city.” At that moment, my father pitched forward. The bottom of his chin hit the edge of the glass coffee table. He twitched once or twice, then lay on the floor unconscious. A gash on his chin looked like a second mouth. My mother took my father to a hospital emergency room. When they came back, my father was wearing a bandage. When Pat saw it, she asked, “What happened?” “I cut myself shaving,” my father said. “The hospital was just like the one where I trained,” my mother said.

On the way home, my sister was still singing the pop song she’d heard. Because we were in a car, there was no way to avoid it. My father was driving erratically. The bandage on his chin had been changed to a smaller one. Stitches were visible in his skin. At one point, I thought I saw a car coming the wrong way — toward us — on the interstate. I didn’t know how it got into the wrong lane. Was it a police car, or a car with a drunk driver? I thought it might veer into our path, but it just passed us by.

Later, when my parents got their photos developed, I looked through the stack until I found the shots of the gorillas. The look in their eyes was as baleful as ever. Still, I sorted through the prints and gave the ones of the giant males to my mother.




When Mr. Ellis told me in metal shop to make it square, I thought of the pockmarked complexion of Venus de Milo and of the age of her amputations, porous, uneven, but smoothed by the breath of the Earth; I considered how the spring freckles on Gabi’s nose accompanied a renewed radiance that dulled each winter, and how those russet flecks compared to Cindy Crawford’s mole, which drew all eyes from a porcelain world; I reveled in subtlety—the tan lines peeking, the dimples on beauty’s thigh, a patient patina, forming—molecule by molecule— only recognized by those who appreciate suggestion. When he insisted that I make it square I pushed the bubble of my level slightly left, in protest, scratched two lines and folded the seam, skewed just enough to make my box off-center, unbalanced, transecting the room of right angles.



With your silky smooth, platinum hair and as silky nylon pink, full skirt, the one with glow in the dark stars and the also pink, stiff velour bodice trimmed in lace, that compliments Ken’s gray, stiff velour tuxedo which reminds me of my mother’s velour draperies, the ones in her Spanish-Conquistador inspired bedroom, deep green and very heavy, very much like the portieres that Scarlett O’Hara had Mammy make her a dress out of so she could get the tax money to save Tara. Always for Tara. Everything for Tara. Ken’s vest which matches Barbie’s skirt with glow in the dark stars of his very own and his hair, not so silky smooth and painted Brown, perfectly molded like his flesh colored briefs so tighty, but not so whitey.


Only Beach themed Ken had the plastic mound of Manhood or lack thereof and that Ken was blonde, but still all smiles and classically handsome and so in love with the most beautiful girl in the world who waltzed in and out of my life like in the commercial with Ken designed to sell: “You can tell it’s Mattel!” so that all the other girls could never live up to you or had to live up to you, be like you, look like you, dream like you. Our life that could have been altered quite suddenly, unexpectedly when one day Ken showed up at MY dream house door minus his molded briefs.



THE EURYDICE UPDATE Christopher Moylan

We didn’t decide to give ourselves away. It just happened, seemingly all at once, the way aging happens, or a loss of faith or love. One day we were full of schemes and secrets, the next, we weren’t. One day our interior lives were vast and crowded, like newly emergent cities trading in spices and fabrics the rest of the world had to have. The next, we weren’t. Suddenly we were empty inside, our storehouses just facades.

I like being empty inside.

Not everyone does… It’s like one has become a blank piece of paper. Of course, paper, as we know, is not a blank at all, it is a bleached, chemically treated extraction of once living tissue, a pulp of once-living flesh flattened and dried in enormous swathes, the violence of its extraction from the self-sustaining eco-mass cosmetically altered to receive the 83

stain of our thoughts… A blank screen, then. Inert but not dead, sleeping but receptive, a field of potential energy and intelligence requiring nothing but a gesture, a light swipe of the finger to excite it. That is a delicious moment, the moment just before intention slips down the channels of the nerves and kisses habit ever so gently, causing the forefinger to curl and touch. Down. Touching the clicker is like touching the shoulder of someone sleeping.

