LITERARY AND ART MAGAZINE Volume XXX Spring 2012
Rewrites welcomes poetry, fiction, short drama, art, and photography submissions during the fall semester. Please note that only students, staff, faculty, and alumni of Atlantic Cape Community College are eligible for publication in the magazine. Please limit submissions to five per category. Rewrites is a non-profit literary and art magazine published annually in the spring by the students of Atlantic Cape Community College. The editor and staff are solely responsible for the content and layout of the magazine and reserve the right to edit any submitted copy. The ideas expressed in Rewrites do not necessarily reflect those of Atlantic Cape Community College. Please address all inquiries to Rewrites magazine Atlantic Cape Community College 5100 Black Horse Pike Mays Landing, NJ 08330 E-mail: rewrites(at)atlantic.edu
All rights revert back to the author or artist upon publication. Reproduction of any material must be authorized be the author or artist.
From the Editor When Rich Russell, our wonderful faculty advisor whom I am eternally grateful to, asked me if I would be up to performing the duties as editor for Rewrites 30 I was a bit hesitant. I am an introvert by nature and tend to clam up when responsibility rears its persistent head. However, as the staff members and I poured over submissions in the hull of room A-117, I realized that we were contributing to something very special. I began to smile to myself as the various members of our staff read aloud some of the works that would make up this year’s magazine. We pounded our fists, shouted about what we loved, and about what we feared in each piece. What honors me above all in having been a part of this monumental issue is that we were discussing literature. Not only were we deliberating the works of some of our peers, but we were conversing with one another so passionately about the written word. For me, sitting in that room and talking about the fires each piece stirred in us was all I needed. I’d like to give a special thanks to all of the students, staff, and alumni who submitted work for consideration in Rewrites 30. Celebration, the original embodiment of the literary magazine at Atlantic Cape Community College, was created in 1974 by Mary Tower. When Mary started this publication, I do not think she could ever have imagined the impact it would have on this institution, let alone the number of years it would forge ahead. My personal thanks goes out to Mary Tower, Elinor Mattern, and Gerri Black. They are my inspirations, who stir in me the Celebration of life. ––John Albert Guttschall
Magazine Staff Editor John A. Guttschall Managing Editor Tyler Carman Layout Editor Aubri Fouts Art Editor Robert T. Dulaney III SGA Representative Isaac Zumwalt Staff
Technical Assistant Faculty Advisor
Steve Johnson John Moto-Borders Kaitlyn Rodio Jessica Tewell Devin Thurlow Erica Villani Lauren Coyle Rich Russell
Table of Contents Jessica Tewell Jessica Tewell Taylor Coyle Carole Dieterly Daniel Sanchez Robert Dulaney Tyler Carman Jessica Tewell Cheryl Werner Robert Dulaney Aubri Fouts Taylor Coyle Aubri Fouts Robert Dulaney Joel Ollander Mark Stansbury Keyonna Robinson Lauren Coyle Bob Benner Bob Benner Kathy Petrillo Stephanie Vanello Stephanie Vanello Lisa Apel-Gendron Pat Taylor Aubri Fouts Tom Celandine Gyasi Howard Gyasi Howard
Green Thumb Leaving Home In Five Parts A Siren Can’t Sing With Laryngitis Visceral Anatöme Me and You and Dr. Who Coffee Two Seed Pods A Happy Poem Just A Dream The Importance of Lying Face Down Letters Cut Out Pennsylvania Widow Preservation An Old Man’s Wish Meso Sick (In Pantoum) I’m Like An Open Road Penelope
1 2 5 6 8 13 14 15 17 18 20 21 23 25 28 29 30 31
Bamboo Snowstorm Post Office Town 1 & 2 The Summer Fairground The Water Temple Mantis Coffee Sunspot Bridge Malfunction Beautiful War
34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 43
Table of Contents Nicole Schulman Dangerous and Fierce Maggie Tilley My Beloved Car Daniel Sanchez Tyler Carman Zachary Blaesi Matt Brown Cheryl Werner Aubri Fouts Sam Marino Stephanie Vannello Mark Stansbury Carole Dieterly Nicole Schoenstein Matt Brocious Chelsea McCline Mark Stansbury John A. Guttschall Bobby Speirs
Chickpea Murder on the Parkway To Do List for December 8, 1980 This Is Not An Exit Sand They Taught Us to Spell and Count This Is Me The Transition How To Make Lemonade I’m a Big Girl Now Food for Thought Mom’s Lasagna On Humbled Anti-Ode to the Letter “Q” Pulp Jungle Brigantine
Tyler Carman Gulp Rich Russell But As Pasteboard Masks Aubri Fouts Zachary Blaesi Taylor Coyle John A. Guttschall
Back Home I Pass The Scene Daily Jinx The Map Say’s We’re Wayward
Cover by Bob Benner
43 43 44 47 48 49 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 65 66 67 68 69 70 72 73 74 75
Green Thumb Jessica Tewell I like to call my skin a garden. There are nine blossoming scars on my left deltoid. And I can feel your eyes slumming across me, the eagerness of your hands, waiting to pluck the buds from my body. Not as a gift for your lover or your mother, most likely a compost heap. When I planted the wounds, I hoped they would bloom beautiful. That they would be something worthy of theft, a last minute present. Not an apology. They are not “I’m Sorry,” not kudzu or wayward weeds that found fertile soil and grew wild. My skin is a garden. And I am waiting to gift these scars to someone who finds them beautiful too.
Leaving Home In Five Parts Jessica Tewell House, I first spoke to death in your thorax, heard the rattle-wheeze of ‘almost’ in the scrape of carapace on concrete. Before this I peeled romantic day dreams from blood stained bathtubs and bodies bent marionette on sidewalks. Found ‘I love you’ in practice last words. I don’t know what I was thinking, the only defense I can offer is age-related-stupid. I still think about him, wonder if ‘almost’ ever became ‘did’. Car, The openness out here could eat us alive. There is enough room between here and the horizon to cradle the ocean. My limbs are new branches unfurling in this too tight skin, deforming the straight and narrow I used to call my own. There is a trail stretching from the beaches of New Jersey where I dug my right hand into the tide line, had my wrist picked clean by sea gulls. 2
Right elbow lurking in Philly housing trains and the homeless. Humorus forming a highway across the Midwest, My hip pressed firm into the sides of Appalachia where I left the only girl I ever loved. Airplane, When I crawled inside of you, I was thinking of him. How he has made a home in me. Set up a bed between guts and bones, and I have reclined my chair ears full of heartbeats, imaging how easily I could be purged from you. A miss-aimed landing, malfunctioning lock. My only regret would be the incineration of last words. Family, We are machine. I am a cog with too many teeth, a bolt and nut combo long since stripped and rattling loose. I cannot stay here. Cannot remain in this contraption of words too often made fists. We are at war. Proof that my blood line is one of addiction, 3
high cholesterol and drunkenness. Too often have you threatened me with homelessness. You are calling this vacation. This is escape. From a continent and two time zones away, I do not miss you. Best Friend, This won’t explain a damn thing, so don’t come here for answers. There’s nothing you haven’t heard all ready anyway. I’m sorry I ever made you cry. One day you will feel your limbs sprouting. Your legs will be too long and you will spend all day dreaming of asphalt and wind. I’ll understand when you stop texting me be back. You’ve always been the best thing to ever happen to me.
A Siren Can’t Sing with Laryngitis Taylor Coyle “I’d like to see what you look like on your knees,” he’s told her, yet the congregation dropping down in the middle of mass still overwhelms her each Sunday. Lately, she can’t see the difference between bruises he gives her and ones from church kneelers. The sky isn’t blue, she wants to become a charm on the bracelet he gave her, and his brother’s voice becomes an entity that cries out, “I’m drowning, drowning” as the shadow behind her drowns the steps she takes, no matter how brisk. This enigma has infested itself in her licorice veins. I’d like to cleanse her, but I only give steps; I do not take them.
