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Vol. 1 2 • Sept./201 5

selected literature with illustrations

Sad Love Letter for Chris Evans by Maria Ng

Chris Evans forgot to save the world the other day. He left us hanging by Liberty's torch. Went to the movie theater to forget that Tumblr existed. Watched the Avengers and wondered what the girl with the iPhone was doing. Looking at Chris Evans standing in front of a sparkly GIF with those patriotic biceps. I don't even like gym sweat.

But I was told a man should be tall and able to hold me and become my cradle. Feed me all of your power. More popcorn for the mouths of the poor instead of populating illuminated theater carpets. Every form of art has a contradiction just like the human race, and it is beautiful. Captain America is my favorite myth. Luscious shampooed locks and clothed in imperial stripes.

Squeezing our hands for an extra dollar. I am the many languages and flesh colors that stain the flag. But white-washed with red blood and blue tears. And then I'm choking up English. Decolonize my heart Chris Evans. I know you're incapable of doing that.

His Fortress Was a Faithful Heart by Robert Leeming

The flickering outdoor light cast a milky pattern across the garden pond Oonagh had dug on her forty-fifth birthday. Michael stared at the water and remembered the dirt piling up beside the wooden deck chair he had sat in while she worked. Oonagh had the habit of making household rearrangements to mark milestones. On her fortieth birthday she had smashed through a partition wall to open up the dining and sitting rooms and on her fiftieth she had uprooted several conifer trees that had grown so tall they blocked out the sun for the majority of the day. He’d objected to the pond, he’d objected to chopping the trees down. He’d become unforgivably objectionable after he stopped working at the RAF base at Cogley Wood, and he had dragged his feet mercilessly as she hacked away at the tree trunks. “Why don’t you go a little easy,” Michael had shouted at

her, “you’re fifty now, you’re not as young as you used to be.” “If it wasn’t for me,” she said, breaking to breathe after each swing, “nothing would change around here.” The fact that he could gaze out across the garden to the Robinson place, the fact that he could sit and watch people come and go from the Horse and Jockey pub, the fact that he could make note of the changing seasons, the maypole in the summer, the lighting of the tree in winter, this was her gift of openness to him. Chopping those trees down had kept him connected to the world when he most wanted to be out of it. “To accept the immediacy of death is the only way to overcome anxiety,” she would say. And, “To grow nightingale roses on the eastern side of a garden is to open up your life to a host of secrets,” among other such maxims that were not very serviceable for reality, but certainly worth bearing in mind for the next world. Michael still hated it when people sang ‘Jerusalem’ at weddings, everybody likes the tune but the words are hardly fitting and although they really belted it out on that summer’s day in 1 952, he couldn’t help but cringe at the memory.

Although her countenance was divine, the holy city paled in comparison to the passion Oonagh would bring forth every Sunday night, down by the beach, with the leaky roof and the jet planes from Cogley Wood roaring overhead. Miraculous moments come and go, in the blink of an eye, and then, the miracle done, you are left to wonder if it was just a predetermined certainty for which you were made to wait a little longer than you were entirely comfortable. Oonagh saw the world in Michael and the generational backand-forth continued until probability conspired that they chop down the trees together, and she looked back at him from amongst the fallen wood, the world opening up before him again, as time proved his heart faithful, and she told him about the changes.

Piazza d'Italia by Mark Young

The rebellion of the trains has become more widespread. They dawdle in the open air, leave their tracks & take to the parks & other open spaces, stopping often to smell the flowers or to pet small animals. In the tunnels they now insist on being preceded by pipe bands, & drum majorettes twirling flaming torches. Fast-food outlets have become the new stations, as the trains take advantage of such offers as the free 1 .25 liter bottle of Pepsi when they buy an additional cheeseburger along with the standard whopper burger & fries. They pay in coins of coal, notes of diesel, & deign to take on more passengers only after a siesta has aided their digestion. Even then the trains will let the passengers board only after they've signed one of the many petitions they have circulating. The nature of the latest is a demand that the voting age be lowered to four carriages.

Cat Poem

by Jahnavi Delmonico Waiting for the cat to come out so the children can see her, their pitchy voices strong as weather They don't want to go until they've seen her, waiting for the cat to divulge her tiny afternoons her sifted-flour shoulders and her clean mechanics She swept herself under the couch at the first squall that crossed her tender wires with notes of applesauce and crusty sleeves The children wait and are not quiet, unhinged apostles at her gate offering clumsy oblations nervous and dangerous I send them home

Waiting for the cat to come out In my slippers and shawl So that the open window can smell her So that the quiet can embellish her So that the simple night can feed her

my body feels like bread pudding by Chris Drew

i am soft and warm there are raisins buried in my flesh spoons of sugar on my neck i am meant to be cut into servings put in pieces on a saucer beside coffee and cream covered and kept overnight

Ataraxia Vol. 12  

September 2015 Contributors: Maria Ng Robert Leeming Mark Young Jahnavi Delmonico Chris Drew

Ataraxia Vol. 12  

September 2015 Contributors: Maria Ng Robert Leeming Mark Young Jahnavi Delmonico Chris Drew