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SPRING 2016

WWW.SPECTRUM.NEU.EDU

SPECTRUM LITERARY ARTS MAGAZINE


LITERARY ARTS MAGAZINE

spectrum.magazine@gmail.com www.spectrum.neu.edu 234 Curry Student Center Mailbox: 240 Curry

Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine showcases the talents of writers and artists at Northeastern University. All members of the Northeastern community are encouraged to submit original works of poetry, prose, and visual art. Executive Staff: LITERARY ARTS MAGAZINE Editor in Chief: Aislyn Fredsall Layout & Design Editor: Elke Thoms Financial Manager: Joe Forti Secretary: Julia Renner Advertising Manager: Kaley Bachelder General Members: James Doyle, Felicity Henson, Natalya Jean, Kim Jebbett, Andrew Madanjian, Kate Martin, Mary Potts, Connor Tripp, Remenna Xu

No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine and/or respective authors. Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine reserves the right to edit submissions, layout, grammar, spelling, and punctuation unless explicitly instructed otherwise by the author or artist. The views and opinions in this medium do not necessarily reflect those of Northeastern University or the staff of Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine.

Cover art adapted from “Portal” by Kelly Burgess. Title page art adapted from “have hold” by Elijah McTigue. Background art on page 22 and 36 adapted from “Foxy” by Natalya Jean.

Contents 4

In the Trees Stephanie Eisemann Nostalgia Kelsey Taeckens

24 San Francisco Skyline Leila Habib snowpocalypse Julia Renner

6

Cloudy Outlook for Sisney Ben Landsberg Kairos Alyssa Rubin

26 Rot James Doyle Observations Anonymous

8

Pause Ashlyn Wiebalck We Apologize for the Inconvenience Callie Marsalisi

10 Food Sam Penney The True Shame in Starvation Shannon Perry

28 Reflections Leila Habib height Natalya Jean 30 en rouge Liza Ashley eighteen Kelsey Taeckens 32 have hold Elijah McTigue Coalescence Aidan Meyer-Golden

12 Bicycle Crossing Ben Landsberg My Professor Asked Me for a Self Portrait. Natalie Warther

34 Chaotic Remenna Xu How Long is a Semester? Ophelia Arceneaux

14 Gold Rush Ashlyn Wiebalck Lamentations of a Former Gardener Ophelia Arceneaux

36 Ode to Being Single Leah Bognanni

16 Foxy Natalya Jean her shoes Melissa Fitzgerald 18 Burren Kelly Burgess ReverieX Alec MacLean 20 Riverbed Sam Penney Ohio Jennifer Kronmiller 22 Going Down Lauren Smith

38 El Capitan del Callejón Ben Landsberg Karma Raquel Jolie Massoud 40 Island in the Clouds Sam Penney Tangible Remenna Xu 42 Nosy Kelly Burgess Excuse Me Elke Thoms 44 reflection Elijah McTigue

The Assessment Melissa Fitzgerald


LITERARY ARTS MAGAZINE

spectrum.magazine@gmail.com www.spectrum.neu.edu 234 Curry Student Center Mailbox: 240 Curry

Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine showcases the talents of writers and artists at Northeastern University. All members of the Northeastern community are encouraged to submit original works of poetry, prose, and visual art. Executive Staff: LITERARY ARTS MAGAZINE Editor in Chief: Aislyn Fredsall Layout & Design Editor: Elke Thoms Financial Manager: Joe Forti Secretary: Julia Renner Advertising Manager: Kaley Bachelder General Members: James Doyle, Felicity Henson, Natalya Jean, Kim Jebbett, Andrew Madanjian, Kate Martin, Mary Potts, Connor Tripp, Remenna Xu

No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine and/or respective authors. Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine reserves the right to edit submissions, layout, grammar, spelling, and punctuation unless explicitly instructed otherwise by the author or artist. The views and opinions in this medium do not necessarily reflect those of Northeastern University or the staff of Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine.

Cover art adapted from “Portal” by Kelly Burgess. Title page art adapted from “have hold” by Elijah McTigue. Background art on page 22 and 36 adapted from “Foxy” by Natalya Jean.

Contents 4

In the Trees Stephanie Eisemann Nostalgia Kelsey Taeckens

24 San Francisco Skyline Leila Habib snowpocalypse Julia Renner

6

Cloudy Outlook for Sisney Ben Landsberg Kairos Alyssa Rubin

26 Rot James Doyle Observations Anonymous

8

Pause Ashlyn Wiebalck We Apologize for the Inconvenience Callie Marsalisi

10 Food Sam Penney The True Shame in Starvation Shannon Perry

28 Reflections Leila Habib height Natalya Jean 30 en rouge Liza Ashley eighteen Kelsey Taeckens 32 have hold Elijah McTigue Coalescence Aidan Meyer-Golden

12 Bicycle Crossing Ben Landsberg My Professor Asked Me for a Self Portrait. Natalie Warther

34 Chaotic Remenna Xu How Long is a Semester? Ophelia Arceneaux

14 Gold Rush Ashlyn Wiebalck Lamentations of a Former Gardener Ophelia Arceneaux

36 Ode to Being Single Leah Bognanni

16 Foxy Natalya Jean her shoes Melissa Fitzgerald 18 Burren Kelly Burgess ReverieX Alec MacLean 20 Riverbed Sam Penney Ohio Jennifer Kronmiller 22 Going Down Lauren Smith

38 El Capitan del Callejón Ben Landsberg Karma Raquel Jolie Massoud 40 Island in the Clouds Sam Penney Tangible Remenna Xu 42 Nosy Kelly Burgess Excuse Me Elke Thoms 44 reflection Elijah McTigue