Visceral Anatöme Carole Dieterly Neurotransmitting Affects The random effectors Of my sympathetic systematic Memory. Plastic Thoughts of butterflies Filleting the ganglionic Neurotic fibrous callous Of my second mind Duel mindedness you see Is the result of my Parathyroid releasing Hormones screwed— Skewed— sideways into my Para-hippo-campus Disrupting my Para-hippo-potamus And frying the nerves Of my medulla oblongata Which rolls off my tongue Like burnt salivary buds Whiting out as my Brain fades to a kaleidoscopic Black. Do these words tie your Vegas nerve Into a knot of sacral Outflow and stop up Your somatic up-flow? This is must know. I must know the Affect—perhaps the effect Of afferent divisions of Your neural fibers. Need you be a Neurotic Neurologist to comprehend The Schwann’s of which I speak? 6
The anatomy of my Speech dissectingâ€” Intersecting the Ramus Of spinal connections as They fire Cranial, Caudal, Ventral, Dorsal, Placing your phalanges in And pulling your olecranal out As your tympanic membrane Pulses to the beat Of my own eardrum. So listen close Oh Homo-sapiens. For to comprehend the Root of my ganglion is To know the source of My insanity. The duel innervations of My two minds. My two minds you consider Hemispheric.
Me and You and Dr. Who Daniel Sanchez No, I don’t think I’ll watch Dr. Who. Now, I’m sure you’ll be quick to cry, “hipster!”, but please allow me to explain my decision to opt-out of Dr. Who hysteria. Daleks—the aliens— those are the bad guys, right? Well, forgive me if I don’t think our problems are aliens. Forgive me if I don’t think our problems are alien. No, they are as domestic as our pumping blood and beating hearts and our whole chorus of organs. To play scapegoat and deny this would be to prove I haven’t listened to the only thing you’ve been talking about more than Dr. Who in the past few months. I also don’t think the TARDIS is anything special. After all, any given person is bigger on the inside than out, regardless of whether they have a large heart or a cardiac cartel or no heart at all. How much of your time is spent trying to prove that to people? How much of your time was spent trying to prove that to me? More time than any Doctor spent trying to save the world— the message was implicit in every gift more colorful than its wrapper. 8
“But it can travel through time!” you’ll say, and I’ll say, time travel is only the daydream of those who worship results. It’s why I say, given the chance, I’d go back in time to drink Crystal Pepsi. Still, I’d do that— I heard it doesn’t taste any different, but I want the chance to say, “Wow, this sure is something.” Trying to fix things is certainly tempting, but it’s trading the ballgame for the scores. It’s turning down the journey because she’s not a cheap date. It’s condemning dancing as a terribly inefficient mode of locomotion. Sure, I would’ve liked to fix things, but I didn’t. I couldn’t. But I learned so much from accepting the past, and there’s a good reason Dr. Who has long since abandoned its educational roots. “But it can travel through space!” you’ll say, and I’ll say, there was a time when I thought distance was the issue, but that’s not true anymore. Back then, I would’ve traded anything for a spaceship, and still, all my cars are countdowns to The Delta V, but I don’t think a spaceship could ever double as a lifeboat. In fact, I think back to our happiest moments, like driving around who knows where 9
at who knows when, hopped up on coffee and burning through a pack of American Spirits. I dare you to tell me that if you did it again, you’d forgo the road. I dare you to tell me that each cigarette butt wasn’t a love letter to the pavement, that each drag wasn’t a slash through the useless words of some washed up novel and an attempt to unearth poetry. I dare you to tell me that when Mischief Brew shuffled on, and we sang along, screaming “Coffee, God, and cigarettes are all that you need!”, I dare you to tell me that at that time, the road wasn’t God, when it was its existence that made all of that possible. I don’t care for The Doctor either, and believe me, it’s because I tried to be him. I failed, and not because I’m not some hottie with a British accent. It’s because he has no name. Remember how I traded my name, or maybe my body, all for some cheap fraternity? Noble as it seems to devote one’s life to fixing others, remember how that made my hands sting like angry alcohol when all you needed was an ear or shoulder? 10
See, a man with no name is no man at all, and caring about people, I mean, really caring about people—well, if I learned anything from you, it’s that truly caring about people is hard work- a man’s work, or, a human’s work. It takes an entire body. Brains with arms and legs need not apply. Ayn Rand in Anthem warned of men who would trade true love for a mission statement, and I should have listened. The Doctor is lucky, then, that he is a fictional character and therefore no man. “Ah! But he can change!” you’ll say, and I’ll say, sure, that’s great. Every time he dies, he’s a new person. And maybe that explains your obsession with him, considering your capacity for reinvention and rebranding— your new haircut, new hair color, your new Facebook name, new Facebook account, new wardrobe, new crush— new everything. He makes it so easy— easy as dying, and it’s so easy to die. I know. It left like death before I left, but I was a new person then. 11
Well, I haven’t forgotten everything from my past life. I haven’t forgotten you. I’m sure you’ve felt like death too sometime in these past few months, but I’ll ask that, even though I won’t be watching Dr. Who alongside you, please, don’t forget me.
Coffee Robert Dulaney a satellite needs coffee. i am a satellite. it’s all in my head? this is not a placebo effect. connectivity cannot be established without a catalyst. i take a sip. coffee makes me feel closer to other people. you are ‘other people’. i look down at my knitting. seven stitches complete a pattern. i look at you, and take another sip. what am i supposed to say?
Two Seed Pods Tyler Carman Two seed pods drop From a Sugar Maple Both twirling in cyclonic fashion They await a simple breeze to blow them together Falling to the ground inevitable Hoping to land over lapping Wishing the wind had some push in it Only slightly ascended and already frightened Smoothly pulled back with insect wing dynamics Moving symmetrical to the inclination of attention Catching moon light like silk garments adorned Intermingled motion, of auto rotation
A Happy Poem Jessica Tewell Today I am alive and happy. I stood triumphant under my back porch and gave thanks to all the things I could reach; Trees and clouds Skyscrapers and orange extension cords Because you are still alive. And I am wiring stripped of its jacket, cold and bare, sparking only when exposed to a conductor. Proof that I am still alive. I could never gather the gumption to dig into the earth with my whole body. Then I met you, an urban cowboy with an extension lasso, trying to grab the attention of a chat room. All you caught was me, a lethargic calf with wide eyes and wider ears. No one died that night. I learned to fear acoustic guitars playing love songs, telephones, your name. My hands have etched tally marks for every second since you hung up on me until the day I found you on MySpace. I threw you a tin can phone, extension cord stretching between middle of nowhere New Jersey 15
and an unknown house in Philly, curious if you would remember me the way I remember you. Cursing the weakness that only let me ask about the cattle drives you’re going on. All I heard was the harmonica. I started a new archive for the seconds you’d forgotten. Seven years later it does not matter if you sing campfire songs about me, if I am error 404 page not found in your directory. Telephones no longer have my hands crying for broken skin. Nightmares of your body swayin’ from the hangin’ tree in your basement, an orange extension cord tangled around your throat, your arms hanging limp at your sides with open palm hands, fingernails red around the edges from where you tried to claw yourself free as you realized the extension cord wouldn’t be what reached inside of you and made you happy. Nightmares no longer have me searching for the right pair of stranger’s hands, the ones that could reach inside of me and spark electrical fires in the name of cauterization. It’s your name that is still the burr under my mousepad. But not today, I am alive and happy and I hope you feel the same.
