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OSU’S ART & LITERARY MAGAZINE // WINTER 2015


Our Own Uncanny

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“The Uncanny” is that which is familiar and unfamiliar at once—things we know taken out of context and given new meaning to create something we are not altogether comfortable with. This often results in a shock to the system, creating a sensation that can only be described as creepy. But who says the uncanny has to freak us out? I think, instead, we can learn a great deal from the things that distort the commonplace, and that’s what our Winter edition of Prism achieves. The pieces we selected this term all happen to have a sense of the commonplace, transformed. Ranging from simple to off-the-wall, our collection of art and written work stretches the imagination in form and imagery, allowing their subjects to take on new meaning through a different lens: sometimes literally, as in Koa Tom’s “My Gutter,” and but also with nuance and subtlety as with Eric Callahan’s poetry or Alysa Phan’s spectacular artistry. Also in this issue, we’ll be examining the architectural installation in Oregon State’s newest completed building and Prism Magazine’s new home, the Student Experience Center (you can find us on the fourth floor). Staff writer Darryl Oliver interviews OSU alumna Alice Marshall, who has been working very hard to put up the SEC’s resident art piece at the heart of the building. In his article, you’ll get a peek at Alice’s work as well as the art piece, itself another great example of reconsidering our more mundane surroundings to reflect a different kind of vision.

By generating new ways of thinking about objects, places, and situations, this term’s magazine will invert what you know to examine it anew. Thank you for reading,

Megan Haverman Editor-in-Chief


Missing women Alysa Phan Screen Print 1


Prism Magazine / Winter 2015 / Volume 51:2 Editor in Chief

Digital Editor

Graphic Designers

Poetry Editors

Literature Editor

Staff Writer

Megan Haverman

Beau Leslie Lauren Salgado

Mitch Buechler

Brendan Hesse

Sara Crawford Nicholas Browning

Darryl Oliver

Additional thanks to all those who attended literature and art boards; this publication would not be the same without your involvement in the decision-making process! Prism is published three times annually under the authority of Oregon State University and the Student Media Committee policies for student, faculty, and staff of the Associated Students of Oregon State University. Prism accepts submissions of literary or artistic nature year round from enrolled students.

Cover: The brighter side Hollie Arnold Silk Screen Print

Back cover: Spoon me Tanner Henderson Acrylic painted with Spoon

Prism Magazine

480 Student Experience Center Oregon State University Corvallis, OR 97331 541-737-2253 prism@oregonstate.edu Printed by Lynx Salem, Oregon

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Contents 01 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 17 18 20 23 24 25 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42

Missing Women Alysa Phan Exodontia Jasmine Casimir Dialogue Ashley Coleman Home Peter Warila Forgotten Kathryn Hampton-Wonder Creepy Crawlies Jasmine Casimir Untitled (Still Life with Malt Liquor) Jerome Stretch Lose a Fight Nicholas Browning Reproduction Seduction Ashley Coleman Marco Polo Ashley Coleman Afterglow & Alice Darryl Oliver To Naomi / Knock Kathryn Hampton-Wonder / Jenna Jarvis Striker Daniele Armantrout Agoraphobia Brionna Poppitz Gill, Gulp, Gasp Alysa Phan Orange John Petticrime Thrift Shop Dyllon Sue My Gutter Koa Tom Vandalism Hollie Arnold One Day Dyllon Sue Shout Softly Eric Callahan Untitled Tanner Henderson Ukiah, Oregon Daniele Armantrout Kristopher Emily Dicksa The Garden Dyllon Sue Dark Clouds Eric Callahan Final Cass Lyon Contributors’ Notes

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exodontia Jasmine Casimir Acrylic on Canvas 4


dialogue Ashley Coleman Poetry I taste your tongue --salty, sarcastic, dry Like a desert mirage at the bottom of the ocean You soar through the waves On your reptilian coils And tempt me with a bite Of a wet red sweetness Camouflage, my love for you Spoke like a silent rain Tapping on the tin of your inner surface Like hummingbird wings on a violin Distill your edges, your canyons corroded I am as vast as an open valley

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Home Peter Warila Poetry Dew drops sparkle, drawing in dawn’s light; to release in every direction. Now here, now there, suddenly gone, now back in all brilliance. The water and the light coax a living audience from the earth—a throng sprouting, flowering, spreading; growing more slowly than human perception can decipher— a force borne by a boiling, crushing rhythm; molten deep in this massive planet orb. Now wait, step back, step back, again; and see this pocket marble, rolling around the sun. All this a speck in a galaxy’s arm, And Milky Way a speck in its cluster, All this universe a speck in something— I’d bet that speck sparkles just like the dew.

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Forgotten Kathryn Hampton-Wonder Poetry The child sits and counts flowers for the little house She builds beneath the cherry tree. Surrounding the house is a field Of open ocean And if she closes her eyes, she can feel herself flying Skimming the tips of her toes along the aquamarine sea. All by herself, she can travel to weird and wonderful places Where colors yet unnamed burst free From cracks in the most ordinary of items. A table, a toothpick, the strange Grey rock she pried from the front-garden bed Become treasures her parents cannot see. Except for a small seed in her mind, the girl is happy. But slowly that seed grows Encompassing her cherry-tree island Telling her that she must come back to earth, that her table is not a hobbit-hole, And how her faerie house will remain empty Until one day When the girl closes her eyes and finds She cannot remember how to fly.

