CONTENTS POETRY Casey Orndorff Sydney Howard Randi Roy Hawatu Davowah alonzo Randi Roy Casey Orndorff Tamira Colbert Alexsis Tarte Jilian Bolls Elijah Nichols Anika Tahsin Alana Ryan
lettera d’amore femminile | 4 Flesh and Blood | 6 The Birds No Longer Sing For Me | 9 Nappy | 10 salvadoreño salvadoran american | 11 Habitat | 15 Our Good Mother | 17 Senses of the Summer Nightlife | 20 My Heart is a Road Map to Michigan | 22 Teeth | 24 A Child’s Song | 26 Winter | 28 Graduation Day | 31
SPRING 2019 2
ART & PHOTOGRAPHY Abigail Wiser Fathima Ziyana Mohideen Emma Dardis Nick Buckner Olivia McCarthy Sharon Corish Abigail Wiser Kerry Hentges Alex Ossio Fathima Ziyana Mohideen Gabi Candelario Holly Nguyen Tyler J Benson Gabi Candelario Nick Buckner
Seljalandsfoss | Cover Silence | 5 Burt Glinn Recreated | 7 Light | 8 Remember This | 13 Nature Patterns: Tree Rings | 14 Moss | 16 Isnâ€™t It Frightening? | 18 COLOSSAL | 21 Home | 23 Creation of Sorts | 25 Orange | 27 Defying Gravity | 29 A Reach Into Uncertainty | 30 The Man | 32
MISSION STATEMENT Volition serves to elevate the creative capacity of the Mason community by fostering freedom of expression across diverse mediums.
SPRING 2019 3
lettera dâ€™amore femminile woman, be not broken, for you were born whole, you are an entire orchestration of flowers blooming from the inside out. woman, be not timid, be a cuss word and a prayer, curve your lips upward towards the sunlight that has stroked your cheeks lovingly since girlhood. Woman, you are worthy, you move with grace and ease, and your ribcage holds a music box that beats far louder than the curves of your breast.
| Casey Orndorff 4
Silence | Fathima Ziyana Mohideen | Art 5
Flesh and Blood She has your eyes, Soft and dark, Moving slowly, pooling like oil in a water trough, And melting and dripping Lapping up her black lashes, Washing onto the shores of her ruddy cheeks. She has your lips, Thick and silent, Propped apart by exhaustion, Draining away her painâ€™s liquidation, A silent temple in a rainstorm; Her voice but the ghost of an abandoned tomb. She has your hands, Shaky and pallor, Palms Upright, Fervently pulling, grabbing, pushing Her attacker Until she herself, crumbled and shattered. She had your will.
| Sydney Howard 6
Burt Glinn Recreated | Emma Dardis | Photograph 7
Light | Nick Buckner | Photograph 8
The Birds No Longer Sing For Me I’ve exhausted all avenues, Running down empty hallways And tugging on locked doors Prying open windows, tearing out screens I climb up the willow trees— I lean on their limbs, and I worry, Am I giving them growing pains? They scrape my palms As a consolation, I suppose our pain is all the same Have you noticed that they never sing? When you get too close— That always stings. If you stay long enough, they’ll return But their chorus is never the same They’ll fly away at a moment’s notice, Leaving you in silence, alone, again. It is not the loneliness that leads to melancholy— It is the birds who no longer sing for me.
| Randi Roy 9
Nappy A strand of my hair is my great grandmother. My brother. My friend. My mother. My lover. If it looks like my hair is competing with the air, It very likely is. My strands fight for space to comfortably lie, As bondaged men and women would before they died, Crammed into corners of merchant ships, And packaged across the Atlantic. Each tangle I sport? A resilient embrace, Between the remnants of a broken race. Do you not know that each strand was once enslaved? Forced to behave? Manipulated, Altered, until it faltered, Until all the fight it once had was gone? Until it shone in its own natural light, Until it was a force to be reckoned with? See, when my hair stands tall: when it refuses to fall flat against my back as I once told it to; When my hair is in its natural, untamed, grand state, I sing a silent song of uprising. Breaking free of the bonds, the chains: Of relaxers, of hot combs, unacceptance, and shame. I reach towards freedom for those before me. In the hopes that one day, weâ€™ll truly be free.
