Sanskrit 2010

Page 1

What is art and how do we define it? Is it pure originality? Can it be appropriated? Does it have to be handmade? Must it reflect reality? The answers to these questions, and many others, either baffle or define art for each and every one of us. It seems to be the institutions are defining what art is. If you get a piece in a gallery, published in a magazine, or have it written about; does that make it art? It seems the more exposure your work gets, the more likely people will accept it as such. On the other hand, if a piece is created solely to challenge how we define art; is that, too, art? Now, what I sense to be pleasing may or may not be to the next person. It is impossible to sit here and say, “this is art and that is not art� to a piece of work with 100% agreement; therefore, art is subjective, continually challenged by aesthetics, and cannot possibly have a universal definition. The design of this magazine reflects my definition of art. I hope that it will make you question yours. (In no way are the design and my ideas a reflection or response to contributors’ work.) Technology has seemed to make us lazy. We may often rely on shortcuts, upgrades, and everything else that makes what we do easier and faster. I admit, without them, I would have many more sleepless nights; but what happened to creating things by hand? Why use a typewriter font and not a typewriter; or a stock image rather than photographing it yourself? Why do something that anyone else can do rather than making your own original? Is the handmade/original aesthetic more pleasing because of the appreciation of work? I tend to think so. I am not saying that those which are made solely from appropriated technology are not art, however, they tend to be less pleasing. I thrive on the fact that the piece, even when reproduced, becomes yours; an original. I decided to take a step back and create for you a work of art. (In my opinion, of course.)

Karen Pierce : Editor in Chief

Mother and Child   04 Our Issue 05 I Shall Not Want 06 Xylocopa Virginica 07 Hats We Wear 08 Bookends 12 Sinking in Sin 13 Every Good Street 14 Stillborn 15 Ferris Wheel 16 Mr. Maveety 17 Fountan Water Reverse Death 18 Project 1.5 19 Mermaid 20 Apple 24 Your Words are Tattoos 25 Leeches 26 Untitled (Barn) 27 My Art History 28 Turn Away 29 Our Friend The Professor 30 Immobility 32 When I Prayed... 33 In Memoriam 34 The Truth 35 Beekeeper’s Daughter 36 Seeing the Light 37 Shopping for Something Unusual 38 S.T.E.A.K. 39 Sucker 40 Unless 44 Untitled Portrait 45 Apparition for Redon 46 Conversations with My Therapist 47 Blue Ridge Morning 48 The Garden of Lost Girlfriends 49 Conditional Litany 50 Boy Watching Planes 51 He is Like 52 King Remington 53 Forbidden Passion 54 You, When You’re 70 56 Kingsley 57 Untitled Landscape 58 Deracination 59 Humble Pie 60 Meditation 61 62 Family Curse 63 Clockpeople 64 HorseApples 65 Word Power 66 The Other Half of Graceland 70 Illumination Machine Performance 71 Forsaken 72 Every Good Garden 73 Hot Pumps

Mother and Child

Mixed Media | 34" x 37"

Eight, ten, years ago your father felt as you do now. I heard my heart beat, saw my hands shake. felt the world shrink, and I thought something— perhaps my world— would end. Now, like a burst automobile tire— Not only flapping, flattening— parts of it, or me, lie in the middle of my road, inseparable from dead things and dirt.

I Shall Not Want

Digital Print | 12" x 8"

Xylocopa Virginica

Inkjet Print | 13" x 13"

I don’t go to the steeplechase anymore, but when I did I bought a different hat each year. Except that year. The last hat I wore, Yvonne had worn the year before. Black, tightly woven straw from Dillard’s, not thin and reedy like my Target brand. Her hat with its swooping brim and single silk gardenia, was a hat of substance. I was 42 that May, balancing her hat on my head like a dictionary I practiced with when I was 12. As we hiked along a gravel path and climbed the hill with Nashville’s finest, I told myself to pull my shoulders back and stand up straight. Yvonne and Scott, her husband of five years, led me past the sprawl of people sitting on the hill, past the bank of bleachers, through an arbor gate to our boxed seats. Scott set the cooler of champagne between cushioned white-wood chairs. “There’s your buddy,” he said, nodding toward a red-faced, balding man in green suspenders and a Gatsby hat. Senator Atkins’ box was adjacent to ours. Each year, in silent protest of his voting record, I ignored him. “Morning, sir.” Yvonne stepped in front of me. “I was just saying to Scott how steeplechase wouldn’t be the same without you and that hat of yours.” He tipped his brim. “Why thank you, little missy, thank you kindly.” “Such a gentleman,” Yvonne whispered when he turned away. I longed to sit down, but we stayed standing to see who we could see and what they wore. The late-morning sky bowled around us like a glass paperweight. Voices lifted and fell. Hounds, darting between the horses’ trailers, yelped. The favored horse that year was Malcolm’s Mix, the favored fashion polka-dotted linen. I wore linen too, but striped, and Yvonne forgave me. I was what Scott called her commie-hippie friend, the absentminded professor whom they toted along with the cooler or the bag of Swiss hors d’oeuves. I was used to being toted—to Scott’s mother’s for dinner, to Sunday brunch at the club, to the occasional charity ball. I told myself I went to be with Yvonne. We’d been friends since our first marriages over 20 years ago to crew-cut men who loved us like their fathers loved their mothers and couldn’t understand when we were sad. We left our husbands and pursued different lifestyles: she sold computers and I went back to school. We both did well. She made a lot of money and found a high-class man; I taught teacher education and learned to kayak. We called ourselves best friends. Scott uncorked the champagne with the deftness of one who played the guitar, wrote and sang heart-

thumping music, read a book a day and cooked gourmet—all while waiting for his trust fund to kick in. “Ponte 96—from Marseilles,” he said, brandishing the bottle like a prize. Dressed in white, his blue silk tie with golden crests looked fitting. His deep green eyes looked brash. “French champagne?” I challenged. The assault on Iraq had just begun and France had balked. “I never let politics interfere with good taste. But they will pay. They are nubs in the scheme of global rule and they will pay.” “They strike me as a very moral people. I admire their spunk,” I said. “After all we’ve done for them, and they betray us in our time of need,” Yvonne said, holding out her glass. “Even if, as Dickens claimed, vengeance and retribution take a long time. The French will pay.” Scott poured. I was accustomed to his pig-headed opinions, though Yvonne’s complicity still startled me. She and I once waited in the rain for hours to hear Gloria Steinem speak at Vanderbilt, and when we rode the bus to Washington to march for choice, we carried KEEP YOUR LAWS OFF MY BODY signs that Yvonne had painted. “We might be the ones who pay,” I said now, though no one seemed to hear. “Cheers!” Scott toasted and we obliged. The sun was low enough to reach beneath my brim. I sipped champagne and worried about sweating while passer-bys I did not know stopped to chat with Yvonne. During momentary lulls she pulled her chair close to mine and filled me in on the Alfords’ ugly baby, Kerry Cane’s botox, and Jim, whose second wife was the spitting image of his first when she was young.

Occasionally, Yvonne would introduce me, but I preferred to watch. Standing thin and sleeveless, her polka dots a brilliant pink, her hat with wisps of net, Yvonne looked younger than we were. Her face, firm and flawless, showed pure delight with each new greeting. As if at last she’d found you, the one person she wanted to see. And though she did not hug you or grasp your hand, her smile was so beguiling you’d forgive. Stiff clouds wandered overhead as a loudspeaker brought us to our feet to sing the anthem. Defiantly, suspecting our land of liberty of fraud, I kept my arms at my side. Scott and Yvonne had pressed theirs against their hearts, allegiance-style, and now he looked at me and winced. Damn if I didn’t start to sing. Afterward, as the horses lumbered toward the gate, their jockeys sitting stiff and proud, we cheered and settled in. This was Yvonne’s favorite part. She scooted to the edge of her seat, and pushed her sunglasses firmly on her nose. “There’s Kenny on Hell Shine and Billy Joe on Malcolm’s Mix.” She rattled off the names like they were friends. Yvonne grew up with horses—the plow-pulling kind scattering the fields in Tenga, a border town where half the folks claimed Tennessee, the other half Georgia. Her family owned the grocery store. They used an outhouse and sewed quilts. Yvonne grew up in Tenga, waiting just to leave. These horses, decked out with their jockeys, proved she had. The actual races—the Bright Hour Amateur Hurtle, the Marcellus Frost, or the Margaret Currey Henley Sport of Queens—where fillies, mares, and maidens flayed and pawed and made the track their own—failed to capture our attention. Scott hailed a white-coated black confectioner who sold us familiar chocolate-covered strawberries from a silver tray. “Eileen should be here,” I heard myself say. Scott’s pristine mother was a Steeplechase devotee who relished these berries and had been known to devour a good handful or two before any of us tasted the first bite. Too late, I watched as Scott’s bravado wavered, his heart-swollen flush exposing the boy beneath the bluster of the man. This boy was unaccustomed to his mother’s absence, was perhaps expecting her to totter in, to take his arm and chide him for neglect. That she was tucked comfortably away at Richland Manor, where each day promised to be her last, was simply rot. Scott’s furrowed lack of comment was unsettling. “Nothing like a tacky remark from your commie-hippie friends to put a damper in things,” I said. Scott thrust one berry into his mouth and then another. I braced myself, feeling his state of mind take one more twist, the boy vanishing. “I have an idea for a book,” he said, unbuttoning his cuffs and rolling up his sleeves to elbow length. “The genesis of genders and the role marriage plays in warping nature’s clear intent. Marriage is an artificial institution, invented by women to protect against obsolescence.” “More likely invented by men to protect their property,” I said.