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creepy crawlies Jasmine Casimir Monoprint 8


untitled (still life with malt liquor) Jerome Stretch Photography 9


Lose a fight Nicholas Browning Creative Non-Fiction / Abridged I didn’t plan on getting my ass kicked that day. Just another day of high school like any other, until I bumped into my best friend Aaron in the crowded locker hallways. For a split second I thought he had been goofing around with purple makeup. He had a black eye more gaudy than grape Hubba Bubba Bubble Tape. “Dude, what the hell happened?” I asked. He acted almost like an ashamed animal— furtive, unwilling to meet my eyes. Normally Aaron was the most confident guy I knew. “Jordan came into my work yesterday when I was closing. Just walked up and coldclocked me, then bolted. Almost knocked me out.” His voice was quiet, more of a mumble, guttural and grating. “He came into your work?” I nearly shouted. My eyes narrowed as I imagined the scene. Aaron still wouldn’t look at me. “Are you all right? Did you kick his ass?” “I couldn’t dude. Jordan knocked me into a table and ran out before I could do anything. Plus, I can’t risk getting into trouble while on probation.” The dull roar of dozens of conversing students surrounded us, punctuated by the

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clan sounds of lockers slamming shut. The faint cornflower stench of too many bodies packed together mixed with the musty hallway air. Everything around me sort of faded out of focus. “Fuck him,” I spat, irate. I paced back and forth, clenching and unclenching my hands. “Does he think he can get away with that shit? How can someone just do that?” Aaron didn’t reply, kept his startling blue eyes locked on the faded linoleum floor. He was supposed to be the guy on top of the world. My idol. I came to a decision in an instant. Seemed like the only possible thing to do. The only honorable thing to do. “I’ll fight him for you.” The words leapt from my mouth, escaping before I had a chance to catch them. Now, I thought of myself as a tough kid. Maybe even invincible. Sure, I’d only been in one fight my entire life, back in middle school, which ended up devolving into more of a wrestling match than a real brawl, but it still seemed impossible that I might not win this battle. I was the hero, the warrior swooping in to save the day. Besides, I had a reputation as a football player and all-around tough guy. Jordan probably wouldn’t


fight me anyways. “Thanks dude,” Aaron said. I thought that reply kind of strange. Why didn’t he try to talk me out of it? Or at least ask if I was sure. I wasn’t. “I gotta get to class. Let me know when you set it up.” Aaron clapped my shoulder and turned to join the bustling swarm of bodies around me. I stood there, transfixed, watching him walk away.

“Already, regret began sneaking into my pores” Well, no turning back now. I took up a post near Jordan’s locker in between first and second period. As soon as he walked around the ugly brown corner my heart rocketed into activity, like someone had just shot one of those “go guns” used at track meets. Adrenaline crowded into my head, muddling any common sense I might have possessed. All I saw was a crop of black hair as Jordan walked with his head down. A short guy, but pretty bulky. Kind of like a gorilla. For some reason, he reminded me of Aaron. “Jordan,” I said, hustling to block his path. Neither of us had our friends around. No

one to impress. Just me and him. He raised his head, a wan frown on his lips. Didn’t seem surprised to see me. Maybe resigned. He had a big square face, and bags and black-purple streaks below his eyes. Like he hadn’t slept or something. “Meet me after school in The Pit. Bitch.” He sighed. “I don’t want to fight you.” Well that felt good. Of course he didn’t. Unfortunately, I wasn’t wise enough to take advantage of the offered out. “You don’t have a choice. You’re going to fight me. I’ll find you if you don’t show up.” I nodded my head, pleased with the command. What a badass. Jordan’s tiny eyes narrowed. No way he would say yes. The asshole was terrified. “Fine,” he said. “After school.” And walked away. That was unexpected. I think a part of me never believed the fight would actually happen. Already, regret began sneaking into my pores. Word spread around school like the Ebola virus. In high school, nothing beat a good fight, especially when it involved one of the popular kids. The rest of the day sped past me. I hardly remember my classes. What sits clear in my mind is the sour tinge of too much adrena-

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line. A looming sense of dread. Repeated trips to the restroom as my stomach rebelled against me. Fantasies played out in my mind, covering every possible scenario the fight might take. Yeah, I didn’t like Jordan, and I was honestly furious over what he had done to Aaron. But I didn’t hate the guy. Did I really want to hurt him? I couldn’t back out. The entire school would find out in an instant. I’d be branded a wimp, a pussy. And what would my friends think of me? What would Aaron think? I recruited the aid of my older brother Steve, a veteran of many battles, to join in my escapade. Truthfully, I didn’t give the idea of involving my brother much thought, self-involved as I was. I shouldn’t have called him. He had his own problems, drinking problems that had caused him to drop out of college, fueling the fire of an increasingly tense relationship with our parents. “Of course I’ll be there,” he said. For all my brother’s faults, he loved his family selflessly, would do anything for them regardless of the consequences. And, if I’m being honest, the guy loved mischief. “Is this kid tough?” “Nah,” I replied boastfully. “I’ll have no problem with him.” “All right little brother, I got your back. Just don’t do this unless you’re sure.”

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Another chance for an out. “I’m sure,” I said instead. Steve was already waiting in the parking lot for me after school, leaning casually against our dented tan Explorer. Aaron and a couple other guys in our crew hurried to join us. Just because Aaron wouldn’t fight didn’t mean he wouldn’t watch. A literal mass of my peers followed behind, and began milling around my car as if it were a celebrity, eager to see me battle Jordan, the little turd. It was terrifying. Not to mention stupid. A crowd that size was sure to attract the cops. We made quick plans to lose all the would-be spectators, and got word to Jordan’s guys to move the venue behind an old church. We took one of my buddy’s cars to throw off our pursuers. Mission Impossible style. I sat shotgun, trying to get control of my rapid heartbeat and frenzied breathing. My brother sat behind me, shooting off veteran scrapping tips. “When we get out of the car, don’t talk to him. No shoving, no shit talking. Just walk up and clock him in the head before he has a chance to react.” I nodded my heard, eager for his wisdom, though a sour pang broiled in my stomach. “Just don’t give him a chance. Once you


start, keep hitting him until he’s done.” That seemed pretty damn cruel, but my adrenaline pushed my usual reason aside. “You got this,” one of my guys chimed in. “Yeah, beat his ass dude.” Did they think they were helping? I just nodded again, clenching and unclenching my fists, drunk on excitement and fear and testosterone. It felt like forever and an instant to pull around behind the old church. Jordan’s troupe was already there, standing beside a faded blue pickup parked near the back of the lot. Jordan and three others milled around the truck, includ-

“I just nodded

again, clenching and unclenching my fists, drunk on excitement and fear and testosterone” ing Jordan’s older brother. Made me glad I had brought Steve. It was a warm day. Sunny, with clear skies and a soft breeze, carrying the smell of tar from a roadwork site a couple streets over.

