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LETTER FROM THE CREATIVE DIRECTOR “Disruption of the norm” is often the desire of many artists and is the theme of this issue of TARNISHED. Inevitably, our writers and visual artists seek to find the beauty that exists in the imperfections of artistry. Experimentation and innovation are what moves us into tomorrow, whether it be in the arts, business or in the sciences. As Francis Bacon once wrote, “The job of the artist is to deepen the mystery.” We hope that as you explore the pages you challenge your creativity to bring you to more inspiring places. This spring 2019 issue is a milestone in the life of TARNISHED. We welcome the Lasell College creative writers and staff of COMPENDIUM who now have a new home between the covers of TARNISHED in our new department, COMPENDIUM. Our publication has enriched the poetry and prose of both students and faculty. Thank you to all of our contributors who have made this issue a success. A special thank you to our Art Director, Daisy Bocanegra for her relentless commitment and dedication to this edition. On behalf of the leadership team of TARNISHED, we hope this issue sparks creativity and lends inspiration to your artistry.

LETTER FROM THE MANAGING EDITOR This issue of TARNISHED Magazine is inspired by the ever-changing nature of art and the ways people are able to convey their own versions of artistic disruption. By disturbing the comfortable and comforting the disturbed, we have embraced what it means to spark change within the walls of normality. The overarching goal of this publication was to celebrate the diverse backgrounds of any and all creators.





With that in mind, it is with great pleasure that I am able to announce the merging of both TARNISHED and Compendium, a literary arts journal at Lasell College. Having been involved with both publications, I felt it was time the two converged into one monumental arts journal. This new section of TARNISHED encompasses a variety of written works like poems, short stories, and a play. Each written piece conveys disruption in its own right and I hope its integration into the magazine is welcomed with open arms.


This issue is just the beginning of the barriers we are going to break within the visual and written world of art. I am incredibly proud to have worked with such a dedicated editorial board and it is so rewarding to see such a sense of passion for this magazine develop. Thank you all to who contributed to TARNISHED and I hope you, dear reader, are ready for what we have instore.







e’ve all been told by our high school English teachers that in Shakespeare’s time, men would dress as women as a part of theatre performances. This continued for some time, though the concept of ‘drag queens’ was adopted by the LGBT community in the 1920s. The term was used almost exclusively by men at that point, however during the Harlem Renaissance the term ‘drag king’ came to be, or women who dressed as men. In the mid 20th century drag became known as an art form almost exclusively in the gay community. Men and women dressed in drag performed in bars and many played an important part in the liberation of the LGBT community during the 1950s and 60s. In the 1970s drag made its way into popular culture by way of queens such as Divine in Pink Flamingos. It wasn’t until 1993 that RuPaul, arguably the most famous drag queen in the modern world, performed his song “Supermodel” at the March on Washington. RuPaul’s popular TV show “RuPaul’s Drag Race” premiered in 2009 and over its 10 year run it has brought drag to mainstream media. Drag queens

have been apart of theater and performance culture for many years and will continue to be for years to come. Lasell College in Newton, Massachusetts hosted a first-rate drag show with performances by Neon Calypso, Kris Knievil, Destiny Boston,Teasha Purdy and Karisma Geneva Jackson-Tae.This was the first event of its kind for Lasell and was a major milestone for the campus pride club. They put on a fantastic show filled with colors, lights, and fabulous outfits. They were all based in Boston and perform regularly at clubs and bars around the city. Neon Calypso, in particular, has been performing for about four and a half years. When asked how she got into drag she responded, “I started doing drag as a way to explore my gender identity but also as a way to, like, creatively perform”. She began her career as a dancer and according to her, “no one really paid attention to me until I did drag”. Kris Knievil, the hostess of the evening, has been doing drag for almost 20 years, “I was always a theater kid” he said, “I did a dare to do, like, a 10 week 5




contest and I just won every week, won the finals, and then one club booked me and one club booked me. It wasn’t a career choice so much as I just loved doing it. ” This seemed to be a common thread among them, Karisma Geneva Jackson-Tae shared a similar theater kid background with Kris Knievil, the performance aspect just came naturally to them. Kris Knievil noted the confidence that comes from being in drag, “once this armor goes on, you know the boobs and the makeup and everything, it’s this inner voice coming out... we’re invincible”. Karisma Geneva Jackson-Tae says that a lot of her confidence “has to do with my friends, and being able to have that support and that friendship and to have that comradery”. Destiny Boston found a similar beginning to that of Kris Knievil, starting their career in the early 2000s, “I did a contest...I was trying to find my identity, singing and dancing was my thing back in the day and so when I wasn’t able to sing anymore, drag was another option for me to get on stage”. They all found confidence through drag that they couldn’t find anywhere else. Drag is seen in pop culture more today than it ever was, thanks in large part to RuPaul’s Drag Race. The show today has somewhat of a cult following across multiple forms of social media. It has offered queens a platform to talk about what they feel is important to them and to their community. Neon Calypso uses her platform as a performer as well, “right now my main focus is to bring issues into spaces that often won’t highlight it and I do that through spoken word pieces”. Drag is used to give a voice to those who may otherwise be voiceless, and will continue to do so for years to come.

Audrey Labonte Photography courtesy of DigitalFISCH


“I’m alright”

Joshua Nee is a junior majoring in photography at Savanah College of Art and Design (SCAD), in Georgia. Originally from Randolph, MA, Nee has always been inspired by the creative people in his life, most notably his mother, aunts and uncles. Nee began studying photography at Blue Hills Regional Vocational high school, where he expanded his knowledge through their design and visual communications program. The exposure to photography and visual communications became a passion for Nee, “I started to realize my love for photography around high school, I felt like it was a perfect way to capture a moment; real, exaggerated, tragic, or simply just a nice portrait.” After graduation, Nee continued on to stun the SCAD campus with his stunning photographs. Nee’s inspiration stems from objects and emotions - but finds himself diving deeper into past academic projects in his own time. He attributes his inspiration to Loretta Lux, Platon, and Jamie Beck’s works. “I love the connections they create with their photos and the subjects are just amazing,” said Nee, “beautiful gestures, strong lighting, connection, storytelling. It’s all there.” When starting a project, he begins by asking himself what he needs to understand about the shoot and how he can learn from the shoot.

Photography by Joshua Nee

When Nee starts a photo shoot, he’s most excited for prop shopping. He scours antique shops and thrift stores to find props of the right color, theme, and express the emotion he wants to portray. Model searching for the shoot is crucial. Nee finds models in a Facebook group containing people who attend his school and are willing models. During a shoot, the duration can vary. “Depending on the productivity I need for each photo it can take from 30 minutes-2

Pictured: Joshua Nee, third year photography student at Savanah College of Art and Design. hours approximately.” While searching for models and props is a fun part of the job, Nee’s gift for lighting up a photoshoot are often complimented. When arranging his light sources, the model’s eyes are the feature he hones in on. Nee believes that the eyes are the windows to our souls. “The eyes are the most vulnerable and valuable organ in a human body. They can tell so many truths, lies, stories, and emphasizes on the light and life behind the eyes,” said Nee. When he’s shooting portraiture, he looks for the cast light in the model’s eyes; this helps his subjects look real and reflective rather than doll-like. When he works with natural light, he enjoys seeing the crisp, harsh light of the sun breaking through branches, as well as light that 11

Pictured: “Succ on this” hits windows and reflective surfaces. “Natural light is tricky - because you will usually never get the exact lighting at the exact place with the same amount of intensity from the sun,” says Nee, “Studio light can give the photographer the control of the light however, when you are in natural light you need to be more hopeful since the outcome can always be different.” In an attempt to get the perfect shot, Nee looks for the “graphically pleasing moments that happen between space, color, and form.” He’d naturally tries to find these moments in nature and other surroundings. Nee also enjoying incorporating the element of movement into his work to help convey a message and give the image some action. This series, titled “Am I Okay?” is a self-portrait. This project allowed Nee to convey some of his pain and hardships he suffered internally. “In essence, I hope people could get a quirky sense of humor, because in the end of it when I finished, I felt relieved that it was out there, and I wanted to really have fun with the shoots because I knew I was working on a topic that was pretty out-there to express,” said Nee, who sees photography as the perfect medium for his self-expression. The photos allow him to depict his emotions without speaking on the turmoil and still evoking an emotional response from the audience. While shooting the series of ten photographs, Nee had two models for the shoots, Lo Engel and Jaidon 12

Pictured Left: “Magik Trix. Pictured Right: Brain Fog

“Constricting Worries”

“All Tied Up”

“Wahtcha Lookin’ For”

“Train Wreck”

Lalor. Both who study at SCAD along with Joshua. “Can’t Sleep?” is a photograph featuring a woman lying on a pillow, donning a bloodied nose. “This one was really drawn from when I was younger, I thought I was going to bleed out, because I would have constant nose bleeds.” said Nee. “Constricting Worries,” displays the model wrapped in gausses like a puppet - leaving her no

Pictured: “Stuck in the mud”

Pictured: “Can’t Sleep?” self-mobility body. “Stuck In the Mud,” a more literal photo, depicts a “stick stuck in the mud” feeling. “Moving slow but also not being able to get where you really want to be.” said Nee.

photographs that draw out the emotions in others. His photography reflects the depths of human emotion– containing layers of deep personal meaning to Nee. “This has been a project that I have been thinking about lately. Whether to go back and edit it differently or continue the idea and the concept but at a more refined place of my mind.” said Nee, never not seeing potential to grow even in his most celebrated works.

Amber Murphy

Nee’s favorite photograph from the shoot is “Train Wreck.” The image showcases the model, lying belly down to the floor with toy trains with steam engine tracks running across his back. “The train wreck scene- this was pretty in your face; it was meant to feel like everything is going to come crashing down and there is nothing you can do to stop it.” Nee continues to take photos for school, portfolio pieces, and fun while he’s studying in Georgia. He aims to continue to display colorful, impacting 17



ANIMATION Rick Ochoa is a 26-year-old multi-talented artist. Ochoa is an actor, musician, and is fluent in several artistic mediums. He grew up in San Diego, CA as well as Temecula, California. Ochoa’s fondest memory of San Diego was growing up in his dad’s furniture store. While at the store, Ochoa would watch his favorite animated movie: The Lion King every time he was there, unknowingly inspiring his future career as an animator. Before Ochoa began animating, he started off as a child actor. He began acting as a kid doing commercials and print ads. At the time, he discovered that acting was not for him. He was too shy, and his interests moved towards playing football. Not long after, the ambitious Ochoa explored the music industry. The four Ochoa brothers had dreamed of doing a creative project together and music was the perfect opportunity to bring that dream to life. His pursuit of music alongside his brothers was a life changing

experience. They reached a level of success with their music, their songs were used in movies and played on the radio. Ochoa had always been interested in animation. However, it wasn’t until the influence of his aunt’s ex-boyfriend that he realized he had a talent for drawing. At the time, he didn’t focus on his art. When he realized he could pursue art in college and make a living from it, Ochoa began taking his art more seriously. He thought the world of animation was limited to Disney and Pixar movies; he was unaware of all the possible career paths animation could take him in. College changed everything for Ochoa, it exposed him to different styles of animation and furthered his appreciation of digital art. After high school graduation, Ochoa attended California State University Los Angeles (Cal State LA), where he received a bachelor’s degree in art with primary focus in animation. During his time 19


at Cal State LA he was introduced to Maya, a 3D animation software. Ochoa credits Associate Art Professor Jim Ovelmen, as largely influencing his artistic style. He was immediately fascinated by being able to create movies before his own eyes. The freedom to move different cameras while simultaneously being his own director excited him. He’s passionate about bringing his ideas to life. Careers in animation and the arts can be a time-consuming commitment. Ochoa spent three semesters developing and executing his senior capstone project. When starting a new project, he plans for the complexity of the concept. Some projects are completed piece by piece and others he can work on nonstop until completion. When struggling with a creative block, his best advice: step away and revisit your project another time. Ochoa considers himself lucky he’s passionate about his work and prides himself on not giving up when the going gets tough. After graduating college, Ochoa took a unique route with his animation. While most animators go into creating animations and visual effects for film and movies, Ochoa went onto becoming a courtroom animator for the company MotionLit. He found satisfaction in using his skills in animation to help win legal cases. Ochoa embraced the challenge to step outside his comfort zone. However, working for MotionLit, Ochoa quickly discovered college did not adequately prepare him for a fast-paced work environment. Courtroom animation can allow a judge to see a clearer visual of the case being tried. The animation is played in the courtroom - adding to an attorney’s argument. It provides a clearer view into situations involving no or limited witnesses. His work as a courtroom animator has provided Ochoa with the opportunity to grow as an artist. Every case he takes at MotionLit must be as accurate as can be to ensure it doesn’t get eliminated. The job has also taught him to be a problem solver as well as expanding his talents as an animator and 3D modeler. Animation Stills by Rick Ochoa

A courtroom animator’s job can be a highpressure environment. The deadlines can be tight, so Ochoa must begin working on new animations as well as making revisions on a previous project. Ochoa says a courtroom animator’s social life can suffer from the time-consuming nature of his work. At MotionLit, they are also required to do an entire pipeline. Pipelines consist of meetings, research, talking to experts, modeling environments, characters, and tools. After the pipeline the 21

animation process begins. It involves compositing, lighting, rendering, and editing. Although the job can be stressful, he says time management has made his job much easier. One of the best feelings in the world for Ochoa is knowing one of his animations helped win a case. The knowledge that his art helped serve justice and contributed to a case makes the stress of the job worth it. The opportunity to get behind the computer every day and make a living while doing what he loves is the biggest win of all, according to Ochoa. MotionLit has allowed him to work with talented animators who share his passion and interest for art and animating to the extent that he does. Ochoa is a living example of hard work paying off. He works hard and stays late if he needs to in order to deliver the product on time. After working at MotionLit for a year, the company acknowledged his dedication and talent as a young animator by promoting him to senior animator. As an artist who wasn’t independent full-time after college, Ochoa said the key to success in animation is having a solid reel and learning how to work hard and deliver quality work quickly. MotionLit’s professional environment allowed him to grow his undergrad knowledge of animation. Ochoa uses tools he learned in the field to enhance his freelance work. Since working at MotionLit, Ochoa says he’s become nit-picky about his freelance work. Recently, he’s expanded his color palette and says his final edits have become stronger than ever. Learning to accept criticism was something Ochoa had to learn fast at MotionLit. Although, it’s enough to accept criticism, you must to be ready to make changes based upon other people’s points of view. When freelancing, the main objective is to please the client with whatever they want - even if you strongly disagree. The customer is always right. Ochoa’s post-grad dream going into college was working for a big-name animation studio and creating feature films. Although he’s currently working as a courtroom animator, Ochoa still longs to bring animated characters to life at studios like Pixar and Disney. The unique path into courtroom animation has helped him enhance his portfolio and experience working as lead animator who oversees and advises other animators. MotionLit has provided him a unique creative opportunity which Ochoa believes will help him stand out from competitors on his journey towards his dream job.

