CREATION A Publication of New Mexico State University-Carlsbad
© 2016 by New Mexico State University-Carlsbad Fine Arts Publication Cover Design by Adelaide Simmons & Heather McGee
Edited by Zane Biebelle Tiffany L. Pascal Mark Buckholz Shelley DeBlasis Susana de la Peña
ISBN-13: 978-1530931729 ISBN-10: 153093172X The content of this publication does not represent the views of New Mexico State University-Carlsbad.
Dear Reader, You hold in your hands the product of a semester’s work. I am so pleased to have a part in bringing this to you, and it represents the work of the most talented students I’ve had the pleasure to teach. The theme of this issue of Loud Creation is the body. Students here at New Mexico State University-Carlsbad created each piece of work. Using the body as a starting point, they showcased their talent. In this volume, the body is a place of comfort, a place under siege, a battlefield. The things that lie under our skin are exposed, to our delight or disgust. In the original conception of the class, we wanted to create a classroom environment that would meld together creativity in the Humanities with real world applications. The students who participated in the publication class have gained skills that will make them competitive on the job market, as well as having their first image or prose appear in print. I would like to thank Dr. Mark Buckholz, Dr. Shelley DeBlasis, and Dr. Susana de la Peña for team-teaching this class. I would also like to thank Khushroo Ghadiali, Gaylyn Yanke, and the administration for their support. I would especially like to thank Ms. Tiffany Pascal, without whom none of this would be possible. She has done so much, from presenting the theme to guiding the students, to formatting the final work you hold in your hands. She is an amazing teaching partner and artist. I hope you enjoy the first volume of Loud Creation, NMSU-C’s fine arts magazine. We are so happy to bring it to you. Sincerely, Zane Biebelle Assistant Professor of English NMSU-C Spring 2016
CONTENTS Elizabeth Brader
katniss and i
look at me
first, do no harm
inside one runnerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perspective
thoughts of the body
the untold story
underneath the surface
Krista Clifton Heather McGee Zachary Young Heather McGee Elizabeth Brader A. Jens Steven Wagner & Adelaide Simmons Steven Wagner
Adelaide Simmons A. Jens Zachary Young & Elizabeth Brader
A. Jens and Elizabeth Brader Austin Garrett
ten years old when the first Hunger Games book came out, and I was ten years old when I got my first knee brace. I remember how quickly I fell in love with the idea of this heroine who wasn’t afraid to take on the big, bad Capitol. Katniss was tough, and independent, and everything I wanted to be when I grew up. At night, she grappled with her own thoughts and feelings about the things she was forced to do and see, and by day she did what was necessary to survive, no questions asked. I could relate. The complicated thing was that the brace I now wore held my kneecap in place well enough, but could never fix the syndrome that was slowly stretching the bands and bindings that held me together. It made all of me hurt, every joint and every muscle. My parents, teachers, and peers didn’t know that, though, and there was no way that they could have. At this point, I wasn’t even entirely convinced that the pain was real. So I did what was necessary to survive, no questions asked. Katniss was put on display as she fought against her mind and her and her body. I --the oldest child and A+ student-- did the same. As Katniss and I would find out, all those repressed feelings have a nasty way of resurfacing. A year after its release, I got to read the second book. In this one, Katniss was sent into the dome
for a bigger battle, this time facing off against other victors while still fighting her past. I can remember reading the book on my “old fashioned” un-backlit Kindle just days before my second major knee dislocation. For some reason, on this day (according to my Kindle history) I had decided to highlight a passage in Catching Fire that read: “I wish I could freeze this moment, right here, right now, and live in it forever.” Unfortunately, I have no idea why I highlighted this at the time, but the irony of the phrase is almost humorous. This dislocation landed me in and out of doctors, through my first MRI, and into my first round of physical therapy. It was the beginning of my real battle, which was much bigger than just a bad knee. As Katniss was finding out that her fight wouldn’t stop in the arena, I was coming to the realization that this brace was only the beginning. For some reason, when a book series really engages me I have an issue making myself read the last book. When Mockingjay came out I was no different. Having only recently finished Catching Fire, I decided to take my time getting to the big finale. I’ll admit, I didn’t actually read Mockingjay until the trailers for the first movie were being released. In the year that it took me to finish reading it, my life had started taking the shape of what it would look like through most of my teenage years. I was on round two of physical therapy,
and it wasn’t working. The therapist had now given me two knee braces to be worn when doing anything more than walking. Needless to say, the adjustments I was making to everyday life were getting desperate. In her own world, Katniss had been regulated to living underground in District Thirteen. She had to give up the things and people she loved, as she was forced more and more into the public eye. I was also still maintaining my perfect student status. By now, I was training for my competition dance team 10-15 hours a week, president of my 4-H club, and still an honor roll student. I was the girl who could do everything, and I did. As a self-proclaimed literary nerd, it’s important that I point out that the first Hunger Games movie had some significance for me beyond its relatability. This was the first book series that I was a fan of during the book to movie transition, and my other nerdy friends assured me that it wouldn’t be worth watching because Hollywood was going to screw it up. They got me so worked up about it that, despite the movie coming out in March, I refused to see it until December. One of these friends had bought me the DVD as a birthday present, and promised that the movie was “watchable”. With that reassurance, I forced myself to finally see it. I loved it. There were several discrepancies that bothered me, though. For instance, why didn’t Peeta loose his leg or Katniss become partially deaf as they did in the book? These details lost in translation bothered me in a way that I don’t think that I could fully grasp at the time My sophomore year of high school, Catching Fire was released, and I was so excited to go see it that I actually dressed up for the midnight release. This time, I could relate with Katniss a bit more than in the books. I was now able to relate to her feelings of uncertainty and regret. The idea that there was this bigger force infecting my everyday life until I became a person I no longer recognized sat with me in the theater that evening. After Catching Fire, I stopped paying attention to entire franchise. Like Katniss, at the beginning of my true battle I refused face whatever it was that was causing my pain. I refused to be brave or to burn anymore for something I didn’t understand. The years of living silently in misunderstood pain caught up with me and began to manifest as mental illness. My junior year of high school, I became severely depressed and riddled with anxiety. I started looking for answers to my pain anywhere I could. I now fully appreciated the heroine that