A length of grass stretched between the parking lot and the church’s old brown bricks, which seemed to be glowering at me. My buddy’s car eased to a stop and my friends patted my back and fired me up and Aaron’s purple eye squinted when he smiled, and the moment a part of me thought would never come — that I’d secretly been hoping would never come — arrived. I wore a black Dragon Ball Z shirt. Figured having a screaming Super Saiyan rampaging across my chest would give me strength and inspire fear in my opponent. So many thoughts thundered through my head as I adopted my best tough guy walk and strode towards Jordan. But at the very forefront of my mind, overpowering the adrenaline and my friends’ cheers and the desire to uphold my reputation, was the realization that I absolutely did not want to do this. I just couldn’t come to terms with the fact that I was about to use my fists to slam into another person’s skull. It felt so wrong. But I wasn’t brave enough to back out. “Where’s Jordan?” I demanded in my manliest voice, puffing my chest out like a penguin. Somehow I’d lost sight of him amidst his circle of friends. “Here,” he answered from behind me,

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sounding almost timid. I turned, swinging my fist round with my body, and my knuckles glanced off his cheek. And in that moment, as he pulled his own arm back, hand clenched tight, I realized I would do just about anything to avoid having that bony pound of flesh connect with my face. An odd realization, considering the circumstances. I’m not sure what I’d expected. Maybe like in the movies, when the hero clobbers his opponent and the enemy goes down from a single swing. Instead of taking my chances in a boxing match, I dropped low, heard the whisk of air as his fist flew right above my head, and I bum rushed him like the football player I used to be. Perfect form I thought to myself, lodging my right shoulder just below his hip bone. I lifted Jordan completely off of the ground, at least two feet, and body slammed him, spearing him into the grass with all my weight. He made a pathetic sort of urrff sound when he hit the ground and the breath blasted from his lungs. His body went limp beneath me, and for a moment I thought the fight might be over. “Hit him!” I heard Steve and my friends shouting in the background. The order puzzled me but my heart was thundering in my ears and

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I was so pumped up that I followed their advice. Sitting on Jordan’s stomach, I positioned a leg on either side of him like schoolboy bullies are wont to do, and swung wildly at his head. A couple blows landed, I’m sure of it, but he’d recovered enough to throw his hands in my face, and roll back and forth beneath me, displacing most of my ill-aimed attacks.

“Being punched in the face was an odd sensation” Was this what being tough felt like? It was like riding a wave, being swept along in a current too powerful to resist. I didn’t feel like me, barely felt like I was in control of my body. Jordan rolled out from beneath me and leapt to his feet. Me being the inexperienced pseudo martial arts master I believed myself to be, I followed after him. Being punched in the face was an odd sensation. I mean, a really solid blow clobbered my right cheekbone. I didn’t even see it coming, just a flash of white, and heard a meaty fwap sound and my head jerked to the side of its own will. A second later my head yanked the other way and another fwap filled my ears. My por-


celain nose started gushing blood. Torrents of crimson goo just poured out, flowing down my mouth and chin and into my shirt collar. I couldn’t get close to the guy. Every time I pushed forward I got pummeled. I tried a heavy right hook. Jordan leaned out of the way, then pushed forward with his back foot and launched a cross into my cheek. Getting fancy, I tried a quick 1-2 combo, a jab with my left and another right hook. Jordan slapped away the feeble straight-armed punch and pushed beneath my hook and another flash of white struck me, and my head rocketed back and I shook it to clear the stars. Adrenaline must have been shielding me from the pain, but things were a bit foggy now, hazy. A lull stretched in the combat. Both of us heaved with breath, and I felt bile in my stomach, and maybe the adrenaline was starting to fade because my face felt strange and puffy. My tongue sat gummy in my mouth, like a parched blob. Somehow during the scuffle, Jordan had lost one of his shoes. We faced off, both wavering, him standing lopsided in one gray shoe and one yellow sock. I couldn’t really breathe and wasn’t having much fun, and his fists were covered in my blood. Then it hit me: I was losing the fight. No

more catcalls from my brother and friends. They stood by, grim, silent spectators watching as I got the shit beat out of me. “Hey, can I get my shoe?” Jordan asked. What a weird question. Didn’t seem to fit in with the violent scene the two of us were creating. It kind of broke my heart. Of course he could get his shoe, I was about to say, and opened my mouth to tell him that— “No, don’t let him!” Steve shouted from the sidelines. The order reinvigorated me, and instead of saying anything I recalled my earlier success with the football tactics, and lowered my head and charged forward once more. I ran right into Jordan’s fist. This time my legs buckled, and I fell to the ground, and Jordan just sort of collapsed on top of me. My body felt like Jell-O, my limbs like goo. We rolled around a bit, but every now and then I’d hear that fwap sound, though the noise was muted now, far away, and it took me a moment to realize he was still hitting me. For the first time, I was afraid. I mean, how many times had I been punched? What if he was doing permanent damage? Following the fear came an even stranger realization. A humbling, humiliating one, as I realized Jordan had complete control over me.