“It has outgrown its usefulness. Men were meant to procreate?with younger women. Older women lose the urge to mate. Men never do.” “Speak for yourself,” I said, shielding my eyes to find the horses lift above the hedgerows and jump the streams. Yvonne used a tiny mirror to check her face. “Go ahead, write the damn book,” she said, snapping the compact shut. “For god’s sake, write it and shut up.” “I’ll have a chapter on good sex. The kind I had in Nam.” Scott’s eyes twinkled above a closed-lipped smile. “A lodge they called it. Very, very costly. Only officers got in. They served hashish and bourbon.” “I’m going to go pee.” Yvonne slipped the straps of her high-heeled shoes between her fingers and walked barefoot down the aisle. Scott kept talking. “They laid you naked on a quilted table not much larger than a cot, and when your adjusted to the haze, you’d see them hanging. Baskets Dozens of them, up on the ceiling, each one holding a young girl.” “Hush! You’ve already told me this story.” It was true. More than once I had listened to tales of his carousing, listened, I will admit, with wide-eyed fascination. “It’s—it’s barbaric!” He’d told me how the basket worked with pulleys. How the bottom opened and the girl was lowered on a harness he controlled. I glanced away from the track. Scott had moved. He sat beside me. When everyone around us stated standing, we sat still. It was the crowd’s collective gasp that I remember as he leaned in close and kissed me hard. “I’ve wanted to do that for a long time,” he said, pulling away, knocking my hat askew. Around us an unsettling murmur rippled through the crowd. We had to stand to see the horse. Dead. Torso twisted around a bend in the track, legs sprawled backward, with neck and handsome face skewed toward the sky. * After the races, inside the patrons’ tent, no one chose to talk of Malcolm’s Mix. How he broke his back. How his jockey walked away, unharmed. It was a party, after all. Cloth covered tables, more cushioned chairs. Yellow roses in crystal vases. A band played ‘60s music; there was food. Yvonne and I set our glasses on a table and walked toward the buffet. I tried to follow her through the crowd, but the champagne slowed me down, and she went on. Strangers jostled me. It was warm but I suspect the hot I felt was the hot of not belonging. I caught the smell of steaming beef. “Dr. Presley.” The crowd shuffled forward. “Dr. Presley.” The voice came from the other side of the buffet table. The servers’ side. I scanned a line of white-coated men and women. All of them black, one of them familiar. “Thurman Brooks. Hey, how are you?” I talked as if no table stood between us. As if there were no others shoving me along, waving plates before him, giving orders he acknowledged with a nod. I stepped out of line and waited. Thurman was a graduate student in my Schools and Social Justice class. As I watched him lifting tenderloins and scooping up potatoes, it occurred to me I’d been outed. “Looking fine there, Doc.” “Yeah, well, I clean up real good.” I nodded, and my hat seemed to wobble. “What can I get you here?” It was his turn to ignore what lay between us. “The pork lion looks tasty and whatever else you’d recommend.” “Sorry, Doc, I can’t recommend a thing. They don’t let us eat. We’re here to serve.” “This your weekend gig?” I laughed and held out my plate. “Is it yours?” He almost smiled, as he placed the meat, roasted peppers, and tomato salad on the plate with care. “My friends,” I lied, “insisted that I come.” I looked at my plate. The food was artfully arranged. Presentation is all, Scott would say. “Nice job,” I said to Thurman, knowing I had said the same to him in class. He caught my eye and then gave a quick salute before turning his attention to other guests. I felt dismissed. Plate in hand, I wandered back to our table and was glad to find Yvonne alone. “One of my students is here.” I sat down. “Thurman Brooks.” “Here?” She looked around. “Serving.” I said. “My hat looks good on you.” “I’m not comfortable in hats.” “It’s not about comfort, is it?” “Isn’t it?” Now I glanced around. “Everything here reeks of it.” “Well, is that so terrible?” “I worry comfort numbs.” “Something numbing is a salve.” She seemed annoyed. “Do you always have to look at the underside of things? Besides, it’s not easy to be part of this; it takes work.” “Yes, I know.” I shook my head. “ I’ve seen how it consumes you”.

She was staring at my plate. “You didn’t get any lemon squares,” she said and gave me one of hers. “Look, we’re being paged.” She nodded at Scott, who was gesturing for us to join him on the dance floor. “In a minute,” I said and watched her go. It occurred to me I might slip away. Take off my hat, leave it in the padded chair, and run away. I’d carry my high heels and wave at Thurman, just so he would know I hadn’t stayed. I took a bite of lukewarm pork. It wasn’t good to sit alone. You think too much, Yvonne would say whenever I was moody.

“Katherine, Katherine Presley?” A small boned-man bent down and squinted. “I didn’t recognize you without your helmet.” I smiled at Larry. We often kayaked together. “I needed a different kind of hat today. These are rapids of another sort.” “You two are going to sit there gabbing? It’s a party, goddamn it.” Scott hollered at us from the edge the dance floor where he and Yvonne were gyrating to “The Midnight Hour.” “Shall we? Larry asked. “We shall,” I said, welcoming the hand he offered. The band was loud but the crowd was louder. Everyone was singing lyrics like they’d sung them years ago. With different partners, in different settings, but the music and the lyrics were the same. Yesterday’s music. The kind that entered you and stayed. On the dance floor, Larry and I raised our arms to the chorus. We were singing out load when I caught sight of Thurman scraping dishes. I kicked my shoes off, tossed the hat, and fluffed my hair. Thurman stacked up champagne flutes and dropped lipstick-blotted napkins in a pile. Yvonne danced in her husband’s arms. I waved like I was having fun. As the band played one last refrain, Larry twirled me around, and then dizzy from the effort, I stood still. The buffet table had been cleared away. It was time to go. * I said good-bye to Larry and started down the hill with Yvonne and Scott. I don’t remember that we said a word, even when we passed the sheet-covered bulk of Malcolm Mix. Scott had driven halfway home when he looked into the rearview mirror and caught my eye. “I hear your buddy, the senator, got into a spat over dinner. Seems he was going through the buffet line and one of the servers started in on him for supporting corporate tax breaks. Senator Atkins said the boy kept going on and on.” Scott shook his head and chuckled. “Uppity was the word he used. The kid was downright uppity.” Too tired to argue, I rolled down the window and shifted out of view of Scott’s dark eyes. It felt good to settle against the plump leather seat. I remember it was dusk. The moon was waiting. And I remember I was happy. The happy of swallowing a splendid pear knowing more piled upon the plate. And I was cared for. Yvonne and Scott loved me, probably. Their willingness—no, insistence—that I accompany them from one event to the next—events bursting with good taste—demanded nothing from me but devotion. I managed to salvage Yvonne’s hat from the dance floor and now, as the air slapped my face, I worked to smooth the tainted silk gardenia back in shape. * A year later they were living in a resort community outside Santa Fe. The sky, they assured me, was wide and bright, unlike any I had ever seen. Dazzling. “You must come. We have an extra room.” I did not intend to visit. That I have not, plagues each shining May with the unsettled sense that I am missing out. As if the party’s going on without me but I have no clothes. Nothing to wear. Everything I own is way too small.


Silkscreen and Mixed Media Prints | 10" x 14"

She tossed the light from her hair And uncrossed the soft of her thigh, Then rushed into the air With barely a scent a sigh. The boys stared into the space Where memory shaped into a dream, The fruit of the upturned face Covered with layers of cream. A squad cruised the street, Looking for smoke in the air. In the darkening city heat The boys were shades standing there. A bottle broke in an alley. A match flared on a face. A cop stared into his coffee. The girl stared into the face Of a boy with a shriveled soul, His clammy hands on her throat. The room was a moldy bowl Of milk where nothing could float, Not time with its dripping pipe, Not the girl on her sinking bed, Not the boy and his ruined life, Holding his throbbing head.