“I Can Get It For You!”

I had heard of this program. In fact, it was hard not to hear about it. The news was full of references to “I Can Get It For You,” about how intriguing it was, how addicting. In recent months the phrase had become an all purpose gag line and double entendre, so ubiquitous it was more than tiresome: the president’s ‘I Can Get It For You’ domestic agenda, the hamburger chain’s ‘I Can Get It For You’ unlimited substitutions menu and of course endless ‘I Can Get It for You’ allusions to money, orgasms, physical attributes of one kind or another… It was one of those rare occasions when a company did nothing to discourage using its catch phrase. My wife and I were just about the last people on earth to see the program. We were the last to see a lot of things. We were always busy, working part time as adjuncts at various colleges, rushing from campus to campus, grading papers at night, barely making enough money to get by. That kind of life doesn’t leave much time for poking around on the internet, or poking around each other in that way young couples do, or so I understand. 84

“I Can Get It For You!”

The premise was simple. The program searched the web to assemble what one wanted, whatever it was, no questions asked. Current photos of old high school friends, surveillance tapes of ex lovers, incest scenarios, assassination plans, architectural schematics for a bank, just ask. How this was done is anyone’s guess. You filled out a long form detailing exactly what you wanted, signed off on various legal promises and restrictions, that was that. The service was free. “The get it for you program just popped up on my computer,” I said to my wife, Jan. We were in our bedroom getting some work done online, which is where midnight usually found us. “Interesting,” she said, not taking her eyes off her screen. “Why don’t you try it?” “What will happen if the computer steals my identity?” I asked. “You won’t miss it,” she said, turning an imaginary page on her tablet with a swipe of her finger. She was doing research for an academic paper, although possibly the paper was doing research on her. “Won’t I lose all my money to someone in, I don’t know, Russia or Africa?” “Lots and lots of people have used the program. Anyway, we don’t have any money. We have books. And doctorates in anthropology. Y ou won’t feel a thing,” she said. “Go ahead and watch an old girlfriend having sex. You’re a man, that’s what you want to do.” 85

“Ok,” I said, “what would you want to see?”

“An old boyfriend, practicing medicine.”

I entered my personal information, including my credit card number, then filled out a surprisingly brief list of keywords and requirements, requesting a brief video clip of an ex-girlfriend made up as Marie Antoinette having sex with unspecified male. Within seconds I was watching an ex-girlfriend with a period dress hiked up around her midsection pleasing a pudgy middle aged man who resembled the weather man from channel 4. Soon after, Jan and I watched her exlover, who was in fact a surgeon, hard at work in the operating theater. The combination of voyeurism and clinical precision was too much for both of us, and we clicked it off. “That was depressing,” said Jan, “I’m glad we can never see either of those people again.” “What do you mean? I thought you could use this anytime, for free.” “The first viewing of the material is free. After that, the company owns the key words, names, the idea, images, everything, including all the names and addresses of people in your circle so you can’t just go someplace else and look. It’s so expensive to go back to that stuff that we can never call up these images, or people, again. That way, they get to make whatever use of the stuff they want: documentaries, porn compilations, advertising, political ads, anything. I thought you followed the stories about all this.” “Well, fair enough. Creepy, but fair. So you can call up Eurydice from the world of the dead, which is really the world of memory, but you can do so only once. Then she disappears for good. Turn around to see her again and Hades empties your bank account. 86

So Orpheus never looks back. He just walks away and saves up for a bigger flat screen TV.” “Think of the possibilities,” Jan said, putting aside her device and facing me on the bed. “We can have full disclosure between us, knowing whatever we reveal will be locked away forever once it’s revealed. Share all of our crushes, emotional affairs, traumatic memories from childhood, anarchic impulses, murderous resentments… Anything. And all of it will be cut off for good. Sealed away, thanks to this company’s profit motive.” We looked at each other for a moment, waiting for any sign that the other was testing or kidding. But there was none. “Are you ready to do this?” I asked, my heart racing with a jumble of emotions: fear, excitement, curiosity, and confusion… “This would be a kind a mutual suicide pact for our secrets and, I don’t know… for the fucked up part of ourselves.” “But we’ll survive and be closer than ever, more trusting, more complete. You’ll see.”