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A difficult sensation to describe, almost surreal, being at the mercy of this man I could not beat, who was pummeling the shit out of me. I could barely move, so tired, hanging on the edge of consciousness, my pathetic rubber arms held up in front of my face, trying to deflect the blows. Fwap, thump, thwtack. It took every ounce of courage I possessed to utter my next two words, far more than it had taken to start this damned debacle. “Jordan. Stop,” I slurred. My mouth was full of blood. Ringing filled my ears. “I’m done.” I prayed to whatever god would listen that he

“Red hands, soaked all the way up to his wrists. My blood” would stop hitting me. And he did. Jordan rolled off me and stepped away, and my brother ran to my side, helping me to my swaying feet. Jordan didn’t say anything, just shuffled over to retrieve his shoe and then headed towards his friends, hands still balled in fists. Red hands, soaked all the way up to his wrists. My blood. We walked to my friend’s car in silence. I was trying not to cry. I wasn’t upset because

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of pain, and I wasn’t afraid or anything. I was upset because I had let my friends down. Aaron wouldn’t even look at me. “I’m driving, you little punks,” Steve said, and yanked the keys from my friend’s hand. No one argued. He was breathing almost as hard as I was, and his face had taken on a reddish hue. Must have taken all his control not to join the fight. Once more I found myself in shotgun, head in my hands, staring out the window. I sat in a haze, imagining a mask on my face, the sticky half-dried blood pasted across my mouth and chin and throat feeling like a coat of drying paint. My Dragon Ball Z shirt was ruined. “Are any of your teeth loose?” Steve asked. “What?” I realized he’d asked me the question more than once. “Check your teeth dude.” He looked at me, eyes intense. Creases in his brow. “Any loose?” I followed his advice. My face felt swollen, numb. Like it belonged to someone else. “Nah, they’re good.” We pulled out from the old church. “I’m sorry,” I said into the silence. No one answered. I had lost, more than just the fight. “I’m sorry guys.”


TITLE Author Medium

Reproduction seduction TITLE Ashley Coleman Author MediumDrypoint Triptych colored with Makeup Intaglio (lipstick, eye shadow, nail polish)

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marco polo Ashley Coleman Poetry Preclinical reports showed A rainbow-goad, crickety world of choice molecules Littered with shadowy gopher holes and black blood freckle towns Nonconformists and jellybean hopes I was one of it’s flora babies Glistening, made of peach jelly Finger swirling tendrils of silk-shimmer Tongue counting whistles like prayers I was tweeting in a glass prison Wings flapping and blue feathers ruffled While street-smart Rapunzels roamed the night In nothing but nightclothes and slippers I became like a camouflaged scar Skinless and throbbing with all the same biological tendencies In the wolf-light where a bioluminescent smear Dissolved like sugar, marking the time And I became bruisable, and I learned what love is The rapture or erasure as perishable as punch cards “Happy anniversary, goodbye”; don’t bite me, mark me A man should never love in translation I can still feel the wool of him In the terns where we made love But he left me smelling sick With nothing but a birthmark and light on the neck-nape Sapphire is the color in Heaven And you are God’s child, act like it For the fragile hour can be dropped like glass

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And hour has shape and proportion I found myself in tickets to concerts never attending In the glare of his glasses, the blue soda jean culture I was a bubblegum chemical illusion of polyester guilt The unflattered reflection of albino grieving I have a halo of cotton lace and a soul of beaded satin I find adulterated truth in funhouse mirrors Wrath never took seed within me But I have a shrapnel lexicon of human voices Love turned me into a test dummy And your voice called out in abstraction but got lost in the details Because you are the sailor, and I am the siren, singing Outside a submerged submarine beneath Arctic ice I am a beacon, calling to you in a slumber I carry spiders and dreams of hyper-alert texture I’m one in a miss-matched wash of colors and white Heavy fabrics and delicates thrown in a barrel And I come out alone, the ever-missing sock There is a feverish feast of internal impulses Behind phony smiles and the amassing of lines We’re told the clicking of our heels must match The syrupy song stuck in our heads But baby, deep down, you are made of paper glass Of cellophane colored tissue wrapping And I never cut corners when it comes to gifts Especially as fragrant and precious as you

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“As my involvement increased, so did my interest in the piece�

Photos courtesy of Philip Pompetti

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Prism Presents: Afterglow & Alice Darryl Oliver The Student Experience Center is complete. Well, almost complete, that is. It has finally been opened to the public after months of painstaking construction, traffic jams and class disruption. For those of you who’ve been inside of the SEC, you’ll have noticed that the spiral staircase seems to be missing bits and pieces. Panels in all different hues of orange line the staircase and sit in piles on the floor. Those panels, the stairwell, and, in fact, part of building itself are all a work of art by way of architecture; its assembly is led by a young woman with blue hair. The project is named Afterglow, designed by Matthew Au and Ramiro Diaz-Granados, both instructors at Southern California Institute of Architecture. And that young woman with the blue hair? That’s Oregon State Alumna Alice Marshall, the liaison between the artists and architects, the person in charge of bringing Afterglow to Corvallis. Alice graduated from Oregon State University last year with a degree in Studio Art. Born and raised in Albany, Alice is a local, and there was no better choice to help with the project. I got a chance to sit down with her to chat about Afterglow and her experience.

Question: How did you get involved with the Afterglow project? Alice: Well, I was working as the Memorial Union Concourse Gallery Assistant Curator and Installer for Art Shows while I was also doing some parttime work with Kent Sumner on the Permanent Collection of Art for Oregon State. So through him and his connection to the art installation at the SEC, I’d already had my foot in the door for really anything relating to art happening at Oregon State. When I’d heard that Ramiro needed an assistant I jumped right in. It started off that I would just be doing six hours a day, you know doing the little things and helping out. And then it just escalated and I was working ten to fourteen hours a day doing the actual installation aspects of the piece. I’ve had to step up to the position of Installation Manager since both Ramiro and Matthew can’t be in Corvallis at the moment. Q: I hear the project is based of the setting of the Oregon sun, a little more about its origins? A: Of course! Originally it was based on the colors, hues, and atmospheric ambiance that occurs when the sun is setting or rising around Mt. Hood, when the light is refracting off the

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volcanic molecules that have been trapped in the atmosphere since Mt. Hood’s eruption. So, it’s very exclusive to Oregon, which is really cool. Q: How did the artist go about designing Afterglow for the SEC? A: It’s completely custom to this building. It was sponsored by this program called Percent for Art, which states that all large-scale buildings at Oregon State University must take 1% of building cost and put that towards art for the building. After the funds are distributed, they put out a call for artist and designers, and then they hold a competition to see which art would fit the best. Matthew and Ramiro both got the plans for the building and then made the design to fit this building specifically. It’s a very interesting piece because we are working closely with the contractors and construction workers. It’s not purely aesthetic, but it actually has a function that correlates with the function of the building.

