MINETTA REVIEW SPRING 2016
Cover design and illustrations by William John Belknap Jr. Minetta Review logo created by Carol Ourivio.
Annesha Sengupta Emma Thomas
DIASTOLE & SYSTOLE
Bridget Holyk Casey
WATCHING THE MOUNTAINS FROM MARSEILLES
Ivan de Monbrison
Chandler Lesesne West
Sebastian Lopez Calvo
AFTER STAR STUFF
THE SOLDIER’S HELMET
Guillermo Filice Castro
AN EMPIRE WAIST DRESS
THE 3-HEADED MAN
LESSONS ON PRESERVATION
IN A FLORIDA DEATHTRAP SET FOR OUTSIDERS
JUMP, JUMP, JUMP
WEEKEND AT JULIAN’S
BREAKFAST OF THE DAMNED
WHAT TO DO WITH A HUSK
THE DEVIL YOU KNOW
IN THE STORM OF THE ROSES; WINTER, OR RED, WHITE AND BLUE
NIGHT SCENES PROJECT
Mariam F. Ansari
THE FUNCTION; DON’T DO IT
PERFECT KIRK, COME BE HELD IN PURE LOVE ALWAYS
THE AMERICAN PEOPLE BUILDING A WALL AROUND DONALD TRUMP
ME, THE CITY
JEALOUS RELATIVES OF THE BULL THAT STOLE EUROPA; FACE TO FACE CAN’T SEE THE FACE; A RENDEZ-VOUS OF SOULS
MOTION 1; FURY 1; MOVED
Editorial Board & Special Thanks
A NOTE FROM THE EDITORS
As the semester draws to a close, we are pleased to announce the launch of the Minetta Review’s Spring 2016 issue. This has been an exciting few months for the magazine, and we are excited to share a remarkable variety of art and writing, with contributors of many backgrounds - as close as NYU and as far away as France. As usual, we would like to thank our wonderful editors David Sobalvarro (prose), Ahmed Sherif (poetry) and Felix Chan (art), as well as the rest of our indefatigable staff. This semester, we took a conceptually different route than we did with our previous issues, heralded by the stunning abstract cover art created specifically for us by NYU artist William John Belknap, Jr. The back cover follows our namesake’s underground path through the Village, celebrating our long history in a clean, modern aesthetic. A big thanks goes out to Jim Federico and Abby Fick at Grafika Commercial Printing for bringing this issue to life. We have also accepted a greater range of artists in this issue, featuring works of various style and technique. Curating Minetta was no easy task, and we are pleased to say that Minetta received a recordbreaking number of submissions this semester. We would like to thank everyone who submitted (or pestered their friends into submitting), and are absolutely bowled over by the amount of attention Minetta has received. Aside from the issue, it’s been a glamorous and exciting few months for Minetta, with many events around NYU and the Village. The highlight of our semester was our first public reading: Under the Meadow: A Celebration of the Minetta Review, part of the Above and 8
Below: Jefferson Market Reading Series. We are pleased to have hosted writers Kari Sonde, Alana Saab, and Christopher Soto (aka Loma), as well as Minetta contributors Kevin Beerman and Sebastian Lopez Calvo. Our goal for the night was to give young poets the chance to promote their work alongside professional artists active in the Village poetry scene. We have many people to thank, but none more than Scott Hightower, who guided us through the event from conceptualization to execution. In addition, weâ€™d like to thank Sarah Colvin (communications coordinator) for her remarkable poster design and social media expertise, and Christine Wang (events coordinator) for providing cookies and enthusiastic advertisement, and to everyone who came to support our local poets. These last few months have been a whirlwind of literature. We are a forty-year-old Village magazine that, through the years, has been equal parts sexy, nostalgic, punk, sweet, funny, and downright radical. Hereâ€™s to hoping the wind never dies down.
Annesha Sengupta Emma Thomas Co-Editors-in-Chief Minetta Review Spring 2016
JUMP, JUMP, JUMP Heather Sager
A Lamers bus toils up the hill, fog lacing the sweating windowpanes. The basketball team—junior girls—clamor and jeer in spite of Mrs. B’s face, turning against them and puckered with the displeasure of soiled authority. They are from the Catholic high school, heading to a Lutheran landmark, a church with a school gym sneakers position please ladies. Up front sits this teacher, large questionable woman frayed hair mole. In the seats, blond pert girls, good basketball Catholic girls mommy and daddy from a fine hometown, knowingeach-other types. Only one silent female, stiff silent dark. Silent she remains. The mist thickens around the bus. Top of the bluff nearing, the bus deposits them at the heights. A lookout, a lunch break to marvel. String cheeses, sandwiches, soda cans tumble forth from bags. Meanwhile, the children (for they are children) roar. Their girl-jeering continues even onto the cliff, echoing over counties lakes cathedrals (small down there) and mist. Now the teacher-chaperone seems to not hear them, though she occasionally raises her eyes by instinct, as if she knows they’re up to something naughty. 11
The stiff dark girl, Indian Ojibway (her parents, in some other county, send her here for the privilege), has a heart-smiling face behind her braids when, near the cliff’s edge, some of the girls question her. “Did you do your exercises again today? Huh? Huh?” They taunt. On usual days, in the courtyard outside school, she does motions, movements (horse-fish-deer dance) prescribed by her ancestors. Fingers move and point against her, masses, faces voices, but still she does them, even as other children mass or don’t-reproach, hide do-nothing in shame. They push her towards the edge and soon tears, tears, tears. The girls gather, as if a true happening is about to happen, and soon the stiff dark girl stands near the edge, as if to drop there, into the brambles and rocks below—to hold herself prostrate, humble herself before them. The girls yell “Jump, jump, jump!” The teacher stands near the bus, lunch-bag-brown clutched, munching. “Jump, jump, jump!” echoes and gathers force over the heights. And finally the girl does it: she does jump. But she cries when doing so, like being hung, and she drops over the cliff’s edge. The girls rush to the edge, and cast their eyes across the horizon, as if expecting to see her, the girl, in the distant river. But instead she’s hanging on: the cliff’s edge, rocks brambles thistles, clinging to her fingers. “Girls!” The teacher finally screams. The crowd parts. The teacher wheezes and helps up the girl, stiff dark repentant. She saves the girl. The girl head-down nods and sniffle-apologizes to the teacher’s lectures. The students are soon back inside the bus. The girl in back, stiff-dark-quiet. The rest of the girls laughing. The teacher up front, forgetting, leading a song. At some point the teacher tells a legend, a legend of the place where they had lunch. There a Chippewa princess, some time ago, hundreds-of-years ago, sacrificed herself to lost love. The back girl, dark-sad-stiff, perks up. Her dark eyes illuminate an interested halo. Finally someone was talking about her (she, the Indian 12
princess! heart beats faster). But the other faces, rapt, point only at the teacher. Soon songs begin, not-Indian songs, songs the girls always sing, songs of parents-dads-folksingers. Games are coming, songs are sung, and not looking not looking, always, the girl in the back.
