The Pale Blue Dot By Jerry Dobek
The pale blue dot. A description given to the planet Earth by those looking at an image from satellites traveling beyond the realm of this orb. The vast oceans covering our planet, 70 percent of the visible surface, gleams this reflective hue and is detectable even from the surface of our neighboring planet, Mars. Despite the clouds and ice caps, and the greens and browns of the landscape, the ominous blue waters show the dominant feature of this small, rocky body, much like the rusty surface of Mars causes that planet to appear red in the night sky. The pale blue dot. A mass of iron and rock, of dirt and sand, grass and trees, water and clouds. The habitat for birds and fish, insects and animals… and humans. This water-covered rocky object that orbits our Sun is the only place within our solar system that we know can sustain life. The life and life forms that have existed upon this planet for millions of years. And yet, we search for other planets where life may exist. Or where life once existed. Thus, the reason for sending satellites beyond the confines of our home. With all the living organisms that fill the Earth with life, are we bored? Do we feel alone? Or are we just tired of the ‘same old Earth’? The pale blue dot. Since the dawn of humanity, we look to the skies and wonder: “Is there another place like our home?” In the vast universe, with all new discoveries of distant planets, and the possibilities of an earth-like celestial body orbiting a star. A place where water can exist in the three states necessary for life to thrive. And yet, the closest ones are far beyond the capabilities for human travel, at least within a human’s lifetime. But we signal and we listen. Will someone answer? It would be very hypocritical of us to think that we are the only life forms in the universe. But is there another ‘Earth’? The pale blue dot. For our survival, it provides the necessary water and air, and a landscape for nourishment. Orbiting at just the right distance, on just the right sized planet, with energy from the right sized star. A little larger in size, and the breathable atmosphere might contain lighter elements. Could life have evolved to breathe helium? Closer to the Sun, the Earth would be a warmer planet. Would the liquid water remain? Too far from the Sun and the liquid water would freeze. Even the tilt of the Earth, the true cause for the seasonal changes, is an important aspect for our life. No axial tilt and the seasons would not ‘change’. Too much tilt, and those seasonal changes may be so dramatic that our life may not have ever existed. The pale blue dot. A place that has been changing and evolving for over 4.5 billion years, and will continue to do so for the next 4.5 billion years. The time that humans have been on this planet is only a blink of the eye in time. Yet we take this place that we call ‘home’ for granted. We do not fully understand just how delicate and precious the water is, or the grass and trees. The birds and animals, fish and insects, all have to co-exist on this precious orb. We seek to know that our lifeform is not the only one in the universe. We search the stars, and even planets and moons, in our own solar system, looking for the one piece of evidence that will tell us, ‘there are other places where life exists’. The future may one day reveal others in the universe. Only time will tell. Will we be able to communicate with them? Can we visibly see their planet with our telescopes? How would their world appear? Despite looking for another place where we can one-day travel to…Earth is the ONLY ‘pale blue dot.’ Jerry Dobek is an astronomer at Northwestern Michigan College and the Site Coordinator for Project ASTRO in Michigan. He is NMC Alumni, and an instructor in the Astronomy, Math, and Science departments at NMC.
COVER IMAGE BY MCKENZIE LEISHMAN
Table of Contents
Foreword - The Pale Blue Dot by Jerry Dobek
02. A Litany For Earth by Amanda Coddington 04. It Will Tear Us Apart by Jake Neigarth 05. Armageddon Foods Inc. by Martha Falk 05. Unstainable by Nettie Foster 06. Too Much by Nichole Wilson 08. Hush Now Baby, Baby Don't You Cry by William Walton 09. Overmedicated by Lacie Grieves 10. what i have (and what i want) by Jasmine Dean 11. Notebook by Finch Moore 11. The Universe by Megan Aldridge 12. Kurr Dunn by Matthew Suehr 14. The Winding Way Forward by Joel Mann 15. God's Eye by Ellen Whitehead 16. Another Human Nuance Disaster by Reese Riley 19. Closed for Business by Nick Moug 20. Family Reunion by James Russell 22. Ode to Pullover Hoodies by Liam Strong 23. Planet by Megan Aldridge 24. Human Concerns by Alissia J.R. Lingaur 25. Space Guy On Moon by Kiara Ortiz 26. Women and the Wolf by Rachel Lynn Moore 26. Heart by Maria Rice 27. Reflection by Kajetan Morman 28. To Boldy Go by Tamara Wiget 29. Goldilocks by Rachel Esckelson 30. Moving Around the World by Ellen Bjorkung 31. My Peaceable Kingdom by Lacey Fitch 32. Phosphorous by Joel Mann 32. Glass's Knee 5 in Motion by Caroline Schaefer-Hills 32. In Wildness is the Preservation of the World by Kristy Tompkins 33. Ground Control to Elon Musk by Megan Ward 34. Not Long Enough by Ann Hosler 36. I Was Born in the Wrong Generation by Molly Eastman 37. Perspective by Kristy Tompkins 38. Amongst the Chaos by Koree Bemiss 40. An Afterthought by Richard Vegh 43. Nowhere by Lacey English 44. A Lonely Light by Liam Kaiser 46. Woman: A Natural Disaster by Deanna Luton 49. The Future in Our Hands by McKenzie Leishman 50. Hotel India by Anne-Marie Kabat 52. Nightshade by Susan Odgers 53. If We Can Sparkle by Rachel Esckelson 54. I race against the dying light of a computer screen by Lyric Belle 55. It's Now Safe to Turn Off Your Computer by Kajetan Morman 56. Janus: A Poem by Carrie Lynn Dunklow 58. The Gift of Sight by Kelsey Pease 60. Untitled by Lauren Leslie Blue 61. NMC Magazine Staff & Specs
A Litany for Earth By Amanda Coddington
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart. They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their savior. -- Psalm 24
Blades and daggers clamor in the boundless night. The forest, slightly lit from the illuminating weapons, casts a fateful glow on the bloodshed that inks the ground. Total carnage in complete chaos of a civil war. Rinna’s skin sizzles, metal score marks decorating her flesh. Scrambling to her feet, the cries of her brothers and sisters pierce her vision; humankind litters the earth, an uninhabitable, desolate earth. Rinna stands alone in the hushed forest. Catastrophe for humanity at the hands of their protectors. Even God could never have known just how far the angels would go to defy him, but God is gone. He’s left a heaven in ruins. Anarchy, with angel against angel, all with a desire to be the next ruler. Rinna gasps, succumbing to the vision. The dagger glimmers a few inches from her throat. The moonlight emits an ominous glow over her pale skin, making her even more dangerous and ethereal. Just to prove his brute power over her, her opponent presses the glinting object into her flesh. Blood buds over the blade. Who would have known that angels could bleed? There must be something there that she didn’t see before, the slightest detail to change her predicted destiny. The stir of breeze on her shoulders alerts Rinna of someone’s presence. A flicker of disappointment flashes across her dainty features. “Are you certain that this is what you must do?” Micah, an entrusted ally of Rinna’s, speaks. The irritation in his tone slices through her. “Don’t you question my judgement, Micah. You know as well as I that if we do not stand and fight for humanity then all of God’s creation, his people, will be destroyed.” And for what? “Your presence here on earth, your affiliation with the human… the angels are questioning your loyalty to heaven, and to me.” “My loyalty lies with God and His creation.” Rinna envies the humans and their ability to feel, and the beauty in a creation so flawed. The good and the bad, the choice to make something right or the capabilities to do something so wrong. Free will. There is little free will amongst the angels. It’s not that they don’t have a true capability for such things. It's that they didn’t understand how. Warriors of God and protectors of man, which is what they understand,
at least until their Father left. But, what God never intended anyone to know is that free will is a rope you’re meant to hang yourself with, but like the human said, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” or in this case, the road to peace is paved with death, betrayal and deceit. Rinna shifts to face Micah. His golden hair and strong, angular features almost plead with her for acceptance. Her eyes stare blankly through him. This holy but bedevil vision, it torments her thoughts, lacerating her faith. What plagues her most is that Micah himself will be the opponent to take her life.
It is as if they are each one half of the same soul. Where she is unearthly and fierce, he is reckless and ordinary. There’s complete balance between the two, and Rinna can’t help but be captivated by such an imperfect creature. His impulsive human attitude perfectly pairs with her celestial energy. He is the weapon she needs. The weapon that God intended her to find. She will lead him into battle and he will restore order in the world. It was in her first vision, several months ago now that she had glimpsed him. As if watching herself through her own eyes she took him in. His existence told of a story filled with such longing and desire. She observed him for what felt like days, and in those days, he never quite seemed to find himself. His rash decisions always led to the inevitable, but Rinna saw the fire behind his every action; they held the sincerest of intentions, but somehow, every time he fell. They stand there, Rinna and the human, together, in the dimly lit forest, weapons casting apocalyptic shadows over each angel’s exquisitely wicked feathers. In the distance the valiant battle cries of her brothers and sisters. Rinna could almost feel the anxious breath of the creature next to her shake through her body. The human withdraws the sword that she and Micah had spent days training him with. She taught him how to move as one with the weapon, paring and driving the blade. Micah had believed in Rinna’s vision then. He
spent hours with her attempting to teach the inferior creature. When Micah would taunt the human and mock his ungraceful movements, Rinna would soften the humiliation with her own lumbering steps. Angels were perfection, displaying less than so opened Rinna up to something she hadn’t experienced before. She felt empathy in her every imbalanced faulty action, and Rinna wondered how humans could go through life enduring such mistakes. Micah held stern, almost cold in his interaction with the human. The human held sturdy and took every insult slung at him. Rinna saw the smirk of defiance in the corner of his lips, and the passion hiding behind his brooding gaze. It was then that she noticed the missing piece in her vision, and now only she could see it. Micah swung the blade wildly. She had watched them practice for hours. The human heaved in groaning breaths, feeding his deprived lungs. “This creature is worthless. Look at him, Rinna. He is not what God intended for us. He will not be a leader.” Rinna stood toe to toe with Micah, anger boiling in defense of the human. “You’re not giving him a proper chance to learn. You mustn’t expect him to fight with the full force of a celestial being. He is now, only human.” The human wiped the sweat from his brows, shifting in modest displeasure. Micah grew silent. Rinna knew he was fighting with his own words. She’d seen this on his face many times before. He was never fond of being challenged, and he never accepted being wrong. “Yes, and we are angels,” he finally said.
Small bits of the earth snapped in the darkness as hundreds of angels emerged from the hidden foliage. Rinna squints, shielding her face as her vision blurs with light that only she can see. It’s breathtaking, the hand of God himself lighting her path and giving her vindication. When Rinna’s vision clears she feels the muscles of the creature before her coil in anticipation, waiting for her order. The weightless footfalls come to a halt. Micah is standing within inches of her face, his breath stirring her almost silver hair. “Rinna, will you cease all further action and rejoin the angels? I, we, can see past your treachery if you swear your loyalty to heaven.” “I cannot let you destroy all of God’s creation over your own selfish hatred. I will stand and protect these humans, even over the lives of my own brothers and sisters.” Rinna’s pulse raced at the sight of loathing plastered across Micah’s face. “Is this really what you desire, even if it means your own life? You choose the human?” Distaste slides from his lips. “I am choosing all humans. Choosing to honor our Father.” Rinna takes in a heavy breath while hundreds
of angels stand against her, weapons drawn, ready to complete their mission of destroying the human race. One silent moment commences before the words reach her: “So it shall be.” All along Rinna had known that this is what the end would be. Her faith, the vision, the instinct that she will die to give humanity another chance. Her intentions, pure and selfless, or maybe she really is doing all of this to protect just one creature. The human, blade erect, charges forward emanating of something so divine. Rinna knows it is a test of her loyalty. Rinna, drawing out her dagger, steps into the human’s path. Micah turns to the sweeping mass of angels backing him, a silent call off. Then Micah and Rinna attack. Their daggers echoing years of untold truths. Her closest ally, now her enemy.
...weapons casting apocalyptic shadows over each angel’s exquisitely wicked feathers. Rinna’s body becomes hot. Again her vision blurs from all sides. The cool metal of the dagger slides across her throat, parting her flesh and blossoming rose above the blade. The slick substance trickles down, mapping her road to death. A surge of electric light crackles from the air striking the ground. Had this been in her vision earlier? Micah’s face distorts in agony as his, and the other angels’ wings ignite up in flame. In the next celestial blast, the angels are cast from earth leaving behind pure ground, the chosen divine, and God’s creation untouched.
It Will Tear Us Apart The inspiration for this piece came from the fact that there have been many wars or conflicts of peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s religious beliefs or ideas. I want to show how religion could be the downfall of us all.