I had grown up with. Despite my best efforts, I, like her, was now properly physically, mentally, and emotionally beaten down. It was as if I had my own version of the Capitol, taking people and freedom from my life until all I had was the fight. Katniss wasn’t the only girl on fire as I burned my own personal desires and feelings for those whom I loved in the name of a terrible pre-determined fate. The story of how I finally received a diagnosis of Ehlers Danlos syndrome and came to recognize my mental and physical problems was, like the fall of President Snow and the Capitol, a bittersweet one. Like my favorite heroine, I may never fully come to terms with my illness. I didn’t then, and I haven’t now. But, I am learning to live with them and love myself in spite of it. Since my diagnosis and my realization of myself as not a disabled, but chronically ill young adult, I have started to take a look at my culture and how those who suffer with physical and mental limitations are represented. When the last Hunger games movie was announced, I remembered all of the ways Katniss stood by me in my own lifelong fight. After viewing the trailer, I spent quite a bit of time investigating how and why this series had impacted me so greatly, and why I had lost interest. I could finally see my identification with Katniss. She, and this series will always be one of my heroes. Unfortunately, I also examined the movies, and how they so vividly portrayed what it is like to live with depression and anxiety as a young adult, yet decided that Peeta and Katniss’ physical limitations could be written off. This series had so much potential to be a voice for youth who deal with a combination of disabilities. Instead, it says to those like me that our mental illness is real, and to a certain extent surmountable, but only our mental illness. What upsets me the most is that many kids and young adults who watch the movies but never read the books will miss the chance to see Katniss as I saw her: brave and resilient, not in spite of the things that her life and the world around her placed on her, but including them. At the time of writing, I have not seen Mockingjay II, and I don’t think I ever will. But I’ll always recommend my Katniss of the books to anyone willing to hear her story, because her story isn’t just hers. It’s the story of Katniss and I, and the countless other youths who live through their own Hunger Games every day.
Chris, Heather Mcgee 2016
Look at Me By Heather McGee
I see you looking at me. Eyes filled with revulsion. I see Rejection; shining through pools of blue. How is it, you wonder, that I can look this way? Knowing my body will never be on a billboard, Not on television, Not in magazines. Full and bloated are the limbs I have. Shameful curves adorn my frame. Cheeks that spill over away from the bone. Hair that thins, Hair that falls, becoming its own entity.
Why is it I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t stop? Look. Look up! Shrieks my mind. Here I confront you. Here I will drag you out. Out of my head, out of my soul. Slamming hands sink into the heated sand. Shattering shards of glass -surround me. Blood streaming down my hand. Plasma etching a fate filled pattern. There, your gone. Finally silent.
I look away. Tears sting my eyes. Hot and flowing down my already humiliated face.
I see you looking at me. Perfection.
Why is it I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t stop? Silently screaming your vulgarities towards me. 9
HiddenS e l f by A. Jens
I wake up and feel the morn-
I have inside for the things
ing telling me to get up. I walk
and people that have yet to
up to my reflection and ask,
pass away. I say to my clothes,
“Do you know who you are?”
“I have not lost myself yet, but
The water calls me by name
just in case.”
to wash up, rinse down, drink up, and restart the day.
I put on my makeup and try to make up things to tell my-
I comb my hair and say good-
self until temporary sadness
bye to the strands that escape
passes away and realize flaws
and say, “Better you than me
can be hidden behind revealed
to throw away.” I let the beast
of strands on top of my head do as it wants so I may do as I
I walk to my car, get inside,
want for the rest of the day.
drive away and say, “Take me to a place where flesh does not
I dress myself in shades of
exist” and then the car replied,
black, reflecting the mourning
“Then there’d only be bones.”
Decay 2016 Krista Clifton
Strings Attached, Heather McGee, 2016
espite the blanket of snow covering everything, the night was clear and bitterly cold. An ornate bridge stretches across a dark sea to a town Victorian in style and quiet from the lateness of the hour. A man tall in stature trudges through the snow on the bridge. His clothes are baggy and worn. Draped around him is a red cloak, adorned in a cape like manner, ragged and torn with a noticeable piece ripped and missing from the bottom. This piece has been pressed against his right eye with bandages to keep it in place, both soaked through with blood long since dried. His face shows he is middle aged, though his good eye seems to express he is much older with what it has seen. All this is framed within his unkempt brown hair and scraggly facial hair. Most noticeable of the man’s strange attire is a large silver necklace around his neck holding an exquisite “X” shaped pendant in the center of his chest, contrasting his overall appearance. While making his way across the bridge a voice booms out, “Hello, brother!!” With disgust in his one good eye he looks to the top of one of the pillars lining the bridge where a young man stands in a dark black eminent robe, spiky black hair, and an elegant earring on one ear.
The man on the bridge riddled with revulsion calls out, “Death, to what do I owe this honor?” “Now, don’t be so formal, Strife! I am your baby brother after all” replied Death. Strife grits his teeth in anger, “That’s not my name anymore.” Death proceeds to burst out in maniacal laughter, “You always were so serious brother! And by the way if you are going to save the humans of that city, they are already dead.” “You son of a bi….” replied Strife. His sentence was cut short by a sharp blade of a scythe at his throat, Death on the other end. “Now, now Strife……”
“You always were so serious, brother!” It was over 7500 years ago that it happened. The human race was just born and it was decided between the forces of good and evil, light and dark, Heaven and Hell that a truce would be called to let man advance and develop and decide. To see if they were malevolent or pure. But the decision of when they were ready and when the war of wars would continue could not be left to either side.