DIASTOLE & SYSTOLE Bridget Holyk Casey
“hey,” she says standing barefoot on the wooden floor. “is this yours? i found it in the freezer.” and she holds up a pulpy heart with her left hand. two drops slide through her fingers and one splashes by her small toe. “oh. yeah, it is.” yesterday i dug it up, raw covered in dirt from its burrow below my breasts. she sits on the sofa our arms about to touch looking at the clock. “what are we going to do?” the beet-shaped thing breathes, quivers in the pool of her palm. “look at me,” i say not looking at her. “i’m a wild thing and i don’t grow in gardens.” 15
WATCHING THE MOUNTAINS FROM MARSEILLES Ivan de Monbrison
les nuages s’accrochent aux sommets de la Sainte-Baume on n’ira pas plus loin les angles ferment les routes et les mains d’un seul coup ton ombre suspendue par le cou se balance dans la pièce au rythme d’un pendule tu ouvres les yeux tu vois ton propre cadavre suspendu la tête en bas mais cette parole qui sort par ta bouche ne sonne pas comme ta voix on aurait préféré refaire le même chemin à reculons retrouver l’origine où le silence est né d’un cri à peine étouffé
clouds cling to the peaks of the Sainte-Baume* we wonâ€™t go further away angles closing roads and hands suddenly your shadow hanging by the neck is swaying in the room to the rhythm of a pendulum you open your eyes you see your own corpse suspended upside down but this speech coming out your mouth does not sound like your voice we would rather have taken the same path backwards to find the origin where the silence is born from a barely muffled cry
* The Sainte-Baume is the largest mountain ridge in Provence, just northeast of Marseille.
WEEKEND AT JULIAN’S Jonathan Rose
The highway patrolman not being a bad guy. The highway patrolman being a decent enough guy, having kids of his own, not too far in age from Julian. The guy really not wanting, this late at night, to have to take Julian all the way down to the JDC, to “juvie,” but being in a sort of bind, as no one was answering the kid’s calls from the station. So Patrolman Ronson, being a decent enough guy, decided to drive Julian home so that a parent, if a parent was there (which the kid was claiming one absolutely was), could sign the arrest ticket, initial by the court date. Julian not wanting to wake his mother up, but having no real choice in the matter, seeing as he’d been found, smoldering bowl on his lap, mostly passed out behind the wheel. The truck having rolled right over the parking block, flopping up on the walk ramp, finally coming to a halt, the fender kissing a window and the faux stucco siding of the restaurant. The Gatorade bottle halfemptied of gin, emptying itself a little more on the passenger side floor mat. Julian coming to before an ambulance was called but after 19
Patrolman Ronson was flagged down by the Taco Bell’s night manager. Not wanting to wake his mother up. His mother likely being three to five gins in herself. Fearing his mother’s wrath, but fearing more being taken to juvie, to groovy-juvie as a friend had called it once. The friend having said it in the lunchroom, speaking of someone who’d been sent there. The friend saying, “Groovy-juvie...” like it was more than just a nickname, like it was the title of a movie or a work of classic literature. The phrase being a sort of horrible incantation for Julian as he and Patrolman Ronson pulled into his driveway. The house looking for sure like someone was home, the lights all on, door open. Already regretting being home with Patrolman Ronson standing there, Julian climbing the steps to his mother’s room, stopping in her doorway and sighing. Patrolman Ronson, P-Ron, downstairs looking at pictures on the credenza, wondering what sort of trouble his own dipshit son was getting into that night. Julian’s voice quavering, “Mom.” Her heavy breathing sounding, already back then, like it was supported by a machine. “Mom,” quavering less, sounding firmer. Hearing P-Ron’s weight shift downstairs, jingling of keys, groaning of leather. “Mom.” Not wanting to be too loud, because if the patrolman heard him addressing someone, then of course that someone could come down. “Mom,” now adding a little shake with it. Three to five mugs of gin being on the low end of the spectrum for her. Shaking her shoulders, “Mom. Mother.” The breathing changing its rhythm. “Okay sweetie.” “No, Mom. Mother.” “Okay.” This being a kind of thing of hers. Mrs. Julian being able to talk, being just about able to hold a bona fide conversation, yet unable to open her eyes, unable to rise and walk. Trying not to raise his voice. Knowing he was able to shake the daylights out of a person. Her daylights having been soaked out of her some hours ago. Julian being strong. Julian being able to lift her and walk her down the stairs, Weekend at Bernie’s-style, being able to take her hand and sign the ticket and initial by the court date. But now having taken too long. Julian backing away then, as if that might do it, like she might wake from the stilling of the room, or from P-Ron’s 20
murmuring radio downstairs. Giving it one more long, long second, before going back downstairs and saying to the patrolman, â€œSheâ€™s not here.â€? And the patrolman, who really was a decent guy, having no other choice but to take him to groovy-juvie, as someone had once called it.