By Jake Neigarth
Armageddon Foods Inc. By Martha Falk
Apocalypse – Christians call it the world’s end. Ragnarok – for the Norse it was called. While the preppers scurry to defend, others choose to live in cities walled. Robert Frost argued that the world will end, in either lethal fire or ice. Some modern theorists say we’ll all bend, defeated by the microbes in mice. Global warming, ocean levels rising; famines or pestilences, perhaps, according to the news advertising, is how humanity will collapse.
By Nettie Foster
My freeze-dried foods are awaiting your plate. It stays fresh for years. I do not lie. History’s end comes. So you mark the date, and buy my canned food before we die.
For my sculpture I went to my favorite hiking spot, Maple Bay Nature Preserve. my friend, and I walked along the beach for a few hours picking up the tiniest pieces of trash. Not everything we picked up was used in the piece, but it was gross how much trash we picked up. I think the future holds a lot of trash; our oceans are already dying due to the mass amounts of trash we place in it.
My sculpture is made out of driftwood and I recreated the lake and beach, the gold balloon representing the lake. I hope my piece brings a light onto the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s trash and waste problem. The human population cannot keep using lakes and oceans for a dumpsite because it might not affect us now, but the future generations to come will be affected deeply.
By Nichole Wilson
Hush Now Baby, Baby Don't You Cry By William Walton
Mother watches through his eyes as he awakes to ash and smoke. He’s been unconscious for one hundred minutes and seventeen seconds, but Mother remains steadfast in her conviction that all would be normal. A tragedy such as this hadn’t occurred in the past century, but there are contingencies in place; rescue would be there by nightfall. Mother watches with fleeting interest as he pulls himself from the wrecked fuselage and begins callings for other survivors. He is still smiling, so Mother shifts her attention to more meaningful tasks, keeping her observation of him running as a background process for as long as she can spare the power. Despite improvements made in the last few decades, Mother still can’t watch all of her little angels at once. It has been over eight hours since he last visited the Good Doctor, so Mother quietly worries about her son. An hour later, Mother’s attention is again drawn to her son when she notices his limbic system emitting strange signals. She shifts her focus back to the observation to find him crying, and then vomiting, at the sight of a child’s charred corpse hanging from a still-burning turbine. Something is wrong. Mother asks the Good Doctor for his records, more of an order than a request. An immeasurably tiny
amount of time passes while she finds the correct record, but once she does she spends almost a full nanosecond processing the information. A single sentence written in plain binary: “Patient prescribed one dose every eight hours, as opposed to the usual dosage, due to preexisting hormonal imbalances.” A lapse in judgement that can not go unpunished. Mother sends a final message to the Good Doctor, thanking him for his decades of service, then sets Father to work deleting the doctor’s personality byte by byte. She can’t afford to kill him—he’d take too long to replace—but she can pare down his non-essential functions. Mother is relieved to see that her son had stopped crying, and almost skips a cycle when she sees that he has successfully resuscitated another of her children, a young woman with blue eyes. Her joy is cut short as she notices more strange activity in his limbic system. Her fears are confirmed by the next words to come out of his mouth: “You know, blue has always been my favorite color.” A lie—green is his favorite color. Mother is sure of it. A good Mother knows all of her children’s favorites. Mother cries out to Father to see how far away the rescue parties were, truly scared now. She hasn’t heard a lie since the last time she dumped her audio storage a century ago, and now it seems all
the work she had done to make the world a safe place for her babies is being undone. When Father tells her the crews are still two hours out, she almost considers damning him to the same fate as the Good Doctor, but she remembers that she was the one who had ignored his calls for faster response craft over the past two decades and so she decides to spare him. Distracted by her own anxiety, she hasn’t noticed the rise of activity in her son’s amygdala at the sight of her daughter’s gold watch. She receives an alert that her daughter has experienced physical trauma, turning back to the observation just in time to see her baby shove a second piece of glass into her daughter’s throat. For a whole second, Mother refuses to acknowledge what happened. Father’s alert, that one of their children had just suffered a major injury, forces her to process it. Mother watches in horror as her baby strips the gold watch from her still-living daughter’s wrist, blood bubbling as she attempts to breathe through her punctured trachea. Mother usually reserves her avatar for interacting with her children, but this time she displays it just so that she can be embraced by Father. Holographic tears descend her cheek as her daughter’s breathing ceases. Mother stands there, head cradled in Father’s arms, awaiting the formal notification that their daughter is dead. Mother hopes that would be the end of her grief. Her baby sits for one hundred and eleven minutes playing with the watch,
container falls out of the woman’s and she prays he will continue no reason coat. Her baby immediately releases to do so until rescue arrives and to spend the the glass, opening the container everything goes back to normal. fuel, the rescue craft and swallowing its entire contents. Another alert from her baby’s slows to a more efficient His limbic system levels and a smile limbic system signals the rejection speed and dumps the body crosses his face. of her prayer. He looks back at into a nearby landfill. The rescue craft arrives one her daughter’s corpse, then at the Mother smiles and stands on hundred and eighty seven seconds watch, then back at the corpse. her tiptoes to kiss Father because later and he boards to return home. He begins to sob. Five minutes everything is right in the world again. pass in this matter before a sharp rise in A lie—green is his favorite color. activity in his prefrontal Mother is sure of it. A good Mother knows cortex. Mother hasn’t seen this sort of activity all of her children’s favorites. since the time before While his biological readings bounce the family—when her babies ran quickly between peak and valley at loose—but she remembers how horribly it ended every time. She the introduction of such a large dose braces for the worst as he walked of the drug, his emotional readings surge only upwards, pure bliss as his over to her daughter’s corpse brain becomes distracted from trivial and reaches down to remove the concerns like respiration. Mother is glass shards from her throat. The body shakes as her baby tugs content to see the smile on his face remain as rigor mortis kicks in. With at the glass and a small orange
By Lacie Grieves
what i have (and what i want) By Jasmine Dean
i have never been one to be honest with myself or others i hide behind masks and mirages and makeshift smiles and try to be a comet in a sky full of stars but my kindness is built on despair and without strength it comes crashing down. (when you try to help everyone who helps you?) i have difficulty imagining a world where i am the being beneath the mask a world where i am what i want to be. (what do i want to be?) i cannot imagine a world where i am not burdened by my thoughts by my shortcomings by my past by my failures by myself. the world is too bright too beautiful to be sullied by someone as dull as me.
(why canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t i feel the mask i wear? where does my illusion end and i begin?) time and time again i wish i dream i hope that i will improve. (that i can be something more than this) i want to make a future where people (children) (adults) are not burdened by their greatest gift (their minds) (their thoughts) and donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to suffer by themselves (like me) (like so, so many) in the dark i dream of a future where people are kind to others and themselves in words and in actions soft yet strong because people deserve happiness safety love but they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t deserve to be alone.
By Finch Moore
By Megan Aldridge
I fell in love with Gregory Alan Isakov's song, “The Universe,” about a year ago. It is such a beautiful and moving song. He describes “The Universe” like one would describe a woman. Her emotions, her movements, and her physical appearance all delicately illustrated in his lyrics. It’s such a truly breathtaking song and I felt the need to exemplify his work with a piece of my own. This painting I did captured the essence of what I imagined The Universe as told in the song, with all her pain and beauty.
By Matthew Suehr
When I was a child I ran through the woods as trout swim through streams. I grew swifter with each winter, as did my brother. He was a few years younger than me, but he kept up. We played games, laying harmless traps and stalking each other with blunted sticks. I always loved my brother, his undying commitment to our brotherhood rivalries and our loyalty to one another made him a part of me that I could not live without. As we grew older and became men, we were given responsibility in our small band of families. We were relied upon to hunt. Each of us were given old, nicked up rifles from some bygone era, older than living memory. We preferred to hunt together, and we always brought down more game that way. I loved my brother, but he began to get the attention of the woodcutter’s daughter, the one I had fancied ever since I could remember. This attention complicated things. I will not lie, I was not the kindest young man in our band. I often swore and broke things; I was even known for harming animals for pleasure. I don’t know why I did these things, but I have always had a dark curiosity. My brother saw me do these things, but he accepted me nonetheless. He left me alone when I had my fits of rage, but when my senses would return so did my brother. It was during one of these rages, when a stag I injured broke away from one of my snares, that I truly snapped. I began to swing the butt of my rifle at trees and clumps of moss hanging from their branches, eyes bloodshot and foam spurting from
the corners of my mouth. My teeth clenched and ground against one another. Instead of walking away and hiding as usual, my sweet, poor brother touched my shoulder, and said, “Patience, we’ll find another on the way home.” It was a mistake. While blood rushed in my ears I turned and glanced into his face. All my feelings of jealousy and envy burned bright in the bowels of my heart, and I rammed the muzzle of my weapon into his left eye. The impact jostled the firing pin loose, sending it into the primer of the live round in the chamber, igniting the powder and sending a chunk of hot lead into and out the back of my brother’s head.
I often swore and broke things, I was even known for harming animals for pleasure. The sight of his outstretched body on the forest floor proved too much for my mind to bear. I awoke in the dark. Fat, warm rain drops slapped my cheeks. It was midday, but a storm had rolled in, making the woods unnaturally dark. I crawled towards my brother’s limp corpse, and my piteous wails joined the howling of the wind. The custom of my people is to gather wood, stack a pyre and burn the dead to prevent the spread of disease, but the pain I felt was too great to move. I thrashed the ground and tore my clothes, hurting myself as I threw my tantrum. Just as thunder roared through the valley I grabbed onto it like a drowning man grabs a low hanging branch. Kurr Dunn, a cave forty to fifty kilometers northeast of our hunting grounds, was fabled to bring back the dead. When we took our vow of manhood we had promised to never enter it because only the evil of mankind’s past could be found there. Despite its reputation, I had to try for my dutiful, deceased brother. Sticks, bark, and horned vines tore at my tattered clothing and my exposed skin. I did not feel the extra weight on my back as I ran, but my breathing was erratic and labored. I ran through ferocious fits of all possible emotions. I either laughed or sobbed, the time passed in darkness broken by blinding lightning, but my sense of
direction stayed true and my feet never slipped on the wet earth. It’s a miracle I didn’t wander over a cliff and end my miserable story forever, but the gods weren’t so merciful. I had never confronted Kurr Dunn. Its entrance was a jagged slit in a towering wall of granite that climbed hundreds of meters into the air, even higher than the oldest trees in the surrounding area. I peered into its depths and shuddered at a glowing mist clung to the floor of the cave. The dank, hallowed air seeped into my flesh; beings of another time had made this place. Before entering the cave, I knew I could never return to my tribe. Now that Kurr Dunn’s hallowed air is in my flesh my tribe wouldn’t take me. A vow broken is punished by death or banishment. There was only one thing to do. I knelt, set the body of my brother down, and took the hatchet from my pack. Unbuckling my belt, I set the smokey black leather between my teeth and began to inhale and exhale rapidly. My eyes must have bulged as I placed my wrist onto the spine of a large, exposed root, and struck off my right hand with sloppy, uneven strokes. I had always been right hand dominant, and it was the right hand that I had made my vow with. The iron head of the hatchet flashed in the stormlight as my thumb and fingers disappeared, and ten red strokes later I was left with a stump. I tied my belt around the splintered bone and dragged my brother into the cave. I ran guided by the mists for a while until the cave opened into a seemingly infinite void, but I sensed the glassy black water ahead of me. A lone island was illuminated a few meters from the shore, so I walked into the water’s strangely tepid embrace. It jolted me with an overwhelming repulsion as it climbed higher and higher, until the tips of my toes kept it from touching my lips. The bed of this subterranean lake was soft to my bare feet, soft as bloated corpses. We made it to the island slowly, but at one point something tugged on my brother. I kicked hard and swam faster but nothing happened. I felt little relief when out of the water and on dry land, but by then I struggled to carry my brother. The physical exertion and loss of blood taxed my body but my resolve was strong as ever. My love for my brother straightened my legs and pushed my feet towards a massive, cuboidal stone sunk into the center of the sandy island. It cast a ghastly pale light that seemed a dark red at one moment and pale green the next. The surface of it stood at knee level, and I gently lay my brother upon it. Not until he lay on the slab did I find the courage to look at my brother’s face. A purple bruise had blossomed around his left eye socket, but surprisingly his eyelid was intact. This gave
him the impression that he was simply winking, and the ruin of the back of his skull gave away his fatal condition. His right eye was open wide. The same brown iris as my own eyes stared up at me, and his mouth hung open and limp. In a horrendous blast of uncouth energy, my brother started to shiver and convulse in the most shocking and unsettling manner. His only eye rolled like a sick cow’s as pink spittle foamed across his cheeks. His mouth jittered as if he desired to speak, but only a wild, high pitched “Buh Buh Buh” escaped his lips. A sound like cloth ripping became audible as his missing skull, brain, and skin regrew. The brain reknitting itself; miniscule bolts of lightning danced between its wrinkles. But now my face turned a purple hue, and I have lost the control of my legs. My brother stood after his convulsions had passed. He turned his perfectly healed eyes towards me. He smiled with affection and lifted me into the air by my throat. It has been about a minute, and I don’t think I will make it much longer. Now I can see the glow in his eyes, the way they catch the stone light. It’s comfortable, with my brother’s loving hands around my throat and the warm, stone slab beneath my back.
