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MONTAGE FALL 2008 STAFF EDITORIAL OFFICERS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Jeﬀ Brandt PROSE EDITOR: Kevin Smith ASSISTANT: Justin Taylor POETRY EDITOR: Rafael Ibay ASSISTANT: Alanna Hickey LAYOUT EDITOR: Henry Del Rosario ASSISTANT: Brittany Serenbetz WEB EDITOR: Kelley Christensen ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS TREASURER: Sarah Phillips ADVERTISING & EVENTS COORDINATOR: Jen Denne SECRETARY: Chris Magiet EDITORIAL STAFF Andrew Anastasia, Jenele Anderson, Derek Beigh, Lizzie Blaine, Mathieu Brown, Maggie Carrigan, Sarah Cason, Megan Cavitt, Sunanna Chand, Eli Chen, Kelley Christensen, Jason Cruz, Lindsay Davis, Henry Del Rosario, Jen Denne, Chelsea Fiddyment, Jeﬀ Girten, Sarah Glover, Sarah Gorr, Ethan Graham, Ellen Guirl, Stacy Haynes, Jacob Heppner, Ann Holland, Kevin Hsia, Sarah Hyon, Samantha Imburgia, Shannon Jilek, Candace Johnson, Kate Kinsella, Dan Klen, Andrew Krok, Paige Krzysko, Molly Laatsch, Miles Lincoln, Tim Lo, Chris Magiet, Lauren Mangurten, Adam Mann, Mary McCormack, Hossain Mesbah, Katie O’Brian, Mary O’Brien, Sarah Phillips, Ariel Robinson, Raissa Rocha, Meghan Ryan, Natasha Sachdeva, Brittany Serenbetz, Melissa Steiner, Rachel Storm, Justin Taylor, Natalie Thompson, Brianna Walker, Kyna Xu
MONTAGE is a Registered Student Organization of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As such, Montage does not discriminate on the basis of the author’s race, nation of origin, sexual preference, sexual orientation, religion, age, morality, or political beliefs. We will not reject work purely on the basis of any of these criteria. Pages 1-8, 10-18: stock images from Henry Del Rosario Pages 9, 19: stock images from http://www.sxc.hu/ and http://www.adobe.com 300 Copies in Circulation
MONTAGE is a periodical of creative writing and visual art, edited and designed by students of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The journal’s goal is to publish the ﬁnest creative work that this school has to oﬀer. We strive to recognize talented undergrads and to foster artistic creativity on campus. In past years, Montage focused mostly on short stories and poetry. This year, however, we want to become a more inclusive arts journal, featuring photography and more creative graphic design. We have adopted this magazine format to better explore those possibilities. Enjoy!
TABLE OF CON T E N T S Petriﬁcation
The Living Dead
Remembering a Friend is to Harvest a Spare Skeleton
MAGGIE DAY SARAH CASON
To Sleep! Per Chance to Dream!
You Fell oﬀ the Rap Wagon
Raymond Waldahl, 25: Longtime Suﬀerer of Fateor Paruresesis
Lies in neat rows Relativity
MIKE CLARK JENNY CHRISTIE
The Man in the Shell
SARAH GORR PAMELA GLOSSON
The Living Dead SARAH CASON They say some elephants stay standing even after they die, the balance of their four trunk-like legs remaining intact before they sway and collapse on their sides. Imagine if all living things stayed in place after their last breath like the ash-coated victims of Pompeiiâ€™s ancient eruption. A walk through the jungle would become a museum of natural instinct prevailed. Monkeys would hold fast to the vines and dangle like downy chandeliers that shed light on the tiger below, paused mid-maul, its jaws gaping, ready to seize the deer that will survive until tomorrow, saved by the rhino, whose mighty tusk shocked the tiger into submission. Soon it will rot by the nearby river, mere feet away from a million suspended schools of ďŹ sh, their eyeballs no longer probing the lethal waters but steadily gazing at nothing.
Doleful Streets KEVIN HSIA A lucid moon A waning gibbous hung low Yellow and terrible These brazen youth know no future at this hour Glowing orbs wavering (the circuits falter, likewise them) Disjointed. Howls and cackles abound OďŹ€ dirty walls and alleys The broken pavement underfoot Proceeds the cavalcade Dead windows and faceless shadows Crooning, whistling, jeering Like Jackals. Like Hyenas. Like Satyrs of the Depths. Soulless, guileless Perfect in their pleasure.
Remembering a Friend is to Harvest a Spare Skeleton AMY LIPMAN I hated how balloons looked blowing up when I was ﬁve. I chose a red one after dinner I must have ﬁnished my children’s meal, back then I could do things like ﬁnish a meal. Now I navigate ends of knives like a ﬁsh without her bones trying to map her insides waits until deep dark to swallow barium, the ocean says she’s spineless while she grows another skeleton. I held onto my balloon all the way outside, My parents walked me to the car. I’d never seen so many stars I’d never felt such guilt. I made them stop walking, I needed air, I let the balloon go. Mom said that an animal would choke on it, to never do that again. I said it was for my friend Ana and then mom said that she’d probably get it, that Ana was lucky and so was I for having known her before she almost made it to six, but I wondered if Ana was the luckiest. I cried about the coyote in the desert who would swallow my balloon, climbed into the car and put my seatbelt on.