FAMILY HAIKUS Calvin Lord
i. grampa War, what’s it good for? “making friends” grampa tells me “...and impressing chicks” ii. dad Dad’s stories wowed me; bedtime’s triumphs and heroes. just old movie plots iii. coaches I scored the most goals in 4th and 5th grade soccer well, own goals, but still iv. teachers sophomore english class teacher asks me “if english was my first language”
LOWCOUNTRY Chandler Lesesne West
When my grandmother’s hair was still brown, I cleaned her screened porch with damp paper towels. The sulfurous stink of sink water that purified thick sections of peeling paint didn’t smell clean. “It smells like Seabrook,” my grandmother said. I scrubbed until each paper towel was brown with grime and all the while my grandmother sat on the porch swing singing “Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home.” I sometimes tried to scrub the metal chains that attached the swing to the ceiling but they left my paper towels torn and red with rust that wouldn’t yield. My grandmother is old. For a while I didn’t know where she thought the porch swing was taking her. It only went back and forth and she was already home.
BREAKFAST OF THE DAMNED Jonah Brunet
Marc looked out at the wrecked church lawn, the filthy snowspattered mosaic strewn over with tatters of clothes, candy wrappers and last year’s Suns, such a miserable junkyard that even where grass poked through—in sickly brown clumps here and there—it might as well have been more trash, purchased and used up and thrown out on the lawn. Flicked butts flew on the sidewalk from passers-by exhaling smoke, as well as their chewed-up sticks of peppermint gum; anything at all, really, was shed like so much dead skin. If we all commit the same small sins, all together now, then no one needs to take responsibility. It might as well have rained down from the sky. It was a natural disaster. Marc clenched his teeth. My faith’s being tested, he thought. At his church, Marc’s faith was tested the way big rocks in fast rivers are tested—ceaselessly in cold, unsleeping torrents of black water— eroding away until the river, having broken another big rock in its same stubborn rush, flows on exactly as before. “Ay Rev!” a man called out gruffly, coughing. “Been a while, 27
eh?” he said, labouring up the steps, each breath raking over coals in his throat. Marc forced a smile. “Good to have you back, Henry. God bless.” “Eh,” the man grunted, shuffling through the big wooden door. Marc cast a last sad glance at the yard, the street, the corner store with cardboard in its shattered window frames. He turned and went in, sighing as the big wooden door swung shut. “Whazzit today, Rev?” asked Henry hungrily. “Bagels and coffee, my son,” said Marc. My son was a borrowed phrase, gleaned from previous bible college years, an imitation of the wizened old Catholics there. It didn’t apply to Henry, all crooked and wrinkled, himself a wizened old Catholic, though nothing like the blissful smiley college priests with eyes all love and thin white hair. Henry was exactly as Catholic as he was hungry, no more and no less, and after eating he would disappear. He stood there steaming, thawing out in old clothes and wet socks plucked from the junk church yard weeks before. He stank. His only store-bought item was an ancient puke-green army coat, and if you asked he’d say he was a veteran, though he couldn’t name the war. Henry believed he deserved to be a veteran, having fought and lost personal battles in homes and shelters and alleyways across the country. He was a haunted hero, he’d say—above all a victim, selfless, blameless, beaten by forces too many to name, too large to even know. Marc leaned into the corner by the door, watching Henry hobble toward the kitchenette, wondering how a man with nothing managed to always be drunk. A deal with the Devil, Marc thought, amusing himself. The big church door creaked and swung open and, with a shriek, in came Verna bent double on her cane, grey hair falling in sopping grease-clung clumps on her scowling face. She shrieked again as the door fell shut behind her. Marc winced, knowing better than to greet her, and she ambled in uninterrupted, mumbling under her breath, screaming intermittently at nothing in fleeting white hot flashes of pure infant terror, or else pure lucidity—a sudden total 28
awareness of exactly who and exactly where she was. Marc wondered which would be worse. She approached the small kitchenette on the far wall slowly, thumping her cane on the scuffed dark wood floor. Henry, leaning on the counter, slid down it as she got closer, dragging behind him the basket of bagels. She took the glass coffee pot in thin papery hands and overfilled a Styrofoam cup. He watched the coffee spill out and run into her mushy coat sleeve. She stopped pouring, straightened the pot and then simply dropped it, pretending not to notice as it shattered on the floor. “Fucking Christ!” Henry shouted, jumping in his worn-out winter boots. She glared and reached for the bagels. He stuffed one into his jacket pocket, snatched two more and shuffled off away from her. “Jesus, would ya look at that?” he said to Marc. “Goddamn woman.” “The name of the Lord...” Marc said half-heartedly. “Oh, right, ‘course...” Henry trailed off. “But you know what I mean, don’ cha Rev?” “Okay, Henry.” “Some people jus’ ain’t no good is all, I s’pose.” Henry leaned on the young priest, slurred and hiccupped. “Oughta be round up and shot! If ye ask me...How come a couple a good folk such’s you‘n’ I gotta put up with this?” Marc stepped away and let Henry slump off him. From the kitchenette, Verna shrieked and sent a bagel flying across the church, bouncing off the altar base and rolling down the aisle. Henry glared at the old woman and spat on the church floor. “Despicable,” he said. “Do you have anything to confess, Henry?” Marc asked. “Eh, nah, I’m alright.” “Leave, then,” Marc said flatly. Henry looked at Marc for a moment then turned quick, as if remembering something important, and shuffled on out. The big church door shut loudly as he left. 29
Marc turned from the door and all of a sudden there was Verna, her grey-blue eyes wide open, childlike even as decrepit as she was. She fell into him, clutching at his shoulders with her hands. She wrapped her arms around him. He froze. He didn’t know what to do. More than anything, he felt bad for her. She wanted something so bad without knowing what it was. She needed something everyone else seemed to have, to have been born with some piece gone, missing from her alone. He unstiffened, reached around and held her as she shook. She fell silent. For once she was completely still and then she shuddered, starting to sob. She cried and he quietly cooed, “Shh, it’s okay, child. We all will be okay.” She dropped her Styrofoam cup and the coffee splashed up onto the backs of his pant legs, steaming in the cold church air and sticking to his calves, but Marc didn’t move. He held onto her as tightly as she held back onto him. He put a hand on the back of her head and smoothed down her wild grey hair, and as she cried his whispering picked up speed. He felt restored, as if something had come back and now he deserved it—his flock, his pulpit, his status within the church. He was getting better, making a difference and earning forgiveness. He felt a sense of progress that made him full and rounded out the sound of his voice. “Don’t worry, child. You don’t have to be afraid. Everything is fine. Everything will be fine.” He closed his eyes and when he opened them there she was, pulling back to look him in the face, the tears all gone as if she’d never cried. Her features began to contort, her mouth wrenching open as wide as it would go, and then she screamed directly in his face. He jumped backward, letting her go and bringing his hands to his ears. Her eyes were shut tight and she screamed and screamed. It was like she was dying. It was like it would never stop. Then she turned on her heels and hobbled quickly off to the door, tapping her cane staccato as she left. Marc was alone and he breathed for a moment, just breathing and standing in the empty church as the door creaked slowly closed. 30
Then he shook his head as if awaking from a dream and walked over to the kitchenette to clean. Later he would do the spot where Verna had dropped her cup and maybe, one day, when spring had come and it was warm and all the slush and ice and snow was gone, the ruined church lawn. He would work his way back to goodness, and it would be hard, and there would be no reward, really, but he had to have faith, he told himself. Faith was the hardest part. And no one would ever thank him for it, not even God.