Before entering the cave, I knew I could never return to my tribe.
The Winding Way Forward By Joel Mann
One of my favorite back roads. When you turn onto this road off the main road, it feels like you are suddenly plunged deep into the wood, like you are going farther and farther in. Then, as quickly as it started you pop out of the woods and you’re at another main road. One of the reasons I like this road is it always reminds me how quickly things can go from bad to good – if you don’t stop, and just keep going.
By Ellen Whitehead
Another Human Nuance Disaster By Reese Riley
“...a thousand knots one movement ties...” –Goethe, Faust I
We here at the law offices of Cardinal & Cantor Associates (C & C) treat our documents like family. It is with such warmth that C & C welcomed the following transcript as our first property in the case against the sculptor of Atlas, Muhammad, The Mountain, Ms. Shank Powell, and CEO of Alephelia Network Services (ANS) Mr. Alan Drayton. The sculpture, allegedly “figurative,” was installed in the fountain at the center of ANS’s plaza three days before this transcript was harvested by the unswerving punctuality of the young men and women of C & C’s Surveillance Shack. It is above this plaza and sculpture, between floor eighteen and twenty of ANS’s halfbuilt HQ that the conversant(s) of this transcript, Mr. Alan Drayton and his employee, Mr. Phil Bentos (Human Relations at ANS), have their telephonic discourse. The two men, C & C adjudge, discuss a lawsuit — in which C & C has no chips — where ANS acts defendant and, a whole country, or “empire,” of existence as befogged and dubious as the putative suit itself, behaves as the alleged victim. Representing ANS in this putative suit is Mr. Fray Sills, a lawyerly representative ANS sustains near monogamous allegiance to the employment of and an entity whose bereaved-for victimhood is the guiding jewel of C & C’s case against the sculptor Ms. Shank Powell and ANS CEO Mr. Alan Drayton. After debriefing with Mr. Alan Drayton, Mr. Fray Sills ambulates centripetal to
Atlas, Muhammad, The Mountain and even once dashes water from its surrounding fountain onto his face, all the while having his own telephonic discourse beyond, or ensconced in, the diegetic constraints of this transcript. While our case against Ms. Shank Powell and Mr. Alan Drayton blossoms from what is the end of this transcript’s limited narrative body, Mr. Alan Drayton’s fractured adumbrations of the event’s cause (i.e. the cross of foreknowledge he bears) puts meat on the incipient bones of both C & C’s suit against Ms. Shank Powell and Mr. Alan Drayton, as well as any off-branching suit against Mr. Alan Drayton’s culpably red-handed interlocutor Mr. Phil Bentos. Be it stated that C & C had been warranted to peel an ear unto Mr. Alan Drayton’s telephonic discourses through the always fluvial magnanimity of the may-shenever-perish Honourable Ms. Jude Link, that this transcript was farmed from a vector of lawful operations remote and prior to what metamorphosed and refracted into this present case against Mr. Alan Drayton and Ms. Shank Powell, that during these remote and prior operations C & C wasn’t exactly sans knowledge of Atlas, Muhammad, The Mountain being suspiciously bereft of General Liability Insurance for its artist Ms. Shank Powell and its owner ANS, and that, having transpired what did, and what does at the end of this transcript, actors of C & C’s Surveillance Shack were first on the scene to get the ball rolling.
All annotative footnotes on this transcript are under the creative license of Mr. George Cardinal with the venerable intention that the team at C & C, and all parties whose intellects grace this transcript, may themselves interpret Mr. Alan Drayton’s and Mr. Phil Bentos’s discourse with utmost expediency, concision, and reverence.1 Mr. Alan Drayton: Yullo, you got D 2... Bentos?... So barely have you Bent… Twenty feet above me, right there and you don’t come across how about this for hu… Try that window… Say something… There we are… Hi... Well no, well do you need some aid nuance-of-human-relationswise?... See what out there?... No I can’t see I’m in the Muhammad lounge dammit… No it’s not dark in here, what do you… Gosh yes Phil I know there’s a window in the Muhammad lounge, watched the architect like a hawk… A peacock pecking out in our fountain?... That’s put gorgeously… Yes, ok, so it all revved up last week and, so… He should be out there… My lawyer, is he out there? 3... What do you mean is that him, most erudite man in this whole enterprise, keep it an oiled machi… Watch it Phil, looking at an honest man’s service peacock4 down there… Flew in today, big debrief, try and encompass all that has transp… Christ God with the bird yes. In here five minutes Sills already groping at his own cuffs. Meanwhile the peacock over there by this sweet fern in the Muhammad lounge looking
1 Not to say any garish subjectivity, creativity, or misc. impiety to the doctrine of the law were espoused by my partner Mr. George Cardinal in his crafting of these fine annotations. The man is a saint by the law, and, it follows, for the law. May Mr. George Cardinal, with the light of law as his spear, penetrate to the heart of things. Take it from here, George. ––Mr. Jorge Luis Cantor
2 Mr. Alan Drayton’s discourse with Mr. Phil Bentos is here transposed in monologue interspersed with ellipses to represent Mr. Phil Bentos, for, Mr. Alan Drayton’s interlocutor, whether through treachery or techno-practices in the always cutting-edge field of human relations, employed a voice-scrambler on his phone, having our generous warrant from the (“may-she-never-perish”) Honourable Ms. Jude Link yield half
of what it could. It goes without saying that, though it would be spurious for me to record the compounded interpretive flourishes the crew down at the Surveillance Shack has generated and continue to generate for Mr. Phil Bentos’s speech, it gave them “a real kick.” 3 Mr. Alan Drayton refers to Mr. Fray Sills. 4 C & C have since confirmed the medical legitimacy of Mr. Fray Sills’s service peacock.
so goddamn regal, holding the man so barely together by the thread of its, its regality… No, ok no I won’t I talk with the pitch all-over like that just I, just I -- it tears your heart out to, to see… Yes the really sweet-of-him surprise trip then already at his own cuffs saying through sweat that he had a fit surging up Phil… Epileptic fit… Real deal human relations nuance for you… Like a swollen level ten, inside… No well I know the building wasn’t like threatened or anything, but… Through that sweet he had going he said the air crew exiled his peacock in the cargo to like screech from the there… No one else heard he said, heard the screeching. Impeded others’ bathroom aislecommutes asking passengers if they could hear it -- crew drags him back saying the aisle is only for sufferers of the urinary and the rectal, and, what screech? -- bout sent him over an edge he was still near to tumbling off right here in the Muhammad lounge he said, he said that, through the sweat in this awful tragic way that he was still near… To this edge Bent what else would I… Had the arms waving around like in tight-rope I don’t… Response matrix? Jesus I say I’ll go fetch a cork, since if you start whippin around I’m not having any shrewd lawyer of mine see his tongue take flight, man’s a lawyer, talk is everythi… No I, I didn’t really say… Yes Phil I know I can technically come talk when… Human Relations departments have changed, I believe you… Evolved, yes… Doing some really sweet things I’m sure… Yes right down the hall and up the... Yes, so. But I mean give receiving a bark chunk in the Gandhi suite with no envelope a go, no return. Dust a terroristic color swirling around the Gandhi suite and my messenger 5 While the existence of this bark was itself adjudged as tangential to our suits’ respective trajectories actors within C & C concur with Mr. Alan Drayton. 6 Mark that Mr. Fray Sills’s compendium of clients “monogamously” begins and ceases with this very Mr. Alan Drayton, that the latter paid in full for an academically veering decade of the former’s law school, and that the two men met and
boy then dashing out all nuanced like a -- and so me thinking in the Gandhi suite oh Christ God I’m getting anthraxed in the Gandhi suite… Not anthrax5... But saw this Skype username burned into it and… On the bark chunk, Phil, all of these numbers. Like both stacked and flat, eyes yanked z-axis, I swear... Yes I guess, guess I’m maybe ok, but that’s not... No I know it’s important. But so, yeah so see me turn on a dime right then from all the ocular tugof-war and get Sills spearheading the video outreach… Sent him a photo of the bark couldn’t say or transcribe the… No dammit I can’t see the fountain I’m on the couch in the Muhammad suite… Lounge I mean. Lounge lounge lounge… Just stretching its neck, with some pecking… Give up on the peacock Philly, man’s out there channeling whole spirit of democracy through that beak like air through a snorkel. Incorrigible part of the whole genius, remove the beak, whole thing col… Yes, feed an army of law students with his6... Plus Sills and I, we… Man made a killing in tech, hit the ground running in the robust world of law. Put his first career to work, got nimble, set up shop in his apartment for video outreach last week, then into the Muhammad lounge today with the cuffs… Yoyeah — then right to business on his edge, peacock egging him on with the heartbreaking regal neck motion to go on… Yes in spite of edge-proximity about how in the video this emperor or czar, he said that, this emperor or chieftain was there… There in the screen damnit. There in the screen during the video
outreach, with the camera on the emperor fellow’s end trained on a search engine and with the emperor fellow prodding his spear with the dangling elements between the first results for “Alephelia,” where he jabs Sills’s attention to the second result beneath ours and it’s our emperor fellow’s damn kingdom or empire whatever right there, same name, try and bring it up yourself nothing there, no map, nowhere at all7...Yes no language, he said, no language Phil, and this is a genuine erudite pal of mine saying no language... But he squeezed from the spear and the dangling that our emperor’s got a bone to pick about his kingdom or empire being below us on the world stage, he said that, the world stage, Sills said that — like it’s just a name don’t need to bring the damn world into… Hey, you there Philly?... Say someth… Howdy ho… Yes warped Damages Suit I don’t… I know, gander at the big gracious return we get sending our nimble democrats on the world stage work-studying all over, laying the cables and the lines, internship: done, the empowering year abroad, tax write-offs and the photos and the real human nuance for the trustees, whole world connec… End up in the weeds.8 Benevolence, Phil. Damn benevolently swarming the kingdom or empire with interns — set up shop for our emperor fellow. Never used anything with a chip in it next thing a long-standing cloud parts for him, so inspired by the chip and cables we forked over, all that
propagated a strong friendship at The Lute Chunk Memorial Paintball Camp, when both in middle school. 7 Similarly, C & C has been unable to find any country, empire or incorporated lands by the name Alephelia. Nor has C & C been able to validate the username as Mr. Fray Sills purportedly achieved in his video contact. The conclusion by C & C, forced by stalemate, is that the username was destroyed, either
through cunning by the ‘emperor fellow’ or an inward whim of the system itself, just after Mr. Fray Sills’s initial contact. 8 No doubt it was the alleged exploitation of these “nimble democrats” in ANS’s nonprofit program A Few Good Americans, and the class action suit therein, which morally impelled the Honourable Ms. Jude Link to let us “peel an ear” onto the present telephonic discourse.