Just a Dream Cheryl Werner Passion burning at cupids hands, Merely flirting, In a fire blowing dragons land. A snail and turtles pompous race, Never really reaching that bogus place. Your flawless gentle hands, Have caressed me, Left me touched by the purest softest lamb, Fantasy or fallacy? How can you be quite sure, This lamb is pure? Trying to find the words to say, Is a drunk that doesn’t swagger and sway. Hearing your voice when you’re not there, Is Alice in Wonderland never finding the hare. Have we discovered friends and lovers, Like Bonnie and Clyde went undercover? My heart is on fire, Like the Titanic looking to hire. I feel your touch, As a jester is the kings crutch. Dreamt moments like this, Is like a profession, So there’s only room for one to dream, These crazy complicated scenes. My twisted confessions, Of just a dream.
The Importance of Lying Face Down Robert Dulaney I can feel my eyelashes scrape against the threads of the pillowcase. This isn’t rest, but it isn’t bad. I sink into the mattress; there’s no use fighting back. Sometimes, it feels okay to give up. Sometimes, you need to. Pulling my knees into my chest, I count by threes. Three. Six. Nine. Twelve. It’s supposed to help you fall asleep; I read it somewhere. Fifeteen. Eighteen. Twenty-one. Tiny portions of my day, the ones where I got to be someone else, play on loop that’s only interrupted by random multiples of three. I wonder about the things I could have said or done or been, and how each of these things would have affected this sad little denouement. Twenty-four. Twenty-seven. Thirty. Your thirtieth birthday is Tuesday. We won’t be celebrating together, not after tonight. Thirty-Three. Thirty-six. When we were walking back to your house, you held my hand really gently; I knew you had bad news. I should have never invested so much of myself into so much of you; a disheartening symbiosis. Thirty-nine. You said, “You look real nice” when you opened your front door. Your look suggested you were up to something, but I was willing to believe anything. Forty-two. Forty-five. We went to the MOMA, even though I hate listening to you talk about modern art. You have a complete disregard for the entire range of human emotion; looking for aesthetic perfection, never feeling. Forty-eight. I should have known. That night in 2004 at the Whitney Biennial, you criticized Harrell Fletcher’s “A Moment of Doubt”, and I knew that we would always see two very different things. Fifty-one. Fifty-four. I somehow thought that it would be good, you know? Being opposites. At first, I thought it was. You were challenging me to see things from a new perspective and I wanted so hard to stand on my head 18
and find our common ground. I couldn’t. Fifty-six. When I got home tonight, I took a bottle of yellow paint and “edited” all of the photos we took together. I painted over everything except my own facial expressions. They were all the same. Fifty-nine. Sixty-two. Eager. Eager to impress you. Eager to start building a future together. Eager to be with someone. Anyone, really. Sixty-five. Sixty-eight. Seventy-one. Seventy-four. Seventy-seven. I’m not like that now. Not anymore. Eighty. I’m tired. Eighty-three. You’ve exhausted me. Eighty-six. I’m: Weightless. Sleeping. Alone.
Letters Aubri Fouts Nineteen letters, written when they were twenty-two, Garnished with dust, admitting their age. A floral journal addressed to me; older than me. A baby’s gold bracelet, engraved with my name, From a faceless man; a timeless man. A wall of fraying ticket stubs, Which paved the way For the red, Fender Stratocaster That only you play, now. The Oxfordian Shakespeare, Made its permanent mark–– I buried a stack of birthday cards, from sisters I don’t know, Somewhere between Much Ado and King Lear. A camera bag that matches yours Carried conversation through the rest of that first night. The mirrors with your name, that returns every winter, Like clockwork.
Cut Out Taylor Coyle There is a layer of dust on your words so archaic that speaking to you requires having my allergy medication at hand. I often grow tired of you kissing me like Judas, and I despise your accusations. Why do we cat and mouse and dog each other, feign empathy? With you as Hamlet, and I as Horatio, I decide I need my allergy medication more than your occasional company. This is the loss of an association, and the gain of a rather relentless spine.
“Pennsylvania widow Jean Stevens stored her dead husband’s corpse in her home for more than a decade and, last fall, added her twin sister’s corpse. She tended to the bodies until police made the gruesome discovery last month.” ––Aliyah Shahid, New York Daily News (July 6, 2010)
Pennsylvania Widow Aubri Fouts The thick, sweet aroma of Patou’s “Joy” stuck to the air in the spare bedroom. It had always been June’s one luxury. Once, for Christmas, June had received three bottles of it from three separate family members. Jean thought of this now and a smile cracked through the corners of her mouth. It was exactly what Jean planned to buy June this Christmas, too. After brushing the dust off June’s cardigan that must have collected over night, Jean stepped back to admire her sister. It was like looking into a mirror. Jean lost herself for a moment in the glare of her sister’s glasses. What would happen in a few years, when Jean’s face acquired another wrinkle, when the whites of her eyes began to yellow, when her hair thinned even further, and June’s did not? Jean shook herself violently from her trance. June would be fine alone in the spare room for a while. Jean gently closed the door and crept down the stairs. It was 7:13 am, and James never was much of a morning person. Two left turns were all it took. Jean entered the garage to find James sitting upright on the couch. “Oh! You’re up.” Jean exclaimed. She rounded the coffee table that had been a wedding gift from James’ parents several decades ago. “Here I am tip-toeing through the house, and you’re already up and dressed.” James replied with a vacant stare. Jean stooped in front of him to adjust his tie. Jean never liked the tie on him; the blue was a sort of flat cyan that seemed to clash with everything. Jean would never have told him that, though. Suddenly, Jean’s lungs seemed to stiffen. James never had been a fan of cologne, and most days Jean tried to respect that. However, that small fact caused this particular room to sometimes, only sometimes, smell bitter. Jean had caught a whiff of heavy decay. It was gone just as suddenly 23
as it had arrived. Jean began to panic. Her eyes searched the room for the invisible reminder, the sickly bitter scent that had just landed in her chest and fluttered away. It was surely circling over her head, now. A chill crept down Jean’s neck at the thought, and she spun quickly to her left. In doing so, her hand grazed her husband’s.
The cold, rubber feel of his skin startled her.