Sebastian Lopez Calvo
i wonder if i could make bread from the yeast growing in my vagina i wonder if that’s gross probably no different than the semen cookbook i once read the recipes led me to believe the experience of swallowing would be much more palatable, but in fairness i didn’t know it was coming the first time. i wash my hands twice after i touch myself, but only once when i touch anyone else. whenever i take a pregnancy test i wonder how my body maintains the expectation that one day i’d like to split in half. sometimes I wish I could curse anyone that has felt the softer parts of me
AFTER STAR STUFF Anthony Moll
Praise be that scoundrel Sagan for the explosion that killed figurative language. Because, I am the furnace and yes, I am a bustier. Still, you are the cellar. Yes, you are the end of days.
Steven Tutino In the Storm of Roses oil on canvas
ART SPREAD BEGINS
Winter, or, Red, White and Blue
Nyeda Sam Her acrylic paint
Cheryl Gross Boxing Babes handmade paper, ball point, graphite, india ink, water color, color pencil
Ekaterina Popova Untitled Series oil on canvas
Deyva Arthur Night Scenes Project photography
Mariam F. Ansari Variations digitally manipulated pen-and-ink on cardstock and painting on watercolor paper
Christian Concepcion The Function digital collage
Don’t Do It
Breton Lalama Nonsense digital media collage
Steven Mead Perfect Kirk, Come Be Held in Pure Love Always digital media collage
Marc Dessauvage St. Francis mixed media on paper
Brad Garber Really Right acrylic paint and pen on paper
Holly Hartman The American People Building a Wall Around Donald Trump bottle cap collage
William Grob Masking Society gouache on poster paper
Lawrence Wu Me, The City Series photography
Nina Kossman Jealous Relatives of the Bull that Stole Europa acrylic on canvas
Face to Face Canâ€™t See the Face
A Rendezvous of Souls
Angela Walcott Motion photography
David Gaither Untitled/ Self Portrait of David Gaither oil, mixed media, acrylic, gouache, composite, and solidified paints, plus advanced polymers and proprietary materials on custom MDF or custom tondo canvas
Just a Tease/ The Best is Yet to Come
And I Still Grow/ Eternal Expansion
TEJANO SKETCHES Priyank Pillai
remember how a single police car’s song breached our collective slumber— the smooth evening road folding into grapefruit skies, creased and apprehensive we exit the bus like monks on a pilgrimage, reflecting their chorus of flash lights with coenobitic mirrors, our irises invisible until the moment of “i.d. please” inwardly, love thanks us for leaving the children home each night daring us to smile at the officer: famished american angels of civic deliverance whose nostrils shrivel as the incense of our ancestors ascend in spiraling fey movements, greeting them and their gentle naked jealousy
THE SOLDIER’S HELMET Guillermo Filice Castro
After you dropped it,
shell-like spent, water began collecting inside, gleaming
Once, you used it to cook eggs using nothing but sunlight and a zing of air. Eat & gleam for days, you would. Now you want it back. Again, your skin— uniform stinks of sweat
& eucalyptus. Again you
lift your bayonet, the helmet a cracked shell. You poke
& poke the sky
where god’s burners might be. You poke until the color of egg yolk bleeds into your mouth. 69
WHAT TO DO WITH A HUSK Richa Lagu
You sit chopping walnuts at the end of the table you bought at a yard sale. You didn’t quite love the table at first, thought it incongruent with the rest of your furniture, too something or not something enough, but were convinced otherwise by the sunlight. The whetstone of it honed the edges of the world into sparkling summer clarity: the leaves, the grass, the smiles, the table. He sits at the other end of it now, wearing a sweater and not watching you. You have streaks of eyeliner, coffee-ground faded, on the back of your hand from irritably wiping at tired eyes. You had left the eyeliner on overnight and it started to itch, forcing you to rub at it even though you had gotten the wing just right. Your mind wanders, first to the smooth handle of the kitchen knife in your hand, then to the earth-bitter smell of the walnuts. You find yourself thinking about the perfume bottles littering your shelf. They’re far away in your bedroom, too far for you to even contemplate walking towards with your leaden legs and your back settled so comfortably against the back of your chair. You can’t remember the 71