Daisy Bocanegra 22



editor’s note Professor Stephen Fischer is the founder of TARNISHED Magazine and has served as its faculty advisor since its inception. He is also a committed artist whose work is worthy of recognition in these pages. This article was written and assembled without his knowledge because he does not seek attention or the spotlight. He would have most certainly vetoed the idea as the faculty advisor had he known about it earlier. However, the editors felt strongly that his amazing work should be showcased here in recognition of his artistry and commitment to the publication.

If you are lucky enough to attend college and find that one professor who supports and inspires you through your journey then you have found an undeniable connection. The relationship that you have built over your first year, or maybe four years, serves to be indisputable. Professor Fischer is that “one professor” for many students across the campus of Lasell College. Professor Stephen Fischer is an Associate Professor in the Graphic Design Program at Lasell but has proven over the years to be so much more than an ordinary professor. He continuously goes above and beyond his role’s requirements and is always supporting his students with the guidance they may need. Professor Fischer accepts new students with open arms and a warm welcome. As the advisor of several clubs, he is always ambitious about encouraging students to develop their passions. Fischer believes in each and every one of his students and strives to help them succeed not only in the classroom but also the industry. While Professor Fischer demonstrates his dedication to helping his students express themselves creatively, he also shows his own enthusiasm for art through his personal masterpieces. He inspires many students with his powerful and striking pieces in different disciplines. The exceptional work of Fischer includes, illustration, graphic design, photography, sculpture, painting, and many more. His ability to balance his own personal desire to create while being a professor inspires the many students who have been lucky enough to work with him. This feature is both an acknowledgment and a thank you for everything that Professor Fischer has done and continues to do to create and maintain a vibrant art community. Testimonials from members of that community and a showcase of his paintings follow.

quotes from students and faculty It would be easy to assume that Professor Fischer is a full-time professor who, as advisor for the Graphic Design League, advisor for Polished and Tarnished Magazines and curator for the annual ART/word exhibition, would simply have no time for art-making. And yet he makes art. He makes it by hand, drawing and painting, even sculpting, and digitally—as a designer or as a step in the process for more tactile work. I have been inspired by his drive to create, particularly his output as a painter during his sabbatical, when he produced dozens of portraits of long-dead Australian criminals. The project was a fascinating study of faces and human expression—an attempt to own with his imagination, and therefore understand, the dark and hidden motivations of these lawless, yet human, souls from another era. I’m blessed to have him as a partner in running the program, but also as a model of an artist who is always searching and growing.

- professor Calhoun I have known Professor Stephen Fischer since I was 13 years old. We attended middle school and high school together in New Jersey where our paths crossed engaging in music, theatre, art, and believe it or not … sports! There are many endearing adjectives that can be used to describe Prof. Fischer but what comes forward first is – love and compassion. He cares deeply about people and strongly respects their voice when expressing perspectives and ideas. He is highly creative, an accomplished illustrator, detailed, deeply reflective, reliable, precise and methodical. When he is not being so serious, he is tons of fun – hilariously funny and an amazing dancer! Prof. Fischer organically brings all of these amazing qualities into the studio classroom at Lasell College. I see this as a gift for the students. Additionally, his creation of the Graphic Design League offers just one example of his effort to model for students the power of our Connected Learning philosophy. And the success regarding the evolution of POLISHED Magazine is due to his dedication, passion for his craft, and the distinct ability to mentor students outside the classroom. I am extremely proud to be his colleague and his friend. He has made my time at Lasell ‘rich and full’ (to borrow one of his expressions.) Teaching alongside him has been a privilege.

- professor lynn blake


I met professor Fischer during his reception at the Wedeman gallery. It was my first semester back in college and I was writing an article for the newspaper on the work he did while on sabbatical. I’ve previously heard of Fischer through other professors and students, and I knew it was someone who I needed to connect with. Since that evening, Professor Fischer has constantly pushed me out of my comfort zone and has helped me grow as an artist. He gave me opportunities and made sure I got the experience I needed to succeed in the photography world. Fischer has been a great mentor to me, and I’ll forever be grateful to him. Professor Fischer has helped me grow so much as a student and as a professional. He made me realize that with hard work, patience and a little luck I’ll get to where I want to be.

- michael bueno The Lasell community is very lucky to have Professor Fischer. He dedicates so much of his time inside and outside the classroom, especially with POLISHED. He is a huge help to the POLISHED team, and we don’t know what we would do without him!

- ashley burke In the past three years I have truly enjoyed working with Professor Fischer on the collaborative project, POLISHED Magazine. As our team’s advisor he has helped bring our vision to life each issue. Professor Fischer has created a fun, comfortable and creative atmosphere for our team and has always made himself available to us for any questions we may have. Professor Fischer has been one of my biggest supporters through my college career, he has trusted me with leading the POLISHED team and recommended me for the London College of Fashion. I have learned so much from him about photography, lighting, graphic design and how to be a better leader.

- Cassandra Moisan Professor Fischer is my go-to professor if I have a question about design, Lasell, or life in general. I have known him for a year, but in that short time he has helped me grown as a designer and student. Professor Fischer is why my first year at Lasell has been a success and I can’t wait to see what else he’ll teach me in the next three years.

- anna king He is dedicated to giving the students the best education. His experience as a designer is a launch into the real world of life as a designer and he cares that each student should succeed.

- professor lemieux



Paintings from the “Arresting� series by Stephen C. Fischer




Kiedy wejdziesz między wrony musisz krakać tak jak one — Polish for, Once among the crows, caw as they do. During my week in Poland, I didn’t see a single crow. Instead, there were pigeons the size of soccer balls, and sex-work business cards splayed across the sidewalks, and copious amounts of bars containing copious amounts of drunks; all of which seemed easier to find than crows. The latter, understandably, was the most enjoyable to be around. Perhaps the proverb should’ve said: ‘Once among the drunks, drink as they do’. Somewhere in a bar in Warsaw, I played catchup feverishly with the locals. Unlike America, drinking in Poland began at lunch and concluded around the same time the following day. Where I lived, somewhere thousands of miles across the Big Ocean, NASCAR was deemed a sport the same way racing towards intoxication was here. My first drink — an abrasive combination of grain alcohol and sugar — tasted as foreign to me as the rest of the country. The glass formed rings of condensation on the scarred oak table like that of Saturn’s, only much less astronomically significant. In the intimate setting, the dimly-lit overhead lights cast long shadows across the floor and the people dancing on it. With dozens of moving bodies packed into the attic of a bar house several decades 34

older than myself, the air was a thick, musty blend of sweat and breath, like a humid day on a toocrowded subway car. Some of those moving bodies, I knew. Our college sent us here — well, not here. Our adventure to the bar was not a part of our itinerary, and unbeknownst to our professors, we’d decided on the flight into Europe to swallow as much of Poland as we could in our short visit, which included the country’s nightlife. Despite being in the same class for months now, I held a very poor understanding as to who my classmates really were. For the most part I knew what they chose to present to the world: their names, personal expressions, and relationship status’. I knew their political views; they’d emerged during classroom discussions about the second World War, which was the purpose of our travel. And now, I was getting to know how they handled their liquor. Whether the rest of them would admit it or not, that night, the bar was our release, poorly disguised as cultural immersion. For months we’d read novels, watched documentaries, caught up presentday political strifes, and recounted more survivor stories than I’d ever imagined possible. Being here, where so many of our ancestors had been killed (or were responsible for the killing), was like living a lucid dream. I’d prepared for the monuments, for the tragic stories, for the camps. I hadn’t prepared

myself to recognize a church-steeple-turned-snipertower from a black-and-white photo in the back of one of our history books. I hadn’t prepared to sit inside prison cells, staring at the claw marks on the walls, comparing them to my own fingertips. I’m not sure if any of us found the release we were looking for at the bar that night. The more we drank, and danced, and laughed, the worse it all felt.

Illustrations by DigitalFISCH

Social drinking was nothing new to me, but I had little experience with bar culture, and for much of the night I feared my virginity on the topic showed. I felt awkward and clumsy, as if the practice I had in college was an arbitrary substitute. The backs of my thighs stuck to the plastic cover of the bar cushion. I squirmed in my seat uncomfortably, well aware of the striking differences between myself and the local women. Made up of long, lean legs and elegant silhouettes, straight blond hair chopped evenly at breast level, many of them seemed fit for magazine covers or fashion shows. Their pale skin glistened in the bar light like warm honey milk. I looked nothing like them, and I knew it. My roommate nudged me with her beer bottle. “See that guy with the beard?” She said, jutting her chin out towards the less-inhabited side of the bar. “He’s cute.” My eyes followed hers to two people standing separated by a Dutch door, their heads bent towards each other in conversation. One

of them, a chimney-column of a human, harbored a bearish masculinity that many women might’ve found to be attractive. His height and wide stature, combined with the dark hair that spiraled from his head and chin and forearms, was enough to warm many women’s faces. I smiled and nodded politely, hoping my roommate couldn’t see the disinterest on my face; thankfully her attention, shortened by alcohol, was already turned towards a drunken Irishman who seemed to handle eight beers the same way she handled one. A determined person since childhood, I always knew what I wanted and what I didn’t. Candy, for instance, was almost always a ‘want’. Napping was not. Boys? Funny but unreliable. Girls? Many made terrible friends, but regardless, I always found ways to be near them. When relationships became more than platonic, I was the outlier in my own head. I imagine I felt the way a television might if its wires were crossed — my cables plugged in to opposite outlets. Even the biggest, burliest electrician could not fix my wiring; nor did it need to be. Which is why, when I saw the man my roommate had been appreciating, my eyes lingered for only the briefest passing of a second before sliding to the woman he conversed quietly with. The two of them spoke quietly, voices muffled by the thrumming beat of the music that played overhead. Dirty Diana by Michael Jackson. 35

Without much thought, I made the assumption that her wires were askew, too. The narrow-framed woman stood out like I did, removed from the rest of the bar. Her raven-black hair, cut short above the ears, hung into her face. Thick lashes cast shadows across her cheekbones. In the low light of the bar, her face looked sharp and angular. She raised a hand and pushed the loose strands from her forehead. Bluish-black ink colored up and down arms, disappearing beneath the rolled sleeves of a white cotton t-shirt. The tattoos resembled the images found in the margins of a high-school student’s notebook. Despite better judgment, I found myself staring at them. Poorly drawn snakes entangled in one another, a robot head, a flower. Sneakers with the shoelaces tied together, a broken heart, the silhouette of a woman, a quote in a language I couldn’t read. I knew they were carved into her skin, yet some small, youthfully innocent part of me wanted to close the distance between us and wipe them away with my thumb, like they were pen or cigarette ash. Unconsciously, my fingertip swirled in the small puddle of condensation that was gathering around the bottom of my glass. She shrugged at something the man said, motioning with a hand to a group of people dancing freely in the center of the room. He smirked, laughed. Their lips moved with an eloquence I only dreamed of possessing. It was not difficult to the conclusion that her partner was the short, fluttery woman with hair the color of corn silk. The hem of her skirt ruffled as she danced — she stroked it back into place each time she twirled. I caught them exchanging glances; reserved, intimate looks that made me feel as though I was intruding on a private occasion. I blinked and looked toward my peers. They were drunk; ignorant to most everything except the unkempt gurgle beginning in their stomachs.


The woman watched her partner dance with strangers. Her lover’s movements were selfgoverning, as if she had never spent a second of her life under the judgment of someone she loved. She spun and clapped and sipped honey infused vodka from glasses of strangers. The air that lingered between them was spiced with a flavor I had yet to see in a country so arid of a similar love; one of hickory and hot peppers, of grain alcohol and sugar. A flavor that made tongues dance behind closed lips. The brevity in their tender affection was as heroic as it was careless. In this country so different and so similar to my own, I wondered what life might be like. Where I lived now, my girlfriend and I continued our lives unabashedly; holding hands in grocery stores, kissing in the movie theater, rarely looking over our shoulder at who might see. Now, here, three thousand miles apart, I thought of her. I thought of her safety, of us, of how things could be so different had we been born a few thousand miles to the west, across the Big Ocean. I nearly missed the women connecting in the center of the room and navigating the narrow, dusty staircase down into the lounge, snapping myself out of the fog forming between my eyes. My heart began to race, fearful of the sudden absence in the otherwise crowded bar. Despite the assortment of strangers, I felt alone again — as if for a moment, the women provided a spark just bright enough to see myself in. My brain, delirious and disoriented, cried, follow them! You’re insane, following strangers in such strange places, another, more rational part of me reasoned. But I wanted to know more, like a teenage girl prowling the pages of Seventeen Magazine for any hint of validation. They were the first gay couple I had seen in Europe — coming from a place where love of all kinds flourished, the deprivation here had made me desperate and thirsty for that kind of traction.

