Perfect For Orange Juice
NU Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine
Perfect for orange Juice W INTER 2005
NU Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine
Financial Manager Stephen Asay
General Staff Steve Brachmann Dan Breidenbach Brian Cavell Chris Cerrato Stephanie Chang Jay Cinq-Mars Rocco Collele Matt Cote Rodney Dominique Michael Dzurak Joseph Evald Molly Felth Nicole Frankel Peter Franklin
Ranya Gebara Meghan Lynch Jenny Martin Stephanie Messina Chessie Monks Greg Morehouse Chelsea Petersen Rajesh Punjabi Erin Simmons Tessa Taylor Evan Umansky Jose Urriola C Mae Waugh
Ways to go Nowhere By Daniel Breidenbach
430 Curry Student Center Mailbox 228 CSC 617.373.2250 email@example.com www.spectrum.neu.edu
Table of Contents 1
12:30 AM on East 33rd - Joseph H Eveld The Future In the Background - David J Breidenbach
House Song - Chelsea Petersen
Yellow - Emi Gonzalez Placement of Color - Emi Gonzalez
Influenza Ward No.1 - Stuart Peterfreund In the Land of Twilight... - Rodney Dominique
Reflection Under the Moon - SubEther Rabbit
Bamboo - Melanie Bishop Deafening Roar - James Curley
Confessions of a Broken Dishwasher - Jessica Lamarre Try This Rhyme Anytime - Cynthia Walker
Untitled - Chessie A Monks Stop That Racket - Jessica Lamarre
Lights Off - Morgan Jensen Spiral Down - Jason Jedrusiak
Untitled - Jesse Silverberg Way Out West - Morgan Jensen
Night; Ocean and Elm - Hannah Leigh Reis
Orb-Weavers Tale - Lisa Hendricks Woven Waltz - Jennifer Blakeman
Mute River - Matt Cote I Wish - Jason Jedrusiak
The World - Jesse Silverberg
Mauve - Molly Felth
Two Sisters - David Delmar-SentĂes
Confessions From a Mal-Adjusted Mind - SubEther Rabbit Untitled - Jesse Silverberg
To a Friend - Joseph H Eveld
Stain on the Brain - Jason Jedrusiak
The leaves fall - Stephanie Messina Perish Road, Vermont - Emi Gonzalez
Untitled - Chessie A Monks
Third Sunday, June - Hannah Leigh Reis
Palindrome - Morgan Jensen
The Thaw - Stuart Peterfreund Hungover Sidewalk - Jason Jedrusiak
Have You Ever - SubEther Rabbit Sealed With a Kiss - Jessica Lamarre
Hard Freeze - Stuart Peterfreund Bench in Snow - David J Breidenbach
Fear and Loathing in Wal-Mart - Evan Umansky
Consequences of Immortality - David
Against Culture - Jason Jedrusiak Untitled - Jesse Silverberg
Gloucester - Therea J Norton
How Things Change - C Mae Waugh
Autumn Poem - C Mae Waugh
Newbury in Motion - Jason Jedrusiak Flight - Emily Lemiska Time - Laura Hughes
Broken - Jessica Lamarre
Cover Art - Jesse Silverberg
I walk beside the rosebush in the Garden of Our Time - Greg Morehouse
The Hand of Revolution - Melanie Bishop
Castaway - Stephanie Messina Penetrating Words - Jennifer Blakeman
Beautiful Places - Emily Lemiska Flutterbys - Jesse Silverberg
Sometimes When I Can’t Sleep - Nikki Frankel
Let Those Men Who Have Eyes See - Jay Cinq-Mars Untitled - Jesse Silverberg
Thrill Seeker Wanted - Jason Jedrusiak
I - Stephanie Messina
49th Street - Sean P O’Reilly
Fashion Show - Chessie Monks
Developer 76 - Jason Jedrusiak Is This a Water Fountain or a Bubbler? - Jason Jedrusiak
Hot Breath, Cheap Words - Morgan Jensen
The Northeastern University Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine, Winter 2005 Edition. Copyright © 2005 by Spectrum Magazine and respective authors. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without thepermission of Spectrum and/or respective authors. Spectrum Magazine reserves the right to edit submissions for layout as well as grammar
Stranger - Emily Lemiska
Something Sweet and Free - Emily Lemiska
Untitled - Greg Morehouse
On Capturing Your Beauty - Peter C Franklin
Ballad for the Apathetic - Josiah Proietti
Untitled - Chessie A Monks
Words from Train 322 - Cynthia Walker Be-Coming Home - Jason Jedrusiak
and spelling, unless explicitly intended by the author/artist.
Note from the Editor: I do not drink orange juice at breakfast with eggs and toast. I much prefer to use it as a dip for buttered popcorn during midnight movie marathons. I am not quite sure what this might say about me, but after surviving my first semester as editor of our now semi-infamous magazine, I have discovered that it does not matter how I take my orange juice and that no one really cares (besides the occasional â€œewâ€?). So, it is finally here: pulp and all. This issue has survived the frosts and plagues of rabid locusts to become the fruit of the labors of a stubbornly dedicated, newly formed staff as well as an expansive conglomerate of faithful contributors. From the multicolored hues of Jesse Silverberg to the grayscale photos of Theresa Norton, the sharp-edged poetry of Morgan Jensen to the eloquent prose of David Delmar-SentĂes, there is something in here for everyone. For this amazing and unique issue, I extend my sincerest gratitude toward my staff who were willing to be experimental and to the authors and artists who were willing to entrust us with their brilliant work. So my suggestion to you, dear reader, is to sit back, relax, and keep a glass of orange juice nearby, because, whether you like it or not, this issue is perfect for orange juice. - Melanie Bishop
detaerc era nem lla taht ,tnedive-fles eb ot shturt eseht dloh eW -neilanu niatrec htiw rotaerC rieht yb dewodne era yeht taht ,lauqe fo tiusrup eht dna ytrebiL ,efiL era eseht gnoma taht ,sthgiR elba detutitsni era stnemnrevoG ,sthgir eseht eruces ot tahT — .ssenippaH -vog eht fo tnesnoc eht morf srewop tsuj rieht gnivired ,neM gnoma fo evitcurtsed semoceb tnemnrevoG fo mroF yna revenehw tahT — ,denre ,ti hsiloba ot ro retla ot elpoeP eht fo thgiR eht si ti ,sdne eseht -nirp hcus no noitadnuof sti gniyal ,tnemnrevoG wen etutitsni ot dna mees llahs meht ot sa ,mrof hcus ni srewop sti gnizinagro dna selpic ,deedni ,ecnedurP .ssenippaH dna ytefaS rieht tceffe ot ylekil tsom degnahc eb ton dluohs dehsilbatse gnol stnemnrevoG taht etatcid lliw htah ecneirepxe lla ylgnidrocca dna ;sesuac tneisnart dna thgil rof -fus era slive elihw ,reffus ot desopsid erom era dniknam taht nwehs yeht hcihw ot smrof eht gnihsiloba yb sevlesmeht thgir ot naht elbaref -rup ,snoitaprusu dna sesuba fo niart gnol a nehw tuB .demotsucca era rednu meht ecuder ot ngised a secnive tcejbO emas eht ylbairavni gnius ffo worht ot ,ytud rieht si ti ,thgir rieht si ti ,msitopseD etulosba .ytiruces erutuf rieht rof sdrauG wen edivorp ot dna ,tnemnrevoG hcus si hcus dna ;seinoloC eseht fo ecnareffus tneitap eht neeb sah hcuS — smetsyS remrof rieht retla ot meht sniartsnoc hcihw ytissecen eht won a si niatirB taerG fo gniK tneserp eht fo yrotsih ehT .tnemnrevoG fo tcerid ni gnivah lla ,snoitaprusu dna seirujni detaeper fo yrotsih oT .setatS eseht revo ynnaryT etulosba na fo tnemhsilbatse eht tcejbo detufer sah eh .dlrow didnac a ot dettimbus eb stcaF tel ,siht evorp cilbup eht rof yrassecen dna emoselohw tsom eht ,swaL ot tnessA sih dna etaidemmi fo swaL ssap ot sronrevoG sih neddibrof sah eH .doog sih llit noitarepo rieht ni dednepsus sselnu ,ecnatropmi gnisserp -gen ylrettu sah eh ,dednepsus os nehw dna ;deniatbo eb dluohs tnessA swaL ssap ot sronrevoG sih neddibrof sah eH.meht ot dnetta ot detcel
The Hand of Revolution By Melanie Bishop
EAST 33RD The Future in the Background By Daniel J Breidenbach
- JOSEPH H EVELD
Through a cotton haze of snow the streetlights hang from storm clouds, low and pressing, like nerves shot with hot electric current. He walks, parting energy fields, February air, frozen breath on stale windows, but itâ€™s not his. Heâ€™s moving fast with purpose, anticipation for a repeated destination, before he melts, closely, into crystalline flakes matching his pale skin, that was almost translucent to begin with. Spring blizzard. Winter storm warnings. And a strange time to see ghosts in Brooklyn.