scents of each bottle or the particular order of them, not even the colors of the damn things. You just recall the meticulously straight row, the way the light of the desk lamp catches on the oil-slick film of water clinging to their insides. You find yourself staring at the whorls printed onto the cutting board, at the fine dust that paints this scene of your life in sepia tones. You think about what would happen if you just— knocked the bottles to the floor. The promise of musical lightning-strike crashes and brittle glass rinds tempts you; the urge to feel the power of your body take something solid and destroy it beyond repair itches wildly beneath your fingernails. You can almost—almost—feel the way your heart would gallop in your chest, the ferocity of it tattooed against the tight-stretched skin of your throat: What if, what if, what if? But you already know, of course. You and he will both pick up the scattered shards, taking care not to mar your hands (especially the garter-snake green of your veins, especially those). He will help you throw them like eggshells into the trashcan, along with the sopping off-white paper towels that reek of five, ten, fifty irreconcilable aromas. You will tie up the trash bag and bring it to the curb together, so that the neighborhood trash collectors will pick it up during the earliest strains of dawn. It will be neat and covert and unimaginable, and will leave no trace but a slight cloudiness and a few scratches on the glossy wooden floors of your bedroom. You wonder who wrote that particular prophecy, which poor oracle was cursed to preordain the details of a suburban housewife’s unattainable fantasy. And if, as you chop with Ozymandian stubbornness in the silence of your occupied kitchen, if you think about restocking your perfume, if you think about taking a heady swig of it every once in a while, the unsteady thick dark warmth of it rushing through your veins and drowning out the taste of sepia-toned dust, if you think about sunlight and eyeliner and sharp summer days (what if what if what if ) instead of the scratched-up guillotine of the cutting board before you, who could blame you? 72
AN EMPIRE WAIST DRESS David Tuvell
Narcissus considered the lilies, papier-mĂ˘chĂŠd flowers after his image, spelled Amor backwards upon a pond, and gave wallet-size photos to his friends.
THE 3-HEADED MAN Lynn Hoffman
he’s confused, you know. buying hats, getting kissed walking into the barber shop and hearing the barber-chatter stop. it’s quite enough, when one head is up one’s ass to have to look around with the other two to see who noticed, harder still when facing one’s own hips. and then there’s the matter of shirt collars and talking with your mouths full. it’s enough to make him throw all four hands in the air in despair.
COCOON Hannah Johnson
“There’s going to be a meteor shower tonight,” I say. “Why don’t you come sit outside with me, so we can watch it together?” You’re sitting cross-legged on the couch, your dead grandmother’s ugly Afghan blanket wrapped around your shoulders. You’re eating yogurt right out of the quart container. “No thanks,” you say. On the TV, a newscaster narrates a report about the housing market. But I know you’re not watching. I go outside alone and watch the slivers of light darting across the sky, solid rock disintegrating into heat and dust. Every time I shift my weight, the motion sensor porch light turns on, so eventually I lie down on my back in the middle of the driveway. The cement is cold, even through the fabric of my T-shirt, and bits of gravel press into my shoulder blades. When my eyes start to burn, I realize I haven’t been blinking. I guess I’ve been trying to watch the shooting stars for both of us. I don’t know if it’s been fifteen minutes or an hour, but at some point I get too cold and come back inside. You’ve fallen asleep in 79
front of a documentary about butterflies, and I think, all I want is for you to leave your cocoon. Is it dark in there? Do you want me to crack it open and crawl inside with you? If you want me to, I will. I take your empty yogurt container into the kitchen and throw it away. The spoon goes in the sink, balanced on top of a few days’ worth of dirty dishes. I don’t want you to wake up tomorrow and think that I left them there to be passive aggressive, but right now I’m too tired to clean them. Besides, if I run the water, it might wake you up. I lock the front door and turn off the lights, but leave the TV on. I think it helps you sleep. The sound of my breathing used to do that. I wonder when it stopped being enough. There I go again, trying to be everything to you, even though I know it’s impossible. Last week you asked me why I always have to fix everything, and since then I can’t stop looking at my hands, and thinking, maybe you’re right about me.
LESSONS ON PRESERVATION Serena Solin
Only one of us has known the other her whole life. In your brief unexpression I learned allergy, railtrack, sandwiches. Oil distilled on the bay. The grid hamstringing wetland. No. The wind that slits the forest is more like us. Light without warmth. Shout of water against rock. I remember more, earlier, though not enough to feel vessel pitching, the dull new shore. I cut a frame for the image: fed, sunned, given watercolor, you at my shoulder. Cotton gloves to keep dry. Antistatic. They prepared me for your sudden presence, the hands that lifted you from water. Is this how you arrived? Caked in film, plucked from the river prosperous and fully formed? I don’t know where we came from. From mold, cast and fired. Marsh clay, sawdust. I think yours was the voice I lurched toward when I was just a single cell dividing. When later you amalgamate beside me—paler, slimmer—no one can articulate the precise way in which we are alike.