Of course, I didn’t follow them. I didn’t take up my glass and carefully climb down the staircase, making sure to keep my distance and my eyes cast down. I didn’t find them leaving hand-in-hand, each movement resonating love or passion. I didn’t long for my partner as the woman pulled the other closer by the waist. I didn’t wonder if they were going home to make drunk, stupid love. I stayed in the booth in the attic long after they’d dissolved into the crowd, alone but surrounded by strangers, and stared at the place they used to be. My roommate sighed, then hiccuped. “I need air,” she said. This time, I did follow. I cursed myself with every step. The bar crowd was overflowing onto the sidewalk. Tables and heat lamps filled the space to accommodate. Most of the men — and a majority of my female classmates — congregated there. I was an accessory hanging around my roommate’s neck, unengaged in the conversations she held but never failing to smile and nod to keep from seeming rude. I tried to hide it when I searched for the women amongst the bodies on the sidewalk, even though I knew I was alone again. They were the crows of the proverb; ones I didn’t realize I’d been searching for. I was the ignorant child, guilty for chasing the flock and scaring them off. Their presence, rare and fleeting, had gone as quickly as I had found them, somewhere in a bar in Warsaw.

AnnaMarie Seiler


THE VON Furstenberg and I Despite my better judgment, I’m in the fitting room wrestling with the von Furstenberg again. I’ve thrown it over my head and I’m attempting to wedge my arms through the armholes even though it’s got my shoulders and rib cage in a vise grip. The fabric’s stretched tight over my face so I can’t see and it’s blocking my air supply but I’m doing my best to breathe through twill. This is the moment of deepest despair. This is the moment she always chooses to knock on the door. I can hear the slow—approaching clicks of her heels. Three light raps on the door with her opal-encrusted knuckles. I brace myself for the sound of her voice, all of my nerve endings like cats ready to pounce. When she speaks, I hear her disdain, bright as a bell. “How are we doing in here?” We. She means me and the von Furstenberg. The von Furstenberg and I. She saw me out of the corner of her exquisitely lined eye going to the back of the store to retrieve it between the frigid Eileen Fishers and the smug Max Azrias and she disapproves. She knows the von Furstenberg is a separate entity, that it and I will never be one.

Her eyes opened a little wider. Small glimmers of incredulity like slicks of oil. “What? The von Furstenberg?” “Yes.” She looked from the von Furstenberg to me, then back to the von Furstenberg, sizing both of us up. We two? Never we two. Sighing, she led me to a fitting room, rearranging items as she went—insect hair clips, Baggallinis, peacock scarves—so it wasn’t a totally wasted trip. The whole time I was in there being asphyxiated by the von Furstenberg, I felt the fact of her clicking on the other side of the door, waiting for me to admit defeat, to come to my senses. Come on. ***

Today, though, I’m determined to prove her wrong. Today, I won’t come out of the fitting room, let her snatch the mangled von Furstenberg from me, ask me, How did we do? as if she did not know how we did. As if she didn’t already have the steamer turned on and ready to smooth out the creases of my failed “Fine,” I say. I remain absolutely still, try not to sound struggle, a task she always undertakes with overdone breathless. Like all is well. Just a regular shopping trip. tenderness. Then after I’ve left the store, through the shop window, I’ll watch her pointedly press a damp “Oh good,” she says. “You let me know if you need rag all over the von Furstenberg, presumably to get rid anything.” But in her voice I hear: Give it up, fat girl. of the slashes of Secret I leave behind. But those stains are always there when I come back. That’s how I know She knows I’ve been coveting the von Furstenberg it’s all for show. Like, Look what you do, fat girl. ever since I first stood on the other side of her shop Can’t you take no for an answer? The von Furstenberg window, watching her slip it over a white, nippleless doesn’t want you. mannequin, looping some ropes of fake pearls around its headless neck. I didn’t know it was a von Furstenberg Well maybe I don’t want the von Furstenberg. Has then. I only knew it was precisely the sort of dress I she ever thought of that? That maybe I despise it? dreamed of wearing when I used to eat muffins in the That maybe I’m trapped in this dance with the von dark and watch Audrey Hepburn movies. Before I knew Furstenberg against my will? brands, I’d make lists of the perfect dresses—and when Knock knock. I saw this dress it was like someone, perhaps even God, “Still all right in there?” had found the list and spun it into existence. Cobalt, formfitting, with a V in the front and one in the back. “Great,” I say, and I’m tugging so hard on the back Cute little bows all down the butt crack, like your ass is zipper, my tongue is lolling out of my mouth like I’m a present. The sort of dress I’d wish to wear to attend dead in a cartoon. But I feel it going up. Higher than the funeral of my former self, to scatter the ashes of it ever has before. And it’s not a mirage, it fits. It’s on. who I was over a cliff’s edge. It’s miraculous. And even though I’m panting, my hair “Can I try this on?” I asked her.


in disarray from the struggle, I see we look immortal.

I’m just thinking how I’ll wear it out of the store. Picturing how I’ll pull back the curtain in the von Furstenberg, turn my zippered, von Furstenberged back to her and say, all casual, over my shoulder, Cut the tag, please? Maybe I’ll even ask for a bag for my old dress—would she mind terribly putting my old dress in a bag? Mm? And that’s when I see the jagged rip down the side seam. Maybe I couldn’t hear the ripping over the sound of my own grunts. That happened once before, with the flesh‐colored Tara Jarmon. It was impossibly tight when I bought it and then I was out one day walking, insisting, and it suddenly wasn’t. It suddenly felt easy breezy, beautifully loose. I didn’t understand. Until I caught a glimpse of myself in the reflective glass of an office building and saw the slashes on either hip. Knock knock. “We sure we’re still doing okay in there?” Her voice says, A rat who insists on hitting its head again and again against the maze wall gets taken out of the maze. It gets escorted out, politely but firmly, by mall security. “Yeah,” I say, my hands fiddling with the zipper in a panic. But they’re so slippery from all the exertion, I have to wipe them on the von Furstenberg just to get a grip. And the zipper still won’t go down. I Gazelle. Five miles every morning with a photo of me in a no‐name shroud taped to the little window that counts you down. Five miles, only to be told by the von Furstenberg in no uncertain terms that it counts for nothing. “Do you need another size?” she asks. By “another” she of course means larger, which we both know isn’t in stock. I asked her once for a larger size and she said, Let me check. And then I loved her. Very briefly I loved her. Loved her hands clasped over her tweed‐clad crotch. Loved the thin curl of her lips, a smirking red line. Loved all the bones in her ostrich throat, the arrowheads of her décolletage, her ash blond hair gathered in a glittery comb shaped like a praying mantis. Then, as she picked up the receiver, presumably to place the order, she said in a low voice, That will be 500 dollars, please.

I don’t know how long I’ve been sitting here, half in and half out of the von Furstenberg, the pull tab of the zipper in the damp cave of my fist. My old dress, the one I thought I’d never have to wear again, lies like a jilted lover in the corner. I hear her clicking not too far off, rearranging the perfectly arranged merchandise— sequined hair clips shaped like butterflies, purses shaped like swans, perfumes that smell like very specific desserts and rains. I could just put my old dress over it. Go to the cash register. Explain. Offer to pay for the von Furstenberg. But the truth, as she well knows, is that even if it did fit, I cannot afford the von Furstenberg. *** I have this terrible image of her coming in here with the jaws of life tucked under her arm. Ash blond tendrils escaping from her chignon as she attempts to wrench me out of the von Furstenberg. How the give of my flesh will be abhorrent to her hands, but not half as abhorrent as her bone white hands will be to my flesh. Other customers will look on as they pass by the open door like I’m a car crash in the opposite lane. Or. Or maybe I could learn to live like this. As I sit here, I can already feel myself oozing out of the von Furstenberg. Oozing from the V in front and the V in the back, the volume of my ass threatening to crack the little bows along the fault line. And I begin to think maybe this is it. Maybe this is the only way out. Maybe, if I wait long enough, if I’m patient, I’ll just ooze out. First the fat, then maybe we’ll find a way to coax out the organs. Some organs I won’t even need, like my appendix. Of course, even if we leave some things like my appendix behind, it’ll be a slow process. Slow in terms of biological time, but not if you think say, geologically, like, in ages. I’m patient.

Mona Awad

And I said, What?! And she said, Well. Obviously you’ll have to pay for it in advance. Or you could order it online on our website? And I said, But I don’t even know if it’ll f— And that’s when I saw it, the smile on her face. The flicker of triumph. Like, Ha! You know and I know even the next size up wouldn’t fit you, fat girl. “I’m fine,” I tell her now through my teeth, tugging with all my might. ***


C U C A M O N G A a novel excerpt Chapter One O N C E the bandmates recognized the small spidery heap as human, they knew what—no, who—it was they were seeing. There at the bottom of the empty pool was the Coyote Boy of Cucamonga. So all the rumors had been true! First glance, he looked like something a storm would leave behind—a twisted effigy of roots and branches. There was a damp glean to his dark, scar-slick flesh and his broken-puppet posture looked recklessly arranged by a grinding current: twisted torso, one arm thrown out, legs curled under, black hair meshed over it all like a net.

roller skate wheels bolted on—at the edge of the pool and swung down into the sky blue space. Julian followed, taking the chrome ladder down, leaving his florescent green GT on the lip of the pool, where it glowed like a toxic popsicle. The gleaming metal of the ladder scorched his hands and the steps rang under the hard soles of his Army surplus boots. His slight frame slipped out of the hot wind.

But this was mid-summer in the Inland Empire, during the drought of nineteen eighty, and the violence of water could only be recalled with nostalgia. They were, all of them, suffering the effects of its absence. Like the lawns, everyone was going brittle, yellow. The sun itself seemed to sense their vulnerability, like an animal smells fear, and pushed in close to finish off the illconceived waterless sprawl once and for all.

Julian sank to his knees and crouched over the body and peered under a serpentine clump of mangy hair. Behind it: a dark cheek etched with scars, the crescent fringe of eyelash, the sealed seam of eye. He cocked his head to look into the small face.


“His head’s cracked,” Mickey said, pointing to the blood-matted hood of hair. A stain was rusting on the concrete floor. A gust of wind howled overhead, playing the pool like a kid blowing into a spent cartridge. “He must have fallen in. Damn, he stinks!” Mickey improvised a surgical mask, pulling his shirt up over his mouth and nose. He had recently shaved his scalp on either side of the strip of hair and it reflected the bluish hue bouncing off the pool walls.

Illustrations by Logan Farley

The two punks looked at each other. All the inevitable no ways and holy fucking shits were for the time being suppressed by the weight of the story they had stumbled upon. Mickey squinted out from under his bristling mohawk and dropped his makeshift skateboard—a water ski with clay

Mickey first touched the boy’s shoulder, then gave him a nudge. The body was soft. It rolled vaguely with the pressure. “Nasty. Smell that?”

“Is he alive?” Julian asked. “Yeah, he’s alive. I think. Touch him.” Julian looked at Mickey, as if the idea had never occurred to him. He extended his wiry arm, slowly reaching out to the small bruised shoulder. “YAH!” Mickey said suddenly from behind the stretched fabric of his t-shirt. Julian snatched back his hand.

“Ha. Should have seen yourself,” Mickey said, though the usual needle of gloat was but a dull formality. “Come on. Do it.” Julian ran his hand through his black brushfire of hair, then started the journey all over. He uncurled two fingers and, reaching out, pressed them slowly into wild boy’s flesh. It was warm, alive. Maybe even hotter than normal, hot like fever. Or maybe just from the sun. He pressed into it, rocking the body slightly, once, twice, but stopped abruptly when he saw the boy’s eye move under the dark welt of eyelid, like a body under a blanket. He drew back quickly, falling back on his ass. Mickey was giddy. “This is too insane!” Julian suddenly felt as though they were being watched. He scanned the rim of the pool. A veil of fine dust blew overhead, carried along by the building wind. The sky beyond it was a colorless haze. He could only see the edge of the house’s unfinished roof. The Spanish tiles were stacked there, the color of tongues against the black tar paper. Somewhere nearby the dead wings of palms rattled like distant applause and he was overwhelmed by the feeling that the pool could suddenly start to fill with water. He looked up the sloping floor, at the shallow end where round steps fused into the wall like half a wedding cake. “Yeah, yeah,” Mickey said, staying in step. They were the rhythm section of Murder One, bassist and drummer. The beat was always there between them. T H E Y rode catamaran-style down the steep avenue with the unconscious boy on their fused laps. Facing each other, side-saddle on their boards with legs entwined, they formed a human cradle around his strangely muscled body—the Popeye calves and thighs, the upturned toes, weird little he-man pecs. They locked grips, with Julian grabbing onto Mickey just above his studded bracelets where the skin was chaotically inked, and Mickey clamping on Julian’s hairless brown forearms in return, his knuckles scabbed and raw. They steered by leaning 42

forward or back, gaining speed as they headed south, away from the looming silvery mountains. The street carried them down from the foothills, where the new housing tracts were being rolled out. They passed through the dying vineyards and neglected groves of citrus, riding a hard, highcurbed line that was etched ages ago in a land grant from the Spanish crown: a road that in more recent times served as drainage canal during short but violent rainy seasons. The scenery—the fast rhythm of furrowed vineyards—jostled by as they scratched a course down the long, pocked street. Their sound cut into the air, a bolt of rough cloth on a slow, endless tear. The throb of the boards numbed their insides. Their eyes vibrated in their sockets. The picture shook into a blur until they hit new blacktop. Then they could see the crows and seagulls warring in great churning flocks over the vast new landfill, and soon slid past the phantom neighborhood that was built atop of the old landfill. The houses stood empty behind the high cinderblock walls and chain-link, tract upon tract of unfurnished four-bedroom husks abandoned by residents after methane, rising up from the putrefying waste that lay just a few feet under the sandy blanket of topsoil, caused the streets and sidewalks to warp and, on two occasions, houses to explode in broad daylight. Julian had the boy’s smelly head against his chest, feeling the hardened clumps of mangy dreads through the thin fabric of his Buzzcocks t-shirt. It was like a ball of loose rope. The back of the boy’s neck was thick and coarse with scars. He could see the marimba of ribs and the hard pout of belly. The boy’s shoulder bumped against Julian’s arm and he noted how, flesh pressed to flesh, they were the same tanned hue. The wild boy’s distorted hands, fetally curled, bounced around on his lap. Everything trembled as the hard wheels bit at the pavement. Mickey’s counterweight held Julian upright. Lulled by the thrum of the asphalt, Julian fell asleep for a snort or two, his electric eyes shutting down like the receding glow of an ancient television. T R U C K E R Bob was not home but Simon was, as well as the group’s usual collection of sycophants and crew—their so-called Crows— and other hard luck characters and suburban refugees that were currently crashing there.