Here is the dawn. It is the speaking of your abdomen, the escape from battle.
You call it a day's work, I call it the march of an army. To a bleeding heart's call, beating madly along the drum line. In due time it will slow, it will fade, as will footsteps, the brave-legged Norsemen retreating to their ships. I am the beached creature lodged upon the shore, I am eaten by the turn of the tide.
No spatial love can ease a verbal mind.
The sea-wracked psyche bends under, lack of sleep and touch its motivation. Forgetting all else but the kiss of the ocean. Self-worth demands the temptress at the dock.
H OUSE S ONG
He riddles to himself. Destroyed by braids and rain in fields, and beds in which he had lain.
And though his legs and feet and ship Sail rightly, he belongs to no bay, and I, no victor, sat beside him on the rune,
- Chelsea Petersen
my emblazoned breastplate my only sacrifice.
My valhalla, adopted arms, twenty thousand leagues adrift from me.
Your kitchen was always dark Small, a tiny table with two chairs; One for you and one for my mother Children sat on the low wooden box up against the wall; a perfect fit for me The perfect height to take in aromas; Coffee perking, soup simmering. I remember the salty sunshine scent of your Hawaiian Tropic lotion Watching you tan your already burnt body, Lying on rickety lawn chairs. You were never tan enough, You'd always say, as we went inside to boil clams.
“I'll find you in the morning sun, and when the night is new I'll be looking to the moon, but I'll be seeing you.” -Rosemary Clooney
I still have the pale yellow hooded sweatshirt you gave to me the last night I saw you. It's hidden in my closet, waiting for me to become brave enough to put it on. Last night I heard “You'll Never Know” and I remembered how you sang it to me.
When I see brightly bloomed forsythias; bold and yellow as the one in your backyard I'll think of you. When the wind whips, trains whistle, and maple leaves show their backsides I'll remember you. Most of all, when the sun's lemon yellow rays kiss my face… “I'll be seeing you.”
- Emi Gonzalez
Placement of Color By Emi Gonzalez
By Chessie A Monks
S t o p Th a t R a c ke t My last exhibition A mismatch The point, My Fault An Unforced Error Anticipation your next Move. You have the Advantage I delivered an Ace, Unreturnable, Untouched You Withdraw Iâ€™m another Lucky Loser Take the Break When we had nothing, At least we had Love. - Jessica Lamarre
she said, “i just can't stop crying all the time” and bored, listless, i reply; “christ! have you even tried?” i, step out of the room i, spiral down the stairs and out into the cold air it's time for a little walk time for a stroll i’m high stepping and avoiding the stares, the streetlight glares, i’m tripping everywhere and i just can't wipe the smirk off my face. i just can not stop pretending that i don't care.
- Morgan Jensen
Spiral Down By Jason Jedrusiak
Night; Ocean and Elm - Hannah Leigh Reis 1
You are with me when I wake; my body smells of soap and your skin and your sweat, the echo of summer love come to remind me of the hours before---your tenderness,
the flutter of your tongue in my mouth, the way we mimicked each other's desperate sighs. Your breathing brings me home in its movement---the ebb and flow, the back and forth---to the song of the ocean that you make me sing.
There is no space between us here in the height of darkness; the air nothing but the mixture of our scents, the place where we connect to form a whole. I sow the garden of hair on your chest, little spring clovers in the dancing firefly glow of your skin, my secret place. I could weep to know that this is mine---I would--but the hollow space for weeping has been filled.
You are with me when I wake; my body smells of soap and your skin and your sweat, the sweet reminder of the way you look beneath me,
beautiful, your hair strewn upward like the branches of a golden elm, that wild growth--your subtle temptation---drawing me in to feed upon you with ravenous hunger. You taste of love and vanilla, that sensuous concoction, your blood pumping to the rhythmic hymn of honeysuckles and thyme . . .
Time is all we have, darling--I know it then.The hours stop for us, stop so that I might drink of your scent in the dead of night, stop so that you might draw me into you against the crickets' serenades, stop so that we might see each other more clearly, our eyes blue and vibrant in the darkness. I admire the dark shape of you against the azure light of the window, the glimmering pollen of your hair, the indigo seduction of your spine; 3
may time end here.
May we live forever in this labyrinth of limbs, in this brilliant, endless night.
- Matt Cote
A winter-smitten river rests in rare repose sheltered now 'neath scintillating frosts. Like all of human kind, slowed to a doleful trickle, the water stirs in the season-sewn bed yearning to surge with a fresh and boisterous vigor. Irradiated by the gaunt blow of sunlight, the crystalline covered-bridge desists; for but a moments pleasance, the latent chilled warmth filters through upon a wash of unabashed and free-roaming romance. Shortly after the reverie of release, the winter-stricken river returns again to repose, as it ever will under the frigid powers of possession.
I Wish By Jason Jedrusiak 7
-I think both of us are just prolonging the inevitable. -But isn’t that pretty much what life is? -Prolonging the inevitable? -Yeah. All any of us amounts to is a newspaper clipping. -Or, if we’re really lucky, a glossy spread in People magazine romanticizing our existence. -Yeah, in between reports of “It Girl”-du jour cropping her hair and the latest exploits of the loveably depraved Hollywood badboy. [Beat].
-I can’t believe you fucked someone else. -I know. But you’re the only man I’ve ever made love to… -Oh, right. Like that time I tried to drown two puppies but only one of them died. -What happened to the other one? -I put it in the microwave. -Oh, for Christ’s sake. Fine. You win. A tangible fuck; it’s there, you can prove it, determine the exact moment of climax and neatly add it to my list of misdeeds with a felt-tipped pen. -You know I prefer ballpoint. -Yeah, I do know that. Silly me. You know what else I know? I know that your brain is just some scraggly ball of yarn wrapped over and over around itself. You pass it for progression and nobody but me takes the time to follow it to its core, realizing that all it amounts to is some maze of arrogance extending from a distinct notion of what’s good and bad, night and day. There’s no sultry dusk to lead you astray; you find no majesty in, like, the heavenly sunset. -That’s because I know it’s just pollution. And, actually, my brain is a mysterious mass of grayish tissue, just like yours! If you were referring to my mind, however, don’t liken it to a fucking ball of yarn. At least I have self-control, some semblance of order to keep myself sane. You know, goals. Living in moderation so I don’t accidentally kill myself before achieving them. Your head is just bundles of broken thoughts, like, tied together with these feeble knots you learned when you thought you wanted to sail, not realizing the effort and commitment involved, just wanting to get high and look at the clouds from a big waterbed. -You know, I thought I found something in you… I mean, I know it’s still there but you hide it by sulking up there on your throne of moral superiority, stroking your golden scepter all alone, while the rest of us thrash about in the grody sewage below you that most of us call life. -Well, then. I suppose you’re right; your way is so much better than mine! Living like the wind, eh? Dropping acid in the quad, paying some burly man to ruin your perfect little body with black open wounds that you call an identity. Nothing matters to you. You see yourself as the world’s collective plaything that it can fuck around with til it decides it’s bored of you. -But this is all there is! Now! I can’t wait around for you to stop acting like a whiny toddler. -How could you possibly have gotten the impression that I want you to? -I don’t know. Well, I mean, you can suck on one of my nipples if you want… -That’s quite all right. I don’t want to know who or what else has been attached to either of those
since that ill-advised night. -Well, I don’t want to know what it’s like to be a stoic pseudo-person. I wish you could experience the world like I do, just for one minute! Just feeling the sensations and wonderment all around you, knowing the necessity of being guided by primal instincts. And knowing that doing whatever the hell you want is like tearing up the contract you vaguely remember signing that binds you to this meaningless life of college and an impressive career and the cherubic children resulting from the bland missionary sex you had twice with your plastic wife. The thought of a life without passion disgusts me; everything is outlined for you, like impressing your parents with envy-colored paper to pay them back for bringing you into this world without your consent. -For such a self-proclaimed free spirit, you seem rather embittered. If you’re so above civilization why don’t you just float away from me, the apparent embodiment of consumerism and evil, and just drift off into your magical world of transcendence? -Because things that float away usually pop and choke birds. -Ohh, as opposed to the dozens of pigeons gagging on your used condoms while they peck around in the trash for food? [Beat].