So the four were created. Given attributes of both angels and demons and named after the vices of man the four brothers were birthed. First came Pestilence for hunger ensnares all. Then came War for starvation drove to fighting. Then came Strife for conflict always led to suffering. Finally Death for that is all that’s left. These four brothers were to decide when mankind was ready to fight for their humanity on equal footing or wise enough to pick a side. Except this came 600 years too early at a time when mankind was not advanced enough to hold their own against transcendent entities nor intelligent enough to pick a side and a destiny. SCHLICK. Blood poured onto the snow. Strife reeled back with a gaping cut across his chest. Death laughed like a madman as the red liquid dripped from the tip of his weapon. Strife’s face twisted in anger and pain and with a swift motion of his hand the “X” pendant began to glow and in a flash of light shot to his hand and formed the shape of a double edged, two handed sword which Strife then wielded proficiently with one hand. A clash ensued. Death and Strife weaved across the bridge as snow flew up in flurries from the quick stepping of their feet. Sparks lit up the night as steel struck steel in rapid succession.
Their movements were fast, their strikes calculated and masterful. The battle was short but intense and despite his injury Strife overpowered Death with a high speed stab and impaled him to the brick pillar of the bridge. Blood gushed onto the snow from his abdomen and spurted forth from his mouth. Still Death laughed as if a sword wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t pinning him to a wall. Though panting and visibly worn from the fight, Strife proceeded to promptly pull his sword out from Death and motioned with intent to cleave Death in two but his sword was stopped mid motion. A hand was firmly grasping the sword from one side and though Strife was using all the might in both arms he could not budge the sword. As Strife turned to look at who the unknown hand belonged to his eye grew huge with fear. Standing there holding the sword was War and behind him, Pestilence. War was very tall and broad, dressed in regal blue armor, short combed black hair, and a decorated ring on his index finger. Pestilence was shorter, but still tall in stature. Not much can be said of his appearance for he was covered head to toe in a red elegant garb. His face was completely hidden and chains were loosely wrapped around him. Otherwise nothing else could be said for Pestilence.
It had been over a century since the four brothers were all together, but here on this cold snow covered bridge they once again all stood. That century ago, so short a time to near immortals like these, was a day bathed in fire and engulfed in rain. By this time the apocalypse had been raging for half a millennia. Most of humanity was quickly wiped out by malicious demons craving blood and by angels too hell bent on killing devil spawn that they didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t care about the collateral damage of the humans. The remaining humans formed a base and a resistance. One which Strife was tasked with destroying. The reason for this was simply that the four brothers had long since made a pact with a demon lord named Mafisto. Demons are and have always been terrifying creatures but are anxious at their core and were afraid the humans would choose the side of the angels and subsequently lose the war. So they persuaded the four to initiate the cataclysm early. On top of that the brothers agreed to help annihilate humans for the demons for assurance. So while the war between light and dark would destroy the bulk of mankind the brothers were to kill the surviving stragglers. This was to be done covertly and as such took a long while to do.
In that time the remaining humans had gathered to fight. But when Strife came to crush this uprising he found something. He found something he never expected nor had seen or felt before.
It was when he went to destroy the last human resistance. Getting into the base was no problem and Strife quickly dispatched five guards with a swing of his sword. He made his way through the base and was about to cut BLAM. Death delivered a down two more men when a spear punch to Strife as he gazed in panic blocked his sword. His surprise at War and Pestilence. He was sent was immense with a mere human flying to the other side of the bridge blocking his swing. As he turned, and crashed in to the opposite pillar. his eye was quickly gouged and Strife struggled to his feet. Death blood went everywhere. He ripped stood before him wounded but still his red cloak and jammed it into ready to fight. War’s ring, in the the socket to slow the bleeding. As same manner as Strife and his neck- he gained his bearings he looked up lace, glowed and formed a giant to see a young girl, maybe twenty battle axe. years of age. She stood there with “Give it up, Strife, it’s all over. I don’t her spear ready to strike and despite know why you protect those stupid her age she was mature and strong humans anyway. There’s no hope for willed. Strife quickly figured out this them. So give up now and we might young girl was the commander of let you live,” Death said, exhausted the human resistance. As he stood from his injury. War merely stepped there staring at her with his now in to affirm and backup Death. single eye others gathered. All men Strife burst into anger and yelled, and women with the same determi“Shut up you fools! Humans are nation in their faces. Unexplainably precious!” At that moment, he Strife was not mad at the girl who charged both War and Death know- just took his eye, but instead he was ing he stood no chance against two impressed. He could not believe of his brothers and the third waithow such a young girl attacked ing patiently on the sideline. Strife him without fear and all the others managed to hold his own against his ready to do the same. The humans brothers for a good amount of time. all knew he was one of the four and That is until Pestilence intervened could easily kill all of them, but still and the fight quickly ended. They they stood ready to fight. killed Strife and threw his body into the dark sea. But in his last moments falling from the bridge Strife could see her in his mind. 16
Strife forgot all about his mission staring into this girls eyes which were a deep blue. She wore light armor over a blue outfit that matched her eyes. Strife was in a daze but quickly brought out of it when the girl attacked again. Strife quickly parried the blow and continued to do so as this girl attacked so furiously and without an inkling of fear. Strife couldn’t understand this as the other people of the camp started cheering. Strife had to do something now remembering his mission facing a barrage of blows. So as quick as lightning Strife disarmed the girl and pinned her to the ground. The people of the camp watching screamed in terror. Strife did not understand this. Did they care for one another? But still a mission was at hand and Strife motioned his sword to decapitate her but stopped at the last minute. His hand trembled as a myriad of emotions welled up inside him. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t kill this feeble creature called a human that for some reason he felt respect towards. Strife stood up unhanding the girl who quickly scrambled to her feet and grabbed her spear. Strife said quietly, “I won’t hurt you anymore. I’ll leave.” The people in the crowd looked relieved but the girl called out to him, “Stay and help us then if you really mean us no harm.”