There was Casper Reed, whose mother kicked him out for beating his step-dad, who he says tried to rape him in his sleep; Mario Delamora, whose brothers were killed by the members of the Cucamonga Kings; Stacy Tolstoi, a distant relative of the famous Count, who was lying low for writing bad checks; Troy Berman, a mute who drew comics for local zines and had nowhere else to go; Celia Tartt who was the singer for her own band, Low Tit; Mikey Patterson, a football player who got into punk and was kicked out of the house for getting a Stranglers tattoo; Jim Godfrey who was busted for stealing a Vespa and told never to come home; Lester Davis, who worked with Kat at the library and was the only black Rude Boy in the Inland Empire; Brother Tim, a seminarian that Trucker Bob met at a rest stop in Utah, who decided to be a punk instead; Jerry the Giant, a seven-foot-tall rockabilly boy from Salt Lake that Trucker Bob had recruited to lift heavy things; Marcy and Katie Wiggs, sisters who hated their drug addict mother; Dion Phelps, a refugee from another punk house in the city, where members had to commit robbery or assault to earn the right to stay; and Gina Mule, a beauty school student who was into Mickey. When Julian and Mickey rolled up with the Coyote Boy and stood up on a three-count, their boards fell away with a clatter. Inside, everyone gathered around and looked at the wild thing they had found. “No one’s taking him anywhere,” Simon declared, looking glazed from the pills—Mexican aspirins, they called them—that people were continually popping. “No hospitals. Nothing. Not until Trucker Bob gets back from his trip. You know what they’ll do to him there, in the hospital, don’t you? The scientists will suck out his brains.” Simon, the power trio’s singer and guitarist, was the best at aping Trucker Bob’s dogma. They were, all of them, the heretical trucker-writer’s disciples. Voices crying out in the subdivisions. And if they were locusts eaters among the lotus eaters, as Trucker Bob liked to declare, Simon ate swarms and swarms of them, for he was willfully obese. “It’s not going to be us that hands him over to the hard-ons.” “This kid here is the real wild,” Mickey said respectfully, staring at the boy. He was trying on sincerity. Some events just demanded it. “The poor little wild fucker,” he said.

Everyone asked Julian what it was like to find him. “We both found him,” Mickey insisted. “He must have fell into an empty pool we were going to skate.” “He’s light,” was all Julian could say. “I mean to carry,” he clarified. Didn’t want anyone to think he meant the Light of the World. That would be weird. Someone brought in a jar of water but they couldn’t figure out how to get it in the boy. Mickey tore off his t-shirt, revealing his hard, illustrated torso. “Everyone get the fuck back!” he ordered. He dipped his shirt in the water then held it up to the boy’s cracked lips. He made a horn of wet cloth and squeezed it like an udder so that drops slipped out like a string of glass beads. They rolled right out of the corners of the wild boy’s mouth. Curious with what they were seeing hinted at in there, Mickey gently pushed back the thick upper lip with his thumb. Shards of gray teeth could be seen jutting from the black gums like broken glass along the top of a barrio wall. Mouse, the little rich girl from the big house in the dying vineyards, pushed her way through with one of Trucker Bob’s hummingbird feeders, swiped from the eaves where wasp nests bloomed in rows. She held it high like a bag of fluids for an IV. The red sugar water in the inverted bottle filled the tube running out of it, beading at the tip like a blister. “Yeah, yeah!” everyone said. “Mouse!” She inserted the tube between the boy’s lips and gently shook the bottle. Bubbles passed down the glass spout. The Coyote Boy’s jaws flexed almost imperceptivity and the pronounced larynx, like a garage door spring, clenched once, twice. “Hey!” everyone said. “Fucking-ay!” “He likes hummingbird food,” Mickey said. “It’s just water with sugar,” Mouse told the bassist. “We can make more.” Julian nodded at Mouse. She was smarter than all of them. She was perfect. “We’re keeping him,” said Mickey, violently pushing others back, adding, “and no one’s saying shit to the cops or anyone.” Julian wanted to say he isn’t a stray that they can keep, meaning own. But he wasn’t sure. You can’t keep a human, right? “H O W did you think of the hummingbird feeder?” Julian asked Mouse. 43

They were sitting on the curb, waiting for Mary Horton to come with her medicine bag. Julian lit a cigarette and held up the stainless steel Zippo for Mouse to see. She had swiped it from a thrift shop and gave it to him a week earlier. He was always losing his lighters and, by showing her that he still had the Zippo after an interminable, fairly fucked-up week dealing with his dad’s bullshit, he meant to say something to her. Something he couldn’t say say. She smiled when she saw it. That was cool. “It’s the closest thing to a baby bottle in there,” she said with a shrug, referring to his alreadyforgotten question about the feeder. Julian nodded and exhaled haze. Duh, he thought. It’s so obvious. He had his feet up on his board, which he rolled back and forth over a trail of ants in the bonedry gutter. The wheels pressed the ants into the cement like bits of punctuation. He kept doing it, hoping a message would eventually appear in the arrangement of the micro-dead. This was how he was around Mouse these days: clueless and drowsy. Not bored, but overly soothed. It was a sleepy kind of swoon. Perverse in his mind, since he long thought of her as a kind of sister, but everything changed when she shapeshifted into some kind of small, tight beauty. And she wasn’t available anyway, claiming since she was a kid to be in love with Fralen Hernandez— some boy who grew up among the migrant workers on her family estate. Some guy she hadn’t seen in years—not since her father, Vincent James, killed the winery business and the workers disappeared, supposedly rounded up and deported at her father’s request, though he famously denied it. This thing with the invisible Fralen was just a kid crush that, according to Kat, their little Mouse was determined to carry into adulthood. Julian kept smashing ants. His thoughts returned to the coyote boy. “Did you see his messed up teeth?” “Ew, yeah.” A shiver went through the girl. “He’s probably been breaking them on bones. So it’s all true! It’s all true.” There had been rumors. First flitting from house to house along the hills—the older, Russian stone houses or the crumbling Victorians that of the early settlers, now occupied by the few remaining landowners or businessmen escaping the city. There had been sightings in the subdivisions, 44

too: a small human figure spotted on surveillance video, moving with a pack of coyotes through the Mormon Institute parking lot, high in the foothills. It made the L.A. TV news, got picked up as a national story. Yes, something strange had been noted since the coyotes descended from the foothill canyons, seeking water and prey. The drought had brought them down towards the basin of the wide valley. Cats and small dogs started turning up in red shreds and tufts on people’s lawns. Night brought their trilling calls—and their wild choirs—through the sieve of screen doors and windows, waking people from their sleep. A giant pack, it seemed, had stealthily descended upon the neighborhoods. Then dust control workers, rationing their dwindling stores of water, found a small human footprint under a leaky water tank. The same print turned up pressed into wet cement in the new hillside development. A complete child’s footprint, as well as one with a palm impression distorted by a footprint. “Do you think they should let him go or take him to the police or what?” Mouse asked. “I mean, what do you think should happen?” Julian looked into the street, looking for the answer among the glittering granite. It wasn’t there. It wasn’t perched in the branches of the wiry parkway trees either, nor was it in the dirty sheet of sky. The smog hung there, hiding the nearby mountains. He exhaled and sent some smoke from his chest up to join it. All he knew is that the boy might go batshit when he woke up. Holding the boy for all those miles made him uniquely aware of his animal strength, the hardness of his flesh. He had those odd turned-up toes, and weirdly developed muscles on his legs and arms, abs and pecs like a tiny underwear model. The kid was like a bundle of wood and could be hard to handle, should he wake up pissed. A chimp, he knew, could tear a person apart. Bite off your nose, rip off your balls. But instead of sharing this, he shrugged. “Trucker Bob will know,” was all that came out. He threw the butt in the gutter and snuffed it with his wheels. “I think we maybe should let him go,” Mouse said. Julian wished she was talking about her imaginary boyfriend. This Fralen character. A dude Julian hated though he never met him, or even saw him, or even believed he existed.

Mary Horton turned into the cul-de-sac in her sputtering silver MG. She had the top down and her black hair and skull face was flapping like a jolly roger. She cruised down to where they sat at the head of the driveway, bounced up and over the curb and parked on the dead side lawn, next to the band’s Ecoline van and converted ice cream truck. She was one of Simon’s old girlfriends, a nurse practitioner who also dabbled in witchcraft. “Who’s sick?” Mary Horton called, fishing her bag of tricks out of the trunk. “Oh, you’ll see,” Mouse said, standing in her chewed up jeans. “Someone famous.” The desire to reach out and touch her fired through Julian. He wanted to bite her oh-sotenderly on her heart-shaped ass, to devour her. The thought of his bite mark there in her flesh brought back the boy’s shattered mouth. It was a true blue punk rock mouth, like all their UK heroes. They don’t make mouths like that in America. They give you a band and a record deal with a mouth like that in London.

Ken Calhoun


these seconds Always.

Turn back the clocks.


Since my early days,

You’re always late.

It’s been the big, bad boss.

You’re never on time.

No such thing as being too early,

Well, not exactly.

While being too late only shows a lack of respect.

I’m never on the dot,

As long as the numbers continue,

I’m always off by an eternity.

There’s no time to stop. If I try to reset,

Start the timer.

I’ll only fall further behind.

September 30th, 1996.

Maybe there’s no way to put this puzzle together

Heck, I might’ve even been

if the pieces never existed.

Late to my own existence. The perfect starting point


To prove the hands wrong.

Strict schedules motivate me

As pathetically embarrassing as the record stands,

To turn my turtle speed into a jackrabbit’s.

I’ve patiently waited until zero

I should’ve realized sooner,

Becomes the new trend.

The tortoise always beats the hare.

It hasn’t proven to be

Nothing makes a difference,

my season quite yet.

All of this is far out of my control.

On a more delicate note,

What should be minute long tasks

Zero is as low as one can go.

flow into never-ending journeys.

It draws us out of the negatives, Which is a factor I find positive.

Snooze alert.

Maybe another 22 years of

Setting out for the average day

Putting pieces of the

Brings its fair share of dilemmas.

Puzzle together will solve this.

I don’t climb out of bed until I brush my chompers.


I don’t apply the Colgate until

I exit looking like

I need to bolt out the door.

The second coming of death.

I don’t travel to my destination until 10 minutes after I should’ve already arrived.

Tick tock, time’s up.

No matter how late,

No matter my approach,

the effort still stands strong.

Time is a riddle I have yet to solve.

I launch out of bed

The harder I fight for my punctuality,

and tackle the motions.

The later and more decrepitly ugly I bloom.

Since the brushing process doesn’t

Being tardy has not become

Have enough time to end,

My second nature,

I keep the paste on my nibblers.

It has become my only nature.

Sprinting to wherever the hotspot lies,

Desperate to avoid my everyday delays,

The breeze overwhelms my pie hole,

I know I only have one resolution,

Hardening the toothpaste into cement.

One choice.

My glittered grillz flash like a camera shot When the suns rays ricochet off of them.

Snap the hands.

Not only do I arrive late to the location,

I despise analog clocks and how well

But I stroll in looking like Flava Flav

They pretend to be circles.

In some twisted Roger eat Rabbit world.

The only shape they resemble in my

If I can’t accomplish this

Contact and spectacle wearing eyeballs are ovals.

morning routine in a timely manner,

The ovals of race tracks.

Than I must test my luck elsewhere.

Race tracks that solely focus on speed. Tracks that try to prove I can never win.

Reset those stopwatches.

Little do they know a race

Saucing Barbasol all over my man whiskers,

Doesn’t come down to winning,

I set my razor from stubble daddy to sexy sphinx.

It comes down to finishing.

As I twist the dial all the way to hot, I wait till the water scorches enough steam to fog the bathroom. I prefer to play the wait game

Thomas Baker

With some mean tunes. I find the perfect jammer, But with my daily dose of delays, I’m once again already too late. The cream has already dried into a Crusty, meringue custard. As I watch the flakes fall from my beard, I notice my reflection less silver fox And more Santa’s holly jolly doobie and spiked-nog slanger. Late as usual, 47

Mi Viaje


I didn’t think about fear when making my journey to the United States. It was harsh. It took me a total of 16 days to make my way up passed the US border, 20 years ago. I was nineteen-years-old. There aren’t that many opportunities in my country in Central America; most people there have the mindset of not seeing education as an important tool for life and, because of that, so many drop out at a young age to start families and have a lot of children. They saw nothing wrong with that lifestyle, especially with a civil war going on. Education doesn’t seem to matter. People try to survive day by day with the little amount of money and food they have; education is just an afterthought. Education is seen as something that’s just for the wealthy, since there isn’t government funded grants or anything like that to help people continue going on to school.

