SPECTRUM Literary Arts Magazine
firstname.lastname@example.org www.spectrum.neu.edu 234 Curry Student Center Mailbox: 240 Curry Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine showcases the talents of writers and artists at Northeastern University. All members of the Northeastern community are encouraged to submit original works of poetry, prose, and visual art.
EDITOR IN CHIEF: Jennifer Kronmiller LAYOUT AND DESIGN: Evangeline Fachon SECRETARY: Aislyn Fredsall FINANCIAL MANAGER: Eryn Carlson ADVERTISING MANAGER: Liam Dyer ASSISTANT EDITOR: Lauren Smith
LAYOUT COMMITTEE Natasha Boos Sanae Matsuki Julie Ryu
Sebastian Alberdi, Kelly Burgess, Tori Butler, Melissa Fitzgerald, Emily Good, Erin Hock, Anika Krause, Ruthie Lynes, Andrew Madanjian, Kate O’Brien, Zoie Pruner, Julia Renner, Elke Thoms, Holly Van Hare, Rowan Walrath, Ella Wang, and Dani Weishoff Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine, Fall 2013 Edition Copyright ©Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine and respective authors. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine and/or respective authors. Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine reserves the right to edit submissions, layout, grammar, spelling and punctuation unless explicitly instructed otherwise by the author or artist. Any references to people living or dead are purely coincidental. The views and opinions in this medium do not necessarily reflect those of Northeastern University or the staff of Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine.
TABLE OF CONTENTS ~4~
Twelve Minutes Upside Down Climb Your Mountain Andrew Gillen
Granum Prosperitates Symmetry
Faux Tow Sine Thesis Baby Blue YJ Lee
Joanne Decaro Afornalli
Chasing Normal Underwater
I Am the Seagull Sunset
Blonde Boy Murat Uzer
Grand Manan Bargains YJ Lee
The Hummingbird Kelly Burgess
Civil War Keenan
Natasha Boos ~32~
Preachers' Daughters Make the Best Black Sheep Emily Atwater
The Froth Bee
Table for One Lindsey Bressler
The Dog Days YJ Lee ~36~
One Man's Trash Callie Marsalisi
Life in Color
Cover art adapted from Sunset by Kim Terrizzi.
Twelve Minutes Upside Down KAYLA ALLEN I saw the purpose of art in a twelve-minute film in which the ocean was the sky and the sky was the earth. It was a twelve-minute continuous shot— just this lighthouse at the edge of the world, surrounded by vast blueness, sometimes right side up but mostly upside down. My eyes wouldn’t focus on it at first. I had to sit down because it called up the gray queasiness I used to feel near open water. But soon the white-tipped waves began to look like clouds, the cloudless sky began to look like solid ground. As we sat on the museum floor we were both thinking of Cloud Atlas— souls cross ages like clouds cross skies— and how maybe we were really just recycled souls in spiffy new bodies, and she said that it upset her because what if she had known all her friends in previous lives and kept forgetting everything about them? We decided between us that heaven and hell don’t exist, but if they did I think hell would be having to watch your life play out, every meaningless moment, every unconscious and unintentional way you hurt people because you just don’t know. Our temples throbbed; we talked for half an hour about how absolutely terrifying the idea of deep space is, and I tried to explain M-theory but Skippy Dies does it better. At home we sat at my kitchen table, staring at each other, feeling enlightened and ashamed
to realize that all of the things that cause us stress are grains of sand in the cold desert of the universe. I think I reach that conclusion once every few months but I always forget it. It was a twelve-minute film and it’s three hours later and I’m shivering and sitting in the dark, but I can’t bring myself to get up, close the window, turn on the light. I’m still thinking about it. I don’t know the name of the creator or the year or location or circumstances but I do know that I need to reevaluate my life in light of the fact that the sea and the sky are the same. And that’s what art is: seasickness, synthesis, anxiety, rambling trains of thought, connection, sparks, a lighthouse rising from the void. Twelve minutes of an upside down ocean, strings of words woven onto a page, the jagged tones of a bleeding voice, these things seem like they mean nothing when you think about how the remorseless sun will swallow our planet, but they startle us from our numbness, make us feel, remind us of our humanity. If I ever create something that affects somebody as much as that stupid film affected me, I will be satisfied.
ANDREW GILLEN 4
Chasing Normal LINDSEY ASHE
I get expectant looks at every turn of phrase like I’ll explode and leave shrapnel in ROY G BIV in the wake of the intolerance. If I were easily offended I’d have long since left this earth Another victim of locker-filled hallways with no light at their end I’d break bones on brick walls every time I hear “gay best friend” like I need a qualifier. Don’t think I’ve never wished that the thought of a bat and balls made me think of something other than softball and its stereotypes, never gushed over Zac or Leo and tried to mean it, but I’m tired of trying. Despite your attempt at a politically correct dance, what you deign to tolerate, this is me. And I hate my own heart sometimes and I don’t want a world painted rainbow I just want rejection to be my only fear when I ask for her number.