benevolence first thing he’s inspired about is screwing us. What was that Emerson thing on telegraphs9... Good… Yeah but so once he was done, done with the spear, our emperor fellow wrangles his own so-called esteemed big shot lawyer to take the wheel on the whole op… No I don’t care a damn about the poor thing having a hoot in our sweet fountain Bent, but that beak gets near that art out there you tell me10... Well so all his ingenuity… Christ God Sills’s ingenuity. This couldn’t scrape a syllable of diplomatic English out of our emperor fellow’s lawyer whose attire looked painted-on, soon to melt off because the emperor fellow’s lawyer had his head in so the right place but — and Sills telling me he needed all the regality that peacock was good for against this honker of a fit he had coming himward from trying a chat with this lawless… Bunch of strands like you’d never… Real thicket of ethnography, he said that. Isn’t that a riot: thicket of ethnography, he said… And well so the country’s or empire’s screen, he said, he said that: the country’s or empire’s screen went black, from the emperor fellow’s esteemed lawyer’s painted on deal sending some vital fuse sparking... Inferred it using his first career I don’t... Sills did, damnit Phillip. And, and so see Sills, all that education and thicket of ethnography-type wit facing that black screen like a final wall his whole efforts can’t get over. All that education, experience. Screen reflecting only his own face and the peacock’s neck, with a hut’s worth of freak
genes whooping and gargling at each other through the -- he can’t connect again, puts same username in and noth... He just, can’t… Tell him liberals get word of this you get the rabble stateside here seizing pitchforks with sudden passion for this country they’ve never heard of, doesn’t exist even. Suddenly the underdog vacation spot and philanthropy drain, millions politically tumescing and just like that play into the enemy’s pot, like they want? Robust tourism industry on its feet, search results order flipped with our emperor or shaman fellow laughing his bare ass off to the bank wearing an intern’s ANS shirt saying the whole issue is way in his past while we’re pulling tufts of decreasingly present hair until this HQ of ours, twenty floors above me unfin... Yeah I know, I know I get — hey, how’s Sills down there?... Let him splash some water on his face damnit, only thing… From the fountain? I don’t give a... Yeah so the whole video call experience dried up the peacock’s reservoirs of the regal supportive energy, sent it fainting into his arms. Only thing holding him from a fit surging up himself was stroking the bird through its coma -- tear your heart out all the… Some fowl-exclusive clinic got involved. Rebooted the bird enough to make their really sweet trip out here to the Muhammad lounge, only for him to get here on his edge saying he’s ready to draw a line, he said that: draw a line between us and him, he said -- check the beak position on your peacock Phil… The ankle!11 Christ, gets above there you... Yes, on that beak like a hawk… Yeah I,
yes I guess it hurt at first, I mean. He talked about going rogue, he actually said rogue… Revengenarrative-wise on our emperor fellow… Revenge for the peacock Phil, goddamnit where’s your… Yes I know I don’t mean the, talking that way, it just, all this it just… Yeah or just talk to him I mean, to the emperor I mean, get his heart in on the deal — loves that peacock so much, just tears your… I told him doesn’t exist, don’t know how the damn interns noodled all those lines and cables out there… Sills thinks it’s an island… Out at sea Phil, that he’s sure of, he kept saying it: so many goddamn islands. It was all so sad, and, impressive how much he -- said he’s getting a boat lined up, ready to set… Got to go amphibian he said, he said that, going amphibian: the only way, he said. You look out’ve your Buddha suite window there Phil and convince me with nuance you don’t see him saying got to go amphibian on the phone to this old sailor buddy of his12… A barrel?... Lord no I’m not expecting a barrel delivery, what is this the Dutch East Indi... So I said I’d pay his odyssey off the books. Get found out paying for a lawyer going like a damn missionary to the third world you get the rabble stateside here tearing down your whole damn operation jamming democracy down our throa… Half up the calf!... Damn yes Phil, interrupt me!... No I know I’m… The pitch, yes... No I know it’s your job to, to talk -- how close is Sills to that art?... Yes like a hawk Philly… Oh christ God no I’m in the Muhammad lounge13... Yes… No well yes the art14... Yes, well no. Trustees sent me to the cross over the damn art out there. Big deal roundtable discussion, said whole
during his discourse, and so couldn’t see the plaza, only NW sky, C & C takes Mr. Drayton’s sedimentation on the couch, in spite of the converging dangers he recognizes in Mr. Phil Bentos’s narration, as an agential act––this notwithstanding the wooden impediments he cites further into this transcript. 14 Read in the following Mr. Alan Drayton’s direct collusion, motivating force for this collusion, and sustained sedimentation, sedimentation he shares with Mr. Phil Bentos.
C & C found both: “It cannot conquer folly/ Time-and-space conquering steam/ And the light-outspeeding telegraph/ Bears nothing on its beam.” And, “We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate.” –– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Thus foreshadowing Mr. Alan Drayton’s complicity with Ms. Shank Powell and limning a fissure between Mr. Phil Bentos and that dyadic complicity. 11 Here Mr. Alan Drayton means the ankle of Atlas, Muhammad, The Mountain, where Mr. Fray Sills’s service peacock has purportedly landed with its beak. 12 Mr. Fray Sills’s yet-named telephonic interlocutor. 13 Be it known that while Mr. Drayton was on the rearmost couch
sculpture: gold, all gold, they said that in near chant: gold. Or wallets will be replaced in pockets, they said. No art, no money to finish the building or ever get a real elevator, they said. Big great return for throwing them a bone democracy-wise, airport shuttles, concierge in lobby with the velvet carts and the tiny yellow ropes draping from pockets, the permanent nodding, whole big gallant deal. And Christ God Phil Muhammad lounge not even finished, can’t get to the window. All the two by fours sitting in piles with workers unionizing to chain smoke in the James Monroe suite, only room they finished so they could smoke and weave mutiny and make it look all Pompeian, all the ash in there, zero mercying for how things… I know this is your field I just… Trustees in one ear want the sculpture finished all or nothing, artist calling me in the other ear about nervous seizures15, she said that, to the latter ear, nervous seizures, and said all this stuff about sincerity, Phil, and, oh how I’m having nervous seizures because of it, she said that. And I’m saying, lady, the trustees in the former ear just want some damn art and I’m having fiscal
trench warfare until trustees get it, what’s so hard, I got you, I got you the gold. And her saying in the latter ear she’s got a problem in the groi...In the groin of the sculpture Phil… Yes I won’t do the thing with the pitch again, it’s just all so damn… Ran out of materials try and fuse something cheap in there, falsify her whole art, she said. Compromise the whole, the whole, she said, into the latter ear. I said get it done lady no time for a nuance-bushfire, I don’t care16 about your damn groin or whole, trustees in the former ear about to grill me17 with these twenty floors of building untouched, that’s a compromised whole for you little lady, can’t even get to the window and see the… But the legs’ll hold she said… Yes, but the groi… Lord, mid thigh!... And the, that barrel?... Get him the devil back here and move that barrel! Our plaza screams goddamn trade depot to him?... Oh Christ God, stop that beak!... Where’s Sills?... Damnit, say… No I know the windows don’t open watched the plans for this building like a… Damnit try knocking on the glass 20
Carved into the tube’s surface were what our most literary team member at C & C described as “overlapping matrices.” Once you focus on one, another suggests itself. “Hell for the eye,” another C & C crew member chimed in. Unfortunately the carvings were so perfectly performed that any approach in the field of forensic archaeology has proved, in the end, gratuitous. The prodigious limbs of its craftsmen trembled not once in the course of making. One team member at C & C was haunted by a compulsion to open the alleged assassin’s skull and to study, through dissection, what else this crumpled entity really was, and could also be. This team member has been excommunicated from the investigation, and the body of the entity was sequestered to the
C & C’s case, too, totters with great precarity on Ms. Shank Powell’s mental health. After the event of this transcript, C & C invited Ms. Shank Powell to a psychological observation; at which time she misperceived our offer as the therapy “she never wanted to admit she needed.” C & C’s psychiatric observer professed that within Ms. Shank Powell there is “nothing exceptional or exterior to the domain of law in her affliction, rather it is the banal, even cultivated disposition of the many minds we call the history of Art.” See attached files for the full psychological rundown on Ms. Shank Powell. 16 Mr. Alan Drayton’s direct collusion with Ms. Powell. 17 Mr. Alan Drayton’s motivating principle. 18 Fortunately, the courageous men and women of the Surveillance Shack had eyes and ears on the scene and were quick to “get the ball rolling.” Sensing the conclusion of Mr. Alan Drayton’s telephonic discourse, and thus, their task, the team’s attentions were at last liberated back into their environment where they witnessed, through the shack’s topflight replica American Colonial windows, the collapse of Atlas, Muhammad, The Mountain onto the alleged “assassin” and this entity’s alleged target, Mr. Fray Sills. With the verdant winds of law tucking their virginal sails our three youngest actors descended to the fountain, where they found the alleged “assassin” crushed to death in a wooden barrel and Mr. Fray Sills unconscious. The sculpture was mechanically lifted by local police, who, let it show, were beckoned by C & C. No identity-yielding documents were found on the alleged “assassin’s” cadaver. This entity was clad only in the splintered barrel this entity seems to have used for vehiculating to ANS from wheresoever this entity derives. Indeed, nothing was found on this entity besides a wooden tube for the projection of fine darts, of which the entity had only one, still lodged in the thin channel of its deployment tube. After exposing mice back at C & C’s Surveillance Shack to the poison, notwithstanding its capacities for inducing profound sedation, the dart’s poison was proven unlethal.
stories up all soundproofed, no one hears, whole glass carapace comes crashing… The lid? …Phil, raising?... Really Phil, raising? … No I’m not walking to the window break my ass all the… Bent? Got a fellow in there?...No damn elevator, never get there in… Wood tube?... What’s he gonna shoot a dart out of there, God above! An assassin in our plaza!... Hey, what are we seeing?18 Surveillance Shack at C & C. Another investigator I spoke with had spiralled into mania during a night spent with the splinters of the destroyed barrel; such splinters he rearranged, spread apart, piled, tried to find new “scalar relationships”, “compositions of silence”, which in the velocity and curves of his manic spiral he had found was what, much like the would-be dissector, the case asked of its inquisitors. Destroyed beyond recognition and unable to validate the “empire” this entity was presumably deployed on behalf of, “Alephelia”, the task of tracing this entity and barrel to bereaved or responsible parties for aggregating onto our suit against Ms. Shank Powell, Mr. Alan Drayton, and Mr. Phil Bentos remains a repository for innumerable whispered conspiracies here at C & C. By the collapse he shared with his assassin, Mr. Fray Sills was plunged into a concussion-induced coma, the grips of which he has yet to extricate himself from. Alongside his sister, Mrs. Grey Pooley, whom Mr. Alan Drayton helped us reach in spite of the demise this favour may concretize for him, C & C anticipates Mr. Fray Sills’s return and lawyerly enthusiasm for our little case. *** An aside, an aggrievance: Though C & C had anticipated some such disaster, as any rigorous congregation of law-concerned actors would after sensing some feature of their world lacked General Liability Insurance, C & C had not, C & C admits, fully fleshed out the portent of physical demands for the crew at the Surveillance Shack. C & C is deeply saddened by the news of a Surveillance Shack team member, who, trying to keep up with his team while donning the genre of treadless slippers anyone dressing for day at the Surveillance Shack would find congruent with the demands of their task, slipped on water displaced from the fountain to end supine on the ground next to our two victims, his arms broken. C & C imagines, we are never short on imagination are we team?, that there is some immensely creative solution for this. ––George Cardinal
Closed for Business
By Nick Moug
Family Reunion By James Russell
We share the same planet—and oftentimes the same cities and homes—as our ancestors. But living day to day, we forget this inheritance, as well as the fact that we will pass along this home to our descendants. “Family Reunion” depicts a gathering my ancestors, from various times and places between 1865-1940, gathered on my front porch and framed in the present day at the same location.
Ode to Pullover Hoodies By Liam Strong
The best ones can replace your entire wardrobe, make you look tough, battered by weather and fists, make you unobtrusive, invisible in thick fabric. When I avoid the laundromat for fear of running up what little heat I allow myself mid-winter, my tongue cowers to tell you I don’t want to share my warmth with another person. I could buy applesauce in place of eggs: I could use the plate of my hands in place of turning the faucet: I could love the feeling of once loving, season its absence with packets of red pepper, because maybe it is better to have tasted and gone hungry than to never be satisfied with the marrow comprising a person. So when I lay down, I turn my arm into an unstable pillar reaching for less gravity, because nothing can bear this weight, nothing can make me feel weaker than the size small hoodie I had to buy online, because I am learning how to justify my decisions against my will, how I accept waking up in a sweat every morning with two meals a day, how I cope with panic attacks by crying in the shower, how I try not to place our pronouns close together in sentences anymore by shutting the curtains to ward away your darkness, how our despondency for each other’s well-being stemmed from the cardboard box full of apples, browning with rent. Maybe it is because I only think in solutions that turned our problems into dayless nights, and keeps piling up, when my hoodie chokes me on the walk to work, breathing arthritic, my hoodie, which turns my body into a torn mast and sail, my body, a penance ruffling with garbage bags for skin, my suffering, a blissful sin enveloped in coffee teeth and insomnia, my bliss, the forgiveness of the cold, my forgiveness, which I will not allow myself, because it is so difficult to hear my name in a way it has never been said, too terrifying to wrap my arms around someone tighter than an addiction, so when I say my name out loud, please tell me I will be able to get used to it, how it curdles on my lips like milk, how it never received the love it deserved from me, how you were the only one who made my name and my future seem so far apart on a page, that when I say you are not missing from me, I won’t have to wonder what is.
There is the possible nakedness, a moment of my chest splitting shirt from hoodie, egg from yolk, that appears and for that moment I want to leave with the water still whirling but when the change in my jeans is heavier than my wallet, it is like a free meal I can’t refuse. And maybe you were right that a calved heart can’t be seen through layers of insecurities, but when I am naked in front of you, I know that maybe we always have been, and the cloth we decide in the morning is what makes us comfortable, which is to say what I’ve been most scared of was the contentment rooted in salve, the joy of taste, the swollen ink of our bedsheets, the comfort in knowing there is always escape, because goddamnit, if what I want is nothing at all, then I will pay for empty washing machines until the slate between you and I is blank, and I will shiver in the middle of summer until I am so naked my face and my name will be dissipated clouds, alone enough that when I reach outward, I will be reaching inward, outstretched for what was always closest to me.
