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SPECTRUM literary arts magazine spring 2013 issue


SPECTRUM literary arts magazine spring 2013 issue


SPECTRUM LITERARY ARTS MAGAZINE SPECTRUM.MAGAZINE@GMAIL.COM WWW.SPECTRUM.NEU.EDU 234 CURRY STUDENT CENTER MAILBOX: 240 CURRY 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 2013 edition Copyright CSpectrum 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 explicity instructed otherwise by the author or artist. Any references to people living or dead are purely coincidently, except in the case 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 is printed by

FROM THE EDITOR Welcome to the Spring 2013 Issue of Spectrum! Spectrum has always been a publication saturated with poetry, prose, and artwork, and this spring issue takes that saturation to a mature and polished place. The artwork is sharp and poignant - some pieces are dark, like “Bombshell Icon” and “Wilhelm Scream,” while others are surprisingly vibrant, like “Hombre y Perro” and “Crabwalk.” For all its color, the writing hits somewhere just below your ribs, like the splotches of “Purple” and the recurring pinch of a syringe in “Testament,” “Needles,” and “The Day Jack Goes to Town.” In the past few years, Spectrum has bloomed into a piece of art you can grasp, flip through, and take in as if it’s alive. It’s been a lot of work for our executive board and layout committee, so we hope you will tarry among the flowers as we pass the torch on to our new executive board and a future as saturated as our past. As you read through, know that this issue of Spectrum would not be complete without acknowledging the loss of one of our dedicated members. Sid consistently submitted poetry and photography to Spectrum and was published multiple times; he once flooded our inbox with forty-six images solely from his trip to India. His last submission to Spectrum was a bittersweet goodbye to Boston which was too long to be published and too raw to forget. We chose to republish one of our favorite poems in his memory on page 30, and hope that we were able to provide an adequate outlet for his overflow of creativity. Thank you for reading, Andrea Hampel

Special thanks to the Smith Print team

COVER ART ADAPTED FROM “BLUE DAZE” BY CHRISTINA BIVONA


SPECTRUM LITERARY ARTS MAGAZINE SPECTRUM.MAGAZINE@GMAIL.COM WWW.SPECTRUM.NEU.EDU 234 CURRY STUDENT CENTER MAILBOX: 240 CURRY 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 2013 edition Copyright CSpectrum 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 explicity instructed otherwise by the author or artist. Any references to people living or dead are purely coincidently, except in the case 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 is printed by

FROM THE EDITOR Welcome to the Spring 2013 Issue of Spectrum! Spectrum has always been a publication saturated with poetry, prose, and artwork, and this spring issue takes that saturation to a mature and polished place. The artwork is sharp and poignant - some pieces are dark, like “Bombshell Icon” and “Wilhelm Scream,” while others are surprisingly vibrant, like “Hombre y Perro” and “Crabwalk.” For all its color, the writing hits somewhere just below your ribs, like the splotches of “Purple” and the recurring pinch of a syringe in “Testament,” “Needles,” and “The Day Jack Goes to Town.” In the past few years, Spectrum has bloomed into a piece of art you can grasp, flip through, and take in as if it’s alive. It’s been a lot of work for our executive board and layout committee, so we hope you will tarry among the flowers as we pass the torch on to our new executive board and a future as saturated as our past. As you read through, know that this issue of Spectrum would not be complete without acknowledging the loss of one of our dedicated members. Sid consistently submitted poetry and photography to Spectrum and was published multiple times; he once flooded our inbox with forty-six images solely from his trip to India. His last submission to Spectrum was a bittersweet goodbye to Boston which was too long to be published and too raw to forget. We chose to republish one of our favorite poems in his memory on page 30, and hope that we were able to provide an adequate outlet for his overflow of creativity. Thank you for reading, Andrea Hampel

Special thanks to the Smith Print team

COVER ART ADAPTED FROM “BLUE DAZE” BY CHRISTINA BIVONA


EXECUTIVE STAFF EDITOR IN CHIEF: ANDREA HAMPEL LAYOUT AND DESIGN: MACKENZIE COCKERILL FINANCIAL MANAGER: JAMES GRIFFIN ADVERTISING MANAGER: MIRANDA PAQUET SECRETARY: ERYN CARLSON ASSISTANT EDITOR: JENNIFER KRONMILLER

LAYOUT committee

GENERAL STAFF

LIAM DYER STEPHANIE ENG EVANGELINE FACHON SANAE MATSUKI

GUS ALTOBELLO KELLY BURGESS ABBIE DOANE-SIMON AISLYN FREDSALL EMILY GOOD AMY HOOD AYLISH O’SULLIVAN LAUREN SMITH ISAIAH THOMAS

TABLE OF CONTENTS 2. “THE LOOKLESS GIRL’S PUNCHLINE” BY AMY HOOD “HIGH LINE” BY MAE STARK 4. “TESTAMENT” BY JENNIFER KRONMILLER “BRIDGE TO CITY” BY BEN LANDSBERG 6. “PURPLE” BY MIRANDA PAQUET “CRABWALK” BY MICHELLE NGUYEN 8. “AND THE MORNING-BIRDS WERE SINGING, GOLDENLY” BY AMY HOOD “RITTENHOUSE” BY YJ LEE 10. “I JUST WANT TO TELL YOU” BY MACKENZIE COCKERILL “MULHOLLAND DRIVE” BY HENNI SUNDLIN 12. “SNOW” BY TESLA CARIANI “GATHERING UNDER STREETLAMPS” BY BEN LANDSBERG 14. “PORTRAIT” BY JENNY ELKIN “STREETLIGHTS” BY YJ LEE 16. “NEEDLES” BY TESLA CARIANI “BRILLIANT PASSAGE” BY BEN LANDSBERG 18. “LOOKED AWAY” BY NARSIMHA CHINTALURI “THE END OF THE WORLD” BY JOHN HUBBARD

