Page 1

SPECTRUM

Literary Arts Magazine Spring 2017 Issue

Literary Arts Magazine

@NUspectrum @NUspectrum fb.com/spectrumneu

northeastern.edu/spectrum

SPECTRUM


TABLE OF CONTENTS 4 Staff

Basket lights // Ben Landsberg Reduced to receipts // Nicole Cerundolo

28

Guard // Christina Philippides Something I’ve Lost // Shannon Perry

30

Limestones and Roads // Emily Mui The Sun is Hiding // Autumn Martin

32

Surprise... I Bet You Thought You’d Seen the Last of Me // Remenna Xu In New Brunswick // Ben Selesnick

6

Celilo Salmon // Brooke Dunahugh Dear Friend // Felicity Henson

8

thoughts // Zora Moua 1:01 am // Sarah Better

10

Solitude // Marie Schulte-Bockum Ungrounded // Nicole Cerundolo

34

Observing Art // Christina Philippides Puddle Redux // Edward Nardi

12

Helsinki Charm // Jared Hirschfield

36

Fall Colors // Samanjate Sood blue jay goodbyes // Rachael Swift

14

Dear Margaret // Emily Mui Noise // Tim DiFazio

38

Shade // Eva Justo Cheap Paper // Shannon Perry

16

At Lake’s Edge // Paige Howell Dive Bar // Georgeanne Oliver

40

18

Spectrum 2.0 // Samanjate Sood West H. // Elke Thoms

Ladder to enlightenment II // Ben Landsberg Amour de grand-maman // Kimberly Dacorogna

20

Goldfish // Cayley Ross Orange Rose // Kate O’Brien

42

Georgetown Nights // Danielle Vandre Jam // Kelly Burgess

Cover art adapted from “Observing Art” by Christina Philippides. Title page art adapted from “Limestone and Roads” by Emily Mui.

22

Bayfront Sunset // Paige Howell Octopus // Simran Mohinani

44

Shades of Purple // scribbleCat Pi to 44 Places // Alec MacLean

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 otherwise indicated by the author. Any references to people living or dead are purely coincidental except in the case of public figures. The views and opinions represented in this media do not necessarily reflect those of Northeastern University or the staff of Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine.

24

there’s no crying in baseball // Victoria Barranco You’ve Got Mail // MSS

46

Silk Melanin // Rosemary Ajegwu Death // Kimberly Dacorogna

26

Macro // Jared Hirschfield How to Care for Bees // Elissa Fertig

Editor-in-Chief           Elke Thoms Layout & Design Editor       Natalya Jean Financial Manager          Kaley Bachelder Secretary             Andrew Madanjian Advertising Manager         Remenna Xu

General Members Martin Carnahan • Nicole Cerundolo • Lauren Geary • Tess Hogan Stephen Hurley • Molly Kauper • Callie Marsalisi • Emily Mui • Natalia Queenan • Nicole Sojkowski • Marisa Switzman • Haniyyah Tobarri

Contact Office                            234 Curry Student Center Email               spectrum.magazine@gmail.com Mailbox              434 Curry Student Center

Copyright© Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine and respective authors. All rights reserved.

LITERARY ARTS MAGAZINE


TABLE OF CONTENTS 4 Staff

Basket lights // Ben Landsberg Reduced to receipts // Nicole Cerundolo

28

Guard // Christina Philippides Something I’ve Lost // Shannon Perry

30

Limestones and Roads // Emily Mui The Sun is Hiding // Autumn Martin

32

Surprise... I Bet You Thought You’d Seen the Last of Me // Remenna Xu In New Brunswick // Ben Selesnick

6

Celilo Salmon // Brooke Dunahugh Dear Friend // Felicity Henson

8

thoughts // Zora Moua 1:01 am // Sarah Better

10

Solitude // Marie Schulte-Bockum Ungrounded // Nicole Cerundolo

34

Observing Art // Christina Philippides Puddle Redux // Edward Nardi

12

Helsinki Charm // Jared Hirschfield

36

Fall Colors // Samanjate Sood blue jay goodbyes // Rachael Swift

14

Dear Margaret // Emily Mui Noise // Tim DiFazio

38

Shade // Eva Justo Cheap Paper // Shannon Perry

16

At Lake’s Edge // Paige Howell Dive Bar // Georgeanne Oliver

40

18

Spectrum 2.0 // Samanjate Sood West H. // Elke Thoms

Ladder to enlightenment II // Ben Landsberg Amour de grand-maman // Kimberly Dacorogna

20

Goldfish // Cayley Ross Orange Rose // Kate O’Brien

42

Georgetown Nights // Danielle Vandre Jam // Kelly Burgess

Cover art adapted from “Observing Art” by Christina Philippides. Title page art adapted from “Limestone and Roads” by Emily Mui.