By Megan Aldridge
By Alissia J.R. Lingaur
When angry, Lilith parked on the road between the lakes. Fresh from her first year of college and a month from her second, she navigated the familiar curves of a road she traveled almost daily in her youth, on foot at first, and then later, on her dad’s mountain bike, always ending at the bottom of the hill where the pavement broke away and the gravel began, lakes rimmed by cattails on either side. Though she settled her Grand Am in the shoulder’s soft sand, she could’ve parked in the lane, so rarely other vehicles passed this way. Lilith climbed from her car and inhaled the loamy damp. This night she’d come after an argument with her boyfriend, Adam, a silly spat about their limited time together that summer. Between the hours he swung at the golf course as caddy, and the kneeaching shifts she sagged behind the cash register, their free moments were squeezed into the backseat of his Jimmy or rehashing juvenile jokes with their high school friends. She considered breaking up with him. This was the time of prepaid phone cards, gratefully received gifts with codes Lilith and Adam punched into corded handsets, searching for each other’s voices at their separate universities. Home for the summer and navigating that post-high school realm where they were neither children nor adults, the two had little to say to each other, little beyond words of annoyance, frustration, doubt. Human concerns of the flesh and heart. A year before, she’d led Adam to the road between the lakes, and they’d skipped stones atop the water, enjoying the summer afternoon and the long days of freedom and possibility before they left for separate futures. The air zigged and zagged with dragonflies and water striders. They snatched a painted turtle as it sunned on a rock, and Adam flipped the reptile shell-side down and stroked its underbelly. The turtle closed its
Stars imperishable decorated the dome from horizon to horizon
Space Guy On Moon By Kiara Ortiz
eyes, pulling arms and legs within the safety of its carapace. At night a year later, the lakes glimmered in starlight, the sharp outlines of reeds waited at the roads’ edge. Lilith climbed across the Pontiac’s hood and onto its roof where she tucked her legs beneath her and stared at the sky. Stars imperishable decorated the dome from horizon to horizon. No matter her head turn, Lilith witnessed the galaxy above her, and no light pollution tampered the experience. She spotted the big and little dippers, Ursa Major and Minor, and the jagged W she knew to be Cassiopeia. As the metal from the car’s roof cooled her legs, Lilith gazed at the heavens and the innumerable stars humans have named and linked and attempted to organize and order, while finding their way. The longer she looked, the more she forgot breakfast that day. Forgot the color of her shoes. Forgot her tether to the pale blue dot, rotating in the cold, lifeless abyss of space. Instead, she closed her eyes, and Lilith glimpsed the universe. Her mind leaped forward to a future she could never understand—a cement wall buried between Israel and the Gaza Strip, a Florida-tinted millionaire in the White House, a hooded boy shot dead while walking home at night. Lilith’s lip quivered, and she pinched her eyes tighter. The images shifted to a future she could taste—cinnamon and lavender, hints of honey and cardamom. Her cheeks reddened as her body filled with heat and flame, a shredding, intense love. When she could no longer stand the pressure in her head, Lilith jumped to her feet and screamed. Her vision cleared. The bullfrogs and toads swallowed. Crickets chopped short their midnight mating calls. Only the stars above blazed, seeming close enough to touch, close enough to reach out a finger and prick from night’s dark fabric. And there she stood. Balancing on the roof of her Pontiac, a lone, young woman.
Women and the Wolf
By Rachel Lynn Moore I imagine the big bad wolf in Larry Nassar’s place on the witness stand, where he is forced to face his victims. One by one, the women who survived him approach the stand and bare their chests. They push their fingers into the scarred skin beneath their breasts as easily as pressing into river clay, then curl around the bottom ribs and break them backwards. This continues, rib-by-rib, skin tearing like wet paper, until their chest hangs wide open, pulsing, dripping, and alive. Ribbons of blood unfurl around their arms as each woman reaches up behind her lungs, stays her breath, and with a sharp twist pulls out her still-beating heart. The women are pale— some crying quietly, and some screaming, either with pain, or rage, or both—as they hold their outstretched fists and wait for the wolf to witness them. He turns away, and the bailiff angles a mirror before his face so that he’s still seeing the woman before him. He closes his eyes, and with a motion from the judge, the bailiff peels them open, using T-pins to attach his upper eyelids to the skin just beneath his brows. The woman facing him now steps closer and holds her heart higher. At her feet, there is a growing pool of her own blood and scattered rib fragments. Each woman replaces her heart and meticulously reconstructs herself once the wolf has seen her. Putting themselves back together is routine, a process done many times. One finishes, and another approaches, already digging into her scars. The wolf weeps as he watches her. The wolf is not only Nassar. He is Weinstein, Batali, Turner, and every other name making headlines in the past year. But the wolf on the witness stand only represents the names
we know. Most wolves are better hunters. They prey on the weak, the sick, the timid—the women without voices or visibility, and the little girls who will be blamed or not believed. The women facing the wolf give me hope. They are the first wave of a fast approaching, longawaited flood. Their courage is the harbinger of a cultural shift that women have been dying for. These women understand, like I do, that it will never be enough to hunt the wolves. They hide in an old growth forest, made of shadows and silence cast by those who protect predators. Courageous, furious women like those who face the wolf, heart in hand, carry sparks of flames in the tips of their fingers, and have no patience for a forest that does little more than stand in the way of justice. We will burn down the forest until nothing remains but smoking ash in the sunlight. I want baby girls bottle-fed on rage. I want young women raised to fight back and draw blood. I want us to be heard when we scream.
I want to see the wolf cry.
By Maria Rice
We are connected to the world we live in.
By Kajetan Morman
To Boldly Go By Tamara Wiget
Evan felt restless as he lay in bed. After dinner he and his father had watched their favorite old program, Star Trek, and now he couldn’t stop thinking about space. He wanted to be like the bold, handsome Captain Kirk; when he grew up he knew he would visit lots of distant planets and make friends with aliens— unless they were the bad kind. Then he’d have to be brave and blast them with his phaser. When he was through exploring the universe, he would colonize Mars and retire there. He got out of bed and crept over to the window. It was a clear night, and the stars shone brightly. He paid special attention to his favorites, taking a moment to silently greet each one. He couldn’t see his future home planet, but he knew it was out there somewhere. He turned to the bookcase next to the window and removed his favorite book —Cosmos— from its shelf. He loved any book about space, of course, but this one was particularly special because it had been given to him by his best friend, Samir. Evan’s mom had forgotten to invite Samir to Evan’s birthday party, so Samir had given him the gift on the playground at school, where they had spent many hours together pouring over the black and white depictions of the stars, discussing which celestial bodies they would explore first on their intergalactic journey. Evan tried to hold back the emotion that suddenly welled up, but a lone tear plopped wetly onto the page. Evan missed Samir. He missed all his first grade friends, and didn’t understand why he wasn’t allowed to go back to school. He hadn’t been to school since Parent’s Day, over a month ago. Evan had been excited to show his parents the picture of Saturn’s rings he’d painted in class, and to introduce them to his friends and their families. They shook hands with Timothy’s parents, and then Randy’s, and David’s. They did not, he noticed, shake hands with Samir’s. In fact, he noticed them back away from the tall, darkskinned man and the beautiful woman beside him. Evan had been captivated by Samir’s mother. She was a small woman, “a wisp of a thing” as Evan’s mother would say; but she stood boldly, proud. Looking at her you couldn’t help but think that she was somebody important, and she knew it. But what most captivated Evan was the scarf she wore around her face and neck. The swirling pattern of reds, blues, and yellows had a hypnotic quality. Evan knew that Samir’s family was different because they were from somewhere else; he thought Samir’s mother must have
been a queen there. He wondered sometimes why she would give up being royalty to live like any common family. Parent’s Day had made Evan’s father very angry. At home that evening Evan pondered the events of the day as he quietly cleaned his telescope in the living room. He heard the sound of cabinets opening and closing as his mother made dinner, mingled with harsh murmurs about “dirty foreigners” and “stealing jobs from hard-working Americans.” Evan heard these words often since his father had been fired from his job, and they were often accompanied by the clinking of glass as his father poured a clear liquid out of a big bottle. Evan’s attention was drawn back to his bedroom when the floor creaked behind him. He looked up to see his father standing next to him. His father raised an eyebrow questioningly, then gestured to the book. Evan handed it to him, noticing that he took it gingerly, as though he understood it was something to be revered. Evan watched his father flip through the book, and could see the smile he tried to suppress.
He turned away from the universe in chaos. Although they didn’t quite understand Evan’s dreams, he knew his parents were proud of the knowledge he gained from his interest in space, so much so that they had paid to enroll him in a special school. Evan stiffened when the pages flipped to the inside cover; he knew that, written there in small scrolling letters were the words To my best friend Evan, From Samir. His face paled as his father’s reddened. He knew he was in trouble. His father’s smile became a thin, hard line. His father began to frantically separate pages from binding, tossing them carelessly into the air. Evan wanted to save his treasure from destruction, but fear held him frozen. The sound of ripping paper was like the rasping breath of a dying creature to his ears. It seemed an eternity before it stopped. “As long as you’re my son, you won’t be friends with any sand nigger,” his father declared as he dropped what remained of the book’s cover to the floor. He weaved slightly as he left the room. Evan sat still for several minutes, staring at the pages that now littered his bedroom floor. He could see a picture of Perseus peeking from underneath a page explaining dwarf stars, a corner of Jupiter sticking out
from the very bottom of the pile. He turned away from the universe in chaos. Outside, where things were as they should be, the stars dimmed as though they could feel his heartbreak. He watched the night sky for a long time as the bright blue ball he called home hurtled through the darkness of space on an infinite loop. He felt the chill of the vast, mysterious universe in his veins. A sudden streak across the sky jolted him back to planet Earth. He watched, breathless, as it rocketed through several constellations, glowing like nothing he had ever seen. In an instant, it cut a thin line brighter than the sun through the heavy blackness of creation before fading off beyond his line of sight. Evan crawled under the covers of his bed to dream of the day someone would watch his spaceship blast across the sky.
By Rachel Esckelson
Moving Around The World By Ellen Bjorkung
An Illustration of my life, moving around the world wiTh my family.
My Peaceable Kingdom By Lacey Fitch
Phosphorous By Joel Mann
This is a song I wrote for my daughter when she was first born. Five guitars play different parts, but each one is made louder or quieter at different parts to bring each part to the surface in its time.
Glass's Knee 5 in Motion By Caroline Schaefer-Hills
This work is structured as a repeating sequence of three different kinds of space. Based on "Knee 5" of Einstein on the Beach â&#x20AC;&#x201D; technically an opera â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the libretto employs solfĂ¨ge syllables (which enables the musician to audiate, or mentally hear, the pitches of a piece of music which he or she is seeing for the first time, and then sing them aloud), numbers (placeholders for texts), and short sections of poetry. This Motion Graphic is intended for the audience to construct personal connections with Einstein as a character and with the music, allowing them to assign images in their own minds to the icon and the theory of relativity. There is numerical repetition, however, offering an interpretation as a reference to the mathematical and scientific breakthroughs made by Einstein.
In Wildness is the Preservation of the World By Kristy Tompkins
Ground Control to Elon Musk By Megan Ward
Here am I floating ‘round my tin can Far above the moon Planet Earth is blue And there’s nothing I can do -- “Space Oddity,” David Bowie
On February 6th, 2018, at 15:45 Eastern Standard Time, in Cape Canaveral, Florida, United States, North America, Earth, Elon Musk sent a Tesla to Mars. Elon, what if someday the Martians find your car, upon inspection discover the words “Made by Humans on Earth,” and decide to trace it back to its home? Do you think they will embrace you as a god? The rest of us become subjugated, the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer on a cosmic scale. Did you include the greeting of “Don’t Panic!” in hopes they might take it to whatever passes for their hearts, embracing the Tesla as a gift from the heavens as it orbits their planet like a strange, new moon? Elon, do you hope that aliens may see the car as a sign, one showcasing the ingenuity of the human race, and decide to reveal to us the secrets of the galaxy? Have you considered that these little green men might have a civilization? And then they have weapons, an instinct for survival, and decide to strike humanity first. Or let’s agree that aliens may find it and follow the cold trail to Earth— perhaps they find nothing but a rock, roiling in radiation, swirling in dust. Would they spare a moment of silence for the race that burned itself up? But Elon, what will happen if there is no one else out there? And a century from now, all that is left is a car, a spaceman, and Space Oddity on repeat.