Every Good Street

Digital Print | 11" x 17"

I never wrote my story Or sang a song in chorus. Any balls I dreamed to catch Would never soar my way, But suspended in living fluid I once heard muffled music— Voices close and far away Awaiting the timeless moment When my eyes might open. Shades of light danced in my senses Like a kaleidoscope I would never know, And I struggled against the feeling That my time would never come. No reason ever offered comfort To my sister, once old enough to ask As she held my only picture, Taken before I turned to ash. So many years later Through the ether I overhear a wish That her namesake might be remembered In a series of children’s books. No writer has offered to imagine All the stories of my life, But through the living I can see I was stillborn but never died.

My father was afraid of it, Flight not being his thing. He studied the rust in the wheel wells. The way the carriage rocked was disconcerting. To shift to counter it made things worse. Everything about it problematic. He won a Bronze Star for bravery in combat Yet this amusement park ride left him baffled. He only rode it once. Years later I ride its replacement High above the boardwalk in Rye. Wood has turned to plastic, Art deco to postmodern schlock. The music is rock and obnoxious, The passengers pudgy and drugged. Nevertheless, the dummied-down charm Floats me up through century-old oaks To the crest of things. Here I view the crown of Sound, The spinnakers off Kiddieland, The creaking carriages emptying out below. I blink and here we are— He and I on top of the world, Happy with him in the glory of September.

Mr. Maveety

Graphite and Charcoal | 12" x 8"

Fountain Water Reverse Death

Gesso and Watercolor on Insulation Foam | 13" x 7.5" x 2.5"

Project 1.5

Digital Print | 19" x 25"

Michele A. Hromada

When i was a little,girl I pretended i was a mermaid. I studied illustrations of these mythical creatures—half woman, half fish—in my collection of fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen. It was the late 1950s, a time when little girls played with paper dolls. I asked my father to draw me a cutout sort of mermaid. Thinking back, his drawing was of a curvaceous, comely pinup mermaid, more mortal woman than elusive sea goddess. I would rest my paper mer­ maid on a towel before I climbed into our rickety above-ground pool. There I learned to put my head and body under the four feet of clear, cold hose water, holding my breath a little bit longer each time. My chestnut hair fanned out behind me. With eyes wide open, I would examine the bumpy, plastic bottom, pretending it was the ocean’s floor. Submerged, I imagined I possessed all the glamorous accoutrement of a storybook mermaid; I had a dressing table made of sea coral, a hand mirror framed in rainbow abalone shell, and a comb carved from oyster pearls. I would ride a giant seahorse like a carousel pony that brought me to the water’s surface, where I rested on a sunlit rock to warm my waist-length ringlets and silvery fish tail. * Growing up in western Florida, I swam in concrete pools, rivers, and the Gulf of Mexico. By the time I was a teenager, I was a skillful and competitive swimmer. I swam on a team and worked as a lifeguard at our town pool; my body was toned, muscular, and strong. My favorite event was participating in the annual summer water ballet. I lived my childhood daydream and swam in a glittery costume to haunting music, synchronized with my sister swimmers. I imagined we were a pod of mermaids, although, without tails, we were more like nubile water sprites, lit by multicolored spotlights that managed to change a chlorinated pool into mysterious quicksilver. Despite the feminist movement, after high school many of my friends took jobs as secretaries, bookkeepers, or salesgirls. I was sent to college to work on a bachelor’s degree in business administration. I was compliant to my parents’ wishes, but every school holiday or summer recess, I returned to the sea. At 19 I auditioned to become a mermaid at the Weeki Wachee Springs theme park. I was able to withstand cold water, hold my breath, lip-synch, and smile with my eyes wide open, my face looking natural and not scrunched. I got the job! They taught me how to tumble and backflip in an azure-sequined mermaid tail with matching padded bra. It was strenuous work. I swam in icy spring water for 45 minutes at a time, holding my breath between intakes from the rubber air hoses hidden within the subterranean scenery. The mermaids’ spring is like a wonder of

the world. It pumps out over 100 million gallons of sparkling water a day and empties it into the adjoining Weeki Wachee River, which flows into the mermaid tank. The remainder of the spring water meanders far underground, fathomless and unknown. We mermaids got ready for our show in the tube room, a secret heated platform reached through a narrow underwater tunnel, where we gathered together, wrapped in towels. A loudspeaker that only the mermaids could hear let us know when it was time to descend down into the springs, emerging through a wall of bubbles. The mermaid shows were silly, with lifts and artificial scenery, where we met handsome pirates or danced like showgirls in a Mermaids Follies. Encased within our limestone and glass tank 20 feet under, gravity did not exist. Our vision distorted behind a glass partition, our audience was unseen. I created tableaus in my mind, counter to what was really happening in our scenes, and swam within the periphery of the show’s storyline. My imagination transformed the pirates, our cast of athletic male swimmers in costume, into mermen draped in garlands of seaweed. Together we explored the crystalline grottoes gliding over glistening eelgrass, weightless and free. On occasion a real sea creature—a manatee, otter, or swimming turtle—slipped into our tank from the Weeki Wachee River, adding authenticity to our performances. It was not unusual for a mermaid to experience an anxiety attack and rush to the surface to breathe real air. A sudden awareness of being trapped in glass with limited opportunities to suck in real air caused many a mermaid to resign. There was a constant turnover in the cast. I never thought about the dangers of our watery abyss and thrived within our fishbowl womb. Even our mermaid chore of sponging algae from the glass walls was a pleasure to me. I welcomed my fellow sea creatures as they watched me work, stroking them and swimming together. * I graduated college with a business degree; it was time to hang up my tail and find an earth bound job. For a while I worked as a claims adjuster for an insurance company in my hometown of Brooksville. The office was close to Weeki Wachee Springs. On lunch hours I escaped to walk through the water park, feeling more miserable each day, knowing I had to return to the claustrophobic office, trapped in my pantyhose and pumps. One day I entered the Weeki Wachee Human Resources office and got my old mermaid job back. My parents were angry and questioned my mental stability and judgment. I moved out. I was able to afford a studio apartment in Old Florida. Working as a waitress in the evenings, I made enough to get by. Happy again, I worked all the shows. The mermaids were featured in a show program, our pictures and bios framed like cameos. There I was, Marianne Young, in mermaid costume, seated among giant, plastic scallop shells on dry land. My hair was crimped in long waves, eyelids gleaming with iridescent-blue shadow, all glossy-pink lips and push-up bra cleavage. Between shows we wandered around the park, autographing programs and chatting with the patrons. At 21, innocent and sheltered in my private world, I underestimated the provocative lure that mermaids had on men.

I underestimated the provocative lure that mermaids had on men One night at the diner where I worked, I flirted with a customer. His name was Frank, a blond and freckled construction worker who had been driving through the south, taking odd jobs. He was curious about my mermaid job, asking questions about our breathing technique, and said he wanted to see the show. He left me a big tip and was waiting by my car in the darkened parking lot at the end of my shift. I let him kiss me; he wanted to go to my apartment. His hands gripped me tightly, his tongue hard and probing inside my mouth and ear; his breath was hot and beer-laden. “Come on, Marianne,” he said. “Mermaids like sex.” He spun me around, pulled my hands up over my head, and pushed me forward, my head crashing on to the trunk of my car. One hand held my head down while his free hand pushed inside the seat of my jeans, invading me with his rough fingers. “You have a beautiful little ass, just like a mermaid—that is the way they like it, right?” Burning tears of humiliation on my face, I thought of artists’ portrayals of mermaids, their derrieres the only visible orifice. Frank attempted to unbuckle my belt, but, harnessing the strength of my upper body, I elbowed him sharply several times, screaming and kicking at him, escaping his hold. “Leave me alone,” I sputtered, running back into the diner for help. He laughed and yelled lewd insults, eventually getting into his truck and driving away. Never sophisticated enough to be a seductive temptress, my mermaid sexuality was unformed and elusive. I was a water spirit; I had no earthly lovers. Knowing I was not like most people, I lived in a mythical world where I was true to my nature; the siren song I sang was for me.

I tried to forget the vicious attack and found solace in the mermaid tank, giving daily performances, signing programs, doing cleaning chores, and playing with my manatee friends. Several years went by and, at 30 years old, an occupational hazard got the best of me. Bruised lungs, chronic sinus infections, and swimmer’s ear are part of the job. I developed a viral inner ear infection that caused me to suffer from vertigo. Dizzy and nauseous, I laid, landlocked and miserable, flat on my bed. Dark circles formed under my eyes. I needed to hold walls when descending stairs. My doctor predicted the symptoms could go on for weeks. I was forbidden to swim. Like a bad omen, the water park was in the throes of a financial crisis. The Disney theme park was a tough competitor and made the mermaid show obsolete. I was laid off and forced to go on unemployment. In need of some steady work, I put together a pitiful resume. I had my degree but years of swimming had interfered with me developing practical office and technical skills. Searching the want ads, one job intrigued me. Jackson Boat and Ship Hauling Corporation, “Transporters of All Things Nautical,” were looking for an office manager. At the interview I met Captain Bill Jackson, a fifty something retired Navy man who ran the business from his sprawling home on the Gulf, his garage a converted office. A native Floridian, the captain know all about the Weeki Wachee mermaids. He didn’t seem concerned about my lack of business acumen; my time spent underwater seemed to be enough credentials to him.