22

Bayfront Sunset // Paige Howell Octopus // Simran Mohinani

44

Shades of Purple // scribbleCat Pi to 44 Places // Alec MacLean

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 otherwise indicated by the author. Any references to people living or dead are purely coincidental except in the case of public figures. The views and opinions represented in this media do not necessarily reflect those of Northeastern University or the staff of Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine.

24

there’s no crying in baseball // Victoria Barranco You’ve Got Mail // MSS

46

Silk Melanin // Rosemary Ajegwu Death // Kimberly Dacorogna

26

Macro // Jared Hirschfield How to Care for Bees // Elissa Fertig

Editor-in-Chief           Elke Thoms Layout & Design Editor       Natalya Jean Financial Manager          Kaley Bachelder Secretary             Andrew Madanjian Advertising Manager         Remenna Xu

General Members Martin Carnahan • Nicole Cerundolo • Lauren Geary • Tess Hogan Stephen Hurley • Molly Kauper • Callie Marsalisi • Emily Mui • Natalia Queenan • Nicole Sojkowski • Marisa Switzman • Haniyyah Tobarri

Contact Office                            234 Curry Student Center Email               spectrum.magazine@gmail.com Mailbox              434 Curry Student Center

Copyright© Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine and respective authors. All rights reserved.

LITERARY ARTS MAGAZINE


4

Reduced to receipts           Nicole Cerundolo Our friendship started smoothly: days of planning road trips on star charts, swapping smiles and secrets like currency, a harmony of chords from different keys We were each other’s complement, juggling scrapbooks of inside jokes, remarking on the beauty neither one of us could see when we looked in the mirror I can’t pinpoint where we fell out of step, when you shoved splinters under my nails and built bridges out of balsa wood just to burn them down again You tell me I’ve changed— I ask you how easy it is to keep a heart soft after piecing it together seven times, or seventy-seven My limbs are weighed down by Duco cement but the glue hasn’t dried yet; and your words stick to the cracks I don’t think I can say goodbye when I still want to undo our hello

Basket Lights  Ben Landsberg


4

Reduced to receipts           Nicole Cerundolo Our friendship started smoothly: days of planning road trips on star charts, swapping smiles and secrets like currency, a harmony of chords from different keys We were each other’s complement, juggling scrapbooks of inside jokes, remarking on the beauty neither one of us could see when we looked in the mirror I can’t pinpoint where we fell out of step, when you shoved splinters under my nails and built bridges out of balsa wood just to burn them down again You tell me I’ve changed— I ask you how easy it is to keep a heart soft after piecing it together seven times, or seventy-seven My limbs are weighed down by Duco cement but the glue hasn’t dried yet; and your words stick to the cracks I don’t think I can say goodbye when I still want to undo our hello

Basket Lights  Ben Landsberg


Celilo Salmon  Brooke Dunahugh

6

Dear Friend,      Felicity Henson

I want to forgive you, but don’t know if I can, don’t know if I should, don’t know if I do. I understand–

understood– you were broken. But it wasn’t fair for you to break me too.


Celilo Salmon  Brooke Dunahugh

6

Dear Friend,      Felicity Henson

I want to forgive you, but don’t know if I can, don’t know if I should, don’t know if I do. I understand–

understood– you were broken. But it wasn’t fair for you to break me too.


Thoughts

8

     Zora Moua

1:O1 am    Sarah Better I’ve been standing On the moon  Dwelling  On my solitude  It has given me  Time to think  And I’ve realized  That I don’t need you  So escape my mind  Once and for all  Leave me alone  The only approval  I need  Is  My own  So I’ll stay  Here at the moon  Where I can think  But not about you  I’ll come back  When I’m ready  But for now  I’m comfortable  On the moon


Thoughts

8

     Zora Moua

1:O1 am    Sarah Better I’ve been standing On the moon  Dwelling  On my solitude  It has given me  Time to think  And I’ve realized  That I don’t need you  So escape my mind  Once and for all  Leave me alone  The only approval  I need  Is  My own  So I’ll stay  Here at the moon  Where I can think  But not about you  I’ll come back  When I’m ready  But for now  I’m comfortable  On the moon


10

Ungrounded   

Nicole Cerundolo

I’m a blend of coffee and café, a bubbling brew of two different cultures countries, continents diluted by pale skin and half-remembered Spanish, corriente en vez de caliente, a little cheap, a little bitter, uncertain what plane will take me home.