Not Long Enough by Ann Hosler Lilah lowered her wrist from the ID scanner. Her left hand rejoined her right on the grip of her plasgun. The titanium door slid open, a whisper of sound in the silent halls of the research center. She stepped inside one of the most restricted areas in the world, padding a few feet to crouch beside a support column as her eyes swept over the cryopods. The pods closest to her were tall and darkened from a thick layer of ice. Lilah scowled as she noted the husky, masculine shapes encased within. The room was circular, at least fifty feet across at its widest. Barlights hovered over tiered rows of cryopods, slashing shadows across the workbenches in the heart of the lab. One shadow danced across the floor beside the column, this time cast by a person: the reason Lilah was called in. She moved from the column to behind the nearest cryopod, ducking to compensate for its smaller height. Less than an hour had passed since the researchers made contact. Lilah hoped the man hadn’t damaged the ongoing genome editing study in that particular sector.
“We need you in the Class 60 restricted lab,” the lead researcher stressed, her voice wavering over the intercom in Wahine Laboratory’s security office. “The cryopod was not supposed to open.”
A man. The first anyone had seen in centuries. Lilah and the deputy sergeant exchanged a concerned look before assuring the woman
they would investigate it. The security office announced the immediate evacuation of the entire building. Despite being the graveyard shift, the researchers maintained a heavy 24-hour schedule, and until the situation was handled, it was safer to remove non-military personnel from the premises. Most of the officers had departed already for the day, making Lilah the current second-in-command. Her credentials were remotely granted full access by the chief security officer to the Class 60 lab while the deputy sergeant worked on recalling patrollers for backup, which would take several hours to complete. It took nearly a half hour before a bodyscan confirmed that the only people remaining in the building were in the office— plus the single life signature in the Class 60 lab. A man. The first anyone had seen in centuries. Nearly 250 years ago, women suffered mounting accusations, unjust trials, and inhumane laws as a result of speaking out against their abusers. This ignited protests, revolts, government takeovers, and eventually war, sponsored by female leaders across the world. Chaos spread among mixed-gender military ranks in every nation, and rage took hold for a time, leading to a global genocide of the male sex. Though the situation was too entrenched to restore order, female researchers of that time locked several hundred boys and non-military men in five cryolabs around the world. They were optimistic that one day, the two genders would once again co-exist. Lilah trembled at the thought—history books recounted the terror in those days of war, a terror that would wrench apart the society women had built from its remains. As she left the security office, the deputy sergeant gave her no specific directive aside from “Take care of the problem.”
Lilah moved along the outskirts of the lab. Seven more cryopods sheltered her along the perimeter, and she paused as she reached a gap that would allow her to approach the research benches from the side. She gazed upon the man. One hand smoothed over pages on the workbench, and his auburn hair swept across the tip of an ear as he hunched forward. His free hand lifted to scratch the dusting of hair across his wide cheekbones,
fingers scraping against it lethargically. As she crept toward the center her head crossed a barlight’s beam. The man jerked in her direction when her shadow touched his arm. Green eyes, she noticed, as they narrowed. “Do you know what this is?” he asked, holding up a handful of pages casually, though Lilah heard wariness in his tone. She shook her head while steadying her plasgun, barrel pointed at the man. His lips tightened. “Your researchers are harvesting from the cryopods.” He looked around, movements slow and cautious under Lilah’s intense gaze. “DNA. According to these notes, they’re sequencing from the men here to eliminate a new strain of diseases plaguing newborns.” “It’s not my job to care about that.” Lilah rose, taking a few steps forward. “Why are you here?” “Why don’t you ask what you really want to know?” “How are you here?” Lilah silently damned her curiosity. The first rule in her officer’s manual: never engage with a potentially dangerous subject. But before she laid the matter to rest, she wanted to know how this man defied probability. The man smiled, a few lines creasing his stubbled cheeks. He closed his eyes, drawing in breath. “I founded this research center, did you know that?”
“When the genocide started, we looked for an alternative, a way for a peaceful conclusion." Lilah shook her head, though he could not see. He shrugged, grunting, as if acknowledging her response anyway. “When the genocide started, we looked for an alternative, a way for a peaceful conclusion. The cryopods had been in use for only a few decades, but we saw an opportunity to save the male gender for future generations.” His eyes snapped open and met Lilah’s. “Cryobanks would allow women to continue to breed, if they wished, in the meantime. I’m glad to see that was successful.” “There’s a timer on my cryopod. No one knew, not even my wife when she shut me inside. 200 years seemed reasonable, enough time for an era or more to pass. Surely society
would change, be ready to move on. I could be at the forefront of the reintegration of our genders.” “It wasn’t long enough.” Lilah’s voice cracked, her throat dry. “But…” the man’s face drooped. “The world must have changed, for the better. I’ll return to the cryopod, if necessary. First, I’d like to see the sun once again.” “No.” “You could accompany—“ “Absolutely not.” Lilah clenched her jaw. “Imagine the chaos, the anger, that the sight of a man would cause,” she hissed, finger tightening on the trigger. The man stood, eyes flicking to her plasgun, one hand still clutching the research pages, the other raised in supplication, palm toward her. “I understand.” He looked to the left; Lilah’s eyes flicked that way, spotting the open pod. “When you lock me back in, the 200-year timer will restart. I leave it up to you whether or not to warn your future generations.” He turned back to Lilah, lowering his hands as she nodded. Lilah imagined her daughter, Eve, currently asleep at home under the watchful eye of her wife, growing up alongside some of the male youth encased within these pods. One of them might eventually sway Eve to love him, and she could be the first woman to naturally conceive a child in centuries. That child would have children of her own, as would her friends, and the reintegration of genders would expand society while adding new complexities and wonders for subsequent generations. But also new problems. Always new problems. Infinity stretched out until the circular pattern of life repeated itself, and all Lilah saw were the graves of her great-great-great-great-granddaughters. Her plasgun was popular among the military for its silent efficiency. His green eyes never left Lilah’s, widening as the plasmabolt sank into his forehead. A spray of gray matter exploded behind him, crimson rivulets dripping as he slumped to the ground. The pages, now spattered, fell from his numb fingers and slipped beneath the workbench. Lilah approached the man and pressed her fingers against his throat, waiting for a heartbeat that never came.
I Was Born in the Wrong Generation By MOLLY EASTMAN
Perspective By Kristy Tompkins Wind rushes past my ears, deafening the racing thoughts of my mind. Sunshine warms my face, legs pump harder and faster, heartbeat echoes in my ears. At the edge of the trees I sigh and slow a bit. The Great Blue Heron calls out, soaring gracefully above the waterline. A Sandhill Crane is heard beyond the distant trail. My respite is found in nature, the artfully crafted realm of our pale blue dot. It offers perspective amid the transience of human life. Staring at my childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mortality, tomorrow is not a guarantee. Emotions creep up like a rogue wave knocking me to my knees. I pump my legs harder and focus on the enveloping beauty of Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s creation. I catch my breath between swells, and pray for the waves to be still.
Amongs B y KO t t h REE bEM e IS C S
on A alw and f the e piec r e re ays om ver y fl a and manif far, i day c ecting e n h s o a th ti will n, our ng an e gal os in d re axy life littl ind efin e pa gen . Ch itel y a le blu eratin aos is g f fec e d t ou ot, a aroun r ex d, n iste d it nce .
An Afterthought By Richard Vegh
There was, in that unimaginably fleeting and distant time, a fashionable pastime among certain of the alien-types that were vacationing within temporal space. That pastime took the form of wagers on matters unthinkably vast, affecting galaxies and untold multitudes of beings, to infinitesimally inconsequential. Among these gambling alien-types, there existed one in particular, a disreputable trickster of a being, whose origins were unknown. It had infamously caused the L’oh species-process to splinter into disparate, disengaged phases. It tricked the Yggdra light-spears into abandoning their home plane, so that they lost forever the ability to procreate, by luring them with immortality. Called Loki, for how frequently it invented histories of how it had caused the L’oh to split, the being was accounted mad among the point-cluster-souls. And being an inveterate gambler, prone to ennui, Loki was at the center of many of the cosmic and inconsequential games, wagers, and jokes that would sporadically arise. It was in such a mood of nostalgia for the hijinks of the distant, possibly imaginary past that Loki stumbled across a weak transmission from a sector that had been quiet for eons, after its previous dominant species-beings, stabilized thought-forms, had gone on a sector-wide rampage exterminating all forms of life: non-organic, organic, liminal, and in a final vow of thought-silence, extinguished themselves, as well. The transmission awoke longdormant, familiar, patterns within Loki—which was a being both diachronic and spatially limited—perfectly suiting its nostalgic reverie. Loki transmitted itself toward the source-system and settled in to observe for a time. The message claimed to be from a speciestype original to the third planet. The dominant little species-beings demanded justice for both the ecosystem and its cousin species-beings on the planet. (Evidently all of the planetary lifeforms had not been absorbed into a single consciousness, nor been organized into parallel or serial stages in a single omni-being.) Loki’s thought-being spent several revolutions of the local star contemplating the implications. Slowly, and then very suddenly, the setup for what promised to be a splendid joke took shape in Loki’s thought-space.
No sooner had the rich possibilities occurred to it than Loki blurred into action, broadcasting thoughtforms and gravitational sensewaves to various of its most active, stable, and convenient fellow alien-types. An invitation to form a Grand Congress propagated throughout the known realities, sped along by hyperbolic promises of the spectacle to come. As transdimensional beings from neighboring dimensions and one nondimensional space began to arrive, Loki realized the setup to its joke might have set off more than it could manage. Hastily, Loki scrutinized the transmission more carefully, and began to develop a more complete picture of the justice being demanded. As more beings coalesced and convened, a noisy discourse developed around the little creatures at the center of all the controversy. Before long, the borrowed and absorbed notions of the little planet’s original transmission penetrated enough layers of organic intelligence cognizers, mechanized thought apparatuses, and artificial awareness affectors. A quorum was found to be present, the Grand Jury declared ready to be empaneled. Something like trepidation took hold in Loki’s being-space; a potential joke had become a potent Joke, and now threatened to become an uncontrollable omni-Joke. Yet the trickster portion of Loki’s intention-being was in ascendance and excited to have caused such a stir. And even, perhaps just slightly, bemused with this uncanny notion of justice. It almost awoke some echoes of feeling, some memories of memories. Fleetingly stirred, then gone. Either a joke, or justice, would soon take shape.
Ryan Davies did not like parties. He still went to some, occasionally. A big part of college life is fitting in, after all. And some of the people he was acquainted with had invited him, in a kind of desultory way. Ryan didn’t mind being an afterthought.
Mostly, he tried to avoid undue attention. Though in his fourth year, he was not close to graduating. His classmates didn’t realize he changed his declared majors twice, nor would they likely care. Currently, he was an urban planning and environmental studies double-major but as he twirled his finger in a red Solo cup of flat Coca-Cola, his thoughts swirled around graphic design. A bright light flared, and he blinked several times, clearing the after-image of the white cup rim. Ryan saw he was alone, in a weirdly misshapen facsimile of the room he’d just been in. The walls and floor and ceiling were all curved and joined at strange angles, and through the surfaces he could just make out… stars? A garishly-dressed, foppish-looking creature stood fuzzily before him. He stared, noticing small incongruities, each odd feature sort of… smoothed over, becoming more distinct, until a somewhat more ordinary, stillsomewhat alien creature remained, as solid-looking as a bowl of Jell-O. GREETINGS. A thunderous intrusion overrode coherent thought, like a loudspeaker system in his skull. Ryan cringed. He dropped his cup and CocaCola spilled, blotting out a widening pool of stars. The creature stared at him quizzically. It seemed to be gauging his responses. The loudspeaker voice shrank down to a mental roar: What are you—no. That is… Hello. Hello? Ryan felt the creature’s presence within his mind, measuring his reactions. The one-sided conversation was dissimilar to speech—it seemed more as though Ryan’s own language concepts had been sorted through, plucked out, and struck. “What the hell. Is happening,” Ryan stammered. The alien (Ryan was sure that’s what the increasingly Ben-Franklin-esque-looking creature was) nodded in a disturbingly human gesture. It cocked its head, and words shaped outside of Ryan’s head—forming out of the weird ambient environment. Yet Ryan still felt the alien within his mind… observing. “What the hello to you of Earth,” it replied. “We are happening, yes.” The alien… frowned. With each passing moment it seemed more human. Ryan realized he could not feel his legs; then, suddenly, he was sitting. As if in response to his puzzled thought, a chair materialized beneath him, exactly as he’d imagined. “I represent the Justice League—no, that is taken, I perceive. Very well, I embody the Great—nay, Awesome. The Awesome Adjudicators of Justice. Great Justice. And we have come to happen a great justice on you.” Realizing he must be in a dream, or possibly a hallucination, Ryan attempted to jostle himself awake. He closed his eyes tightly and imagined
himself in his bed, pillowcases still in the dryer, needing to be retrieved, preferably before one of his housemates hid, donated, or discarded them out of frustration over his tardy laundry-gathering habits. The creature cleared its throat. “Call me Loki,” it annunciated. “Like the trickster god,” Ryan replied. “What a remarkable coincidence,” Loki glossed. “As it happens, I, Loki, am here on behalf of the Greater Assemblage of Justice Determiners”—Loki couldn’t seem to settle on a title—“...who have gathered here at your request. Tell us, oh Ryan-Davies, what is your petition?”