The Assessment Melissa Fitzgerald


Nostalgia Kelsey Taeckens

If you concentrate hard enough, the dew on a blade of grass will taste like the champagne you drank at your mother’s third wedding and the droplet of ambrosia from the flower of a honeysuckle will be the candies that collected at the bottom of her alligator skin purse. Birdsongs will forever remind you of her singing in the shower. She sends you letters from rehab that smell of sorrow and when she sings you a lullaby over the phone her voice makes you cringe. Sometimes you wish you could mute the world and play tapes of your childhood over and over until the tape wears thin and the sound bleeds out into your life

In the Trees Stephanie Eisemann 4


Nostalgia Kelsey Taeckens

If you concentrate hard enough, the dew on a blade of grass will taste like the champagne you drank at your mother’s third wedding and the droplet of ambrosia from the flower of a honeysuckle will be the candies that collected at the bottom of her alligator skin purse. Birdsongs will forever remind you of her singing in the shower. She sends you letters from rehab that smell of sorrow and when she sings you a lullaby over the phone her voice makes you cringe. Sometimes you wish you could mute the world and play tapes of your childhood over and over until the tape wears thin and the sound bleeds out into your life

In the Trees Stephanie Eisemann 4


Cloudy Outlook for Sisney Ben Landsberg 6

Slow down, wind-girl Stop shape-shifting, you atomic masterpiece You have time you can bend into strands of horizons around your wrists you have infinities Go ride the atmosphere’s spine and bring me back a single falling star, a thousand universe-blinks You have time They say kairos is when everything happens, momentum there and gone, an hourglass on its side– white sand stars hurtling to moon-beaches in bursts of sun shock Slow down, wind-girl you have time

Kairos Alyssa Rubin


Cloudy Outlook for Sisney Ben Landsberg 6

Slow down, wind-girl Stop shape-shifting, you atomic masterpiece You have time you can bend into strands of horizons around your wrists you have infinities Go ride the atmosphere’s spine and bring me back a single falling star, a thousand universe-blinks You have time They say kairos is when everything happens, momentum there and gone, an hourglass on its side– white sand stars hurtling to moon-beaches in bursts of sun shock Slow down, wind-girl you have time

Kairos Alyssa Rubin


We Apologize for the Inconvenience Callie Marsalisi

I was going to write a poem, (It was going to be something else, let me tell you. I’ve written a lot of poems but this one was set up to be one of my best. The metaphor was going to be a stop sign where the paint is all faded and the sign is bleached and I didn’t realize I’d passed it until it had already gone by— because that’s sort of how life feels sometimes. But no one ever protests sun-bleached stop signs. Maybe because we think that if it was important “someone else” would have done something already, and anyway who would we complain to? So we memorize the location of the blank spaces and hope the cops don’t see us slip up, and eventually we forget that anything was wrong in the first place. And now that I got all of that out of my head, it sounds much better than I was scared it wouldn’t. But now my poem is a footnote— or an aside or a sidebar or a parenthesis— when I wish that it wasn’t. Kind of like those things you wish you said ten minutes later. And I suppose that’s a rather nice metaphor too, because I don’t have enough days to count the times when I had something that I wanted to say.) but I didn’t.

Pause Ashlyn Wiebalck 8


We Apologize for the Inconvenience Callie Marsalisi

I was going to write a poem, (It was going to be something else, let me tell you. I’ve written a lot of poems but this one was set up to be one of my best. The metaphor was going to be a stop sign where the paint is all faded and the sign is bleached and I didn’t realize I’d passed it until it had already gone by— because that’s sort of how life feels sometimes. But no one ever protests sun-bleached stop signs. Maybe because we think that if it was important “someone else” would have done something already, and anyway who would we complain to? So we memorize the location of the blank spaces and hope the cops don’t see us slip up, and eventually we forget that anything was wrong in the first place. And now that I got all of that out of my head, it sounds much better than I was scared it wouldn’t. But now my poem is a footnote— or an aside or a sidebar or a parenthesis— when I wish that it wasn’t. Kind of like those things you wish you said ten minutes later. And I suppose that’s a rather nice metaphor too, because I don’t have enough days to count the times when I had something that I wanted to say.) but I didn’t.

Pause Ashlyn Wiebalck 8


The True Shame in Starvation Shannon Perry I love you in the starving way, That has me longing for the bleeding meat of you, mouth watering at the thought of licking up your jaw, biting at the pale stretch of your throat.

I love the way hunger I miss you bleeding flesh, mouth watered at the thought jaw licking light bite to stretch his neck.

You make me hungry.

You make me hungry.

And all my insides growl With the painful want of you– Make me go dizzy from your prolonged absence Until I confess it to the page

And my compassion growl The lack painful to you– Let me turn you dizzy absent extension I confess until page

Here on the 23 bus, Where all the world can see How desperate I am in my hunger. And I am ashamed.

Here, the bus 23, Where everyone can see How desperate I have been hungry. And shame.

I tell Google to change the words to French, but that’s too common, someone will see. So I try Romanian– Still too close– and then Irish, because who the fuck speaks that? And then, Home, in the secret of my room, I set it back to English, and this is all that’s left:

Food Sam Penney

10


The True Shame in Starvation Shannon Perry I love you in the starving way, That has me longing for the bleeding meat of you, mouth watering at the thought of licking up your jaw, biting at the pale stretch of your throat.

I love the way hunger I miss you bleeding flesh, mouth watered at the thought jaw licking light bite to stretch his neck.

You make me hungry.

You make me hungry.

And all my insides growl With the painful want of you– Make me go dizzy from your prolonged absence Until I confess it to the page

And my compassion growl The lack painful to you– Let me turn you dizzy absent extension I confess until page

Here on the 23 bus, Where all the world can see How desperate I am in my hunger. And I am ashamed.

Here, the bus 23, Where everyone can see How desperate I have been hungry. And shame.