Solitude  Marie Schulte-Bockum


10

Ungrounded   

Nicole Cerundolo

I’m a blend of coffee and café, a bubbling brew of two different cultures countries, continents diluted by pale skin and half-remembered Spanish, corriente en vez de caliente, a little cheap, a little bitter, uncertain what plane will take me home.

Solitude  Marie Schulte-Bockum


12

Helsinki Charm  Jared Hirschfield


12

Helsinki Charm  Jared Hirschfield


14

Noise   

Tim DiFazio

i step over the pile of dirty laundry   and dirty dishes to seal the window   and shut the curtains so that the nauseous noise will never distract me   from my all-important numbness      but despite my desperate efforts, the baneful cacophony of church bells echoes through my prison cell,   a nails-on-chalkboard reminder   that, despite my emptiness, life hatefully hurries on leaving me      to fester. And yet,   today the silence that was never truly there is wrought with the gentlest whirring, punctuated by a pidgeon, a car horn, and that oldest of gods:      a shout in the street. and as I draw my baited breath, the sun’s benevolently blinding rays show me that   sometimes noise can also heal.

Dear Margaret         Emily Mui


14

Noise   

Tim DiFazio

i step over the pile of dirty laundry   and dirty dishes to seal the window   and shut the curtains so that the nauseous noise will never distract me   from my all-important numbness      but despite my desperate efforts, the baneful cacophony of church bells echoes through my prison cell,   a nails-on-chalkboard reminder   that, despite my emptiness, life hatefully hurries on leaving me      to fester. And yet,   today the silence that was never truly there is wrought with the gentlest whirring, punctuated by a pidgeon, a car horn, and that oldest of gods:      a shout in the street. and as I draw my baited breath, the sun’s benevolently blinding rays show me that   sometimes noise can also heal.

Dear Margaret         Emily Mui


At Lake's Edge  Paige Howell

Dive Bar     Georgeanne Oliver In a dive bar Somewhere to the left of New York I’m sipping a raspberry margarita from a plastic cup And thinking I’m the most neurotic person in here And I should have ordered the lime 16


At Lake's Edge  Paige Howell

Dive Bar     Georgeanne Oliver In a dive bar Somewhere to the left of New York I’m sipping a raspberry margarita from a plastic cup And thinking I’m the most neurotic person in here And I should have ordered the lime 16


West H.

18

     Elke Thoms I got bored and looked up Your internship’s qualifications (I know, what a Northeastern thing to do). Anyway, they said the number-one trait They’re looking for in a candidate is “Egoless.” Interesting— I see they hired you anyway.

Spectrum 2.O  Samanjate Sood


West H.

18

     Elke Thoms I got bored and looked up Your internship’s qualifications (I know, what a Northeastern thing to do). Anyway, they said the number-one trait They’re looking for in a candidate is “Egoless.” Interesting— I see they hired you anyway.

Spectrum 2.O  Samanjate Sood


Goldfish  Cayley Ross

Orange Rose         Kate O’Brien Deep orange bleeds to white, petals imperfectly reflected. The flowers she picked were never quite this vivid, but the image still sparks bittersweet nostalgia. Appendices plucked one by one: he loves me, he loves me not. Lofty dreams fall into the dark and blossoms unfurl like childhood naiveté.

20


Goldfish  Cayley Ross

Orange Rose         Kate O’Brien Deep orange bleeds to white, petals imperfectly reflected. The flowers she picked were never quite this vivid, but the image still sparks bittersweet nostalgia. Appendices plucked one by one: he loves me, he loves me not. Lofty dreams fall into the dark and blossoms unfurl like childhood naiveté.

20


Octopus   Simran Mohinani

Bayfront Sunset  Paige Howell

The utility of his motion can fill an entire ocean his legs a trail of wonder in a sea so calm down under the glistening sun that glows makes the octopus overflow as he leaves his inky path setting up for a torturous wrath The crabs that span among us under the panoramic lust of the bay where they reside or from the octopi where they hide find safety under the sand from their predators’ hefty band when the octopus is waiting in a tornado it sits bathing Calm is the octupus’ demeanor slight is his stealth no keener than a shark about to scout his meal salmon, garupa, definitely no veil gourmet in its synthetic smile the octopus makes it past another mile sustained on the savory and the sweet until the next time he has to eat

22


Octopus   Simran Mohinani

Bayfront Sunset  Paige Howell

The utility of his motion can fill an entire ocean his legs a trail of wonder in a sea so calm down under the glistening sun that glows makes the octopus overflow as he leaves his inky path setting up for a torturous wrath The crabs that span among us under the panoramic lust of the bay where they reside or from the octopi where they hide find safety under the sand from their predators’ hefty band when the octopus is waiting in a tornado it sits bathing Calm is the octupus’ demeanor slight is his stealth no keener than a shark about to scout his meal salmon, garupa, definitely no veil gourmet in its synthetic smile the octopus makes it past another mile sustained on the savory and the sweet until the next time he has to eat

