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Editorial Board Editor-in-Chief: Jenna Snyder Managing Editor: Thomas Fucaloro

Poetry Editors: Eric Alter, Gia Dupree, Thomas Fucaloro, and Laura Hetzel Prose Editor: Julie Bentsen

Art Editors: Laura Hetzel and Julia Simoniello

NYSAI.ORG FACEBOOK.COM/NYSAI

PRINTED ON THE ISLE OF STATEN DESIGNED BY JENNA SNYDER COPYRIGHT: All rights revert to the author upon publication. Cover art by Eleen Lin

Copyright © 2016 NYSAI Press

NYSAI ads by Rachel Lyngholm

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contents

poetry

Jennifer Bradpiece / The Lucky Ones...............................................................................................30 Alan Britt / I’ve Heard of Cream of Wheat.......................................................................................34 Mercy Tullis-Bukhari / Suck................................................................................................................28 Kai Coggin / Water Fountain Witness................................................................................................36 John Foxell / And I Thought This Was One of My Good Days..................................................23 Anna Kazan / 4 Train................................................................................................................................17 Jessica Kratz / Personal Mythology....................................................................................................11 Ndaba Sibanda / Abortion of Education..........................................................................................33 John Trause / Daughters of Evolution...............................................................................................18 Francine Witte / Then.............................................................................................................................24 Tariq Zaid / Hurtful Hands.....................................................................................................................27

art

Silvia Forni.....................................................................................................................................................19, 25 Eleen Lin.........................................................................................................................................................Cover, 13, 38-39 Ankica Mitrovska.......................................................................................................................................22 Brandon Perdomo.....................................................................................................................................26 Peter Pryor....................................................................................................................................................32 Kyle Quinn......................................................................................................................................................14-15 Qin Tan.............................................................................................................................................................20-21 Ching Wen Tsai............................................................................................................................................31 Jenni Ward.....................................................................................................................................................16

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editor’s note Dear Readers,

This issue is dedicated to the memory of Deep Tanks Studio—Staten Island’s last DIY gallery and venue. On March 11th, 2016, Deep Tanks was permanently closed as a result of a complaint. A notice on the door read “VACATE DO NOT ENTER… Conditions in this premises are imminently perilous to life. …Violators are subject to arrest.” That night, dozens of police officers in bulletproof vests gathered around Deep Tanks, ready to prevent art from happening at all costs I suppose. Our borough’s only newspaper pounced on the story like vultures—commidifying our grief, extracting our entertainment value, and moving on to their next victim.

Unfortunately, Deep Tanks’ closure comes as no surprise. There is a ghost haunting the north shore of Staten Island—the ghost of big business and upcoming gentrification projects. Men with money want to “clean up” our neighborhoods for future development projects and Deep Tanks was proudly not inline with their “vision.”

All this commotion over an arts space leads me to believe that art has power. The venue’s co-founders, Kris Johnson and Florence Poulain, created a place where our community became stronger and our ideas became bigger. They inspired me to have faith in the arts on Staten Island and perhaps even start this magazine. May they inspire you to occupy your community in a meaningful way and to create art in the face of opposition. NYSAI Press hopes that the spirit of Deep Tanks stirs you to host art events in non-traditional spaces. Staten Island’s DIY scene cannot be defeated so easily. We will rebuild.

Jenna Snyder

Find photos of our last magazine release party at Deep Tanks in the following pages. 7

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Personal Mythology Jessica Kratz

I am the product Of the Shamrock and the Star of David Entering the world in Disco’s finest days Clinging tenaciously to the fact that I was Born to be alive for two weeks in the seventies Reading lyrics and watching videos online To fool my mind Convince myself that I have memories Of this time None of which include Double digit inflation Zero marriage equality Or waiting on gas lines Oil embargos Or Ayatollahs Though Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” To which I did jumping jacks in the 5th grade Made sure I learned some history And despite majoring in it I was overcome by a nostalgia For a time that isn’t really mine Even in high school At the height of the Grunge era In the middle of Kurt Cobain and all that pain I was warned by Mike Watt to defend myself against the 70’s “They’re not reality, just someone else’s Sentimentality”

Yes, over two decades later My Happy Feet Can’t resist the allure Of the Boogie Wonderland Hmmm…. All the need to be loved can’t be wrong Nor is my desire to Ride on the Groove Line tonight “Woo, wooo, woot, woot…” I was born between “Hello, it’s me.” (Todd Rundgren) And “Hello, is it me you’re looking for?” (Lionel Ritchie) Here we are at “Hello from the other side” (Adele) And I just want to scream hello (Pearl Jam) 11

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As someone who changes by not changing at all Cool kids never have the time To ring my bell, keep on dancing Or shake down 1979

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The Young Philosopher Eleen Lin


