Page 1

Spring of 2011

Poetry & Short Stories Jessica Andrade,

5, 13, 30

Ryan Brown,


Troy Manning,

Joey Belloise,


Carlissa Moffett,

Jermane Cooper,


Alex Enrique Montoya,

Karla Cordero,

24, 34

Lexi Pollard,

Nicole G. Corrigan,

16, 18

Rachel Ribaudo,

Arianne Cruz, Trizie Gonnzalez, Chad Hoogervorst,


Nancy Rossignol,


Jemil Sadangsal,

12, 17, 24 1

Joyce Jacobo,

4, 30

Brian Mann,

22 3 2, 12, 29 6 12 5, 13, 19 7, 16 3, 23, 28

Amy Salisbury, Jeff Schoneman,

29 31

Jenna Jauregui,


Jane Sim,

Kyle Johnson,


Evan Smith,


James Jones,


Jacob Thum,


David L端tke,

2, 3, 18


Brandon Youngdale,

Artwork & Photography Tiffany Balucanag Philip Mykel Flores Morgan Hall Alexander Hoang Jenna Jauregui Kim Jeffrey


Gladys Jimenez


14, 15, 33

Adam Olalde


15, 20, 21, 26

Faith Orcino


Lexi Pollard


Nancy Rossignol


26 8 20

Amy Salisbury

3, 14, 15, 26, 33

I am a drawing. I can peer out at you through the ink letters. Can you see me? Can you see the young girl with skin fair as buttermilk, wrapped in a comforter decorated by sakura blooms? This morning I heard Fuji-san tremble,

and I live in Los Angeles.

No. I do not come from Japanese roots. But I know tragedy—the heart-rending images flashing across a television screen, or just down the street. These are the moments I send gazes heaven-bound to make sure light still shines down upon us. War. Earthquakes. Paranoia. Sadness. If these things could bury us in darkness, the sun, moon, and stars would disappear into the void. We should then see nothing but what lies at our feet. Yet all these sources continue to illuminate our world as always, revealing what we have never lost even when the earth moved— People. There are still people who feel for us Who reach out for us Who remind us we exist And as long as we exist There is no disaster able to truly shatter our spirits These are the words written along my arms, creeping towards my face. I draw so you can see me. I draw to send comfort When I am at a loss For words To heal the wounds Time and love must seal. Can you see me?

While patrolling the outskirts of a foreign land, We baked like worms trapped above the sand. Always on guard, never sloping, Sleeping with one eye open. The creak of wood or crash of stone, Would sober any thoughts of home. My enemy shakes my hand, and offers me a coke, and wears his deception , like a cloak. In the trunk of every car Or trash bag in the street, A Shell is wired to explode, underneath my feet. They are here now, in this grocery store in Ohio. Inside the frozen meat, Their devastating blow to greet.

this sunday is heavy dust and sunlight rest on the blinds and a girl yawns in the street more thinking will be done

some days we never leave the bed young bloods young cardinals new england sounds good to me at the age of twelve i turned pro at breathing and we’re jumping sets of stairs days like this don’t come back they stay in photographs and suburban sidewalk chalk drawings and the orange scent on our hands ugly couches are perfect for sleeping on we share pillows and wake up with floral prints on our faces


She’s a perfect size 6 thick in all the right places Her honey- brown eyes keep you mesmerized Her long jet- black hair sways as she moves her hips to the beat of your heart Her lips are soft as rose petals, and though her hands look like they are no stranger to hard work, they feel soft and hold the power to soothe you with just one touch. You can’t help but stare and start to imagine the things you could do with her petite frame Pick her up; twist her like a pretzel… You can hardly contain yourself as in between your legs you feel a cocked gun aimed and ready to fire. She walks towards you and you manage to blurt out a Hello! She waves as she smiles a perfect smile She walks past you in a perfect stride as though she is ready to take on the world. You and you wish you could have stopped her and start to imagine the things you would have said. Then you realize that such perfection wouldn’t mesh well with all of your imperfections. So, She’ll keep walking… And one day She will realize that her perfection… Is her only flaw

a marching band is blocking the intersection like a red blood clot polished trumpets and trombones redirecting sunlight into the atmosphere 74 feet (in shiny boots), standing still a silent island middle-aged people in cars nervous break lights among curious pedestrians my heart is beating so loud i can‘t even hear it.

I’m remembering a sunny morning in early February sitting across from a beautiful man, my image reflected in his lenses and his bouncing off mine, mirroring love and trees and grass, natural things I wanted to remember, and I do remember every facet of that strangely hot morning after a strangely cool night.