I tell Google to change the words to French, but that’s too common, someone will see. So I try Romanian– Still too close– and then Irish, because who the fuck speaks that? And then, Home, in the secret of my room, I set it back to English, and this is all that’s left:

Food Sam Penney

10


Bicycle Crossing

Ben Landsberg

My Professor Asked Me for a Self-Portrait. Natalie Warther If I were a punctuation mark, I’d be a comma. I don’t like when things end. I cry on the freeway a lot. People say I feel too much. I don’t think they’re wrong. I feel unexplainable love for Kurt Cobain. I don’t fully understand why. I fell in love once. It turned me into clay. I fell to pieces in his hands. Peeling a clementine in one piece. There is nothing more honest than a wilting flower. On bad days, I’m the bottom layer of paint. I believe in spending too much money on expensive shampoo just because it makes you feel good. Joni Mitchell. I am the old hair ties in the top bathroom drawer from a previous life full of ponytails. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Nothing ever stays the same.

12


Bicycle Crossing

Ben Landsberg

My Professor Asked Me for a Self-Portrait. Natalie Warther If I were a punctuation mark, I’d be a comma. I don’t like when things end. I cry on the freeway a lot. People say I feel too much. I don’t think they’re wrong. I feel unexplainable love for Kurt Cobain. I don’t fully understand why. I fell in love once. It turned me into clay. I fell to pieces in his hands. Peeling a clementine in one piece. There is nothing more honest than a wilting flower. On bad days, I’m the bottom layer of paint. I believe in spending too much money on expensive shampoo just because it makes you feel good. Joni Mitchell. I am the old hair ties in the top bathroom drawer from a previous life full of ponytails. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Nothing ever stays the same.

12


Lamentations of a Former Gardener Ophelia Arceneaux

When people are small They rip out entreating dandelions And crush them between their Fingers, unashamed of the stains smeared On their hands. They drop broken stalks and Mangled faces to the ground, no longer shining, Never to welcome again. Those with open hearts Plant their hands in soil, Giving roots to a garden rose. Through the thorns and the winters And the pruning, They still come outside To keep their love intertwined. They tend to be very old Or very young. And then there are those with no room for a garden— Only a windowsill. I carried home a beautiful orchid one day. I placed it in my window and Watered it every day, knowing All the time that the clay pot Could not replace The Earth, and that when winter came And the sun hardly shone It would wilt. You said you’d cried over boys Before, but it never Felt like This. I don’t know which feels worse: That I allowed you to whither away From me, Or that I let you mistake me For soil.

Gold Rush Ashlyn Wiebalck 14


Lamentations of a Former Gardener Ophelia Arceneaux

When people are small They rip out entreating dandelions And crush them between their Fingers, unashamed of the stains smeared On their hands. They drop broken stalks and Mangled faces to the ground, no longer shining, Never to welcome again. Those with open hearts Plant their hands in soil, Giving roots to a garden rose. Through the thorns and the winters And the pruning, They still come outside To keep their love intertwined. They tend to be very old Or very young. And then there are those with no room for a garden— Only a windowsill. I carried home a beautiful orchid one day. I placed it in my window and Watered it every day, knowing All the time that the clay pot Could not replace The Earth, and that when winter came And the sun hardly shone It would wilt. You said you’d cried over boys Before, but it never Felt like This. I don’t know which feels worse: That I allowed you to whither away From me, Or that I let you mistake me For soil.

Gold Rush Ashlyn Wiebalck 14


Foxy Natalya Jean

her shoes Melissa Fitzgerald She sat one row ahead of me, and the seasons undressed her slowly, one article at a time. In between thick woolen scarves and down coats, a vision of her red-tinged nose, eyelashes, curled and sprung, Cyn-thi-a a sparkly blue eye– She’d smile at me her cheeks rosy and I’d try to say hi long white fingers a flash of wrist a glimpse of her neck I never focused well in class snow flakes tangled in her eye lashes Boots gave way to sneakers seconds passed as weeks, pants to capris and there were her ankles. Sometimes we borrowed each other’s pencils

Spring gave way to sundresses to light sweaters our hands brushed in the shuffle of papers a right elbow We’d talk about our weekends a left elbow Small group projects—we were partners that’s when I saw her shoulders Pencil skirts, then spring vacation high ponytails a nip of her neck collar bones like little mountain ridges Hair down, feet up I was always fumbling in my backpack cheeks flushed, bright red lipstick She twirled her hair when she was thinking, jean shorts and a white t-shirt finished the final twenty minutes early like falling in love with a mannequin I don’t remember the sound of her voice but I think I know every pair of shoes she ever wore so what’s the difference

16


Foxy Natalya Jean

her shoes Melissa Fitzgerald She sat one row ahead of me, and the seasons undressed her slowly, one article at a time. In between thick woolen scarves and down coats, a vision of her red-tinged nose, eyelashes, curled and sprung, Cyn-thi-a a sparkly blue eye– She’d smile at me her cheeks rosy and I’d try to say hi long white fingers a flash of wrist a glimpse of her neck I never focused well in class snow flakes tangled in her eye lashes Boots gave way to sneakers seconds passed as weeks, pants to capris and there were her ankles. Sometimes we borrowed each other’s pencils

Spring gave way to sundresses to light sweaters our hands brushed in the shuffle of papers a right elbow We’d talk about our weekends a left elbow Small group projects—we were partners that’s when I saw her shoulders Pencil skirts, then spring vacation high ponytails a nip of her neck collar bones like little mountain ridges Hair down, feet up I was always fumbling in my backpack cheeks flushed, bright red lipstick She twirled her hair when she was thinking, jean shorts and a white t-shirt finished the final twenty minutes early like falling in love with a mannequin I don’t remember the sound of her voice but I think I know every pair of shoes she ever wore so what’s the difference

