Cover design adapted from a piece by Ryan St. Pierre-Hetz found within this issue of Spectrum.
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Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine showcases the talents of the writers and artists at Northeastern University. All members of the Northeastern community are encouraged to submit original works of poetry, prose, and visual art. For more information, please visit www.spectrum.neu.edu. Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine, Spring 2010 edition. Copyright ÂŠ 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 for layout, grammar, spelling, and punctuation unless explicitly instructed by the author/artist. Any references to people living or dead are purely coincidental, except in the cases of a public figure. The views and opinions represented in this medium do not necessarily reflect those of Northeastern University or the staff of Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine.
Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine is printed by
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spectrum is Executive Staff
Editor in Chief Layout Editor Financial Manager Advertising Manager Secretary
Josh Olejarz David Nadeau Magdalena Szalowski Lucia Allen Diana Mai
MacKenzie Cockerill Aylish Oâ€™Sullivan Alyssa Sullivan Peter Tran
Taylor Elam Gail Geiger Robert Gewirtz Jackie Gladstein Andrea Hampel Matt Kline Lauren Olean
Miranda Paquet Taryn Sadauskas Anna Siembor Alison Smith Anna Westendorf Dylan Zierk
Well, we did it. After years spent carefully avoiding a yawn-how-obvious “spectrum” layout theme, we gave in and used one. And you know what? We surprised ourselves by liking it. Which is not to say we’ll use one again anytime soon (that would definitely be overkill). For this issue, though, it matches up nicely with the current change of seasons, a rich visual exhibition of the full range of colors and textures in the natural world. To try to capture a little of that organic vibrancy, we used an assortment of floral patterns to give the design in here a springtime feel—and they look pretty cool, too. We hope you enjoy this issue, and take it as a friendly reminder to also enjoy the full spectrum of beauty in our everyday surroundings. Thanks for reading, Josh Olejarz
2 “Amsterdam at 8AM” Chantalle Hanna Untitled Diana Mai “Flight Delight to Somewhere Over There” C. Mae Waugh
4 Untitled Ryan St. Pierre-Hetz “It Came Out When I Was Sleeping” Marley Hyman
22 “Seaglass” Gina Bollenback
6 “From the Start” J.M. Olejarz “Stupor Mundi” Stuart Peterfreund “Cut It Out” Nikki Frankel
8 “Clear Skies Canyon” Ben Landsberg “Calamity Grace” Peter Tran
J.M. Olejarz “Waiting” Allison Rhee “Snack Time” Jackie Gladstein
12 “Maybe This Is Why” Lucia Allen “A Poet” Muge Karamanci Untitled Ryan St. Pierre-Hetz
14 “After the Storm” Anna Westendorf “Move-in Day” Rebecca Payne
16 “old feet, new feet” Jackie Gladstein “Love Is the Glue That Binds” Miriam Laufer
18 “Pavement, How Ex-sighting” Jason Jedrusiak “Geniuses in Dungarees” Chantalle Hanna “Morning View” Ben Landsberg
“Tree Park” Breanne Sparta
“My Co-worker, Carmen” Christie Perkins
24 “dos mil cuatrocientos sesenta y seis” Megan McCormick
26 “The Formula of Champions” Sierra Smith
10 “What We Should Have Known All Along”
20 “Making Up” J.M. Olejarz
thisissue Untitled Ryan St. Pierre-Hetz
28 “Kinetic Dissonance” Jenny Litwin 30 “Dead Man’s Curve” Stuart Peterfreund Untitled Diana Mai “High Noon” Carli Velocci
32 “Cataract Surgery” Stuart Peterfreund “Self Portrait, Structure” Megan McCormick
34 “Warrior” Melissa Sinclair “Hour Own” Tessa K. “In and Of” Lauren DiTullio
36 “Many” Nachiket Rajderkar
“A Nursery Rhyme for Thanatos” Ashley A. Bishop “Some Space” Chantalle Hanna
38 “Demimondaine” Magdalena Szalowski “Mona Lisa” Timothy P. Boston “No One Belongs Here (More Than You)” Emily Tebbetts
39 “Self Portrait in a Hat” Alicia Silvestri “Sweepstakes” Jason Jedrusiak
sun-soaked city sweat-soaked sheets shadow play on the interface of these dam streets bicycling home under the Amstel sunrise, which rises as I rise.