20. “DOG SHOW” BY FRANK CARDEW “HOMBRE Y PERRO” BY HENNI SUNDLIN 22.“DUSK ON THE EVE OF ABSENCE” BY J. THOMPSON GRIFFIN “PERPETUAL BOSTON” BY EVANGELINE FACHON 24. “DINNER TIME” BY ALEXA MASI “WAIT FOR HER” BY MIRANDA PAQUET “BOMBSHELL ICON” BY KELSEY “MAX” KLIBANSKY 26. “THE DAY JACK GOES TO TOWN” BY MICK THEEBS “WILHELM SCREAM” BY YJ LEE 28. “GOODY BAG OF GRIEF” BY AYLISH O’SULLIVAN “ELECTRIC” BY MICHELLE NGUYEN 30. “0.7 MM” BY SIDDHANT PHADNIS “FROTH” BY SIDDHANT PHADNIS 32. “WALKING ALONG” BY ALEXA MASI “THE HARVEST” BY CHRISTINA BIVONA 34. “AESTAS” BY DEVON BRANIN “THE PERFECT MORNING” BY CHRISTINA BIVONA


EXECUTIVE STAFF EDITOR IN CHIEF: ANDREA HAMPEL LAYOUT AND DESIGN: MACKENZIE COCKERILL FINANCIAL MANAGER: JAMES GRIFFIN ADVERTISING MANAGER: MIRANDA PAQUET SECRETARY: ERYN CARLSON ASSISTANT EDITOR: JENNIFER KRONMILLER

LAYOUT committee

GENERAL STAFF

LIAM DYER STEPHANIE ENG EVANGELINE FACHON SANAE MATSUKI

GUS ALTOBELLO KELLY BURGESS ABBIE DOANE-SIMON AISLYN FREDSALL EMILY GOOD AMY HOOD AYLISH O’SULLIVAN LAUREN SMITH ISAIAH THOMAS

TABLE OF CONTENTS 2. “THE LOOKLESS GIRL’S PUNCHLINE” BY AMY HOOD “HIGH LINE” BY MAE STARK 4. “TESTAMENT” BY JENNIFER KRONMILLER “BRIDGE TO CITY” BY BEN LANDSBERG 6. “PURPLE” BY MIRANDA PAQUET “CRABWALK” BY MICHELLE NGUYEN 8. “AND THE MORNING-BIRDS WERE SINGING, GOLDENLY” BY AMY HOOD “RITTENHOUSE” BY YJ LEE 10. “I JUST WANT TO TELL YOU” BY MACKENZIE COCKERILL “MULHOLLAND DRIVE” BY HENNI SUNDLIN 12. “SNOW” BY TESLA CARIANI “GATHERING UNDER STREETLAMPS” BY BEN LANDSBERG 14. “PORTRAIT” BY JENNY ELKIN “STREETLIGHTS” BY YJ LEE 16. “NEEDLES” BY TESLA CARIANI “BRILLIANT PASSAGE” BY BEN LANDSBERG 18. “LOOKED AWAY” BY NARSIMHA CHINTALURI “THE END OF THE WORLD” BY JOHN HUBBARD

20. “DOG SHOW” BY FRANK CARDEW “HOMBRE Y PERRO” BY HENNI SUNDLIN 22.“DUSK ON THE EVE OF ABSENCE” BY J. THOMPSON GRIFFIN “PERPETUAL BOSTON” BY EVANGELINE FACHON 24. “DINNER TIME” BY ALEXA MASI “WAIT FOR HER” BY MIRANDA PAQUET “BOMBSHELL ICON” BY KELSEY “MAX” KLIBANSKY 26. “THE DAY JACK GOES TO TOWN” BY MICK THEEBS “WILHELM SCREAM” BY YJ LEE 28. “GOODY BAG OF GRIEF” BY AYLISH O’SULLIVAN “ELECTRIC” BY MICHELLE NGUYEN 30. “0.7 MM” BY SIDDHANT PHADNIS “FROTH” BY SIDDHANT PHADNIS 32. “WALKING ALONG” BY ALEXA MASI “THE HARVEST” BY CHRISTINA BIVONA 34. “AESTAS” BY DEVON BRANIN “THE PERFECT MORNING” BY CHRISTINA BIVONA


The Lookless girl's punchline AMY HOOD certain things have occurred to me, since you left, since you spit your unsaid words to me through your phone. one, is that the trees have much prettier arms than you do, longer and whiter with forearms that stretch out to the sky, their fingers softer than yours, and their backs sturdier. two, is that these trees would have given better sex. i read a whole poem, once, about a sun-tanned girl masturbating on the back of elm, her white jeans slightly unbuttoned, the lake on her toes. somehow, comparatively, with your skinny sapling arms and your hanes socks still on, i think i’d rather the public indecency and the lakeside views. certain things have occurred to me, since you left. the most revolutionary is that i’d rather be alone, untouched as porcelain chinaware, than under the microscopic attentions of a boy with such frigid eyes.