16


ReverieX Alec MacLean

i. you unhinged your jaw like a snake and I climbed in creeping past your molars to slide into you, and out, past you into night ii. we were sitting in the park, coiled around each other, laughing at frantic mice. though we took no notice, they watched from beneath our tails as you spoke in gilded tones iii. you forgot and fell asleep at my house, sunning yourself like always: until you frightened the family; my mother’s worst nightmare iv. after you molted, you were never quite the same, and your skin felt foreign to my touch

Burren Kelly Burgess

18


ReverieX Alec MacLean

i. you unhinged your jaw like a snake and I climbed in creeping past your molars to slide into you, and out, past you into night ii. we were sitting in the park, coiled around each other, laughing at frantic mice. though we took no notice, they watched from beneath our tails as you spoke in gilded tones iii. you forgot and fell asleep at my house, sunning yourself like always: until you frightened the family; my mother’s worst nightmare iv. after you molted, you were never quite the same, and your skin felt foreign to my touch

Burren Kelly Burgess

18


Riverbed Sam Penney

Ohio Jennifer Kronmiller

january, he says to me hold it in until january so yes, i make room in the sock drawer and bury my tonsils, my tongue my summer skin, it is time for thicker leather hides. at night he forgets his cup on the table, come morning we drink dead flies man cannot breed on life alone i fantasize about cadavers but not until february he warns me that yellow really means speed up the fourteenth is many weeks away and we cannot stop at every light. it’s a straight shot if you remember to aim first, he says.

20


Riverbed Sam Penney

Ohio Jennifer Kronmiller

january, he says to me hold it in until january so yes, i make room in the sock drawer and bury my tonsils, my tongue my summer skin, it is time for thicker leather hides. at night he forgets his cup on the table, come morning we drink dead flies man cannot breed on life alone i fantasize about cadavers but not until february he warns me that yellow really means speed up the fourteenth is many weeks away and we cannot stop at every light. it’s a straight shot if you remember to aim first, he says.

20


Going Down Lauren Smith

Suzanne decided to take the elevator. She tried not to usually, something her trainer had said about “living an active lifestyle,” but she had no choice with the size of the suitcase she was carrying. Being trapped in a tiny metal box with a camera blinking at her also made her a little nervous. Especially with the tiles of mirror on the ceiling. It made her feel more exposed, even though it probably wasn’t at the right angle to reflect more of her into the camera feed—unless there were more cameras she couldn’t see. The thought made her shudder. She pressed the button for the third floor. Three dings. One, two, three. She pulled up on the handle of the suitcase and rolled it through the double doors. She soon found out that the mirror had a purpose. She and John entered on the third floor and pressed the button for floor twenty-two. Nineteen dings on the way up, not that they were paying attention. On floor twenty-two, John paused for a moment, nearly tripped on the pile of clothing that they had accumulated in the corner in front of the buttons, and then hit three again. Nineteen dings later, they had made up for the week she’d been away. She was adjusting the collar on his shirt when the doors opened on three. John and Suzanne waved at their elderly neighbor as she got in, and then left, holding hands and blushing like teenagers caught by their grandmother. They would have been more embarrassed if they’d seen her knowing smile when she saw the wrapper in the elevator corner. At two a.m., the janitor got in the elevator on one, saw the wrapper, and sighed as he picked it up. It seemed like everyone got action in this elevator except for him. He took the mop from his cart. He got off at floor seven, where there was a report of a toilet explosion. He hoped the tenant was being hyperbolic. The next morning, Suzanne decided to take the elevator down. She got in on three, briefcase in hand, high heels on the floor that she still remembered cold and hard against her back. Looked up at the mirror—maybe she didn’t mind it so much, after all. She grinned. Three dings. She got off on the ground floor. At around ten o’clock in the morning, when Suzanne was squirreled away in an office downtown, Margaret got in the elevator. It was the same time as usual. Three dings. She got off on three. Two hours later, she entered the elevator on three. She angrily jabbed

the lobby button. Three dings. She got off. Thirty-eight fewer dings today than she was used to. At five p.m., Suzanne entered the elevator. She pressed three. Her suit jacket was slung over her arm, her briefcase and both high heels in the other hand. She tried to stop herself, but she couldn’t keep from glancing up at the mirror again. This habit was not going to help her fitness routine, but she couldn’t forget how the back of John’s brunette head had looked in that reflection. They’d lived in this building for three years now; she wondered again why he’d never had that idea before. Three dings. She got off. Around eleven-thirty p.m., John got into the elevator. He hit the button for the lobby and looked up into the mirror to straighten his tie. He checked his watch. He checked it again. Three dings. He left. Three hours later, John got back in the elevator. He pressed three. He looked up in the mirror on the ceiling to make sure all the lipstick was off his cheek, just in case Suzanne was awake. She wouldn’t be awake. Three dings. He got off. Five hours later, Suzanne was back in the elevator. She was wearing different heels, a different suit jacket, carrying a different briefcase. Three dings. She got off. Ten a.m., Margaret was in the elevator, wearing stilettos and a little black dress. She pressed three, looked up in the mirror to check the lipstick she bought at the pharmacy yesterday. Lipstick wasn’t usually her style, but she had to try something dramatic without being too obvious. She was afraid of what it meant that they didn’t take the elevator up yesterday. She missed the view from the twenty-second floor, even though she’d never looked out a window. Three dings. She got off. At eleven a.m., when Suzanne should have been squirreled away in an office downtown, she entered the elevator on the ground floor. She was still wearing her heels and her suit jacket, the cold air making her wish she’d worn tights under her skirt. She had coffees in each hand, which were warm, at least. John’s favorite was in her left hand: hazelnut, skim milk, two sugars. She wanted to surprise him. He had always said that she worked too hard. Three dings. She got off. There are laws against using an elevator in an emergency. The EMTs took the stairs.