To Sleep! Per Chance To Dream! CHIP ALLEN
You start by saying goodnight in the most heterosexual way possible. You used to do a ﬁst-pound accompanied with a “night bro,” which then progressed to a prominently sarcastic “night-night sweetie!” The greatest way to not harm his uncanny yet unsuited manliness. Nothing shall blemish his manliness, and therefore you must act in the least manly way possible, because no bro shall challenge his bro-ness. But not tonight. You don’t play his belittling game to prove manliness, and spit out a “see ya in the morning, fuckface.” He laughs his ridiculous laugh. Starting oﬀ like a drowned hyena gasping for air, trying to scream but the air not passing his vocal chords, then to sudden high pitch bursts of pure ecstasy. Like a jolly fat man getting prodded by a hot iron. You peer back and notice he is still meddling around when your gaze to the small patch of black back hair growing just below his neck. Although disgusted, take pride in knowing something that he doesn’t know, something that would otherwise bruise his inﬂated ego. He leaves to brush his teeth without turning the light oﬀ. You swear that he somehow gets oﬀ on knowing that he goes to bed after you. Recall that he doesn’t have a soul; how he tries to be nice here and there, but you know there is nothing behind it. His measly attempts at sincerity are like a gay man’s attempt to hit on girls, not that there is anything wrong with that. He comes back with his shorts pulled ridiculously low, just slightly perched above his ass crack. Why does he do that? Is he trying to pick up girls or something, with his tiny little tubular body? He looks like a shell-less snail. A little body with an even smaller head, wearing his wire framed glasses that perch perfectly below the huge black caterpillars on his face above his pointy little nose. The little French twist that makes his pale little rat like face that all pulls into one vortex that is his greasy little nose. You hate that nose, for more than one reason. It’s always peeking around your drawers, looking for duct tape, asking you about girls. That fucking nose. One of these days you’re going to saw it oﬀ. You turn back towards the lights, and close your eyes, trying to fall asleep before he does. You have to. But he is still dilly-dallyin’ around back there. He starts opening something plastic. It sounds like a carton of Dentyne Ice, but it’s not. Because why would he be getting gum? It’s probably a decongestant for that mountain on his 6 MONTAGE
face. It’s quiet, you close your eyes. Last night you thought of a crazy slide before you fell asleep so tonight you do the same. Wait. What could he possibly be microwaving? Is he serious? Why couldn’t he do that when he was watching late night Jeopardy, trying to answer every fucking question? You smell what it is. It’s that stupid little sock full of rice that he puts on his neck, above the little prairie of back hair. You start to wonder if any creature has ever called that prairie his home. And if it has, if that creature worships the hot green sock, praying to it and oﬀering it dead skin in exchange for beads of sweat. Shake it oﬀ, you need to sleep. If you fall asleep now, you can get abouuutt seven hours of solid shut-eye. He lets out a gasp. Like he’s been soooo stressed out. You’ve never seen him do anything but bother people. And by people you mean you. Well more than you . . . he’s just so small. Small and annoying. Whatever, just sleep, it is time to sleep. He breathes more. In. Out. In. Out. Block it out of your mind. Say a quick prayer for Nana, your friends, sisters, thank God for all the crap he’s given you and sleep! Before it starts! PLEASE! Real quick though, did you get all your homework. Okay, well let’s see. In Geography there is a workbook, but you have Mark’s book from last semester and you can copy that real quick during the hour between Soc and creative writing. Yeah, Soc, you don’t have to do anything really, and you should never have bought the book, idiot. Ok come on you need to fall asleep, what was left? Creative writing . . . sheeeiittt, you didn’t read the stories for today. Oh well just do the ole sit in the corner with your head down, let others do the talking and nod in a agreement as you ﬂip through the story looking for particular passages that you never read. Ok now sleep. It is starting to breathe heavy. Sleep. Sleep. Just think of something calming, relaxing. Colors. A blue swirling marble like thing and drift away. You are in the perfect position, each leg is equally comfortable, your arm isn’t falling asleep and you are ready for takeoﬀ. Feel your muscles relax, fall into the darkness behind you eyelids. Deeper, deeper into a nice full seven
hours of sleep . . . And then it hits you. The little gremlin starts unconsciously sucking mucus into skull. Mucus Maximus, like that commercial. Your eyes pop wide open and as your body is swallowed by heat. The reformatory walls begin to squeeze. Feeling each opposite wall only two feet from your toes and head, while the ceiling dangles a half foot above. WHERE IS YOUR SPACE!? You need to get out, get-the-f-out. Escape. Everything beautiful you were just imagining is scorched away along with the potential of seven full hours. All gone. Try to ignore it. Try to fall asleep in the silence of the exhales. But that is like trying to listen to music between grinding windshield wipers. The grinding starts on the inhale, then a whistle on the exhale. He is seriously snoring as he inhales and exhales. You’ve never hated someone so much in your entire life. Maybe the snot will clog his airways and he will die. You will wake up the next morning thinking he is quietly sleeping and go to class without ever knowing any better. The ambulance comes, yadda yadda yadda, and ipso facto you automatically get straight A’s for the rest of the semester. So, in all actuality, nothing bad can come from him dying. Well besides his family being sad or whatever, but they can get over it, it’s not like he is a saint or anything. Oh, shit, you almost started to drift oﬀ there, but your concentration ﬂips right back to his reptilian little face, sucking in air like a dying ﬁsh. You try to subtly wake him up by kicking the wall. Then by thrusting your heel into the wooden frame of the bunk bed. Nothing works. He is still snorting yogurt down there. You throw your body into the air and ﬂop back down onto the mattress, creating a loud thud and rattling the bed a little. His throat is caught mid chortle and you hear him shifting around under the sheets into a new position. Maybe he will be able to breathe in this one. A few moments of quietness. What time is it? You shouldn’t look at the clock when you try to fall asleep. Someone said it’s all psychological. If you look at the clock you will just bitch about how much sleep you are not getting the entire night and end up getting no sleep. Don’t look at the clock. Just. Don’t.