| Hawatu Davowah
salvadoreño salvadoran american my mother goes back to patting maíz flour into thin tortillas between her hands she doesn’t say much but i know she is frustrated the tortillas on the comal char as she kneads the leftover dough and i can’t pronounce the ñ in Salvadoreño i’ve forgotten to speak my own language the one she and my father spent evenings after work drilling into me throughout elementary school para que no olvides de donde vienes i must’ve forgotten it somewhere along desert where mother slept for days beneath the mexican sunset awaiting the next coyote to lead her across Tijuana or somewhere in between chicken coops and banana trucks where father hid from ICE patrols i must’ve forgotten it somewhere along the arbitrary border separating America from América it’s not the only language that i’ve forgotten along the way though i forgot my first language before that too my parents don’t remember our native tongue the one our ancestors spoke before the volcanos went asleep forever before the mango trees became lumber for hotels built against the seaside before our gardens became gravesites for our children dying of smallpox before taxicabs and buses spurted across our idyllic mud roads it must’ve been when the conquistadores made us trade our daughters and gold for their tobacco and tinsel it must’ve been when we were pinned against the ground and flowers and forgot our own word for help somewhere in our rooms when we started birthing white babies with names of unfamiliar saints and gods we could barely pronounce in the classrooms when foreign men smacked us up our heads when we could not pronounce Jehovah in their language from their bibles when our grandmothers asked us in that native tongue as they lay dying: will you remember me and all we could say was sí my parents do not want me to forget where i come from but we cannot speak the language of our ancestors except the one our white fathers beat into our bones we cannot read my great-great-great-grandmother’s poetry it is in a language that dances to rhythms our colonized hips cannot shake to
a language that makes the tongue roll more than a tongue twister the language the first people spoke when the stars crashed into the earth and the first volcanos formed i am frustrated just as my mother my first language died when my people learned how to pronounce the ñ in Salvadoreño this language and my people will die and be forgotten when our children forget how to pronounce it when the ñ becomes n salvadoreño becomes salvadoran salvadoran, american his freckled hands explore every curve and angle of my brown body as if i’m a rare species of flowers that he must ultimately possess and name after himself he stops kissing me tell me something en Español my body is numb my lips have sewn themselves shut and instead of being pinned against wildflowers my body is pressed against cheap cotton sheets he is frustrated now his fingers bury deeper into my arms with each passing moment of silence i forgot the word for handsome to pacify the tension i can’t remember how to tell him to kiss me again my lips can’t form the expression for get the fuck off me but more importantly how to say help in either language how could you forget he asks angrily shaking me as if by doing so the words will find their way to my mouth i mutter i’m sorry i’m sorry i’m sorry but not to the stranger who exchanged weed and drug store rosé for my brown body i’m sorry to my ancestors i’m sorry i can’t say i’m sorry in my first language lo siento to my parents for assuming this second language had nothing to do with me i’m sorry to myself for believing that this third language could ever make a brown man belong in a white man’s world
Remember This | Olivia McCarthy | Art 13
Nature Patterns: Tree Rings | Sharon Corish | Art 14
Habitat I am melancholic in nature I love sitting in willows while I watch you walk by And sometimes I believe if I had more time I could root myself here, too, And hang on to you. I love my little bird, Who perches on my heavy heartstrings Her birdsong swells my thoughts Until sunset finally sweeps Iâ€™ll wait until the lights are off Only then will I return To my heart-shape hollow of a home However, so that I may never leave, You leave the light on for me.