22


Going Down Lauren Smith

Suzanne decided to take the elevator. She tried not to usually, something her trainer had said about “living an active lifestyle,” but she had no choice with the size of the suitcase she was carrying. Being trapped in a tiny metal box with a camera blinking at her also made her a little nervous. Especially with the tiles of mirror on the ceiling. It made her feel more exposed, even though it probably wasn’t at the right angle to reflect more of her into the camera feed—unless there were more cameras she couldn’t see. The thought made her shudder. She pressed the button for the third floor. Three dings. One, two, three. She pulled up on the handle of the suitcase and rolled it through the double doors. She soon found out that the mirror had a purpose. She and John entered on the third floor and pressed the button for floor twenty-two. Nineteen dings on the way up, not that they were paying attention. On floor twenty-two, John paused for a moment, nearly tripped on the pile of clothing that they had accumulated in the corner in front of the buttons, and then hit three again. Nineteen dings later, they had made up for the week she’d been away. She was adjusting the collar on his shirt when the doors opened on three. John and Suzanne waved at their elderly neighbor as she got in, and then left, holding hands and blushing like teenagers caught by their grandmother. They would have been more embarrassed if they’d seen her knowing smile when she saw the wrapper in the elevator corner. At two a.m., the janitor got in the elevator on one, saw the wrapper, and sighed as he picked it up. It seemed like everyone got action in this elevator except for him. He took the mop from his cart. He got off at floor seven, where there was a report of a toilet explosion. He hoped the tenant was being hyperbolic. The next morning, Suzanne decided to take the elevator down. She got in on three, briefcase in hand, high heels on the floor that she still remembered cold and hard against her back. Looked up at the mirror—maybe she didn’t mind it so much, after all. She grinned. Three dings. She got off on the ground floor. At around ten o’clock in the morning, when Suzanne was squirreled away in an office downtown, Margaret got in the elevator. It was the same time as usual. Three dings. She got off on three. Two hours later, she entered the elevator on three. She angrily jabbed

the lobby button. Three dings. She got off. Thirty-eight fewer dings today than she was used to. At five p.m., Suzanne entered the elevator. She pressed three. Her suit jacket was slung over her arm, her briefcase and both high heels in the other hand. She tried to stop herself, but she couldn’t keep from glancing up at the mirror again. This habit was not going to help her fitness routine, but she couldn’t forget how the back of John’s brunette head had looked in that reflection. They’d lived in this building for three years now; she wondered again why he’d never had that idea before. Three dings. She got off. Around eleven-thirty p.m., John got into the elevator. He hit the button for the lobby and looked up into the mirror to straighten his tie. He checked his watch. He checked it again. Three dings. He left. Three hours later, John got back in the elevator. He pressed three. He looked up in the mirror on the ceiling to make sure all the lipstick was off his cheek, just in case Suzanne was awake. She wouldn’t be awake. Three dings. He got off. Five hours later, Suzanne was back in the elevator. She was wearing different heels, a different suit jacket, carrying a different briefcase. Three dings. She got off. Ten a.m., Margaret was in the elevator, wearing stilettos and a little black dress. She pressed three, looked up in the mirror to check the lipstick she bought at the pharmacy yesterday. Lipstick wasn’t usually her style, but she had to try something dramatic without being too obvious. She was afraid of what it meant that they didn’t take the elevator up yesterday. She missed the view from the twenty-second floor, even though she’d never looked out a window. Three dings. She got off. At eleven a.m., when Suzanne should have been squirreled away in an office downtown, she entered the elevator on the ground floor. She was still wearing her heels and her suit jacket, the cold air making her wish she’d worn tights under her skirt. She had coffees in each hand, which were warm, at least. John’s favorite was in her left hand: hazelnut, skim milk, two sugars. She wanted to surprise him. He had always said that she worked too hard. Three dings. She got off. There are laws against using an elevator in an emergency. The EMTs took the stairs.

22


snowpocalypse Julia Renner

the snow’s falling like sand scattering and I’m thinking there’s no end in sight, and I remember that I woke up yesterday tasting the Pacific because I’ve swallowed enough of both oceans to know which one it was. the last time I saw the Coast it was August, and I wasn’t so thin and tired, and my hair was messy from the wind instead of from tequila and nights on dirty couches, from hands and from falling asleep in places I shouldn’t, because my pillow still smells like summer and every time I wake up to the snow this bed feels a little less like home. the last time I saw the Coast, the salt in my mouth was from the ocean and my demons looked a little different, because most days now they have teeth like skylines and every time I turn around I think they look a little more like ghosts, or maybe that’s just me.

San Francisco Skyline Leila Habib 24


snowpocalypse Julia Renner

the snow’s falling like sand scattering and I’m thinking there’s no end in sight, and I remember that I woke up yesterday tasting the Pacific because I’ve swallowed enough of both oceans to know which one it was. the last time I saw the Coast it was August, and I wasn’t so thin and tired, and my hair was messy from the wind instead of from tequila and nights on dirty couches, from hands and from falling asleep in places I shouldn’t, because my pillow still smells like summer and every time I wake up to the snow this bed feels a little less like home. the last time I saw the Coast, the salt in my mouth was from the ocean and my demons looked a little different, because most days now they have teeth like skylines and every time I turn around I think they look a little more like ghosts, or maybe that’s just me.

San Francisco Skyline Leila Habib 24


Observations Anonymous Wounds over veins are a different color.

Rot James Doyle

It was my fears that made that night bad. If she had gone alone, she would’ve been fine. So why did I think I was helping her? My hands are brown and strong on top, but my palms are pink and white and soft I scrub at them with soap and sand until they are pinker, softer, r a w. In moments that would be silent, my breath comes loud and wet and heavy, an ever present interruption. When I close my eyes, the world swirls around me, dizziness like dehydration but if I force them open, unblinking, tears break in, univited. The only thing worse than failing is watching other people succeed. This is why I am toxic. (I am toxic I am toxic I am toxic–this is my heartbeat). Scars over veins aren’t that noticeable.