THE DEVIL YOU KNOW LaRue Cook
When I was a little girl, I don’t know that I dreamed of being anyone in particular—a princess, a policewoman, the first female President of the United States. My mother didn’t have much patience for what she called nonsense. She didn’t believe in test-driving a man, even though my daddy had turned out to be a lemon. Not long after I married Gary—got out from under her thumb—Momma and me watched The Bridges of Madison County, and all she could say at the end was, “About damn time Meryl Streep wised up.” I was telling this to Tommy, and he quit kissing my nipples right then. He stuck his head out from under the covers with a grin. He had the biggest grin and the greenest eyes. “Does that mean I’m Clint Eastwood?” He scrunched up his nose real cute when he was being a smart aleck. I told him that he couldn’t be my Clint Eastwood with a wife and kids pulling him out of my bed. He went back under the covers and kept kissing me down there like Gary never did. I watched a blue jay fly by out the window, over the couple of acres of farmland that the 85
landlord let me cut to keep the rent down. I’d put the bed in the living room, next to the wood stove, because the bedroom in the rancher I was renting didn’t have any windows. It felt less lonely at night, looking out at the stars, or watching the headlights as they rolled by on the main road. Tommy hit a spot that made my legs close up around his head. I lifted the covers and grabbed the sides of his face and told him I was sorry. He laughed. “Right button, huh?” He raised his eyebrows and went back to it. I knew it wouldn’t feel like this, this nice, if I had Tommy around for more than an hour at a time. I couldn’t say that I wanted him for a lifetime, and I doubted he did me either. But not having the worry of what might come next made it easier, knowing I could get what I needed, maybe even love him some, without having to worry about all that comes with it. Nobody ever bothers to tell you about all that comes with it. When he’d finished, he just laid his head on my stomach under the covers. “What’s wrong, sweetie?” I asked and grabbed a fistful of hair on top of his head. “Come up here and kiss me.” Tommy touched the tip of his nose to mine, close enough that I could feel his voice buzz against my lips. “Honey...” He pulled his head back and looked through me. “I’ve got to tell Jeanie—three kids, my beauties. And she’s their momma.” His nose wasn’t touching mine anymore. “I just don’t know how you can be away from your boy.” I slid out from under him and stretched to the floor for my bra. “Just cause you go home to her bed doesn’t mean you’re any better than me,” I said and hooked it and put on my underwear. “My son knows I love him—he’s thirteen going on twenty-three. I gave him the choice, and he said his daddy wasn’t as strong as me.” Tommy let out a grunt and fell back on the pillow. “Why’d you leave him then? Gary, I mean. He’s a mess, honey, barely eating, tightening up his holster belt day by day.” I rolled out of bed and stomped to the kitchen and filled the percolator with water. “Why don’t you ask him the last time he wanted to know anything other than what was for supper?” I tossed in three scoops of Folgers and plugged the percolator into the socket by the 86
sink. “Hell, he’s your friend—might as well tell him, too, while you’re at it.” February had been colder than we were used to in East Tennessee, and the rancher seemed to let the wind in through every nook and cranny, like the outside world could come and go as it pleased. But I didn’t put on any clothes. I knew Tommy couldn’t walk out the door without looking me over. Not like the men at the fastfood restaurant where I’d started working, the ones just taking a snap shot for later. But Tommy really took stock of me, like there wasn’t a stretch he didn’t like. By the time the percolator quit sputtering, I smelled Tommy at my back, salty sweat that turned me on in a way few smells did. He ran his finger down my spine, until his hand was between my legs. “I’ll tell ’em both, honey, if that’s what you want,” he said through that smart aleck smirk I knew without even turning around. “We’ll get this untangled, straighten it out real quick.” I opened the cabinet and reached for the black mug with “No. 1 Mom” in white letters on it but thought better of it. I didn’t want to give Tommy the satisfaction. I picked the one my son had given me with the California Raisins on it instead and got a Styrofoam cup for him. I poured them full and stirred creamer in both and one packet of Sweet’N Low in his. Tommy was in full uniform, the steam filling the space between us. I handed him his coffee and pressed up against his holster belt. “You sure you don’t want to get back in bed?” I watched his green eyes, to see if I could change his mind, keep him from making me the slut in all this. He slurped his coffee and it surely burned his throat, as fresh as it was. He shifted his belt and grinned, but his eyes didn’t light up like before, back when he wanted to be my Clint Eastwood. I grinned back best I could and took a drink. The coffee scalded the tip of my tongue. Tommy turned his up again, like it was water. I wrapped his other arm around my waist and put his hand on my thigh. “I’ll be the bad cop,” I said. “Don’t you see that, sweetie? You’ll get to waltz out of here, say your ‘I’m sorrys’ and get right back in 87
bed.” I put my lips close to his, close enough to taste the grounds on his breath. “The man always gets off scot-free, don’t he?” Tommy let me go and emptied his cup down his throat. He tossed it in the garbage bag I had hung on the door that led out to the back yard. He parked his cruiser out there so no one could spot it from the road. I watched him over the lip of my cup, his eyes darting up and down, like I was a statue in a fancy museum, just a body without a head. He rubbed his nose with his thumb and trigger finger, a tick I’d picked up on at a barbeque, back before I’d let life get out ahead of me. Tommy’d been irritated at Jeanie over something, what I can’t remember. It was the first time I’d seen him out of uniform, white T-shirt and Wranglers that hugged him right. We cracked open the Jack Daniels once the sun had gone down and Jeanie and the girls had gone to bed. Gary had drunk himself into the bottom of his lawn chair. “You sure are pretty,” Tommy said to me there in the moonlight, under the weeping willow in his front yard. I was wearing a favorite sundress of mine, blue with white trim. I don’t know that Gary had ever said that to me. Tommy did without flinching, like it’d been on the tip of his mind all night. “Men get a pass, I’ll give you that,” he said now, standing in my kitchen, still eyeing me like a statue. “But I don’t make the rules— just live by ’em.” “That so?” I asked. He grabbed the doorknob and glanced back, straightening the short bill of his hat. “What I got ain’t worth losing, honey.” I set my coffee on the counter and marched up to him, chest to chest, badge and all, took his face in both hands. “You really love her?” He jerked his face away, rubbed his nose again, thumb and trigger finger. “Gary never has loved me,” I said. “He loves our boy, but he never has loved me.” “Better the devil you know, honey,” Tommy said and winked 88
a wink that wrapped up everything I didn’t know about him in a bow. He slung open the door and slammed it shut. I took my coffee to the living room and curled up on the side of the bed nearest the window—farmland and clear blue skies stretched for miles. A handful of cars rolled by on the main road. Tommy revved his cruiser, and then came the dust, floating by in clouds as he sped down the gravel drive. I don’t know why he turned on the sirens, but I jumped, nearly spilled my coffee, when they screamed out. Maybe he really had got a call, or maybe he just wanted to let me know trouble was coming, that my boy was going to grow up quick in all of this. Once the dust cleared, I could see that all the cars had pulled to the sides of the road, half in and half out of the ditches, letting the blue lights blur past toward town.