Okay just a real quick glance. You mash the buttons on your phone, the screen lights up. You can get 6 hours annnd thirteen minutes of sleep if you fall asleep at this very second. Right now. Starting now. Sleep. 6 hours 11 minutes of sleep starting now. What the shit is that? You hear a girl wailing in the hallway. You listen closer to her cries for a Tony. She is making it clear to everyone on the ﬂoor that she is looking for Tony, is from Eastern, doesn’t know where she is, and is scared. And she doesn’t know where she is at because she is from Eastern, and just needs to ﬁnd TONYYYY!!!! No one seems to be doing anything about this girl and the little angel is snoring again so you get up and peek out the door to getter a closer look on what is going on. Open the door as little as you can because you don’t want that slut to see you, and the light burns your eyes. She starts howling that someone is trying to rape her, which makes you open the door a little wider. You see that a kid from down the hall, Matt the Meat Roller, is trying to carry her into the bathroom. You can’t help it but every time you see him you are reminded of his eating habits that consist of collecting various pieces of meat, rolling them up, and eating them. He looks particularly skinny and pale in his boxers. And his teeth are poking out from behind the hamster growing on his face. He looks scared. So as the Meat Roller hoists the poor girl on his shoulder she announces that someone is trying to rape her. A terriﬁed look instantly wrinkles on his face and he drops her to the ground, bolting back into his room. It’s really sad to see this girl automatically assume that she is going to be raped by the ﬁrst boy who comes to her aid. If the Meat Roller had been tall and handsome, would she yell rape? Eh, these are questions to be pondered later, perhaps while sitting on the old murder hole. But right now this sack of shit girl is
right outside your door, and if you are going to get any sleep you have to get rid of her. But you can’t help but smile at her vulnerability because she is one of those ultra smokin’ hot girls that you would never even dream about approaching because they carry an air of superiority about them. Now who is superior? That’s right, you are. She sees you smiling and asks what the fuck you are smiling at, but pukes up a little bit on her shimmery green dress before gurgling “at.” Something about her reminds you of the stumpy ghoul-like lunch lady you had in third grade that told you you had a “shit-eating smile.” She was a doll. So to get this superstar out of your hair, you conveniently reach back into your coat pocket and grab a cigarette and lighter. You poke one in her mouth and light it for her. Amazed, she asks, “You guys are allowed to smoke in the dorms?” “Uhh, yeah?” you reply, acting like smoking was never questioned in the dorms. She asks what time it is, you tell her you don’t tell people the time. With a feeling of accomplishment you start to close the door, but right before you do she fucking pukes again, dowsing the once lit cigarette in regurgitated sweet and sour Bobo Chicken, steaming stomach acid, and the lovely Skol vodka. You’ve reached your ends with almost everything tonight so you reach down and grab the girl (who is now in the fetal position on the ground), and drag her to where you suspect Tony’s door of being. 234, you were right, it has Tony’s little sailboat on there. So you drop her arm back to the ground and knock on the door. “Tony, your lackluster girlfriend is out here, you should try to be responsible and come get her.” No answer. She is out cold now so you go back into your room, grab a thin green little blanket, a coverless pillow with year old nosebleed stains on it, and a note to Tony saying, “This is yours. It puked all over itself. Please wash blanket and pillow and return to room 209.” You tape the note to the sloppy bitch’s arm and return to your room to ﬁnd sleeping beauty still sawing logs. You don’t know
why someone like him gets to get such a great night sleep, while you lie in your living hell all night. He is dreaming away while you are being tortured. You can still get four good hours if he shuts up. Desperate times call for desperate measures . . . You accidentally turn on the TV. Nothing. You accidentally make your cell phone ring. Nothing. You accidentally hold a pillow over his face for ten minutes. Perfect tranquility. . . . But seriously you need to sleep now. You can still get like 3 hours aannnd 23 minutes, dammit. You think about how much he is pissing you oﬀ without knowing it. He is so utterly vulnerable and enraging you more than anything else. You are surprised more people aren’t murdered while they are snoring because that would peak someone’s rage at a time when the snorer is most vulnerable. The only other situation like that is a really annoying, really drunk and stupid girl. Before you climb into the bed you prepare to fart on him because nothing audible is waking him up. So you cook something good up and ﬂoat it over his dumbfounded gaping drooling face. If the smell does not wake him then the sound has to. It sounds like a baritone emerging from a pool of water. The sound of your surprised giggles might wake him too. He shuﬄes around a little bit so you make like Batman and shoot up to the top bunk. The stillness of the room is palpable. Laying ﬂat in your bed your insides seem to magnetize to the mattress. You sink. Soupy darkness ﬁlls the room as the curtains close. Sit back, there is no escaping. Something is grabbing you, pulling you downward into the sedated abyss. Sleep. Finally . . . ... . . . “What’s that Mr. Phalen? The Hamburglar has your radiEEE EEEE EEEE EEE EEE!!” Jolts of heat and sunlight and itch and sweat collide into your body. The gleaming sunlight illuminate the red veins in your eyelids. You sit up, mash your phone, look around, hop down, grab your towel, open the door. You turn around. The little princess is still fornicating his pillows. That’s good though, he needs his sleep. Because tonight he dies.
You Fell off the Rap Wagon FREDIQUE BAUTISTA when Whack came to town and you passed me my broken bong which you broke because you were broke and couldn’t aﬀord quality melodies; I lent you mine, but still you babbled on about, about how you took hits of concentrated word formations that made your consonance alliterate and assonance a nuisance, and I paid little attention ’cause your high was a bullshit high, and we all know only whack gets you lifted, you think a battle emcee that spits written is still gifted, but I know the reason why you spoke in certain slang was ’cause you were brought up with enigmatic colloquialisms, so save it for someone else; save it for self-aggrandizing “Dope” -ness that ain’t been Fat since fat-free became as trendy as drinking hand-me down status quo at the disbursement of sampled bebop riﬀs and The Message, still spitting white lines after White Lines became overdose; you fell oﬀ the Hip Hop wagon when your Hip Hop heads, got skull-fucked by a hooded hood mentality, and you allowed any thug with a mic to battle-rap . . .