26


Observations Anonymous Wounds over veins are a different color.

Rot James Doyle

It was my fears that made that night bad. If she had gone alone, she would’ve been fine. So why did I think I was helping her? My hands are brown and strong on top, but my palms are pink and white and soft I scrub at them with soap and sand until they are pinker, softer, r a w. In moments that would be silent, my breath comes loud and wet and heavy, an ever present interruption. When I close my eyes, the world swirls around me, dizziness like dehydration but if I force them open, unblinking, tears break in, univited. The only thing worse than failing is watching other people succeed. This is why I am toxic. (I am toxic I am toxic I am toxic–this is my heartbeat). Scars over veins aren’t that noticeable.

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height Natalya Jean

yeah, babe, you’re short though the chip on your shoulder might add a foot or two you list yourself in my phone, using “seven feet” as an adjective …ridiculous, but I’m not complaining

Reflections Leila Habib

you tell me determinedly you’re five foot, three inches, and three-quarters of a centimeter a defiant glint in your eye, taunting always taunting me

you tell me you’re growing, every day but I don’t think it’s you that’s getting bigger when I step up and you fit–perfectly–against my chin

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height Natalya Jean

yeah, babe, you’re short though the chip on your shoulder might add a foot or two you list yourself in my phone, using “seven feet” as an adjective …ridiculous, but I’m not complaining

Reflections Leila Habib

you tell me determinedly you’re five foot, three inches, and three-quarters of a centimeter a defiant glint in your eye, taunting always taunting me

you tell me you’re growing, every day but I don’t think it’s you that’s getting bigger when I step up and you fit–perfectly–against my chin

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eighteen Kelsey Taeckens

I am veins of absinthe and stop light eyes still green I am bones full of marrow and lips full of fire I am nothing you’ve ever seen before and everything you’ve read combined the equilibrium point of magazines and rebellion I am teetering, caught between youth and time: watch me dance. I am eighteen and my heart is beating out of my autumn chest and the boy across the hall seems like someone to say a prayer about I am eighteen and the bible my mother sends me is heavy in my unfamiliar hands. I look for psalms in slow dances and tangle my tongue on the heavy words of hymns that might as well be the philosophy textbook I haven’t read. the prayers I slide through my red lips taste of peach vodka and questionable decisions. the words I whisper in the dark might be a peace offering but they’re probably just a wish for something more, something to hold on to. I am veins of absinthe sucked dry, and my stop light eyes have hit red. I am bones who do not remember what marrow is and lips long numb. If you touch me to flame I will burn hard and fast and cold and the last thing I think of will be the places I never met, the nights I stayed home, the memories I was too scared to make.

en rouge Liza Ashley

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eighteen Kelsey Taeckens

I am veins of absinthe and stop light eyes still green I am bones full of marrow and lips full of fire I am nothing you’ve ever seen before and everything you’ve read combined the equilibrium point of magazines and rebellion I am teetering, caught between youth and time: watch me dance. I am eighteen and my heart is beating out of my autumn chest and the boy across the hall seems like someone to say a prayer about I am eighteen and the bible my mother sends me is heavy in my unfamiliar hands. I look for psalms in slow dances and tangle my tongue on the heavy words of hymns that might as well be the philosophy textbook I haven’t read. the prayers I slide through my red lips taste of peach vodka and questionable decisions. the words I whisper in the dark might be a peace offering but they’re probably just a wish for something more, something to hold on to. I am veins of absinthe sucked dry, and my stop light eyes have hit red. I am bones who do not remember what marrow is and lips long numb. If you touch me to flame I will burn hard and fast and cold and the last thing I think of will be the places I never met, the nights I stayed home, the memories I was too scared to make.

en rouge Liza Ashley

30


have hold Elijah McTigue

Coalescence Aidan Meyer-Golden For most of the morning we sat in the churchyard, and I watched the sun on her face. “I miss my days of innocence,” she said, I asked what she meant. She explained that in her childhood she felt full. The adult is the emptied vessel of childhood’s richness. I laughed and kissed her. Loss of full emotion: a dampening and we become thus. We were quiet for some time. The day was perfectly warm and there was no breeze but a motion in the air, a slow shifting, rocking as an ocean does. I thought of days behind the white barn my family lived in, peeling paint still in want of siding, on blanket, mother voice loud and singing as she talked on the cordless phone. Catching dragonflies, salamanders, snakes exotic and beautiful like Animal Planet. Smart to wish for the fullness. Yet I cling to my intellect, I can’t conceive of myself without it... in reality I was probably emotion first. The church exudes a hum of religion, a conviction in the air that I find comforting, as something infrequently felt. An uncertainty of self has always plagued me, that if my true nature is exposed I will drive off those around me. She moves her head, in the sleep she has fallen into next to me as we lay here, the soft earth beneath us bending to support our bodies. Her face buried into my weak chest, small chin and clay-pale back of neck under blondeness. An ineffable grace of carrying herself from dancing. I felt weaker than her, underweight, my body oversized, tight jeans. It was comforting to be in her presence, her arms. Her eyes, nose. Voice: realize the error in what I said before. Childhood only seems so emotionally rich because love has not yet entered one’s body, dulling the heart to all other sense.