high line MAE STARK

2


The Lookless girl's punchline AMY HOOD certain things have occurred to me, since you left, since you spit your unsaid words to me through your phone. one, is that the trees have much prettier arms than you do, longer and whiter with forearms that stretch out to the sky, their fingers softer than yours, and their backs sturdier. two, is that these trees would have given better sex. i read a whole poem, once, about a sun-tanned girl masturbating on the back of elm, her white jeans slightly unbuttoned, the lake on her toes. somehow, comparatively, with your skinny sapling arms and your hanes socks still on, i think i’d rather the public indecency and the lakeside views. certain things have occurred to me, since you left. the most revolutionary is that i’d rather be alone, untouched as porcelain chinaware, than under the microscopic attentions of a boy with such frigid eyes.

high line MAE STARK

2


TESTAMENT JENNIFER KRONMILLER When you first kissed me I whispered, “Iscariot,” and you said “What? My name’s Isaac,” and I never explained because you take communion with beer and waffles and masturbate in the confessionals when the priest isn’t looking so how could you understand? And when you sold the house for 30 pieces of silver foil and a bag of beige powder I shouted it this time: “You fucking Judas!” while you got down on your knees and prostrated your face on the coffee table and snorted in deeply. All G-d does is watch us and kill us when we get boring, read your tattoothe one on your arm alongside the track marksthat justified your gluttony, and i cried and cried because no, if there’s anything a billion year old G-d of eternity understands, it’s boredom.

bridge to city BEN LANDSBERG

4


TESTAMENT JENNIFER KRONMILLER When you first kissed me I whispered, “Iscariot,” and you said “What? My name’s Isaac,” and I never explained because you take communion with beer and waffles and masturbate in the confessionals when the priest isn’t looking so how could you understand? And when you sold the house for 30 pieces of silver foil and a bag of beige powder I shouted it this time: “You fucking Judas!” while you got down on your knees and prostrated your face on the coffee table and snorted in deeply. All G-d does is watch us and kill us when we get boring, read your tattoothe one on your arm alongside the track marksthat justified your gluttony, and i cried and cried because no, if there’s anything a billion year old G-d of eternity understands, it’s boredom.

bridge to city BEN LANDSBERG

4


PURPLE MIRANDA PAQUET Purple splotches on tan arms Like footprints in desert sand. Tracing trails with tired fingers, Connecting dots until you realize There’s nowhere left to go. Blue knuckles from Stubbornly locked doors, And still you think you Shouldn’t have left him. When he calls you will ignore it, (But only the first time). Then Long sleeves in the middle of July And two watery-weak iced coffees. Last night cannons shot from your mouth. Sentences punctuated with explosions, Red eyes spilling over and drowning freckles. You couldn’t believe what he’d done. Again. Today, there are only the shapeless Bodies of memories strewn around The room like dirty laundry. Unclaimed and abandoned. Rehearsed to perfection, The scene has gotten stale. The set is stiff and lines fall flat, The characters are mechanical, And the audience is overworked.

CRABWALK

MICHELLE NGUYEN

6


PURPLE MIRANDA PAQUET Purple splotches on tan arms Like footprints in desert sand. Tracing trails with tired fingers, Connecting dots until you realize There’s nowhere left to go. Blue knuckles from Stubbornly locked doors, And still you think you Shouldn’t have left him. When he calls you will ignore it, (But only the first time). Then Long sleeves in the middle of July And two watery-weak iced coffees. Last night cannons shot from your mouth. Sentences punctuated with explosions, Red eyes spilling over and drowning freckles. You couldn’t believe what he’d done. Again. Today, there are only the shapeless Bodies of memories strewn around The room like dirty laundry. Unclaimed and abandoned. Rehearsed to perfection, The scene has gotten stale. The set is stiff and lines fall flat, The characters are mechanical, And the audience is overworked.

CRABWALK

MICHELLE NGUYEN

6


it’s morning and the dayflowers open up their throats to catch the sun. someone is making hazelnut coffee outside my door, humming, the bluebirds are singing something sad, something off-the-books, by heart. there’s the smell of butter on a pan, the morning-sounds of the microwave.

AND THE MORNING-BIRDS WERE SINGING, GOLDENLY AMY HOOD dedicated to Cloid D. Hood, my Papa it’s morning and the sun is small and yellow. her delicate light sets the maple-branches on fire, rimming them in a gold-red,. the world is new and freshly silver, slick with baptism and march rain. when winter died, and february met her grave, the world mourned with snowflowers, with weeping. the birds came out and sang goldbreasted funeral songs. and when you died, and met your openmouthed casket, the earth gathered you up with thick brown arms. you found a place that always faces the sun, the skirt of a mountain, covered in the soft edges of palm trees and the white necks of lilies.

six months, seven, eight, two years have passed since we gave you up to the soft upturn of soil, to californian grass, and the headstones that grow silently beside it. one day, we’ll all forget you. we’ll grow old, senile, our skin will turn to prunes. we won’t remember our own names. but the earth never grows old. her brown arms hold you, even when winter dances across the grass, even when the birds don’t sing.

RITTENHOUSE YJ LEE

8


it’s morning and the dayflowers open up their throats to catch the sun. someone is making hazelnut coffee outside my door, humming, the bluebirds are singing something sad, something off-the-books, by heart. there’s the smell of butter on a pan, the morning-sounds of the microwave.