22


24

You’ve Got Mail MSS

You were a cloud on my brow keeping the sunshine safe away from my shallow eyes tears catch fractals, and colds, and thoughts you wouldn’t understand, anyway, so why’d you have to ask? the eyes are always limpid, deep blue, unless they’re fire or mud. Or chips of harrowed stone. I think mine are corn. Or wheat, or something softer. My eyes tremble in the wind, sway and bend towards heat, energy the flowers will only grow once I am dead. less like a caress and more like, oh god, panicked shoots crushing what once was mine, all mine. The final release is disintegration, never death. harvesting glances to press between pages is my life’s work. I wish I was a botanist in 1890, with precise strokes and umber gaze pointed to make marks on page. Marks on page, on page. daisies grow elsewhere on my body, these days. Growing old is less like flax and spinning wheels and old cranky mothers. Less like banana tresses petering to silver. Less like poetry and more like pinpricks. Tease me to sleep over years and years and years, until tears are clogged with sulfur and brimstone is tonic to soothe fears. I’ve never loved the idea of mums twisting in my knuckles, posies rolling over in the wind marking passage, passage, ever passage. A concept I cannot bear: to know a time will pass when I cannot see and cannot hear cannot taste the water on my lips just throw me into a river, be done with it! I’m done with it.

Press my bones into envelopes and send them away. The destination won’t matter after too long, I suppose, just rock me in the beds of mail trucks. In the gentle hands of folk dedicated to keeping promises and bringing news. The bellies of cargo planes. Addressless, destinationless, exploring and exploring. Put my heart in a jar and send it off to sea with a kiss on the lid and a tear ground deep into salt. Weigh me down so I can explore the depths, where no peaceful child will see and ask, why? what brings you here? can I take you with me? and are you at peace? All this talk of scuttling in seas and drowning in rivers and ripping flowers from my own ochre grave. Growing old is only thought reduced and extended, losing resolution in the twist and stretch.  Silver hair a side effect. Toss me in the river. I refuse to be tucked away. Send me to my father in a hundred envelopes: an apology, a thank-you, a holy-shit, can you believe it? my own words, beyond my empty grave. Sink me in the sea to burst, to lie with my glass-wrapped heart Sink me in the sea to fall apart. Can you tell that death is nothing more than a far-flung hello, to those who are young? I’m terrified I will never grow old. And equally, astonishingly terrified that I just might.

there’s no crying in baseball                Victoria Barranco


24

You’ve Got Mail MSS

You were a cloud on my brow keeping the sunshine safe away from my shallow eyes tears catch fractals, and colds, and thoughts you wouldn’t understand, anyway, so why’d you have to ask? the eyes are always limpid, deep blue, unless they’re fire or mud. Or chips of harrowed stone. I think mine are corn. Or wheat, or something softer. My eyes tremble in the wind, sway and bend towards heat, energy the flowers will only grow once I am dead. less like a caress and more like, oh god, panicked shoots crushing what once was mine, all mine. The final release is disintegration, never death. harvesting glances to press between pages is my life’s work. I wish I was a botanist in 1890, with precise strokes and umber gaze pointed to make marks on page. Marks on page, on page. daisies grow elsewhere on my body, these days. Growing old is less like flax and spinning wheels and old cranky mothers. Less like banana tresses petering to silver. Less like poetry and more like pinpricks. Tease me to sleep over years and years and years, until tears are clogged with sulfur and brimstone is tonic to soothe fears. I’ve never loved the idea of mums twisting in my knuckles, posies rolling over in the wind marking passage, passage, ever passage. A concept I cannot bear: to know a time will pass when I cannot see and cannot hear cannot taste the water on my lips just throw me into a river, be done with it! I’m done with it.

Press my bones into envelopes and send them away. The destination won’t matter after too long, I suppose, just rock me in the beds of mail trucks. In the gentle hands of folk dedicated to keeping promises and bringing news. The bellies of cargo planes. Addressless, destinationless, exploring and exploring. Put my heart in a jar and send it off to sea with a kiss on the lid and a tear ground deep into salt. Weigh me down so I can explore the depths, where no peaceful child will see and ask, why? what brings you here? can I take you with me? and are you at peace? All this talk of scuttling in seas and drowning in rivers and ripping flowers from my own ochre grave. Growing old is only thought reduced and extended, losing resolution in the twist and stretch.  Silver hair a side effect. Toss me in the river. I refuse to be tucked away. Send me to my father in a hundred envelopes: an apology, a thank-you, a holy-shit, can you believe it? my own words, beyond my empty grave. Sink me in the sea to burst, to lie with my glass-wrapped heart Sink me in the sea to fall apart. Can you tell that death is nothing more than a far-flung hello, to those who are young? I’m terrified I will never grow old. And equally, astonishingly terrified that I just might.