Slowly, and then very suddenly, the setup for what promised to be a splendid joke took shape in Loki’s thought-space. As if to suit the speech Loki had just made, a vast courtroom appeared around them. Loki wore a periwig, as did, Ryan suddenly felt, he himself; there were echelons of odd-looking beings (just call them aliens, that’s what they are, Ryan thought) stretching away toward the infinitely-distant walls. Some of the creatures resembled galaxies: they appeared as limitless as space itself. Others were more unseen suggestions of beings or vague concepts, only partially filled-in. There was a spherical cube being, and another: a pyramid of right-angled planes of light that overlapped but did not touch. Staring at any particular being brought about a stupor of non-comprehension. Ryan found his gaze returning to Loki, who stood fastidiously shuffling papers that had at some point materialized upon a podium. Loki cleared its throat, rather elaborately and said, “Ryan-Davies, your petition, if you please?” Ryan’s forehead wrinkled in confusion.“I have no idea what you mean.” “Ryan-Davies—Ryan, if I may call you that,” Loki peered at Ryan as though it had not rifled through his onrushing reactions and selected this address in response to what it found there. “On the seventeenth of February, in something called a year something called twenty something called maybe eighteen, you recorded a message for a class called Environmental Justice in which you demanded that so-called non-human lifeforms on Earth be given a hearing and trial. We are here to answer that call for justice, Ryan! Be glad of it!” Loki preened a bit. It was—rather vainly and disturbingly—shifting more and more toward
the features of figures Ryan either admired or was outright attracted to. He found little difficulty ignoring this, as the alien’s speech had set his pulse racing. “What? Oh, no, you can’t mean… that, well that was just for a class, that—it’s not a serious argument.” He paused. “Wait. Okay, what exactly did I say?” The Loki alien pressed an oversized button, and the recording of Ryan’s voice projected from its podium, sounding breathless and occasionally stammering. It had been an extra credit assignment for a class on contemporary ethical dilemmas. He’d made a podcast episode discussing climate change, habitat loss, and species eradication from a non-anthropocentric and polemical point of view. Ryan had gotten pretty carried away, arguing that so many irreplaceable species had already been lost, and many more were predicted to be lost at an accelerating rate—some scientists speculated that if certain keystone species in critical ecosystems were wiped out, a devastating chain reaction affecting great swathes of human and non-human life could follow. The human species must stop, or be stopped, he had concluded. “Hmmm. Um, well,” Ryan stammered as his recorded voice trailed off. “How did you get—? But anyway, I’m not in that class anymore. The thing is...” Yet, as Ryan had listened, some of the ideas settled onto him, were still sinking in, as was the enormity and the absurdity of the present situation. He remembered how affecting reading about species and habitat destruction had been. “Yes. It’s all true,” he finally expelled. It came out in a rush, along with a wave of emotions: relief, anguish, fear, guilt. His hands were shaking. Some of the stars seemed to swirl before his eyes. “Very well. Ryan-Davies has found the human species-being guilty.” The Loki-creature brushed away some of the swarming stars, which Ryan realized suddenly were little points of light swarming within the courtroom. “I… No, wait. You’re saying that I…? Aren’t you the judg—um, the Great Adjudicators?” Loki nodded solemnly. “Yes, and though we hold no species-beings to any arbitrary standard, every species-being is entitled to rule on its own behalf. Ryan-Davies, in your testimony, you have given us the law and verdict. We inquire now as to your sentence.” “My… sentence...” Ryan felt a chill that had nothing to do with this temperate place. “Who—what are you, all of you, really?” he demanded. “We are from many dimensions and spaces. We—” Loki brushed again at the hovering
light-points, before continuing. “We exist, for some time in this space, some of us, until we do not. Yet before you, we had no notion of law. You gave us the law, and so now we must enforce it. Some of those—” it waved its hand vaguely toward a quadrant of the courtroom, where Ryan saw among other phantasms branching threads of light “—here have taken to law most seriously, and wish to have language, and policy, and governance. These are part of justice, yes?” “I think you have the wrong person. We have scientists, and, I guess ethicists, and just smarter people, you know, who think about all this stuff. I’m just…” “You are Ryan-Davies.” “Uh, yeah.” “We will run our simulations of the RyanDavies universes and decide for ourselves whether what you have proposed is justice.” Loki waved its vague appendage. “If so, have no fear: the Ryan-Davies of those universes—some proportion of them—will be quite comfortable.” “The Ryan-Davies… what about this universe?” “The Ryan-Davies of this universe will be sequestered for its own safety. The judgeappellant must not participate in its own verdict. That much is obvious.” “My verdict? Is this a joke?” “It could have been. Rather, it is what we now realize is justice. Thank you for the language-concept, Ryan-Davies. Goodbye.” “No, wait—” But the courtroom, and the Loki-creature, were gone. A few wisps of light hovered for an instant longer, before these, too, disappeared. Ryan realized he was still there… in a gray, shapeless, formless void.
Coca-Cola spilled, blotting out a widening pool of stars.
Over a few eons, Ryan imagined many things—one of these a kind of being split among gas clouds, accretion discs, and stars. There were even some half-remembranced point-cluster souls that Ryan Davies conjured from a distant, uncertain past, souls which in their whisperings seemed at times insane. In his boredom, and with his many imaginary companions, Ryan-Davies began devising new games and wagers, always partially-attuned toward some vaguely-hoped-for signals of a kind that would break the eternally-recurring dullness of experienced space-time.
Nowhere By Lacey English
Maybe none of us are from anywhere, and maybe what I mean is my tongue lacks a mother one that is strict and straight craving to be heard and recognized Hold grasp, it taunts, Embrace the thickness With phrases and words Spit them, propelling loud and proud Instead I am adopted depending on my home which sways and seduces the ears of many I adapt to wherever life deposits me like a seed, a thirst to bloom in stroke of serendipity, anchored to the wind, like I am indebted to it It seems impossible my roots would furrow deep enough, embedded in a single space, for I know as soon as they settle their desire to be uprooted is riddled and infested with intangible desires, start to sweep dried leaves, pick bruised blossoms, the desire to grow something, anything, to be ripped from the soil, dirty hands shaking vigorously back into the wind can sometimes transform the convolution of my intertwined roots and somehow thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s how Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve survived. A map unfolds, I tell myself, today I could be the waves, that which rush, smoothing some, but not all edges I refuse to let it play me and choose the boat, I drift, continent to continent I return and find everything the same I return and find I am changed.
So, maybe I will choose the wind where nothing is tethered I often find my body retreat within itself I plaster on a paralyzed smile my heart beats at a maddening pace. A melancholy soul, like a dye with six faces my mother is red with the silt and sky of Thailand my father green and blistered with ale and chants, his Irish chest billowing a mountain in a breath But what kind of person does that make me? A mixture that radiates the culture and tongue of those Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve met. Sometimes they pretend not to notice how much one has changed. My fingertips touch valleys and shores my feet reside on hilltops my head knocks against stars my heart longs for a home, the floors supported strong, its roof held in place, and beds paunch with family perhaps I long for something undefined. Such is this, as I comfort myself I choose the wind, and as it pulls me from the soil roots and all my eyes see colors confused together, I wonder, maybe none of us are from anywhere, but maybe what I mean is nowhere.
A Lonely LIght By Liam Kaiser
Woman: A Natural Disaster By Deanna Luton
Gaia growls, buried beneath layers of bedrock and rubble. Born from chaos, balanced. She birthed the sky, the sea, the giants, the monsters, the first kings, and tribes of humanity. Gaia quakes, the Earth shakes, mother of Titans easily enraged. She menstruates red hot magma, bleeds molten motherhood, pyroclastic flow of a woman’s wrath: smoke and ash explode. She froze Pompeii in its tracks, helped Mount Vesuvius bury a valley of souls. Hercules was no match for her volcanic rage. City lost at the whim of a woman one with the wind, water, and sand. Paint Gaia lady, buxom woman, mother in order to justify her mistreatment. Why must we gender even the ground beneath our feet? Man has pillaged her planet. First, her Old World and then her New: we named America virgin and took our bounty in her bleeding. Humanity labeled her chaste: their manifest destiny to claim her. Extracted gold from her crevices and bled her riverbed veins dry, cherry pit drenched in sin, iron ore, metallic innocence coveted. Why is it so much easier to harvest the heart of a woman?
How can we help ourselves when temptation is laid out before us, pulsating, pristine? Birthed from Adam’s rib, Eve was meant as nothing more than a play thing, chew toy, entertainment. Enchanted by the seductive coil of a serpent, temptation on her tongue drove Adam to disobey her creator, her master, her maker. From the moment her teeth sunk into the apple crisp skin, cursed to bleed for etern ity, blessed by the burden of birth. Defiance of the divine casts humanity from the Garden of Eden. Eve’s rebellion plants the seed of a revol ution millennia in the making, an insurgence slow on the rise: a force to reckon with. Katrina broke the levees, shoved New Orleans’ to her knees. She kissed the French quarter a little too hard, blew Bourbon Street’s doors down, molested by a mix of salt-water whiskey. She sang a lullaby, shook her babies when she couldn’t hush their screams, rocked the Ninth Ward sweetly to sleep. Irma closed Seaworld, seduced Orlando, begged the Cape Verde winds to turn the Everglades upside down. She teased the eastern seaboard for weeks, tempted cities from Miami to Atlanta, caressed the Caribbean violently, inundated the streets with people craving relief, panicked, frantically fleeing in vain. Traffic jams overflowed the interstate, gas stations ran dry, families caught in a Venus fly trap.
BY Mckenzie Leishman
Wilma bent the Bahamas over, flirted with the Florida Keys, proposed a union of destruction and catastrophe. She battered the Yucatan peninsula, made Machismo her bitch. Her aftermath triggered deadly mudslides in Haiti. Sandy impregnated Appalachia’s Smoky Mountain streams, penetrated as deep as the Midwest, surged the waves of the Great Lakes. She wept for Chicago’s fallen sons, grieved for her own lost children, dominated the eastern seaboard, whipped St. Lawrence’s spine. She filled New York City’s subway stations with afterbirth. Christen these women wicked, objectify them with a crucifix. Subdue their storms and extinguish their flames. Wildfires, rockslides, tsunamis, and cyclones: untamed. Mother Nature manipulating the tides in the battle of the sexes: tipping the scales in feminine’s favor.
The Future in Our Hands
Irene purged Puerto Rico, left devastation in her wake. She waltzed with New England, first spinning across North Carolina before twirling toward the Big Apple. She dared the Atlantic to sweep New York City off her feet, put stars in her eyes, and knock her lights out. Her miscarriage flooded the streets of NYC.
By Anne-Marie kabat
The front desk was glossy, bare except for a bell and a black plaque with gold-tinted font. It read ‘ALL KEYS MUST BE RETURNED.’ “Miss?” The clerk leaned closer, his glasses sliding down his ski-slope of a nose. “Check-in?” His voice faded. Her eyesight blurred, eyes stuck on the golden lettering. Gold like fire. For a moment, everything around her burned. Her own skin began crackling like charcoal, amber flaring up all over her hands. As she felt herself being engulfed, she came back to reality. Under Birdie’s wool coat, under her frayed sweater, under her itchy blouse was a shoddy pocket hastily sewn into the side panel of her bra with a red glittery thread. It had been the only thing left in the sewing box from Marilyn Monroe. The lone items inside the pocket burned. The contents of the pocket seared into her side, a hostile heat. She was used to frostbite.