AND THE MORNING-BIRDS WERE SINGING, GOLDENLY AMY HOOD dedicated to Cloid D. Hood, my Papa it’s morning and the sun is small and yellow. her delicate light sets the maple-branches on fire, rimming them in a gold-red,. the world is new and freshly silver, slick with baptism and march rain. when winter died, and february met her grave, the world mourned with snowflowers, with weeping. the birds came out and sang goldbreasted funeral songs. and when you died, and met your openmouthed casket, the earth gathered you up with thick brown arms. you found a place that always faces the sun, the skirt of a mountain, covered in the soft edges of palm trees and the white necks of lilies.

six months, seven, eight, two years have passed since we gave you up to the soft upturn of soil, to californian grass, and the headstones that grow silently beside it. one day, we’ll all forget you. we’ll grow old, senile, our skin will turn to prunes. we won’t remember our own names. but the earth never grows old. her brown arms hold you, even when winter dances across the grass, even when the birds don’t sing.

RITTENHOUSE YJ LEE

8


I JUST WANT TO TELL YOU I just want to tell you:

MACKENZIE COCKERILL

the first time I saw you and you said my name, you lilted it. My letters rolled off your pink tongue like a melody I had never heard and I think I fell in love so I built you a home in the attic of my head. There’s a big fluffy armchair and a tea kettle on a table and I hope you’re comfortable up there. Because the you-in-my-brain keeps lilting my name and I’m waiting aching to hear you say it again with your breath warm on my neck and your fingers tangled in my hair and the notes in your voice so sweet as you lean in close and whisper “MacKenzie” before you kiss me.

MULHOLLAND DRIVE HENNI SUNDLIN

10


I JUST WANT TO TELL YOU I just want to tell you:

MACKENZIE COCKERILL

the first time I saw you and you said my name, you lilted it. My letters rolled off your pink tongue like a melody I had never heard and I think I fell in love so I built you a home in the attic of my head. There’s a big fluffy armchair and a tea kettle on a table and I hope you’re comfortable up there. Because the you-in-my-brain keeps lilting my name and I’m waiting aching to hear you say it again with your breath warm on my neck and your fingers tangled in my hair and the notes in your voice so sweet as you lean in close and whisper “MacKenzie” before you kiss me.

MULHOLLAND DRIVE HENNI SUNDLIN

10


Slipping through the sideways streets, snowflakes stack upon doorsteps, burrowing into the cracks of window ledges and peat coats. The frigid air seeps into already brittle bones, and subway cars attract a semi-transparent sheen of mist lacquered atop each hard-plastic pane as steam emanates from the tops of metal tracks, issuing forth after every exhale. These are the days when business suits are resting places for silver heads. Starched collars buckle under the first breath of sleep. These are the days when the city needs a rest.

SNOW TESLA CARIANI

GATHERING UNDER STREETLAMPS BEN LANDSBERG

12


Slipping through the sideways streets, snowflakes stack upon doorsteps, burrowing into the cracks of window ledges and peat coats. The frigid air seeps into already brittle bones, and subway cars attract a semi-transparent sheen of mist lacquered atop each hard-plastic pane as steam emanates from the tops of metal tracks, issuing forth after every exhale. These are the days when business suits are resting places for silver heads. Starched collars buckle under the first breath of sleep. These are the days when the city needs a rest.

SNOW TESLA CARIANI

GATHERING UNDER STREETLAMPS BEN LANDSBERG

12


I wish I could paint your face. Oh, I could prepare my palette, pour linseed oil and paint thinner into tarnished little cups, trap the canvas between the easel’s bolts. I could tap each color with my brush, swirl them together—a melody, a rhapsody of pinks and blues and yellows. But it would be empty, an echo of the glow of your skin. I could breathe deeply, inhale the fumes of the oil and lean back—maybe it’s your essence I’m drawing in. I wish I could capture your eyes, but how? When they change with every quiver of a leaf? When they are every color and no color? When they are all I see and yet I can’t remember what they look like? Like a murky lagoon, like a thick forest—unexplored. I want to drown inside them, lose myself in them. In anger, they are the ashes of a fire, speckled grey, cold and unknowing. When you smile, they are the waterfalls of Maine, the hills of New Hampshire in the fall. Your freckles, sprinkled across your nose, are connect-the-dot reminders of moments that set your heart ablaze. I could stab my brush at the blankness forever and not even begin to truly see you. The pink in your cheeks—from falling asleep under the sun, from laughing till you have to try every cure for hiccups, from making snow angels until dusk, how could I mix that shade?

Your laugh lines are the ski trails we race on, on days so cold they command silence. “Follow me!” Of course I will, what choice do I have when your face is the only thing I see? At this point, the paint would harden, expressing its frustration with the length of the process. The canvas would strain in its wooden frame, strain to be host to an image that could be worthy of being called your portrait. I wish I would have the strength to continue, to form the curve of your lips. Like a still frame from a movie, the image is incomplete. How could I make it so that the world would know the brilliance of your smile, the perfect innocence of your frown? I wish I could shape your mouth without trembling, delicately portray the peach fuzz above your upper lip without the brush slipping from my sweating palm. I wish I could convey your dimple—only one, asymmetrical. Perfect in your imperfections. It would only appear when you were happy from the core, when a smile was not enough to express the beauty of the moment. The confusion of memories in my mind is not enough to recreate you on this white mass of woven fibers. No color, no application technique could bring you to me. I wish you would come home, I wish I could see you. I wish I could paint your face.