there’s no crying in baseball                Victoria Barranco


Macro  Jared Hirschfield

How to Care for Bees               Elissa Fertig Buy a large wooden hive carved of hickory oak $25 from Nashville, Brown County, Indiana. On the night of the election, you told me, I got so drunk off of whiskey and three days later I watched two cypress trees from my childhood woven at the roots finally make it to the top of the earth coiled tightly like a watch spring. Collect the honey. What do bees eat? Right now I am reading a book on slavery and I think that the main character is me though I told myself I know when I am dreaming. Stay awake. Watch their tiny bodies crawl over each other like the way of the ocean forest fires or sand in a glass. Things that eat each other. Pay attention. On Christmas Day my sister walked into my room and said, someone just died. Trouble. A poem is just words the same way a heart is just a muscle the same way a mountain is just a rock and you are just another organ in the whole Puget Sound of the big wide world rushing to fill itself and then drown again. Carry me oh carry me home. 26


Macro  Jared Hirschfield

How to Care for Bees               Elissa Fertig Buy a large wooden hive carved of hickory oak $25 from Nashville, Brown County, Indiana. On the night of the election, you told me, I got so drunk off of whiskey and three days later I watched two cypress trees from my childhood woven at the roots finally make it to the top of the earth coiled tightly like a watch spring. Collect the honey. What do bees eat? Right now I am reading a book on slavery and I think that the main character is me though I told myself I know when I am dreaming. Stay awake. Watch their tiny bodies crawl over each other like the way of the ocean forest fires or sand in a glass. Things that eat each other. Pay attention. On Christmas Day my sister walked into my room and said, someone just died. Trouble. A poem is just words the same way a heart is just a muscle the same way a mountain is just a rock and you are just another organ in the whole Puget Sound of the big wide world rushing to fill itself and then drown again. Carry me oh carry me home. 26


Guard  Christina Philippides

Something I've Lost            

Shannon Perry

It’s impossible to name just one. I am so bad at keeping the right things. I lose homework, Change out of pockets, Tubes of lipstick, People’s names. I lost track of time And birthdays, Appointment reminders from my doctor. I am an old overcoat With a hole in my pocket From years of fingernails picking at seams. I leave it all on the sidewalk as I go.

28


Guard  Christina Philippides

Something I've Lost            

Shannon Perry

It’s impossible to name just one. I am so bad at keeping the right things. I lose homework, Change out of pockets, Tubes of lipstick, People’s names. I lost track of time And birthdays, Appointment reminders from my doctor. I am an old overcoat With a hole in my pocket From years of fingernails picking at seams. I leave it all on the sidewalk as I go.

28


30

  The Sun is Hiding             Autumn Martin Emotion’s fleet sails forward, The horizon catches waves avast, In the midst of perspective’s ocean, Turmoil lies in clouds overcast, Stagnant winds hold valor’s ship still, But fear not, For the weather won’t last.

LimestoneS and Roads  Emily Mui


30

  The Sun is Hiding             Autumn Martin Emotion’s fleet sails forward, The horizon catches waves avast, In the midst of perspective’s ocean, Turmoil lies in clouds overcast, Stagnant winds hold valor’s ship still, But fear not, For the weather won’t last.