Last Night BROOKE BARCELLA
Last night I dreamt I killed my father. All it took was one swift movement, a quick shove provoked by an incessantly suppressed rage, and he was dead. We watched as he stumbled backward, frantically grasping for something to hold on to. His bulging eyes seemed to grow a darker brown on his way down, or maybe it was his paling face that was the change. My arms were still outstretched when I heard the sharp crack of his head against the countertop. The bundle of bananas we had picked up from the grocery a few days earlier laid on the counter, still too green to eat. My water bottle was wobbling back and forth, threatening to fall over and spill its contents all over the counter, and all over the bananas. The bananas were spared. Little bits of bread crumbs clung to the wet dishrag my mother was holding in her hand; remnants from the sandwich Chloe made minutes before. Uneaten, it rested lifelessly on the paper plate, next to the Scooby-Doo cup full of milk. Olivia was already halfway through her cookie when his heavy body hit the ﬂoor. Abandoning her lunch, Chloe slid oﬀ the chair and stood over our father. Her face was expressionless as it peered down at his motionless body. We slowly followed her lead, encircling the giant mass that was our father, now sprawled on the ﬂoor. Standing over him, all we could do was stare, and wait for him to move. No one said anything. A drop of dirty water rolled oﬀ the rag my mother now clutched in her ﬁst, and landed on my father’s eyelid. He didn’t ﬂinch. I could hear my sisters’ shortened breath, it seemed my mother was holding her own until he came to. Stepping across his body, I stood in between Chloe and Olivia, reached down and took hold of their hands. I knew that they, like me, were thinking of what would happen when he woke up. Hoping, for my sake, that he would never wake up. Chloe turned her tiny face up to mine, and from behind her glasses I could see the recognition take place. “He’s dead,” she said softly, still looking up at me for conﬁrmation. I looked at my mom, she was looking back at me, wearing the same searching look as Chloe. Inhaling deeply, I opened my mouth to give them the conﬁrmation of death that they were expecting, but it was Olivia’s voice that said what we were all thinking. “Yeah, Daddy’s dead.” As she released those words from her mouth, she released her hand from mine and knelt at his side. “Daddy’s dead. Brookey killed him.” Her voice lacked the conviction that I was expecting, and fearing. Placing her bare feet once again on the ground, Olivia stood up straight and walked to the refrigerator. On the freezer door there was a picture of me when I was little, the only childhood picture that
was left of me. My white shirt had pink and red roses sewn around the collar, matching the red barrette that kept the hair out of my face. I gazed past the camera at some long forgotten person. Their presence brought a smile to my face and my mother, seizing the moment, snapped the picture. Ever since I could remember, that picture hung on our fridge. My mother wanted it on display constantly, pointing it out proudly to guests and to boyfriends. Olivia opened the door and my face disappeared. The gallon of milk was too heavy for her to pour on her own. My hand grew cold at the touch of the handle, I was glad to let it go when her cup was again ﬁlled. Carrying it back to the fridge, I was once again confronted with my own face, so sweet and so happy. Thrusting the refrigerator door open, I couldn’t seem to put the milk away fast enough. By the time I turned around with a chill, the rest of the cookie was in Olivia’s mouth, and she was gulping down the glass of milk. Chloe was climbing back onto her chair, making little grunts as she got comfortable. As I stood, with my back to the fridge, I watched as my mother swiped away cookie crumbs that fell from Olivia’s mouth onto the table. Prostrated on our kitchen ﬂoor, his body remained exactly where it had fallen, none of us attempted to move it. My father, whose presence used to take up the entire room, now seemed no bigger than one of the cookie crumbs falling from Olivia’s mouth. “Daddy’s home!” they would shriek in unison, and I would hear the pounding of their little feet on the carpet and down the stairs until they were in his arms, holding some shiny, new toy. And just like that, the house became smaller, and there was less air to breathe, and less space to move. He would leave his work clothes strewn all over the house, which were almost always immediately removed, and not replaced. By the time he made it upstairs to press his hard, ﬂat kiss on my mother’s lips, his smell had pervaded my nostrils, and the entire house. Waiting until he moved out from in front of the staircase, I would descend the stairs, retreating to the comfort of my room that smelled only of me. Through the ceiling, I could hear his footsteps as he stomped heavily from one foot to the other, waddling from the toilet, to the couch, to the dinner table, and back to the couch. The couch my mother slept on at night, soft and pliable, just big enough for her to forget it was in fact, a couch. “Chlo-eee,” Olivia whined through gritted teeth, “Hurry up and eat.” Reaching for her lunch, she stopped abruptly and put her hands to her eyes and began to say, “Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name . . .” Reciting those ancient words, her lips seemed too little to keep up with her memory as they moved
frantically, blindly spitting out the prayer imprinted on her mind, “ . . . forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us . . .” My mom had dropped the dirty rag on the ﬂoor before Chloe was able to get out the last line, and walked past the dead body and out of the kitchen. “Come on,” Olivia dragged out in a loud exaggerated sigh. “I am, I am. Just don’t leave without me,” pushing the mouthful of bread into the side of her cheek, she struggled to say, “K, Olivia?” “K.” She stared at the disappearing sandwich, with each bite Chloe took she edged further and further oﬀ her chair until she jumped oﬀ, her legs ready to run before she even met the ground. Shoving their feet into their shoes, they were out the front door and in the sunshine before I woke up in the dark of my room, with my father sleeping just above me.
Obituary KELLY STONEBOCK
I couldn’t write in pen that day. The weather had turned and I watched the light retreat from my cold glass. I couldn’t bring myself to use ink. We only ever walked in circles and she never spoke directly to me. I tried to give clarity to the image in my mind, visualizing the delicate branches snapping under the weight of the car. Surely they knew her well because she ran there often above their shadowed veins. They heard her smash soles into the pavement. So they knew her and yet allowed her to shatter them. Maybe because they did not believe in safety nets. I watched as her face on the yellowed clipping faded fast.
Dead Air BRADLEY SIMMONS
Grandpa farted at the dinner table and we all ignored it. He died the next day, and that wasn’t funny either.