Q: How is Afterglow coming along—almost finished?

Q: Can you tell me a little bit more about your role within the project?

A: Yes, I would say keep a realistic and open mind about any opportunities that come your way. Don’t let fear get in the way of anything you do, and always keep a focus on what’s ahead!

A: Well, again as I said earlier everything escalated very quickly. It started off with me being asked to do things such as removing or applying tape or handing the workers bolts. Then things became more and more hands on. Now I’m com-

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municating with contractors and they’re asking me for the specific placement of sprinklers and light fixtures. But as my involvement increased, so did my interest in the piece. It is definitely a resume booster and it is very satisfying work as well.

A: It’s about 93% done. All the ceiling parts on each floor are done. So by the end of March it’ll have all the facia pieces; that’ll cover all the black marks. I’ve been with them since about mid-November. Ramiro and Matthew have been working on it since June, constructing the pieces and what not. They started designing even before that. It’s been a long time coming, we’re all very ready to see it finished. Q: Thank you so much! Last question, any advice for the aspiring Liberal Arts Major?

Make your way down to the Student Experience Center to check out Afterglow, inspired but the Mt. Hood sunset for your student experience.


to naomi Kathryn Hampton-Wonder Prose Poetry Little Jewel Bird who sits on my shoulder, you seem to me a small goddess, a deity of all things bright. How is it possible that you know so much? Naïve, how I tried to teach you my language and you taught me yours instead, through greetings called as I step through the door, silvery warbles that reach my ear and invite me to respond in kind. I have no feathers, no colorful instruments with which to take to the sky—and yet you preen me, you dance when I sing and sit contented as I type. We are alike, you and I, twins of the heart, unlimited by the restrictions of our species.

knock Jenna Jarvis Poetry Depression creeps up on you. It does not knock on the door Of a formerly happy heart. It invites itself in, Pulls up a chair, And gets comfortable. It gets acquainted with your worst memories, And pals around with your weaknesses. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth, And it makes black and white seem more appealing. It writes, “help” on your forehead With invisible ink— So that only those who truly look, Can read it.

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striker Daniele Armantrout Photography 24


agoraphobia Brionna Poppitz Short Story Hiding in a corner of her room, Mary heard the voices calling to her from outside her window. “Join us…” they chanted in low drones. Each s hissed in her ears, penetrating and ringing through her brain. She couldn’t think. “Join usssss…” She pressed her hands against each side of her head, squeezing her eyes shut. As the voices grew louder, Mary whimpered. She wished the stringy mess of dark hair that hung around her face could drown them out, but they were drowning her out instead. At first, they’d only been a low buzzing in the background, coming in and out like a bad radio signal. Then they got closer and closer, and now the voices were a deafening scream, flushing out all thought. She didn’t dare open her eyes or go near the window. Last time, all she saw were pale, deformed faces with thin and naked bodies pressing up against the wall below, so many of them. Her only comfort was the iron bars behind a single pane of glass. If nothing else, they couldn’t get in. But that didn’t stop their unrelenting calls from reaching inside the white, padded walls of her room. Minutes passed at an excruciatingly slow pace. There was nothing to hide under,

nothing to cover herself with. The entire room was empty. Like a sick child, Mary whined and slid from her sitting fetal position down the wall to lie, curled up on the floor. All sound is a muffled hum. Mary’s cushioned walls are solid: no doors, no windows. No way out. In the middle of the room, somehow, she reaches out and touches the floor but can’t feel it. Colors start to change around her. The walls are not just white, but fuzzy sky blues and puffy creams swirling together, shifting to shades of gold and purple then back again. After a few minutes, they form bruised-skin blotches that grow over some colors and fade out behind others. Soon, the blotches begin to morph and take shape. On the wall to Mary’s right, she sees the playground of the elementary school she went to when she was younger. All of her classmates are playing together, jumping off steps and swinging on the monkey bars while Mary peeked out from between the bushes and a fence. On the wall to her left, Mary sees a cute boy standing below her bedroom window like he had during the summer she turned fourteen. He plays a guitar to her softly in the night, then asks her to come down. Mary had said no. On the

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wall directly in front of Mary, she sees her mother waving from her car, making an ‘I love you’ sign with her fingers as she sends Mary, with her butterfly backpack on both shoulders and anxious eyebrows, off to her first day of high school. Mary had run away and gotten lost in an alley. Distracted by her memories playing out on her walls, Mary doesn’t notice at first that they’re moving closer to her. Slowly, like an unstoppable mechanism, they move forward, and it’s not until they’re three feet from her that she understands what’s happening. Panic muddles her brain, and she looks around frantically for a way to escape. But it’s too late. They’re already too close. Instinctually attempting to save herself, Mary pushes against the walls with her feet and back, to no avail. Her legs are burning from

“Mary probably would have stayed there if it weren’t for the voices calling her” the effort, and her back is cramping up against her knees. With tears in her eyes, she shoves futilely with her hands against the wall in front of her until suddenly it stops. Relief floods through her body as each of the walls becomes a pillow and falls, one by one, away from her. Looking around, Mary finds herself on a four-by-four foot wood platform. Over the edge, a thin fog reaches down into

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oblivion, and she can no longer see the pillows that dropped below her. For a moment, everything is still. Rapidly, a harsh wind picks up, blowing one way then the other. She slips dangerously close to the edge, but there’s nothing to hold onto. Mary’s hair whips around her, and as she grips the platform with white knuckles, she realizes that her only choice is to jump. Taking a deep breath, she lets go. Mary woke up with her face pressed into a padded corner between the floor and the wall. It didn’t bother her. She breathed through the cushion that was crushed against her mouth and eyes, keeping them shut. It was comforting. Cozy, even. She could lie there for days and weeks. When she breathed out, warm air blew over her face and heated her cool cheeks. Mary probably would have stayed there if it weren’t for the voices calling her. She giggled and got up. Those silly voices again, always demanding attention. She skipped over to the window and leaned her forehead against the bars, grinning. They were standing outside on the pavement in long black robes with faces like Greek theater masks. “Join us, Mary,” the voices entreated. She shook her head, swaying. “I’m happy here.” “How could you be happy?” “I am safe,” she murmured. “Yes, very safe,” said one voice from the back of the crowd. “As you make accidentally loud noises in the middle of the night and whis-