LimestoneS and Roads  Emily Mui


32

In New Brunswick               Ben Selesnick   The only indication that new tenants had taken over was that the color of the drapes turned from white to blue. The floor below their apartment was empty and the floor below that was a basement where the homeless had taken over by tearing the wire screens off the windows that kissed the curb.   I don’t know the language the new tenants spoke. It sounded like an Eastern dialect, but their darkened skin tones suggested otherwise. Perhaps they spoke English and I simply willed away my ability to understand them.   The woman, indicated by her billowy tank top and long hair, rose from the mattress and approached the window across from mine. Her wrist, gripping her chin, was so thin that a pen could stab right through it, severing it into two pieces. In addition, I wondered, how could her hands be so small? Can she even swing a bat? Or would the sheer weight of it rip her hands off her arms?   She turned to the cross-legged man poised against the wall behind her. The man yelled but his words had no meaning. He yelled again and kicked at the floor like a child in need of a diaper change. She pushed away from the window and stormed into the bathroom out of my view.   I didn’t know who to pity.   I shut my blinds and paced incessantly. My thoughts trailed off and resurfaced. They were murky and manic-like subtitles that leave the frame before you get a chance to read them.   I decided to climb onto my desk and press my head against the blinds, making my presence all the more apparent by the skull-shaped bulge that now protruded on the other side, but I wasn’t concerned. I’d been sitting at my desk staring into their apartment for months and they never waved at me or made any sort of indication that they were aware of my existence.   Standing in the windowsill, all I could hear were the plastic blinds rubbing against my earlobe and murmurs from passersby on the street below. But nothing from my companions. It was the silence amidst the noise; that’s what it was.   I lifted the blinds and exposed my precarious position to them. The woman had moved onto the floor next to the man. Her hands with fingers like Play-Doh spaghetti were folded in her lap while the man rested his head against the wall. They sat a yard apart from each other.   Sitting together in that desolate studio apartment, I wanted her to fall into his lap with her face shining up at his as he leafed his fingers across the little hairs that stood on her forearms. I wanted them to hold one another and to never leave that apartment, so that I could come home from work and see them intertwined like strands of ivy scaling a brick building.   They slept on the mattress that night. Other nights they’d slept on the floor. I stayed at my desk watching them sleep, telling myself stories of the lives I dreamed they had. She was a recent graduate turned engineer. He was a personal trainer studying to become a pharmacologist.   They would lead extraordinary lives.   The next morning they moved out and the apartment was empty. The university would open up a week later, and when it did a new wave of students would clamor up and down the building’s steps, unloading plastic containers full of dishes, linens, and assorted memorabilia as they did every year.   That evening with my legs splayed open and my hands trapped under my armpits, I wept.   My neighbors are always the same. Students. Professionals. Children becoming adults. Having quarrels over sleeping arrangements like drifters making a home on yet another train.

Surprise... I Bet You Thought You’d Seen The Last of Me                           

Remenna Xu


32

In New Brunswick               Ben Selesnick   The only indication that new tenants had taken over was that the color of the drapes turned from white to blue. The floor below their apartment was empty and the floor below that was a basement where the homeless had taken over by tearing the wire screens off the windows that kissed the curb.   I don’t know the language the new tenants spoke. It sounded like an Eastern dialect, but their darkened skin tones suggested otherwise. Perhaps they spoke English and I simply willed away my ability to understand them.   The woman, indicated by her billowy tank top and long hair, rose from the mattress and approached the window across from mine. Her wrist, gripping her chin, was so thin that a pen could stab right through it, severing it into two pieces. In addition, I wondered, how could her hands be so small? Can she even swing a bat? Or would the sheer weight of it rip her hands off her arms?   She turned to the cross-legged man poised against the wall behind her. The man yelled but his words had no meaning. He yelled again and kicked at the floor like a child in need of a diaper change. She pushed away from the window and stormed into the bathroom out of my view.   I didn’t know who to pity.   I shut my blinds and paced incessantly. My thoughts trailed off and resurfaced. They were murky and manic-like subtitles that leave the frame before you get a chance to read them.   I decided to climb onto my desk and press my head against the blinds, making my presence all the more apparent by the skull-shaped bulge that now protruded on the other side, but I wasn’t concerned. I’d been sitting at my desk staring into their apartment for months and they never waved at me or made any sort of indication that they were aware of my existence.   Standing in the windowsill, all I could hear were the plastic blinds rubbing against my earlobe and murmurs from passersby on the street below. But nothing from my companions. It was the silence amidst the noise; that’s what it was.   I lifted the blinds and exposed my precarious position to them. The woman had moved onto the floor next to the man. Her hands with fingers like Play-Doh spaghetti were folded in her lap while the man rested his head against the wall. They sat a yard apart from each other.   Sitting together in that desolate studio apartment, I wanted her to fall into his lap with her face shining up at his as he leafed his fingers across the little hairs that stood on her forearms. I wanted them to hold one another and to never leave that apartment, so that I could come home from work and see them intertwined like strands of ivy scaling a brick building.   They slept on the mattress that night. Other nights they’d slept on the floor. I stayed at my desk watching them sleep, telling myself stories of the lives I dreamed they had. She was a recent graduate turned engineer. He was a personal trainer studying to become a pharmacologist.   They would lead extraordinary lives.   The next morning they moved out and the apartment was empty. The university would open up a week later, and when it did a new wave of students would clamor up and down the building’s steps, unloading plastic containers full of dishes, linens, and assorted memorabilia as they did every year.   That evening with my legs splayed open and my hands trapped under my armpits, I wept.   My neighbors are always the same. Students. Professionals. Children becoming adults. Having quarrels over sleeping arrangements like drifters making a home on yet another train.

Surprise... I Bet You Thought You’d Seen The Last of Me                           

Remenna Xu


Observing Art  Christina Philippides

Puddle Redux        Edward Nardi How human can a puddle be… so pure!–then tainted by society. Born of nature’s consequence, both reflect, but truly are anonymous.