For the first time I fell in love. My first day on the job, I was nervous. My vertigo returned when I felt anxious. I sipped water and took deep breaths of air as Bill showed me around. There was a handmade collection of ships in glass bottles lined up on a mahogany wall unit. I pretended to study them as I fought back waves of nausea. He told me he would be out most of the day, hauling a pleasure boat from a marina to the owner’s home several miles south. Bill would be back in the afternoon, so he left me a list of things to do. Every task I attempted ended in disaster. I jammed the printer, mixed up invoices, and faxed them to the wrong clients. Callers got disconnected; when they called me back, I was unable to locate their information. I got so frustrated that I made things up. My desk was disorganized; papers slipped out of files and landed on the floor. Captain Bill returned by three o’clock. “How was your first day? I see the office is still afloat.” He chuckled. “Not great.” I was warm and woozy; my vertigo was returning. “I confused a few faxes; someone wanted a boat from Tampa to Miami. I think I wrote down the right phone number, but I didn’t get his name. Listen, Bill, I don’t think this will work out.” I bent to pick up my purse, tears flowing, dark spots blurring my vision; I was too dizzy to stand. “Hey, honey, it’s okay. We don’t manage government contracts from this office. This is a local operation; there’s not much to it. I should have been here the first day to show you the ropes.” “No, I’m not cut out for office work. I wish I could go back to the mermaid show,” I blubbered, mascara tears running down my cheeks. On rubbery legs I got up from my chair. “Listen, Marianne, come back tomorrow. I’ll spend the morning here. Bring your bathing suit; you can swim in the Gulf on your lunch hour. Have some more water.” Bill seemed frantic about me leaving the office. He rushed to my side, took my hand, and, with a gentle but commanding pull, sat me back down in my chair. I gulped down a paper cone filled with water. Bill’s eyes were concerned; I believed that he understood my dilemma and did not think I was as foolish as I felt. I looked into Bill’s craggy and world-weary face and decided to trust him. He walked over to the wall unit and selected a glass bottle.

“Here, put this on your desk for luck.” The bottle contained the ruin of a schooner shipwrecked at the bottom of the ocean. A tiny mermaid suspended by a clear wire floated around the sail’s rigging. * With practice, my office skills became proficient. For the first time I fell in love. Bill told me about his years in the Navy, and, in turn, I shared my mermaid fantasies. I married Bill and, together, we ran his business. He encouraged me to fix up his house to my taste. I painted the walls deep blue and draped white canvas fabric on the couch and chairs. The furniture became white sand shoals anchored to dark wood floors. I refused to collect mermaid memorabilia, instead arranging sea stars, conch shells, and bottles made of cobalt and emerald-colored glass along the windowsills. The view of the Gulf was expansive. Now, I was like a spectator at the mermaid show; I was outside the tank, looking in. Every morning and at dusk, I took a solitary swim. I yearned for a baby, but, after several years of trying, I let it go; no little tadpole would ever form to float inside my womb. Sad at first, I learned a fact that many know but few will say. A woman can live a very satisfactory life unfettered by children. An article in the local newspaper reported that the Weeki Wachee mermaid show was enjoying a bit of a revival. They had alumni mermaid reunions, but I didn’t care to participate. The years have been kind to me; my body is trim and still able to cut the water with hardly a ripple. My mermaid tresses are snipped to chin length; a few silver threads catch the light. Twenty years my senior, Bill, my kind Neptune, died of a sudden heart attack. I carried out his wishes and scattered his ashes over the Gulf of Mexico. I parted with his collection of glass ships, gave away his clothes, and sold the business. In time I will sell the house and look for a small cottage by the sea. Like a nautilus shell, my present life is now deep inside the center chamber. Tonight, I walk barefoot down to the beach and drape my towel on a piece of driftwood, in the distance I see a flock of beach revelers throwing wood onto a bonfire. It is low tide; I walk out to the surf. I submerge my body. My head above the water, I swim freestyle farther from shore, into a trench of water between sandbars. The cold water refreshes me. I dive under, aware that the depths are abundant with life. But I see nothing; it is dark and voiceless. Water bubbles around me; I hear my blood pumping and my organs pulsing. Saltwater slips into my mouth; it is a primordial substance, like perspiration, semen, blood, and tears. I come up for air and feel a rip current surrounding me; the water on each side of me is a lighter shade of blue-gray. A riptide is powerful; battling it can cause even a seasoned swimmer to drown from exhaustion. I swim right into the current and let it engulf me in its tentacles. We fight together for a while. I am becoming breathless and start to choke on gulps of foamy water. My eyes are stinging. I feel myself being pulled out; I can no longer see the shoreline. I sense my mind surrendering to the surfs power, but my body and will take over. I decide to swim parallel to the shore and leave the riptide behind me. The current is only a few feet wide. I break free of it, and, a few minutes later, I coast to the shore. Sand is dredged inside my bathing suit; I land flat-faced, sprawled along the darkened beach. I turn to my side to rest; a rush of shallow water flows over my legs. My head rests on a pillow of dry, cool sand. The bonfire is still burning on the beach; the revelers are quiet now. The flame is lower but the embers burn bright. I get up and walk toward it.


Digital Print | 11" x 14"

You opened your mouth full of loaded needles not quite sterile, but plenty sharp, and spoke those words that vibrated and cut rapidly into my skin. Inserting hidden messages in a clever design, not merely decorative meant to brand, to sting, to hold me down. You did not expect words you now must live with the rest of your life, to cut me free from your web of lies.

Mechanical machines mutilating mental matter, Frivolously detaining our accepted social structure From no-fi to wi-fi we promote the battle cry We don’t bleed blood, we leak oil when we rupture Highly ironic, we dissolve as we evolve Intentions were to reduce distance to increase us Technologically speaking, communication needs tweaking Can’t boot me up. My ‘battery’ fully consumed Is T9 the crime, was a roam charge our fate You stare at a text while I stare at this empty plate Signaling simple sympathy showing SMS significance Forever overages, your apathy, I’m so over it Your Blackberry is a vulture feasting your dead end mind Close your mouth darling, need only use your thumbs Even if your speech at loss you can still get a point across Most lame, the way you type on AIM not quite the same As how you are in person, we must develop your offline self Without World Wide Web wealth we weep withered wishes Please notify my operator if you wish not see me later I seek healthy relationship, sorry there’s no app for that

Untitled (Barn)

Inkjet Print | 6" x 12"

I’ve a #3B, soft-leaded, from the days of D’Alessio and the Art Students’ League and the vanilla model who could stand on his hands—what a squared off ass he had, just as Bridgeman’s Anatomy showed us how to conceive of the flesh as trapezoids, the wrist a rectangle, the buttocks a cube. Bridgeman: geometric, never lewd. D’Alessio taught us 30-second gesture, my best, and contour, framed in a window on 57th Street, where Frank no doubt loitered at lunch earlier days. I wonder now could the years mean anything, having forsaken graphite, left the pastels to Chardin with his gopis ripe as nectarines that Krishna himself might have wooed? The League was passé in those post-Pollock days, but a step or two away was the Cadmus retrospective—a man who knew from the Ash-Can School, with his Coney Island of the Flesh and his Seven Deadly Sins—not unlike my own—Beardsley, Michelangelo my porn— all those curving lips and lids, the sloping quadriceps, a line like Botticelli, a danced sort of painting I once perused at the Uffizi. Nearby, in the piazza, Bluto in bronze lords it over another man prostrate before those deltoids bespeaking the Medici. Myself, I once preferred a Bronzino boy, dark-eyed as Eleanora, in a Louvre gallery, on an August afternoon.

It’s been a hell of a year if you happen to be a flame. If your greatest desire is to run fast as a lick, barefoot, on a blighted plain. If your intuition runs on starlight and your poetry is self-inflicted. The year’s been quite tremendous. It’s been an excellent season for torture. If your amphibious urge is to dunk your noodle into the archaic vessel of the timeless river. If your dialect reeks of outer bohemia and your vocabulary is cursed. A fine time was had by some. There’s nothing quite like being famished. If your clamoring instinct is to slant into the buffet To unleash your accelerated appetites. If your intestines howl in Esperanto and staccato is the way you drink. Then put on your lipstick and close your mouth. It’s time.