She said this purely for strategic reasons and Strife feeling so conflicted, not understanding these creatures he thought he knew all about, agreed. So for five years he stayed with the humans. He helped them and defended them against the other entities that were bathing the world over in blood. Strife also helped train the warriors of the camp how to better fight against these angles and demons. But more importantly he learned of them and what a human really was. He learned of their culture and their ways and he also explained to the humans everything he knew about the apocalypse. So with better understanding they eventually grew to trust each other. But most strangely of all he fell in love with the girl that took his eye and stranger enough she grew to love him. So from conflict and an agreement made purely for strategic purposes a love blossomed. Her name was Thera. She was strong, smart, and persistent and by the end of the five years they had wed. But to protect her and every human and their determination, persistence, passion, way of life, and more he set off to give a future to the humans he now loved and cared for deeply. Strife set out to kill both angel and demon and even his brothers to
protect these creatures that prided themselves as humans. As he fell to his demise, Strife smiled for he saw her in his mind. He believed in her and he believed in humans as a race. He believed in their tenacity to keep fighting. He believed in their own hope to continue to live. And lastly he believed in the legacy he and Thera left behind in their son.
Song Bird, Heather McGee 2016 19
First, Do No Harm Elizabeth Brader
s t r e e t s A. JENS What I see in my car mirror is not really me. It resembles too much of the road that I see. I see yellow painted lines, pitted pavements, stopping signs, and shouted statements. My eyes are not an old dirt highway, hoping you come my way but you don’t because you would have no clue where my path may take you. My mouth is not a yellow traffic light, quickly telling you to slow down and hoping that you might. My ears are not the rusty fire hydrant, listening to fire fighters rant about fire for not becoming less of a pyre without me. My arms are not the homeless person, trying to reach out but walking away after feeling others are done trying to reach out to me just for the fun of it. My stomach is not the music that rumbles in the car next to you, mumbling at you to listen to the noise that causes your mind to stumble and lose your poise. My legs are not the fast car, driving fast and smooth and trying to be the star of the road even if I can’t go that far. My mind is not the street light that flickers, barely making light for the liquor from the bars that snicker at the passerby staying sober but jealous of the good boy’s sticker sticking on his head. What I see in my car mirror is not really me. The road traveled less than all the rest is not all that I could be. I have twists and dips, turns and trips from my nose past my knee. Surely, the road never ends because roads are always free.
By Steven Wagner Art By Adelaide Simmons
Twilight is almost here The scorching sun sets and the sky cools Colors dim to a pleasant dusk, and my eyes rejoice at the deepening hues. The world awakens around and in me Its beat is slow and surreal Its breath flows gently through me
The air caresses my skin and invites me to breathe its balmy breath My lungs fill with a thrilling new awareness to the life that no longer hides from blinding light My blood runs anew obsidian ink, full, a surging to an unknown rhythm all too familiar. My senses awaken to the surrounding night, and become aware of the darkness that wraps around me. The eyes in the sky slowly open. They wink, blink, and twinkle, but are all a part of the same entity that shares all the joy and sorrow I feel. Then, as dusk deepens further, all colors merge together. Every mind settles. All in the world become one, but one remains separate at the same time. Union is felt while distance is kept. The setting sun stalls a sable dream in which the mind is most alive. I do not blame you who prefer the day. Your dead of night is like my bright light. Each means blindness to the wrong sight, but both enable the other senses to see more.
By Steven Wagner April 2016
Mothernature 2016 Krista Clifton 24
Lovely 2016 Krista Clifton 25
Adelaide E. Simmons 2016
...o g r a p h y It’s the silent killer, the shamefilled word: the suppressed elephant in the room. It cowers under fathers’ beds and locked inside brothers’ heads. It comes into couples’ bedrooms and steals their affection. It doesn’t care if you’re young, old, wealthy, poor, married, taken, single, religious, atheist, satanist, appealing, repulsive, obscene, or “good at heart.” It sells false love, passion, and beauty. It takes away the identities of the bodies of which they advertise. It is one of the causes of “boys will be boys” and “it’s not that bad if everyone does it.” It is the reason a full-grown man examines another woman based solely on her appearance. It’s everywhere. It’s virtually inevitable. Although its victims have no gender preference, it so easily favors the minds and hearts of men.
It doesn’t care if you’re young, old, wealthy, poor, married, taken, single, religious, atheist, satanist, appealing, repulsive, obscene, or “good at heart.”
At the age of four, I was as pale as snow and about two-and-a-half feet tall, with my mother putting me in sundresses and hair bows as often as possible. Although I wouldn’t know it until later, my father left (among other reasons) because of the empty promises this “silent killer” offered. That was just the beginning. If my father ever loved my mother at all, his history with women proved otherwise. It started as what some would call “innocent,” one-second observation at another female’s body. One-second-look just to make sure that the body is still pleasing to the eyes. Then, onto the next… I am not patient enough, I am not loving enough, I am not satisfied enough with what I have now, so I will search for my own satisfaction. “Loneliness” is the excuse, “being away for too long.” Well, Father, what you have put into your head will never come out, and I wish you could have filled it with images of your own wife instead of all of the other bodies that didn’t belong to my mother. But still, you pressed on. Countless flat images of promiscuous women on a screen were still not good enough. That “loneliness” again… But you followed through next time, you actually did it; you physically, purposely chose another woman. Then you went with her, actually believing she was what you really wanted and “loved,” and never came back. But over time, you left her, too. At age six, I caught lice for the first time; my long locks disappeared while more freckles appeared. My favorite uncle was pushing 40 years old and was yet to be married. It made no sense to me; he was the nicest uncle I had. He made the best food, he made people laugh, he’s generous, and good-looking. I had never seen him with another woman by that time, other
than family. At times I felt sad for him; he was someone that I really thought deserved a “girly-friend” as I once called it. But one day, for his birthday or some sort of gift-giving holiday, he received a gift basket. Having the mind and body of a child, that’s all that I saw – a nice, shiny gift basket. At this age, my family and I were living with my uncle at my grandmother’s house. Because I was my uncle’s “little princess,” I often just wandered into his room looking through anything and everything in there, and sometimes even took things. His room was brown and full of Catholic-oriented pictures of Jesus and Mary; reeking of his pungent cologne. I looked on his dresser and saw the shining gift basket. I was hoping for candy and little treats, but what I found was worse. My uncle’s gift basket was full of…breasts! There was a deck of cards full of women’s breasts. There was a stress ball in the shape of a woman’s breasts. There was a poster with women’s breasts on it. There was a calendar covered with women’s breasts. There was a mug with a woman’s breasts on it. There was even a damn TEDDY BEAR with a woman’s breasts on it. I was only SIX. I felt sick to my stomach; my curious little princess mind just had to look through every inch of his possessions. Right when I felt close enough to puke all over his breast basket, my uncle stomped in his room, finding me with his “gifts.” He snatched it from me and slammed it back on his dresser and barked, “Nasty!” Was he “lonely?” I was confused. I mean I know I didn’t know much at the age of six, but I didn’t see how I was the one in the wrong. How was I the one being called “nasty” for finding his breast basket, when he was the one keeping it? Was he just trying to place his embarrassment on me? It felt that way. That was my first known occurrence with the subject matter. When I first saw it, I didn’t fully understand it. All I knew at the point of discovery was that it didn’t feel