I had gotten in my car and headed out of the city. I was headed to a quiet little town thirty miles away or so. I left the music off, preferring to let my ears hear the increasing quietness. The day before, I had met up with the employers to get the plan: when, where, who. This one was a different type of job though. I’d never been given the orders for a woman before. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. But it was work. Anyhow, I pulled up to a tall hedge and saw a light on in the house I’d been directed to. Sitting in the car and peering through the windshield, I looked in the windows for a couple of minutes, seeing nothing. Then I saw the woman walk by one of the windows. My heart jumped. This woman, her name was Tina, she looked exactly like Patricia, my wife who’d passed away a few years back. Cancer. Sitting in the car, I don’t know why, but I started to get a little nervous. Reaching for my tools, my hands were shaking slightly as I got my gun from the back seat and attached the silencer. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. I opened them. But my hands still didn’t feel as steady as usual. I wasn’t quite ready. These thoughts of Patricia were running through my mind. We married two years after meeting for the first time. Patricia surpassed the doctors’ expectations, lasting six years after being diagnosed. All told, it had been eleven blissful years of marriage. I’d been on my own for four years and for the last three, I’ve done this kind of work. I thought back to how I had gotten into this line of work, a group of shady characters Patricia’s father knew. Morally abhorrent work was who I had become. Which got me to thinking of the present, Why the hesitation? I’ve got nothing to lose. I relaxed for a minute. The right frame of mind had set in. I got out of the car, tucked the gun in my jacket, and started for the house. The brick layered path led straight to the front door, but I wasn’t going to go that route unless I had to. I spotted a little metal gate on one side of the house. Perfect. I started off the brick path toward the grass and was only a few steps away from the gate when this lady Tina suddenly looked out the front window at me. I stood still and managed a weak nod. Before I knew it, she’d opened the front door. “Can I help you?” she asked, a bit wary. She’d opened the front door real wide. I just blurted out my real name. “Hi, my name is Alan Scott. I work with your husband. My cell died so I thought I’d stop over to tell him some stuff the company wanted done.” She responded kindly “Oh, okay. I’m Tina Feinstein, as you might already know.” She held out her hand. I shook it. “Jim’s meeting a client at the Country Club right now so if you just leave me your number or I can just relay a message to him…” “Well, my phone is dead and I have to drive a ways to get home. Would you mind if I just used your phone for a minute,” I said. “Sure, let me get it,” She said. She motioned for me to sit down at a chair a few steps from the front door on the porch. So I sat down and she went inside, leaving the front door open. I was thinking of something to say next when she continued talking. “So, Alan, have you gotten to ride in Jim’s new car. He can’t stop showing it off to people. He used to go on and on ‘I’m gonna get that black BMW one of these days.’ Well, I guess he finally did.” “No, I haven’t gotten the chance actually. We’ve just been slammed at work, no time to take it for a spin, I guess. But it shouldn’t be too bad after the next week or two. Sorry about coming by so late,” I said from my chair. “Oh it’s absolutely fine. I was just reading and going over our remodeling plans. They say women are supposed to love that stuff but I think it gets really dull after awhile.” I could hear her walking around. “I can’t seem to find the phone,” she called out. “Let me check the couch.” From my chair, I could see the entrance of the home past the front door. I looked around the walls and saw more pictures of this chick, Tina, and her husband, Jim. She looked exactly like my wife, I’m telling you, and I started thinking about what the husband, Jim, was going to think. What a shitty feeling. I felt for the guy. I looked at a picture of both of them and they looked happy. There were no children in their pictures and I tried to take some solace in that. This Tina lady, she was just at the wrong place at the wrong time and saw something she shouldn’t have. This is what I’ve been told, that she is a liability, a loose end that needs to be taken care of. So, I got up from my chair, looked in the door and she’s turned away, you know, moving pillows on the couch. It was the perfect time. Just do it already, I thought to myself. I had to do it then and there, before she knew what hit her. So, I pulled out my gun, aimed it at the back of her head, squeezed and the job was done. I felt relieved as I closed the front door. I closed it carefully with the gloves on and then walked toward my car. I got in, started the car up and headed back toward the city. I wanted to get the job out of my head. I had just gotten on the two-lane highway and was on the outskirts of this little town when a black BMW passed me, heading toward the town. I could feel my conscience creeping further into my thoughts. I sped up.


In his prime, he loved that element of suspense the feeling of being at the end of a rope risking his neck in a hangman’s noose the ups and downs, jerked around, guts all twisted wound up tight—That’s what he thrived on!— counting on one, a single digit with a wrist. Now, we deem him classic, vintage 1962, a Satellite, a purpose once around the world to thread our needles through his entrails to send him whirling, twirling, singing orbiting the universe, walking the dog rocking the baby, skinning the cat (not a favorite) and—Oh Yeah!—looping the loop and the lariat. He never did reach the moon but tried all the tricks of his trademark handed over Shine into my life handed down from a brother, to plastic molds of him Oh burning flame, and the one that bored him most, the long sleeper, Shine into my life he perfected in a box among Legos and toys But don’t burn my name, to a shelf with a kink in his lifeline now I’ve been waiting not slipping, just dangling and yellow. For the light And I’ve forgotten How to fight How to sing How to dance How to live Because I’ve been waiting For the light, Teach me how to love There are a million questions out there! Oh dancing flame, I am just sad I won’t be around long Teach me how to care, enough Teach me things to ask all of them. That I should know, But I am glad I have lived long enough I would wait to answer a few of them. for heaven’s gate, Only nine-hundred ninety-nine thouTeach me these things sand, Oh burning light nine-hundred ninety-seven left! Because life without these things I love you, Is a life not lived right. Goodnight, See you tomorrow, Dear.