Our friend the professor lies in a small hospital bed at the medical center far from the campus. Technically, the distance is only a matter of minutes and miles between the two institutions. But it feels further: the hospital and the university lie at opposite ends of our town that has grown so much during the past 10 years that it could, in truth, be called a city. The city has grown, thanks to the university, which began as a campus for five thousand students and now is just short of fifty thousand. Our friend is an archaeologist and a person who likes palpable, material facts. “What is wrong with me?” she asks the personnel—the nurses mostly. I’ve never seen the doctor—he either never comes (impossible?) or never comes when I’m there. I work in food management at the campus cafeteria, and I come to visit the professor with my friend Valerie. She’s a lab assistant in Botany and has helped a professor in that department count all the birds in China and map how often they sing. Valerie also wants to know where the doctor is. She keeps on asking the nurses. “Coming,” they say. Or else: “He came.” We are worried. Our friend the professor begins to swell. The swelling starts in her lower abdomen and then radiates outward. The technician comes. She has lovely long, curly hair. I don’t know how she keeps her hair so nice. “Your friend’s all swollen up with paper,” the technician told us. “The doctors did a special paper scan, because—well, they had their suspicions. It turns out she’s filled with it.” We look at her astonished, our mouths hanging open. “Rolls and rolls and reams of it,” insists the technician, flipping her hair and adjusting her imitation Tiffany heart charm bracelet. She shows us the view on the computer that she just wheeled in there check something else. She shouldn’t do this. But she is feeling disposed toward us because we are clearly so worried, and she can sense that, in a way, we are technicians too. I see something white and something yellow and black marks on the screen. “It’s mostly typed, printed from what looks like an HP printer, but some of it is written in longhand,” explains the technician. “Some yellow pages, some notebook pages, and the docs are going to have to use their delicate instruments to remove the paper threads that come off when you tear the pages out of those spiral notebooks.” She clicks the Smart Screen button, and we get some close-ups now; index cards, pink “While You Were Out” messages, and the pages of dictionaries written in some foreign language. Valerie interrupts. “How did it all get in there, I want to know.” “She’s been eating paper instead of food,” says the technician. “Or else someone’s been cramming it down her throat. Could be. The esophagus man who was here yesterday said there were signs of damage on the flap, the hernia flap. So maybe—“She shrugged her shoulders. “Maybe…”

That night Valerie and I go and burn down the university. I turn off all the sprinklers, while she goes in and lights the matches in the chemistry labs. We set fire to the lawn. Valerie goes to the bird lab and frees all the birds, and then she throws gasoline everywhere and lights that up too. We go to the hamburger place up on the hill and watch the campus burn down. * “Oh dear”, says our friend the professor to us after her operation. We have reported to her our doings. We feel triumphant, if smoky, and a bit nervous about the law. “The fire,” she says, “may not have been entirely fair.” “I chose to eat the paper,” she explains, and she looks suddenly shrunken and much older. “There was no other way.” Valerie and I look at each other. “It’s true that, in the past, the dean and the chairman forced the faculty to consume, thereby concealing, official university information. But lately, I just started eating all of it, because there was nowhere else to put the paper and I wanted to keep a record since our campus is going to go entirely wireless and hard copy free.” The professor breathes in and out slowly, and her shrunken belly jiggles, its skin slack after the surgery. “I heard that if you ate enough books, they would become part of the stomach lining. So I thought I would be able to access the materials later with that sonogram that Keith, over in Maintenance, took from the Health Center Dumpster. Remember? They did that upgrade?” We nod, Keith. “Don’t worry,” says the professor, smiling wanly. “To tell the truth, I feel a bit foolish myself too.” She is so kind and this is why we love her. We say we feel better, even though we don’t. But the professor continues speaking. “What else could I do?” she speaks softly, grasping our hands. “The physical records of the meetings, the plans we made in the ‘70s—all of that material was going to be lost. Archeologists are historians of the real, you know, and I wanted to be sure the past got correctly remembered.” She is breathing hard now. She has been through an ordeal. We hope she will recover. “And the papers that the students never collected! Their journals and midterms were all handwritten. They may want their own ideas back someday.” She lies back exhausted.

“I wanted to incorporate the university’s collective memory,” she murmurs. “The Library of Alexandria contained in one person. Black Elk and the man who listened to him—I am myself the transcription. We needed material culture. We require the actual artifacts.” “I get it,” says Valerie. But she doesn’t. I don’t either. We solemnly promise never to speak of what has happened. Valerie and I lay our hands on our friend the professor’s belly, and we swear an oath. We got back to work. There are already circus tents being set up on the blackened parking lot, and classes are being held while the register takes student fees for the next semester under a large umbrella. The computers have been saved, and the registrar is swiping debit and credit cards like mad. There are a lot of police cars parked here. “Hello ladies,” the police officers say as they pull over some meek-looking students. “These kids,” says a cop to me, winking, “they’ll try anything to get out of class.” He turns and waves to the hospital medical team, who are treating office workers for minor cuts and bruises. No one has been burned. We are given brooms by the personnel office, and we sweep up the cinders of suspicion, while administrators rush back and forth over the ruined lawns. “Lucky the fire didn’t take out any students,” the medical center doctor confides to the university chancellor as they stroll by. The chancellor looks uncertain. The campus is so awfully crowded. We all look toward the distant hospital and wonder what other secrets smolder behind the red-curtained windows.


Yarn | 2" x 2" x 2.5"

A cooper’s hawk flew into the willow, became a dappled branch. A rain of tears stole my salt. Randy ducks mated on the lawn. Trees shivered buds into leaves. The body, unrequited, reeked of soured earth. Skinless, lacking the language of touch, I was an unreliable witness. Cormorants rose from mirrored water to seek the highest limbs.

for my mother

The last leaf fell and all is now covered with soil. This is the beginning of endless fall. Beyond that line, all features fluid, just a reflection of the face. The last wedge of cranes above the fence over suburban landscape, over childhood memory of the drain that rumbles in the rain. What’s there now for me—who else to save? I hear your voice, already freezing, waning. And through the clearing I would see the land, Like the bottom of my soul, where sky is dark and clouds white—as if somebody spilled my childhood ink in milk.

We hold these truths to be self-evident; Wait, wait, wait, quick question; How can something be self-evident without ever being prevalent; Often it seems the truth lacks presence; The truth is hidden; Remains untouchable as a forbidden fruit; Sweet, but much of the time accompanied with a bitterness; More than likely the result of our own eagerness and over-zealousness; To chase after that which we do not fully understand or comprehend; We are so quick to try and apprehend; That once we finally obtain it we ourselves are condemned; To a bitter-sweet aftermath that probably isn’t something planned; They say misery loves company but is it just me or do misery and the truth go hand in hand? Many people say “The truth shall set you free;” But man oh man there are times where the truth can bring you to your knees; May even bring tears of sorrow to your eyes as you plea; To forget those painfully heartfelt memories; There are moments where it seems like being blind to the truth is more of a blessing than being able to actually see; Society looks at the truth as a positive but what of the negative? The truth is a weapon; It cuts deeper than any blade; Pervades our every thought and once one takes aim; It becomes impossible for the victim to evade; So be careful what you say; Yep it’s possible for the truth to save; But you must take firm grasp of it; Don’t lose to it or you may end up a slave; I believe the phrase is the good, the bad, and the ugly; Well somewhere between the 3 the truth lies tucked snugly; Probably sitting there with a smug look on her face; As if to ask “Are you sure you can handle all of this?” or “You don’t belong here, you must be in the wrong place’” And if that’s the case; Which 9 times out of 10 it is; Then the idea of the truth itself is a lie because rather than always simplified; It complicates and discombobulates; With the end result being a shattered reality; And our dreams and thoughts held in captivity; So even if I am to be left in a world of make belief and fantasy; I’ll leave you with the one quote about the truth that makes the most sense to me; “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

Beekeeper’s Daughter

Human Hair, Bird Cage, Polysatin, Monofilament, Twine | 24" x 24" x 38"

It resembles melting diamonds— lake’s shimmering surface ruffled by wind into silver brocade then crystal splinters refracting light nearly blinding me into neglecting surrounding emerald pine columns topaz chestnut leaves opaled birch trunks a setting to frame a faceted sapphire. A murky cloud drifts by— cataract on the sun and I look back, discover gems crushed into a liquefied gray mass God’s jewel box emptied.

Parched bone, Ivory Buddha, Cross-legged and grinning – The perfect parlor piece. Inlaid, jadeite eyes Adding a demonic gleam To the ivory’s Nicotine yellow hue And twisting Buddha’s Usually serene smile Into a sardonic leer. It can be yours For a mere fifteen Hundred dollars. Not at all unreasonable For an endangered species.


Mixed Media | 12.5" x 8" x 1.5"


Samantha Webster I am not a friend of muddy hills, steep inclines, uneven pavement, loose bricks, narrow steps, or slippery floors. I know that all paper, thick and thin, secretly longs to slice my skin, right in that delicate spot between my fingers. I am clumsy. I’ve busted knees, split toenails, sprained ankles, thrown out backs. I am an 80-year-old woman taking up residency in a 24-year-old girl. Strangely enough, I can attribute the vast majority of my afflictions to music. I have always said that music was my life. I breathe in c minor, bleed falsetto…now I wonder if it will legitimately be the death of me. Death by stereo. I never thought that band name could be an honest truth. Whether it be from a horrific mosh pit accident, microphone to the temporal lobe, stage light explosion, or starvation from spending all my funds on concert tickets and convenience fees. Death will come to me in skinny jeans, Chuck Taylors, and a black zip-up hoodie, wielding a mic stand instead of, you know, that thing that Death carries.