32


have hold Elijah McTigue

Coalescence Aidan Meyer-Golden For most of the morning we sat in the churchyard, and I watched the sun on her face. “I miss my days of innocence,” she said, I asked what she meant. She explained that in her childhood she felt full. The adult is the emptied vessel of childhood’s richness. I laughed and kissed her. Loss of full emotion: a dampening and we become thus. We were quiet for some time. The day was perfectly warm and there was no breeze but a motion in the air, a slow shifting, rocking as an ocean does. I thought of days behind the white barn my family lived in, peeling paint still in want of siding, on blanket, mother voice loud and singing as she talked on the cordless phone. Catching dragonflies, salamanders, snakes exotic and beautiful like Animal Planet. Smart to wish for the fullness. Yet I cling to my intellect, I can’t conceive of myself without it... in reality I was probably emotion first. The church exudes a hum of religion, a conviction in the air that I find comforting, as something infrequently felt. An uncertainty of self has always plagued me, that if my true nature is exposed I will drive off those around me. She moves her head, in the sleep she has fallen into next to me as we lay here, the soft earth beneath us bending to support our bodies. Her face buried into my weak chest, small chin and clay-pale back of neck under blondeness. An ineffable grace of carrying herself from dancing. I felt weaker than her, underweight, my body oversized, tight jeans. It was comforting to be in her presence, her arms. Her eyes, nose. Voice: realize the error in what I said before. Childhood only seems so emotionally rich because love has not yet entered one’s body, dulling the heart to all other sense.

32


How Long is a Semester? Ophelia Arceneaux In 1998 a year was half a lifetime And each day a decade. The first taste of Honeysuckle lasted Hours. In one rotation around the sun I built civilizations under Willow trees And journeyed miles Around my living room, Sundays and Summer days lingered Lazily in my lap for Months, Never fleeting. My strides covered more Ground then, And I had No use for a clock.

In 2015 three months is a sharp inhale. The first step on a new path has been Blurred by the tension between Time’s quickening pace and the cadence Of my own lagging consciousness: The leaves have blushed and Trees have mourned and Friends made And cities and Books grins chills midnights Coffee shops, Tears fear trains sprinting bed sheets, A single breath. In 1998 I could walk for Miles in A moment. A day used to be More— My time has been Cheapened.

Chaotic Remenna Xu

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How Long is a Semester? Ophelia Arceneaux In 1998 a year was half a lifetime And each day a decade. The first taste of Honeysuckle lasted Hours. In one rotation around the sun I built civilizations under Willow trees And journeyed miles Around my living room, Sundays and Summer days lingered Lazily in my lap for Months, Never fleeting. My strides covered more Ground then, And I had No use for a clock.

In 2015 three months is a sharp inhale. The first step on a new path has been Blurred by the tension between Time’s quickening pace and the cadence Of my own lagging consciousness: The leaves have blushed and Trees have mourned and Friends made And cities and Books grins chills midnights Coffee shops, Tears fear trains sprinting bed sheets, A single breath. In 1998 I could walk for Miles in A moment. A day used to be More— My time has been Cheapened.

Chaotic Remenna Xu

34


Ode to Being Single Leah Bognanni How many times can I fuck myself? Let me count the ways. I was going to write this poem in iambic heptameter, but There was no rhythm, no meter, to the night I spent with you. You told me John Keats couldn’t know anything about the world because he died at twenty-five. Just because you’ve lived to thirty, doesn’t mean you’ve spent those years alive. It’s funny how age encourages entitlement. Why can’t you take the hint? In the name of Robert Browning, Robert Barrett Browning, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Please give me the strength to not punch this man in the face. Amen. I’m going home alone. I should have known You’d make me open another toothbrush for you at my place Only to criticize me when there’s no makeup on my face. If you’re going to love me today, then hate me tomorrow, I’d appreciate it if you at least knew your place. I showed you the poem I wrote And you accused me of liking you. Well, I can write a poem about you and not like you too. Look, here it is. You’re going to wake up in my bed that morning, Take my best friend out that night, sink your teeth into her skin, Then look me in the eyes tonight and judge the way I sin? Go ahead, please, it’s fine. Do it. Text me one more time. You think girls are nuts? Your texts are spilled guts that read: “The bartender’s lost his goddamn mind.” I’m going home alone. I should have known I’d end up by myself from the moment I swiped right. Took you to my favorite bars, paid your tabs, paid your cabs, And you still managed to ruin the night. Please tell me I have a bad attitude one more time. Then hit the restroom for another line Of coke. You’re spewing lines I won’t fall for, but damn These west coast boys don’t know how to take a joke. I’m going home alone.

I should have known You had a girlfriend The moment you randomly blurted out You didn’t have a girlfriend. Não, obrigado. I’m going home alone. I should have known You didn’t care when you slept with her right there Left my bed bare, sheets stained in the corner, From the threesome without me. You’re gonna blame me for leaving? I’d rather drop $200 to stay at the Hilton Than sit back and watch you not feel any guilt and I had way too much pride To let you see me cry. Plus, nine drinks will do that to you. Next time I’ll go home alone. I should have known It wasn’t just a bad rumor And you’re actually kind of weird, When you get going with your dad humor Which is fine, sometimes But okay, let me say, what about you telling me that you take pictures of your penis And set them as your friends’ phone backgrounds when they can’t see you Makes you think I want to do anything but flee you? Your antics are far from romantic. I’m going home alone. I should have known You’d end up saying something stupid like, “Oh you’re leaving? That’s not fair. I got off and you didn’t.” Oh, I’m aware. I’m going home alone. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from being single, It’s that sometimes the sex Is significantly better on your own.