Holding on so tight, Interlocked with strength and hope. Make-believing everything can’t be untangled. I keep what I want safe and locked up, So it can’t be taken away from my grip. Venturing outside my heart locker Means I cross boundaries and lines That aren’t quite established. Letting what scares me into the depths of my own ocean. Feeling like I am diving, blinded, into our ocean made up of individual drops of what I’m made of. I’m made of confidence. Caution. Passion. Love. And the ability to seal my emotions into an envelope nobody will see. I want to be like a caterpillar’s evolution into a butterfly, A quiet being transformed into something free and beautiful. Fluttering my wings where hurt can touch me, but make me stronger.

We are blamed for what we did not do Shamed for hurt we’ve not caused you Our regret has arrived long overdue For already ago out the flame we blew A flash of light marked our debut As the bullets crash into the Sioux With brash hearts of see through Turning all to ash without review Of this day we cannot eschew Only defray for what we did not do Hands weighed with the blood of glue Sprayed on white skin as a the clue.


My lips are sealed I must have thrown away the key The vibe isn’t right here None of you take time to see I feel like an outcast I feel like you all judge Put me aside Like a dirty rug How would you feel If I refuse to hear How would you think If I discriminate because I fear The way you all look at me Like I’m an alien from the sea Just because your skin looks different. That hurts and you don’t even care...

I think I’m in love…with my pillow. Don’t think if me wrong, just hear me out. She would, yes I said she because she’s as important to me as the wind beneath my wings But let me continue, she would wait for me patiently every night. She would lay down and take it, not in the way that you’re thinking but she would be there when I yell, bitch and cry. Even when my anguish grows outright I punch the walls and even her, and once I’ve realized what I’ve done, I immediately break down upon her and she lovingly, let’s me cry on her breast as if nothing ever happened. And other nights, she would lay down and take it, and it’s exactly what you’re thinking and I love her not because of that. I love her because she’s where I can rest from when my day becomes too much for me. She is my atlas that carries the weight of our worlds. She is my shoulder to cry on, my protection from my fears, the one I hold onto the hardest, the one I can whisper my secrets to, the one I can yell every regret into, the one who keeps me warm and you may think she’s perfect. There’s only one flaw: She isn’t you.


Artwork by Gladys Jimenez


Photograph by Jenna Jauregui

Photograph by Jenna Jauregui

Photograph by Amy Salisbury


Perhaps it is a bit cliché, but the common utterance of college being the best years of one’s life has proven to be non-existent in my own life. While sitting in my car at an unusually lengthy red light one recent afternoon, it had suddenly struck me that the last four years—three of which I spent at a community college—have been some of the least gratifying years of my adult life. And maybe this is because of that cliché utterance that I had, in comparison, not felt an experience such as that. It could also be the fact that by not immersing myself in a four-year university immediately, I was unable to share what is known as the “college experience.” That isn’t to exert any negative energy towards community college. In fact, I prefer that I spent a significantly less expensive tuition on a general education which also led to the epiphany that has become my degree pathway. But by spending three years in a community college that heavily resembled a high school setting with designated smoking areas, I was incapable of truly experiencing the college life you hear about so often. But what does that mean, the “college experience”? Is it excessive partying, alcohol and substance abuse, carefree sexual endeavors, and other reckless behaviors as an embossment on the whole pursuance of an education, reflected by the external validation that is a degree? That sounds about right. It’s incredibly likely that there are more aspects of it which also prove to be gratifying, but that could possibly be a worthy summation, as well as the whole “getting involved” aspect of joining clubs, attending school events, and so on and so forth. Maybe my not ever living on campus or its title as a commuter school have prevented me from having this college experience. Maybe I haven’t networked, for lack of a better word, with the right people to open the gateway to this experience. Maybe I haven’t allowed myself to be open to distractions due to my process of finally becoming motivated and subsequent buckling down to finish my education. Maybe I’m just making excuses. I can’t help but wonder what the “college experience” is as the phrase reverberates incessantly in my mind. If it includes the actual educating that goes on in the classroom—which I’m sure it does—then I believe yes, I’ve experienced that aspect of it. In fact, the classroom environment is something entirely stimulating, having now entered my upper-division education, leaving behind a lower-division education where interaction in the classroom is rarely an occurrence. It’s just that—while I am grateful for the education and experiences I’ve had here in the last two semesters—I can’t help but wonder if I would gain something more internally and personally rewarding at the University of Life. And who knows, maybe I’ll transfer there once I have graduated from here in order to potentially experience the best years of my life. In the meantime, however, I don’t want to let my last two semesters at this school go to waste. I don’t want to stay closed up in the classroom for the entirety of my last year. While I do intend to successfully finish my education here, I want something more abundant from my time spent here. I want to be able to share and even brag about my time in college, as something more than what was learned in the classroom. I want to meet people and share experiences that will change my life forever by having even the smallest impact on me. I don’t want to waste any more time, because even if it doesn’t go on my transcript, I believe that the satisfaction and impression of an experience is something that defines and runs far deeper in a person than what they learn in a classroom.