Illustrations by Nicole Solano

Recently that’s changed; more kids are going to university and pursing a degree. It wasn’t like that 20 so-years-ago, most barely finished high school or dropped out, because there wasn’t value to education. There’s a lack of jobs, and the wages are miserable in my country. People work hard labor under the hot sun and to just come home with ten dollars in their hand at the end of the day, sometimes even less. That’s still true now. You need a high school diploma to work at fast food restaurant, but you also need

money to go to high school and pay for tuition because the government doesn’t provide that for free and pay for uniforms as well. It’s an endless vicious cycle, forcing the poor and uneducated –– to stay poor and uneducated. Most people I knew growing up didn’t even have a high school diploma. My mom only has a secondgrade education, and barely knows how to read and write. I was fortunate enough to attend school and receive my high school diploma. I never had to drop out to get a job like most did, because I had the support of my parents. Violence had been an everyday thing, especially with the civil war. Every morning I would hear bullets, and everyone knew that you should duck down when that happened. There was never peace, always tension. I wanted something different. My dream was to become a doctor after I became a registered nurse, since I studied medicine throughout high school — I knew that the medical field was my calling. The dream I had longed for seemed impossible because my parents couldn’t afford to pay for tuition for me to attend university. In my country, there isn’t federal aid to help students to continue furthering their education. I felt stuck.


My grandmother was living in the capital and, since there were no universities near the countryside, the plan was for me to move in with her when I graduated high school in 1997; I would stay there for two years while studying to become a registered nurse. My grandmother died in 1996. My uncle, who was in the military, was going to cover the cost of following my dream of attending school. But before I graduated high school, my uncle died. My last hope was gone. In order to fulfill my dream, I would have to travel very far to achieve it. I would do anything for it. I felt guilty leaving my parents. I’m my parents only daughter left. My sister was shot and killed a couple years prior at a carnival; she was fourteen. I was comforted to know my brother would be there while I was gone. He was actually excited for me to leave, because I had promised my family that I would send them money whenever I could. My original plan was to stay in the United States for just a year and save up enough in order to attend university. My brother didn’t think about the consequences like I had. On March 6, 1997, I left home at 11 o’clock in the morning and didn’t reach Guatemala until 3 o’clock in the morning, it was a long drive, but well worth it. I never had a doubt about my journey; I knew I had to do it. It was awful but I was determined to achieve this dream. All I took with me that day was extra underwear and my ID. Guatemala is where I would meet the Coyotes, (human


smugglers) and the other people I would make my journey with. I stayed in a really small room in a cheap motel that was part of five thousand dollars I would have to pay later. I catch up on a bit of rest, before continuing my journey. I would have to repay him regardless if I made it or not across the border. From Guatemala I made my way to Mexico. That’s where it turned a bit ugly. We would get shot at while in the car, it was just so violent. Someone had tried to stop the car we were driving in, but the Coyote didn’t stop and pressed on gas. I think it was a narco organization that was shooting at us. But I was used to this because this was everyday life back home. I had adrenaline pumping through my veins; I wasn’t scared. I would eventually walk under the hot sun in the desert, wade through polluted water, and cross the Rio Grande. The murky water was passed my waist, it was a bit terrifying because I’m not the best swimmer; but I knew I had to overcome this. Fortunately, one of the men that was with me offered to carry me through the harsh current, it was unforgiving river. I was putting my trust in people who I didn’t know, and this was a risky. This wasn’t just me putting my trust in men I didn’t know but there were others as well that blindly put their trust in these men, to also achieve their dreams. This was all dangerous, but I reminded myself that I had to do what I had to do. But I was willing to do whatever it took to get to my destination. I had heard of people not making the journey, because it is exhausting; you have to walk through the desert under the sun and you have to

ration your water and food, because you didn’t know when you would get more. We would sleep on the ground after hours of walking under the hot sun; we took turns sleeping, watching for any danger that could come our way. It was a day by day process. Whenever someone became ill on the trip, I would help them by administrating medication, whether it be antibiotics or injections. It was a good thing that I had learned all this medical knowledge while in school. The day I arrived in the US was the day my high school graduation in my home country took place. My mom had gone to the graduation to pick up my high school diploma. I had no idea what my friends thought when they found out that I had left the country to follow the ‘American Dream’. Some of them had no idea that I had left at all. We reached to Arizona first, where we were welcomed by the other Coyotes who would take us to Texas. I was fortunate enough to have family in New Jersey that would take me in once I arrived. I had originally planned to stay in the US for only a year, but I found myself becoming accustomed to the culture here. I liked it a lot, and it was best for me to stay here. It was a much faster pace here than it was back home, where everything was slow, and everyone knew everyone. I worked as a health aid for an old Italian woman and would eventually live there taking care of her for about a year or so. I did other odd jobs too, to get by, like baby-sitting and cashiering at fast food places. I eventually moved to Massachusetts the year after where most of my dad’s side of the family lives. I had a lot of expectations for this country, I’m still trying to achieve my ‘American Dream’, although I am now a citizen and have been a U.S citizen for 11 years. With

today’s political climate, I don’t think I would do the journey over again with today’s political agenda. I think it was easier back then to come to this country. There’s more push back of stopping migrants in coming and it’s a massive wave of people coming in, it wasn’t like that 20 years ago. With threats of building a wall, stopping caravans, and separating families in detention facilities; it just not worth it anymore. I am fortunate enough to have survived the journey and grateful in becoming a U.S citizen at the end of all of this. I’ve been able to start my own family and share with them my story and visit my mom and dad back home. After years of being in my new home here in the U.S., I found out that my four children are my calling.





Does it please you? The sinking feeling when his chest relinquishes the power to rise and fall, Does it entice you? When her knuckles are purple from trying tirelessly to stop the burning that encompasses her, Does it inspire you? The scratches left behind by jagged nails who didn’t ask for this, Does it captivate you? The ear splitting shriek of your words echoing around inside them as though you deserve to be their religion. You do, don’t you? Baptized in whiskey and well known in your own personal verses of destruction, Bathed not in the blood of Christ but of those who dare question you, You were born for this. You’re stronger than you look, Aren’t you?

Claire Crittendon


can you pass to me? fill the glass for me? I feel the blasphemy feel it naturally all the casualties and amenities hey casually, run around with me can’t you feel it all can you feel at all? comin through wall you can feel it all repeat it all repeat it all complete it all can you breathe at all? don’t know what I’m thinkin just a worried bout blinkin don’t know what I’m drinkin just a worried bout thinkin don’t know what I’m thinkin just a worried bout blinkin dont don’t know what I’m thinkin just a worried bout blinkin don’t know what I’m thinkin just a worried bout blinking don’t know what I’m drinkin just a worried bout thinkin don’t know what I’m thinkin just a worried bout blinkin dont don’t know what I’m thinkin just a worried bout cmon' I’m out of breathe and i can’t breathe I’m out of time and i can’t see I’m out of breathe and out of mind I’m out of sight I’m out of time I’m out of breathe and out of time I’m out of mind, out of mine outta mind outta line

Robby Rowe 57

OUT OF THE I’ve never left my home. There’s everything you could possibly need in every single one of its many rooms. Every room has a kitchen, with a fireplace that burns from the magic of the everlasting flame in the furnace in the stomach of the beast; my beast. The food in my cabinets replenishes the minute that something is taken from their deep cherry wood shelves. In the red room there’s a grandfather clock that reverberates over the walls and shakes the windows. The blue room has a lamp that shoots silhouettes of a couple dancing across its pristine lapis colored walls; sometimes another man joins the dance, his arms wrapped around nothing as he glides solo to the silent waltz. The green room feels ill, and its sides heave with the thrust of every breath the house makes; the fireplace in there roars low and loud. The violet room is scented with the aroma of cherries and cream and plays romantic melancholy tunes from its chimney. The gold room is the largest (I’ve had a total of twenty-three to compare it to). Its walls are cascaded in tapestries and twinkling lights that branch up to vaulted ceilings. Here is where the crown molding is etched with gold foiled birds that sing and screech in the early mornings of my days. I sleep here often; I like to imagine that the birds in the morning are what it would be like to awaken to another person. They’re there to greet me every day, like personal butlers awaiting my stir from dreams with sleepless stares. My bookshelves in this room are filled to the brim with all of my favorite stories. I’ve read countless tales of the world. I have nearly two hundred fiction stories, one hundred and six non-fiction pieces, all about the world and about people before the Sun’s first expansion, before The Burnt turned the earth into the wasteland. I’ve read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland an insurmountable number of times, and To the Lighthouse about half as many times as that. Every book I’ve ever gotten from the house I’ve devoured with voracious need. 58

There is another room. Its walls are black, and it’s door is the entrance to the belly of the house. I was there once, when I was born next to the everlasting flame. The house told me to never return, for the price of the magic that fueled the fire was too high to pay. It isn’t a room, it is a cage for the monster that keeps the house moving. I’ve tasted every ounce of food that there is in every single one of my rooms, and I’ve sat in every arm chair and couch, laid in whatever which way I please across my luxurious venetian rugs and slept in every bed, I’ve danced with every lamp, read every book, played every piano and cried longingly next to every window. I cannot leave. My house carries me as it wanders across the waste. I know of all the colors and warmth of lonely endless days, and the sweet rumbling groan of metal legs grinding underneath my floorboards. The house moves to keep away from the burnt. I remain to hide from the world long lost. On my twenty-third birthday the house left me a present in the red room. On the coffee table next to my favorite reading chair was a box, wrapped delicately in paper with a black bow, its ribbons lightly fluttering over the table with each breath the house took. The house gave me a gift every year on my birthday; it was a quiet peace offering, a necklace, a new pair of socks, or a book as a reward for my obedience, for staying, still, in the house as it chugged along. The gifts made me weary, as if I was taking from something that already gave me everything, that this one gift a year would be too much. Tentatively, I caressed the ribbons between my fingers; When I was very young, I had asked the house if it would make my next dress of a similar material, I loved the feeling of the silk slipping through my fingers. The house responded with a creaking groan of grinding metal that echoed throughout the house for the rest of the week. I never got a definite answer, and

BAY WINDOW I never got my dress. I was too nervous to ask again. I brought my little box to my chair by the window and leaned my head against the glass. I let my hands and box fall in my lap, delicately perched between the crook of my knee and pressed up into my other thigh. I watched as the wasted wilderness pulled past me. I’d never seen the complete outside of my house, I could only piece together an imaginary picture of the great hulking monstrosity that carried me. I saw what I could see from the windows scattered around the house, but from the highest room I felt miles off the ground. If I peered out at just the right angle, I could see the edges of his spider like legs lifting and pounding back down against the earth. I knew he was bigger than I could comprehend from my vantage point; his legs had to be long to keep the house safe from the oceans of radioactive sand beneath us. His belly must be like that of an engorged whale to support the structure of my mighty palace of seclusion. Sometimes I felt as if I was the last human alive flying across a world left to ruin, but I knew there were people out there. I saw them. No matter what the house claimed, I knew humans still roamed the earth. When I was just about twelve, I spent a lot of my days in the highest room, the gold room, gazing out the bay window. It was late in the day when I saw one for the first time. I saw her wrapped tightly in a shawl as she pressed against the wild winds of the waste. The burnt was not far behind us then, it was sweeping across the waste with a fury; I swore on that day I had heard the atmosphere ripped to shreds as the burnt came through. I knew I would not have to worry about it, that the house always knew where it was going and that its outer shell protected me from the outside, keeping me inside – keeping me safe. But this woman, she didn’t even blink at my towering castle trudging across the sand.

I wanted to open my windows and scream, I wanted her to see me, to see that I was in here. I wanted her to know my face, I wanted to see hers, to hear a voice that wasn’t my own. The house doesn’t permit open windows, I remember it telling me that if I opened the window I would let in the toxic air, and that I would certainly die. In that moment, death didn’t matter, I began slamming on the window, screaming at the house. “There’s a lady! House stop! Look at her! I need to see her, please let me out, I need to see her!” I stood up tall, and began kicking the window, “Break, you stupid glass! Let me do this, I don’t ask for anything! Just this one thing!” We had long passed her, her tall and tired form disappeared behind clouds of sand. The burnt would get her certainly, and I would never have the opportunity again. I felt the tears, warm and salty dripping down my cheeks and over my mouth. “Why did you lie to me? There are others out there. Why am I in here?” I gripped my arms tightly, holding myself as I peeled away from the window, my eyes still staring through the glass, as if hoping that she would appear again. “There are people. If they can survive out there, why can’t I?” I listened for the house’s call back, but all I got was the rumble of a gear stuck in the hips of the metal skeleton of the house. “I need to know. I can’t keep reading these books, I have to know what happened. Why am I in here?” Silence echoed throughout the room, and I sighed, a small hiccup escaping my mouth as the tears slowed, and my eyelids grew heavy with resignation. I pushed my finger tips into the sharp corners of the gift box as I felt the memory rolling back from my eyes. I looked down at the delicately wrapped parcel in my hands. I coiled the ribbon around my small hands, again wanting to savor the feeling of the silk against my skin. I tugged lightly, letting the bow unfurl itself as it fell free. I lightly peeled back the tape on the


paper, savoring each moment of the opening, the only part of these birthday gifts that brought me genuine joy. It wasn’t the act of receiving a gift, but instead the gentle deconstruction of a well wrapped box with a mystery inside. I let the paper fall away as I edged my nail under the lid of the box. Another necklace? Socks? It’s too small to be a book. I flipped the lid off, and let it crash to the ground next to me. I stared in the box with confusion. At the bottom sat a little brass key. I picked it up and held it in the palm of my hand, it had three little ridges that jutted out from the brass bar, there was a small carving of a flame that licked around the ring of the key. I pressed it tight in a closed fist, and looked to the fire place, “What is this to?” I stood up and let the box fall with the silk ribbons and paper to the floor. I approached the fireplace and crouched staring into the flames, “I’ve been in every room in this place. I’ve been here for twenty-three years; why is there just now a key?” The fire swirled up into the chimney, dancing over the bricks. It hissed and sputtered before the raspy voice of the house gasped out from the flames.