It's like a beach of clouds beyond the window, white waves lapping the blue skyline below. As close to the sun as any human can get, its rays reflect on the waves. Surfing through the sky on a swell of air current up so high, the only bird in flight, we fly. Propellers whirlâ€” the airplane glides like an iron gull riding a rip curl. I sit in the safety of a pressurized cabin, seat belt tight across my hips, a prayer for safe travel upon my lips, eyes mesmerized by the atmosphere. The world looks so different from way up here. Closer to earth we glide, trinket homes and tiny towns dot the countryside. Man would never fly, skeptics once did dismiss. I wonder how two brothers one day, dreaming in a field of hay, could ever have imagined something like this.
C. Mae Waugh
Ryan St. Pierre-Hetz
It came out when I was sleeping, Crawled right out of cozy bed. I’m not one for secret keeping. Not a sound was peeping When the thought came to my head. It came out when I was sleeping. And though your eyes were fresh from weeping, The secret from me fled. I’m not one for secret keeping. I couldn’t help the words from creeping. I swear I don’t know what was said. It came out when I was sleeping. Like a teabag steeping, The secret began to spread. I’m not one for secret keeping. When the alarm clock started beeping, The room was full of dread. It came out when I was sleeping. I’m not one for secret keeping.
From the Start
the days of dying Summer have left their mark. they raged, bared their teeth, clawed our backs for a handhold, left parallel trails of sweat from necks to waist. needing another tactic, they smoldered with passive anger: burning waves of impetuous heat shimmered across the season’s reach. like a mistress spurned, Summer glared at us over shoulder, arms crossed tight in childish show. we pretended not to notice, made nodding gestures at dapper Fall, the cool young sensation, talk of the eager town. Summer watched with panic quick increasing, desperate for another glance, another touch, whatever slight attentions we might toss her way. when none came, rash actions followed, and Summer’s light faded from the sky. the delight of our overheated fancy, Fall proved chillier than we’d wanted, and, sensing our waning interest, withdrew into himself. relations became icy. we shivered in our overcoats and lamented the passing of our infatuation: thought of our first groping dalliances; remembered the tender warmth of distant months; mourned the loss of hoping from our lives; and dared to want a chance for hope again.
On the camo-colored lawns of my neighborhood, the bulbs advance: crocuses, jonquils, a vanguard of tulips. When in place, the flowers are battle ribbons on a breathing breast— the ironic commemorating the unspeakable, as the lawns mass, rehearsing for the end of May.
Stupor Mundi Stuart Peterfreund
Cut It Out
Clear Skies Canyon Ben Landsberg
I know Her Yes that happy-go-lucky one The one that doesn’t quite fit the curve She’s bustin’ chops With that grin of hers— In cliché terms, she’s a hurricane In risqué terms, she’s that black leather corset In paper-maché terms, she’s the 6th-grade masterpiece Too cool Smile, spick and spool She goes, ebbs, flows Plays with her hair and then goes for the K.O. She scares me. With that nonchalance Saying goodbyes to the yesterdays Just to keep that grin of hers— She dances over orange In the solar radiations In the shades of vitamin C and beta-carotene Eyes closed, mind agape Worries left to dry, held up by a pair of clothespins Enigmatic eyes and fleeting feet Not a hint from her, lest a confession Just the simple expression Of that grin of hers.
the yawkey lights were on, making for stranger night, turning a low cloud ceiling into a redpurple lid of smoky glass: like the top of an aquarium only visible with certain illumination, it sits there firmly in the sky, capping a life lived within the confines of the walls we never knew existed—until suddenly, stunningly, there they were—larger and longer than we ever could have imagined, because no imagination was great enough to encompass them, or even know where to start. we had to wonder, then, about the veracity of what we were seeing, whether they had been there all the time, and, if so, why they weren’t a constant topic of conversation among our peers. we had to wonder, with a flush of warm smugness, if we were, perhaps, unique in our ability to see them—which would explain so much, would validate so perfectly the opinions of ourselves we’d been cultivating most of our lives—that we were special, that we Get It, that somehow we alone were, though randomly, gifted superior powers of observation, and that credit for this chance occurrence could be, should be, claimed by us. we had to wonder, with a haughty sense of obligation, how to utterly capture with words the experience of wall-seeing, to make it palatable, touchable, for our peers, and when they looked upwards to the lid would they smile or would they smirk, and we decided they would smile. so with sounds of laudatory chatter dancing in our ears, we put pen to paper, phrasing it just so, to capture just how the yawkey lights were on, making for stranger night, turning a low cloud ceiling into a redpurple lid of smoky glass.