“I’m sorry, Dear! I’m sorry.” Jean apologized immediately. She repositioned James’ hand, careful to do so only by pinching the cuff of his sleeve, but avoided his eyes; they were becoming foggy. Jean left the garage without excusing herself, where she allowed herself a few deep breaths. She gazed around the kitchen, and noticed a lemon she had forgotten to put away from the night before that lay in halves on the cutting board. She decided she would make her sister’s favorite for dinner that evening
Preservation Robert Dulaney Jean Stevens, 91, is a fragile woman; her skin looks like vellum, you can almost see through it. Her fingers seem almost dried out,; her wedding ring, a halo of gold around the peeling skin. She wears large glasses that by no means disguise the bliss in her antique eyes. She hasn’t given up yet. She is dressed smartly; a khaki skirt, light blue shirt and small silver hoop earrings that belong to her twin sister, June. “She told me they’re for luck.” The girls graduated from high school in 1937 and married brothers, James and John Stevens. June moved over 200 miles away, but the sisters talked on the phone regularly and sent handwritten letters at least once a week. “Staying connected to family is the most important thing in my life, it keeps me going. You know?” June was diagnosed with cancer in 2001 and the declining state of her sister’s health fueled Jean’s anxiety. Jean begged June to come stay with her and after a prompt separation from her husband, she moved in with her sister and James on October 3, 2010. There’s a faded photograph in Jean’s purse of her and James from 1942, before his service in World War II; his image under her thumb. She keeps a photo of him near her whenever she leaves their home in Wyalusing. The time she spent separated from her husband during the war were among the darkest years of Jean’s life; she was never good at good-byes. After his return from the war, Jean vowed to dedicate her remaining years to being with her husband. In 1990, James’ battle with Parkinson’s left Jean feeling alone and afraid once again. Ushering the eternal footman to a place on the couch, she offered him tea and sent him on his way. “I think when you put them in the (ground), that’s goodbye, goodbye” and Jean was not prepared to watch her husband go. After extensive research, she found a way to keep her husband at her side. “God, sometimes you just don’t come through.” 25
Jean’s brown station wagon combines the heady aroma of baby powder and cloves, with something almost unidentifiable. It trails behind her through the open windows as she makes her way through the neighborhood on the way back from the pharmacy. She focuses on the road, slightly edgy, fidgeting the whole drive. There’s a big band on the radio. She doesn’t know which one, but hums along; distracted. “I’ve never been good at being by myself.” After pulling into the driveway of her “tumbledown” house, nervous hands gather the bags from the backseat and she moves quickly towards the secluded house like a mischievous child. Jean walks in the front door and throws her keys into a bowl on the occasional table. She hangs her purse on a hook, and looks around her quiet home. She’s talking a little, just minutiae regarding her day, nothing important, as she places the plastic bags from the drug store on the kitchen table. Her voice floats through the empty rooms; a whisper on wings. It finds it place next to her husband, James, on couch in the garage. Jean lays her head on his lap and looks up into his fading gray eyes. She lifts his hand and places it on her chest. Still finding security in his once strong hands she smiles and says, “It’s good to know that at my age, there’s still someone to come home to.” She asks James the same questions about his day that she always asks, but no longer has to listen for the answers. The couple has been married for nearly seventy years, their best conversations now shared in silence. After sitting up and loosening James’ blue knitted tie, she leaves him “resting” on the couch and calls out for her sister, June. June rarely leaves her room. Her separation from her husband was abrupt, and her sister Jean offered her a safe place to stay. Jean knocks on the door three times. It seems like she maybe just “putting on airs”. She doesn’t wait for an answer and slowly opens the door. “I knew I’d find you here in your housecoat”, Jean giggles with a sense of playfulness as she sprays her sister with a small bottle of expensive26
looking perfume. Once again, Jean goes through the motions. She helps June brush her hair, hands her a book and helps her with her glasses. “You can stay here as long as you need to.” Jean almost tiptoes as she closes the door to Jean’s room. After making her rounds, Jean sits at her kitchen table while painting small floral patterns on porcelain dishes. “I used to teach the girls in town to do this, but I seem to have fallen out of favor with their parents.” Small poorly painted roses litter each of several place settings strewn across the room. She speaks of her husband and sister in the present tense, recalling things they had told her just the day before. Clutching a small saucer to her heart, she explains that “death is very hard for (her) to take” and that she is thankful to have both her husband and her sister so close to her. “I’ve preserved all of our lives for over ten years, and I wouldn’t do anything differently.” The only thing worse than being alone, is being alone.
An Old Man’s Wish Joel Ollander I saw a tree that spoke to me In some unusual tongue, T’was long ago, and ne’er again… Ah, only when we’re young
Mayhap today a branch Will slowly nod to me, Remembering that time long ago, When its tree did speak to me
And a childlike joy Will fill my heart, And I will again be young Before the end, when I depart
Meso Sick (In Pantoum) Mark Stansbury Apparently it’s cancer, asbestos related. Back then, I couldn’t tell you how to spell asbestos. I did it to build your schools, hospitals, and hotels. I was unemployed and my rent was two weeks past due. Back then, I couldn’t tell you how to spell asbestos. So my buddy Smitty offers me this job, but I was unemployed and my rent was two weeks past due. But looking back, the job didn’t seem too bad. So my buddy Smitty offers me this job, but Nowadays, I would kill Smitty for getting me that job. But looking back, the job didn’t seem too bad. Doc says I only have a bit of time left. Nowadays, I would kill Smitty for getting me that job. Too bad Smitty died a few months ago. Doc said he only had a little bit of time left. Apparently it was from cancer, asbestos related.
iâ€™m like an open road Keyonna Robinson Everyone is out to drive on my open black pave. My bright yellow strips are torn apart day by day. Colors easily fading from days to weeks, to months to years. The pavement is my heart as the my strips are my soul. As each is driven on, i feel it being ripped away to bits like old bark. When the rain pours down on me,it makes me shine while sun dries it all away. People walk on me, spit on me. And even work on me, trash and food's left on me and yet im left unclean. I was once brand new but now...iâ€™m just an old black road with deteriating yellow strips. And when the next day comes, it starts all over again like a never ending cycle.
Penelope Lauren Coyle I lost my child and my sister in the same week. Both were planned deaths. I cannot say the word. The three syllables stick in my throat. I want to scream. I want to go home. I want my mom, but I ignore her calls. She has another imminent death to worry about. The nurse behind the monitor says something about visual confirmation, like she’s waiting to attack. I guess she kind of is. I’m three weeks, so I guess it doesn’t really count. It’s just a mass of dividing cells. White blood cells may have taken care of it on their own. But I couldn’t take that chance. I beg them not to put me under. Just give me the pills. I have a dying sister to see. She stopped taking her pills. She kept the essentials, though, like the painkillers. She started hallucinating, but her moments of clarity were profound. “I’m not afraid to die,” she’d say. “And I’ll always be there watching over you.” Will you take care of my little girl when you’re gone? She’ll wonder why I did it, my mass of dividing cells. I call her Penelope in my head. Tell her I named her, even though the gender was undetermined. Tell her I’m not evil. 31
But I tell my sister nothing. I tell no one. “And I’ll be there to kick you when you do something dumb.” Sister, I could have used that kick three weeks ago.
Bamboo Snowstorm Bob Benner
Old Post Office Door Bob Benner
Town 1 & 2 Kathy Petrillo
The Summer Fairground Stephanie Vannello
The Water Temple Stephanie Vannello
Mantis Lisa Apel-Gendron
Coffee Pat Taylor
Sunspot Aubri Fouts
Chickpea Daniel Sanchez Chickpea, I told you, I’m one hundred percent sorry. The sorrow is condensing atop my soda can skin and dressing me in epidermis of popping apologies. But Chickpea, how was I supposed to know that that was a fertility doll? I just thought it looked cool, like you, and unlike you, I don’t have mythology baked into my biology. I can’t tell Osiris from oasis, Thor is a foreign concept, and everything I know regarding the Greek pantheon, I learned from Disney’s Hercules. In short, I’m no scholar of folk magic fairy tales. Chickpea, believe me when I say I didn’t know a little wooden carving would get you pregnant. But don’t worry, Chickpea! Even though I’m dense enough to drag us both gagged into my black hole head, I’ve got this pepper planned out. Instead of taking chainsaw to this family tree, instead of running away from you, 44
I'll run away with you. Now, don’t worry, Chickpea. I can see the parade, synapses forest firing across your brain, “HE’S A SCREWUP”, but listen up. I know you’re worried we’ll freeze to death without degrees, or be fried like sidewalk scrambled eggs, but don’t worry, Chickpea. We’re not gonna be another one of your Greek tragedies. Okay, okay, here’s the plan, before your coffee pot ears bond with burners and explode: you, me, and our unborn baby can pack up and peace out of this world, straight on the lunar express. You heard me right, Chickpea: we can live on the moon. What’s that look for, Chickpea? You think I’m crazy? It seems that way, but is my ice cream idea any nuttier than the smorgasbord of deities sprinkled on your mind’s diet? Are you afraid that the spacey logic will melt, and the three of us will drown? 45
Listen to me, Chickpea. A house on the moon would be for the best. We could find a crater, a fixer-upper, and even though you think I’m just a screwer-upper, remember how easily everything ascends in the moon’s gravity. It’s away from the city, Chickpea. I could go on hopping hikes, and you could finish that steamy romance novel you’ve been writing— you know, the other bun in your oven. You want an oceanfront view, and even though there’s no oceans on the moon, Chickpea, I’ll make oceans. I’ll become one of those gods you’re always reading about and I’ll turn craters into puddles. You look spacey, Chickpea. But I’m telling you, we could marry and settle on the honeymoon. We don’t have to orbit around this idea, Chickpea. Just say the word, and we’ll give the man on the moon neighbors.