PORTRAIT JENNY ELKIN

STREETLIGHTS YJ LEE

14


I wish I could paint your face. Oh, I could prepare my palette, pour linseed oil and paint thinner into tarnished little cups, trap the canvas between the easel’s bolts. I could tap each color with my brush, swirl them together—a melody, a rhapsody of pinks and blues and yellows. But it would be empty, an echo of the glow of your skin. I could breathe deeply, inhale the fumes of the oil and lean back—maybe it’s your essence I’m drawing in. I wish I could capture your eyes, but how? When they change with every quiver of a leaf? When they are every color and no color? When they are all I see and yet I can’t remember what they look like? Like a murky lagoon, like a thick forest—unexplored. I want to drown inside them, lose myself in them. In anger, they are the ashes of a fire, speckled grey, cold and unknowing. When you smile, they are the waterfalls of Maine, the hills of New Hampshire in the fall. Your freckles, sprinkled across your nose, are connect-the-dot reminders of moments that set your heart ablaze. I could stab my brush at the blankness forever and not even begin to truly see you. The pink in your cheeks—from falling asleep under the sun, from laughing till you have to try every cure for hiccups, from making snow angels until dusk, how could I mix that shade?

Your laugh lines are the ski trails we race on, on days so cold they command silence. “Follow me!” Of course I will, what choice do I have when your face is the only thing I see? At this point, the paint would harden, expressing its frustration with the length of the process. The canvas would strain in its wooden frame, strain to be host to an image that could be worthy of being called your portrait. I wish I would have the strength to continue, to form the curve of your lips. Like a still frame from a movie, the image is incomplete. How could I make it so that the world would know the brilliance of your smile, the perfect innocence of your frown? I wish I could shape your mouth without trembling, delicately portray the peach fuzz above your upper lip without the brush slipping from my sweating palm. I wish I could convey your dimple—only one, asymmetrical. Perfect in your imperfections. It would only appear when you were happy from the core, when a smile was not enough to express the beauty of the moment. The confusion of memories in my mind is not enough to recreate you on this white mass of woven fibers. No color, no application technique could bring you to me. I wish you would come home, I wish I could see you. I wish I could paint your face.

PORTRAIT JENNY ELKIN

STREETLIGHTS YJ LEE

14


TESLA CARIANI I watch as the lines of you shrink closer and closer together Shaking, even when the night is warm. Like that night blood ran down your arms As if even the most inner part of you wanted out.

BRILLIANT PASSAGE BEN LANDSBERG

NEEDLES

But stuff kept coming in–– each name more impossible to pronounce. Silly sounding, but they didn’t make you silly. And I wonder if I could have, should have… Then again, you always did like needles.

16


TESLA CARIANI I watch as the lines of you shrink closer and closer together Shaking, even when the night is warm. Like that night blood ran down your arms As if even the most inner part of you wanted out.

BRILLIANT PASSAGE BEN LANDSBERG

NEEDLES

But stuff kept coming in–– each name more impossible to pronounce. Silly sounding, but they didn’t make you silly. And I wonder if I could have, should have… Then again, you always did like needles.

16


LOOKED AWAY NARSIMHA CHINTALURI The time has come for his assured demise A death promised to all those who observed He stood static, pondering their advice, But with eyes shut, he never looked concerned. The waves crashed hard against our sorry ship As he slithered like a snail to the plank The sky shook as our vessel took a dip The captain calling names and taking rank The ocean blue was where we once rested Now a haunting home to torturous storms My friend, alone, his loyalty tested, Drowns out the noise as his last thought forms I cannot watch him die for me today I simply closed my eyes and looked away.

THE END OF THE WORLD JOHN HUBBARD

18


LOOKED AWAY NARSIMHA CHINTALURI The time has come for his assured demise A death promised to all those who observed He stood static, pondering their advice, But with eyes shut, he never looked concerned. The waves crashed hard against our sorry ship As he slithered like a snail to the plank The sky shook as our vessel took a dip The captain calling names and taking rank The ocean blue was where we once rested Now a haunting home to torturous storms My friend, alone, his loyalty tested, Drowns out the noise as his last thought forms I cannot watch him die for me today I simply closed my eyes and looked away.

THE END OF THE WORLD JOHN HUBBARD

18


DOG SHOW FRANK CARDEW A loose memory of cartoon dogs‌ Still horror close-up with full details of an eye and veins, George Liquor: American. Real dogs now barking in dusty Arizona on chains, heat of the summer desert and torn furniture junk outside and dry mouth wooden chair by the dirt road and sinking sand and nails, burnt wooden posts and barbed wire. And in cold wet dead-night towns there are other dogs, too, shrieking mama-thunderhorse and tattooed filthy nonsense.

HOMBRE y PERRO HENNI SUNDLIN

20


DOG SHOW FRANK CARDEW A loose memory of cartoon dogs‌ Still horror close-up with full details of an eye and veins, George Liquor: American. Real dogs now barking in dusty Arizona on chains, heat of the summer desert and torn furniture junk outside and dry mouth wooden chair by the dirt road and sinking sand and nails, burnt wooden posts and barbed wire. And in cold wet dead-night towns there are other dogs, too, shrieking mama-thunderhorse and tattooed filthy nonsense.