I glue felt papers into the classic shapes Here you go Miss Mags, a circle stick-on Be careful, for the ark is leaving at dawn I bought the National Geographic videotapes When Timmy giggles and lifts his shirttail You will find no belly button, Tin Man And rabbi lost his claim to the Promised Land When the Whereâ€™s Waldo? book set went off sale I wore yellow and cried without comfort footsie I had a big red dog named Clifford And Artie, the strongest man in the world Then, I learned of Tzars and Nietzsche and George V Because when I was then Iâ€™m not me here, But of course you already knew, my dear.
I love you like the deep rhythm of a song,
The kind you can really sway to And never need a momentâ€™s pause. I love you like a fleeting dream, The kind you keep your eyes closed for, And when that faithful knock comes,
The waking is painful, but the longing sweet. But I say this in jest Because it is simply how I see you: It has never been what you are. You are more like discord in a beautiful song, Or the chip in good china, Or when my lips are too dry in the winter. I just want to soak myself in your memory. Maybe this is why I tolerate The bruise on my arm Of your handprint.
The tears thieving her face as they river by breaking down her eyes, cheeks and lips. A smile of remainings So beautiful So much so fake. Hand in a hurry. Racing hand, rolled up sleeve. Two watches on one arm and this is only half of the body.
Sitting by the worldâ€™s shore, eyes made of paper, knees bent, mouth little open, deep asleep. When she wakes up she would swim out to lines, sometimes to lines that do not have shores.
Ryan St. Pierre-Hetz
After the Storm
Sunlight gleams on empty beds, their plastic sheaths green like hospitals, sanitized with little sign of the lives lived here before. Not new, never new, subtly worn with the passing of endless new beginnings in this old place, they wait for the sheets and comforters, blankets and pillows now piled haphazard filling the fluorescent-lit hallway, a rough and tumble reminder of our transition to These Wallsâ€”hallowed? or hollow? (might well be the latter for all the sounds they let through)â€” of academia in off-white beige pinpricked with little holes crusty with toothpaste, a temporary disguise, the only insight into those who stayed here before. Stare at them too long and a false pattern emerges: some encrypted message from previous tenants or just how high they hung their posters
Her veins pulse twice too slow and she accepts the dismissal of unrealistic rhymes composed with fire trucks and compassionate stairwells. Her rejections are relayed by clowns with normal-sized shoes. She ties her blueberry-stained footwear (Loop-de-loop and through the bunny hole). We played house while her parents were outâ€”she slept in the armchair, there was little to hint of the truth, and what princess can recognize true subtlety in conversation. Though she loved a fake cry. The similarities between us are old stories about as accurate as decade-old dresses. Yesterday is as undesirable as cotton candy and coloring in the lines, but thereâ€™s no stopping pretend and costumes only achieve strenuous elaboration. There are more important things, I decide. Like washing tainted windows, answering the door.
Love Is the Glue Miriam Laufer
Love is the glue that binds. It hardens over time, sticky and lumpy, and inconveniently oozes in unseemly places and sticks wherever it is least wanted, and while, with diligent attention, the most of it might be rubbed off, yet tiny molecules remain and cling. And these beads degrade into one’s skin, sink into pores, and insist on becoming a part of one’s self. Little snippets of Love lie curled in the cells of one’s body, and unfurl like vipers, to strike, divide, and reproduce. Love insinuates itself thus sneakily everywhere. And each act of division increases that viper still the more, so that its exponential expansion ends not in one’s dead body, but in the supple young bodies of one’s offspring. So it is this gelatinous adhesive, this sinuous cause of redness, swollenness, and secretions, holds dominion over all.