STEPHANIE ENG we tasted each others’ stale desperation and I couldn’t really put my finger on it, but you used two to help me get there antipathy coursed through my veins but so did our narrative and we both know that no one does nostalgia quite like I do “What are we going to do about this in the morning?” The same thing you and I always do. “Nothing.” So when you asked if I wanted something bigger I realized that I did, but that it’s Something bigger than you could ever give me.
Sibilance ANIKA KRAUSE we were swapping spit and songs and stories of stolen saturdays when i was sold cause you said you liked the way S spilled from my lips whistling while i spat your name
Grand Manan, NB ABBIE DOANE-SIMON
behind me, the glowing window is alive crawling across the panes these wings and scuttling things basking in the unobtained glow the tide surges through the screen panels each breathe of night air redefined by yellow porch lights the balcony slats spread across the lawn like ghost steps waiting for me to tip toe out into the thick air across to the next roof and dance along the tightrope of night light to the garden hop between the trees until the ocean opens out beneath me glittering like dog eyes in the dark and tickling my feet with cold fingers until I can keep my eyes open and the crawling things have finally gone to sleep
NARSIMHA CHINTALURI As laughter spilled out like wine from a chalice And as the sun threw the shadow over my shoulder We wandered wayward parallel to malice But yonder lay mirth that was genuine, I told her. We dodged every boulder as we treaded Mt. Olympus Seeking the sun but no one could direct us So under pressure grew cracks on our armor Calmer in wonder than when faced with our slumber Our times were still numbered like wine I discovered That mine was a love that denied all discomfort We hid under marshes at one with our nature Dangerous minds that minded no danger In silk threads we bonded and were donned in all gold As if our purity could survive the gods of the old
Granum Prosperitates MAXIMILLION CHEZEM Turn the kaleidoscope. A small girl gracefully pirouettes across the coffee table and sinks through the jellybean floor up to her knees. An angry bee just outside the window swells to the size of a hedgehog. Three stories below, a solitary sophomore is awakened at night by visions of a man tap-dancing to a mournful funeral march. Turn the kaleidoscope. You say hello to a Deaf man and he nods his head. The sound waves enter his inner ear and reverberate in the asylum that is his cochlea.
Somewhere in the ocean, a small turtle learns to surf on the syllables that form the phrase, “Nice to meet you,” while hands descend from a nearby boat and scoop up his shattered brotherhood. Nobody listens. All life turns over in their graves as implants are inserted into the stream of hearing consciousness. We all swim amongst a sea of whales and dance gracefully in two dimensions. Small children surround and grow younger as the time collects in jars of honey. Somewhere a bear is eating it’s own feet. Turn the kaleidoscope. Water shoots from storm drains and floods the city in Hawaiian Punch laced with the tears of a mother wolf. You ask me for my umbrella, but
MURAT UZER your words are swallowed by the shrill sound of a thousand librarians singing the soprano part of the Hallelujah Chorus. I offer you a box of dish detergent, but gravity turns sideways and releases the detergent into your open mouth. Your eyelashes lengthen as your toes shrink, and your soul is encased in candle wax. Turn the kaleidoscope. Reality reestablishes as lemons, which fall from the ground creating imperfect sculptures of you. But you are not you. You are the lemons. Fences extend for miles carrying swarms of swans and scarecrows hoping for food. Turn the kaleidoscope. There is nothing left. You hear the tearing of the known Universe as it echoes through
the cavernous valley left between the floor and a child’s feet, dangling from a chair, but you cannot stop it. You cannot see it. All senses dissolve into a small cup of mineral water, and the swans crumple and separate into their feathers, their beaks, their poetic discourse on the state of South Dakota. You wish the rabbit hole had never fallen into you. You pour images through the keys of your cat’s typewriter and see your dreams collapse into a wave and resurface in a point of time. You grab everything, dunk it to win the game. You are handed the glory of victory. It is a mirror. You see your mother’s face shimmering on your own hands. The kaleidoscope shatters. We are all food.
JOANNE DECARO AFORNALLI
I Am the Seagull ROBIN REYES For F.C. “Literature is called artistic when it depicts life as it is.” Anton Chekhov, Letter to Maria Kiseleva 1887
She is crying In front of us; An actress Questioning her craft. There is a crowd watching But it feels As if she speaks only to us. Onstage: The youth wrestles With elders And themselves And their work Offstage: I sit Next to a woman With the strongest,
Readiest of minds. However I wish To elude all uncertainty, So I plant my face In the top of her head And neglect An artist’s warning And the question We pose to the mirror For company.
Alone in bed that night I wonder to the window What should happen next, But all that answers Is the ricochet Of alcohol laced air And the faint reflection Of a cracked bedroom door Against The flickering skyline.
Our hands clasped And a lonely artist died And for the moment We ignored the bullet That rubbed our necks To the bone En route to something greater.