She takes you by the hand And shows you the way A way to a better life A way to a better place She’s changed you for the better And you wouldn’t be the same if you met her She’s been with you through the thick and the thin She will be with you until the very end God has blessed you with her love And blessed you with her grace But God has called her up Back to heaven’s embrace And you wonder why Why did she have to die? But you know she was more than a friend And more than a wife She was an angel at your side One day though, you’ll be by her side Holding her hand Like she held yours Because there is no goodbyes Only forever’s Recognize her by voice not by color Don’t judge because she is brown Nor assume things because she is female. No! She did not get pregnant at 16, instead She gave up that life to study in college Now she sits among the intelligence. Yes! She has brown hair but Don’t assume she is uneducated, instead Her power with words will change the world. She fights with language that inspires. Yes! she has brown eyes No! It does not mean she bows to a man, instead Her guidance restrains other women from domestic violence Yes! She is Latina but She is not a master of domestic duties, instead She is an expert of her life as a woman, A fighter, and Latina. So recognize her by voice, not by color.


The indistinguishable buzzing hum of superficial voices That pulsates like the beating heart of beehive Over bleary eyed backslaps and cackles. The air is thick with the smoke of cigarettes reduced to ash, Nostrils sting with the pungent acidic smell of amber alcohol. Glasses poised on lips, condensating between fingers. Past, present and future boiled down into anecdotal stories Tearing through the tongues of strangers seeking comfort in strange ears. The ageless faces congregate like shipwrecked survivors, Victims of chance or fate. Like schools of small fish or the massive roaming mammals of the sea These Homo sapiens return to their familiar nesting grounds In search of new mates. Love, an abstraction sold as a scarce commodity, Is mined in the action of want and desire, A fire in constant need of fuel. Can we ever find solace in the conscience of others when all things die alone? Can we ever shed the rotting fabric of the old world’s ways? No, there are only animals and their mating games.

And down we fall… Like a once polished star in the sky Gazed upon by the sleepless passerby T’was aluminous and bright Guided the wanders of the night But as all good things end The flame descends Like a match in the wind Burnt out, died thin Its glory fades, its faith is lost Within the night, without a cost Cries thy Lord, out He calls And down it falls…


Crumbled layers sped upon my tongue as I laid them into her rustic palm. Keys made to be swallowed went down with glee. Her outfit matching a poisonous piece of oak choked permanently. I came asking for a place in above the balcony, of

I think I like my new decorations. I have all of my favorite things. Playing pool, the beach, surfboards, boats, sun, horses, and Indian stuff. Pipes, and handmade wood things. Music boxes, flutes, wood hanging beads. All handmade. hawk feather peyote stitch striped curtains comfortable office seats. I like old barns, cemeteries and kind of hokey, gift shop, Indian plates. Only if they are special, like a gift from a neighbor when I was really sick -- so it means a lot. Like the handmade pipe by Larry with coyote tail wood with antler bowl never will stand up right on the stand my brother made. and the TV antenna always tilting never working. calendar and office lamp laptop wireless speakers speaker phone Victorian lampshade trees and people sitting in trees and cemeteries and statuaries in cemetery with grey clouds encumbering by pine trees. Wrought iron fences with vistas beyond of a little town in the mountains with a storm coming on, and redwoods with little people, in comparison. Shadows in Trees and tree houses with little bobble heads and bees exercise rubber bands with bursts of sun in the middle and green foliage beyond with fans to cool ya. Handmade plates all carved in Celtic design hats and bags and bean bag chairs blankets and pillows and paintings I’ve made. and fans to cool you. Divided by the big smokestack in the middle The Wall Furnace

my name, abby normal, ghost white skin, is bleached white from the sun, my clear blue eyes blotted with, white specks of dust, my freckles, perfect imperfections. -oranges and lemons, square or, rather oblong with dimples in between, or warts with extra baggage. -spoons, forks, and knives, bent, chipped, or dipped in wax bodies contoured just slightly enough to see; their ingenuity. -pennies, nickels, and dimes, crushed by railroad; bruised or damaged, with fingerprints, rainbows of color; a hint of personal use. -gummy bears, bottle tops, candy wrappers, some chewed, glued, bitten, mouse slobbered, nut covered in this rusty tin can lid. perfect imperfections, my freckles with white specks of dust, clear blue eyes blotted bleach white from the sun, my ghost white skin is my name…

The Dividing Line between My college diplomas and my hippie life and paintings I’ve made, places I’ve been friends I’ve had, and pets. And my grandparents I barely knew. And the box with Summersmoon


Artwork by Amy Salisbury


Photography by Philip Mykel Flores

Photography by Philip Mykel Flores

Artwork by Amy Salisbury

Photography by Morgan Hall


Where spring blooms in print, Autumn flutters and flirts. Where the breeze rustles flimsy fair-papered leaves, sparkling shapes dance against the contrast of the shade. Where countless minute-sized droplets fall to the pavement, asterisk stars blanket the rippled canvas of a river. Where lean buildings sprouted tall, the harvest moon sits low. Where an open field erases the boundaries of a lawn, tall wisps of grass sway and split open like the sea, and I am Moses.