I threw myself into open air without hes-
of branches, twigs, and wood I get
eyes, twisted above this city; our memories
itation until i pulled out my para
caught? but clinging on by a thread of lieability
need to be cutdown but I won't put these fingers into the scissors
chute! oh my! i'm out of control I spiral down into a web
Still. hanging myself: limbs, heart, and
â€”by waiting to land
I truly believe in our superiority. We are better than them if only because We are worse We are orphans We are addicts We are geniuses We are lazy failures
We are young and jaded But like them We have good credit college degrees We are unconventional conformists who are happy in our dungarees.
the moon was still out when I got up today. I knew that I was seeing something secret, so I hid beneath my window and peeked out between the blinds. like the crew of a hushed vast movie set, a hundred workers snuck around making wild motions at each other. they gestured without noise while carrying lights and ladders and cables and cords. there were trucks, too: enormous flatbeds holding chained-together rows of trees and benches. light posts and shrubbery spilled out of a trailer nearby; a worker with a hard hat and clipboard pointed at them emphatically to his underlings. most, though, worked quickly, distributing fences and garbage cansâ€”dressing up the city block with its features. then I realized what was happening, and gasped. they froze, pointed in my direction, hissing at each other. I ducked down and waited waited then slowly looked out. they had returned to work, so I watched in silence as a dozen of them shoveled clumps of white powder across the street and sidewalks, and poured pre-made puddles into the gutters. one of them held a remote control up to the sky and pressed a button: the moon dropped out of view below the horizon, and gray clouds arced smoothly into the early-morning sky, sliding gently into place. after touching up the paint on several flaking storefronts and laying down a few more strips of dead, wintry browngrass, the workers loaded up the trucks, took one last look around, then got in and vanished. just then, the sun's edge cracked over the rooftops, the first train rumbled by on the tracks, and the trees began chirping with the waking sounds of hidden birds, as the world finished putting on its face for the day.
We sit on wet cement with freshly-lit Camels between our painted fingertips. I listen to her raspy words, watching her massage her sweat-soaked sock feet. “I work here forty hours a week and then at Morty’s Muffins in the early mornings.” I nod but say nothing to this coarse-haired woman in her stained IHOP uniform. We smell of pancakes, sticky sick sweet syrup, and black bitter coffee. “Sometimes I don’t see my kids for days at a time, but I leave them leftover waffles in the fridge. They like the chocolate chip ones best, but I don’t never eat ’em after fifteen years eating them here. My Maria has a boyfriend who I haven’t ever met and Eddy’s failing school.” She cuts her mocha brown eyes to mine and gives me a wrinkled smile: “Girl,” she says, “listen to me good. Don’t have kids, stay in school, and eat an apple a day so that you don’t get fat.” She laughs, and we go in to finish up our shifts, to start the closing duties. My shift ends in an hour and I’m glad, because hers goes till close.
dos mil cuatrocientos sesenta y seis Megan McCormick
After a decade and nine of indiscriminate And experiential scrutiny, I have ratiocinated That overindulging in a lexicon of metonyms Is the sole tactic, the unaccompanied, widowed way, That garroting the lingua franca of my fatherland Is the monadal modus operandi, predominantly among the nationâ€™s intellectual elite, That perorating grandiloquently (customarily about naught that exonerates such a verbose composition) Is the one and only unassailable technique To properly poetizing a prizewinning poesy unless you
m o r e
a c h.
Ryan St. Pierre-Hetz
Around 1:00 this afternoon, the sun, a low rider this time of year, pulled up to the dining room window and sat there, idling for awhile. Then he gunned it, spitting out a solar flare or two, and asked, “Hey, dude, you wanna go for pink slips?” “Are you out of your axis,” I replied. “What I’m running here is a gas-fired 1926 condo block, solid masonry construction, no lifts. It’s gone maybe an inch in 82 years, and you’re 1.98892 x 1030 kilograms of pure fusion, dude.” “That’s heavy, dude,” was his answer. “Catch you around the seasons. Later.” Then he popped a wheelie and headed out over Mt. Auburn Cemetery, where the dice graze, and where everyone looks like a biker’s jacket.
scrubbing away my face in this crowded arena is simply humiliation "Just go with it."
You're calling me and I can't hear you.