per ‘sorry’ to an empty room, you are safe.” “And as you lie in your grey comfort,” said another to the left. “And eat your trail mix of Skittles and M&M’s and lemon drops, you are safe.” Individual voices came from everywhere. “When you stare at walls without seeing them, you are safe.” “While you’re hiding under the covers, you are safe.” “After all of the lies, you are safe.” “And once the days are over, and you’re glad they are, mind drifting to unconsciousness, you are so safe.” Mary caressed the bars in front of her with a sedated smile. “I’m glad you understand,” she said. Slowly, peacefully, Mary opens her eyes. Her hair swirls around her face and behind her head while she floats in a thick, clear liquid like embryonic fluid. Her mouth is loosely closed and her lungs sit comfortably between inhale and exhale. Basketball-sized bubbles hang, suspended in the liquid, evenly spaced in front of her. With frog-like breast strokes, she then calmly swims toward the next bubble. It takes a little longer than it would in just water, but she has plenty of air left by the time her mouth reaches the edge. She breathes in the satisfying amount of oxygen, then calmly swims toward the next one. This works well. The tight, black clothing she wears is good for swimming, and the dim light filtering down from above is just enough for Mary to see a path of a few bubbles. She always

knows where she’s going next, and her only concern is that her muscles are getting tired. It doesn’t worry her, though. Mary feels that she could keep going like this for hours, or at least until she reaches wherever this path is taking her. Bubble after bubble, the task comforts her like the steady rhythm of a drum. A few minutes later, her lungs start to ache and she doesn’t know why. The spacing of the bubbles is the same as it’s always been. They’re the same size as they’ve always been. But now her muscles are aching from the lack of oxygen, and she’s beginning to get dizzy, even though her lungs are full. It’s getting harder and harder to push her limbs through the syrupy fluid around her. Every movement is a struggle. Closing her eyes tight, she tucks her chin into her neck, fighting to force herself beyond the pain. After a few seconds, she opens her eyes again to find the next bubble, but what she sees below her makes her stop, frozen.

“Mary caressed the bars in front of her with a sedated smile” At the bottom of what she can only assume to be a giant tank, are hundreds, maybe thousands of dead bodies. All of them are wearing the same tight, black clothing, good for swimming. All of them, men and women, had been in their 20’s. Their skin is grey and wrinkled from the liquid, and their eyes, some open, some

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closed, are blank and lifeless. Looking behind her, she sees a path of basketball-sized bubbles that she’d left with each exhale of breath. She jerks her head back in front of her. There are no more bubbles, only foggy darkness. This is where she’d been led to die. Immediately, she starts swimming upward. There has to be an end to this place. If there’s light, there’s air. Mary would not die. She would not give up. Her muscles scream in

“she felt more awake than she’d ever remembered being in her life. Everything looked more real, more threedimensional” protest, but she can’t rest. The light is getting brighter. She’s almost there. A halo of black presses in on her vision as she reaches the top. But all she finds is a thick layer of glass separating the fluid from the open air. She pounds desperately against it, but it doesn’t break or crack. Unable to stop them, her lungs involuntarily attempt to take a breath, sucking in the fluid, and she chokes. With a horrible flush of hopelessness, Mary realizes the truth of it. She’s going to die here. This time, when Mary woke up, she felt more awake than she’d ever remembered being in her life. Everything looked more real, more three-dimensional. She sat on the floor with her

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back against a bed and could feel everything. All of the bumps and all of the sharp edges of the dark grey concrete floor and walls scraped her hands. Mary’s entire skin tingled with excited nerves. Every breath brought in a rocky dust smell. She moved her tongue around her teeth and could taste the minerals in her saliva. The only dull sense left was a diminishing ringing in her ears. In the background, she heard muffled voices and looked up from her nubby blue sweatpants to see her mother, standing on the other side of a glass door. She was talking with a doctor in a white lab coat, holding a clipboard. As the ringing faded, her mother’s words came into sharp focus. “…be okay right?” Mary’s mother fiddled with the sleeve of her lavender cardigan. “Eventually, yes,” the doctor replied. “But she’ll have to stay in our facility until the drugs are completely out of her system. The withdrawals should be passing pretty soon. A couple of days, maybe.” Mary’s mother nodded and glanced at her, then did a double take. “Wow, a few seconds ago, she looked so dead. She was just gone. But now look at her eyes.” The doctor followed her gaze and pursed his lips. “Her body adapts quickly.” “Can I go in and talk to her?” “I’m afraid not. For now, it’s best if she continues with her treatment as planned.” Mary’s mother nodded again, taking one last look at Mary as the doctor led her away.


Gill, gulp, gasp Alysa Phan Oil on Canvas 29


orange John Petticrime Flash Fiction The memories came in waves. More coincidence than irony, as waves of memory happen to people with their feet on dry ground too. It was of a swingset. Old, tired, rusted, with a chain that would always creak, even if it wasn’t moving. A woman approached, but the fall wind blew her hair around like Medusa’s tentacles, obscuring her face. As she drew nearer, the sky darkened, and when she whispered, all that could be heard was the whistle of the wind through the pines. The sawing of a tree. A Douglas fir. Winter, obviously. Snow always dampens sound, and amid the quiet was only the rhythmic draw of a saw against fresh, wet wood. Slowly, the fir fell. The closer it drew to the ground the slower it seemed to get, as if it was fighting gravity, straining to right itself, to take root again. Kings, queens, dictators, and tyrants all eventually topple, but amidst their proclaimed nobility, their birthright, there is nothing sadder than the felling of a tree. With a great cresting wave, a moving of earth and soul alike, a back is pressed against the cold wood of a bedroom door. How many trees did it take to craft this floor? This door? There is something funny about a muffled argument, that something so loud can be so soft. Wood and walls act as guardians, diffusing and dampening the hectic, red sounds of a soon-to-be-finished