-Why do I love you so much? -I have no idea. I’m just another zombie, right? Never thinking for myself, never dreaming of anything that strays from the tidy trail to wealth and power… because I suppose I think it might make me less of a man, eh? -A man, yes… or whatever role landed in your lap and you decided to go with. -Mmm... too bad I can’t be more like you and end my days living by my wits in a cardboard box on the side of the freeway. -At least I have wits to live by. -Oh? And what wits are those, exactly? Pumping yourself full of chemicals every night and living in a drugged-out dreamworld? Why, you’re a regular Thoreau! -Hey, at least I’m not the one fingering the pink plastic rosary beads in the pocket of the pleated grey pants of my business suit, praying for a promotion. [Beat].
-Well, Little Miss Atheistic Beatnik, at least I don’t recite the shades of Joseph’s Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat while being fingered. [Beat].
-Guilty as charged. Mmm… it was red and yellow and green and brown… -…and scarlet and black and ochre and peach? -And ruby and olive and violet and fawn! -And lilac and gold and chocolate and…and… - M O L LY -Mauve. -Ah, yes… mauve. -Doesn’t that word make you strangely horny? -Kind of…
By David Delmar-SentĂes
To A Friend Something hard was breaking: glass, wood, or bones,
or maybe hearts,
all barren ice and stone.
Gripping onto something whole,
I feel too close but still alone.
Something hard is breaking,
crashing down from broken homes,
and as I pick up shattered pieces,
the tender touch my bleeding slows;
the tears in blood they mingle
into clear and crimson flows,
after every word that's spoken,
and as these wounds begin to close,
or some of us, we stay broken,
it's a pain that no longer shows.
Though numb, my heart is open.
- Joseph H Eveld
the leaves fall everywhere falling in golds and pumpkins, plums and fiery reds into heaps waiting for the jovial feet of children, waiting for the stirring icy pricks of rakes pushing them where they donâ€™t belong into chaosâ€” waiting to be left behind to slowly fade with the cold to weaken under the heavy hand of autumnâ€™s descent to break and shatter into fragments soldered into the frigid ground waiting to be reborn to rise and bloom into miraculous greens standing high above the ground to look down upon the earth below and smile everywhere
- Stephanie Messina 12
Perish Road, Vermont By Emi Gonzalez
- C Mae Waugh
Why don’t you just tell me the truth? When we are standing on the street corner, my hand in yours and fallen leaves blow all around. And I’m thinking about how romantic it is with the leaves and the breeze, And you’re standing there trying to figure out how to get your hand out of mine without sticking your foot in your mouth. I’m hoping the night will go on forever. You can’t wait for it to end. I’m trying to figure out how to ask you to stay While you are trying to figure out how to say… goodbye. My fingers tighten as yours loosen reflexively. You feel like my hand in yours is strangling you, But I long for you to hold me tighter, closer. The wind grows stronger and the leaves swirl around our feet.
I reach down to grab a leaf, To capture a piece of autumn in my hand. My grip on your hand loosens and you pull free— Free from me. I stand back up, reaching for your hand once again, but you have already moved out of my grasp. Where are you going? I say. You just shake your head and walk away. I stand on the street corner; a golden leaf in my hand and fallen leaves blow all around. I want to crush it, I want to squeeze it, I want to clasp it to my breast forever and ever. But my hand stays where it is—outstretched and gently cradling the memento of fall. The leaf trembles in my palm, just before the wind picks it up and carries it away.
For a moment my eye follows the leaf as it weaves and dances with its kin. But all too soon the wind sweeps it up, And I can no longer distinguish it from the other leaves. It floats away like a memory on the breeze.
Hungover Sidewalk By Jason Jedrusiak
THE THAW The blankness gives way to blue rifts, serrated flow, and asymmetrical states, until all that remains as we make for May are those last plow piles, studded with stones, and the last lost objects that no one any longer tries to find. This disappearing blankness does not have a name, and the snow never leaves the way it came.
- Stuart Peterfreund
You step off into a silence that rests on the absence of swallows, the leaves on the ground a rattle, looking for a throat. All around you, the shriveled, bloated foliage, alive only yesterday, smells like the terrible overcooked vegetables your mother insisted you swallow, but you refused to, knowing better. It would be too easy if your life passed before your eyes, or if you saw and babbled of green fields: The frost is a whore, a rhyme, no more. It took all you had and left at dawnâ€” left you water: not enough to drown in, just enough to write your name on. - Stuart Peterfreund
Bench in Snow By Daniel J Breidenbach
Consequences of Immortality “There were three long decades of reckoning that followed the war,” explained the retired subcomandante to his bedpost. “Each with its own disease.” And just like she did every night, Amparo Zurbián, took his bullet and stole his death. (“…and like our ridiculous war, she is proud isn’t she, my general…”) For twenty-four years, four months, and eleven days following the last gunshot the people of Chiapas ever heard him fire, Subcomandante Manuel Cordero wore his ammunition vest and his dueling pistols until he was too old to frighten even the pigeons from his open bedroom window. For eight years, seven months, and twenty-eight days after that, he was only carrying them to his grave. The weight was so unbearable that his shoulders fell with the pressure, and his back curved with age. His body withered over time, and like a drying flower that bends towards its own roots, his head nodded closer and closer to the ground until there was no room left between his ribs and the earth for him to breathe. He drew his guns from their holsters and offered them to the sand. “This death is not mine,” he whispered. “Amparo…” And finally Subcomandante Manuel Cordero was delivered with the secret that the country, as he had reinvented it, was his to take with him to the grave. And Mexico, with her bowed legs and callused hands, fell to her knees and buried him right where he lay, because the corpse of a warrior is too heavy to lift. Well out of reach of the Federal troops, in the jungles of Chiapas, the old women who remembered the Liberación Nacional walked down the face of the rock to the Church in the center of Chiapas, against which once stood the Federal Firing Squad, and they left mangos, jícamas, pulled pork, and beans by the wall where the revolutionary had died for the first time, thirty years earlier. There was peace where those who remembered him knew that in death, he had finally found an odd infatuation (or, at the very least, love.) Manuel Cordero was the most feared liberal fighting in Latin America for the reason that he was, in his youth, immortal. The rumor had started behind the washbasins and spread over clothes lines that he had been blessed by God Himself, and since then, there had been an uncertain sense of awe that poured over the men and stuck to the flags in their knapsacks. Years later, when their war wounds had grayed, the ancient rebels would turn in their bungalows and whisper in their sleep, “El Inmortál!” and their wives would hear them and understand that the bungalow was blessed. It was said that Chiapas was the womb of Mexico, and Manuel Cordero was its child. The assassination of the Federal General’s wife, which took place in mid-October during the fourth year of the war, was buried well before her first visitation to Cordero’s camp, two months after her death. (“…yes, manuel, and in the bedroom her war is insatiable…”) She found his bungalow with the help of the fireflies to whom she had recounted her entire story, because fireflies at that time were sympathetic to love as it pertains to the leftist cause. And she addressed him in the nude so that the subcomandante would be able to recognize her by the twin bullet wounds between her breasts. When he saw her, she was standing in front of his window, offering herself to him across an impossible border. “Amparo!” he cried to the ghost. “What have you come to tell me?” She put her hand against the latch to open the window, and again the intimacy of war lost its command over The Immortal Manuel Cordero. (“Obsession in times of war is heavier than lead,” he would explain years later to his bedpost. “And
fear is heavier than God.”) He sent two full rounds through his window, shattering the glass, and disseminating the spectacular cloud of flickering gold dust and wings that had gathered around her plain white face of no features. By the time Manuel Cordero put the dueling pistols back in their holsters, the barrels were cold. Four months and sixteen days later, the subcomandante was boiling water in a tin saucepan for tea below the mirror in his bedroom, and the woman appeared to him for a second time. Her hands were cold, and her hair smelled like gunpowder and tobacco. “What is it you want, Amparo?” he whispered. The fog from the boiling water had condensed on the mirror and the two of them were shapes without color that stood in parallel stances. “If you came for an apology—” he cut himself off. “We’re fighting a war, Amparo.” He watched her unbutton his shirt without touching his skin and fold it neatly the way she’d probably folded General Zurbián’s coat on the breakfast table, next to the milk. Bare chests and leather holsters, in times of tropical warfare, were all the same color. “I’m sorry about what happened,” he said, closing his eyes. “I think about it every day.” The mirror had become completely fogged. “You’ve become my world, my burden, and my infatuation, since the night in October when I killed you.” Amparo found the mirror with her finger. Love during war is impossible, she wrote in the steam, and brought her finger to Manuel Cordero’s lips so that he could taste the water and nothing else. But infatuation is completely inevitable, I think. The boiling water erased her words. (“…and in the bedroom her war is insatiable, like an immortal soldier, I believe…”) “I can’t taste your skin…” he stammered. I loved you from a distance “Do you remember how it happened?” The boiling water erased everything, and they were no longer even two shapes without color, but rather an unfinished thought, together. (“…and like our ridiculous war, she is proud isn’t she, my general…”) (“…yes, manuel, and in the bedroom her war is insatiable, like an immortal soldier, I believe.”) “Do you remember being stifled between the crux of my arm and my chest?” Amparo Zurbián said nothing, but slipped two fingers behind the subcomandante’s belt buckle and released it. “Your throat was mine, and so was the Sierra. It should have been mine.” Cordero drew the breath that Amparo didn’t. “And your husband stood there in front of us like a boy with a toy gun who’d seen the entire world and shot it. And all the while, you fought me, you fought me, and you fought me.” He couldn’t feel her hands on his chest. “He did nothing to try and save you. He told me—” I know…she wrote, with her finger that couldn’t be tasted or felt. “He said…” She erased her own words with her hand. “He said that in the bedroom, your war was insatiable, like an immortal soldier.” His pants fell and she held him like a dead woman in love with a living man. “He wouldn’t concede, for your life. He wouldn’t save you. Why?” I let you hold me because I loved you, she wrote. My husband let me die because I loved you. I broke free from your cruel arm because I loved you. “My grip faltered because I loved you.” I turned to watch you draw your dueling guns from their holsters because I loved you. “And I shot you twice through the heart because I was a soldier.” After all, “And I didn’t die because I can’t.” love during war is impossible. As soon as her finger left the mirror, the surface cleared completely; the tea had cooled. They climbed into the hammock together and slept under the folded corners of the Liberación Nacional.