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Observing Art  Christina Philippides

Puddle Redux        Edward Nardi How human can a puddle be… so pure!–then tainted by society. Born of nature’s consequence, both reflect, but truly are anonymous.

34


blue jay goodbyes               Rachael Swift a blue jay perched above my head trilling a song i had never heard, fluffing down from its breast. and even now, as tufts of blue and white filter down upon the sheaves of birch bark at my side, i see you. i see your hands, delicate as eggshells, knarled arthritic roots leafing through nature journals as i sat beside you, your bright-eyed girl. sat like a lady, pressing questions the way you taught me to press flowers between journal pages—between your heart and mine. now, as if to say, “hello, mother of my mother. hello, wisewoman mine” i write in ripple patterns of the rain on the sidewalk, your birdsong my most missed lullaby.

Fall Colors  Samanjate Sood

36


blue jay goodbyes               Rachael Swift a blue jay perched above my head trilling a song i had never heard, fluffing down from its breast. and even now, as tufts of blue and white filter down upon the sheaves of birch bark at my side, i see you. i see your hands, delicate as eggshells, knarled arthritic roots leafing through nature journals as i sat beside you, your bright-eyed girl. sat like a lady, pressing questions the way you taught me to press flowers between journal pages—between your heart and mine. now, as if to say, “hello, mother of my mother. hello, wisewoman mine” i write in ripple patterns of the rain on the sidewalk, your birdsong my most missed lullaby.

Fall Colors  Samanjate Sood

36


38

Cheap Paper       Shannon Perry I didn’t think that people with commitment issues Could write in pen. But crossing out Scribbling over Never bothers us too much. Commitment-phobes just write in Ninety-nine cent STAPLES notebooks Out of fear That no story will be worth Bound leather, Thick paper with Emerson quotes at the top, Encouraging notes from my grandmother. I keep boyfriends like journals: I don’t.

Shade  Eva Justo


38

Cheap Paper       Shannon Perry I didn’t think that people with commitment issues Could write in pen. But crossing out Scribbling over Never bothers us too much. Commitment-phobes just write in Ninety-nine cent STAPLES notebooks Out of fear That no story will be worth Bound leather, Thick paper with Emerson quotes at the top, Encouraging notes from my grandmother. I keep boyfriends like journals: I don’t.

Shade  Eva Justo


Ladder to Englightenment II  Ben Landsberg

AMOUR AMOUR

40

Amour de grand-maman                Kimberly Dacorogna You were religious in the most beautiful way, the only one that matters. Your faith, a compass, leading you always on a road of acceptance and understanding. Religion just one more reason to love, like you loved dad. He told me once, of how he stole money from your purse when he was a child, maybe nine or ten. And then, wracked with guilt, he confessed. You hugged him tight : « C’est parce que je ne te donne pas assez d’argent de poche. » Dad never stole again. He even believes now. Claims he had a revelation! I think he just misses you.


Ladder to Englightenment II  Ben Landsberg

AMOUR AMOUR

40

Amour de grand-maman                Kimberly Dacorogna You were religious in the most beautiful way, the only one that matters. Your faith, a compass, leading you always on a road of acceptance and understanding. Religion just one more reason to love, like you loved dad. He told me once, of how he stole money from your purse when he was a child, maybe nine or ten. And then, wracked with guilt, he confessed. You hugged him tight : « C’est parce que je ne te donne pas assez d’argent de poche. » Dad never stole again. He even believes now. Claims he had a revelation! I think he just misses you.


Georgetown Nights  Danielle Vandre

Jam  Kelly Burgess There’s no escape Your headlights are magnesium fire Green light go nowhere This is Boston Horns help no one I’m blinded now But even I can read “right turn only”

42


Georgetown Nights  Danielle Vandre

Jam  Kelly Burgess There’s no escape Your headlights are magnesium fire Green light go nowhere This is Boston Horns help no one I’m blinded now But even I can read “right turn only”

42


Shades of Purple          scribbleCat

Pi to 44 Places        Alec MacLean The suffuse poetry of light folded itself into the room Graceful as a paper crane. Amidst the soft geometry of two bodies lay One percussive beat, resounding in time. We lay, two complementary chords, overlapping, undulating. The chime of laugh, emanating and resounding held me in place. Fingertip to fingertip we existed, looped into one, for two nights. I understood the tousled hair, curve of loin, gleam of iris. I longed to know this all by heart. Pi to forty-four places. Between shallow breath and fiery kiss, The proscenium arch of his lips seemed to carry the weight of the stars. I touched them to mine, drawing back to find the luminescence upon my own bowed lips, His for the taking. I felt I could summit the nape of his neck to the peak of his jaw An Everest in its own right. I lay content, his head anchored on my chest, And felt an inky miasma of who I once was. What he saw, I was unsure, I felt remiss in elongated limb, paper crêpe skin, and trembling hand. Doused in sleep he held me tighter Hand over fist Heart over head I listened for the inevitable discordant thrum of harsh word sent stinging by regret But found only the silence and whispers of a night Made replete. Clean morning light was a blank slate Splashed with the abstract shape of him All soft breath and curve of eyelash Still close and close and closer He opened his eyes and looked at me for the first time And memorized the decimals of my affection.