If music is my blood and breath, then my sweat and tears are sterling silver Perhaps it is my severe lack of coordination that has lead to my tough-as-nails attitude. I fancy myself a rough and tumbler, a rock and roller, and pain

is second nature. I’ve experienced busted lips and broken hearts. Survived the worst of the worst and came back wanting more. The bruises, contusions, and trips to the ER have been the catalyst in my art, as much as the people who put me there. Some of the best pieces came from the biggest scumbags. There’s the sculpture of a shattered collarbone that’s as large as my wingspan, inspired by that terrific staircase tumble with Carter, and the life-size fractured fibula-slash-guitar I produced after that nasty break up with Owen. Every time I bleed, I want to work. That distinct metallic taste and the ruby red color sends impulses through my nerves. My fingers ache until they are touching the metal; molding, twisting, and torching the hell out of it. There is a sweet bliss in all that fury. The fury that I unleash on the poor unsuspecting metal. Hammering, sawing, bending…it’s about evolving. Creating. Oddly enough, even in all my clumsiness, I am a freaking virtuoso when it comes to metalsmithing. If music is my blood and breath, then my sweat and tears are sterling silver, and my heart beats with the metal being thrown violently around the crucible. That delightful “thunk thunk thunk” that fills my chest. I’ve made my life about my work, and my work about my life. I’m engorged with music and pain… and how they affect me simultaneously. Opening the casting machine I watched the little chunks of raw sterling drop down into their temporary holding cell. In moments, they would be molten and the liquid would be flung at high velocity, filling my handmade mold, creating something new. I pulled my goggles down, readying the machine, and let it rip. Slipping back to the soldering station of my

studio, I grabbed my Butane torch and twisted the knob. The silver wire pooled up into the charcoal block as I passed the flame over it evenly, allowing the tiny balls to form neatly in their black pockets. Even with the heat from the torch, I could feel the warmth of Aiden’s breath on my bare neck as he sidled up behind me. “Sneaking up on someone wielding a torch probably isn’t one of your slickest moves.” “Well, whoever decided you should be allowed to wield that torch wasn’t too bright either.” I turned my toes as if my Vans were ballet slippers, and he jumped back, the flame dangerously close to melting the buttons on his faux cowboy shirt. I flirted with the thought of raising it a bit, just enough to singe the unkempt ends of his facial hair, but decided against it, I couldn’t be bothered with an emergency room visit tonight. I had too much work to do. Too many ideas rushing through my veins. Instead I pulled out a cigarette and lit it with the last wisp of the flame before shutting off the torch. His stare could have turned my bones brittle, but I took a drag and brushed past him. He won’t be able to get to me. James Bond his way over my wall. I’m in this for a reason, and I don’t deviate from my plans. * Sweat rolled down the sides of my face, pooling up in the crooks of my collarbone. I pulled my hair back, twisting it with one hand, the other beating against my hip as if I were playing an invisible tambourine. My eyes were shut, enjoying the vivid colors flashing on the backs of my eyelids, but I could feel his stare. The spotlights were beating down on him as he pounded the keys and thrashed his head violently, but every so often, his manic gestures would seize and his eyes caught on me, swaying and playing my fake tambourine. I felt him. It was as if I was blind; all of my other senses going into overdrive. I took my place and settled down on a shoddy, wobbly stool by the sticker coated bar, lying in wait. I watched skinny little punks in tight pants and scribbled on shoes, with swooping hair and Sharpie tattoos, posing in corners for pictures and tweeting to each other. Barely 23 and I felt like the old Babushka watching over the kids in the neighborhood or like Willy Wonka keeping check on the Oompa Loompas.

“Need a drink?” I turned around to face the bartender, his face hidden under an old worn out fedora, but his boredom evident by his posture and tone of voice. I dug a few bucks out of my jeans and he handed over a Blue Moon.

It was as if I was blind; all my other senses going into overdrive. “Not much business tonight. Or any night really. Damn kids are all that show up nowadays. All the veterans saw the scene dying, and bowed out gracefully along with all the decent talent. Left me bored as hell behind this bar. Might as well start booking shows at Chuck E. Cheese, or some shit like it,” he mumbled as he cracked open a PBR for himself. “I know the feeling. I’m just on the hunt.” I winked at him and leaned back against the bar, nursing the bottle in my hand. “Dangerous game, young lady…you’re in for a world of hurt with this sorta prey.” “Thanks, Obi Wan, for the advice and all, but I’m more than aware of the situation. I’m a big girl. I can handle myself.” I played with the silver chain around my neck, the teeth charms chattering together as if they were in a frightened mouth. “Trust me. I am more aware than you think.” He chuckled and pointed towards the band leaving the backstage entrance on the other side of the room. “Better get your guns. The prey is on the move.” * I was that girl that longed for the boy to sing to her. I was that girl that desired to be the muse. Screw the muse. She’ll still become some wrinkly old woman, saggy and dried up, that’ll probably die from emphysema or some other self-inflicted disease. That’s the part that all of these other girls don’t see. They see the one night stands, the romantic flings with someone clinging on to a tiny shred of what could be mistaken as fame, without the bank account to prove it.

That’s where I differ. I stopped tricking myself into believing that I would be lead into a life of sweet serenades and Sunday afternoons in bed with my troubadour. I figured the game out and knew exactly what I was messing with. I knowingly stepped into that gigantic pile of shit, and didn’t think twice about it. I had tripped and fell into these relationships before, so many times that I’d come to treat it as my destiny. It actually became quite a blessing in disguise, proving to be a lucrative shortcoming in my rational. Without knowing, these assholes that I had become so tragically and chronically attracted to had become my muse. They fueled my work, provided me with an endless supply of emotion to put into each piece. Each and every single work had a little bit of bastard embedded inside the metal. “Load it up! We gotta be in Birmingham first thing in the morning,” Aiden yelled to the rest of the guys, beating on the side of the old white conversion van. A few minutes later, the stench of alcohol and body odor filled the confined space along with with the four boys drenched in the scents. Aiden climbed into the seat beside me, drunkenly pawing at me like a hungry dog fighting for a bone. No one else looked or cared. They were all engrossed in the last few drops of their beers and vulgar jokes about the girls that had just been foolishly throwing themselves at them. “Excuse me if I’m not in the most romantic of moods, right now. I think you can relax a bit…” I pushed him off, but he just kept crawling back like a stupid little bug asking to be flattened by the sole of my sneaker. He began to become more and more forceful, and I threw my foot up, catching him in the chest, and knocked him back against the window. “Enough.” A couple of guys in front snickered. Aiden adjusted uncomfortably and I could barely see the dark eyes hidden in the mass of sweaty hair falling over them, but I knew he was hurt. I didn’t know what to do with that emotion. That wasn’t what I was used to being dealt. If pain is going to be involved, it was supposed to be physical. No heartstrings were supposed to be tugged.

* “Everything looks amazing, Zoe! I never would have thought back in high school that you’d make something of yourself…well, not like this anyway,” Sara exclaimed as she lightly hugged me, making sure none of my thrift store sweater fibers lingered too long against her Dolce and Gabana blazer. “Thanks for that vote of confidence,” I muttered, patting her lightly on the back as if I were trying to burp her. “Well, you know what I mean. Metalsmithing. I can’t believe you’re in one piece! How have you not burned that precious little body up? Don’t you have to use fire and whatnot? I mean, you’re the one that ran smack dab into a row of lockers, not once, but twice, in your freshman year. Just hard to imagine you being able to do anything with enough grace to produce such beautiful work,” she said through a big, toothy grin. That sickeningly sweet smile was enough to induce a wave of nausea. “Yea, don’t know how I’ve survived. Must be some kind of goddamn miracle or something. If you’ll excuse me…” “Oh…oh…no problem. Go mélangez with your potential clients. Heaven knows, if you and Aiden settle down, one of you needs the means to make something resembling a living. Seems the cards are more in your hand.” I let out a hearty laugh and pushed her hard on her designer shoulder. That goofy smile became twisted in confusion as to what to do at the gesture. I welcomed the opportunity to escape and just walked off, leaving her obviously gay boyfriend to mélangez amongst themselves. Aiden stood outside the gallery, puffing on a cigarette and swishing a beer with his free hand. I walked up and grabbed the cigarette from him, taking a long, hard draw before placing it back in his fingers. The cold brick of the building pulled at my ponytail as I rested against it, shoulder to shoulder with Aiden for a few minutes in silence. I shivered slightly from the night breeze and Aiden slid me under his jacket, nestling me into the curve of his body. A warmth passed through me that I wasn’t used