Obituaries 12 MONTAGE
Raymond Waldhal, 25: Longtime Suﬀerer of Fateor Paruresis BEN SANDS Raymond Waldhal, born in 1981 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was a man much like any other, or would have been, if not for one factor: his crippling lifetime struggle with Fateor Paruresis. Paruresis, commonly known as “bashful bladder,” is a familiar psychological syndrome wherein the victim cannot pee if being watched. Fateor Paruresis (“fateor” is Latin for reverse) is just the opposite. Raised by his maternal grandmother Fran Mechling in nearby Holland, Michigan, Waldhal’s problem became apparent only at age three, when Mechling ﬁnally realized that his need for her presence during potty training would not subside. Doctors at the Grand Rapids Institute for Mental Health were unable to cure Waldhal, and his grandmother was forced to watch the boy several times a day up until her death in 1998. This was usually done, Waldhal later recalled, through a window installed between the bathroom and master bedroom so that the ailing Mechling could stay in bed. Cast out into the world, Waldhal found a home in Wormwood Hall at the University of Ohio, where he found that he could simply piss at a urinal with little trouble. However, when nobody was around, Waldhal would have to simply wait for a student to enter, then unzip his ﬂy as if he had just arrived a moment earlier. In the middle of the night, Waldhal would shout, letting it echo down the tiled halls until somebody came to help. Seemingly casual as he emptied his bladder into the urinal, Waldhal would say he had heard nothing at all. Although he stayed in a dorm all four years in college, Waldhal inevitably graduated and moved to an apartment in Washington, D.C. and got a job as an investment banker. But under this veneer of prosperity Waldhal’s life was seeping into the gutter. First Waldhal would use the bathroom in the building’s lobby, but this proved time-
consuming. Next he would use the alley behind the building, just in sight of the street he lived on, Helms. However they rarely looked of their own accord and, so Waldhal had to try more desperate measures. He would run into crowded intersections wearing a ski mask and then pee, quickly, in the road, but he found himself traveling further and further from his home in order to avoid ultimate capture and arrest. Next he would hire prostitutes to stand in his bathroom and watch him go. The strain on his wallet as he adjusted to big city living was a serious one, and to compensate he began drinking less and less to prolong the gap between evacuations. Finally he purchased a web cam and set up a website, known as Pete’s Pisshole, where he would record himself urinating for the enjoyment of deviant internet fetishists. By studying the traﬃc read-out he could pee as soon as somebody was watching, and the money from advertisements was staggering. Waldhal began abusing diarrhetics and drinking gallons and gallons of water a day in order to please his fans, his only means at normalcy. But the money came rolling in, more and more, and Waldhal was able to send for a mail-order bride from Russia, named Olga Petrenov. The two were married in July of 2003. For whatever reason Petrenov consented to her new husband’s needs, and the two were very happy, said Waldhal in letters to his friends. Sadly tragedy struck last Wednesday when, on vacation, Waldhal apparently lost control of the yacht he and Petrenov had recently purchased and was marooned on a desert island; Petrenov was lost at sea. Without so much as a simple ape to observe him, Waldhal’s bladder soon ruptured, and he died on the 7th, doctors said. Waldhal has no immediate survivors save his cocker spaniel, Shamu. MONTAGE 13
Why are the stones of slain soldiers lined so neatly lined in procession, Succession, Strings ﬁles and Queue? Why are their bones hidden from view? Why do their graves glister and glint like the sun’s own rings, Brandishing bright loops and hoops The way that they do?
Lies in neat rows AARON GEIGER
Why don’t the monuments and monoliths lie scattered and jumbled Tattered and humbled Chips of rock Slivers and splinters Shavings and ﬂakes Piled upon one another Sisters and brothers and weeping mothers Shaking with aches and truths? Why don’t the headstones and memorials utter and declare Stutter and beware The children that come to view them? The plots should speak, be true, Reveal, clear the air, Publicize, circulate, disseminate and dare! Some stones should be bloody, muddy, and drowning in drink Some stones should be missing, the bodies Deep in the muck and mire Or burned in ﬁre And shattered with shot, pocked and marked Or lost in a blink Why are the stones of slain soldiers so white and clean, Groomed and bright, Kept, clear and crisp? Why does their sight hold dear While families have wept, gleaned tears, And still bite their lips? It is right to salute, celebrate, and use praise For the honor of the ﬁght But what meaning do we lose, what secret stays When a grave remains wholesome and white?
I. Trains carry tons upon tons Over miles, like the hands of God.
Relativity MIKE CLARK
II. A boy sets each track piece Meticulously around the Christmas tree. He catches his round, red reﬂection In the spherical orb hung on the lowest branch And yells, “All aboard!” III. One train leaves Chicago at 60 miles Per hour. Another leaves San Francisco Simultaneously at 80 miles per hour. When will they collide Killing all passengers aboard? IV. Train bound for home, or at least Where the heart is, or at least Where it will be, or at least Where it wants to be, at least Someday. V. Tracks are set for trains, Tracks are set for men. Occasionally both are derailed. VI. Drivers backed up for miles. For a moment they abandon their seats, Stand outside, elbows resting on an open Car door, thankful without knowing why. VII. If a train is moving at light Speed and a man in car Number Four shines A ﬂashlight, the light will be moving At the same speed for him as the pedestrian Who was struck by the train. It’s all relative.