| Randi Roy
Moss | Abigail Wiser | Photograph 16
Our Good Mother We took our good Mother, and we drilled her in all of her beautiful and sacred spaces, all of the crevices where sweet life flows. We bled the nectar out of her. We bled her to move on her skin. We lop off Her limbs, Her limbs that nurture us, and rock us with breath. We burn them to build alters to ourselves. to our concrete gods of excess and greed. We tethered her with roadways, Her body fastened like a witch, being burned burned burned at the stake. We maul Her children as they walk across their home, and we push them to the side. We do not like to look at the things we make ugly.
| Casey Orndorff 17
Isnâ€™t It Frightening? | Kerry Hentges | Art 19
Senses of the Summer Nightlife The heat of the summerâ€™s day simmers down as the sun slowly exits the sky. In the city, Iâ€™m riding solo in my little black dress, feeling myself but still checking out the guys that pass by. The drum of my heels hitting the heat of the hard pavement syncs with the chewing of mint gum in my mouth. Above me, the sky changes from red to pink to purple, blending like watercolors on a canvas. As the night seeps in, the neon lights begin to brighten and buzz with excitement, as do I. Bars and diners fill with endless chatter and wafts of the fanciest of steaks to the greasiest of pizzas, and everything in between. The tail lights of cars zoom past me as lively music on a restaurant rooftop pierces the air. Now, the sky is dark, full of stars and the sensations of the nightlife take over and I feel free.
| Tamira Colbert 20
COLOSSAL | Alex Ossio | Photograph 21
My Heart is a Road Map to Michigan There are too many interstates for even myself to read. Every twist and turn painted with a dotted line Down the middle of well-worn pavement for passing. Passing through, passing by, passing. How do I ask you to understand what I don’t comprehend of myself?
In Virginia, I am my home and my heart in one. Growing deeper into my roots but somehow losing touch. Holding it together when I want to fall apart, forgetting to call my mother, getting lost in the memory of summer time on the lake, jumping off the boat. Passing through, passing by, passing.
That is why I don’t blame these dotted lines or the cars that pass my own through the city, in the mountains, down the flat turnpike to the state line, on their way to wherever they go to be at home.
My heart still trying to drive back to Michigan. I can’t always ask it to stay with me. One of us needs to go back eventually, put a rest to all this passing.
Home is a one-lane road that goes on for forty minutes. It’s the forests and orchards and farms that decorate the drives to my mother’s house. Where it doesn’t matter that I haven’t fallen back in love yet or that I don’t sleep well in Virginia. Home is five cups of coffee and comfortable clothes. No anxiousness or caffeine crashes. Just loveliness and rest. For a moment I’m in place and I have a place. There’s no traveling, not even on the drive back to my father’s. The problem is my home is also my heart. It too keeps passing through, passing by, passing. And everytime it gets easier to walk away, drive past the last exit before Ohio. My heart’s growing used to the distance and so am I.
| Alexsis Tarte 22
Home | Fathima Ziyana Mohideen | Art 23
Teeth I donâ€™t think it matters if we are loud or quiet, or if we gasp for air between chapped and peeling lips or around swollen tongues and cracked and crumbling teeth, purple fingers picking up the pieces to plant them with the flower on the windowsill in the kitchen where the light shines too much, or to put them back into our mouths so we can swallow and not feel so sorry.
| Jilian Bolls 24
Creation of Sorts | Gabi Candelario | Art 25
A Childâ€™s Song Weep, oh, weep child For mother and father have left you. Weep, oh, weep child For sister and brother will not return. The blanket you sleep under, The streets you walk on, The school you learn at, Those too will leave you. Weep, oh, weep child For bombs are breaking And fireflies are not falling over the city. Where lights breaks through, There comes a darkness soon after. Where lives are lost, There comes a separation of two. Weep, oh, weep child For peace will return. *Inspired by view at the Gaza and Syrian borders.