Murder on the Parkway Tyler Carman Watching a murder on the parkway Machines passing machines Cutting down trees Beauty becomes a widened lane The lane becomes a new pathway for Machines to pass machines
To Do List for December 8, 1980 Zachary Blaesi Wake up. Shower. Make breakfast: Eggs Toast Coffee. Buy new copy of Catcher In The Rye. Meet John Lennon To Sign Double Fantasy;
This Is Not An Exit Matt Brown When the lights had dimmed to their â€˜anxiousnessâ€™ setting, no one in the room anticipated the barrier breaking across its entire twenty-foot length. The familiar rumbles shook the buildingâ€™s foundation, throwing everyone into a euphoric frenzy due to the prolonged and unnecessary anticipation. The strength of the crowd would soon have the security team fight for their lives as opposed to being squished between the broken barrier and the stage Second row and marginally to the left he stood, slightly parallel to the center of attention where so many eyes were focused in on. He had waited years for this moment, this very moment that would provide him with happiness in which he could look back on and smile no matter what could ever happen. The crowd was so violent, pushing and shoving, moving and flowing back and forth just to get a better view, just for a second. He had known this was something minor to accommodate with because just being there was worth more than words. So loud and yet so noticeable, people were screaming familiarities in unison without any sort of prior rehearsal. He too had also willingly sold the air from his lungs for the small price of severely bruised muscles located in his larynx, because during this fractioned time of happiness, anything was worth that moment. He then noticed the girl in front of him, the one being pushed up against the barricade and loving every minute of it, she was just as loud as he was, wearing the same smile when their eyes met. He felt the room grow uncomfortably warm, taken aback by this girl he had not noticed before. How could he have possibly overlooked her among all of the 49
welcomed commotion? She was stunningly beautiful; her glowing blonde hair barely reaching the small of her back while her green eyes were the kind somebody would knowingly get lost in. Names unknown, they stood there blissfully together with his hands around her hips moving back and forth to flow with the crowd. Both souls facing the brighter lights, he felt as if he had died a painless death and gone to a better place; where the air is filled with sounds one gets lost in and a boy can dance with a beautiful girl forever. Time passed by so fast, everyone living in the moment within his or her own world while sharing the same generative energy. The night had come to a close, but the feeling provided would last and slowly fade away in time. Eventually he would reminisce to himself those short hours where everything seemed so little and there was true happiness. Whenever things would get unruly, he would remember that night, the sounds, the words, and the girl. He would never see the nameless girl again. But he will always remember the night he fell in love with the beautiful girl in front of him. He had felt the happiness of falling in love for just one night.
Sand Cheryl Werner Silence is the sheet of sand, Which lays upon the land in Iraq; Countless hours and endless days you stand, Fighting dauntless against the war, that commenced from vile hands; Earthquakes of shivers swagger down your spine, Bombs and guns detonate and govern your mind; The young the old are dinted to be brave, As you descry your fellow soldiers, Desecrate to their grave; As you remotion this epitome loathing sight, The aircrafts take off, To carry those who survived home in flight; Still awakened from the vociferous dreams, Evading rupture of the loosened seams; You recognize you survived, for one nation we stand, Where was liberty, justice, and for all, For the dying man? Just visuals of the sheet of sand left to comprehend, In the nightmares we quell to rescind.
They Taught Us to Spell and Count Aubri Fouts I’m suffocating. My sister said, because she learned the word yesterday on my grandfather’s crossword, which was close to the cussword. I taught her, shrouded behind last winter’s coats, that several things can mean the same. Or that one thing can be several, like a drink from the hose, can also be lead poisoning, and that “In or Out” meant the difference between one suitcase and two times the baggage one really needs, so Dad chose one, and two times, and out.
This Is Me Sam Marino My hair doesn’t always fall Perfectly into place. My house is strewn wall to wall With misplaced clothes and toys. I’m not likely to say Just the right thing. And I will probably always be, The biggest fool for love. I make a grocery list before I go shopping, And forget the list at home. I am my own biggest critic And may never be good enough for myself. I’m just as likely to trip over my own feet, As I am to trip over my own words. I started out thinking that I would always win, Now I know that I can’t win for losing.
The Transition Stephanie Vannello Stevie Nicks stood on the edge of seventeen while barren feet positioned themselves on the axiom of growth— the final transition from child to adult— bearing a downpour of responsibilities onto the skull causing problematic post partum stress disorder that shows like a ghost and runs away—how do you stand on gelatin pillars? Stand on the come and go problem with pills—become medicated until you drop and finally feel the joy you once had before the cliff dangling adventure of being an adult.
How to Make Lemonade Mark Stansbury Ask me about making lemonade, without having any g––damn lemons. Ask me about putting dreams on layaway, unable to afford the monthly payments on them. Ask me about watching the fist in pop’s chest go static, then feeling your own fist go static, when hearing baby brother ask “where did daddy go?” Cuz baby brother would rather have a dead-beat-daddy, than a no-beat-dead-daddy. Ask me about sleeping in your car at 17, cuz ma didn’t see you as much of a priority. Or how to pocket food from work, when grocery lists yield to buying new brakes. I can show you how to tighten your belt, even though you have a small waist. Or even how to lie to your friends, to say “I’m fine,” when you’re anything, but. So next time you’re feeling the Mondays, make yourself some lemonade. Chances are, you have a few lemons lying around. If you don’t know how to make lemonade, just ask me.
Iâ€™m a Big Girl Now Carole Dieterly Black and brown Egg yolk sticking to the sides Of the pan, slipping off only With the scrape-scrape-scrape of the Metal spatula Also incorrect. Mom laughs in the background. My hair is singeing In the open flame The smell of too much propane Leaking into the air. I know how to Scramble an egg. I know how to mound the pieces Of scarred charcoal atop my plate And pretend to like it Just to prove I can Make my own breakfast.
Food for Thought Nicole Schoenstein It ate my textbooks and my collection of magazines. Then it followed me to school and ate my professors and all of the deans. It made its way down a hallway after the last dean was consumed. And as it entered the cafeteria, it screamed out “Foooodddd.” I followed quickly behind it, careful not to catch its gaze. And as I came close to grabbing it, it grabbed a female student and began to graze.
Chomp. Chomp. Chomp.
I covered my ears and turned away, Even though nothing could erase the image or mask the sounds of a person being slain. “Yuck!” it screeched as it spat out what it had ate. I turned around to see that the girl was okay, aside from missing a chunk of her waist. “She isn’t my type, who else should I try?” It moved around the room, in search of another girl or guy. I gathered some courage and opened my mouth, “Stop this now!” I demanded with a shout.
Chomp. Chomp. Chomp.
It was munching on another student. “Ah, this one is more like it,” it said as it ate. “Much more prudent.” “That’s it!” I screamed. “It’s time to go back!” It jumped from the boy and landed with a splat. Splish. Splash. Splosh
Mom’s Lasagna Matt Brocious CHARACTERS: Carl, the youngest brother. Shane, the middle brother. Macy, the oldest. Dad, the father. The action takes place inside of a kitchen. CARL, who is in his pajamas, has a plate of lasagna on the counter and he is ready to dig into it. CARL (singing to himself): Oooh lasagna, I can not wait to eat you, I will not beat you, just eat you. You look so tasty; I will not waste thee, because you’re so tasty. Carl grabs a fork from the drawer. CARL (singing to himself): This fork may hurt you dear lasagna, but it will be worth it, because you are delicious, so delicious. MACY enters the room. MACY: Put down the fork and nobody gets hurt! CARL: What? No way! MACY: I said, drop the fork. CARL: I said, no way. I heated up this lasagna and it’s all mine. MACY: But I’m the oldest and, as everyone knows, the oldest gets first dibs. It also means I’m a far superior human being. CARL: It must also mean you’re the most delusional. This is mine. MACY: So funny. Macy reaches to grab the dish but Carl instantly has the dish in a death grip. 58
CARL: I told you; this is my dish. They stare into each other’s eyes as if they hope flames come out of their pupils and disintegrate their opponent. CARL: Call mom and I bet you she’ll agree with me. MACY: Fine. Macy thinks about it, and then understands why Carl didn’t volunteer to call. MACY: Oh, you sneak! You wanted me to leave so you could eat the lasagna while I had my back turned. CARL: And you almost fell for it. Who’s the superior being now? Macy is getting frustrated. MACY: Look, I’m a small person; I don’t really need to eat much. We could easily split this piece. Carl thinks about the newly proposed idea. CARL: I can’t tell if this is a trick or not. MCY: No trick. I’m just hungry and I think we should eat it before— SHANE walks in the door on his cellphone. MACY (sighs): Shane gets home. SHANE (to cellphone): Yeah, I’m just going to eat some lasagna then I’ll be ovShane sees what is happening in the kitchen. SHANE (to cellphone): I’ll call you back.