HOMBRE y PERRO HENNI SUNDLIN

20


EVANGELINE FACHON

PERPETUAL BOSTON

DUSK ON THE EVE OF ABSENCE J. THOMPSON GRIFFIN The sun sank to the tree’s embrace And I, who found its light in you, I let you go and turned my face To look upon the evening’s hue. And, oh, how cold I was alone And small beneath the starry sky. A million points of light above All strange and new to I and eye. At dawn I felt your arms again. The world grew clear as light came new All as I learned to newly love The brilliance that I found in you.

22


EVANGELINE FACHON

PERPETUAL BOSTON

DUSK ON THE EVE OF ABSENCE J. THOMPSON GRIFFIN The sun sank to the tree’s embrace And I, who found its light in you, I let you go and turned my face To look upon the evening’s hue. And, oh, how cold I was alone And small beneath the starry sky. A million points of light above All strange and new to I and eye. At dawn I felt your arms again. The world grew clear as light came new All as I learned to newly love The brilliance that I found in you.

22


DINNER TIME ALEXA MASI My brother, concerned with his weight and his family and my father, concerned only with weight sit, eating, ignoring everything, including each other.

WAIT FOR HER MIRANDA PAQUET Wait for her To fall asleep before tequila tears Make salty streams down your face Her skin is so soft against yours And you have grown tired From Lying

BOMBSHELL ICON KELSEY “MAX” KLIBANSKY

24


DINNER TIME ALEXA MASI My brother, concerned with his weight and his family and my father, concerned only with weight sit, eating, ignoring everything, including each other.

WAIT FOR HER MIRANDA PAQUET Wait for her To fall asleep before tequila tears Make salty streams down your face Her skin is so soft against yours And you have grown tired From Lying

BOMBSHELL ICON KELSEY “MAX” KLIBANSKY

24


The day is over. The sun’s gone down. And tomorrow is the day Jack goes to town.

MICK THEEBS Twisting under sheets, Jack finds no rest. Cold sweat pours down And pain burns his chest. End of the night, Body taking the lead, He gets out of bed And takes what he needs.

The checks were signed. The bill was paid. And tomorrow is the day Jack gets saved.

“Just a little,” Jack says, Measuring a shot “This’ll be the last time.” Though he knows that it’s not.

YJ LEE

“It’s for the best,” They told him, “It’s ‘cause we care.” “We can’t watch you kill yourself,” “It’s just not fair.”

WILHELM SCREAM

THE DAY JACK GOES TO TOWN

They took away his needles. They took away his junk. They thought they took it all away, He feels that pinch, But they never checked his trunk. That touch of a friend, He collapses and writhes Alone in the dark Grinning to the end. They leave him to think. Twice that day the sun went down He’s alert and awake And Jack never did go in to town. With forty left to wink. The hours stretch by. Jack knows what he needs. He knows that he shouldn’t, But his body pleads.

26


The day is over. The sun’s gone down. And tomorrow is the day Jack goes to town.

MICK THEEBS Twisting under sheets, Jack finds no rest. Cold sweat pours down And pain burns his chest. End of the night, Body taking the lead, He gets out of bed And takes what he needs.

The checks were signed. The bill was paid. And tomorrow is the day Jack gets saved.

“Just a little,” Jack says, Measuring a shot “This’ll be the last time.” Though he knows that it’s not.

YJ LEE

“It’s for the best,” They told him, “It’s ‘cause we care.” “We can’t watch you kill yourself,” “It’s just not fair.”

WILHELM SCREAM

THE DAY JACK GOES TO TOWN

They took away his needles. They took away his junk. They thought they took it all away, He feels that pinch, But they never checked his trunk. That touch of a friend, He collapses and writhes Alone in the dark Grinning to the end. They leave him to think. Twice that day the sun went down He’s alert and awake And Jack never did go in to town. With forty left to wink. The hours stretch by. Jack knows what he needs. He knows that he shouldn’t, But his body pleads.

26


GOODY BAG OF GRIEF AYLISH O’SULLIVAN There is no goody bag or gift set for grief. Packaged perfectly so you seem like you thought it out but someone has already wrapped it for you. You don’t have to fumble with the wrapping paper with clumsy fingers. I learned this after the accident when I had to face your mother for the first time. A good southern upbringing taught me to always bring a gift when visiting a house. Someone suggested a scented candle since flowers die and food expires - we had all had enough of expiration dates. So there I was standing in the super market trying to pick out a candle for your mother. Carefully, I pulled each lid off every candle on the shelf trying to figure out what to get. Caribbean breezes and home cooked apple pie essential oils do nothing for a broken heart. To reduce you to a candle just seemed cruel. They didn’t seem to have one that smelled like the weed we used to smoke in your car. Or the lemon from the gallons of sweet tea we would sip on those lazy hot summer afternoons. You could possibly use your perfume but it always smelled different on you rather than just straight from the bottle. Even the menthol scent of the cigarettes I used to hate that you smoked. To relegate you to a candle on the shelf was something I never prepared myself for. My hands pressed across the labels. Absently opening and closing glass lids letting small puffs of vacuum-sealed air out. Months later, I can’t even remember which one I settled on. The candle’s lid rattled as I drove further away from the city and closer to your house. You lived in the middle of nowhere and all the roads began to crack and crumble. Instead of paving them over, it was an accepted fact of what it was like to live out there. Rough and tired like the people who live out by the cornfields – the people we swore we’d never become. My tires rebelled against the gravel and potholes. The blood drained from my knuckles turning into two rows of pearls on the steering wheel. This used to be my favorite drive, where the stars were uninterrupted and we’d watch the corn rise and fall with the summer. As I pulled into the gravel road, I yanked the lid off all together. Your mother answered the door and I was glad I tucked the lid somewhere else because my hands shook uncontrollably. She led me into the house and I asked all the questions I could think of but we both didn’t want to talk about it. We walked together like human bruises.