Sequence SAM DASCH the boy’s been broken open psychic seams spew fascination the atoms in her fingers are older than the earth he’s certain there’s a sequence all the pieces serve a purpose she only drinks on weekends monday mornings are the worst he can’t help but envision her shampoo and then conditioner perfume imbues the hallway now his nose won’t let him focus the page before him mayhem scribbled figures made of maybes he’s certain there’s a sequence she won’t tell him that it’s hopeless
Spoiled JENNIFER KRONMILLER your darling daughter who you used to loved so much is still here, alright: in the produce drawer, behind the browning lettuce and below the squash. someone should really clean that fridge out before your little girl spoils.
Blonde Boy MURAT UZER
The Hummingbird KELLY BURGESS
BIANCA ZABALA At first glance, I thought I saw the word ribcage, but I didnâ€™t. It only looks an awful lot like the word birdcage. I wonder if itâ€™s because our bones are gilded structures and our souls the poor things locked inside, starved but singing.
ALEXANDRA ROCOVICH My little sister spins in the park to make pictures on the inside of her eyelids. She photographs the leaves with a camera that’s out of film. I see her in the tree, looking down on us, hoping no one thinks to look up; she told me she is afraid of heights. She floats on clouds that shade the girls’ school bath room stalls. Calculating dragons ponder over chess moves
when they are at a stalemate. The elementary world of juvenility affords her some breathing room. School boys kiss girls at recess. She objectifies the structure and remains separate. Her pencils sing hymns in her ears when they become dull and their color greys. Sniffing fresh sharpie drawings on the insides of her binders makes her mind twirl like the legs of a ballerina. She can hear footsteps ring behind her eardrums, but she doesn’t know where they come from. She likes it that splendid way.
Life In Color CANDACE GABEL
She gave her souvenir money to the woman sleeping in the street when we visited New York City. She will go to great lengths to skip to work when she decides to play grown up, and I know that my sister will make an excellent mother because her maturity has never allowed her to grow up. She tunneled our entire backyard when it snowed by herself. She said, “I can’t get sick when it’s below 32 degrees out, because that’s when all the germs are dead, but I’d like to keep the creatures hiding behind my heart alive.”
She drinks hot chocolate in the summer; the taste of milky foam brings quiet to her stampeding heart. I can taste the whisper from her lips when she plays with her stuffed animals in the dark. She thinks I can’t hear. Pennies ring on the sidewalks as they fall from her dancing fingers, and she floats down the aisle, skipping in her flower girl dress in size seven heels.
Faux Tow Sine Thesis SAM DASCH when malthus crunched his numbers i think he may have made some blunders and it’s no wonder hunger gets the best of every single stomach yet progenearly incomprehensible neural synapses electrical converging to / diverging from the truths long since concluded beyond what can be pondered hitherto shine such eurekas rock solid logic dislodged divvied up and proven fluid the collar about the neck of the dog resembles the watchstrap band on the wrist yankee doodle necktie jet-stream coalmine circuit slave-trade yes-men the leash decree is time to go is time to go is time to go ahead and wake me up when I’m thirtyish and made it some vaguely ambitious corporate important well informed and socially active by then the al gore rhythm most conveniently should’ve past it’s hydrogen cells and sustainables surely here comes our triumphant abundance absurdly beyond what can be pondered hitherto shine such eurekas hare hare krishna pair a dice snake eyes and eve
Baby Blue YJ LEE
Smog infests the air and it’s hard enough to breathe if your lungs work. And hearts bleed freely enough in a world of unrequited and unequal love when your ventricles aren’t waging civil war. He doesn’t remember the game of Russian Roulette that the Universe played with his genes he just knows that he lost. Now he runs with scissors parades on active subway tracks washes down one of many prescriptions with bourbon because biology has never been his friend, he may as well give chemistry a try. Because if he’s going to kill himself he may as well be given the right to pull the trigger.
Preachers' Daughters Make the Best Black Sheep EMILY ATWATER Another sermon today, one I have nearly memorized by now, one that could pour dutifully from my lips, a lesson learned by rote, pounded into my head. Mercy precedes judgment! I learned, along with the verses and the books of the Bible, lined up tidily in rows, to make them easy to swallow. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus - this is my father, this is the place where he stands and where I must meet him. Numbers, Deuteronomy solid and unchanging, this is my family, but I have no place in this fortress of the Word that I do not believe, from a God I do not trust.
Table For One
I am made entirely of ash. Last night, city officials searched the home and found: 2 beta fish 7 half-opened boxes from the Home Shopping Network And dust, Layers upon Layers Of skin cells no longer needed. Searching for books, they Found empty Ben and Jerryâ€™s cartons stacked neatly on top of plywood shelving; Looking for something, a sign Of communication beyond the fishbowl. No love letters or friendly emails or cordial voicemails, Small talk. Only a Yahoo! inbox filled with hundreds of emails from Nigeriaâ€” Viagra. Ash. Accolades, acknowledgements, I leave nothing behind. Except for receipts, electricity, fish food. A sympathetic house, And two beta fish who can Smell the old photo albums in the closet, but whose Fins are a fraction of the distance it takes to reach them.
The Dog Days
One Man's Trash CALLIE MARSALISI
When I see scratched up lottery tickets on the ground, I always always always flip them over, just in case someone dropped their fortune, and I don’t know if that’s optimism or pessimism.