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Ode to Being Single Leah Bognanni How many times can I fuck myself? Let me count the ways. I was going to write this poem in iambic heptameter, but There was no rhythm, no meter, to the night I spent with you. You told me John Keats couldn’t know anything about the world because he died at twenty-five. Just because you’ve lived to thirty, doesn’t mean you’ve spent those years alive. It’s funny how age encourages entitlement. Why can’t you take the hint? In the name of Robert Browning, Robert Barrett Browning, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Please give me the strength to not punch this man in the face. Amen. I’m going home alone. I should have known You’d make me open another toothbrush for you at my place Only to criticize me when there’s no makeup on my face. If you’re going to love me today, then hate me tomorrow, I’d appreciate it if you at least knew your place. I showed you the poem I wrote And you accused me of liking you. Well, I can write a poem about you and not like you too. Look, here it is. You’re going to wake up in my bed that morning, Take my best friend out that night, sink your teeth into her skin, Then look me in the eyes tonight and judge the way I sin? Go ahead, please, it’s fine. Do it. Text me one more time. You think girls are nuts? Your texts are spilled guts that read: “The bartender’s lost his goddamn mind.” I’m going home alone. I should have known I’d end up by myself from the moment I swiped right. Took you to my favorite bars, paid your tabs, paid your cabs, And you still managed to ruin the night. Please tell me I have a bad attitude one more time. Then hit the restroom for another line Of coke. You’re spewing lines I won’t fall for, but damn These west coast boys don’t know how to take a joke. I’m going home alone.

I should have known You had a girlfriend The moment you randomly blurted out You didn’t have a girlfriend. Não, obrigado. I’m going home alone. I should have known You didn’t care when you slept with her right there Left my bed bare, sheets stained in the corner, From the threesome without me. You’re gonna blame me for leaving? I’d rather drop $200 to stay at the Hilton Than sit back and watch you not feel any guilt and I had way too much pride To let you see me cry. Plus, nine drinks will do that to you. Next time I’ll go home alone. I should have known It wasn’t just a bad rumor And you’re actually kind of weird, When you get going with your dad humor Which is fine, sometimes But okay, let me say, what about you telling me that you take pictures of your penis And set them as your friends’ phone backgrounds when they can’t see you Makes you think I want to do anything but flee you? Your antics are far from romantic. I’m going home alone. I should have known You’d end up saying something stupid like, “Oh you’re leaving? That’s not fair. I got off and you didn’t.” Oh, I’m aware. I’m going home alone. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from being single, It’s that sometimes the sex Is significantly better on your own.

36


El Capitan del CallejĂłn Ben Landsberg

Karma Raquel Jolie Massoud sticky fly paper musty dog bed old fat wife stale stink tv static soiled carpet squirrel tails worn down couch creaky boards silenced walls Big You. little me. hot grill propane leak fed flames sirens shriek smoke stench red trucks roll up black boards cave in. memories burning— Big Me.

38


El Capitan del CallejĂłn Ben Landsberg

Karma Raquel Jolie Massoud sticky fly paper musty dog bed old fat wife stale stink tv static soiled carpet squirrel tails worn down couch creaky boards silenced walls Big You. little me. hot grill propane leak fed flames sirens shriek smoke stench red trucks roll up black boards cave in. memories burning— Big Me.

38


Tangible Remenna Xu I miss the way your lips felt, love on your tongue and salt on my skin, drowning in the moonlight as we held onto each other with thoughts for no one else

Island in the Clouds Sam Penney

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Tangible Remenna Xu I miss the way your lips felt, love on your tongue and salt on my skin, drowning in the moonlight as we held onto each other with thoughts for no one else

Island in the Clouds Sam Penney

40


Nosy Kelly Burgess

Excuse Me Elke Thoms Relationships, you said, are just a lot of “noise.” You were telling your friend, reassuring him that some people “Just can’t handle the noise.” And I’m sorry I interrupted you, I am. But don’t you think, for this kind of thoughtful reflection, You could’ve selected a better place to stand, Than in front of the utensils at Qdoba? Because as much as that girl “Couldn’t take all the noise,” I couldn’t waste any more time Waiting for my plastic fork.

42


Nosy Kelly Burgess

Excuse Me Elke Thoms Relationships, you said, are just a lot of “noise.” You were telling your friend, reassuring him that some people “Just can’t handle the noise.” And I’m sorry I interrupted you, I am. But don’t you think, for this kind of thoughtful reflection, You could’ve selected a better place to stand, Than in front of the utensils at Qdoba? Because as much as that girl “Couldn’t take all the noise,” I couldn’t waste any more time Waiting for my plastic fork.

42


The Assessment Melissa Fitzgerald

He wears only variations of gray and blue button-ups—t-shirts on the weekends. He wriggles in silence. Says “Why so quiet?” and squirms. After his honeymoon, he kept saying how he couldn’t get used to the extra weight on his hand, he just couldn’t get used to it—this new weight. Simply, I liked the idea of him; the physical manifestation was always somewhat less appealing. He was most attractive from a desk in front of a PowerPoint, his voice soothing, a clicker in his hands moving us forwards, making things simple. “Very much so, Melissa” he’d say and I couldn’t help but smile; the sound of my name seeming to give me a place in the world. For a moment, I’d have a place. The last time I saw him we were squeezed into the Big Tree Pub watching a rugby game, and I couldn’t get close enough to make out the color of his eyes. It bothers me to this day. I’ll say they were blue. It will make it easier.

reflection Elijah McTigue

44


The Assessment Melissa Fitzgerald

He wears only variations of gray and blue button-ups—t-shirts on the weekends. He wriggles in silence. Says “Why so quiet?” and squirms. After his honeymoon, he kept saying how he couldn’t get used to the extra weight on his hand, he just couldn’t get used to it—this new weight. Simply, I liked the idea of him; the physical manifestation was always somewhat less appealing. He was most attractive from a desk in front of a PowerPoint, his voice soothing, a clicker in his hands moving us forwards, making things simple. “Very much so, Melissa” he’d say and I couldn’t help but smile; the sound of my name seeming to give me a place in the world. For a moment, I’d have a place. The last time I saw him we were squeezed into the Big Tree Pub watching a rugby game, and I couldn’t get close enough to make out the color of his eyes. It bothers me to this day. I’ll say they were blue. It will make it easier.

reflection Elijah McTigue

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SPRING 2016

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SPECTRUM LITERARY ARTS MAGAZINE

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Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine: Spring 2016  

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

Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine: Spring 2016  

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