The Criminal JENNY CHRISTIE When they ﬁnd me, I may very well be dead. I was pouring a bowl of cereal in the kitchen, watching the empty space being ﬁlled by the artiﬁcial colors, thinking of the nothing in particular, maybe not even watching, but simply staring into space. Whether there were cereal pieces there or not, it remained an empty space in my mind. The bowl was small and made out of blue glass, and somehow I must have overestimated the size of space open in the bowl. One moment my eyes were open, uncomplicated by whatever was happening around me, the next, within a blink, there was cereal all over the counter, somehow all the way to the stove. It was a ﬂood of rainbow rice. The garbage was right there. I saw it in fuller view than my peripheral. I know I stared straight at it, as I continued to empty out the box into the kitchen, positioning my wrist at the angle to pour, willing to pour forever. But eventually the box did become empty and I realized that the shower I had been listening to, though unaware it was there until it ended, was gone. An empty old box, ready to be garbage itself, an empty space, but I did not throw it out. I set the box down carefully so that I could wrap both hands around the blue bowl. I lifted the bowl above my head, almost like this moment was premeditated, but it was not, I can assure you. I lifted the bowl and I hurled it to the ﬂoor. Me? I’m a very happy woman. I live a very cozy life. I’m a mother and a sister and an aunt and a wife and all these millstones pack me in. It’s a warm place to be. I love the fair weather. There’s really not much to say about it. The glass shattered and I must have jumped about a foot in the air in my bare feet. The sun shone lucidly through the kitchen window’s lacy shades, and the bowl pieces ﬁreworked their way back up into the air after exploding upon the kitchen tiles, and when the rays caught the slivers of translucent blue and multicolored children’s cereal, my breath choked me in my chest. My heart was eaten by my belly. It stayed there, beating like a bomb against my guts. I’m sure of this because I heard the tick in my brain as I walked across the colorful mess, directly over the toothy ragged pieces, feeling the bottoms of my feet break open, to the telephone on the wall. I dialed my husband Jim to tell him to come home from work. —I’m bored. I feel awful. I wanted his pity immediately. —Jill, listen, I have a lot of work to do here. You know the oﬃce. It’s crazy the amount of secretary work a clerk gets these days . . . Yes, I know that you are always at home by yourself . . . Yes, I know, but . . . well, Emi has to go to school, she can’t be a 16 MONTAGE
baby forever. No, no, no, don’t bother. You know how much I enjoy picking her up. You just stay right where you are, I don’t want you to go through all the trouble of the terrible traﬃc, my God!, if you knew the traﬃc these days. Just awful, awful . . . I miss you t—, yes I love you . . . well, I don’t know. Make a cake. Or clean the bathroom sinks, I walked in there today and a red rim of bacteria . . . mmmhmmm. Alright. Bye-bye. … Nothing about my idea was supposed to be beautiful; it’d started out with a mess anyway. I was inside an indoor fort by the time Emi and Jim came home from school and work. It must have been around 5 o’clock when I heard the door open, and the two bustled in. This is when Jim picks Emi up from after-school care and they zoom home for dinner, which I make, sometimes so intricate that it takes all day long and the grease won’t come out of my ﬁngers for hours and everything I touch leaves a tangible print of myself, like incriminating evidence of something invisible inside my body. But instead of doing any of that I’d made a fort in the living room out of the couch, kitchen chairs, the coﬀee table, and spare sheets and comforters from the linen closet. Inside I mounted more blankets on top of cushions from the couch and I had stacked books and paper and pens and pencils and a water bottle. It was like a pie, where I ﬁlled in the space within the crusty layers of ﬂaking debris from around the house. I was preserving myself. —What the . . . I heard Jim say when he entered the living room. Are you serious? —What is it? Emi asked. —Jill, are you in there? —I’m here. —This seems a little oﬀ, Jim stated. —Well, I said, I had nothing else to do today. I tried to invite you. You refused. —This is inexplicable. This is crazy. What kind of a joker are you? What are we going to do about dinner? —Oh, you know. —What’s Momma doing in there? —Take Emi out to eat tonight. Me?, oh, I’m not hungry at all. No one had really asked me if I was hungry or not, but I took the liberty of implying that they had implied somehow in their lack of implying. —Now, come on. —Toodaloo. —Jesus, Jill. Let Emi in at least.
Sarah Gorr In Bruges —Emi, you can’t come in here. Emi had started raising the skirt up from one side of the homemade fort. I didn’t panic, although my instinct for some reason was to reach over and slap her hand away. No, I didn’t panic, but I said loudly, Take yourselves out to dinner. I heard Jim walk towards the kitchen and then shout when he found the mess, no doubt alarmed even more so by the footprintblood dried to the tile. I crossed my arms over my chest. I wanted to say something more; something abhorrent, appalling, atrocious, awful, bad, beastly, desperate, disastrous, disturbing, gruesome, hideous, horrible, loathsome, oﬀensive, odious, rotten, shocking, unpleasant, unwelcoming, unnerving, vile, but kept quiet. None of it was pretty, or nice; least of all was it beautiful. … I heard the two of them, my family, return in the evening, coming through the door, entering the foyer, chattering and clickclacking their feet on wooden boards and tiled ﬂoors, entering the living room, and leaving the living room, like the living room wasn’t a living room at all, but a tomb. A room for the unliving. God knows what they said about me during dinner. I didn’t even want to think about it. I had read in the fading sunlight through the translucent sheets of the bedspreads various books of Emi’s that I had read to her for bedtime stories. I never made any bedtime stories up, like some mothers, though I want to write intricate plots out on an old
notebook’s tattered papers, receipts, napkins, used paper grocery bags, anything that speaks to my desolation. But I never do it, because it’s trash, all of it. I’ve gotten far too good at keeping things clean to be meddling with recycled bits and pieces of the nothings in particular. By the time they returned the sun had disappeared and it was dark out, and I snuck out of the fort before they got back to steal a ﬂashlight. I say steal because that’s what it felt like, that I did not belong outside the sheets. I stole a jar of peanut butter, too, though I had no desire for any. As I heard them come in, happy as ever, like nothing was diﬀerent, I became furious. I’d made enemies in my mind, but who was the real villain? Was it me? Or was it them? I opened my notebook and clicked on the ﬂashlight as they disappeared to diﬀerent corners of the house, merry, merry, merry. Dear Jim, I wrote. I am going to kill you. I paused. I am going to cut you up and hide you in a forest. I paused again. I erased forest and then changed it to magical forest. It looked like this: Dear Jim, I am going to kill you. I am going to cut you up and hide you in a magical forest. MONTAGE 17