44


Shades of Purple          scribbleCat

Pi to 44 Places        Alec MacLean The suffuse poetry of light folded itself into the room Graceful as a paper crane. Amidst the soft geometry of two bodies lay One percussive beat, resounding in time. We lay, two complementary chords, overlapping, undulating. The chime of laugh, emanating and resounding held me in place. Fingertip to fingertip we existed, looped into one, for two nights. I understood the tousled hair, curve of loin, gleam of iris. I longed to know this all by heart. Pi to forty-four places. Between shallow breath and fiery kiss, The proscenium arch of his lips seemed to carry the weight of the stars. I touched them to mine, drawing back to find the luminescence upon my own bowed lips, His for the taking. I felt I could summit the nape of his neck to the peak of his jaw An Everest in its own right. I lay content, his head anchored on my chest, And felt an inky miasma of who I once was. What he saw, I was unsure, I felt remiss in elongated limb, paper crêpe skin, and trembling hand. Doused in sleep he held me tighter Hand over fist Heart over head I listened for the inevitable discordant thrum of harsh word sent stinging by regret But found only the silence and whispers of a night Made replete. Clean morning light was a blank slate Splashed with the abstract shape of him All soft breath and curve of eyelash Still close and close and closer He opened his eyes and looked at me for the first time And memorized the decimals of my affection.

44


Death Kimberly Dacorogna I was seven when I realized that people could die. Sitting between my parents, on one end, of the couch, while my brothers, on the other end, quietly argued about who got the remote, same as every Friday. Contented, I observed people live compelling lives on the screen. We were buzzing with life ourselves. Just as Billy Elliot. who leaped gracefully

dancing was not for boys. It was a feel-good story, supposed to make us happy, except, Billy’s mother had died. All it took was one quick mention of her absence. Twenty maybe thirty seconds of a feature film. I could never answer why then or why that movie, but my heart skipped

glanced up to my own mother’s wrinkle-free face, my world fell apart. Death came out from the darkness, suddenly unveiled herself to me for the first time and took a piece of my childhood away. No one understood why I didn’t fear for my father, my brothers. I’m still not sure myself,

except, If I left my mother’s side, even for a second, I might never see her again. After all, It was Billy Elliot’s mother who died. I don’t think about loss as much now.  And I’ve known about death long enough, not to fear it just as much. But my blood still runs cold when I think that my mother will die.

a beat. As I

through existence, in a world where

Silk Melanin  Rosemary Ajegwu

46


Death Kimberly Dacorogna I was seven when I realized that people could die. Sitting between my parents, on one end, of the couch, while my brothers, on the other end, quietly argued about who got the remote, same as every Friday. Contented, I observed people live compelling lives on the screen. We were buzzing with life ourselves. Just as Billy Elliot. who leaped gracefully

dancing was not for boys. It was a feel-good story, supposed to make us happy, except, Billy’s mother had died. All it took was one quick mention of her absence. Twenty maybe thirty seconds of a feature film. I could never answer why then or why that movie, but my heart skipped

glanced up to my own mother’s wrinkle-free face, my world fell apart. Death came out from the darkness, suddenly unveiled herself to me for the first time and took a piece of my childhood away. No one understood why I didn’t fear for my father, my brothers. I’m still not sure myself,

except, If I left my mother’s side, even for a second, I might never see her again. After all, It was Billy Elliot’s mother who died. I don’t think about loss as much now.  And I’ve known about death long enough, not to fear it just as much. But my blood still runs cold when I think that my mother will die.

a beat. As I

through existence, in a world where

Silk Melanin  Rosemary Ajegwu

46


SPECTRUM

Literary Arts Magazine Spring 2017 Issue

Literary Arts Magazine

@NUspectrum @NUspectrum fb.com/spectrumneu

northeastern.edu/spectrum

SPECTRUM

Profile for Northeastern University Library

Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine: Spring 2017  

A student-run publication at Northeastern University, Boston, MA.

Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine: Spring 2017  

A student-run publication at Northeastern University, Boston, MA.