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marriage. Children pray to God for help, or to praise him for their fortunes, and yet no thanks are laid at the feet of the walls and doors, our protectors, the shields against the sounds of frustration, fatigue, and hopelessness. Grey sky. Unchanged, despite the circumstances. He supposed the sky looked the same in Arizona. The sky would even be comparable to someone in Japan, their back to the ground, looking at the clouds. With a heave, he was on his knees. Rolling, pitching, drunk-like in his own right he drew deep, heavy breaths. Orange was a tropical color, he thought, meant for pumpkins, college mascots, and attracting people to Florida. Orange was the color of confetti, of the frosting on carrot cake. The color orange was never made to be a death sentence. Orange never heralded the loss of life. No one ever wore orange to a funeral, and no one’s coffin was a bright orange. His was. He was at his own wake, an open-casket affair in which the corpse can stand up in the coffin and die its real death. Just as the first falling leaf of autumn leaves summer no choice but to fall away, he rose. They would find the orange life raft weeks later, drifting like the last Cheerio in a bowl of milk. There would be a note, but rain and sun would have washed away the ink. Better that no one read it, for a swing, a tree, and a door mean little to anyone.


thrift shop Dyllon Sue Poetry The engagement ring in the window stands for something that once was, but will never be again. Torn, mud stained overalls cover the mannequin. That princess dress is from the girl’s family three years after the drunk driving accident. A sudden draft blows the lower ruffles up, while the technician properly teaches the perfect way to rewire a house to save money on the monthly bills, with a giant WARNING on the cover. Let’s see. There may be dirt in the baseball cap worn in the 1994 Jefferson High championship game or even an empty tool box once belonging to a man who thought it was right to drink a bottle of whiskey and drive home.

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My gutter Koa Tom Photography 32


vandalism Hollie Arnold Silk Screen Print 33


one day Dyllon Sue Poetry One day, the ocean will stop kissing the sandy shores, Pele’s uneven metronome, rinsing the beaches salty tears. One day, a snorkel will not purify the vibrant blue when beaches become landfills and cigarettes a fish’s pupu. One day, another honu will stretch its head out of its shell, only the 6-pack plastic a death lei. One day, a fisherman will reel the last ‘ia gasping for life to be frozen, shipped, sold, to the local market on Kealoha Street for pocket change. ‘Ekahi la, we will recollect stories of young about the beautiful sunsets and warm sunny water, Ua mau ke ea o ka ‘ana I ka Pono.

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Pele – Most powerful Hawaiian demigod Pupu – Appetizers, snacks Honu – Green sea turtle Lei – Garland, necklace ‘Ia – Fish Kealoha – Love ‘Ekahi – One La – Day Ua mau ke ea o ka ‘aina I ka Pono – “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness”


shout softly Eric Callahan Poetry I. Snow stills the forest, enhancing the sound of a trickling stream as it weaves between oak and pine. The stream carries whispers from the mountain to the forest, telling the hare to find home, for the coming cold. The fox lies, singing summer, and bounding through snow drifts on light paws. Distracting himself from the darker nights. With autumns passing the world is bare, able to say nothing but its naked truth.

II. Shouts fly and clash above the table, a verbal dogfight. Raucous aunts uncles cousins nephews nieces gather in a kitschy dining room, burdening the hardwood floor with stomps and kicks hidden by the tablecloth. Jokes and stories pervade the evening. Laughing grunting fighting hugging all done with emphatic gestures so that words can be said, even as they are drowned in the din of shouts.

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untitled Tanner Henderson Glass on Cardboard 36


Ukiah, oregon Daniele Armantrout Photography 37


kristopher Emily Dicksa Poetry “Will you please build me a tower?” “Will you please build me a tower?” “Will you please build me a tower?” This boy has glasses as thick as double-paned windows, held on by a soft strap that swoops around the back of his neck. His huge front teeth hang out of his mouth like two solid blocks. His hands are full of blisters from swinging on the monkey bars for hours. As he boards the school bus, he is the only one who has to wear a seatbelt. His wide eyes are moving as if they’re watching a fly skip around on a white wall. He cannot sit still, so he puts on his Magnavox headphones and waits for the music to wrap around him. When he first enters the classroom, he scatters the giant red tub of Legos across the floor. He repeats his request over and over.

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I have grown patient trying to understand the words of an autistic six year old. But he has grown impatient and frustrated. This world must feel to him as though he packed for a trip to Australia, and instead landed in Greenland. His weak stomps and screams occur every time he feels like he can’t communicate. But Kristopher, when your Velcro shoes shuffle quickly toward me, and your skinny arms wrap tightly around me to say hi, we speak the same language.


the garden Dyllon Sue Poetry Summer, we worked on a garden, our garden. Removing rocks, pulling weeds, watering seeds. There was progress. The roots soaked up love through dampened soil. Sunflowers grew tall, the sun shone down and tulips sprouted here and there. Flowers grew in my lungs. Roses, violets, beautiful. Happy between your two lips, I lost my breath.

Winter after next, I’m gasping. The garden long gone. You stopped tending the plants, pulled fewer weeds. But, complacent where we were, I kept working. Alone. Infections spread through roots to the Roses, violets, you. Still beautiful, but now I can’t breathe.

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dark clouds Eric Callahan Poetry In the city rain slaps concrete, and beats on glass panes. Burdened clouds release their sorrow. Puddles form in cement pockmarks and torrents race along the gutter. Slick wet roads shine neon fever, as streetlights and signs replace starlight blocked by dark grey clouds. Scrunched faces hide beneath waxy hoods, as passersby never speak, or nod hello. Ambling morosely in their long black coats. In Central Park worms rejoice in squishy mud.