Now, she caught my attention with a butterfly net because my heart was fluttering in her presence. Her smile let me know that there’s more to life than making history or making money because all I wanted was to change his story to our story and make love, not dimes. I thought to myself: maybe if I’m lucky, our eyes would lock and keys would rain from heaven but that would get me frantically looking at these jingling things and that doesn’t really make me a good guy, now does it. I hear that more girls like to drink and smoke, maybe I could get her a lighter with something of where she originates from, like a match made in China…na. Maybe a 40 oz. with love, commitment, and patience filled to the brim? Nah, I’ll end up being the mistakes like Drake and she’ll wake up the next morning with the same question I have right now, “Who are you?” I can hear her steps getting closer like a pin dropping on the record and when it hit my heart skipped and burst out of my chest like answering the question “Is she fine?” ... Oh yeahhh. She walks past my peripherals and walks out of my world since 5 seconds ago. Don’t look now, not now because you’re not ready to face what you’ve put behind you. Then, I can only imagine her looking back at me, smiling. Don’t look now…. and now.


Loss comes over a hill over an arm tucked with cotton balls dabbed with spite culled with a lemon’s yellow. He needed to calm down Colors tend to dissipate after you’ve seen them one hundred times, six times. A newness to inhaling, leads proud fathers wherever they will.

I look at you, and in your eyes I see me. What I’ve always seen. You see a Stain. Of darkness over me. The Stain you perceive In its deceptively deceiving nature Overwhelms you-fooling not your eye, But unveiling instead The hatred in your heart.

I can’t see your heart And I don’t need to. Your eyes betray That you are Stained. It shows only when you see mine; Unconsciously, the memories stir abandoned to the laws of those who came before or perhaps laws more personally defined. But definition is not necessary. My Stains are permanent, beyond mere Erasing-Yet time and deeds Can cure others. Lend me your time, Enough to prove My Stain is no brand. Allow my deeds to reveal Your Stain is unfounded.


sycamore (paul finds a purpose) his hands look like a boxer’s he nods and smiles ‚no life w/o scars’ everybody needs romance in a courtyard full of fallen chairs what separates us are the stains on our shirts and the meaning they hold to us. at half morning the newly discovered fear of god is sitting on the stairs next to a woman in purple and while the fog creeps into the city they converse about birthdays and hairdos of mutual friends.

Red and white glitter sprinkled upon gravel can be seen parting mountains just after sunsink set in stone never

I paved the lattice: rails and tracks. I have plowed and plucked the fields. I have witnessed treaty settle in the eyes of Guadalupe Hidalgo. I have laid my head, in a bungalow prison of “Gum San” hills. Found myself, unarmed in war, in the Pine Ridge of Lakota. I sailed the sea, for months, shackled feet for shoes. Still, I am the zephyr. I am metonymy: custom and convention, phonology, inflection, dialects, dictions, oratories and whispers of traditions. I am a constant: American.


but some think it clever to speak of the tar that fills lungs and tempts travel

For all of my disorders, incurable and weird but there are stranger things. To sleep with me is to know me to know how I want to be of things I want to say, only if I would. Insomnia for one sometimes, phases, conversations with myself, or nonexistent other. Gazing at the mercury light outside the bedroom window I asked, have you ever seen such a blue, oval iridescent moon? Your answer was yes. Then I fell back asleep and dreamt of country darkness. Before that night of sleepy wakefulness during a time of complete aloneness of restlessness, of weariness, I had a dream. One of those— they’re after me, can’t get out, the bathroom door is locked— kind of dreams. How I knew it was real, that I had walked: there on the carpet was a puddle, and I sopped as I thought not even my dogs would do this. But that one-time sleepwalk can’t compare to my constant scream talk since childhood, more mature now with such volume that even through walls my confession is heard —goddammmotherfuckinfuckingasshole— with emphasis on the hole. So, tonight I really want to know Why women don’t write about peeing in poetry? Is it because we do it too often, as often as done to us? Off and on, the other answer will most likely be That’s not the moon stupid! Just go back to sleep.