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Kyle Quinn

left & above

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4 Train

Anna Kazan That was her very private yoga mat your naked knee is touching, sir she pushes naked thighs into flat-backed butterflies, everyday. What’s more she puts her forehead and her nose and un-calloused palms against this private thing She’s made love to nearly every morning on it for a month. And now your naked, vulgar knee has violated its sanctity which she has rolled this mat so tight and guarded on her lap, in public, like a new born baby to preserve. And now that mat has had adventure, taken from the ivory tower of one mid-Manhattan high-rise, carried like a princess down Sunday afternoon’s third avenue being shady and expansively oppressive, plunged on 60th into the muck and the abyss in which all souls are lost, Manhattan underground, singing only one hissing, filthy sound. The air touches everything! She had to take the poor thing home, all swaddled and crying from the filth. That naked knee with golden hairs all curled with pleasure at their indiscretion, sprawling upward with delight. More of them, she’s sure, inside the cargo shorts, with one abundantly stuffed cargo pocket, rubbing. This virgin mat. She unrolls it on the 14th floor and says “You’re not so innocent anymore.” Then takes off all her clothes and crouches into downward dog.

-Fire & Water Series | In the Field Jenni Ward, left

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Daughters of Evolution John Trause

“How do you do?” “How do you do?” “How do you do?” “My blood runs red.” “My skin is white.” “My blood is blue.” “And how ‘bout you?”

“I see that you are new.” “My family is quite old, at least that’s what we’re told” “And how ‘bout you?”

“May I offer you some tea?” “Some cookies and a crumpet?” “Tell us some about your people.” “We’re eager to hear all.”

“Now, that’s different.” “Now, that’s special.” “I’m not sure that you’re right for us.” “I know that you’ll agree.” “Adieu.” “Adieu.” “Adieu.”

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Silvia Forni

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Orbiting Interlude Qin Tan

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Techno Vortex Qin Tan

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Untitled (The Observer) Ankica Mitrovska

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And I Thought Today Was One of My Good Days John Foxell

I’m a bore, a dud, but unable to face it I gulp down grapefruit juice and pills, pills, pills and reimagine myself as a butterfly bush my purple flowers twinkling in the light while I munch on cookies long gone stale. I feel the breezes lift my branches while counting my knife wounds as ventilation of some kind. I kill time as surely and as slowly as I am killing myself. I long to climb up me but I know as only a bush can know it that my branches are inferior to those of any tree whatever its species. I was a whole vessel once but now only fragments ready to be captured and stuck in a jar and hidden safely behind glass doors in a cabinet someplace where I’m no longer vulnerable. When I was born, a summons was issued to be father for creating a disorderly mess. Today I push the plunger on my syringe alternating my blood into and out of myself along with a few additives to brighten my day. And I say to myself Kill me now or kill me later it’s all the same to me.

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Then

Francine Witte

is a memory of sweet canned peas, meatloaf and the storms that were swirling in my father, the men pretending to be gentlemen slicing my father’s sad throat, taking his house, his manhood and leaving my mother to wrap cups and saucers in old newspaper, placing each one gently into the movers’ barrels. She was a soldier, head of her own brigade. Marching us into the years that followed, tiny cheap apartment and asking us to dream smaller. Be patient, she would say, your father is a good man and one day the sun will shine in him. It was hard for me, young girl, to believe it. I would look at the other fathers, their golf cart smoothness, their Saturday morning smiles. They most likely went off to work each Monday, maybe even taking away houses with their soft voices, their shoes leaving footprints like the ones that stayed on my father’s back.

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Silvia Forni

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Brandon Perdomo

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Hurtful Hands Tariq Zaid

the privilege of touch is for caress & comfort not how you use it

she made me do it most of them make that lame claim spaghetti for brains no not spaghetti cuz spaghetti’s kind of good more like shit for brains turning to abuse he’s lost & clueless to use he shouldn’t have hands

i’m gonna show her voice rough, chest puffed, playing tough coward with no guts their kind should be banned they shouldn’t even exist they should stop breathing crazy insecure intimidated by, her he, should be ashamed

does your mother know your frustration & anger i’m sure she’d be pissed

intoxicated hot tempered, so quick to flip small dick disorder

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Suck Mercy Tullis-Bukhari

I don’t know what to say.

What to think.

I wonder what you are thinking, what you are doing, what you want from me. I

need— Something. Anything.

So that I know we are good, you know, that I am still in the mix of things. I need

more, to learn more about myself, to absorb you, to get you, for you to get me.

I like the mind-twisting, but not really; but I like it.

Am I making sense? Probably not.

Look, I don’t know how to be with men anymore, how to act and what to say.

What did you do?

I told you I may get attached; I know my place but I am twisted like that, you

know. Twisted and wrapped in this whole world that is you.

But it’s not love. Fuck you for fucking with me like this.

I just don’t know how to be or what to do. You tied up my wrists, and tied up my

mind. Am I being good? Am I bad? Do you like that I am bad or good?

Just tell me who to be, what to do. Am I asking for too much? Am I not asking for

enough?

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Your body, your psychological fucking, nothing like his.


I don’t know if you are being an asshole, or if all this is part of the

process. I am learning about myself, but I don’t know what I am learning. You crossed me over into an inferno; no, a paradise. Please keep me there. I don’t want to return to my banal life of repetition and redundancy.