“You go first,” I said.

We spent the rest of the night and a good part of the morning typing out and watching our innermost secrets, longings, and fantasies, our transgressions and regrets. We called up brief vignettes of family members who had died, of childhood memories and more recent experiences, things we hadn’t shared with each other previously, and didn’t think we could share. This was the mutual disarmament of fantasy and a way to renew our marriage vows under God and copyright. No matter how odd or hurtful or silly the revelation we knew that neither one of us would revisit it online or otherwise. For what is memory now but a good search engine? 87

Over the next few weeks, we expanded our scenarios to people either one of us found disturbing or otherwise uncomfortable. The service provided a kind of emotional protection. We learned here and there that others were using ‘I Can Get It For You’ for therapy, couples counseling, and healing post traumatic stress disorder. We weren’t the only people to be as devoted to this. In fact, lots of couples used the service in much the same way we did.

It became a way of life.

Once we had a language of secrets, a code of allusions to things it was thought impolite to ask about, to invade: discrete, private, intimate, mine, yours… At different times of the day or night, whenever we were together, we were like two separate hotel rooms with little signs on the door: do not disturb… At other times, when we were having dinner or taking a walk, one would detect a certain distance in the other, an enclosed space where options were weighed, plans rehearsed, scenarios enacted… And the one left out would resort to one of those old sayings intended to disarm even as they poked and prodded; a penny for your thoughts, you seem a thousand miles away, you aren’t yourself today. We learned it was not necessary to behave that way anymore. We became open and uninhibited, no matter what the cost in momentary embarrassment or shame or awkwardness. Gradually, as we repeated these excursions, the truth lost its brutality and piquancy. ‘I was thinking of leaving my job.’ ‘Oh, well I was thinking of leaving you! Ha ha…’ Naturally, I didn’t leave my job and Jan didn’t leave me. We made love instead. Or dinner. Or a promise never to hold back on such thoughts, no matter how silly or painful, no matter how daring. Finally, there came a time when we didn’t have to say what was on our minds because we already knew what the other was thinking, or knew the range of things the other was thinking… 88

Or that is what I assumed. One day, I came back from teaching and I came upon Jan sitting at her laptop. She didn’t bother concealing that she was in the middle of going through scenes from our wedding. I opened my laptop and did the same, working through one scene after another. It didn’t take long.

She kept the apartment.



There you go, again, my fine bone-china cup, souvenir of the Queen’s Jubilee, almost slipping my grip to be shattered to sudsy death. The gilded lip where I sip keeps you separate from the lesser vessels, who line up pathetically for their douche en masse, their willing act of ceramic cleansing. You trade their rack and steel cage for the stroke of my clumsy hands, yet manage to survive every time, more cat-like than cup. Oh, I know the fragility of bone. My solicitors in this joint, Messrs. Tibia, Femur & Patella, have cut a deal to be halfbeheaded on my behalf by the little, hurried men in hair nets and blue pajamas, so that I may rise and walk again.


Such noble sacrifice! What a gash! To give oneself up to the sleepy needle, to the miniature saws and the fingering of the diplomates with their fakery of plastic and steel. When they’re done, they will wash their hands of me and hand me over to a daunting Amazon to be walked like a dog down dingy, antiseptic halls for my own damn good.