Over the next four months, the war gathered its parasites and diseases. The liberal freedom fighters made disorganized and random attacks on the Federal Army, which sat huddled around the Church and spat accusations of betrayal at the stucco walls with bullet holes behind which the rebels hid. To seize the wildest corner of Mexico was becoming impossible because of the hysterical resistance of the wildest of Mexican savages. With every advancement through the terrain of broken beer bottles and bullet shells, they were only digging graves. They fear Death, Amparo Zurbián wrote. Whereas the people of Chiapas speak to Him and accept Him into their homes. In the time it took the war in Chiapas to decay, Manuel Cordero had commanded two of his soldiers to build a trough of water over dry kindling and lay it against the mirrors with which he had filled his walls. We will speak in sonnets to each other, he thought, as he watched the condensation gather on the mirrors. But she came every day in the nude through the shattered glass of his window, and they fought holy wars between linen sheets without speaking a word. In death she had grown violent and anxious, and she rose up against the last of the subcomandante’s exhausted strength. But violence and anxiety are triggers of his own machine, and every night, he quelled her uprising like a battle in rapture, and they slept under a cloud of sympathetic fireflies until morning. There was a night in April in which Amparo Zurbián didn’t arrive. Cordero spent the hours on his knees in shattered glass waiting for his lover before daylight brought him love and relief. And by the time he realized she was in the room, she had already written her kiss on the wall and was out of breath. I must leave today. At that moment, there grew an entire country and its civil war between Manuel Cordero and the writing on his own wall. “Amparo, I love you,” he suggested, without finishing the sentence. This isn’t my decision. “Then why are you leaving? Is it Zurbián?” His dueling pistols rattled in their holsters at the sound of his name. “Does he know about us?” It’s not his fault. She watched him breathe like a mortal man. Even a dead woman has her burdens; I have a sworn allegiance to the Federal Army because it is my family. My husband, my brothers, and even my father; they were all soldiers of Mexico, and so by my still blood I am theirs. “The Federal Army!” Cordero had completely forgotten about the war, and about the twin bullet wounds between Amparo’s breasts. “You’ve come to betray me!” NO! she wrote desperately. Not at all, I love you! “Then what is it?” The Federal Army is retreating under your men’s fire. Your soldiers have a cannibalistic infatuation with death. Zurbián has no option but to march north. “So stay here with me.” I can’t. You’re alive. I am a dead woman bound to the souls of my dead brothers and so I move with the Federal Army like a fly with the wind. “Is that it?” He had to shout over the boiling water in the troughs lining the walls of his room. “Is it only life and death that separate us? Would you stay here with me if I were dead?” Of course I would, Manuel. I love you from under the dirt of my grave. “Then stay!” The rebel drew his dueling pistols from their leather holsters and scratched his chin twice with their barrels. NO! She wrote on each of his four walls. She glared at him so fiercely she left dents on the guns.
Suicide is not an honorable death! A suicidal soldier has lost his squadron and so he’ll never find his woman! “Then what can I do? How will I find my woman?” He was almost in tears. Nothing, we are separated by time. But I will wait for you. And she disappeared, taking with her the revolution within the revolution. Manuel Cordero opened his hands and let the dueling pistols fall to the dirt under his boots. “Amparo?” he whispered to the daylight that didn’t spare a feature of his face. “Amparo?” he whispered to the walls of his bungalow that were lined from floor to ceiling with cheap mirrors and sonnets that were never written. “How will I find you?” he whispered to the hammock that had taken the shape of two bodies lying together for hours, and to the fireflies that slept on it during the day. “I’m lost without you.” He could barely move, his boots had become so heavy with desperation. He dragged himself to the wall, where the mirrors were still condensed, and waited for a response he knew would never come. He pressed his ear to the mirror and waited for a heartbeat that had stopped six months ago, at his own hand. “Amparo?” he whispered again. A tear fell into the fire and hissed. “Come back, Amparo,” he moaned, into the mirror. “I love you.” The mirror said nothing in return. There was no ghost. No uprising. No holy war, and no woman. There was no blood, and no wound. There was only a brittle skeleton and the impenetrable skin of a man cursed with the burden of immortality. He kicked over the trough of boiling water onto the fire, and black steam filled the room like a satanic apparition. The boiling water flooded the bungalow and seeped into the dirt floor, bringing with it the end of an affair. “AMPARO!” He threw open his door and drew the dueling pistols. He was still wet with the condensation and his black hair was matted to his skull. Ahead of him lay the center of Chiapas, and he ran to it, kicking up dust and flailing his cruel arms like a man infatuated with an impossibility. “Cease fire!” Within the window of seconds, the most important battle of the Liberación Nacional had begun and ended. “Cease fire!” Manuel Cordero was curled up on the cobblestones, at the feet of Javier Zurbián, and the war was over. “Manolito!” cried the women of Chiapas, as if turning himself in to the Federal Army had been as much a part of his guise as were the boots and the ammunition vest. “Get up.” Subcomandante Manuel Cordero rose to his feet, with both hands on the mild wound in his side. “So, you wanted to kill me, señor Inmortál?” The rebel said nothing, because Chiapas was leaning up against his back. Javier Zurbián dropped a pair of dueling guns on the cobblestones at Cordero’s feet and they lay on top of each other like lovers in wartime. “So pick up your pussy guns and do it, puto.” He lit a match and burned a cigarette while he waited for death. The rebel said nothing, because Chiapas was leaning up against his wound. He bent down, and took his hands off his side. They were dripping with blood, and he smeared it on his pistols when he picked them up. Zurbián took a drag from the cigarette and spilled smoke over the rebel’s wound. The children of Chiapas, who were watching the confrontation with soccer balls tucked under their arms, would never forget Cordero’s response. Without taking his eyes off of Zurbián, he returned both the dueling pistols to their holsters and said, “I already have.” With his left hand he slipped the cigarette out from between the general’s lips and rested it between his own. “This motherfucker wants to die.”