IN A FLORIDA DEATHTRAP SET FOR OUTSIDERS Larry Narron
the palms cast penumbras over her face. Her hair had been worn in a tangle of braids tugged loose by the wind, beaten by a sideways rain. A broken umbrella rolled down her street like a satellite blown out of its orbit. She hid in the house she haunted every October, behind the windows she gargoyled with snow-globes she placed on their sills in December.
CONTRIBUTOR NOTES MARIAM F. ANSARI is a native New Yorker double-majoring in Politics and Middle Eastern Studies at NYU. Her artistic exploration features intricate, abstract design work combining traditional and digital media. Variations is infused with classical influences from Baroque motifs, Ionic order architecture, and the calligraphic form. DEVYA ARTHUR has been a writer and photographer for many years, with her work in a variety of publications and galleries. Living an eclectic life, she has also been a social worker, housekeeper, sheepherder, businesswoman and editor. She is a long time member of the Green Party because she believes politics brings change. She cherishes being a mother, daughter, wife and friend. The Night Scenes Project, in both image and poem, began as a child standing on the back seat of the car at night, looking out the rear window at the world going by. Deyva lives in Troy, New York. JONAH BRUMET is a freelance writer from Ottawa living in Toronto. A graduate of Ryerson University’s school of journalism, he writes short fiction, poetry and literary nonfiction for magazines. More of his fiction and poetry can be found at seethroughmind.wordpress.com. SEBASTIAN LOPEZ CALVO is a nonbinary trans writer and social work major at New York University. They can be found on most major social media platforms @sillpanchu. BRIDGET HOLYK CASEY is an alumna of NYU Gallatin and an art writer, editor, and photographer. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she currently lives in New York with her wife and an ever-growing number of plants. Say hi @bridgethcasey most places. GUILLERMO FILICE CASTRO is a poet and photographer. He’s the author of the chapbook Agua, Fuego (Finishing Line Press, 2015) and a recipient of an Emerge-Surface-Be fellowship from the Poetry Project. He lives in New York City. CHRISTIAN CONCEPCION is an Artist from New York City and attended the School of Visual Arts where he studied Graphic Design. This helped deepen and forward his interests in the many fields, genres and sub-genres which exist in the world of Art. He found most of his interests were in the realms of Fine Art, Photography, Art History, Film, Design, Music, Sculpture, Drawing and Digital Art. In these pieces he is manipulating and collaging famous and iconic imagery to create pieces which convey simple ideas and messages with complex and abstract narratives to create alternate realities within the subject matter of the original piece. LARUE COOK was a researcher, writer, and editor at ESPN The Magazine and ESPN. com for seven years before returning to his home state of Tennessee, where his new title is Existential Mess. During his limited free time, he is putting an MFA from Fairfield University to work on a collection of short stories. His stories have appeared or are forthcoming in *82 Review and Inwood Indiana. MARC DESSAUVAGE is an artist currently living and working in New York. He was born in Bruges, Belgium where he was exposed to the works of the Flemish masters at an early age. Following in Belgium’s painterly tradition, he works exclusively in painting and makes references to the works of the Flemish primitives. In 2013 he moved to New York to pursue 92
Architecture and Civil Engineering at Columbia University alongside his art. At Columbia he participated in numerous magazine publications and exhibitions. He has recently exhibited at the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center, Limner Gallery, Ashok Jain Gallery, and Site: Brooklyn. BRAD GARBER lives, writes and runs around naked in the Great Northwest. He fills his home with art, music, photography, plants, rocks, bones, books, good cookin’ and love. He has published poetry, art, photos, essays and articles in many quality publications. He was a 2013 Pushcart Prize nominee. DAVID GAITHER is an international contemporary artist known for his expansive paintings, which combine warm, bright colors with innovative shapes, organic feeling/ expression, contemporary technology and pioneering methods. His paintings blur the boundaries of the figurative and the abstract; reality and fantasy. Gaither is currently exploring a movement he has termed “Maximalism,” which involves employing a myriad of intricate shapes and ultra-saturated, bold, bright colors, emphasizing the detail and infinite combinations of the respective shapes and colors. His aim with his Maximalism movement is to take contemporary art to the next level. David’s works have been exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide, from leading US cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta, to as far as London, Lausanne, Paris, Dubai, and Hong Kong. WILLIAM GROB says about his work, “What we perceive is not what we necessarily see when we live in a world which holds no truths and no answers, only beliefs. Photography holds as many lies as truths, so by synthesizing painting with photographs I project a visualisation that captures both the instant, and the immortal. The real and the surreal.” CHERYL GROSS is an illustrator, painter, and motion graphic artist living and working in the New York area, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She is a professor at Pratt Institute and Bloomfield College. Cheryl received her MFA from Pratt Institute. Her work has appeared in numerous films, TV shows, publications, and graces the walls of many corporate and museum collections. When asked about her work: “I equate my work with creating and building an environment, transforming my inner thoughts into reality. Beginning with the physical process, I work in layers. I am involved in solving visual and verbal complexities such as design and narrative. My urban influence has indeed added an ‘edge’ to my work.” She is currently working on a large installation/graphic novel titled: Greetings From Karpland. Greetings from Karpland includes text and drawings depicting a new race of people that are being persecuted, and will eventually be known as the third civil rights movement. Authentic, straightforward and poignant, Greetings From Karpland is the second book in Karpland Chronicles. Cheryl has often been compared to “Dr. Seuss on crack.” HOLLY HARTMAN is a writer, editor, and collage artist in Boston, MA. LYNN HOFFMAN was born in Brooklyn and lives in Philadelphia. Among his 11 published books are Radiation Days, a comedy about cancer, and Short Course in Beer, a very serious but tasty book about ales and lagers. He is the twice-fired, thrice hired Chef Professor of Drexel University’s Culinary Arts program. HANNAH JOHNSON currently lives in Oakland, California, where she fights the patriarchy, 93