| Elijah Nichols 26
Orange | Holly Nguyen | Photograph 27
Winter Faint. A feeling of total loss. Loss of control. I’ve lost the ability to stand without slipping. I’ve been stomping on thin ice. Unfortunately for me, It’s been cracked. Shattered. I see the cold liquid beneath start to take hold of the hard barrier caging it in. The water slowly creating another layer of ice as it makes contact with the air above, Trapping my feet before I can run fast enough. I look up at the sky, The only comfort I find in a world I don’t understand. I see nothing but black And feel nothing but the rush of cool wind against my skin, Taking the heat away from my body And leaving me to turn into just another ice sculpture To be out on display until it melts completely. Why? I ask myself constantly. Why? Why was it me that was destined to witness nothing but barren lands covered in snow? Why was winter the season that claimed me? Then again, There’s a beauty in the silence that hides within the breeze. Or at least, I’d like to think so.
| Anika Tahsin 28
Defying Gravity | Tyler J Benson | Photograph 29
A Reach Into Uncertainty | Gabi Candelario | Art 30
Graduation Day I walk across a thin tight rope in thick five inch heels Making my way towards a blinking neon sign that promises me What exactly? I feel spiders crawling across my veins at the mention Of the word future. The smiling man in the long black robe hands me A certificate of completion, I made it through. So why then do I feel So incomplete? I feel like Iâ€™ve finished climbing one mountain only To look back down and feel the fear rise back up in my throat again, Where do I go from here? Heart and lungs both longing to breath out A sigh of relief, but what comes out is just a shaky sigh signifying Pure exhaustion. I gingerly climb up a short set of stairs to what should Be my destiny, yet I am still my own worst enemy. The inner critic still Sits herself comfortably on my shoulder, whispering naggingly into my ear, Youâ€™ll never make it past this stage. Even as I find my grin stretching wide, The white flash from photographers bringing spots to my eyes, I feel a Looming question in the back of my mind, Who am I without this green cap and gown?
| Alana Ryan 31
The Man | Nick Buckner | Photograph 32
Letter from the Editors Spring 2019 has finally arrived, and our time at Volition has come to an end. It’s been a long and wonderful four years here, and for the past two, we’ve been able to lead this magazine and staff we love. Each semester we have had the pleasure of being exposed to all the beautiful and bold art by our fellow Mason peers. We’ve heard you at our Open Mic Nights, we’ve seen you through your art, we’ve understood you through your poetry. Thank you for sharing with us; being able to help students express themselves has been the greatest joy of our time as Editors. Volition has taught us much, and we carry this experience with us into our future endeavors. Thank you to Student Media for giving us this chance and supporting us through all our decisions and edits; we got to make this magazine ours. Thank you to our staff and Editors for all the help you’ve provided over the years, and all the care you’ve shown this magazine. To those graduating with us, we wish you the best, and hope your time as Editors helped you grow as we did, and helped prepare you to explore the future after college. To those staying, the magazine is yours now. We know you’ll do great things with it. To our readers and writers and artists, thank you for trusting us with your work. Never stop creating; the world needs your truth. Sincerely, Karolina Blaziak and Ayleah Hanton Executive Editors
In Association with the Office of Student Media
Executive Editors Ayleah Hanton Karolina Blaziak
Prose/Poetry Prose and Poetry Editor Zaria Talley
Art and Photography Art and Photography Editor Macayla Smith
Graphic Design Design Director Sabrina Huffman
Public Relations Public Relations Officer Lauren Billy
Faculty Advisor Jason Hartsel
Madison Hoffman Malek Salhab Soshine Singh Leigh Norman Marina Li Kaila Etienne-Best Joseph Massa Emma Starustka Zach Arlt Sarah Gwynn Elisabeth Angeley Maggie Eason Hannah Brennan
Fatina Al-Qutob Ashley Ruben Rita Mulugeta
Kim Bartenfelder Candice Wong Shyloh Bailey Leia Pequignet
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Volition is George Mason University’s official undergraduate literary and arts journal, publishing original student poetry, prose, photograp...
Published on May 14, 2019
Volition is George Mason University’s official undergraduate literary and arts journal, publishing original student poetry, prose, photograp...