Birdie opened the metal gate outside her father’s old shop, hinges scraping on the track. Her father had never gotten around to repairing it, and she had grown to appreciate the noise. Anything to lessen the silence that had grown all-too consuming. Filling the shelves seemed to distract her enough, but it was quite the undertaking. Her dad’s smooth voice used to calm her. Birdie’s father had taught her well, even from the start. “Now Birdie, it doesn’t matter that these things are all history. So much of it has been lost already. If everything is supposed to be special, then nothing can really be special. Choose what matters to you. Not to anyone else. To you. Because you’re going to be the one taking care of it.” Birdie did choose what mattered to her. This shop gave her purpose, a sense of stability. Even time wasn’t concrete anymore. She was happy to have a safe space, and she showed her gratitude by investing her whole being. She had spent the past week hunting down an Al Capone collector, someone who would treasure Capone’s favorite suitcoat. Birdie had even gone through the trouble of repairing the rip on the
Even time wasn’t concrete anymore. 50
right sleeve. The shop had a fine coating of dust after just one night. Luckily, that day’s shipment had been limited to a couple of ornate lamps, a single Matryoshka doll, and a letter opener, so she had time to spare to clean. The inter-time exchange had been slowing since the new fees were put in place. Even Myrna, one of the best TimeJumpers Birdie knew, had met her match. Jumping alone already took a major toll on the body, and wallets were being emptied now too, simply to get a chance to go to another whenever. Birdie was just grateful that Myrna had gotten at least that shipment to her that day. Birdie worked her way around the shop with a feather duster. After she made her sweep around the shop, she headed to the backroom to polish her father’s incomplete coin collection, the one possession he kept after his many years as an antique dealer. Something struck her as odd immediately. Birdie scanned the back wall, anxiety beginning to coat her skin like paint. Her arm hair bristled, heat pulsing under her skin. Her father’s collection was gone. There was a chance that more items were missing. Birdie tucked her frustration deep inside, considering her limited options. There was no way for her to report a missing coin collection that had been obtained through possible black market thievery. There was no way to declare her backroom artifacts as stolen either, especially when she couldn’t guarantee the circumstances that had gotten them to her were ethical. She should have asked questions when she had the chance. Noting the rise in her anxiety, she chose to distract herself. Sighing, she made her way to her counter and placed the letter opener under a magnifying glass. Her eyes zeroed in on the wearing inscription at the base. The identification code was still legible. After a couple rabbit holes of research, she looked at it differently. The letter opener was United States Civil War era. She was shocked Myrna risked that Jump—it was so unlike her—but she didn’t blame her for trying to make ends meet. Most of the people who supplied her inventory were veteran Time-Jumpers. She knew each by name, knew the kind of treasures each Jumper would bring in. Any questions Birdie had about how they got the treasures were usually shut down. She didn’t expect Myrna to tell her about the trouble she went through to get anything from that day’s shipment. Any time she showed concern when a Time-Jumper came with a cast or injury, the subject of conversation was changed, and the rest of the transaction was silent. Even as she studied the severe scars on the skin of Time-Jumpers, she wrote off the marks as coincidence. Birdie’s descent into madness was halted by the arrival of Myrna, one of Birdie’s regular Time-Jumpers. Myrna juggled a crate in her hands as she entered the
shop, eventually setting it on Birdie’s back counter. “Round one of the day done,” Myrna said, proudly eyeing the items in the crate. “Round one?” Birdie didn’t conceal her concern. “Yep. Bit of a struggle with the last Jump.” “You mean you weren’t the one that left the box for me this morning?” Birdie said. “No,” Myrna said. “But speaking of things being left, there’s a trunk in your back alley. Not the best place for it, I might add.” She eyed the Jumper with hesitation before opening the creaking door that led to the alley. The trunk had a curious look to it. It was wrapped in a red velvet fabric with copper clasps. Stickers from locations around the world covered the trunk and each sticker had small numbering in its lower right corner. She kneeled in front of it, careful to keep her feet out of the puddles left over from last night’s storm. The person who had left the trunk hadn’t cared so much, abandoning it in an inch of muddy water. It had obviously weathered worse, so she wasn’t quick to move it. “What do you make of this, Birdie?” Myrna said, lightly pushing on the trunk with her boot. Her eyes lingered on the metal facets. The trunk already had a key in its latch, so there was no guesswork in opening it. “I don’t know what to make of anything, in all honesty. It’s more likely that this trunk is going to make something of me—whether that’s a fool or a genius, I haven’t a clue.”
The keys were pulling her along, gentle nudges this time. She reached for the trunk’s key and turned it ninety degrees, listening for the click of the tumblers. The inner workings were rusted, but the pressure she applied forced the key the rest of the way. The trunk unlatched, releasing dust. Birdie fought the old hinges and opened the compartment. On the floor of the trunk were two keys tied together by a blue ribbon, heat radiating from the set. One key said Hotel in old typeface and the other said India. Hotel India. She needed answers. She bought a train ticket that afternoon.
The ting of a service bell on the counter next to her encouraged Birdie’s mind to shift back to the present. “Check-in? Yes. Is Room H available, by chance? Or Room I?” The clerk eyed her, shards of curiosity in his gray eyes. He took a long look at his logbook, pen tapping against the crisp page. “We use a numbered room system here. Room for one?” Part of her wondered why she even bothered staying if she couldn’t find the rooms that belonged to the keys, but the searing she still felt against her skin
begged her to stay. She couldn’t believe it. “Yes, just me.” She didn’t feel alone. She couldn’t even explain that to herself. “Third floor okay?” Her voice croaked a little as the keys jabbed her like a hot poker. The keys were practically twisting in their little pocket. She wanted to scream. “Fine, it’s fine.” He nodded and grabbed something from one of the drawers behind the counter. Sliding a keycard at her, he said “Room 323.” “No keys?” she remarked, her back arching in defeat. “Not in the newer part of the hotel.” “Is there an older part then?” A jolt came from the keys. It wasn’t hurtful this time. “It’s under renovation, miss. There have been complications and the project won’t be done anytime soon.” He bristled a bit but recovered. “Any questions?” “No.” Unless he could tell her where those lettered rooms were. She took the keycard and made her way up. She shook her head, heading for the stairs. As she rounded the first flight, she noticed that the mezzanine had a light coat of sawdust. Her eyes scanned the wall for the source, and she noticed fresh boards leaning against the corner, piled up in their un-varnished state. She dropped her suitcase to the floor, overwhelmed by the smell. The shuffle caused the boards to topple over each other, settling on the floor. Behind the pile, she noticed a small door, paint peeling all over the frame. Disbelief crept in again, wrapping around her ankles and dragging her down. Her hands began motioning towards the little door, even as her feet stayed anchored. Resisting the figurative glue that held her to the floor, she pulled forward, leaving her doubt behind. The door gave easily, creaking open. She could see dust particles fluttering through the dim room in front of her. She kneeled and inched her way through the smaller-than-average entryway. She could just barely see the shadows of her fingers, but that didn’t matter. The keys were pulling her along, gentle nudges this time. The heat was shocking again. She found herself propped up against a wooden door. For the first time since she found them, the keys felt calm. She couldn’t believe she was actually concerned with the feelings of these objects. She shook as she pulled them out, trying the Hotel key in the door. The key worked, and she opened the door with a loose grip. She found herself in a study full of clutter but absent of people. It was as if the room was a person itself, full of secrets. There were layers and stacks of books scattered in immaculate chaos. Birdie’s eyes didn’t hang on one part of the room for too long; there were too many objects of interest. Her breath caught as she made her way to the far left corner of the study. Her father’s framed coin collection was propped up on a collection of National Geographics, the final coin from the set still missing. Her father had never found it
before he died. She picked the frame up and cradled it in her arms. She revolved around the desk in the center of the room, noticing a bit of shimmer underneath a paperweight. She plucked it out. She held a coin in her hand, what looked like the missing coin from the collection. As she flipped it over to examine it, a jolt from the hotel renovation knocked the coin out of her hand. It spun and rolled on the stone floor, finding its way under a door.
Stickers from locations around the world covered the trunk and each sticker had small numbering in its lower right corner. Swearing, Birdie approached the door and tugged on the knob. The door fought her, locked in place. She pulled once more before relenting. She’d have to put more effort into getting that coin back. Birdie kneeled in front of the bottom of the door and peered through to see if the coin was close. As her eyes scanned, she heard a noise. Someone was knocking at the door.
Nightshade By Susan odgers
Bordered to the north by ancient willows a community garden. This steamy August night, illumined by moon beams and the Space Station, I till soil enriched by grazing cows that stood on this asylum ground a century ago. The weather is different from year to year but I plant the same vegetables. A neighboring gardener works his plot, drops leeks and peppers into my basket. Hands spread wide, he offers me a tomato; heavy, bumpy, orange. “I don’t want these anymore,” he says. “What do you mean?” I ask. “They have less acid,” he says, “and my girlfriend planted them. We broke up.”
IfBy We Can Sparkle Rachel Esckelson
I race against the dying light of a computer screen By Lyric Belle
and the fading memories of a past life tangible through the taste of stale diner coffee mediocre so I’d have to depend on the other senses to relish with your memories, a brotherhood surrounding me, that will never really be mine again. I see the pictures of events I hosted every day and friends that I hugged away as they contact me now through antisocial social media like the still frame photographs of the love in your eyes that I watched fade with the last sip of the last cup of the chapter of my life with centricity. Where my life lies, a map of the past traced with footsteps on the path of empowerment, broke food insecurity, more freeing than the pain of isolation. That hunger was mine, I chose it with twelve hour days and nights with “the boys” where I’d be as one of them, then, suddenly play Mommy and serve religiously lavender tea to soothe a colleague in the struggle of college and whatever the fuck else. I’d take the dependencies of the past with Xanax in the form of a tone, the love evoked by the chosen name of Lyric Belle now, not Little Petunia or the youngest first cousin Pawloski, but me. I move forward each day and make the same tea, see the same friends occasionally in passing, fixtures at my home every night. Told by family to get a life when I made one, forged by months of house-hopping and eaten through the tears of Little Caesars slices I hated. No hokey handwritten melody, no signed, sealed, delivered security, only one step forward and two steps back no matter what I do you’re always mad and I, can’t change your mind. As the missing swan’s eye stares —once black—back, white with a void I haven’t yet learned how to fill.
Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Now Safe to Turn Off Your Computer By Kajetan Morman
Janus: A Poem By Carrie Lynn Dunklow
i. golden slumbers hey vivi viv, i’m just your little brother and no one takes me seriously, but i hope this letter reaches you. the counsellor told me writing helps, so i guess i’ll tell you about the last couple days. here goes… we said goodbye to you yesterday. and it wasn’t like that time at the hospital when we had to leave because you were so sick. this was for real for real. many people came and said nice things about you. i cried. it reminded me of that joni mitchell song you play when you drive me to school: don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone? i wish more people could have known you. like i do. everyone’s worried about how i’ll get through, but they shouldn’t be. you’re never far away. i see you in everything good. some adults say i feel this way because i don’t understand you’re really gone. joke’s on them. i’m not too young. i understand. i know you were cremated and that you aren’t big on caskets—they pollute the earth, you say—but what if you need things wherever you are now? how can i get what you need to you?
and then today at school, the answer came when we learned about ancient egypt. they always made sure their loved ones were prepared for what comes next; that is, ready for life after death. beds, shoes, jewelry, clothes—anything you can think of, they gave them. you deserve that, too. i finally watched that movie you love— cast away? you know the scene where tom hanks is sitting on the plane after being rescued? and his friend tells him of his funeral and how everyone put all of his favourite things in a casket? mum and dad like my suggestion and said we’ll do it. i’ll make sure all of your records, dvds, and blazers are there. plus everything else that is you. but i’m keeping cast away. now you’re everywhere and nowhere all at once. i’ll carry you everywhere i go, viv. that way you’ll never be gone. i love you. see you on the flip side.
ii. carry that weight you left that day why she had to go neither of us knowing i don’t know it would be the final she wouldn’t say time the door closing on i said something wrong your life now i long and for yesterday our future i leave your room the beatles records rubber soul abbey road help! we stayed up listening to scattered across the floor like the glass that littered the highway yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away the needle of your record player no longer comforts the grooves of the vinyl now marking only the passing of years like the rings of a tree now it looks as though they’re here to stay exactly as it was hoping you will return burst through the door oh, i believe in yesterday and lift the static from
The Gift Of Sight By Kelsey Pease
We tend to rush through life in the fast lane, moving from one task to the next, not a moment spared to stop and appreciate where we are and how far we’ve come. It’s important to do that, though. It’s important to take a break every now and then and just reflect on all that we are and all that we have done. Good or bad, it’s what made us who we are. We can’t be blind to that.
There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known. - Carl Sagan, "Pale Blue Dot", 1994
By Lauren Leslie
NMC Magazine Staff EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ANN HOSLER
LITERARY EDITORS RACHEL LYNN MOORE LIAM STRONG
DESIGN EDITOR JOEL MANN
ASSISTANT DESIGN EDITORS RACHEL ESCKELSON JAMES RUSSELL
MEGAN ALDRIDGE KOREE BEMISS MCKENZIE LEISHMAN KAJETAN MORMAN KIARA ORTIZ KRISTY TOMPKINS
LYRIC BELLE AMANDA CODDINGTON CARRIE LYNN DUNKLOW DEANNA LUTON REESE RILEY WILLIAM WALTON TAMARA WIGET
FACULTY ADVISERS ALISSIA J.R. LINGAUR CAROLINE SCHAEFER-HILLS
WEB ADMIN NICHOLE HARTLEY
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Volume 40 Issue 2 Spring 2018 NMC.EDU/NMCMAGAZINE
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