“What does that even mean?” I clutched the key to my chest, and, a bad nervous habit, chewed on my lip.


As I walked slowly through the dark, it felt like hours had past. Shouldn’t I have hit a wall? My chairs should have been here, why do I feel nothing? I felt the panic rising in my throat. I was running. I was running blindly through the dark, through a room, that moments before had been no bigger than fifteen steps across, and now I was stumbling blindly, endlessly, through nothing. I felt the scream before I heard it – faint and muffled as if I was screaming into a blanket; was that coming from me? The scream of horror danced over my lips, but was immediately swallowed by the surrounding shadows. It could not escape the

Illustrations by Lacey Bocanegra

“You… have not… seen it all…” There was a long pause, each syllable rasping out over the flame’s tongue. “There is time… to make… a choice,” The flames coughed, almost as if in laughter, “My fires… they dwindle… the eternal flame, is not eternal… The price must be paid.” The fire began to recede back into the hearth of the fireplace, shrinking down into it’s embers, little sparks of ash flying up into the room, and glistening as they fell onto me.

I tried stirring the fire with another log, trying to encourage it to grow. I needed to know more. To my horror and amazement, the fire went out with one more hiss, “Three… days…” the house choked out, a gargle of final life, as it sputtered out into nothing. The entire house shook and groaned, the cry it let out was unbearable. The old grandfather clock began to chime in unison with the screech. Its deep melancholy rings rising up and up with the house’s terrible groan. I clapped my hands to my ears, feeling the key dig hard and cold into my scalp, but could still hear the wail of pain, of loss, of mourning. My eyes watered as the house’s moaning echoed through my house, and I was sure, throughout the waste. When it ended, I looked up into darkness. The red room was enveloped in black, the deep burgundy curtains and plush swirling rug were veiled in shadows. Not even the window would let in a sliver of light, it was almost as if it was never even there. The fire had truly gone out. I took a step towards what I thought was the door, my arms outstretched just in case I misinterpreted how close my reading chairs were.

pull of the black silence. I was about ready to give in, I tried to speak, to call out to the house, but my words fell without sound into the void that was the red room. Was this it? Was this death? Had I died? I fell to my knees, the terror washing away as I pushed my forehead into the ground, my hands pressed against the nothingness beneath me, the key still digging sharply into the palm of my hand. “Get up,” the house roared through the darkness. I shuddered, the sound of his voice rumbled through me, instead of around me. I looked up hoping to see red room’s rust colored door in front of me. Instead I found myself looking out into a fragment of light in the dark. It was my bay window. Had I somehow wandered through the darkness into the gold room? The edges were balanced against the black, its gold varnished metal trapped the light in its frame, and I found myself pulling up to it, as if pushed gently to my feet by invisible hands. I moved to sit, curling into myself as if this one patch of brightness could save me from the trickery of the house.

off the ground, too quickly – my head spun. I lurched towards the fireplace and vomited. When I opened my eyes, my fingers trembling as I wiped my mouth, I stared into the flames. “What are you doing to me?” I asked, not so confidently, my voice wobbling just as bad as my hands. The house remained silent, the flames were dying in this room as well. I lifted myself again, slowly this time. I looked around me, the room felt much worse than it’d been before, and the heart beat echoed deep in within my own chest. The house was sick. I rushed out of the room and threw myself into the hallway, closing the creaking wooden door swiftly behind me. I felt my chest rising and falling with nervous tapered breaths, my eyes wide and unblinking as I stared down the dark hall past three sets of spiral stair cases. I felt suddenly, very alone, much more than I’d been before, when the house seemed to be on my side as a protector. I wasn’t sure about it anymore.

The next morning, I woke to the gold room in silence. The birds did not chirp and pull me from my slumber, they merely let out sighs with the house, as it drew long wavering breaths like an old man on its death bed. I After what felt like hours, I lifted my head to look tried to not let it bother me. I tried to push the idea in out the window. The house was not moving, it was the back of my head as I dragged myself from bed and stagnant against the waste. We were staring up a slipped into my clothes. I sat at the vanity in the back mountain, the house sputtered in its gears, and the of the room, far from the bay window. I stared at my window sill quaked beneath me. “Where are we?” I reflection, and gently touched my face with delicate long asked quietly, nervous. The house had never stopped fingers. When did I get so much older? I felt like a child before. I felt like I was a passenger on a train, like still; I had done nothing of significance in my life but those characters in the old western novels that I treasured so dearly in my youth, and I had just reached wander these rooms and read its books. I knew of tales the end of the line. “What is happening?” I tried again, of grandeur, of romance and horror and adventure. I’d feeling my words hit nothing, as they could not escape had none of it. I’d never met another person. I’d never spoken to anyone but myself and this cursed walking past the light of the bay window. The beast let out house. I tugged gently at a piece of gray hair that had another mournful cry, and I felt the window tilt and tip backwards. I tried reaching for something to grab a infiltrated the bangs on my forehead. It fell free with hold of, but the curtains whipped out of my hands like ease, fluttering down onto the vanity’s counter, but I continued to stare into myself. snakes avoiding capture. I fell. I fell for quite some time. I felt like Alice, falling for what felt like eternity “Why am I here?” I asked myself. I felt like I had asked through my very own personal rabbit hole. it a million times before, but in this moment the question When my descent came to an end, I hit the ground hard. I felt my body smack firm against it, my head snapping back as all the air got pushed out of me with a large gasp of shock. I couldn’t breathe for a moment, as the light pushed back the dark and I found myself sprawled on the floor of the green room. Once the shadows were licked away from the room, I could hear the steady beat of a heavy and tired heart. It thumped through the walls of the green room, they heaved with exhaustion and the mechanics in the wall whirled and coughed with every breath.

felt different, heavier. How could I have been born, raised alone, by a house no less? The house never answered my questions about my own existence, so I stopped asking them, but it felt wrong. Like something was seriously wrong with my being alive, with my place in this house.

I sighed and arched my back in a stretch before looking away from my vanity, my eyes locking on the large bay window across the room. I stood and approached it, cautious and wary of my fall the day before. When I looked through the glass, I noticed that I was significantly lower to the ground. How could this be? I rushed from the room and went to the second lowest room of the beast; I I lifted my hands to my face and covered my eyes, refused to go near the red room again. I swung the blue confusion swimming through my head and lighting up questions behind my eyes. I felt a curiosity, a timid door open and pressed up against the window on the right wall. I was almost at ground level with the waste. The excitement growing in my chest. I pushed myself up house had not moved from my vision of the bay window,


we were seated at the base of a mountain, peering out across the endless desert that stretched beyond. I felt a nervous tick as I chewed my lip, the actualization of my predicament coiling around my throat like a boa constrictor. I began to tap my finger against the window sill, staring out into the waste. I tried standing up on the edge of the sill, getting on my toes to try to look down to see what had happened to the great gargantuan legs that carried us for all these years. It was then that I saw it. I saw movement at the base of my creature. A human. He was running underneath my house. I held my breath and looked back out into the waste, the burnt was coming. This man was seeking shelter. In my house. Another person. In my house. I felt a shiver trace its way down my spine, a nervous laugh dragging its way out of my mouth. “What is happening?” The words fell out of my mouth, like an observed statement, a recognition of my predicament instead of a question. Besides, there was no one to ask who would answer, anyway. I looked back out the window, watching as something gave beneath me, and heard a resounding groan of metal as it released. Did he just get in? I flew from the room, and on tip toes I raced up six spiral stair cases, feeling the air of the heaving house blow through my hair like wind down a tunnel. When I made it back to the gold room, I immediately began rummaging through the room. Where had I put it? Where was that damned key? I remembered placing it snug underneath my pillow, but it was nowhere to be seen. I began to tear the room apart, pulling out drawers and overturning chairs. When I was in the middle of pulling out books to check between the shelves, I noticed a glint by the fireplace. There it hung, ominous and foreboding, I never knew that a key could hold such energy. It floated and bobbed above the fire, rotating slowly as the flames danced beneath it. I dropped my books and reached for it, it was hot, scorching hot. I felt it burn into my skin as I clasped my fingers around it. I could smell the burnt flesh as I dragged it back to me. I swear I could have heard the fire laugh. I ran with my key from the gold room. I needed to get into the belly of the beast. That’s where the man would be. I think that somehow the house knew this would come, and that I would need this key to get to him. Was the house, after all these years, finally gifting me with human contact for my birthday? My heart fluttered. It felt like an eternity descending those stairs, the house got darker and darker as I climbed down into its stomach, toward the waste. Toward the coming burnt. When I reached the large metal door, I tried to peak through the slit of glass to look into the room with the eternal flame. The black place. I pressed my thumb and forefinger against the key and stared at


the lock. There’s a reason this is locked. I shrugged off the thought, gently teasing the key into the hole on the door. The house is not your friend. It told you there was something bad in there. Why is it giving you a key to it now? Keep it locked away. There’s no way this could be a good idea. But the man. I needed to see him. To speak with him. To touch him. I drew in my breath and turned the key. With a whoosh and a click the door released, and all together the house let out a great big sigh. I felt it shift and adjust as it began to sink down more into itself. It was as if I had just unlocked the rest of the gears that held the walls in place, and it was finally falling out of its rigid posture to relax into itself for the first time in twenty-three years. The door slowly broke open, swinging gently on it’s hinges to reveal the room behind. I gripped the door frame and lifted myself over the hull, chewing my lip again so hard I broke skin. I tasted the blood as it pooled gently in my mouth. The room was mostly empty, a few chairs and a table in the corner. Empty shelves cast away to the side. At the back lay the furnace. Inside was a roaring rage of fire, its flames so engorged that it whipped aggressively against the black metal, scoring up through metal tunnels that carried it throughout the house. I tip toed past the furnace, nervous of letting the house see me, even though I knew it knew I was here. There was a door there. Another great big hulking piece of metal. This one did not have windows, just a large wheel to turn for release. I knew where it went. It was to the outside. A part of me craved to run for it, to grab the wheel and escape to freedom, to life. But the burnt was outside now – and the man was in here with me. I jumped at the sound of a grunt from behind the shelves. I turned and looked to see him, to see the man from the waste. He was sitting on a pile of coals, clutching at his arm, as blood dripped through his fingers. He was hurt. “K-i-l-l h-i-m,” the furnace roared behind me. I looked down to find a knife in my hand. What was I doing? Where had this come from? The man looked at me with horrified eyes. “Kill…. Him…” the house’s whirling voice commanded again. The man began to shed tears. “Please don’t hurt me, I didn’t mean to break in,” He was sputtering, his lips crusted with dry skin and sand. “I just needed an escape from the solar flares. They always told me to stay away from the metal beast of the waste, they said it swallows anyone who gets near it. I didn’t know there was anyone in here. I thought it was just a machine, I’m so sorry, please just let me leave.” He lifted an arm out to me as he began to stand, as if trying to keep a wild animal at bay. KILL HIM. KILL HIM. KILL HIM. KILL HIM. KILL HIM. KILL HIM. I stared down at the knife

in my hands, and then back up to the man. He was beginning to inch away, back to the door. “I can’t kill him. I just want to speak with him…” I felt like I’d been here before. I felt like this had happened not only once, but many times prior. I began to follow the man, “Hey wait, don’t leave. You can’t leave me here.” I ran up to the door and threw myself in front of it, “You can’t leave.” The man backed up a few paces and began anxiously looking around for an escape. KILL HIM. KILL HIM. KILL HIM. KILL HIM. KILL HIM. The house’s voice echoed loudly through my ears, and behind my eyes. The man tried to run for it, I threw myself at him and grabbed him by his jacket. “You can’t leave me here,” I cried, tears dripping down my eyes. He tried to fight me off, screaming things at me that I didn’t understand. I whipped my knife down into his chest, and he gripped my shoulders as if to try and shove me away. Instead he stared into my face, my eyes. The blood pooled up from his throat and into his mouth dripping from his gaping mouth, his eyes glazed over and he released me, falling to the ground as he seized lightly, choking on his own blood as his life left him. The house roared with laughter, the fire spitting and gurgling in the furnace. It began to grow brighter, stronger and the house groaned as it lifted once more, “The price… has been paid… we move on.” The legs lifted us up and up and up. The room tilted and threw my back against the wall, the man’s body glued to the floor as if held there by anchors. The house came back alive and continued on its walk through the waste. I thought I would cry, but instead no tears came to dry eyes. I knelt next to the man, his body began to decay rapidly. His eyes sinking into his skull as his skin

blackened and crumbled to ash on the floor. Next to him lay a bag. I gently lifted the flap, peered inside, and grabbed its contents. Some chunks of precious metals, money perhaps. A flask of clear liquid, it smelled far too sour and acidic to be water. A book. I tucked the metal and flask back into the bag and took the book with me. I didn’t look at the man’s body again, but instead made my way out of the black place and locked the door firmly behind me. I made my way up my endless staircases and came back to my gold room. I dropped the key in the fireplace and perched myself up, hugging my knees in the bay window. I watched as the flames swallowed the key whole. The fire pitched towards me, licking gently over the hearth, “Forget… again… for the innocent… should not remember the deeds of… the devil… you can do it again… and again… without ever worrying about… guilt… or pain… forget my sweet love… forget.” I stared out the window as the waste blew past me. The burnt chasing us from behind. I’ve been in every room in my house. I’ve never left my home and I never will. I am here forever, where my soul is kept safe by the eternal flame, and my body is protected from the waste. I looked at the world beyond. A new day was dawning, three days after my birthday. I picked up the book next to me, tears warmed my cheek for reasons unknown. My fingers traced the cover as I read the title, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It was the only gift I received this year. I’ve never left my home. There’s everything you could possibly need in every single one of its many rooms. Every room has a kitchen, with a fireplace that burns from the magic of…