It seemed like there was a lot more to add. I know that you are a good father and a good worker. You take extreme care of your facial hair, and I can tell you care the right amount about appearances. This was very true. But sometimes I feel like shaving stripes through the hair into your cheeks and maybe shaving your eyebrows oﬀ completely. Mostly when you are asleep in the middle of the night, as you are an extremely heavy sleeper. Though it could be worse; you are not a heavy drinker. I’d never thought about these things speciﬁcally before, but it felt a long time coming for the latent desires to unwrap their terrible ﬁngers from around my brain. Throat? Lungs? Heart? Everywhere. These were terrible, terrible ﬁngers, using my own as a vessel. But I couldn’t say Don’t shoot the messenger because it would be too confusing for Jim to understand such a thing. I continued. You have impeccable timing and good taste in home appliances. I enjoy the vacuum cleaner that you picked out for my birthday. It is a favorite pastime of mine to vacuum now, and all because of you. I could look at the dust and ﬁlth in the clear plastic receptacle that collects this house’s invisible messes for hours. And sometimes, I do. I paused again, because another wave of horribleness was coming up my gut. Or my spine. They were indecipherable. But all in all, I would love to chop you. Chop until I drop. And I’d roll your little bits through the dust in the back yard under the big tree back there that Emi likes so much so that you wouldn’t drip as I transported your divided remains to the earth somewhere not so far away from this town. I’d strip down your parts to nothing but your bare bones under a yellowing moon and I’d pour bleach down the ribs and up the spine and through the skull and out your nose until you glistened like pearly gates. And then I’d bury you and let you suﬀocate in dirt. I twitched; my ﬁngers spasmed over the letter. I knew that I had bleached the sheets that made up the walls and roof and ﬂoor of the fort only two days ago, that I had used up the last of the bleach on the fabric, for sheets we never even used; that I had been meaning to buy more bleach at the store the next time I went grocery shopping, or the next time something needed to be bleached, whichever came ﬁrst. Probably the latter, since I often found myself bleaching items around the house, making our cozy world as white as I possibly could while no one was looking, as white as a ghost, going from room to room searching desperately for things to make whiter. But I’d never made it to the grocery store. We were out of bleach, completely out, and I violently rewound the scene I’d just created on the page, watching the bones unearth themselves, grow ﬂesh and dripping blood, ﬂoat backwards out of a patch of enigmatic woods that glowed with ﬁreﬂies in the night, up through the back roads, up a highway, through a streetlight, and into the neighborhood. They came back to the house like a disembodied disjointed phantom, releasing the dust and tossing it back into the ground under the tree in the backyard, through the back door and into the kitchen re-shattering themselves out into broken bowl glass and blue, red, purple, green, yellow, and orange cereal pieces, sugar
coated and bloody. I crumpled up the page and threw it outside of the fort. On a new page I wrote Suicide Fort: Suicide Note: Attempt Number One? Hello all. This is me, Jill, attempting suicide for the ﬁrst time. The fort is my ﬁrst stab at it, pun intended? I don’t know. As you’ll note, the cocoon-like web of sheets signiﬁes my suﬀocation and utter lack of vision for a hopeful future where beautiful and bright things await me. The best view I have from here comes from the murky streaks of sunlight that ﬁlter through the machine woven fabric. This mode of light is extremely low based on the high thread count of the over-priced bedspreads. I have a daughter, Emi, whom I love, though barely know. I have a husband, Jim. I know that we love the same smells, and textures of animal furs. We have almost exactly identical taste in pillow softness and we both hate cold climates. Also, we both agree that lemon trees would be beneﬁcial for suburban neighborhoods. But what kind of people do we want to be? Beyond these similarities, what do we stand for? How to we stand one another? No one stands in this fort. I’ve purposefully made the roof too short. This is some sort of metaphor, I am sure. All in all, I would like to say Goodbye, in one way or another. In the morning the fort will be dismantled, the sheets folded neatly, the chairs put back in the kitchen at the table, the books back on the bookshelf, the peanut butter back in the cabinet, the ﬂashlight back in the drawer under the stove. Everything will seem normal, but things will be diﬀerent at some miniscule level, like breath blowing on seawater, and eventually it will grow into something. I don’t know what yet. Maybe the air will be more soothing. Who knows? This is only my ﬁrst attempt at dying. The End. I climbed out of the crime scene and began picking apart the diﬀerent pieces. If I did die tonight, what would they ﬁgure out about me? Would the clues lead up to the facts? Would they dissemble the house, turn this place upside down and shake it out? What would they ﬁnd, the investigators and the policemen? The ﬁnger and footprints, the vacuum contents, the receipts that pile up in the garbage after each trip to the store; would it even matter? All they would ﬁnd are leftovers, in the fridge, on the ﬂoor, on the notebook paper that says I want to kill my husband, whom I love in-between lines. In-between sheets and chairs and notebook lines. That is where I am, decriminalizing my traces and incriminating the evidence with every barefoot step I take.
The Man in the Shell PAMELA GLOSSON
You wanna know why I work at this ‘ere Shell station? Jes’ you lissen, I’ll tell you why. When I was twelve, I built a fort in m’backyard. It was just this big ol’ hole in the cornﬁeld made by one of them tractors getn’ stuck years back. It was pretty sizeable—prolly at least six feet deep and six feet wide—an’ I’d cover it up with a blanket and go down there with a ﬂashlight and read comic books for hours. But then, see, there was this guy, ol’ Mr. Willis, who lived down the road from us ’cross from th’church. ’Course, anybody seems old when you’re twelve. He had a ﬁre in his backyard one day that changed ever’thin in my lil’ young life. Everybody knew his wife was upset about him havin’ so many dirty magazines. Matter o’ fact, I’d heard my ma tellin’ my dad about it. His wife musta ﬁnally had it, ’cause one afternoon in October my buddy Spaz comes over and say he was ridin’ his bike past the Willis’ and the old man was carryin’ out stacks of them magazines . . . stacks as tall as we were! . . . out to the corner of their property, prolly gonna burn ’em. We ran t’git a couple other friends from the neighborhood and alls us peered over his backyard fence and watched him pour gasoline over the whole stack and set a match to it. Then he went inside. But what he din’ realize . . . or maybe, maybe that sneaky ol’ bastard did know it . . . know that thick stacks o’ paper, ’specially glossy paper like that, don’t burn. Even if you douse it with gas like that. We boys ran to put them ﬂames out. Din’ take much . . . jussa lil’ bit o’ good stompin’ did the trick. Ha! I bet ol’ Willis watched us from his window! Musta looked like a buncha howlin’ Indians ’round that ﬁre, we did. So, from then on, down in my fort, I got m’ﬂashlight an’ a girly magazine with burnt edges, covered in gasoline. Yep, that couldn’a been safe at all. But ever since, the smell o’ gasoline turns me on.