CONTRIBUTOR NOTES FRANCO AGUILAR is a photography student currently residing in East Los Angeles, California. His projects are often based in his hometown as well as various states across the Mexican republic, as his photography normally revolves around themes of identity and the exploration of transnational relations. His work consists of both analog and digital photography, often mixing the two. KAILA ALLISON is a senior at NYU Gallatin, studying Creative Writing and Adolescent Psychology. She is from New York. Find more of her work at http://barnblossom.tumblr.com. EMILY BANNON carries a gold, heart-shaped keychain engraved in script with the words “Emily is So Pretty.” She paid $32 for it on Amazon and tells people that her “friend” gave it to her. She lives in New York City. JOEY P.D. BUI is a Vietnamese-Australian student at NYU Abu Dhabi. After some disillusionment with high school chemistry and political science, she stopped believing in the atomic model, the rational actor theory, and small talk. She writes fiction because it makes the most sense. BRIAN CENTRONE is the author of the novel An Ordinary Boy and the short story collections I Voted for Biddy Schumacher: Mismatched Tales from the Mind of Brian Centrone and Erotica. He teaches writing at New York University and SUNY/Wetschester Community College. Tweet him @briancentrone. 92

HANNAH DOW is a PhD student in English/Creative Writing at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Harpur Palate, The Merrimack Review, and Red Booth Review. MEDHA DUTT, born and raised in New Delhi, currently lives in Brooklyn. She studies Dramatic Writing at New York University, at least for now. DON HOGLE is a poet, travel blogger, and brand and communications strategist living in New York. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in the inaugural print issue of Mud Season Review, the literary journal of the Burlington Writers’ Workshop in Vermont, and in the inaugural issue of Shooter, a UK literary magazine. JANE HUFFMAN is a Michigan-based poet and playwright with recent work featured or forthcoming in Arroyo Review, Word Riot, The Boiler, Cold Mountain Review, RHINO Poetry, and other journals. She studies poetry at Kalamazoo College with Diane Seuss in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a small town with a huge literary community. FAITH JOHNSON is a freshman studying acting at Tisch. She is from Baltimore, Maryland and enjoys writing poetry as well as plays. When Faith grows up she aspires to be happy, whatever that means. ABBY KOSISKO, originally from Houston, Texas, is a sophomore in the NYU liberal studies program. She has aspired to become a writer for as long as she can remember and hopes to pursue a career in the field after graduation.


RACHEL LIU is a senior at the Tisch school of the Arts, majoring in Photography & Imaging. Find more of her works at her Instagram account: rliuphoto or website: www.rliuphoto.format.com BRUCE MCRAE is a Canadian musician and Pushcart-nominee with over 900 publications, including Poetry.com and The North American Review. His first book, The So-Called Sonnets, is available from the Silenced Press website or via Amazon books. To hear his music and view more poems visit ‘TheBruceMcRaeChannel’ on Youtube. CHRISTOPHER MOYLAN is an English professor at NYIT and a founding member of Novads, a post-Occupy online art collective. In 2010, Abaton Press published Moylan’s Border Taxi, a collection of poems and prose pieces with art by Dennis Balk. He has also published poetry, literary criticism, and art criticism. SIMON PERCHIK is an attorney who attended NYU (Washington Square College and School of Law). His poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Poetry, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013). For more information, free e-books, and his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities,” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com. DANIEL RUEFMAN is a widely published poet whose work has appeared most recently in DIALOGIST, The Barely South Review, and Red Earth Review, among others. His chapbook, Breathe Automatic, was released in 2014 by Finishing Line Press. He currently teaches writing at the University of Wisconsin - Stout.


THADDEUS RUTKOWSKI is the author of Haywire, Tetched, and Roughhouse. All three novels were finalists for an Asian American Literary Award, and Haywire won the Members’ Choice award given by the Asian American Writers Workshop. He teaches at Medgar Evers College and the Writer’s Voice of the West Side YMCA in New York. He also received a fiction fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. JAMISON SARTESCHI lives and works in New York City. In the featured work, the artist debunks the artificial refinement of American culture while auditing society and engaging common misconceptions of a fractured popular reality. CAMERON SCHNEBERGER is a junior at Kalamazoo College. When he’s not writing, he enjoys long walks through junkyards and dropping chandeliers on his enemies.



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Minetta Review, established in 1974, is a literary and arts publication managed by undergraduate students at New York University. Submit your work to minettasubmit@gmail.com. Book design and layout by Bridget Casey. Copy edited by Sara Heegard and John Maher. Proofread by Eshani Agrawal, Claudia Sbuttoni, and Emma Thomas. 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 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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