Cordero’s hands were tied behind his back, but when they tried to drag him over the cobblestones he stood up over the heads of the Federal soldiers, and said with the resignation of a Chiapan martyr, “Please. I’ll walk willingly, in your stride.” The children of Chiapas broke free from their mothers’ embraces and ran to attend to their hero. “Señor Cordero, why won’t you fight? Señor Cordero! They’ll kill you if you don’t fight!” The evening sun (who at that time was sympathetic to passion as it pertains to the leftist cause) found the subcomandante alone and withdrawn, with his back to the western-most wall of the sixteenth century Church. The cigarette was still lit and his hands were still bound. He had refused, as a dying wish, the blindfold, and he watched the firing squad take its place on a patch of dirt, fifteen paces ahead of him. He was surrounded on all sides by the Federal Army, and each soldier had his eyes on the dying subcomandante, and the flicker of light between his dying lips. The firing squad took aim. “It’s out of our control,” whispered the soldier that had bound the rebel. “I’m sorry, subcomandante. You were a great hero.” “Last words?” reflected Zurbián. And for the next few seconds, no one spoke throughout all of Chiapas and its neighboring towns. The world was hanging on the corner of a white stucco wall over broken glass, and it was silent to hear the words of the soldier who spoke with his guns in their holsters. “Always,” said the immortal soldier, spitting out the cigarette. “I just wanted to tell you that you were right, General.” “About what? The war?” “No.” Cordero laughed. “How can I say this without embarrassing you in the presence of your men?” Zurbián crossed his arms over his ammunition vest and waited. “You were right in that her war is insatiable,” cried Cordero. “Like an immortal soldier!” Javier Zurbián lost his breath and Manuel Cordero inhaled deeply under his thick moustache with waxed tips. The condensation on his scalp and on his shirt from his lover’s farewell kiss had evaporated, and he was cold and anxious for another. “Zurbián! Finish me!” The foreman for the Federal Firing Squad glanced over his shoulder. “The order, my General?” “Finish me, Zurbián!” The general didn’t move. “Finish me!” He glared at the immortal soldier with such ferocity that the wind broke before it hit his face. War in Mexico is not a political upheaval, but rather an affair and its consequences, he thought. “I thought she warned you,” he cried to the immortal soldier, “about love in times of war!” And as he turned to march north into Mexico City, he said to the men behind their guns, “Untie this man and send him home. I want him kept alive.”
- David Delmar-Sentíes
B Y J ASON J EDRUSIAK
that bluegreen marble suspended inside a swirl of tiny glass jacks, children's hands reach out to touch but just keep falling back raised on technicolor and sunday school you can blame it on the stars or blame it on yourself cause what you thought you were never mattered less than when you're soaring through the atmosphere in an expensive tin can ... yeah, well drink up dear the champagne is only as free as living asleep so here's to god and sex and vaccum-packed peanuts if this is the closest to heaven we'll ever get... i don't mind so let us toast the tangerine tokyo skyline - E MILY L EMISKA cause you know i happen to like our funny little bluegreen world just fine
By Laura Hughes
Influenza Ward No.1 —after the dust jacket photo of John M. Barry, The Great Influenza—
- Stuart Peterfreund
Through the indistinct windows, the horizontal light of day’s end suffused the ward with the glow of things to come—a world as without blemish as the brilliantly buffed floor. In beds veiled from one another, shy as brides, the patients curl, anticipating a visit that has been planned for by the placing of a single chair to stand guard at the foot of each bed, until relieved by the bridegroom of whatever rite may follow.
In the Land of Twilight...
You never kiss me with your eyes closed anymore, now you see me every moment of our love session. I remember those past moments vaguely they were luscious moments; similar to the phases of the setting moon your eyes went and you envisioned the man of tomorrow at that second. I was stalwart, cunning, witty, a jester, a father, a foolish boy, a mature man, the magician and the knight. But now you see me. Quite frankly that is not kosher; I want you to see the dream that I wished to come to life rather than the mistake you made. I close my eyes for you to decrease the awkwardness in the middle. I see you, for you have no fault that is the reason why I chose you... I hope that the rain will seep into your eyes so that your vision will be blurred and the illusion continues on. - Rodney Dominique
on o M
ection Und l f e
While sitting on this midnight bench And looking towards this hindsightâ€™s wench Cocking guns barreled near one soul Bearing down this midnight old Decisive forms of life and thought Confusion of what this place has wrought Pieced together broken glass Molds to form distorted mass Of disappointment and distress All crystal clear and yet no rest For choices one has got to make To be just one and not to take The taste of just one more pure soul Another heart dragged in this hole And this is why some sit tonight Sit to ponder one more fight Another youngsters hopeless quench To query on their midnight bench
- SubEther Rabbit
Deafening Roar Rain falls in the valley tonight. A river entrusted delivery of life. Bullfrogs trumpet the arrival And departure of life as survival. Hushed quiet rush falls past my ears, Tickling the senses soothing and clear. Look away through my window, Towards lovers mated, Tongues satiated, Green saturated. Heavenly sound pours down. Prayers become provisions. The valley's need is met. Lost in liquid abstraction, I seem to forget: The river burns white, Destruction by light, The revelation of life more clear, Of fear.
- James Curley
Confessions of a Broken Dishwasher Spoons, Fucks, and Conknives Stay in Sink. Pots and Pains ContemPlate Your new Dish Rinse Sigh Kill Repeat.
Try This Rhyme Anytime Better to live in a box, Get dragged by an ox, Have cut-off locks, Get bitten by a mouse, Have a burned-down house, In your hair find a louse,
- Jessica Lamarre Have a problem you can help, Eat a weekâ€™s worth of kelp, Give out an embarassing yelp, To live one more day, Be an adult and still play, Believe your own way, Take a silly fall, Feel a bit small, Than never to have lived at all. 26
- Cynthia Walker
t s e W
Saguaros The word rolls Off my tongue Like dust and dreams; I’m modern but dried out I’m modern but falling apart. I’m all about vanishing, Avoidance of the dreary day, I’d like only to Mississippi River Float south. She said I’ve got rusted rifles And a habit of getting naked, Really down to earth
(cowboy fantasy) salt springs corrode my tin heart I always lick the blood taste away.
He said, Cowboy hat. Protection. Singularity, continuity. He said I’m a cowboy and I’ve Been one all my life. I’ve been Waiting for the sun to set forever
See-colors redgold, deepblue, ancientorange, This land is my land and (blow smoke) I will forever ride alone.
- Morgan Jensen
Under the clouds, The shades Of blue and black Rolling in across the plateaus, Trapping the energy, Containing the air Pulsing with electricity, Excitement; Under the cedar trees – The painted poles – Forever alive In a dying world, A vibrant green Contrasted against A deathly blue; Under the tangled webs We weave, Of entrapment, Of deceit, Ensnaring rationality Strangling free will; Under it all There lay a love As fresh as the mist Settling in the saddle As old as the rocks Underfoot. Love. An overwhelming emotion That deprives a soul Of all original thought And suppresses control Until everything you thought You were Is gone, Vanished without a trace, And all that’s left is Your true being, A soul stripped of all pretenses, Lying naked and pure In all its Raw, Unaltered Beauty.
- Lisa Hendricks
Woven Waltz In the right place, Near found, always Felt. Beneath lace, He moves her sways. Arachnid spin, Web open lips, Stitched satin sin. He dips her hips. Cold cocoon falls Dead. Tango pale, Unraveled shawl. He tastes her smell. Death, in a dance, Catches his chance.
- Jennifer Blakeman
The World By Jesse Silverberg
What can you expect From all those except That one last sucker Who still believes in love And guess what They found about Confessions From a Me You can't count on Maladjusted Mind Me You can't expect me to Be Dependable Be Reliable Be Undeniable Me? I Dream By Jesse Silverberg There for you? I got a lot of bad things I did to you And I might have wanted to Work it out with you I tried to see it through You helped me do it too So I stuck in and held onto Your heart Your soul Your undying hope to keep us together So I let it flow Like a river down and a roe Gently onwards as we go Easing into emotions that we know And we see there's no point, oh No point standing in the river that you sow For the two of us Your work Your help Your undying urge to keep us together So what do you do now? Hold onto that collar babe Keep leading me to that joy babe And I'll stick with you babe And we'll be together babe And you'll have your dreams babe And I'll have you babe And we'll be happy Babe
- SubEther Rabbit
C O N S TA N T R E S O N AT I O N . R E L E N T L E S S R E V E R B E R AT I O N . N O S E C O N D S S PA R E D F RO M YO U R C O N TO RT I O N O F VERBS AND NOUNS. STICKS
A N D S T O N E S M AY B R E A K M Y B O N E S
B U T Y O U R W O R D S H U R T T H E M O S T.
S AT U R AT E D S Y L L A B L E S U N R E C O R D E D O N TA P E , Y E T O N A L L D AY R E P E AT. YO U R E C H O E S S W A L LOW M E
R A N C O R RO L L S O F F YO U R TO N G U E. YO U S P I L L B L AC K KO O L - A I D O N M Y T H E S O U R T O N E S S E E P. N O O N E M A K E S S P OT R E M OV E R STRONG ENOUGH TO ERASE.
T H E PA R A S I T E O F P E R P E T U A L R E P E T I T I O N W A R P S T H E FA B R I C O F M Y M I N D . T H E M A L I C I O U S M OV E M E N T O F YO U R JAW P E R M A N E N T LY P R E S S E D . MAGIC MARKER INSIPID INCISION F RO M R E A D I N G YO U R L I P S. T H E PAT T E R N L I N G E R S . JAC K - H A M M E R E D TO A D I TC H I N M Y M E M O R Y.