CHIP ALLEN was born in November.
BROOKE BARCELLA grew up with the nickname Roseanne. As in Barr. She would like to have a onenight, no a one-week stand with T.S. Eliot. And at the age of twelve she checked the mail compulsively, waiting for her acceptance letter to Hogwarts. Needless to say, it never came, so she came here instead and will graduate in May.
FREDIQUE BAUTISTA SARAH CASON is a was born outside of the sophomore Rhetoric major state of stress, outside of the and a member of the states, and was raised by a Montage poetry editing combination of Jazz, Salsa, staﬀ. When she isn’t busy Blues, Merengue, etc . . . . writing at her desk, she Until meeting up with Hip likes to challenge people Hop. Although deﬁnitely to Saved by the Bell trivia not a purist when it comes wars, go to concerts, and to Hip Hop, Fredique is dazzle the world with her bothered by the new state sarcasm. “How vain it is to of Hip Hop that is not conscious, lyrical, or original sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” in any way. —Thoreau
JENNY CHRISTIE is an adamant lover of ﬁne cheese, ﬁne felines, and ﬁne literature. She hopes one day to write some damn ﬁne stories. This one will just have to do for now.
MAGGIE DAY is a MIKE CLARK is freshman in Art and Design currently a junior at U of working towards a Photo I and is looking forward major and maybe a minor to ﬁnishing his useless in Drawing or Painting! English major and never She loves fall, pearls, and having to write a paper you’ll never see her with again. He enjoys reading the same hair color twice. novels, writing poetry, Playing around with new swimming, Wikipedia-ing, mediums and supplies is an bowling, watching shows addiction, as are doodling about ghosts, and using the Microsoft Word Thesaurus. He would like to thank his and brainstorming. Gardens, people, and textures are parents whose support, though thoroughly misguided, important sources of inspiration for her. is greatly appreciated.
PAUL GAMO is a senior in the Painting/ Sculpture program, who is also pursuing degrees in Graphic Design and Nursing. Thrust into the art world his last year of high school, he creates work that struggles with the idea of identity and isolation.
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SUBMIT Prose Poetry Art If you are interested in contacting us or submitting your work email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org You can also reach us at our website which has more information about us, past zines, and current news: http://www.uiuc.edu/ro/montage
If you enjoyed this issue and would like to help the journal continue its important work in recognizing up-and-coming literary and visual artists, we encourage you to write a check out to “Montage” and send to:
Montage Literary Arts Journal University of Illinois Department of English 608 South Wright Street Urbana, IL 61801
AARON GEIGER was, PAMELA GLOSSON like, so Gonzo a few years is a duck, and a senior in ago, and now lives it up English, Creative Writing, only in writing or creative and Psychology. Her ideal media. He enjoys the hell day would spent biking out of Americana noir, and painting outside and and lets other people make perhaps eating a blackbean mistakes so he can write burger at some point. She about them and avoid loves the unanswerables. thinking about his own. Before she dies she wants to He would rather listen than to climb Mt. Kilamanjaro, talk, and not suﬀer foolishness any more on his own write a novel, and think like Borges. dinosaurs. And robots. behalf.
SARAH GORR is a senior English major and Cinema Studies minor with hopes of publishing in the future. One of her favorite artists in any media is Miranda July and she encourages you to love her and yourself by going to learningtoloveyoumore.com. Sarah also really, really likes
KEVIN HSIA is a sophomore in LAS trying his hand at English. He is a simple man with otherworldly tastes. He is everything you see, but not everything you believe to be. He is an awkward machine. Clean. Basics. Life. He is present! He is aware! He thinks everything related to stars, galaxies, nebulas, universes, and stuﬀ of impending doom is so cool.
AMY LIPMAN likes words. She plans on using even more of them in the future.
MADALYN MEYER is from Palatine, IL and is a senior majoring in Painting and Art Education at UIUC. She’s been going on a crazy latex and ﬂeece binge, and enjoys, costuming, primitive creatures, tentacles, and soft, huggable things. She gets way too attached to the cuddly monsters she makes. The art studio is her second home.
BEN SANDS is a ne’erdo-well of mysterious origins and purpose. He is a student of the human mind and has a casual interest in mesmerism. It is a little-known but welldocumented fact that, beneath his special-order contacts his eyes are all black, like those of a shark or small-claims court lawyer. When he grows up, he would like to be a cyborg.
BRADLEY SIMMONS grew up in Champaign and lives in Urbana. He wants to move. After four years of college, he has learned that early to bed, and early to rise, makes a motherfucker rich, well rested, and capable of achieving incredible power levels.
KELLY STONEBOCK is a senior in Advertising from Peoria, IL. She has been covertly writing poetry for a while now and is excited to ﬁnally take her writing public. Kelly would like to thank her family, roommates, Matt Minicucci and the rest of CW 106 Sec D for all of the encouragement this semester.
THANKS and Gratitude We would like to thank all those who donated funds to Montage. Without the help of these individuals, this journal would not exist. We are honored to be indebted to:
Richard Powers • Creative Writing Department • Student Organization Resource Fee • Jane & Dennis Brandt • Claire Billing
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