Photography by Kim Jeffrey

Photography by Morgan Hall

20 Photography by Lexi Pollard

Photography byLexi Pollard

Photography by Morgan Hall


Metonymy Smith felt a certain obligation to follow in his parents’ footsteps as a writer. His sister, Synecdoche, sensed no such onus whatsoever. She, in fact, felt wholeheartedly that it was her duty to put an end to the Smith family’s enduring legacy of verbal oppression. Synecdoche’s initial act of subterfuge was enrolling in cosmetology school. Within a week, however, she was taken aside by her instructor and reprimanded for her persistent silence. “A silent hairdresser will never do,” said her teacher. Dropping out of the school, Synecdoche considered going to a four-year college. But what majors required minimal contact with words? She considered becoming a music major with an emphasis in classical music, but figured that would entail some involvement with opera. She began a class in auto shop but quickly realized that, in this career, she would not only be sullied by coworkers’ colorful slang, but with coaxial cable grease to boot. With their parents out of town for the weekend, Metonymy, with much hesitation, approached his sister to enlist her help with editing his story for his high-school English class. To his surprise, she reluctantly assented to the task. He watched, in silent self-castigation, as a sickly pallor swept across Synecdoche’s face as she read. With a red felt-pen she began to make marks. Slowly, her pigmentation assumed more color. With each notation she made, it seemed, a distinct redness accrued to both page and face. Metonymy began wondering if his story was angering Synecdoche. As he continued to observe her, however, he detected a certain glee in her deliberation. Reaching the tale’s end, she looked up at him in an eerie crimson triumph. He looked at the paper she handed him, marveling that that much ink could be wrung from a vessel so small as a pen. Knowing her preoccupation of late with finding a suitable trade, he asked, “Have you considered becoming a butcher?” While the obliteration of words indeed seemed a reasonable direction to pursue for one with Synecdoche’s convictions, she understood that becoming an editor required substituting one word for still another as much as it did simply eliminating them. Though much damage could indeed be done in this field, she decided far more could be inflicted if she were to become a linguist. The bombardment with words Synecdoche experienced in the following years of university study was truly excruciating, but her determination proved adequate to the demands. She continued into graduate school and was assigned for her mentor a professor of linguistic analysis with deconstructionist commitments. He denied any objective correspondence between words and the things to which they refer. “Language,” he said, “is a closed system that ultimately refers only to itself. It is the prison in which we live.” Synecdoche could barely suppress her excitement at finding, in this cobelligerent soul, one who could affix a name to the oppression she had long felt— or at least a name on which they could agree to agree. Synecdoche’s parents, given her generally quiet disposition, were oblivious to any concerns with her chosen field of study. They were even delighted about it until she returned home for a visit between semesters. The explanation Synecdoche gave her mother when asked about the word “ear” tattooed on her nose failed to satisfy. Synecdoche told her that meaning was merely subjective and that the relationship between words and the things they signify wholly arbitrary. When, at the dinner table two days later, her father noticed the word “nostril” on her right eyelid, she was informed her visit was over. “Well, I have something to say and I am not going to be just another pretty face,” she replied. In the months following, Synecdoche continued to acquire tattoos of body-part words in unconventional locations. By the time of her graduation, no prominent feature survived unlabeled. Many university faculty members thought her a role model of progressive thinking, and she easily garnered the honor of valedictorian. She considered having her speech written on her body and reading it as it was projected on a screen, but saw there was no longer room enough on her skin to contain it. As Synecdoche scratched her nose while pondering a novel approach for her speech, she was startled at the feeling of an unusual growth. Tattoos were great but giving her graduation address with a colossal zit was clearly another matter. She felt her skin on her face tightening and went to the bathroom mirror to assess the damage. Synecdoche shrieked at the sight of the flesh of her nose as it discernibly mutated into an ear. Her once fair reflection was coming to resemble a portrait by Picasso. Tears streamed freely from her left eye while mucus oozed slowly from her right.


The sun dangled somewhere between Winter and spring White rays brightened hazy clouds Blurring the yawning sky My head in your blue-jeaned lap I squinted beneath the shining glare You kissed my sun-starved nose as We lay in the tall unmowed grass Cool, thick and green after heavy rain Savoring silence, we cast Billowing parachutes to capture Birdsong and hushed, dancing branches Wild turkeys tiptoed through dry, dead leaves Scraping shadows beneath weighted wings We sprang to our feet, raced across the yard Bare toes pressing soft dark soil and feathery blades Whooping loudly with arms spread, we chased the fowl Back to the other side of the gap-toothed fence That was the day purple weed blossoms Stuck in my untamed mane as we Frolicked like two frisky Foals set free from cold damp stables Tails snapping against the waning Like days you can’t put numbers to, Afternoon breeze carrying Or sounds you’ve wrung your eardrums Warm dandelion wishes through, Like faces few you thought you knew, Or stately titles in the queue; The unexciting sleep today, When touch and taste are torn away, When life and death are blank and weigh A heavy sigh. Exhale. Decay.


He knew to see the bluebird fly South for vacation, in the grape-fruit groves of dawn. He knew what it was to be the bath-water of sleep - the run-off of sun. He knew cantaloupes & cowboys. He knew true-blue happiness about half the time, Which was pretty good for any man.

He knew too much.

He knew the behavior of Earthworms, the growing habits of Dandelions, and Rome. He knew the eye of the needle masks, capt. Ahab like anger. He knew the cure for back pain is still, a mouth full of coarse sea. He knew to fall down just right into a field of bright Quaalude’s, that explode on the eyes, - of yesteryear.