- Jason Jedrusiak
Stain on the Brain
T H E TOX I C S E E D S P RO U T S. YO U R S H OV E L TO M Y S C A L P S C R A P E S A N U N - E M PAT H I Z I N G E M P H A S I Z E D E N G R A V I N G E M B L E M AT I C O F U N W R I T T E N E X P L O I TAT I O N . A SWELLING FUNGUS BONDS BETTER THAN
OF VOCAL CHORDS SUPER GULE
O R Q U I C K C E M E N T. Y O U R V O C A B H A U N T S M Y H E A D. A RO OT C A NA L L E D I N VA S I O N O F M Y I M A G I N AT I O N .
YO U R V I RU S O F D I A L E C T S P R E A D S. AN INCESSANT CONSONANT AND VOWEL HINDERS MY CONSCIOUS IN A CORNER, SHOUTING SOUNDS OVER AND OVER. STICKS
A N D S T O N E S M AY B R E A K M Y B O N E S
B U T Y O U R W O R D S H U R T T H E M O S T.
I L L E G A L , I L L I C I T, B R A Z E N , B L ATA N T. I M P R I N T E D A L P H A B E T TA R N I S H . C U S T O M , D E L I B E R AT E , F L A G R A N T. A S TA I N S T O M P E D O N M Y B R A I N .
By Chessie A Monks 32
Third Sunday, June - Hannah Leigh Reis 1
I've watched those videos from Vietnam, seen the Bui-Doi crying in their camps for some shadowed figure they can't see, hungry. I envy their distraction. Oh, child, daddy's gone away, daddy's left the war; daddy won't come back no more.
Half a day behind, the dust of life is shaken from our eyes. I can't remember the sound of breaking bottles. I can't see the anger that must have raged in those blue eyes; my eyes, eyes I swore I'd never got from you. But I can remember Queen Gloria's heaving sighs against the walls of our house, and the smell of the back of the couch where you hid me from the yawning windows in your quiet desperation. There must have been some care there once, some love of family flesh.
In the years since you have brought me to AA meetings and shown off a golden token of serenity in the palm of your hand. You have painted rooms, mowed the lawn, and paid off your mortgage, though you forgot to watch me grow old. What does a graduation mean when all the time between is lost?
Well, you have tried. There was that day on the beach--but all I remember of that is the way the watermelon kept slipping from my hands into the sand, and the pressing weight of the sun against my pale back.
I have learned to live with our mistakes. And you, you remain, still dicing up my name in sappy holiday cards, inserting French letters---and a check pinned inside with a paper clip to commemorate my and Christ's birth in one fell swoop.
Today, today more than any other I think of those children half a world away and cry, and wish for the distance of those miles.
brushing the teeth and soiling the lungs i'm a catastrophe of ironies lake sitting and algae swimming will i float too? (stiff, bloated(dead)) he said, i've made you another cd and after listening i promptly threw it away i don't want memories of "usâ€?; i don't want memories of anything.
gun barrel chest level bitch give me all you got disinterested eyes i've got nothing really, streetlight flicker (she said, it's our energy that causes that energy? i'm not living.) i've never had anything. frustrated bloodfilled eyes walk on then, just don't call the cops i'm just hungry that's all, i am only human no. only sightseers, only students and waistwatchers only feline striders and fried motor riders can be called human labels for metaphors, i only wish to exist, i only truth seek and autumn bound leaf sifter slip. i only crawl back home sore weak and weary, i repeat words, i get the point across i get the point across i get the point.
- Morgan Jensen
Have you ever been, Miss? Have you ever been lead, Miss? Have you ever had your heart, Miss, broken, Miss?
HAVE YOU EVER
Could you ever imagine, Ma’am? Could you possibly fathom, Ma’am? A pain that can never, Ma’am, leave you, Ma’am
Does that idea scare you my friend? Does that possible pain even exist to you, my friend? Does that make you at all want to, my friend, hide, my friend?
My friends, ma’am. Or should I say, Miss?
Well I’ve been through that Well I’ve had that pain And you handed it to me But I still want you to be,
my my my my
love. love. love. love,
- SubEther Rabbbit
Sealed With a Kiss By Jessica Lamarre
Fear and Loathing in Wal-Mart
There is not now, nor will there ever be, one thing that inspires as much sublime awe and disgust as the average American Wal-Mart. Like a 24-hour temple to the Gods of Bacchanalian Excess at Low, Low Prices, the blue-and-gray standards of Wal-Marts fly above the paved prairies of America. And no matter who you are or where you are, the customers are always the same. Insomnia strikes the kindest of souls. At 2 o'clock in the morning, a Wal-Mart changes, subtly, from a shopping mecca to a haven of the Damned. With the teeming hordes of blue-frocked zombies stocking shelves and cleaning floors, the late-night Wal-Mart customer is overcome with a feeling of despair. The employees suddenly outnumber you five to one. Once, you felt in control of your shopping experience, but now you wonder, "What if the Wal-Mart natives get restless? Can I hope to defend myself against these barbarians of convenience?" The employees, mindless of your fears, stare at you unhappily while you try to choose flavors of Rice-a-Roni, and you quickly default to "Chicken" and go about your business. The late night Wal-Mart is simply a place you do not belong. While the night crew clean and organize the Wal-Mart, the place looks more like a college dorm room than a store. Open boxes litter the aisles and cleaning tractors roar to life behind you, and suddenly you know what your Dungeons & Dragons character feels like when the kobolds jump him in the basement of the temple. Without the ghetto moms and trailer trash dads clamoring for the last box of instant pudding, it doesn't feel like a Wal-Mart at all - rather a smooth, fluorescent Hell that smells, ironically, of unscented floor cleanser. One would think that the smell of Hell would be enough to keep people away, but someone awake at 3 AM has no such luck. It was into this all-too-familiar environment that I was thrust on a night just like any other in the month of September. I say "all-too-familiar" because I live life at night, and I am accustomed to the feel of a shopping center in the middle of the night. Night people are used to the harrowing experience of a Wal-Mart after midnight. For a night person, autumn and winter are a strange and eternal darkness - wake up as the sun goes down, go to sleep as the sun comes up. Your eyes forget what sunlight feels like, and your skin blanches white. You live in a fluorescent world, where everything is a shade lighter or darker than it should be. Fluorescents do strange things to your eyes, and even stranger things to your mind One of the finer things about the night is how few and far between people are in the dark. Additionally, most people who are awake with you on some idle Thursday at 2 AM are extremely polite. Of course, the exception is the weekends, when thousands of people get drunk and attempt to become night people for a few hours. Still, on the weekdays, people are generally pretty nice. It's the drug trip, I think. My other prevailing theory is that, with so little human contact, it's very hard to be a misanthrope at 2 AM. But it's definitely not impossible. Enter the pseudo-rich, skinny white woman.