My uncle’s gift basket was full of… breasts! good to even look at - to the point of sickness. It made me feel dirty. I didn’t want to see it, but I did. To this day I don’t remember what the women from the breast basket looked like; I just remember that they were exposed and I didn’t feel good about it. Maybe modern psychologists would even say that this was the point where my insecurities stemmed from. Somewhere in the back of my little six-year-old mind I could have been asking myself, “Is this what I am supposed to look like, to make a boy happy?” At the age of 10, a typical day for my little fifth grade self to look like was frizzy brown hair, a sweaty pink face and a training bra. One day at lunch, I sat with a bunch of girls that liked to talk a lot. On this day, they asked me who I had a crush on. At the time, I didn’t like any boys yet. I didn’t know what to say, but I didn’t want to not give them an answer because I wanted to keep talking to them. I looked around the lunchroom and picked the first boy I saw (in our grade) because in my opinion, at that age we were all still cute. They all started giggling and said, “Really? Want me to tell him?” I quickly replied, “NO! Oh my gosh, I don’t even know him I just think he’s cute!” After lunch, the yappy girls told him. He looked back at me and gave me a look that anyone would recognize as disgust. I felt ugly and inadequate. At age 13, I was a petite middle-school student who attempted to mas
ter the art of mascara and developed curves too fast for my skin to keep up with. I had a favorite cousin a few years older than I am. Our family is close, to the point of the word “close” being an understatement; it was more like “tight.” So, naturally, my cousin and I spent a lot of time together. I remember him as the cheeky and chunky little boy that made jokes deadpan but would silently laugh at himself later. But as a nearly 16-year-old boy, he was vast and refined. One day, out of boredom I went to visit him at his house. While he was playing Guitar Hero, I thought it would be funny to take his unattended phone and mess with it. It was password protected of course, but he still grabbed that thing out of my hands like I had just stolen his newborn child. I immediately asked him, “What’s on your phone that you don’t want me to see, I thought we were best friends?” He replies in offense, “Nothing! I just don’t like people on my phone!” After a while I watched him put in his password enough to memorize it, letting my curiosity get the best of me once more. Yet again, I am sickened, but not surprised, by what I find on it. God, why did he have to look at that stuff? I still didn’t understand. Was he just “lonely,” too?
...I imagined the rest just lived on convincing themselves that that were either trapped in the business or trapped in the lie that says it doesn’t get better than that.
At the age of 16, my freckles and emerging acne were covered by the lightest possible shade of powdered makeup; and I had moved to a new high school. My wisdom improved but still was limited, amid other parts of my life. I still didn’t understand the need for some people to watch strangers getting it on, and for intentional pleasure. My second unintentional bump into the subject was within my Tumblr dashboard. I found out one night that one of the people I followed was comfortable with re-posting sex scenes. I took a good look at their faces and found a trace of misery in the participants. The past research I had once found told me that 75% were trafficked into the industry, and I imagined the rest just lived on convincing themselves that that were either trapped in the business or trapped in the lie that says it doesn’t get better than that. One school night, a friend invited me out of town to see her open for a poet. My sister and I made the 30-minute trip. The coffee shop was filled with people, customers and fans. It was blasting with music and the smell of mocha. I stood in the back next to the counter with my sister, and my friend began to play. It was a song she wrote about her father – a situation similar to ours. My sister wasn’t as moved by the performance as I was (unless her reaction was mostly internal), but the set wasn’t finished yet. Levi the Poet was on stage, with his wife on piano and another woman on bass. I later knew this performance was vital to my personal growth on my personal hate of the subject. Levi began, “When she finds the magazines underneath her husband’s side of the bed, she’ll stand naked in front of the mirror for hours ‘... well what did you expect?’ …I’ve fed every need that I believed photography could feed me. If you can believe me… I hate it. You are worth so much more than my brief moment of orgasm when I allow my mind to deceive me… But I don’t want to sugarcoat
this - I feel hopeless, trapped in brokenness… And I know as well as anybody, this is a difficult topic to be facing, and a difficult confession for me to be making but I’m stating that when God started the molding, shaping and creating - you were not designed to be the objects that men look at while masturbating. I apologize. It was never my intent to ruin lives, compromise, or feed these eyes something other than what was designed. I apologize… I wish I’d have waited, dedicated to see the experience God had planned for me from the beginning. …since when am I patient enough to not give in? I just apologized five minutes ago! …I’m sick of this! SOMEBODY PUT SOME CLOTHES ON! YOU’RE BETTER THAN THIS! …Jesus keep reassuring her, the one in the centerfold, the picture I’ll remember until I grow old. She is human; she is human, she is bought and sold to a million empty souls feeling so hopeless that they’ll try anything to fill the hole…” I was overwhelmed with his transparency. It was like it gave back the faces and human emotions to the women and men that were stolen from. In that one performance, I understood men a little bit more, and I even empathized. It gave me hope. By age 18, though still in high school, I was working for Hastings Entertainment, Inc. Most of the transactions I made were movie buys and rentals. But twice out of the countless nights I worked there, two men made me sell something to them that was not uncommon at this point of time, but still just as sickening. Both men that came to me were vaguely tall, middle-aged, skin damaged by the sun, work clothes still soiled from what looked like a career involving oil and dirt, and a face tilted downwards. I immediately thought of that poem that Levi spoke of, “…sometimes, though... I feed my indecency. Kind of slide that magazine across the counter and do it quietly: shy my face away so that no one else can see... ‘Will that be all for you today, sir?’ ‘Yes ma’am, I’d like to
pay to become the opposite of what I want to be.’…” The first occurrence was immensely different from the second. The first man came to my register and slid me the pack of magazines covered partially (thank God) with purple colored plastic wrap. I pretended it didn’t bother me, and treated him as any other customer purchasing something else. I cautiously, and politely, gave him his bag and said, “Have a great night,” careful not to slip him the look of judgment. He left without an issue. The second man that came maybe two weeks later, slipped me the similar packed and covered magazines, but I made the mistake of looking at them. Through the colored plastic wrap I could still see the woman on the cover, positioned sexually while clearly topless and bottomless. A sickening chill ran up my spine. This caused me to give the customer direct eye contact, revealing what I thought. I quickly handed him his bag of shame, and he stormed out the door. I think I still don’t exactly regret that last situation; it was an inevitable reaction.