Tender, raw, only to get uglier before we get better. I asked to see your room. I just wanted to sit on your bed one last time. On your nightstand was the picture of us when you came to visit me - your first trip into the city. A pizza box half closed was on the floor next to a six-pack of beer with one beer nestled in the cardboard folds. I patiently waited for you to come back through the door to finish the last one because you never cared if the beer was warm. I stayed as long as I could, knowing I’d never see it again. My eyes watered then brimmed over leaving hot trails on my cheeks. I couldn’t remember whether I was inhaling or exhaling but eventually my chest deflated. Stopping breathing doesn’t stop time. Leaving your room, your mother listed off the details of your funeral. I thanked her and headed towards the door back to my car. As I pulled away, the candle flickered in the kitchen window softly waving goodbye.

ELECTRIC

MICHELLE NGUYEN

28


GOODY BAG OF GRIEF AYLISH O’SULLIVAN There is no goody bag or gift set for grief. Packaged perfectly so you seem like you thought it out but someone has already wrapped it for you. You don’t have to fumble with the wrapping paper with clumsy fingers. I learned this after the accident when I had to face your mother for the first time. A good southern upbringing taught me to always bring a gift when visiting a house. Someone suggested a scented candle since flowers die and food expires - we had all had enough of expiration dates. So there I was standing in the super market trying to pick out a candle for your mother. Carefully, I pulled each lid off every candle on the shelf trying to figure out what to get. Caribbean breezes and home cooked apple pie essential oils do nothing for a broken heart. To reduce you to a candle just seemed cruel. They didn’t seem to have one that smelled like the weed we used to smoke in your car. Or the lemon from the gallons of sweet tea we would sip on those lazy hot summer afternoons. You could possibly use your perfume but it always smelled different on you rather than just straight from the bottle. Even the menthol scent of the cigarettes I used to hate that you smoked. To relegate you to a candle on the shelf was something I never prepared myself for. My hands pressed across the labels. Absently opening and closing glass lids letting small puffs of vacuum-sealed air out. Months later, I can’t even remember which one I settled on. The candle’s lid rattled as I drove further away from the city and closer to your house. You lived in the middle of nowhere and all the roads began to crack and crumble. Instead of paving them over, it was an accepted fact of what it was like to live out there. Rough and tired like the people who live out by the cornfields – the people we swore we’d never become. My tires rebelled against the gravel and potholes. The blood drained from my knuckles turning into two rows of pearls on the steering wheel. This used to be my favorite drive, where the stars were uninterrupted and we’d watch the corn rise and fall with the summer. As I pulled into the gravel road, I yanked the lid off all together. Your mother answered the door and I was glad I tucked the lid somewhere else because my hands shook uncontrollably. She led me into the house and I asked all the questions I could think of but we both didn’t want to talk about it. We walked together like human bruises.

Tender, raw, only to get uglier before we get better. I asked to see your room. I just wanted to sit on your bed one last time. On your nightstand was the picture of us when you came to visit me - your first trip into the city. A pizza box half closed was on the floor next to a six-pack of beer with one beer nestled in the cardboard folds. I patiently waited for you to come back through the door to finish the last one because you never cared if the beer was warm. I stayed as long as I could, knowing I’d never see it again. My eyes watered then brimmed over leaving hot trails on my cheeks. I couldn’t remember whether I was inhaling or exhaling but eventually my chest deflated. Stopping breathing doesn’t stop time. Leaving your room, your mother listed off the details of your funeral. I thanked her and headed towards the door back to my car. As I pulled away, the candle flickered in the kitchen window softly waving goodbye.

ELECTRIC

MICHELLE NGUYEN

28


SIDDHANT PHADNIS There’s no point the jagged hairs of a tipless pencil held in the hand of a listless --not to say boring but there’s a lethargy like surrounded by amber

FROTH SIDDHANT PHADNIS

0.7 MM

I don’t feel any point Dull dull dull dull pencil and I dunno how much is left til the eraser If I were a slab of moldable mud I’d sit on the axis and spin in place the unformed otter on the pottery wheel fill me with something I wait for hands to clasp me shape me into a charisma I want an iron smile welded on my face don’t care if it hurts, or how long it takes a painless feel of stainless steel

S IN MEMORIAM T

30


SIDDHANT PHADNIS There’s no point the jagged hairs of a tipless pencil held in the hand of a listless --not to say boring but there’s a lethargy like surrounded by amber

FROTH SIDDHANT PHADNIS

0.7 MM

I don’t feel any point Dull dull dull dull pencil and I dunno how much is left til the eraser If I were a slab of moldable mud I’d sit on the axis and spin in place the unformed otter on the pottery wheel fill me with something I wait for hands to clasp me shape me into a charisma I want an iron smile welded on my face don’t care if it hurts, or how long it takes a painless feel of stainless steel

S IN MEMORIAM T

30


WALKING ALONG ALEXA MASI All it is, really, is three strands of wire or three ligaments taken from a tree, held up by more of the same. It is not steel, not a concrete box with a dozen holes rounded with rigid purpose, letting in only the most basic levels of sunlight, stifling even the most restlessly flickering flame. It’s not. It does little to impress me. Yet, as I have seen, it works just the same, having passed countless lopsided ice tray plots of land--each creeping up and resting the tips of its fingers on the base of it, the fence. The horses, however, tend to huddle neatly within their boundaries, and if the fence marks the land outstretched from hand to hand, horses prefer to lean against the ribcage. My mother, who has always loved horses, sees the grey one and before she speaks, her very breath blooms with wonder, the words ballooning from her lips, expanding outward-“Beautiful. Just beautiful,” she whispers. I see it, too, painted with dew, the white lace of its breath rolling out, though never quite far enough to slip beneath the fence’s rail.