She is an invader in the night. She does not belong there. We, the night folks, can smell outsiders. At
2 AM, they are strung-out and exhausted. They're tired, and for some reason, they flaunt this weakness. "I'm so tired!" they'll say. "I need to wake up at six this morning, too!" They don't understand that the mere idea that they'll be sleeping soon is a poke in the eye to the night owl. If you are a daytime person, you're best off getting things done before midnight. Do not invade our world. We don't like you, and insomnia has been padding for "temporary insanity" for a number of years. Stay out. As I finalize my selections and make the final run with my $24 worth of nightshift groceries - instant rice, canned fruits, peanut butter and Triscuits - I ramble into the only available line at the Wal-Mart. The night shift separates a person from the hubbub of the day. When I see that there is only one line at WalMart, and there are two people ahead of me, I do not become impatient. I am not in a hurry. I have nowhere important to go, because it's the middle of the damned night. However, the psuedo-rich, skinny white woman selfishly ignores all sensibility and creates a disturbance. The scene was laid out well. In front of me was a young black woman in sweats (proper night attire) cradling her young baby. Having a 9 month old baby qualifies a person for the night shift. I knew this poor woman didn't sleep at night or in the day - she slept when the baby wanted her to sleep. She was softspoken and sweet, cooing to the baby and holding its head. The baby, congested, was dribbling baby goo from its nose all over his hands, and then from his hands into his mouth. This sounds pretty disgusting, but in an infant of the species, it somehow becomes cute. The woman held her baby and waited calmly in line with a handful of random items - something like pantyhose, painkillers and a ball of twine. In front of the woman and her baby, however, was a 30-something white woman in a white suit-coat, with a white skirt and black pumps. The astute reader already realizes that she was overdressed for a WalMart at what was quickly becoming 3 o'clock in the morning. There's no good reason for anyone to be dressed that way at any hour in a Wal-Mart. But her aura of false importance didn't end there - on her shoulder, pressed between her ear and her white coat was the ultimate symbol of fake status - a cell phone. Now, I have no idea who this Queen of Nothing was speaking to at 3 in the morning. I don't know why the conversation couldn't wait until she was done shopping. I do know, from listening to her highpitched squeals, that the pillows she wanted rang up at different prices. This fact - which would concern your average person enough to alert the clerk - had made this she-creature livid with consumer rage. By the time I arrived, the authorities had already been called - a representative from Housewares was on his way. But the she-beast was not appeased. In between her incomprehensible chattering to whomever was on the cell phone, she told the poor girl behind the counter that this difference in price (which I had discovered was an entire American dollar) was "ridiculous" and that the two pillows were exactly the same, and should be the same price. The woman with the baby tried to explain to her the complications of UPCs and the difference of items, but the screechy woman in white continued to make the case that any difference in price was "false advertising." I try to be a calm, reasonable human being. But when it comes to utter stupidity, I can only stomach so much before I must release the demon inside of me. This demon, who I think is named "Dave", comes from the level of Hell where people have to go through the parts of life where they failed to learn practical
thought and reason over and over again until they get it right. Through a complex binding ritual consisting of dirty looks and swearing in traffic, I can usually keep Dave in check. But on this day, Dave could not be contained. Finally, the woman in white uttered, "I'm about ready to kill someone." Dave made his escape. "If you're going to kill someone, please kill me, because I swear to God I can't listen to another damned word of your egocentric bullshit." The words were mine. The voice was mine. The thought was mine. Still, I blame Dave. Of course, she immediately shut her mouth. Maybe she was just afraid of me. I prefer to think that she saw the smug looks on the faces of the woman in front of me, the clerk and the floor manager who had come over to assist the clerk. Hell, even the baby was satisfied that someone had the guts to shut this bitch up. I'm sure the baby would have told me so, but he was busy taste-testing variations of snot and spit. After the woman in white left (with her pillows being an equal, low price), the clerk thanked me and the floor manager nodded along. "I just hope I'm never as important as she is," I explained to them. "I don't think I could handle the pressure." Everyone had a good laugh. Still, I was left more than a bit dissatisfied. Something about the whole shopping experience was thrown off - there was still a little thorn in my side. Maybe it was because some self-important daytime person had ruined the Zen sensibility of the night. Maybe letting out the inner demon - Dave - makes me feel a little guilty. Maybe being congratulated for shutting someone's mouth leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But when you get right down to it, I think it was mostly the fact that itâ€™s easier to find a middle-aged bitch than a decent microwave Asian noodle.
- Evan Umansky
P RIVILEGED PART OF A CROWD T IP BACK AND FORTH L USCIOUS LIQUIDS C LEVER COLORS A BSORB V ENOMOUS VATS S TUPID SYRUP E VERYONE SIPS E VERYONE STARES AT MY SECLUSION S HOTS I MISS P EER PRESSURE L IQUOR LIES B LEND T OILET FLUSH MIX B ILE , DINNER , DROOL U NCONSCIOUS POOL T HROW UP MORE N UMB THOUGHTS S PEWED ON THE FLOOR P UKE PASS OUT R OT AND REPEAT W AKE WOOZY H EAD ACHE H ANG OVER
B Y J ESSE S ILVERBERG
S UNRISE STUTTER F ORCE FED CULTURE F UCK THAT. - J ASON J EDRUSIAK
By Theresa J Norton
How Things Change We were laughing behind his back that day in class because his shirt was already drenched in sweat at 10 AM. The lesson sure seemed to be a workout. We weren’t playing attention in class because his ideas are outlandish and he never seems to make sense. His voice cracks. We wonder how the heck he found himself a wife. We tear him to pieces with our harsh thoughts and scoffed words. In whispers, we fantasize about how to get him fired. But at the end of class he has an announcement. We wait with baited breath, hoping it will be something like “No class tomorrow” or “No quiz on Thursday.” His preamble to his little announcement takes too long and, realizing he is not going to cancel class or the upcoming quiz, the ticking clock captures our attention. Class is almost done; people begin packing up their belongings and over the clatter, he tells us his announcement.
I have cancer. The shuffling stops. Our whispers stop. And, for a second, the clock’s ticking stops. The teacher dismisses the class. We rise from our seats and leave the room quietly, probably for the first time all semester. Contrite, we walk down the stairs, remembering the sweating, the laughing… the cancer. And we’ve forgotten all about trying to get him fired.
- C Mae Waugh
Broken By Jessica Lamarre 42
I walk beside the rosebush in the Garden of Our Time. A single lonely rose does catch my eye, Unique in comely form and solemn grace. I feel the rains of Pain astute and those of Joy sublime That pelt upon her petals, to defy Belief, that she could ever live in place. This flower has not bloomed because of happy tenderness Supplied by Fate, the Gardener. Her Hand Has not the kindness of a gentle touch. The Gardener but pruned away the nearest buds, supress’d The peer of that poor lonely rose, demand Is made for inner strength to shape it such. Her beauty cannot be described by words so frail here; Each petal is a facet all its own. No two alike, yet each a work of art. Divided beauty has no love, so though each may appear To have a sep’rate charm, together grown, Are more divine than they could be apart. The thorns are in themselves an elegance of rare design For each has been well-earned through Fate’s caress Abuse has toughened this most hallowed bloom. The pruning of her peer and friend has toughened every spine Along that winding stem. Each pain and stress Has sweetened her alluring perfume. For every Icy Winter of Distrust, Self-Doubt, and Fear Her strength has grown in bounds to make her hale Enough to challenge any wayward storm. And though the steamy summers and the autumn chills draw near She cringes not, determined not to fail. When others buckle, she retains her form. I see that she will grow without the Gardener’s support Until her term is spent within the Garden of Our Time And she transcends that lonely bush, and makes the journey short To Heaven, ever fertile and with Joyous Rains sublime.
- Greg Morehouse
I was a castaway once, abandoned on beaches littered with shells where the occasional gull would rest its wings
- Stephanie Messina
Pump highways Held by Latex hands. Ebony islands caused By chemical claws. Orange spoons reflect Translucent cloth. Open drained seas. Marooned waves leak Ivor y ink into Serum spun Tropics.
I wrote your name out in driftwood in the sand instead of asking for help I asked for you
I rubbed sticks together for hours hoping theyâ€™d burn brilliant fire, bring you to me
all I got was sore hands and twigs scattered haphazardly forming my past on a lonely sandbar.
Pe n e t r a t i n g Wo r d s
- Jennifer Blakeman
it's the certain sadness that is seafoam green speckled tiles simmering in a flourescent glowred and gold words swimming backwards through the pools of light, the certain sadness that is bad oil paintings greasy as my fingers, paintings of beautiful places that we've never been and can only shut our eyes to see.
and we get lost in the wall of mirrors they face, that reflect the reflection of the reflection of the reflection of... a million beautiful places that weâ€™ve never been and can only shut our eyes to seethat reflect a million brown-haired girls sitting softly while running a single blue-sparkled fingernail over a blossom on the flowered wallpaper in glassy wonder wishing she was there in that beautiful place, where her careful hand could coax them into life and they would bloom out towards the sky, crawling up the walls, up through vents of this air-conditioned coffin that smells of spring rolls. she lets her head roll back and the blossoms swirl together.
oh it is miles from the front door strung with bells and tassels where we came tumbling red-eyed careless, laughing... to the backdoor propped ajar and the alleyway where letting in the night there is a man in ash and white in a sad language he sings a sad song, then looks so far into my eyes a sad language from a beautiful place.
- Emily Lemiska
Flutterbys By Jesse Silverberg
Sometimes when I can't sleep at night, I wonder where you are. I wonder who you're with. I wonder what you are doing. I wonder if you're even still alive. I can dream, can't I? I can comfort myself with a fantasy and imagine that somehow you've gotten what you deserve.