I quickly handed him his bag of shame, and he stormed out the door. I think I still don’t exactly regret that last situation; it was an inevitable reaction.
One Saturday morning, I was working again and business was slow. But then an old gentleman was the first to approach my register. I saw from afar he had a stack of magazines; the first cover I saw had the face of a beautiful, young girl on it. That was all I could make out; his arm was covering the rest of the girl. I was hoping it wasn’t as I suspected. Just moments later, I gladly found out they were art magazines. I gently told him, “I love art.” He simply replied, “Don’t ever give up on your artistic dreams.” Porn is not art, even if it has an “-ography” in the end; which is why I was so happy to know (as far as I could tell) that this man was indulging himself in a real type of art. The woman on the cover was a painter. I assumed this man was not lonely; he didn’t seem to be, I think I know what loneliness looks like by now. Loneliness can’t be filled with simulated images or scenes of people who don’t love each other, let alone even know each other well. The people in them are just as real as I am and as real as the people who watch it. The temporary pleasure will never be enough to fill the human void that was created for genuine love. I know I can’t tell people how to live or how to use their bodies. But by God, I can use the fingers from my own body to write my story of it.
Insomnia Zachary Young and Elizabeth Brader 33
Gaia Anastasia Y. Rios Acrylic on Canvas 2016
Be Yourself Austin Garrett
A thousand eyes are all on her, every single face full of cruel expressions. Embarrassment comes over her. Why are they all staring at me? She didn’t notice anything “You shouldn’t wear skinny jeans, fatty”
While everyone around laughs. This was a normal day in her life rude comments and hateful remarks. However, she was content.
She was HERSELF. 35
Inside One Runnerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s
By Steven Wagner
Pound. Pound. Pound. Pound. My body shakes with each impact against the ground, but my legs keep pumping, almost mechanical. In, In. Out, out. My mind turn my breathing into a temp to follow the music. My lungs strain to push and pull the air though my nostrils alone. Pound. Pound. Pound. Pound. I am a train. I exist push through the world no matter what is in my way. My pistons pump regardless of the weight they push. In, In. Out, out. My bellows draw in and blow out the catalyst to my fuel. They struggle to gather as much as possible, then release it all. Pound. Pound. Pound. Pound. I feel each muscle quiver from the exertion. The aching in each of them builds. in, In. Out, out. The air burns and freezes my lungs at the same time, but I cannot pause or my breaths will become gasps. Pound. Pound. Pound. Pound. The pistons are getting too hot. But a train that is not on time does no good.
In, In. OUT, a. The bellows must compensate. More air. Pound. Pound. Pound. Pound. Too fast and I burn out before the goal. Too slow and I gain nothing. In-IN. OUT, a. I struggle to take all the air I need through my nose, so I exhale through my mouth and rest at the upbeat. Pound. Pound. Pound. Pound. Pound. There’s the destination in the distance. But it’s still too far off to go all out. In-IN, a. OUT, a. Time to refill the reserves on last time. One final though before the plunge into chaos. Pound. Pound. Pound, Pound, Pound! Now for the glow to become white hot. My pistons shift more powerfully! In-IN, a. OUT! a. Keep going or we die. Maintain tempo or we’re dead in the tracks. Pound, Pound, Pound-Pound-Pound. My legs feel like glowing embers, but there is the end. Push HARDER. IN! OUT! IN! OUT! My lungs are searing! Forget tempo, I need air NOW. Pound-Pound-Pound-POUND-POUND All that matters is this stretch. No past. No future. NOW. IN! OUT! IN! OUT! IN! OUT! POUND-POUND-POUND-POump-fwip... What is this? I am no longer pushing against the world. Instead, it seems to be holding me up. ...Hhhhhhhhh.....Hhhhhhhhhh... There is nothing in my way. There is no pain now.
...fwip... fwip... I am floating through the air. I am air. There is no struggle. For this moment, I am free of everything. This is peace. ...fwip... fwound. pound, Pound-POUND. I am back running. That was the finish line. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all over. IN! OUT! IN! OUT! Everything is burning, but I am finished! I am done running for now. Pound. Pound. Pound. I can rest now. I am so tired. IN! OUT! In! Out. in. That was torture! But for that moment, it was worth it.
Adelaide E. Simmons 2016
By Krista Clifton My heartâ&#x20AC;Ś. It slowly beats as I go through my day. Every now and then the pace begins to build but then falls back to the normal pitter-patter that it had originally been. My mind wonders blankly through life never truly finding a meaningful thought to ponder on, until you. You came in and tore me to bits. My heart no longer just beats normally My mind no longer just wonders about aimlessly You have turned my carefree life into a true nightmare and cruel reality. Now I am just like you. Cruel and worthless.