Shane tosses his phone and grabs hold of the dish. MACY: Shane, leave now before this gets any messier. SHANE: Oh, it’s too late for that. About… Shane looks at his watch SHANE: Three hours too late. I called it this morning before class. CARL: We were all asleep 3 hours ago. SHANE: It doesn’t matter. I called it. It doesn’t matter who is there to listen. It’s like a tree falling in the woods; nobody hears it but it still falls. MACY: Damn, that’s actually kind of good logic…especially for you. SHANE: Yeah, someone said it in class. MACY: I’m surprised you were able to pay attention in class. CARL: Guys, back to the lasagna. SHANE: There is no discussion. I called it this morning. CARL: But I pulled it out of the fridge and warmed it up. MACY: I’m the oldest though; which means I thought of eating it long before you little babies were born. SHANE: Doubt it. CARL: Yeah, good try Mace. SHANE: Macy, you know what. Just go call mom and let her decide. MACY: Carl already tried pulling that. Didn’t work the first time, won’t work again. SHANE (to Carl): Really? CARL (nodding in agreement): Yeah, I tried. SHANE: Good thinking! Shane high fives Carl. SHANE: Alright, how about we rock, papers, scissors, shoot it. Fair? Shane looks at Carl and Macy and they both agree. SHANE: Rock…paper…scissors…shoot. They all reveal their chosen weapons. Macy chooses rock, 60
Carl chooses scissors and Shane chooses paper. MACY: Really? SHANE: Alright, it’s just a tie. We’ll redo it. The three siblings restart their hands to the fist position. SHANE: Rock…paper…scissors…shoot. Once again their hands transform into a chosen weapon; Macy chooses scissors, Carl chooses paper and Shane chooses rock. SHANE: Okay, I don’t know who it is, but one of you is cheating. CARL: You can’t cheat in this game, dude. SHANE: Playing dumb? I’m on to you. MACY: Okay, let’s do it a third time. It can’t possibly happen three times in a row. The siblings prepare themselves for a third round. MACY: Rock…scissors…papSHANE: Wait. Can you say it properly? It’s: Rock, paper, scissors. CARL: Does it really matter? SHANE: I can’t focus otherwise. Not everyone cheats like you. MACY: Fine, whatever. Rock…paper…scissors…shoot. For the third time their hands-turned-weapons fall onto the table and produce disappointing faces from the siblings. MACY: Of course we all chose rock. SHANE: Now it’s blatant you guys are cheating. CARL: YOU. CAN NOT. CHEAT. IN. THIS. GAME. MACY: It was a stupid idea anyway. You know what? Let’s just split it three ways. SHANE: No way! 61
CARL: Yeah, definitely not. I might as well just give it up; the piece would be too small. SHANE: I’m way too hungry to do that. CARL: Hey, I have an idea. You don’t eat much anyway, a direct quote from you, so just go drink some water instead and Shane and I will split it. MACY: Not happening. I’m way too proud and I’ve been holding onto this plate for far too long to give it up. CARL: I’ll let you eat it if you set me up on a date with that Sarah Jenkins girl you hang out with. SHANE: Oh, I’ll get in on that deal. MACY: A: that is gross. B: Never. CARL: Or I can tell your boyfriend you had a nice little date with that d-bag from the football team. MACY: Then I’ll tell mom you gave her necklace to some floozy because you needed a date. SHANE: Ouch, that’s a good one. CARL: That’s it. I got here first I’m just going to eat it. Carl takes his fork and starts to plunge into the lasagna. Shane and Macy both use force to stop him. The three siblings fight each other for control of the fork. They sort of resemble the Iwo Jima statue at time; except, replace the American flag with a fork and proud, brave soldiers with hungry bickering siblings. As the war for the lasagna is being waged on the kitchen floor, DAD walks in. The Dad steps over the kids wrestling on the floor as if they were dust bunnies. The Dad looks in the fridge and then sees the lasagna. DAD: Lasagna! Don’t mind if I do… The Dad puts his hands towards the plate and draws the attention of the children. CARL, MACY, SHANE (in unison): Dad, NO! 62
The Dad stands there, frozen as his three children hold a fork directly in front of his face. MACY: Drop the lasagna. DAD: But I bought the ingredients and I bought the fork. The Dad takes the fork from their hands coolly. DAD: So, I don’t think I’ll be dropping it. Besides, there is another piece in the fridge. The kids are bewildered and check in the fridge. Altogether, they pull out the other piece of lasagna. MACY: Alright, we can handle this like adults. We’ll each just split it and that’s it, okay? Carl and Shane look at each other and think. CARL: Nope. SHANE: No way. The three once again fight each other for the lasagna. [CURTAIN]
On Humbled Chelsea McCline Content, Meekness Graceful , Selfless Bridling your tongue Consistent, Loving These are the characteristics of a humble person Do you show these qualities?
Anti-Ode to the Letter “Q” Mark Stansbury It’s my turn in Scrabble One letter left, and I am stuck with you, g––damn letter “q.” Just an “o” with a little tail I always said, you are nothing without “u.” Qat, qats, qi, qis, faqir. Faqir? What the hell is faqir? Please use faqir in a sentence: I would rather have sex over there than faqir. Nothing much else I can say without “u.” You’re the last kid picked for dodgeball, you are slow, you can’t catch or throw. Everything you can do, “k” and “c” can do better, just their kid cousin that everyone picks on. Maybe you can file unemployment, I heard “y” is collecting partially. Although, he still has a part time job as a vowel. Spanish still needs you a bit With ques and quesadillas. If I can figure one word to fit a letter “q”, I shall be victorious. Looks like all u’s are used, no qi or qis, I am defeated. By a lousy nine points.