Amanda Mitchell



Chapped lips and blushed cheeks Stare back at her in the mirror as she sees a face; Her own unique beauty. Looking down at the old uniform she wears every day to work, She kisses her parents goodbye and closes the door behind her. At work she does what she needs to do: Smiles and says “hello, how are you?” But what if she doesn’t feel like smiling? Does that give you the right to tell her to? That she’ll look prettier with a smile on her face? Now every time I see you, I turn my back in hopes that you don’t see me standing there. You tell me I’m pretty; I say thank you. You show up to my work every day and I get scared. I leave, saying goodbye to fellow coworkers As I lock the doors. I take my keys out of my pocket. Holding them between my knuckles, Turning white from squeezing so tight so they won’t slip, My phone clutched in the other hand, 911 ready and waiting, I see my car in the distance, an empty parking lot. Yet I still have to look over my shoulder, Only lit by the dim street lights. I look in the back window before unlocking the door, An instinct adapted for survival. Quickly, I close the door behind me, Making sure to lock it before igniting the engine. I’m safe. In this box made of metal, I’m safe. Yet when I arrive home, I still have to make it inside the door. I keep my eyes locked on it, Keys tight in knuckles, phone locked in hand, Looking over my shoulder. It’s survival, it’s instincts. I close the door behind me. I’m safe. Or am I? Illustrations by Lacey Bocanegra

Hannah Akerly


on assi the p s in hi nd sional ts u o m f profes s talen Tom o T i e ois, bor, a n for h is gav years n i l l h h o I d t g As o i g in is ne the m g age, n; art. s aroun n i H n t iv r id l f five. m ove a you passio y artis s, Tom act, k e f littl age o sed To t such dream e man ly basi k.� In nd a t a A i i s s c ik he s ju rt at t ld, pra ouse. low hi h. Unl n a da ked ba esign e d h a o l t e for ign fi ckey M to fo his pa lents er loo aphic later a s d s i t t r e e ev gr ic d ing M e need d from rtistic and n own ty yea h p s , w n a gra n dra nce h waye their e sea ted hi d twe . s g e v whe confid never estion creati he star ge, an eachin e the ed, he ho qu to the y-one, er coll ly on t n i w s t t i s f pa world first twen rtly a rimar p d d the “hea turne ss sho focus e e dov n Tom busin nes to a whe tration shift l s o illu ded t i dec





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. than just an artist e or m is n va go lf as Today Tom Mun described himse om T e at or ab el r, learner, When asked to drummer, teache , st ti ar an g: in the follow in his own and husband and er th fa , ur ne re ueness.” entrep d in virtual opaq ke oa cl y gl in m person, as words “see very complicated a be n ca om T off At times deflector to ward a as or m hu c ti t to get he uses sarcas ody that may wan yb an to lf se ue the tr his own l always fight for il w he , er ev ow ally, to know him. H e situation. Ironic th t ha w r te at m underdog no poetry, and ctures, books of pi d od s aw dr n t he ofte be known for, bu to ts an w he at artwork screenplays th etimes he creates om S . le op pe s ow rarely sh he wastes ople wonder why pe r he ot e ak ople, m that k for confusing pe ac kn is th s ha e er. Tom is his time. H bring them togeth to ay w a s nd fi usic yet he munity-based m m co e pl ti ul m of the founder


cause t show events be af cr d an , ts en ev te them. events, art ply a need to crea m si as w e er th he says e school and colleg gh hi s he ac te om ional Currently, T the Concord Reg at s se as cl gn si graphic de rtunity of RTC). The oppo (C r te en C al ic Techn offered to his lap” as it was when teaching “fell on d “no hesitation ha he , ly en ng dd su him so s now been teachi ha d an ” on ti si po that are accepting the assigns projects om T s. ar ye en for eighte to develop lowing students al d, te la re ry st feel indu a real job would t ha w of t ep nc ations a strong co ents learn applic ud st C T R C e th e, t like. A r, InDesign, Mus to ra st lu Il , op sh Max. such as Photo Effects and 3DS er ft A e, dg ri B gst , Premiere they will be amon at th ts en ud st s e with Tom assures hi n entering colleg he w s as cl e th the top of programs. d through these pe lo ve de t se l il the sk

Tom believe s his role as an educator to be a mento and leader is r as opposed to an authori Tom explain ty figure. ed that stude nts in genera better when l tend to learn you show th em instead o an easy way f giving them out and doin g it for them the direction . Providing s to informa tion rather th source of kn a n being the owledge cre ates a better his students. w o rk flow for When studen ts research in themselves it formation allows them to engage m topic while fi o re nding answe rs to their ow in the n questions. Aside from te a asked if art w ching, Tom is his own a rtist. When as something that was carr his family, o ied through r was discov ered on his o that he and h wn, he stated is mother we re the only o seemed to ha nes who hav ve been give e n the creativ said he can re e gene. He member the first time he museum loo was at the king at art, a n d he immedia in awe and th tely felt e inspiration to do the sam explained th e. He also at he can cle arly rememb privileged fo e rs feeling r being in th e presence o f the artists

who painted these amazin gw oddly apprec iative for bein orks of art. He was g the same d from the art istan as they were w hen they pain ce and to this d ted it, ay it has had a profound e Through the ff e ct on him. museum trip he recognize to want to cre d his desire ate things fo r himself. From there T om went on to create artw fun, gallery work, himse ork for lf , a nd freelance by Tom, cre ating art, a d . As told rum beat, an any other cre event, or ative purpose is an outlet fo For many art r him. ists, this is th e same for th Art is an outl em as well. et, and for m any of us, is driven behin the passion d our work. However, fo is less intere r Tom, he sted in wheth er or not his understands audience his creations, and more inv in creating th este em for himse lf. He express d oddly if you es that like what he does, then h getting to kn is chances o ow you are b f etter, but if n still get to kn ot, then he’ll ow you – he’s not a monste r!


Tom cla s Assemb sifies his work u lage. He nder the is g he has b een in lo working on the enre of se 2x4 s ve with experien him, on erie and is an ce in to e of the x i t ous to ex s that h he repre is day. In hardest i s r u p n sents Int a things fo n g nd his ing into eneral, T erdiscip he has c a o c m t r o e t a h l o i t inks tha nary Ar vercome ive road r artists in socie reated a t t r t block, a v t t hem. Ho e i categori these ro nd strug y w es includ n multiple categ ry well because e v a e d r , g ling ori e, pen and doodlin blocks and as h Tom pushes th ink, draw watercolor, surr es. These g r e , o s b u a u g i t h d e ing penc a decided , keeps d asked w the day l il, and m lism, sculpture, hether o y r a o w n T i n o o r no any mor disruptio keep mo m says it will a ther stuff. At th g, e. When n, he an t Tom would fit lwa e end of vi swered, comes f ng forward beca ys get worked “of cour into the theme Tom’s o o r u o ut. Just se the ex m it is s of se!” ne piece o w t m r a make it a y e o s s t f i t . m u a A ff dvice es b rtis th in their ow ts are also cont are fruit in une at authorit the real world i to an artist tryi n i x n p ng s“ y. T ‘ u I’ll be 4 style’, but for T ously trying to ected is no tim omorrow is sti Stupidity revels to 7 o d m s e ll not ve o e to bite i velop on, I’d s he said enjoy be ry coher n the bull “ synchro a W y e I l h l o s i ent. The pe I don ng able ince et of cre nized re re think I t ’ at ciprocal should d o wander free f t have a style. I flexibili ivity with our ro o.” How ty.” Acc he has e ever, he m what people ording t x p e r i m o expresse ented nu by surre d that merous alism, a a r t forms bstract, inspired expressi onistic, sculptur e,


em utting th p d n a e once s her ing thing zle, and for Tom k a T “ . him lief, al puz force for emotion ne big sigh of re stand g i s b e e k i n l he g to there is o leted, it’s like o because s fightin d, and ly y p a p m w n i l a s m a c , o e I s worl other what ists ar this is c k d many ys “But od.” Art ted artists in this scribes c n a a o a s b g , e l s s l t l h i a e f s a e i r l f n th port e de and alen I wil things, o ll other t ing dialectic.” H o is always situation esents me.” a w e n m n e o v y r i r f g t t to ou wh any epr walk he is a “ verted introvert,” helps him is that in ism. This style r e v m i t o a T v r o o l tell you n f o h a n an “extr ing whic sts in the ith Surre ng new i s i h a t w y e r f e t l m v e h s o o t l i s in him the le w ting f arti and crea ys strugg nd sometimes in ct of illions o a g m n w i l e a n h r t s a t e s l Arti f from xist, a g aspe n himsel e live in. t don’t e he rustratin r t a f e h f t c t o s s i s o d n % m g 0 i des ich w om. 9 be the nds ld in wh rue of T r t this can fi o t s e o s w n e H c . s i o d r p hea this art. But from his hing Taylor creating ates art directly from not for t r a Smith f e r o c e e c n h e o i i e p s s m e ti th s pa g i n h i t n a e e r v i c “ the g.” G value in somethin zle for Tom, and driving t i g n i k puz be a and ma t is like a gs continues to r a , y t i v i thin creat f solving o e g n e l l cha


In 2009, comedian Chris Rock teamed up with late-night television writer Jeff Stilson to produce a documentary titled Good Hair. The movie starred Rock having conversations with other African American celebrities, especially women, about the significance and self-expression hair carries within the African American community.


An event they held on March 25th brought students together to create individualized products for their hair, including ingredients such as coconut oil, shea butter, and other natural and essential oils. “It’s fostering an environment for people of color to talk about their hair,” said King “it’s a big part of our identity.” Tillman spoke about his personal experience with the club and its significance to him starting his journey to grow out his dreadlocks. “When I started to grow out my dreadlocks, it was cool for me to explore that on my own but also to have other people of color who are going through the same thing,” said Tillman, “We learn together.” Inspired by his mom to pursue his dreadlock journey, Tillman says his father was worried about how society would treat his son with grown out

Photography by Liv Slaughter

A club on Lasell College’s campus, The Naturals, are a group of students focused on the diversity of textured hair types, sharing of hair care knowledge, and focusing on overall health and wellness. The club also acts as a space for students of color to congregate and celebrate African American culture. They meet in the campus Inter-cultural Community Center (IC3) every other Monday. The club is currently run by its three e-board members. Evelyn King (‘20), co-president of The Naturals and psychology major, rose to her position after the club’s creator, Corinne Fruester, graduated in 2018. King leads the club alongside co-president Ashaad Tillman (‘21), an applied mathematics major. The third member of The Naturals e-board, Dubem Okafor (’21), is a communications student and club secretary. Okafor is responsible for authoring emails about their events and upcoming meetings.

“You’re gonna walk in and you’re gonna feel homey, we play music when the club starts, we have a decompression session,” said King. At the end of every meeting the group plays the same song: “It Gets Better With Time” by The Internet. Tillman says the song’s title is a metaphor for taking care of one’s self. “It’s kind of a play on words about doing things naturally - for your skin, for your hair, and your health overall. It’s a metaphor for us as a group,” says Tillman.




locks. Despite the stigma, Tillman said, “I feel like my personality stands out more than how I look sometimes. I wanted my hair to be a statement that I can be who I am and be a great person and the way my hair looks doesn’t make me any less of that.” The Naturals have a similar mission to Lasell’s PRIDE club - seeking to foster a place for minorities to gather, commune, and celebrate their culture. Lasell College’s campus is made up of a student body comprised 70% by caucasian students. Less than half of the college’s students are people of color, increasing the importance of the spaces The Naturals and PRIDE create. “Being a minority on campus I feel isolated, sometimes [nonminority] people can’t understand how I feel or what’s going on in my mind. I think clubs like The Naturals are important because of the overall sense of comradery.” Tillman added; “I think they’re important, as a future educator that wants to make a difference in the lives of young people of color, I think these spaces can really inspire people to reach out to other people.” The club is also involved in educating others about natural hair. King originally grew up in a diverse city in Connecticut before she moved to Manchester, CT, in second grade. “My hometown was extremely diverse. We had black people, Asian people, African people - so I never had to explain [my hair],” said King, “When I moved to


the town where I’ve been living from over a decade — Manchester, CT — I was really young; I got a lot of questions. The kids would always say ‘Oh wow! How did you get your hair braided? How are they staying on your head like that? How’d you get beads in there?’ But I didn’t even really know the proper vocabulary for my hair. I just knew I got it washed and then I got it braided. Coming to Lasell reminded me of that environment.” Tillman says that he enjoys the educational aspect of what the club does and enjoys talking about natural hair with people who’re curious. “Be prepared to listen and be open to being educated. I feel like the curiosity of natural hair can come with ignorance sometimes. If you have a question - feel free to ask,” says Tillman. Going off that, King says that asking about her hair is one thing - but touching it can come too close for comfort. “Ask if you’re gonna touch somebody’s hair. Don’t just walk up to them and touch them. I’ve had students do it to me, professors do that to me, people at the nail salon do it to me. It’s just a cautionary thing - some people don’t mind it and some really do,” said King. The growing club already boasts more than 20 members and plans to continue to be a safe space for students of color of Lasell’s ever-diversifying campus.