The world is my sanctuary I am the architect Profile infinite Appearance undefined Divergent in structure Inconsistent in form Intensity in pigmentation Epidermis in every hue Florid of Silhouettes Glorify a higher power Innumerable deities Rituals of Adoration Bountiful Dialects Vernacular Gibberish Aesthetic Discourse Fusion of Masquerades Instrumental Brawling Choreography in Hymn Exotic in Nourishment Miscellaneous in Cuisine Conglomerate of Entrees Mastery of Picasso Dexterity in Creation Illustrations of Artistry Idiosyncratic Uniqueness Extraordinary The world is my playground I am the fabricator My name is Culture

Culture and Identity sit down. Culture puts his backpack, full of magazines, welltaken notes, organic energy bars, and standardized practice test books next to his seat. She pulls out a new Smart Water bottle out and takes a swig. He sits straight and confident, things are how they should be. Identity follows behind the chair, placing her bag, full of books, philosophy books and novels (who am I? And am I alone?), at the leg of the chair. He reaches for the plastic Kirkland water container that’s next to the squished peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Tipping the container upside down she finishes the last few drops left. He hunches a little in her chair, not from insecurity, but because he can’t see Culture’s eyes from underneath the lamp hanging from somewhere up there. She still can’t see them, the lights block his vision, so he sits back. Culture orders a Chai Latte, with fat free milk of course. Identity gets confused by the menu. Can I just get a coffee? Uh ok, do you want cream or anything? No, thank you. They begin to talk. About things, stuff, anything really. Culture has a lot to say; a lot to say. Well, this happened then. And that means this. This person said this. A new study showed this. Identity tries to participate, tries to understand. But why did that happen? What does that mean for you, for me? How is that important? What difference does that make? Culture answers the questions. Cool and fast. Answers that include more info. This is what’s important now. This is what people are doing. This is what is important… for now. Culture waves her arms. He’s excited, passionate, she’s got something to say! Identity looks at him, wondering how to be like her. I can’t, I just don’t fit. I’m not that smart, good, strong, whatever. Wait! Something Culture said reminded me of something I read! Ah ha! I do have something to say! Something does make sense. Something does matter. He reaches in her bag. Pass the sandwich. Oops, the Cheez-It®s are smashed. Oh well, found it! Some book with a weird drawing on it. Is that person naked? Identity tries to preface, tries to connect the book to their life. He says the writer’s name: Kah-lel Gi-bron. Culture ask where he’s from. What did he do? What race? What ethnicity? Is he a woman? Sexual orientation? I don’t know. But listen to this, she turns to the page with the folded edge. He read… so, what do you think? Pretty good, right? I feel like it’s important, meaningful—I like it. It made sense to me. It made me sense. Feel. Culture sits back. It doesn’t fit. Her conversation. His thoughts. Her world. Culture asks why it matters. What are you going to do with it? I’ll hold it. Hold it where? Identity shares. Culture says I’m sorry, that’s tough, good luck with that. Identity says thanks, refolds the edge, closes the book, and smashes the Cheez-It®s. They finish their drinks, and get up to leave. Culture puts on his Hollister sweater, fitted, slim. Identity puts on her old sweater from the Eighth Grade volleyball team, worn, comfortable. Culture leaves, confident the world will go on. Identity leaves, confident the world will go on, and he’ll be left behind. Our conversations made more sense when Purpose and Meaning hung around, but, come to think of it, I don’t know if they ever hung around.


Photography by Adam Olalde

Photography by Morgan Hall

Photography by Amy Salisbury


Photography by Alexander Hoang Photography by Alexander Hoang

Photography by Tiffany Balucanagl


Everything is beautiful. Everything is right. The eye Is back. The ceiling Sky Of black Has cracked And sunk to sew The floor below. I know That blue, A basic hue, Is meant To represent Subdue Or low Sensation, Not elation, Splendor, Adoration, Bliss, Or what is missed In missing you. As my defender, What I’d seen Before was more Than lore Or Benzedrine. Between The tattered sheen And liquor store And saintly, Modest tales of yore, It seemed that Sky Was nevermore.


[one] i have a dog. no, not that dog. [two] i know what you want. you want to hear the sound of wind blowing through pine trees. and you know what you get? you get to hear ‘the sound of wind blowing through pine trees.’ [three] smell roast chicken-see my grandmother in her wooden kitchen-listen to her say ‘jeffrey’-feel her hug me-understand my heart, that moment-no, you have it all wrong.

When you first broke the news to me, I was terrified. I thought about everything I was going to lose. I would see the opportunities rot like unplucked fruit. My ability to pick up and go, disabled. My life was no longer mine. I thought about waking up in the middle of the night to wails of pain, dirty diapers, and warming milk, trapped in a never ending cycle of exhaustion. But I’m already exhausted. I’m tired of the late nights drinking at dive bars, dingy motels and midnight prayers over the porcelain pot. I’m tired of the days growing old with only the intent to change. I thought about what you said and the idea of it all didn’t sound so strange anymore. I saw the wild sage outside your window thrive and wilt in a single season. I thought of life that came before and life that was to come. I saw my fingers tracing your swollen navel, down to soothe your sore soles. The Lamaze classes, the doctor’s visits, the pangs with each contraction, muted in our fists clenched together. You would deliver the living breathing entity of our embrace. I would’ve gotten my shit together and gone into business with my step-dad. You would’ve abandoned your fear of commitment to find the family unit you never had. I know things would’ve worked out for best, if only you’d have kept the baby.