to and I didn’t know how to react. This was becoming a common occurrence and I was losing my fight against his romantic gestures. “Shouldn’t they have your undivided attention right now?” he spoke, barely above a whisper, as is trying to maintain the quiet. I took another drag from his cigarette and grabbed Aiden’s hand, leading him away from the gallery. I was over the excitement of seeing all of the yuppies fawning over my art, little red tags being placed by the pieces indicting the amount of money going in my pocket at the end of the night. I wanted to explore this new feeling that surged through me. I wanted to run my fingers through Aiden’s hair, have his beard scrape against my flesh, and bite his plump lips. Those lips that could do nothing but utter the words that I had shielded myself from for so long. He was destroying me. * I watched Aiden leaning up against the stage, signing heaving teenage boobs and torn set lists as I sat on the stool, downing a PBR with the bartender. “I warned you about that prey…” said the bartender, as he cracked open another beer. “All those boys care about is ass and grass. Got tits and some drugs, they’ll love you till your boobs drop and the weed stops.” “Thanks for that beautiful insight. I told you I knew what the situation was, and I wasn’t lying. “

brown. I felt a pang of guilt and rubbed the silver a bit harder. What had I gotten myself into? This wasn’t the game, my game. This wasn’t fueling my fire. Aiden had become my own personal fireman, extinguishing the flame from my Butane torch, leaving me with half-assed artwork and a heavy feeling in my chest. I no longer felt the “thunk thunk thunk,” just uneasiness in my gut and a tight clutch on my heart. Aiden was unknowingly squeezing the life out of me, and I was blindly letting him. I knew that I couldn’t let my heart be the boss of me. It had been encased in a metal box, soldered shut, just so I could maintain my sense of self. Artistic self. That was who I knew and who I was beginning to lose. Aiden’s hand brushed against my cheek and I cringed, hoping my face was obscured in the dark. Sliding his thumb over my lips, he kissed my forehead and reached into his shirt pocket, pulling out a thin, hammered silver band with a pint-sized champagne diamond glittering in its handmade bezel setting. I wrapped my fingers tighter around the sterling in my fist, pushing any emotion that seemed in the least bit reasonable for this occasion out of my body and into the metal. The silver felt like it weighed a ton in my hand, and without thinking, I raised my fist and let it soar toward Aiden’s chin.

All these boys care about is ass and grass. Got tits and some drugs, they’ll love you til your boobs drop and the weed stops. Only I think I lost sight of the situation this time. Somewhere along the line, my predisposition to being treated like shit had vanished. A few hurtful words flung around in heated moments, but no punches thrown or blows received. Apologies escaped my realm of reality, and Aiden baffled me. My misconception of his “type” had lead me astray, and he had wooed me with his sweet talk and southern charm. He was becoming less and less my muse, as he was my, dare I say it, love, and I just couldn’t have that. I slip down from the stool, still clutching the PBR in one hand, and holding back a block of sterling silver in the other. Aiden escaped from his adoring fans, bowing out gracefully from his obligations as the cute band guy to come and sweep me, the bitter girlfriend, off her feet. Grabbing me by the waist, he guided me off to a wooded area past the parking lot. The hunk of sterling soothed me as I stroked it in my palm, the smooth metal acting much in the way of a prayer stone. The moonlight caught Aiden’s dark eyes and I could see this amazing glimmer of what could only be described as hope in the deep chocolate

His scruffy flesh burned my knuckles as they brushed together. Blood spattered and sputtered out of his mouth, flying through the air as he fell backwards into a mess of broken limbs and bushes. A muffled groan and some choice words came from between the fingers wrapped over his bloody mouth, and I let a hearty chuckle escape my own. The laughter felt odd, like a monster emerging from my belly. It sounded inhuman and I honestly felt scared, but the noise suddenly turned to sobs as my vision became blurred and my eyes began to burn. I kicked around the dirt, and picked up the bit of blood-painted tooth that had flown from Aiden’s mouth. It would be the smallest and most insignificant fragment on my necklace, but at that moment, I vowed to make all of the rest really count for something. I’ve settled with my fate. Putting the bit of tooth in my pocket, I wiped the snot from my nose with the sleeve of my jacket and walked over to there Aiden sat, dazed. I knelt down and kissed his forehead, slipping the ring from his hand into my own.


Stoneware | 36" x 24" x 24"

Untitled Portrait

Digital Photography | 8" x 10"

Apparition for Redon

Dry Point | 7" x 5"

I. At night I dream about Harris and Vivian, the people who will one day call me and say, “We are your real parents. There was a tragic mistake in the hospital.” Harris and Vivian would have given me lessons: horseback riding music dance We would have spent vacations in Aspen and Hawaii. I would have worn Ralph Lauren school uniforms and been given a BMW at 16, bearing a license plate that said SPLD-RTTN. Our house would have been tastefully decorated for Christmas, hot chocolate (yes, Godiva) by our perfect fire. There would have been gifts: leather-bound classics for me, finely-matched pearls for Vivian expensive cigars for Harris, rolled on plump Cuban thighs. II. When Ed and Shirley hear the news of this mistake it all becomes clear, the reason for so many of their daughter’s oddities: a love of classical music books stacked high on shelves a National Geographic subscription Ed and Shirley, night shift workers, trust all their kids to fend for themselves while they sleep all day, heavy blankets covering the small trailer windows. They teach their children lessons: t.v. dinners at meals how to roll the perfect cigarette cuss your boss when necessary III. Toward daylight, distant truck horns pound me toward consciousness while Harris and Vivian take a seat by me on our silk-upholstered divan. “It’s time to go back to Ed and Shirley now. We’ll always be your true parents,” Vivian says, as her voice slowly dissolves and Ed’s key turns in the cheap metal lock. That is how the bad dream begins.

Blue Ridge Morning

Silver Gelatin Print | 8" x 9"

My ex called it as another old lover breezed out the gate. She made it sound not my fault as if they were just misplaced, like house keys. We were at a poetry progressive garden party: poem, appreciate garden, poem, flowers, you know, as long as human concentration or, I feared, nature could hold out. The evening shade was closing in when that other old love stormed through the gate. I thought I could save her earlier when the bees came after her and I offered to change seats with her and what? Pretend I wasn’t afraid? Take the stings myself? My commentator, garden-namer said I should learn from all this. I looked chastened, but she was having none of it like the keepers tell us of those bees that won’t come back to the hives, won’t appreciate their slot combs to work and give honey. Inexplicably, they’d rather just fly homeless until they die. And we, of hunger?

If I weren’t a madman, I would put to bed All the echoes of a canned laughter Harvested in this fever pitch Of oblivion. And if I weren’t so busy I’d scrub the frozen eyes From the depths of the mirror, The long, single hair Glued to the shower door, And all the scars, wet dreams, And dry rot Left over from this death By a thousand clauses. But if I ever found my way Out of this eerie, silent dance Of mimes and shadows, I wouldn’t be At a loss for words. On the contrary, I’d peddle A cheerful subprime mortgage Of faith forlorn and tenderness, And, gingerly, I’d make a pass at you. If I learned you’d left town, I’d chase you on my bicycle Across the Gobi Desert, And when I found you,

I would reproach you irately For having absconded With my last pack of smokes And my debit card. If I didn’t know you, I’d gawk at you at the beach, And I’d try and summon The courage to walk over, Armed with a witty remark. If I were a satyr, On the other hand, I’d grab your ass Surreptitiously in a crowded bus, And by copping a feel, I kid you not, I’d also be saying My intentions Are of the purest kind. But I see you’re skeptical. So if I were a pet, moving on, I hope that I would be Your lapdog, even if you Turned out to be the Wickedest Witch of the West, And if I were your lover, Rest assured that I’d be a perfect gentleman, And I’d take you only To the fanciest motels.

Boy Watching Planes

Digital Print | 11" x 14"

He was like that kid that fell and scraped his arm… He was like that boy that got stuffed in his locker by bullies… He was like that guy that lost an arm wrestling contest… He was like the sailboat that lacked the wind to continue… He was like the water in the dam that no longer flows… He was like the car going 55 that suddenly crashed off the side of the road… He was like a candle that got blown out… He was like a shovel that could dig no deeper… He was like a blade of grass that was picked and disposed for no reason… Yet He was like a bird that would die so you could eat… He was like a piece of wood taking the burn so you could stay warm… He was like a punching bag willing to yield the pain so that you could get stronger… He was like a garage that would take being weathered just to keep you protected… He was like a crayon that would let you draw with your imagination… He was like a book allowing you to learn as much as you applied… He was like the directions you could have read first before using… He was like the staple that only knew how to hold it together… He was like the ribbon in your hair that allowed you to look better without covering anything up… And He was like that smile on your face when you first fell in love… He was like that feeling in your heart when you trusted that instead of your mind… He was like that calculator that usually gave you the right answer… He was like the puppy that got older and lost appeal… He was like the prized possession that you lost in the fire… He was like the stock you sold because it was losing you money… He was like the pillow you held for comfort… He was like the yo-yo that you dropped but came right back up… He was like the insurance company, being there for you if something went wrong… But He is like a blank check you accidently threw in the trash… He is like a new escalator but you would rather take the stairs… He is like a lucky shirt you gave away that just turned lucky… He is like that guitar with new strings that you traded… He is like that important class you skipped because it wasn’t mandatory… He is like that long line that you left when they were letting everyone in a minute later… He is like a hidden bridge to a paradise that you imploded… He is like a song that used to annoy you but now it’s a timeless classic… He is like a plug you pulled right when the coma was almost over and survival was promising… He… Is.