Michael J. Salem




GR WTH How does one define growth when each person’s answer could be different? Artists at Lasell College and across the Newton area strived to answer that question through their art for the Wedeman Gallery Art Show centered around that theme. The Wedeman Gallery, which is located at the Yamawaki Art Center on Lasell’s campus, features exhibits with work from across the country often following the exhibit’s theme. However, this exhibit was special, because it was the last arts management gallery show before the


program is terminated. After speaking to the two students responsible for it all, Kirsten Hywell and Alex Franciosi, the importance and purpose of the gallery was revealed. The gallery was their senior practicum project, but it’s clearly more than a school project to Hywell and Franciosi; it is their final bow. Franciosi reflects on the experience by saying, “…watching it all pay off and appreciate it the way you do - it’s indescribable.” When you walked into the gallery, you were presented with a chalkboard that prompted visitors to write “How have you grown?” This was one of the many ways Hywell and Franciosi involved the gallery’s visitors in the opening. The gallery also featured strings of paper leaves hanging from the ceiling, inviting guests to write words associated with growth. Nevertheless, the most powerful aspect of the gallery was the artist talk, where everyone gathered around to hear the artists speak about their personal experiences with their art. One of the questions that were asked by Hywell and Franciosi was, “How has art helped you transform?” Stephen Fischer, a professor at Lasell, provided a thoughtful narrative in order to answer the question. Fischer told the story of his piece, an image depicting a young man and old man staring at each other. Both of the men are Fischer and the photos were taken 40 years apart by the same photographer. Fischer read a portion of his artist statement:

“A quote from Ernest Hemingway grabbed my attention: ‘There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.’ “I’m not sure about some of Hemingway’s language. Nobility and superiority suggest comparisons I don’t find relevant to personal growth. I understand personal growth as an internal process resulting in learning from each challenge we encounter,” said Fischer. “Another quote, psychologist Abraham Maslow said: ‘One can choose to go back towards safety or forward towards growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.’ “I agree. If I were able to look my former self in the eye and share the wisdom of my experience, I would say that pain and disappointment are inevitable. Stay alert to the causes of your suffering, cultivate the courage to make necessary changes, finding and keeping authentic relationships requires being vulnerable, take informed risks and know that you will probably repeat the same mistakes until true wisdom is earned,” said Fischer. (see page 24 & 25) At the end of the artist talk, everyone at the gallery was asked to participate in the discussion by naming one word they associate with growth. The microphone

was passed throughout the crowd, and everyone got the chance to reflect on the stories of growth in the room as well as their own personal stories. Hywell shared that she thought the artist talk was the most rewardable aspect of the gallery. “… hearing people’s thoughts and stories on how they interpret growth is really just indescribable - it’s an amazing feeling,” she said. At the end of the talk, Professor Baldizar, who was the Academic Advisor for the show, spoke of the importance the show had and thanked Hywell and Franciosi for all their work. Baldizar spoke about her work and wanted to express, “Working with Alex and Kierstan while they planned their Arts Management Senior Practicum project, The Growth art exhibition was a


pleasure. Opening night was well attended and full of energy, yet touched by sadness. It will be the last event of it’s kind, since the program has been cut. Arts Management is a wonderful major for students who are passionate about the arts, yet wish to have a practical degree that prepares them to run the business aspects of working in the fields of music or theatre or fine art. I do hope the program will be reconsidered in the future.” There was a wide variety of artwork presented at the gallery and one could spend hours examining the poems, paintings, sculptures, and other mediums presented. One of the pieces titled Family, created by Mel Kaplan, depicts a family carved

“The high caliber exhibit and the inspiring theme of growth made it an unforgettable event at Lasell College.”

Hywell and Franciosi were not just the


Franciosi also discussed the symbolism of her photograph in the show, depicting dirt being rubbed into her face. “…to symbolize the idea of growth whether it’s painful or beautiful,” she said. In addition to those pieces, Professor Balidizar also contributed two pieces (as did both of her sons). One of her pieces titled, Out of Many, One, depicts the need for our nation to come together as one so we can continue to grow and prosper together. Her artist statement further explains the history and purpose of her message: “Adopted in 1776 as the United States motto, this Latin phrase means ‘Out of many, one.’ At the time, it was meant to symbolize the coming together of 13 colonies to form one unified country. Now, more than ever, it seems important for us to revisit the idea of coming together, as one.” Although the Growth exhibit at Wedeman Gallery was bittersweet, the show was a wonderful way to honor the arts management program. The high caliber exhibit and the inspiring theme of growth made it an unforgettable event at Lasell College.

Anna King

Photography courtesy of Vladimir Zimakov

into wood. This piece could share two different stories of growth: the story of the family and the story of the material they’re made of. Another piece titled Growth, by Chris Censullo, depicts the unbreakable connection between the mind and the heart.

producers of the show, but they also had work on display. Hywell describes her piece titled Spark of Art saying, “I was inspired by my senior thesis, which was art education in schools and hearing that schools are cutting arts education programs from children is just unfortunate and there are so many studies behind it, saying that children benefit so much from art education programs.” The ceramic piece depicts an open book containing art supplies instead of words.


Chris Censullo Digital Illustration


Emma Helstrom Markers & Fine Liner on Drawing Paper

Out of Many, One Deborah Baldizar Ceramic


Mel Kaplan Wooden Sculpture


Absorbing Growth Alex Franciosi Photography Collage

The Chase

Vladimir Zimakov Acrylic and Ink on Canvas

Spark of Art

Kierstan Hywell Ceramic

A Distant Place Leonora Wolfeld Monotype Print


Ellen Shisko Painting on Canvas


Artist Talk

Leaves of Growth

Kirsten Hywell and Alex Franciosi (left to right)

How have you flourished?

Welcome! 85


Photography has been around to help us capture and cherish moments since 1826, when the first photograph was taken. The photo has been used for personal keepsakes as well as a tool to share experiences with others. The photo eventually evolved from personal use into a commercial marketing tool. Photography allows a supporting graphic to communicate what is being marketed or advertised. It is the supporting visual that allows an audience to see the imagery and wonder “why is this up there�. By allowing the audience to question the image, it then allows them to understand what the advertisement is about. This creates an interest and helps that business continue to grow simply because a photograph is used. Photo manipulation is the process of changing an image in order to make it more visually attractive. It is the art of altering or modifying an image to allow a better looking image that has more than one purpose. By using photo editing software, skillful editors and designers professionally manipulate the shot depending on its purpose. The altering of photos occurs often in several images; social media, ads, and websites. Graphic designers are very deliberate with every manipulation they incorporate into their designs. It is done so well that the audience has no knowledge

that they have been manipulated. By altering images based upon the medium being used, it can convey a more enticing message to the consumers. This will create more interest in the product, compared to leaving the image untouched. In e-commerce websites, the designers need to show that the product is neat and clean, as well as bright enough for their e-stores. If the designers were to use distracting backgrounds, objects, or shades it may fail to convey the details of the product to the consumer. The same thing occurs when the image is underexposed or overexposed in the photograph. The designers will go into the photo and hand fix those issues so that the audience will never see what was once there. Most images today have involve photo manipulation. Photo manipulation is everywhere without our knowledge, but in an ethical sense, it needs to be there. Everything being edited or fixed just allows a clearer message and improves the image so the audience knows what to focus on. Photo manipulation has been seen to be a useful craft, that benefits advertisements and the marketing field. It has brought many retailers more business and continues to grow companies. When we think back, photo manipulation has been around longer than we think! What do you think dark rooms were used for when we still had film?

Riley Musial


Step by Step: Photo Manipulation Step One: Gather all of your necessary images that you would like to use to create a brand new image.

Step Two: The next step will be to bring all of these images into Photoshop in their own windows. Next, by selecting your “wand” tool, select your image allowing the background to be cut out. (If you need to clean up your selection, just click the “Select and Mask” button on the top of your screen while still in the “wand” tool. This will allow you to focus on the small details and clean your image up.)

Step Three: When your images are cut out, place your first image on the background. Adjust as necessary, fixing edges to look more realistic.


Step Four: Add in the remaining images you are using and fix as necessary.

Step Five: Once all the images are added to the image, focus on your details. This means adding drop shadows where needed, fixing the edges of certain images, and blending all the added images so they look like they belong to this image.

Step Six: When you finalized your new image, you want this image to be shown as a real image that was used for a purpose. In this case, my design is for a magazine article so I want to show people how it is being used. By using a magazine mock-up, I warped my image into this layout to sell my image to an audience.




Have you ever wanted to know the art movement of the future? Look no further, a small studio across the Atlantic is making BIG moves. Barcelona is home to the inventive minds of Hey Studio. This studio is ripping a couple pages out of Paul rand and Massimo Vignelli’s book of modernism and producing a “modern” twist on modernism. The future is reflecting off the past — modernism is back and here’s why.

This creative based studio in Barcelona is making big waves in design across Europe. They’re keeping modernism young with a contemporary twist. Whether you’re reading this as a designer or someone attracted to the visuals on this page, Hey Studio is a creative agency to keep on your radar. From poster designs of Coca Cola to illustrations in the Wall Street Journal, this Spanish born studio is re-inventing the wheel of modernism.


Photography courtesy of Hey Studio

For being only a four person design team, this creative agency has worked with some big clients as well as branding small companies, which is also a big part of their clientele. Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert is a Paris based glass-blower that had his brand reinvented by Hey Studio. L’Imperatrice was also graced with a new image with a sleek grid eccentric branding campaign.

Back in 2007, Verònica Fuerte and Ricardo Jorge founded Hey Studio. Shortly after they were joined by Mikel Romero and Eva Vesikansa. These four became the dream team and began working with clients like Apple, Wall street Journal and ESPN. For a little over a decade they have been catering to projects of all shapes and sizes. Package design for Arrels shoes and promotion design for the Independent Coffee Festival are among them. Veronica Furete has become the face and spokesman for the studio of the past couple years. Occasionally she will travel giving

talks to art students or offers pop up workshops in major cities across Europe and America. These seminars give insight on the philosophy of design or brand directions as a designer. Workshops sometimes will be streamed live on their Instagram page, which is a treat for their followers. Even if you aren’t a fluent Spanish speaker, most people can learn just by following along. From the late 1950s through the 80s modernism was roaring through all forms of advertisement media. Some of the big names like Paul Rand, Massimo Vignelli and Max 91

Huber changed the world of branding as we know it today. In the beginning of the 1960s, people were blown away by the visual communication from the works of Paul and Massimo. Vignelli’s advertisement for Knoll furniture is as captivating of a visual as it is relevant to the brand. Mid-century furniture is an associated product of modernism,and Vignelli applied basic concepts of color and grids to express the essence of mid-century type furniture. Paul Rand at the same point in time was ripping through Madison Avenue becoming the most renowned designer in New York City and beyond. These creative minds changed the way corporations looked at their own companies. Some people thought that modernism was counterproductive for design at first, believing that it was too abstract for the big suits of the world. Despite this, it soon caught on as the new form of advertising for a 20 year period, with the last vestige being Rand in the late 80s.

Wind your clocks forward to 2019 and BOOM! Modernism is back with new contemporary spice. In 2016 Hey Studio did an ad campaign for a local Spanish beer company, Ceruezas Alhambra, which is a based in Barcelona and has been brewing since 1925. Hey studio launched an art deco inspired poster series for this cerveza. They wanted to have a traditional 1920’s art deco feel but with vectors drawn images, this is where they got their modern twist. With the turn of the decade approaching next year, I predict that Hey studio will keep on trail blazing through the 20s, so keep your eyes peeled and consider yourself enlightened to the works of Hey Studio.

Jack Margolis 92

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COVER DESIGN JACK MARGOLIS TARNISHED Magazine is produced by students at Lasell College in Newton, Massachusetts, who are members of the Graphic Design League. TARNISHED Magazine is printed in a limited edition and is not for sale. The purpose of this publication is to provide educational experiences and to offer a venue for student work.



LETTER FROM THE CREATIVE DIRECTOR “Disruption of the norm” is often the desire of many artists and is the theme of this issue of TARNISHED. Inevitably, our writers and visual artists seek to find the beauty that exists in the imperfections of artistry. Experimentation and innovation are what moves us into tomorrow, whether it be in the arts, business or in the sciences. As Francis Bacon once wrote, “The job of the artist is to deepen the mystery.” We hope that as you explore the pages you challenge your creativity to bring you to more inspiring places. This spring 2019 issue is a milestone in the life of TARNISHED. We welcome the Lasell College creative writers and staff of COMPENDIUM who now have a new home between the covers of TARNISHED in our new department, COMPENDIUM. Our publication has enriched the poetry and prose of both students and faculty. Thank you to all of our contributors who have made this issue a success. A special thank you to our Art Director, Daisy Bocanegra for her relentless commitment and dedication to this edition. On behalf of the leadership team of TARNISHED, we hope this issue sparks creativity and lends inspiration to your artistry.

LETTER FROM THE MANAGING EDITOR This issue of TARNISHED Magazine is inspired by the ever-changing nature of art and the ways people are able to convey their own versions of artistic disruption. By disturbing the comfortable and comforting the disturbed, we have embraced what it means to spark change within the walls of normality. The overarching goal of this publication was to celebrate the diverse backgrounds of any and all creators.





With that in mind, it is with great pleasure that I am able to announce the merging of both TARNISHED and Compendium, a literary arts journal at Lasell College. Having been involved with both publications, I felt it was time the two converged into one monumental arts journal. This new section of TARNISHED encompasses a variety of written works like poems, short stories, and a play. Each written piece conveys disruption in its own right and I hope its integration into the magazine is welcomed with open arms.


This issue is just the beginning of the barriers we are going to break within the visual and written world of art. I am incredibly proud to have worked with such a dedicated editorial board and it is so rewarding to see such a sense of passion for this magazine develop. Thank you all to who contributed to TARNISHED and I hope you, dear reader, are ready for what we have instore.





Profile for Polished Magazine

TARNISHED Magazine_Spring 2019  

TARNISHED Magazine is a student publication produced by the Graphic Design League at Lasell College in Newton, MA. TARNISHED is a venue for...

TARNISHED Magazine_Spring 2019  

TARNISHED Magazine is a student publication produced by the Graphic Design League at Lasell College in Newton, MA. TARNISHED is a venue for...