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“Don’t think. Just suck.” “Of course.”

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The Lucky Ones Jennifer Bradpiece

First know death as the blank white stare of goldfish belly. Or a phosphorescent splotch beneath a fork punched lid at the bottom of a jar. Those stale mornings after curiosity lit nights. Recognition in the slump of a three day old Gerber Daisy. Next, something larger is lost. A foot- print echo, perhaps four legged, run down tracks through the backyard of memory, racing scab-kneed and sobbing across burning asphalt. Until one day, the bodies next to you in each photograph, wither and fade. Until the voices you will never hear again could form a chorus. Until the prickly fur on the vine of wild berries at Grandpa’s house is only remembered in the fingertip’s nerves. I am pressing strawberries between pages of memories... they bleed, they bleed.

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Ching Wen Tsai

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Abortion of Education Ndaba Sibanda

An ostentatious noisy cave

with malaria- ridden mosquitos and other pests committing an abortion of education in the name of devotion

-Peter Pryor, left

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I’ve Heard of Cream of Wheat, Creamed Corn and Cream of Mushroom But Never Cream of Politician Alan Britt (For Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker)

I’m a political man, and my fleece is white as snow. I’m a politician with sideburns of glass elevators.

I’m a political man, so get into my big black car. The weakest link in my victory chain . . . just tell me, and I’ll fix it.

I assure you, I’m a political man, and sometimes I practice what I preach.

I’m a political man, though tomorrow you might find me face down upon the beach.

But as I said, I’m a hard-nosed politician, so get into to my big black car.

I’m a political man who once believed in Martin Luther’s jailhouse speech, but now I wear sunglasses, monogrammed robes and walk upon the beach. All the while accumulating arcane wealth, a la dancing Liberties, stoic Indianheads and blue steel pennies minted to preserve copper for the war effort.

My eyes like opals in a coon dog’s eyes knifing its gun-metal tail through moonlit hyacinths across an algae-covered Florida canal,

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sporting teeth, large enough, insane enough to drag everyone else below the surface, where needle-nosed politicians quiver between sea grasses at the opening of Manon, Kennedy Center, 2009. And from this ridiculous matinee I recognize one final brushstroke, one last clutch of algae, one last chorus of outboard propellers staining the massive flippers of another humble manatee that not so long ago resembled one of our most beloved politicians. I’m a political man, so get into my big black car.

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Water Fountain Witness Kai Coggin

I went to fill up our water jugs at the community water fountain, light drizzle fell creating a glistening blur over everything, an ethereal mist. An old man was filling his half-dozen plastic gallon-sized milk bottles, holding a warm smile as I approached and started to fill my five gallon behemoth glass jug at the next faucet.

We connected eyes, nodded our heads, traded quick quips about the weather, and our wishes for Spring, his caterpillar white eyebrows danced when he talked. “I have a gift for you,” he said, outstretching his closed-up ball of a hand.

“Oh, thank you,” I accepted, reluctant and polite, the sound of the water still gushing into my jug, an hourglass too slow with sand. I looked at the small token he placed in my palm, a bright shiny penny with a thick cross stamped out of it. “Oh, Jesus... not one of your followers...” I thought to myself. “It cost me a whole penny.”

I chuckled because he said it like a cute grandpa, and I hoped somebody thought his little jokes were still funny. “Jesus had to pay a WHOLE lot more. HE had to pay with his LIFE.”

He went on to tell his story, witnessing to his unsuspecting fellow man, just filling up her unsuspecting water jug on this unsuspecting drizzle of a day.

“Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?”

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I wanted to tell him that I was a Lesbian Jesus in a high school dramatic skit where I hung on a cross at a Catholic youth conference in front of 2,000 kids, but these days, I don’t wear a bible belt, and we find God in different ways.

I uh-huh and mmm-hmmed and when the water splashed up onto arm, I put the cap on my overfilling jug and said goodbye. He was already telling a couple of young guys he had a gift for them, and the trail of the conversation faded as I walked to my car. That evening, I emptied my pockets and found the coin, the coin with the cross stamped out of it, the cross punched out of copper, a gift in negative space, like how “Christianity” is the negative space, and “Christ” is the actual image.

I think of the old man in Arkadelphia who makes these cross pennies for the witnessing old man at the water fountain, how he must be rich with all that holy copper, how he must be swimming in tiny crosses leftover from all this stamping out, the body of Christ clinking as it hits the dirty linoleum floor, the message somewhere in all that negative space.

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The Young Philosopher Eleen Lin 38


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thank you

NYSAI Press extends its deepest gratitude to its editorial board whose selfless efforts make this publication possible, to Richmond Hood Co. for facilitating our slam series; and to you, the reader. This publication is made possible (in part) by a DCA Premier Grant from Staten Island Arts, with public funding from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Cetus (p. 38) & Everything is Crystal Clear (p. 39) Eleen Lin

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Profile for NYSAI Press

Antiverse  

Summer 2016 edition of NYSAI Press' literary magazine

Antiverse  

Summer 2016 edition of NYSAI Press' literary magazine