THE HARVEST CHRISTINA BIVONA

The horse cannot hear her words which supposedly make up for its sore shoulders and beautiful, yes, but empty head. The horses, in fact, do not even appear remotely interested in greeting us--our hands reaching out for the hands of the damp earth, held over the fence, mine pale beneath the blue morning, wishing not to be beautiful, but to be unfenced. 32


WALKING ALONG ALEXA MASI All it is, really, is three strands of wire or three ligaments taken from a tree, held up by more of the same. It is not steel, not a concrete box with a dozen holes rounded with rigid purpose, letting in only the most basic levels of sunlight, stifling even the most restlessly flickering flame. It’s not. It does little to impress me. Yet, as I have seen, it works just the same, having passed countless lopsided ice tray plots of land--each creeping up and resting the tips of its fingers on the base of it, the fence. The horses, however, tend to huddle neatly within their boundaries, and if the fence marks the land outstretched from hand to hand, horses prefer to lean against the ribcage. My mother, who has always loved horses, sees the grey one and before she speaks, her very breath blooms with wonder, the words ballooning from her lips, expanding outward-“Beautiful. Just beautiful,” she whispers. I see it, too, painted with dew, the white lace of its breath rolling out, though never quite far enough to slip beneath the fence’s rail.

THE HARVEST CHRISTINA BIVONA

The horse cannot hear her words which supposedly make up for its sore shoulders and beautiful, yes, but empty head. The horses, in fact, do not even appear remotely interested in greeting us--our hands reaching out for the hands of the damp earth, held over the fence, mine pale beneath the blue morning, wishing not to be beautiful, but to be unfenced. 32


DEVON BRANIN

AESTAS

You want to make me happier, so you sketch my face without a mouth. Then you tap my shoulder, catch my eye, and draw a maniacal smile. “There,” you say. “That’s our goal.” It’s derailed somewhere between my pretension and your apprehension, and once we hit those breaks our skid marks leave scars on this road. That’s love-when your blood runs red enough the Bolsheviks turn over in their graves. And yet the corners of my mouth won’t budge. Instead I sit bowlegged on a mildewed rug, wondering why I am so far beyond communication, pondering when I ascended higher than every person in every room. You turn to dictionaries, libraries, even tamari-spattered Chinese menus and come up dry. We exchange I.O.U.s and burrow into barren hovels, our brows furrowed and our heads bulging with ibuprofen and caffeine. If by age thirty there’s a chemical that has eluded our collective bloodstream, we’ve grown too old, died too young, or we’ve been sliced down the middle and our stitching undone. Your sketchpad is stained and spotted with scorch marks. The earliest works are effaced with age. The caricatures inside pack their bags for an eternity of neglect. The thunder and the falling rain beyond the screen door wakes us up-we’re not the dreamers we thought we were, we are scared, clinging onto the other’s wrists, terrified that come morning, shrapnel and time will twist us into our fathers and uncles. The floor tremors again as we drift down into uneasy sleep, only our summer sweat grounding our bodies into a reality we can pin our hopes to. The cat sleeps next to us with one eye open.

THE PERFECT MORNING CHRISTINA BIVONA

34


DEVON BRANIN

AESTAS

You want to make me happier, so you sketch my face without a mouth. Then you tap my shoulder, catch my eye, and draw a maniacal smile. “There,” you say. “That’s our goal.” It’s derailed somewhere between my pretension and your apprehension, and once we hit those breaks our skid marks leave scars on this road. That’s love-when your blood runs red enough the Bolsheviks turn over in their graves. And yet the corners of my mouth won’t budge. Instead I sit bowlegged on a mildewed rug, wondering why I am so far beyond communication, pondering when I ascended higher than every person in every room. You turn to dictionaries, libraries, even tamari-spattered Chinese menus and come up dry. We exchange I.O.U.s and burrow into barren hovels, our brows furrowed and our heads bulging with ibuprofen and caffeine. If by age thirty there’s a chemical that has eluded our collective bloodstream, we’ve grown too old, died too young, or we’ve been sliced down the middle and our stitching undone. Your sketchpad is stained and spotted with scorch marks. The earliest works are effaced with age. The caricatures inside pack their bags for an eternity of neglect. The thunder and the falling rain beyond the screen door wakes us up-we’re not the dreamers we thought we were, we are scared, clinging onto the other’s wrists, terrified that come morning, shrapnel and time will twist us into our fathers and uncles. The floor tremors again as we drift down into uneasy sleep, only our summer sweat grounding our bodies into a reality we can pin our hopes to. The cat sleeps next to us with one eye open.

THE PERFECT MORNING CHRISTINA BIVONA

34



Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine: Spring 2013