Pulp Jungle John A. Guttschall Buried in back of the Albany Public Library on the third floor across from the history section there is a book on locomotives with smudged ink torn pages, and the slightest chicken-fried thumb prints greasing most corners
the caboose of that book has a crumpled page of Big Sur Buried in back
Brigantine Bobby Speirs Leaving one city for another you cross the bridge of lights like a drive up rainbow road the other side unknown as you ascend to the peak as the horizon washes into view Towering blue mammoths in the background sprawling sporadically throughout the city below as you descend, the towers creep away out of sight and in the shadow of buildings known as home to some Cold and barren the city moans in the months of orange and white warm and bustling the people come to life as the days become long and the greens flourish Pedestrians take to the streets out-of-towners from places exotic only in tale this their vacation Castles litter Ocean Drive behemoths in their own right emptied of life when the city sleeps but full of squatters in summer apartments crawl along the roads roads that wind and circle and come back on each other confusing to all in the south Find your way north to the grid iron of avenues all named after numbers both north and south where the condos find their home 67
At the northern tip, the beach unfolds for miles along a coast that has no immediate end past the blinking light that signals the end of the road but on foot you can walk for hours this is the north where the people come to live year-round unlike the tourists that pop in for a week the parked cars remain motionless for days the snow locks them in and gives credence to the fact that the local liquor store never finds itself alone
Gulp Tyler Carman Puzzled is the hand clasping thick crown Its mind catching Atlantic trade wind as would any eastern pelican The minds foresight far less than a wingspan Watching over turbulent ocean the bird is a brown streamline marking horizon Necessity lifts the bird from over the water, higher than any standing inland tree Turning down Facing ocean below prepared for the dive-plunge Gasping for sustenance beneath the waterâ€™s surface returning topside to drain its bill as would any fishermen hoisting their net The mind emulates the pelican Whoâ€™s yellow tipped bill holds three gallons, though filling itâ€™s stomach only takes one. 69
But As Pasteboard Masks Rich Russell A fifty-ton metaphor has washed up on 7th Street beach. The news streams over social networking; we step out into the mottled day to bear witness to this beast, lemmings to the feast. The beast, thrown on to the deck of man as if by God, decomposes in the sand as, obediently, we arrive. There is a clattering of car doors. An old woman emerges from a taxi, bundled in fur, tosses the driver crumpled bills from her handbag and heads up to join the Methodists massing. We swarm the sand, pulling on monastic hoodies in our haste. “I brought my children to see,” a man says. “Who would’ve thought to see this,” another woman exclaims. “Shame though it’s dead, though. ––Pity.” The metaphor delivered to us was dead, she means–– wind undulating its shivery, silvery blubber, mask of movement in the surf, coaxing and coaxing. Even so, the mass seems to metasticize in front of us, gaining momentum. When the tide nudges it next, a lame fin presses up and appears to be waving at us. The satellite vans––the proliferation of camera phones–– people texting loved ones to come and see, come and see. Seized by it, creature of the sea, and sure that we see 70
almost mythical testaments in its being sent to us: Almost Biblical, a relic; remnant of past plague. One feels sick, as if it were something vomited up, not by the sea, but by us ourselves, made manifest on land as if to confront usâ€“â€“ willed by a collective force but not to give no comfort to us. The primordial metaphor has no eyes, but if one stares for too long one forgets whether it is being compared to us or whether we are being compared to it. When I was a child, I had a book on metaphors, on the golden age of metaphoring, when men would take to masted ships in search of them, filled with lust for hunting and for the unknown. Pictures of men setting to wine-red sea with harpoons, clinging to the mooring as the metaphors crushed their ships to tremendous splinters. When many died from such sport, many more wished to die but wouldnâ€™t. One child begins to cry and is taken away. The rest of us, preoccupied with work, turn from the beast back to the island town as the men from Public Works arrive to hatchet it up, and to bury it deep; and to bury it good. 71
Back Home Aubri Fouts Inside a hollowed-out, wooden belly We were shipwrecked, then swallowed By a whale, like the one that sat stuffed One the top shelf above our twin bed. We were old maids, like the deck Of cards pop did tricks with after Friday dinner, Making tea in our living room, which always Smelled of pine and sap. We had barely escaped; our Disney lunchboxes stuffed to the brim, with Millions of dollars in strips of bark, which We buried under the earthy floorboards To save for tomorrow; it was getting dark.
I Pass The Scene Daily Zachary Blaesi Rays of moonlight Captured In the swamp stream Cannot Escape the reflection of the waters, They peer through the liquid like Glass Fogged with a Whisper. They take in the surroundings As a blur shifting in the tide Trees line the area like Dancing scarecrows But they are Leafless, Lifeless, Dead.
Jinx Taylor Coyle Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse! I cry out, but Michael Keaton does not manifest himself tonight. Instead, a sparkling speck in the scorched sky luminous enough for me to wish upon grows brighter and bigger and bluer until I remember that Betelgeuse is actually a star, and not in the silver screen sense.
The Map Says We’re Wayward John A. Guttschall When you’re walking shirtless through the streets of spotless Saratoga Springs; your stomach sliced by steel grates of the 30 gigs before- Remember there is no place you would rather be. You will be broke, you will be flea-bitten, you will be hungry, tired, and longing for your lover’s touch. But they will be stretching their arms like telephone wires, thousands of connections away, and at least you will be free. The van shall become your white cargo steed, and no matter how many times she breaks down, returning home is not an option. For you have chosen the buried life, more sincere and earnest in its’ crippled route. Those you left with will become your sustenance living like packed sardines in a can, inches from one another. You will see the starry desolation in Detroit, where the shelves of grocery stores are uncalculated and clustered with dusty products, all of which are expired. The motor city shutting down at dusk because the sleepwalker vagabonds come out at night to dumpster dive and lurk the sidewalks- all of their stories gloomy and beautiful. You’ll witness the Montreal Police Department draw their guns on armed robbers hiding within eyeshot on apartment porches. You might even rat them out. On the hills of Northern California, you will yell on the rooftops and scream the body electric because Jack and Uncle Walt said that is all you would be able to do. They were right. There were dead on and you were alive, getting off on strolling through the closed high school campuses, wishing you could have eaten your lunch outside every day. You will have nowhere to sleep in Fargo, North Dakota, prowling through the neighborhoods with syphon and gas tank on hand, trying car after car but the models too new, unsuccessful schemes underneath the vast constellations. You will drive all night to Burlington, Vermont only to find out you have no business there but another cancellation. Running barefoot through torrential downpour, your 75
legs become roots as you plunge 40 feet down into Lake Champlain, waving detached to the passing ferry. You will have visions in Chattanooga, asking a cop for directions. Lying down on the storage center as the clouds fight a monumental battle, recalling the policeman sobbing, “Let my tears flow!” Locals offering their moonshine in white buckets concocted of gasoline wind. Greeted in West Virginia by mustaches drawn on with felt-tip markers, privates of the waves made themselves into apparitions. Howling at the moon on Wolf’s Summit, kicking boxes of empty bottles onto the front lawn of your discontent. You will lock the keys inside the cargo womb on the hottest Arizona generation, skeptical of plain-clothes troubadours concerned with entrapment. Huffing and puffing red-faced, bent out of shape, break from the gazebo into a Yuma pond because it’s the crescendo of the set, “NO DIG, NO RIDE! NO DIG, NO RIDE,” You will rest on the sidewalk twilight of Salt Lake City, taking in dawn of the flats over a neon 7-11. Basement head shops throw change in your cup 86 cents to split between two gas tanks. The Mormon temple follows you in peripheral hiding places and colossal pipe organs groaning the hymns of Joseph Smith, “The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning!” You will lose Scott Harrison to a broad in White Fish, Montana where he now rides fences, waving his hat, raising his children, while your flannel sleeping back remains tucked away in the ether of his brother’s basement. Celestial feedback soothes your ears while everything else becomes static like language. You will wonder why the altitude soars in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, winding the set of flying headstocks knocked out of tune atop the thrift shop venue. Why bother with divine tow-truck drivers when only the back wheels rise up through the tectonic wood boards? You will be hunted as dogs by rednecks from Cumberland, Maryland, cruising up and down the corn fields in pick-up trucks hooting, hollering, banging baseball bats. You will tell them that Andy Warhol is a NARC, a government agent sent out to infiltrate their idealistic lifestyle from the inside. Looting the eternal rented houses of strangers by 76