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final Cass Lyon Oil on Board 41


contributors’ notes Alysa Phan Fine Arts; 5th Year Senior Forever young my spirit will be Open minded beyond what eyes can see, Good taste and swell craft is what I aspire Work becomes play, I will never grow tire, Cute things and unique scenes is what I create But there’s always something to communicate, With art and design I have the power I will play till I reach my finest hour. Ashley Coleman Fine Art; Senior Being an artist is an emotional and kinesthetic ritual for me. Psychology, science, and storytelling inform both my visual and poetical works, and I approach subjects that resonate with my life. Often a compromise between traditional working methods and innovative techniques through exploration, each of my pieces, whether written or visual, has its own personality. Cass Lyon Fine Arts; Senior Conscience or not, all individuals unavoidably make a choice as to what they believe. I am currently working on a series of relief prints and paintings illustrating my walk in faith as a Christian. My current body of work explores the concept of self-denial not just to worldly lusts but also to things such as self pity or anger. The figures I use in my work are making a spiritual choice to control how they will be influenced,

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often by blinding themselves wrapping a cloth around their eyes. Faith is neither an adjective nor noun, it is a verb. Daniele Armantrout Psychology; Sophomore Photography started out as a hobby for me, and now it is a passion. I shoot anything that catches my eye, although I have been developing my lifestyle and portrait photography. I try to capture the moment the way I see it so I can share it with others. Dyllon Sue Business Marketing, Writing Minor; Junior Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai’i, my family and friends mean the world to me. I enjoy art whether it’s writing, poetry, photography (follow me on Instagram @dysue), or creating random recipes in the kitchen. Poetry allows me to express my thoughts and feelings on paper and replicate scenarios that I have in my mind. I pay much attention to detail and enjoy the elements of my poems that magnify certain areas. This is the first time my work is being published, so feedback is encouraged. Love you Sue’s: Ellarene, Dalton, Devynne, Denysse, and Rhyenne! Go Beavs! Emily Dicksa Public Health, Writing Minor; Senior My poetry comes from my desire to love and celebrate the people and world around me.


contributor’s notes Eric Callahan English; Junior I enjoy writing poetry and like to use it as a way of looking at my own ideas and beliefs. Hollie Arnold Fine Art; Junior I can’t be the only one who likes getting stuck behind those obnoxiously long trains, can I? Graffiti artists are some of the most creative people I know, their work reaching millions as it passes by on the moving galleries we get “stuck” behind. My recent work reflects the idea that there’s always a brighter side to a dull situation… That ‘clickety clack’ is the sound of inspiration. Jasmine Casimir Fine Arts; Senior The methods with which I navigate my own artistic process often include removal, addition, and removal again; a cathartic physical process. I am drawn to a deep, harsh, cool palette, layers of wash, and experimentation with textures. I find these techniques are most easily accomplished through painting and monotype print. The subject matter that is most often featured references aspects of the human condition, such as pain, self-image, humiliation, isolation, and curiosity. My work, to me, is all part of an ongoing process to evolve to the next idea, with many starts and no end.

Jenna Jarvis English; Freshman I wrote my piece “Knock” about one month after my dad passed away from cancer in 2013. I still miss him every single day but writing that poem and a few other pieces, have helped me cope with the loss. I hope that my writing can bring comfort to other people who are dealing with any sort of heartache or any other internal struggle. Jerome Stretch Photography, Art History minor; Senior Untitled (Still Life With Malt Liquor) is part of a larger series of work that explores traditional aspects of still life paintings with contemporary and taboo subject matter. Juxtaposing counterculture paraphernalia with ornate backdrops and studio lighting, forces the viewer to question their expectations of still life. John Petticrime New Media Communications; 5th Year Senior Follow me on Instagram @petticrime Kathryn Hampton-Wonder Biology, Chemistry Minor; Sophomore I grew up in Portland, Oregon as an only child. I began writing poetry in high-school and enjoy the process of it, how normally dry, boring writing can become vivid and alive. Poems, to me, are like words made into music. They come from the heart instead of the head. Most of my

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contributors’ notes poems are inspired by emotions, and my desire to hold that and translate it into a story so others can also experience it. One of my main goals in writing poetry is to transport my reader into the moment portrayed in the poem and have it resonate with their own experiences. Koa Tom Photography; Junior I don’t have a firm intent or purpose at this timeI’m seeing where this carries me, though I am not totally passive about it--I can’t know where to go until I know where there is to go. Hence, I am back in school. I am pursing photography because it was what I was filling my time with and felt my self in when I had some time. I have a love-hate relationship with school: I love it, but it keeps me from my other loves, like being outside. However, I believe this a step to get to where I want to go, which is take pictures and be outside. Love! Nicholas Browning English; Junior I wanted to write something really honest. So… here’s a story about me getting my ass kicked. I strived to make my prose convey a sense of personality, and show how a goofy insecure dude really thinks. This debacle changed me a lot as a person. I’ll be happy if a few people are entertained by my unfortunate adventure, and maybe spark a bit of contemplation, too. Thank you for reading.

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Peter Warlia Exploratory Studies, minor in Writing; Sophomore I’ve hailed from Eugene, Loveland (Colorado), and Portland, so far, living in a string of six houses through an upbringing of private, public and homeschooling in a family of seven. I’ve been lucky enough to have the chance to be part of some truly diverse circles of people, who all walk to wildly different beats. Growing up, I saw there are endless ways of looking at the world—endless stories in people and mountains and nations and stars. When I see a good one I do my best to remember it. Tanner Henderson Fine Arts; Senior I’ll be honest with you; I am still very much a pupil of art. I do have particular interests in expression but the main focus of my current work looks at the fundamentals of design. In my sculpture I explore materials and their involvement in the compositions. Recently I am interested in relationships between form, the physicality of the materials, and sometimes use. When it comes to making marks I am inspired by many surrealists of the past and grim artists such as Zdzislaw Beksinski and Dali. I also am particularly fond of expressive gesture—something which, I believe, is the root to all power in most images.


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“I carry spiders and dreams of hyper-alert texture I’m one in a miss-matched wash of colors and white.” -Ashley Coleman “Marco Polo (Uncharted Poetry)” Page 14

Profile for Prism Journal

Prism Art & Literary Magazine Winter 2015  

Oregon State showcases its students' leading creative work.

Prism Art & Literary Magazine Winter 2015  

Oregon State showcases its students' leading creative work.

Profile for prismmag
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