But what is it that someone like you deserves? What could ever teach you a lesson? What could ever be a sufficient punishment for what you did to me? Even your death wouldn't ease the pain I feel; the pain that has forever changed my life. Do you ever think about the consequences of your actions? Do you ever lie in bed at night and wonder about me? Was I even special to you? Was I just one of many innocents you conquered? Does your wife know about me? Do you have a wife? Kids? Are you the perfect family man with a dirty secret or a deadbeat alcoholic living off of whatever you can find? Why did you do it? Was it the power that got you off? Did my screams and tears excite you? How long were you waiting in those woods for some cunt to walk by? Was I simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, or did you know I was going to be there that night? Why didn't you just kill me when it was over? Why run the risk of being found out? Did you know that you would get away with it? Are you happy now knowing that you will always be free, that I will never even know your name? For so long I've tried to put a face on you. I've tried to break down the monster from my memory and make you human. But you're not a man. You're a little boy lost who fashioned his own pathetic destiny. You're the coward hiding behind the safety anonymity provides. What you do must make you feel like you have authority in this world. You must think that you're really something to be so full of yourself. What you do proves that you never were and never will be truly important or powerful. You intimidate others and make them inherently weak for a few hours just so you can feel superior. Well you aren't. You aren't better than your victims because they aren't your victims any longer. I am not your victim. I don't belong to you or owe you anything. My life is so much more than what happened that night. You didn't ruin my life, you just made me stronger. I survived. I am the survivor of your selfish actions. You cannot hurt me anymore. You cannot control me anymore. I refuse to think about you anymore. So just get out my dreams, and maybe I'll be able to sleep once more.
- Nikki Frankel
Let Those Men Who Have Eyes See
- Jay Cinq-Mars
By Jesse Silverberg
I should view my life Through unique eyes With new lenses of Blown light-bulb glass Like a small child does With a kaleidoscope Colors will blur Form will fail Life, it will all transform From the monotonous Become interesting Notes on the rigid staff Shift, to bring a new tune To the soldier’s march My March… I wish the world was More like kindergarten A classroom filled with Enlightened innocence Where I could have My Five minutes of Fame: show and tell I know that I would Show my pocket watch Kept time of My March Like me…mechanized But with character! Its own dents and dings A glass face replaced After a spider crack… Let the language splash Let my eyes With new lenses see? No! Let me march rigidly Tick tock… Critic, oh critic! I broke your damn rules! Those of rhyme confine me So am I lifeless?! Am I? Answer me! Let those men… Those men with eyes …oh well…I see! After and Over After and Over
T HRILL S EEKER WANTED B Y J ASON J EDRUSIAK
I your touch is electric pulsing static coursing through my wiry veins blue with enigmatic lust
my heart a broken power line weak with insipid projections of light dwindling bulbs void of fireflies and the swarming gnats in the sticky twilight you dizzy me, send me spinning thrown into shocking fits sparks flying at your sight and smell and salty taste;
dashing beats of neon fluourescents transferred voltage from your depths into the paper thin skin of me hiding behind blushed cheeks spidered lashes hurried whispers and lightning breaths exhaled dancing across pages like words vaulting across the sky like light fiddling between the sheets like love and static electricity--
- STEPHANIE MESSINA
49 TH S TREET
We sit, here and now in this white circle, surrounded by everything and consumed with nothing but ourselves. My heart is racing nervously like a chased rabbit, my crimson face reveals that my blood is flowing like a river here on 49 th street. Our little spot, secluded in intention yet open to the sight of all, we are alone in the crowd, but we are alone together. I look into your eyes, these windows to the soul, I see myself reflected in the blackest regions of this ocular mirror, and I feel not ashamed of the face I see for the first time in a long time. You make me real, you make me whole, a hallmark clichĂŠ could not even for a moment describe the sheer joy bursting through me, threatening to destroy me, to make me feel again, to kill the numbness and self-hate which seem to consume me. You kissed me today, something real and binding. Connecting me to an emotion, could this be love? How can we know what the future will bring, how can we even expect to be, the only two characters in this little foreign language film playing for everyone who doesnâ€™t care, here on our little bench, our little nothing on west 49th street.
- Sean P Oâ€™Reilly
Fashion Show By Chessie A Monks
Developer I wrap our darkness in circles of metal. Spools of light sensitive instability, Seal tight, pre-soak mix one to one gradual. Sixty eight degree potion, pour and empty. Twist and shake chemical manipulation. Overexpose, underdevelop, stop bath. I remember the constant agitation. Memories safe, no thanks, to fixer fresh wrath Pop open, top off our past for a first wash Immerse me, submerge her, fix her, remove her Final rinse, rid myself of leftover slosh Fingerprints and scratch marks suppress where we were Dump you down the drain, leave you to drown process Anulled and void negatives, emulsionless.
- Hungoutto Dryonclothespins
Is this a Water Fountain or a Bubbler? By Jason Jedrusiak
he said i will only fuck you on days that end in "y" sigh, why?
whyâ€Ś explainâ€Ś i can only ever recall your back he said how you would look so sad after having just left like perhaps i was slowly destroying you, your beauty
but, isn't that the truth? protest it's been my goodbye for ages now, my back is all i have: my up and go attitude, it's all i have. i've been trained, my feelings remain carefully contained blackgrey teardrop, so obvious
and all in all, i never wanted you to even consider loving me so long as you were fucking me dirty, slap happy grin, out of control lies
whisper worry, i only think that each time is the last time, that i'll never have you again, i don't want to be premature but perhaps i do love you angel sky, cloud over throw some stars at me, screw me some more. your voice renders me deaf and,
- Morgan Jensen 53
By Emily Lemiska
Something something about love, for the first time
i feel transcendent: i watched the sun sink and rise from his narrow bed.
something sweet and free about the length of my body, dressed in skin, pressed to his. i feel so small beside him, as he kisses my shoulder blades, leisurely.
he is careless and open. i am plotted and closed; he is reasonable, i'm irrational... but with him, i feel more myself than i have yet to know. something about being told i am a beautiful girl as we squint and murmur and burrow, hiding beneath the covers as the day slinks in from around the half-closed shade something about the way he tells me not to go i've never been this far before, but love, it feels like home and now i breathe to see his silly smile
- E MILY L EMISKA
like watching a grown man turn into a three year old
By Greg Morehouse
My days revolve around grasping beauty So hard to capture in words, So magnificently manifested in one. Plucking my palate from the sky, I’ll try to paint a portrait of adoration. And what a failure it will be. There’s no auburn soft enough To portray your silken hair, Nor emerald bright enough To capture that feeling Those jeweled eyes give to me. If only I could find that perfect porcelain shade To model your angelic tincture, And the enrapturing texture to match. If I could but borrow the songbird’s sweetest melody To recreate your voice inside of me. Would that I could ensnare a glimmer of sunshine To use in capturing the radiance of your smile Upon my heart.
And even if this painting could Remotely resemble you The most important aspect Would be amiss forever: Your immortal soul, For which I have fallen, Like a dove struck from the sky, Landing gently in ecstasy. So forgive me my love, For my failure In portraying you successfully. I am but a simple dove, Gazing at something so much more.
- Peter C Franklin
I come from a place Where apathy is an option, not a result Of bi-polar post-traumatic stress disorder Distress by order – of a plan conceived by so few For so many
After all, What people would risk a fight? Whose children are the ones who tip-toe through the night? Seeking vengeance for a man Sleeping soundly three worlds away Seeping in intelligence he must know what they’d say *what would they say?
So when the rich man drops the ball Why does it land on the poor man’s toe? It’s ‘cause the rich man is on the poor man’s back but poor man doesn’t seem to know Or care Calmly signing the deed to his whole life To prop up a system that’s the reason for his strife He’s part of the Royal American Family – he is regal But don’t worry hon, It’s all legal
Course, if it wasn’t We’d just change the rules Make a white flag out of a gun You don’t need to swing the bat if a strike-out makes a run You don’t need to prove yourself if a loss looks like a win You can be apathetic if the powerful are your friends But it’s still a choice Justified by privilege, cleverly fettered Aren’t the ones in charge supposed to know better?
- Josiah Proietti
They know better by their wallets There’s no gold in the golden rule But there’s money in the Greenhouse, and all of its effects With a profit margin here and from the bottom line there The poverty nation poor house erects Like the rich man’s hard on Stroked up by an international frat party Uh-huh! Ooooooh uh huh huh huh Hey buddy Who taught you the golden rule? Was it, “do on to others exactly as you’d like to”? Or was it, “if you’re not with U.S. you’re with them”? Though I am sure it was in a Sunday school lesson Before the good doctor took the whole country to school And was raised like a multi-colored weed Or preaching what your Sunday school teachers failed to heed If I have to choose between fear and anger I choose anger
By Chessie A Monks
Leave me to live, Hold the door closed, Love thy... Everyone! Live long and love, All you need is family. Here but not gone, Live within my heart, Who’s not on the phone? Wipe the tear away, Visit when you can’t, The time you’ll need me most. Beholder’s eye is beautiful, Stay awake, you sleepy head. Goodbye for later, Hello for eternity, Dreams calling you everywhere, Believe; its true, They’re really there. - Cynthia Walker
Be-Coming Home By Jason Jedrusiak
Words from Train 322
When life hands you lemons... ...make orange juice.
Published on Nov 6, 2012