I have temporarily left sinking in the desert sand where the high noon bronzes my skin and vaporizes my brain into a state of pleasure-seeking madness
1. “Intumescent,” he said, and then explained that cataracts do not ripen like fruit, but instead mature, a nice distinction, except for the touch of lethality that that term adds. “Intumescent,” he repeated, and asked if I needed him to explain, and I said no, generalizing from what I knew about tumescence, to venture that the cataract was engorged with ocular fluid. I passed the quiz but flunked the examination: surgery in four weeks. 2. Good drugs, an eye block to the right, the left draped, and a sensation of floating, as he stretched a stubborn iris, rusted tight around the intumescent lens, and I gave birth to it, unwanted, discolored to the shade of Vaseline. “As bad as it gets,” he muttered, “but we have the old one out. Soon we’ll irrigate and put the new one in.” Then the only hard part: dealing with the nurses in post-op, who kept waiting for me to fall, throw up, or pass out. Other than the fact that the patch made me look like Jeff Goldblum turning into a fly, I was just fine, and not a little dangerous looking, if I say so myself. 3. The next day the patch came off, and the surgeon and the resident examined, pleased with their work. People smiled at me as I passed by. I thought it must be that I had the look of a survivor, till I glanced in a mirror and saw that the remaining betadine, iodine, and spot marking the eye to be operated on made me look like Bozo after running out of cold cream three-quarters done. No matter: I continued to smile—half-blind, then given back full sight; from slightly deadened to alive as ever, grateful for this small resurrection in my time.
I imagine petals falling around us From blushing thunderheads That rain ruby splendor. Crimson kisses your ivory brow, Painting strawberries there. They are sweet on my tongue.
Onyx threads of laughter Diminish in the sunlight. I donâ€™t mind. They shine silver in the moonlight, Which you prefer, And so do I. They glisten as they snake about your throat, Hissing, And I am all you need. Delicately I press your heart Between my hands And smile Sweetly. I press it Like a flower To be admired by hollow-eyed lovers, So you will be with me Wherever I go.
Warrior Melissa Sinclair
Hour Own One left Right turn Back the clock Winds down To the river We sit Stay here There is time Moves slowly Quickly now Then we knew Unaware of our Own selves All we have Give minutes Hours we rent Buying time Flies away Toward me Your own Hours pass Through the years Seconds Firsts Times.
A Nursery Rhyme for Hogwash and twaddle be the mind of lad condemned by bugbear and funk.
Monkey will come, Miasma in hand, while lad lay sinking in slump.
Ashley A. Bishop
Some Space Chantalle Hanna
I’m going home my momma’s taking me to church. I’m going to the cinema with my sister. I’m going to say hi to the old guy next door and give my boy friend some
Many Nachiket Rajderkar
Demimondaine I do not know when tomorrow is, Or if it’s made of clay or gold. I do not know who I’ll be with tonight, Or for how much I’ll be sold.
I do not know my own name— They’ve changed it many times. I do not know the sound of silence, Or the valor of my pretty crimes.
I do not know where I’m going. I’m sure it’s rather far. I do not know what I’m wearing, Or whose clothes these are.
I do not know how to breathe, Or the meaning of the word “sane.” I do not know of consciousness— My mind wanders with a cane.
I do not know where I’m from, And if this crimson heart can beat, I do not know, I do not know, If I can stand on these two feet.
I do not know much of anything, But this one fact is true: I do not know what I should, But I know I never loved you.
Timothy P. Boston
Mona Lisa It is past midnight, and the bouquets of my young lovers are lying in my bedsheets. Earlier, in the street, I passed a woman in her middle ages, the scent of dead flowers in her perfume. Tonight I am alone. I count the minutes passing slowly and remark how briefly Love stays when she visits. Her hair was long and gray. She smiled wisely as she passed, and her gait was measured and slow.
No One Belongs Here (More Than You)
Self Portrait in a Hat
Sweepstakes ELIGIBILITY: ALL FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL RULES AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, ALL U.S. TERRITORIES AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. HOW TO ENTER VIA THE INTERNET: HOW TO ENTER TEXTING FROM A MOBILE PHONE: HOW TO ENTER VIA MAIL: WINNER SELECTION: PRIZES: The trip must be taken between November 26th and December 4th, 2008, or it shall be void. Odds of winning the prize are determi ned by total number of eligible entries received. GENERAL: Void outside of the 50 United States or District of Columbia. All entries become property of Sponsor and Provider/Sponsor and will not be acknowledged or returned. False, fraudulent or deceptive entries or acts shall render entrants and entries ineligible. â€”by alien
spectrum literary arts magazine
A student-run publication at Northeastern University, Boston, MA.