drinks too much coffee, and is an MFA candidate in Poetry at Mills College. Her work has been published in Matchbox, Selfish, and Mosaic. NINA KOSSMAN is a Moscow-born artist, writer, poet, translator, and playwright. Her paintings and sculptures have been exhibited in Moscow, Philadelphia, and New York. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a UNESCO/PEN Short Story Award, grants from Foundation for Hellenic Culture and Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, she is the author of two books of poems in Russian and English as well as the translator of two volumes of Marina Tsvetaevas’s poetry. Her other publications include Behind the Border (HarperCollins, 1994) and Gods and Mortals: Modern Poems on Classical Myths (Oxford University Press, 2001). Two of her plays have been produced off-offBroadway. She lives in New York. RICHA LAGU is a junior pursuing Metropolitan Studies in NYU’s Department of Social and Cultural Analysis. Apart from writing, she also enjoys taking public transport, playing the piano, and binge-watching superhero TV shows. This will be her first print publication (to her delight). BRETON LALAMA is a queer artist who loves writing, exploring, and creating works that make people feel things. When she is not writing, creating, or performing, she likes to take bike rides, eat chips, and take in other peoples’ artwork. CALVIN LORD is a first time submitter, long-time fan of the Review. He is a Sports Headline Contributor for The Onion, and is an editor of The Plague, NYU’s only intentionally funny publication. STEPHEN MEAD is a resident of NY, published artist, writer, maker of short-collage films and sound-collage downloads. If you are at all interested and get the time, Google Stephen Mead and the genres of either writing, art, or both, for links to his multi-media work. IVAN DE MONBRISON is a French poet, writer and artist who lives in Paris. His poems or short stories have appeared in several literary magazines in France, Italy, Belgium, the UK, Canada, Australia, Switzerland and in the US. Five poetry chapbooks of his works have been published (two illustrated). His first illustrated poem-novel Les Maldormants was published in 2014, in France. Its sequel Le déni is scheduled to be published soon. LARRY NARRON teaches writing at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, where he received an MFA in Poetry. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, his poems have appeared in Phoebe, Eleven Eleven, Permafrost, Free State Review, Whiskey Island, Gravel, Watershed Review, The Boiler, and elsewhere. PRIYANK PILLAI is a trans poet and conceptual artist currently based in Houston, TX. Born on a tiny Francophone island in the Indian Ocean, their works examine the experiences of living in diaspora and exile. EKATERINA POPOVA was born in Vladimir, Russia. After moving to the United States, she pursued her passion for painting and has had her work shown and published nationally.
She continues to explore her interest in domestic spaces and interiors through her paintings. JONATHAN ROSE is a writer living in Brooklyn. He grew up in Toledo, Ohio and earned a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University, studying film and literature. He is currently working on a story collection and a novel. Other work of his has appeared in Chicago Quarterly Review. HEATHER SAGER grew up in rural Minnesota and now lives in Illinois. Her short fiction has also appeared in the Curbside Splendor e-zine. NYEDA SAM is currently a sophomore at The Saint Ann’s School. She dabbles in the arts in and out of school. Her work consists of poems, plays, and paintings. Nyeda’s work is usually influenced by personal experiences or other pieces of art. She has a strong passion for the arts and attending Saint Ann’s has allowed her to thoroughly pursue her artistic career. The Minetta Review features Nyeda’s first art publication. SERENA SOLIN is a senior at Columbia University. A New Jersey native, it’s all about barley tea, yellow light, and never pumping your own gas. STEVEN TUTINO is currently an undergraduate at Concordia University in Honours English Literature with an additional major in Theology. Steven enjoys drawing, painting and writing. His poetry has appeared in Concordia University’s Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Sexuality and is set to appear in The Paragon Journal as well as artwork in both The Paragon Journal and Beautiful Minds this upcoming Spring. Steven currently resides in Montreal, Quebec. DAVID TUVELL was born in Florida and now lives in the Atlanta area. He has been published primarily in small presses, including Eyedrum Periodically and Kennesaw State University’s arts journal Share. David studied at the University of Florida as well as Kennesaw State University. ANGELA WALCOTT IS an advocate for arts education, honing her craft and allowing her to gain insight. Her conclusion—life in general is never the “same old, same old”. Always trying to adopt a new perspective, Angela uses her voice as an artist to share her experiences while expressing the impact that life has on art and vice versa. She believes that the more eclectic one’s style, attitude and outlook on life, the better. This outlook is the key to what informs her art. Angela’s work has appeared at Project Gallery’s Deck the Wall Exhibit, Art Gallery of Mississauga Art Crit Session and Beaches Jazz Festival’s Juried Photo Exhibit, Jazz In Motion. CHANDLER LESESNE WEST grew up in South Carolina. She is currently a senior concentrating in Contemporary Cultures and Creative Production in NYU’s Global Liberal Studies Program. She is also double-minoring in Creative Writing and French. You can see more of her work at www.chandlerlesesnewest.com. LAWRENCE WU is a junior at NYU interested in the different forms of storytelling through photography, writing, and audio.
MINETTA REVIEW EDITORS-IN-CHIEF ART EDITOR POETRY EDITOR
Annesha Sengupta Emma Thomas Felix Ho Yuen Chan Ahmed Sherif
Abraham Gross Alexandra Reis Weston Richey
PROSE ASSISTANTS TREASURER COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR EVENTS COORDINATOR
Sofiya Joseph Jaclyn Shultz Mary Hess Sarah Colvin Christine Wang
Sebastian Lopez Calvo Grace Fellman Alexa Greene Evelyn Hall Dante LaRiccia Alicia Parker
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 David Sobalvarro, Jaclyn Shultz, Sofiya Joseph, and Ahmed Sherif. Proofread by Emma Thomas, David Sobalvarro, Alexandra Reis, Sofiya Joseph, Samantha Craig, Bridget Holyk Casey. 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 Student Allocation Board 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 Grafika Commercial Printing for yet another beautiful issue.
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