strangers for anything of value, strangled in VHS tape. Gas station buffet cuisine of the Gods! Indian casino shamans bequeath the poetry of William Blake for you to stuff inside the back of books about locomotives in the Albany Public Library. You will scribble in wind-up notebooks the sense of remoteness a life like this as bestowed upon your soft bruised head. Whisked through the backdoors of North America, you would have it no other way. Racing all night to sleep at the bus stop before the 6:20AM to school carries you back to reality television. Unreadable winter break tales, you keep silent all the wiser. Hoary jaunts through the fog. Dual life. Blessed train stations, laundry room pile-ons, haunted families in abandoned Kentucky ice factories, hallucinations of Tim Buckley’s painted beard, a wizard carved on your chest. Gregorian pizzerias, cataclysmic bowling alleys from Blithe to Minneapolis. These are your sanctuaries now. King Cobra becomes the blood of Christ, and Chef-Boy-R-Di is the body to break on your tongue. You’ll part the sea in Reno only to be carried into the center of the city over rocks squeezing love from muted stones. You will know the meaning of ‘go for broke or go for dead’ because Jeff in his cynical honesty opened your eyes to a world more addictive than a skagamuffin’s fix. Why walk around with tombstones in your eyes when you can be reborn each night? Loading cog into dingy clubs, down basement stairs, empty art galleries, and Colorado queenie bars. Baptizing yourself in murky waters swung by heavenly rope swings on covered bridges in Falmouth, Maine. St. Grease of the stars balancing himself in chairs unconscious bucket in arms. Grazing the rail at every turn. You will discover the pleasures of public bathrooms, waiting in parking lot lexicons, killing time with plasma department stores. Brother Andrews living polar bear, lover of my being! Birthday wishes in Austin. Trapped inside the Alamo gift shop. Spooning in the van with baphomet wings. Sentiments captured in New Orleans on asphalt piles whizzing rocks at cans perched on boxcars. You will front-flip vomit through time fending off all-comers with nieces and 77
cane-knives! Evocative cries from South Carolina garages, “Celessio don’t go out there! Don’t go out there Celessio!” Reverb-drenched cigarette bans, shrieking in alleys! You will appreciate airborne, you will love Bill’s electronic savvy and the rugged way he looks on Mt. Sugarloaf, Destefano’s unfunny jokes, Carrol’s half-finished jokes. You will breathe in used bookstores, record shops, and radio stations. You will break concrete to grip the kick from sliding. Your steed will become a time capsule, shielding you from the world outside spinning, while you go on driving. You will see God through a bug-splattered windshield at dawn on your two-lane highway cathedral. Rolling hills and cosmic prayers. You will meet divinity as a bigot in Greenville named Kenny Gange who gives you the shirt off his back and states most profoundly that, “ALL THIS WAS GIVEN TO ME!” You will mail postcards to reality, visit your mother in the hospital after stroke number two, and return to your vegan potlucks in the abyss. You will contemplate suicide and killer-bees. You will remain silent until the tuning or down-tuning of strings. You will weep for Kevin, lying on the pavement in Providence, and mourn Gary as he rides by waving at the pass. You will return to the camper, shaming your musings, wondering when you will be able to step foot in the cathedral again.
Rewrites 2012 Staff Biographies John A. Guttschall is a Literature major currently attending ACCC. He spends his spare time traveling across the country in cargo vans and sleeping on the floors of strangers. Guttschall is currently in the process of self-publishing a chapbook of his prose with illustrations by Tim Buckley. Tyler Carman is doing well. He is an active member of Rewrites and a contributor to the Atlantic Cape Review. He is trademarked by an enthusiasm that he likes to think is contagious (it probably isn’t). Tyler’s interests include what some Rewrites members regard as too much coffee, and walking around out of season shore towns. His bucket list reads like Dr. Seuss, and “super camping” with Isaac Zumwalt is somewhere near the top. Aubri Fouts is a Literature major who hopes to someday become an editor. In the mean time, she works several jobs, writes poetry and creative non-fiction, and has become obsessed with all things Shakespeare. Robert Thomas Dulaney III is 5’8” and 130 lbs. He likes knitting and pictures of kittens, long walks and short hair. He rarely wears socks and enjoys sleeping in. You can follow his day-to-day adventures at knitxcore.com. Isaac Zumwalt is a 15-year old computer programing major at ACCC, and works as a writer, warrior-poet, and super-villain in his spare time. Lauren Coyle has been an adjunct instructor at Atlantic Cape for 3.5 years. She is a big fan of John Updike, 79
Tori Amos, Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and the semicolon. Rich Russell teaches composition, literature, and creative writing classes here at Atlantic Cape and developmental writing courses over at Stockton College. When he wore a bow tie to one of the first meetings of Rewrites this year, Isaac Zumwalt said he looked like Doctor Who, which he took as a compliment. He wonders what Dan Sanchez would think about that.
Contributor Biographies Lisa Apel-Gendron works at the College’s Cape May County Campus. Camera in hand, she’s on a mission to document Nature’s abundant beauty and wonder in her own back yard––literally––througout each season. Zachary Blaesi drinks good beer and spews prose. Sometimes at the same time. You can find him at NYU Tisch, but he’s usually in the philosophy department. Matt Brocious: “My heart pumps blood like raging waters of a flood that flows through my veins like a burning train to break my bones to shatter all hope.” Matt Brown has lived in South Jersey all his life. His second toes are longer than his big toes, and it freaks him out, but only sometimes. Oh, and he’s also Hugh Jackman on the weekends, including holidays. Taylor Coyle is from Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. She recently transferred from Atlantic Cape Community College to The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. She feels that her life is not interesting enough for a 3-line bio, but she loves Rewrites, so she hopes this will suffice. Carole Dieterly is an ACCC graduate who has now been accepted to St. George’s University Veterinary Program and will be attending this fall. She moonlights as a ghost writer to local authors, including a chapter in a soon-to-be-published textbook on traditional chinese veterinary medicine by Dr. David Hirsch and “A Shot of Brandi” by David Tanz. Cheryl L. Werner: “Looking back can only give you 81
wisdom to move foward.” Here I am, back in college studying a dual major in Journalism/Psychology, my goal being a doctorate degree. “I’m an old car that needs a tune-up!” It can be done... Enjoy reading Rewrites: we all start somewhere. Kathryn Burke Petrillo studied art at ACCC, or Atlantic Community College as it was called when she graduated in 1977 with an AS. After retirement in 2011, she works as a full time painter and resides in Syracuse NY, with her husband, Robert Petrillo of 30 years. She is an abstract painter and shows her work around CNY, (Central NY). Bobby Speirs is a 26-year old Communication major who currently lives in Brigantine. He aspires to become a prominent journalist who travels the world while putting his passions into prose. Nicole Schoenstein, a general studies major and current co-editor of the Atlantic Cape Review, has written as a hobby since she was a little girl. She is partial to drama and poetry, and loves implementing sudden and twist endings. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Sigma Delta Kappa and was also accepted into Atlantic Cape’s Leadership, Education and Development (L.E.A.D.) program. Joel Ollander is a retired, seventy-five year old Director Emeritus of an association dedicated to fostering better intergroup and interreligious relations. He says he learned much about the art of writing as a non-matriculating student in Prof. Crawford’s excellent Creative Writing class in the fall semester. His poem “An Old Man’s Wish” speaks to finding youthful joy in old age, as life is short and finite. 82
Daniel Sanchez has been writing poems since high school, and has been writing good poems since college, maybe. Previously a member of the Rewrites staff, he now spends his time attending Rutgers University and performing at the Loserslam Poetry Slam. You can find more of his work on his blog, the Dog and Poetry Show: http://danielsanchezpoetry.tumblr.com/ Mark Stansbury is an avid tree-climber, busta rhymer, show stopper, party dropper, do watch Jeopardy!, don’t have leprosy, enjoy white bread, and “I’ll put your rhymes to bed.” Yep. Patricia Taylor A Wife, Mom and Student Working toward a Studio Arts Degree Jessica Tewell’s parents swear she was found under a banana tree at the age of three. They also swear that Jessica has not slept since they found her. They might be lying, but Jessica is not sure she cares. Stephanie Vannello has been published fifteen times and has been on the Dean’s List twice. Stephanie takes life and education into her hands and from it, crafts her future of being an excellent writer. When she is not creating her destiny, Stephanie is devouring various cuisines, and literature.