Shattered 2016 Krista Clifton 41
Thoughts of the Body A. Jens 42
Day 1 You woke up at six o’clock in the morning. You got out of bed, dragged your numb legs to the mirror. You saw your hair in a tangled mess and your skin shiny and pink in color. You made your way to the bathroom and splashed lukewarm water on your face. You looked up in the mirror with the florescence beaming all over you, revealing every bump, open pore, flyaway hair, pitted scar, and sparkle of mascara residue. You grabbed your toothbrush, squeezed a glob of Colgate on it, and brushed your teeth until it felt like a minute passed. You went back to your room, laid down, stared at the ceiling and thought to yourself. I wonder if I’ll hit that type of “pretty” puberty that everyone talks about and become attractive to the general eye by graduation day. You parked your car in the school parking lot and began to strut, showing off your new biker boots and matching leather jacket. Yeah I look good. Be jealous, be jealous everybody. A classmate walked in front of you, only a few paces ahead, slow and graceful with her long hair flowing over her shoulders, past her hips. Maybe I shouldn’t have cut off my hair. I could look like that if I wanted to… maybe? I don’t know about the gracefulness, I would need a few dance classes to fix that. You walked until you reached your first class, algebra. You looked around, no friends in
sight, and took the second-to-last seat in the back-right corner of the room. Hunched in your chair, you looked at the other side of the room and saw friends reuniting with each other with bright smiles and side hugs. I wish I had that. A smile. But my teeth aren’t worth seeing as much as theirs. I brush them regularly, but the alignment is less than satisfactory. I’ll stick to my grin-less corner. The teacher finally got out of his desk, “Okay, c’mon guys time to learn something.” Day 3 You packed up your backpack with loose-leaf paper, black folders, white binders, and impressive pens. Most colorful colors don’t compliment my skin tone. Your next class was two-dimensional art, the one you were longing for all day. You sat directly in the middle of the classroom, where you could see everything around you for inspiration. The table on the upper right sat four artists that favored recreating cartoons. The table to the left, in the back, sat four boys that constantly went to the bathroom to smoke and did their best work when they weren’t told to. The table closer to you on the left sat three younger girls, one of which, had a mouth as big as her head that was never used for good. But boy, can she create some remarkable artwork. Couldn’t I have been blessed with a big mouth and talent? That’s just not how the 43
world works. “Class, just continue what you started Monday.” You took out your teal mechanic pencil and chipping paint brushes and stared at your blank page. C’mon hands, do something. Looking down at your phone out of habit, you see your reflection off of the black screen. Tilting your head back, the lights reflected yellow on your skin. What if I created something happy, for once? I’ve never used yellow as a skin tone. Ah, but smiles are hard to draw. You quickly sketch out the curves of a smiling face: squinting eyes and a wide spread grin with every tooth exposed. You slapped that corn-colored yellow acrylic paint all over the sketch and blended reds and oranges into it. Half way done, you looked at it. I’ve done better work but this isn’t my worse. This face resembles a face. You looked at the table next to you and saw three students already finished. At the cartoon table you saw another student make almost an exact replica of herself, as a cartoon. Oh my gosh. I am barely even half finished and look at that one! How am I gonna finish this? What am I doing? How can I make art like that? I wanna make art like that. Where did she get her lipstick? I’m gonna start wearing lipstick. I’m of age if she’s of age to wear makeup. The bell rang. You cleaned off your brushes in the sink, threw your stillwet painting on the “unfinished” rack and dashed through the door. 44
Day 5 You walked slowly, step by step, careful not to trip on a stair. Students were everywhere, to the right, left, ahead and behind you. Two flights of stairs seemed to last a lifetime, there was people ahead of you, somehow moving slower. That girl has some skinny ankles. Was she born that way? Or is there some sort of exercise to get rid of cankles? Should I start wrapping my ankles? No, that’s not how it works. This dude next to her has smaller ankles than me. I need to stop eating so much. It’s just all going to my ankles. You reach your classroom, and struggle to open the heavy door. A boy behind you easily opens it behind you. Ha, I bet your parents are big boned. I need to work out, I got small bones. You sit down in your seat; only two other students are in the classroom so you lay your head down and pretend to sleep. When will my friends get here? It’s so awkward not to have friends. I need more friends. Making friends is hard, though. Ugh. Where are they? Oh. Cross country meeting. My body is not built for that. Other students come through the door in a pack. Four girls, all with a grade point average about 2 whole points higher than yours and about two feet taller than you sat in the table to the left of you. They sat and began to talk about the homework they had in each class for the day, pretending to worry that
they wouldn’t get it done when they always did. You would do the same thing if your friends were there, but neither of them showed up that day. I should have joined a club. People make friends in clubs. But compared to all, my mouth would open the least. What use would I be if I never gave my opinion? Even if I did, I’m sure someone more important, like Einstein’s offspring over there, would take over. So, maybe not. Day 12 It’s the last period of the day, your least favorite class: the dreaded physical education. Why on earth did I not take this my freshman year? …Oh yeah. I didn’t wanna run anywhere. But it’s required apparently. I can’t graduate unless I run a mile under eight minutes. Even someone without legs could do that. But look at all these tiny, newly-hormone-raging teens making the right decision of taking this class the first year of high school. Good for you guys. Already beating me at life. You made it to the girl’s locker room. Psh, I’m not a girl. I’m a woman. You sneak into a bathroom stall through the crowd of a dozen boisterous freshman girls, taking up half of the room. You put on a white t-shirt, loose-fitting blue running shorts, some running shoes you found in your mother’s closet, and barely slicked every strand of short hair into a miniscule bun. You ran out, back to your locker and
struggle with the key trying to undo the padlock. You hear the troop of girls laughing behind you. A girl shouted, “What are you wearing?” I shouldn’t be afraid of those girl scouts. They’re just babies. I’ll never see them again after graduation. You replied, “What am I wearing?” “Yeah, what are those old things?” “Oh, they’re your mom’s clothes.” The room became quiet. “My mom died last year.” “Oh. Sorry.” You fled the scene and fast-walked as fast as you could to the track. All the other girls were wearing brightly colored shorts that went half up their legs. You glared at their skinny arms and legs, glowing tan in the blazing sun. You looked down. I remember when I was 15. I may not have been as lanky as some of y’all… But I was lesser than what I’m looking at now. But I could never tan… I wish I could. There’s no use in burning to become pale again after the skin sheds. You guys must have some sort of Brazilian genes that I could just not possess. Whatever. Day 14 It was a Sunday afternoon. After church you went straight to your room to put on the first cotton t-shirt you have and your favorite pair of basketball shorts. I’ve never 45