Wrack your body: bales of hay, tossed one-hand, one arm— one farmboy overalled in a photograph. Nothing for smiling on a grass stack, pitchfork grim, grinning; less color and less looney tune, the sinew winds back again. And, again, the dim radio dial pulses and backpressures: a wide view through and out, containing, but gaping too narrow to sail. A steer kicked a woman, and the cement patriarch punched. One fist, What prairies we have crossed; Those lonesome and dreary roads Have left some to be forgotten and lost Within its grassy fields and horny toads. Life would be vaguely different If those roads were met again, The man would come out indifferent And have a new life to begin, A simple man once said “Life is much rather begun Down the less traveled path.� The mind is forever young But skin only lasts so long Travel down the less traveled path, And remember to live life as it is sprung.


one floored.

Through the experience of human COUNT THE WAYS, symbols are eternally giving birth to new understandings of the essence of the x quotient, the new math, as it emerges, ever elusive, out of the unknown mist of creation. She was the parks department commissioner. Caught us paintin’ on her playground walls. Doomed us cartoons forever. This may be because of the particular and unique set of gifts the parks department commissioner has given especially to you to fulfill your own unique dot dot da dot da. We can all go back to runnin’ our business, AHEM. To runnin’ our business. First, the capacity to have and to respond to realities that exist in a non-material way such as dreams, visions, leveling the leech, spiritual teachings, goals, and killing our oppressor. [indistinct chatter] Come to mama, you hot little digits! Values are the way people pattern and use their energy. OH, MMM! MMM Innumerable blessings, countless felicitations. Thank you beyond number and additional good stuff! The four grandfathers, the four winds, the four cardinal directions, and many other relationships that can be expressed in sets of four: let me lay my 20s on ya! Second, the capacity to if I dared to take a chance would someone lead me. Come on you metal metatarsals of unknown or unrealized potential to do or be something more or different than the genius who created me. Shoo! Get on down the road requires a merging of the person’s total being with the activity at hand. Ironically, a position I had assumed all too often. Nobody home in soulville is the special gift of our little mouse sister. Others have used a she-bear or the wolverine to symbolize the same thing. Now watch me dance. Mama used to always say to me, Fleet, from the West we can look over to the East, to the place of Evermean, wicked witch from the East, and there we can see ourselves standing naked to the universe, vulnerable and small before the stars. Mighty Zeus! He’s checkin’ us out. Mama had high ideals. You know what I mean? Just like a mirror can be used to see things not normally visible (e.g. behind us or around a corner), I been a two-bit, carnie hustler all my life. And I want a heart. The love learned in the South is the love of one person for a you gonna believe?



Photography by Nancy Rossignol

Photography by Amy Salisbury

Photography by Philip Mykel Flores


Waking up or sleeping in, I rise or not It is a routine, like clockwork, but the decision Is not always the same. The fresh air permeates my lungs, it is a good feeling, Until I reach civilization, in which it always seems Air is no longer fresh. In bed nothing gets done, so it is I rise Then again Surrendering to the masses fails to satisfy my desires Doing whatever I want, whenever I want, Is a luxury I don’t have. It is out of this struggle, I think That the concept of vacation was born out, yet if often feels contrived Is this the break I was looking for, it doesn’t always seem to be But the alternatives live in fantasy Not likely reality. I go on and say the masses aren’t all bad, and they are not For a time. I can’t always follow my desire to do what I want at any given moment Discipline is virtue So it is that I balance life out. I am a woman I will not be put down I am just as capable I have breasts I am fragile I will not be abused My skin is the sweetest of caramel brown I am not ashamed I am proud My hair is black as night I am not embarrassed I am beautiful My native tongue is exotic Español I am not afraid I speak out gracefully My neck holds my rosary I will not hide it I am religious


I say grace at public restaurants I am not self-conscious I am grateful I sit in an all white classroom I am not intimidated I am ready I am Woman I am Hispanic I am Religious I am Student I am Happy I am me

About The PALM The Pride Annual Literary Magazine is a student journal of fine arts first conceived over a decade ago. The magazine, produced entirely by members of The Pride student newspaper of Cal State San Marcos, features poetry, short stories, photography, and artwork submitted by both undergraduate and graduate students of CSUSM. Throughout its history, The PALM has sought to celebrate the diversity of the CSUSM campus community, and this edition seeks to explore the intricacies of identity and culture in relation to that diversity.

Contributing Editors Ashley Day Chris Giancamilli Jenna Jauregui Lexi Pollard Editor / Copy Chief

Amy Salisbury

Editor / Publicity

Sandra Chalmers

Layout Design

Morgan Hall

Acknowledgements The staff of The PALM would like to thank Professor Joan Anderson of the Literature and Writing department for serving as Advisor of both The Pride and The PALM, James Jones, the president of the Creative Writing Community and Workshop, for contributing to the conception of this magazine, the Student Media Advisory Council, and the College of Arts and Sciences for educating the students whose knowledge contributed to the production of The PALM.

The Pride Š 2011

The Pride Annual Literary Magazine (online)  

Spring 2011

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