played basketball. But they’re more comfortable than any other shorts I ever owned. You slumped on your bed, took your phone off of your charger and tapped on the Pinterest app. As you scrolled through the pins of art and recipes, you stopped on a picture of a woman wearing tight spandex shorts without a hint of bulge coming out of them. The pin read, “Ten Exercises to Get Rid of Cellulite Fast.” You jumped up from your bed and went straight to your full body mirror. You lifted up your shorts and gawked at the lumps of cellulite forming on the back of your thighs. I could use this pin. I may not wear mini shorts all the time, but one day I will. You tapped on the pin and pictures of every exercise loaded on the screen. You went to your mother’s room and took a pair of five-pound dumbbells and sat them down in your room. The first exercise was 20 squats without dumbbells. The next, squats with only one leg. Sweating from your brow to your feet, shaking from weakness, you look at the third exercise: wall sits with dumbbells for 60 seconds. You “sat” up against your bedroom wall and count. After 30 seconds you fell to your knees. You stood up, one shaking leg at a time, and went to your mirror. You lifted up your shorts once again and saw the skin beneath your bottom. After all that work, there isn’t any difference. How do people do this every day? Your 46
door swung open. “Sweetheart, what are you doing, I heard loud noises?” “Mom, please get out.” “Why are you so sweaty? Are those my dumbbells?” “Mom, please.” “What’s wrong?” “I’m not skinny, mother. That’s what’s wrong, obviously.” “Honey, there’s much more wrong things you could be. Don’t worry about things like that.” Day 16 Your eyes ripped open at nine o’clock in the morning, barely realizing that your alarm hadn’t gone off. Your cell phone was dead since your charger wasn’t plugged in the whole night. You rushed to put on a pair of blue skinny jeans and an old t-shirt. You slipped on a pair of sandals, grabbed your backpack and ran to the door. Driving five miles over the speed limit, you managed to make it to the school by third period. Crap. I have a presentation today. I didn’t have time to put on makeup. They will see everything. You sprinted to the office, got a late note, and hurried to your class. Five minutes late, you snuck to a seat in the back of the room. The teacher was handing out papers to each student with a rubric on them to grade each performance. “As you all should already know, you are supposed to perform your monologue today. It
should have been memorized from an approved source. After each monologue, you need to grade each student on your rubric sheet.” Your teacher stopped at your side. You shivered. “Since you were here late, you get to go first.” You didn’t memorize anything. You paced up to the center of the front of the room. You looked around the room, stopping for a split second at every student’s face. I hate this. I hate me. I can’t do this anymore. Why can’t I be happy? Everyone who stares at me is thinking the same things. I’m ugly. But that doesn’t matter. Yes it does. I’m not happy. Screw it. You thought of a song you memorized. “Muscle connects to the bone, bone to the ire and the marrow. I wish I had a gentle mind and a spine made up of iron. Mouth connects to the teeth, teeth to the loves and curses. Can you reach the spot that need oiling and fixing? H, e, l, p. Help me. Help me.” A gust of air escapes your mouth and your face was shiny from sweat. Your teacher stared at you with a blank face. “I’ll give you half credit for participation.” You passed out from exhaustion.
The Untold Story Austin Garrett
Bruises cover my body, telling an untold story. Some may say itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a short story; however, this life has hardly been short. Memories of a childhood house, a dysfunctional father and uncaring mother. No one heard my inner cries for help, even as I walked the halls full of relentless children.
Everyone with his or her own bruises some not as plain to see as mine. Those bruises define us, some for the better and others for the worse. Life is full of bruises,
Untitled Elizabeth Brader
Time Adonay Alvarado
avity r g , l fal ime t f o s sand e Th ? y, huh n n u f Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s
ore. m e c n job o s i h es
How time, marks our existence.
t laugh is how we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; e m es ak m ly al re t ha But w fact, that appreciate it and the
we are running out of time.
Underneath the Surface 2016 Krista Clifton 51
Author and Artist Biographies Elizabeth Brader is an NMSU-C student pursuing a degree in the Liberal Arts. She enjoys reading and writing nonfiction, and working with photography, photomanipulation, and typography. She will be attending the University of Kent in Canterbury, England in the fall, as an international student of New Mexico State University. Krista Clifton enjoys the creepy and weird side of the world. Although many find her work grotesque, she finds it simply beautiful. Krista enjoys working with watercolor and various objects in her work. Krista lives at home with her seven cats, eight hamsters, and German Shepard, Sargent who thinks he’s a lap dog. Austin Garrett is from Idaho but has lived in New Mexico for two and a half years. He is currently attending college for his core curriculum. He is not too sure on what his career goals are but may seek a career in the English field. He enjoys watching anime and playing videogames in his free time. Heather McGee is an artist who is trying to portray how she sees the world. Every piece she paints is a part of her and all those who surround her—the visualization of the spectrum of the soul. Not everything is just black and white, nor any shades of gray in between. The color of the human soul comes in all colors across the imagination to take shape. Forming the feelings and colors into something to make one think. Adelaide Simmons is an 18-year-old student of NMSU-C, whose main focus as an artist is her photography. While she is currently working as manager of a hotel and maintaining her school, her future plans are to have a fulfilling career in the medical field. Simmons’s upbringing in the Southwest has influenced her as an artist and an individual. She is proud to call herself a New Mexican through to the bone. Steven Wagner is a budding artist and student of human behavior. He is working on an associate’s degree in Graphic Art while taking classes at NMSU-C, and plans to continue on to NMSU in Las Cruces. Steven’s main philosophy is that all people are capable of anything. He hopes to bring new innovation (and maybe even philosophy) to advertising through logo design. Zachary Young is attending NMSU-C to obtain an Associate of Arts and intends to later pursue a degree in psychology to become a clinical therapist. Zachary enjoys writing creative short fiction and non-fiction, but also appreciates other forms of art. He loves family, friends, and spending time with them.