King Remington

Mixed Media | 34" x 37" x 3"

Today is the day I’m supposed to die. I contemplate this inevitability as I leave the salon parking lot. Streaks of gray tire tracks trail through the white carpet. After my third European-facial client of the day opened her eyes and said, “That was heavenly,” I answered, “Thank you, my darling,” excused myself from the room, and noticed the flurries. Snow in northern Virginia means every appointment gets canceled, as citizens rush to buy staples from the grocery store and head home to hibernate. For years, when my neighbors hurried to stock up on bread, milk, and eggs before a storm, Meher headed to the market for an extra case of beer, just in case. For months, each time I asked Meher to sign the divorce papers, no matter how I begged or cried, he threatened and chased me. When Meher called yesterday I barely spoke. I listened first. He finally said, “Let’s meet. I’ll let you go. I’ll sign the papers.” I know for sure he’s lying, know why he wants to get together. I suggested my sister’s house at four o’clock the next day. I spent yesterday silently sorting through papers on my desk and writing checks—to University of Virginia for my daughter’s tuition, to my landlord for this month’s lease payment for the salon, and to Professional Beauty Wholesale for my latest shipment of skincare products. I prepared an elaborate dinner, Tah-Cheen. Even though the delicious dish made with chicken, rice, eggs, yogurt, and saffron is my favorite, I tried not to act like this is the last meal I would share with my sons. From the other room Brooke Shields’ alluring voice teased, “Do you wanna know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.” My boys continued to watch television as if this were an ordinary day. How could they know? I didn’t want them to worry. At dinner they shoveled food into their mouths and looked satisfied. I said, “I’m going to visit Auntie Sara tomorrow after work.” My son said, “I’ll take you.” Lately, the boys have wanted to escort me everywhere. They are terrified I might run into their father. “Everything is fine. I can drive myself,” I answered. I arrive at my sister’s house before Meher does. Sara is home but retires to her bedroom to give me privacy. I fidget around the kitchen, open a cabinet to retrieve tea. I also take two brass teacups. I recognize them from my childhood home in Tehran. And although I’ve lived in the United States for more than 20 years, homesickness surges. Alone in a suburban kitchen, as I fill the kettle with water and put it on to boil, I long for a bustling household, filled with friends and family around the samovar. I place a tea bag labeled Tetley in the brass teacup from a lifetime ago, and my imagination transforms the American floral and malty aromas into a fragrant Darjeeling liquor, with a hint of muscatel. It’s a perfume I’ve only imagined since moving to America with Meher. Just then the doorbell rings. When I answer it Meher stands at the door, clutching a mess of paper. The blustery snow seems to blow him through the entry, and a magazine along with a file folder slip from his pile to the floor. While he places the morass on the kitchen table, I retrieve the stray items: last week’s Time magazine—on the cover, Nancy Reagan wears a suit the color of blood and stands next to her husband as he’s sworn in for a second term—and a large envelope with my name, Sanaz, scrawled across it in angry ink. I return them to the pile. Meher sits across from me at the table. He looks as if he hasn’t slept in days. He wears a wrinkled black Italian suit, with the tails of his custom broadcloth dress shirt hanging out of his belt. As he mumbles under his breath, shuffling through the papers on the table, the stench of Budweiser wafts in my direction.

I want to cry. Saying good-bye to 20 years of marriage—tortuous or not—is emotional. This is the only life I know. I search for fond memories, and the only ones I can muster at this moment are sexual in nature. How can one feel lust and hatred at once? Life with Meher ran the gamut of passion, from euphoric ecstasy to loathing disgust. Yet he defines me. Without him, who am I? I think of Rumi’s poetry. Tonight, when love’s sorrow is forever and ever, And the ruby wine is my strength and pillar, The law prescribes pain and contemplation. Food and sleep and passion are forbidden. Why is forbidden passion tantalizing? Even after all of the horrible things he put me through, I feel the urge to hold him. I resist. Instead, I offer, “Would you like some tea?” The words escape my mouth as tears escape my eyes. Although he doesn’t answer, I get up, intent on bringing him tea. Fingers clasp onto my hand. “Sit,” he demands, holding so tight, his grip tethers me. Even when he lets go, I feel glued to my chair. More tears run from my eyes. I really want to hold him, but his gaze remains on the papers spread across the table as he speaks. He says, “You know how much I love you, and you know I would never let you go.” Just then the teakettle whistles. I stand. Only then do his eyes pierce me as he yells, “Sit down!” Together the teakettle and I wail. I say, “I want a cup of tea,” and walk toward the stove. When I pick up the kettle, its cry ceases. As I pour steamy liquid into the teapot, instead of a gentle trickle, the water lands with a blast. I turn around to ask, “Have you ever heard of thunder during a snow storm?” when something hits my head, and I fall to the ground, right in front of Meher. As I lay on the floor, I hear more explosions—again and again. Am I still holding the teakettle? Hot water runs on my body. It can’t be the boiling water from the stove, because it doesn’t hurt at all. I want to sit up and investigate, but for some reason, I can’t move. I open my mouth to ask, “What on Earth?” but I can’t speak. It’s only when I hear the screams from my sister and her husband that I realize I’m shot. It’s not hot water. It’s blood—my blood. Am I dead? My sister Sara shrieks, “You killed my sister,” over and over again. She kneels beside me and lifts my head on to her lap. Pain pierces my heart. My body jerks. I’m still alive. I hear my brother-in-law on the phone—screaming on the phone— talking to 9-1-1. My sister puts me down and runs outside, shouting, “Help! Over here!” and “Hurry!” Thoughts try to fly from my lips. I want to beg, “Please don’t leave me alone with him. He’ll shoot me again. Please, please.” But no words escape. As I wait for the next gunshot to finish me off, I open my eyes to find I’m no longer in Sara’s kitchen. Instead, I’m in a jungle. Vines envelop the trees surrounding me. Thick vegetation prevents me from finding my way out. I’m lost, running, and looking for a path home. From behind comes the sound of twigs crackling, heavy breath, and then a roar. When I turn I discover an enormous panther on my heels. I race to escape from it. However, the panther continues its pursuit. I sprint for endless miles, hurtling and tearing through thick, leafy vines, dodging around trees with a canopy so heavy, I cannot tell whether it’s day or night. Finally, I come upon a rustic log cabin and scurry through the door. The door is substantial. I fear I’m too weak to budge it. When the heavy, thick slab of wood slams shut with a small push from my delicate hand, I’m relieved. The cabin is filled with lush vegetation. It trails from the forest, across the floor and walls of the cabin, like snakes. Beyond the cabin walls, in the distance, calls of monkeys and squawks of birds fill the air. The panther’s snarls and roars drown the other sounds as he claws at the door. I crawl to the corner of the cabin and sit, huddled, waiting for death to take me. I’m ready. Then, all of a sudden, a light floods the cabin. The intense illumination pulls me from the jungle back to Sara’s kitchen in the suburbs. My view is limited to the white, popcorn-textured ceiling. But I hear everything. Outside of Sara’s house, sirens crescendo. It’s the police or an ambulance. A man’s voice talks on the radio. “There are two bodies here,” he says. I feel fingertips pressing on my neck and my wrist. Do I have a pulse? Another man’s voice reports on the telephone, saying, “She’s alive. But the man is dead.” Suddenly, I’m flying from the jungle—weightless, fearless, and painless. Suddenly, I know I won’t die. For the past 20 years of punishment under Meher’s hand, and being lost and scared in the woods, I had totally reached the decision that there is no fairness, no justice, no God. How could there be, when people like my children and me suffer every day? But in an instant, with those simple words from a stranger—”The man is dead”—I wholeheartedly believed in God. Now that my tormenter is gone, there is no way I’ll die too. Everybody thinks I’m unconscious, but I see and hear everything and everyone. The medics carry me out on a stretcher. Snowflakes and frozen rain pepper my skin as they bring me through the blizzard from the house to the ambulance. It doesn’t matter. I’m alive.

You, When You’re 70

Black Conte on White Paper | 18" x 24"


Digital Photography | 11" x 14 "

Untitled Landscape

Digital Photography | 10" x 13"


Inkjet Print | 13" x 13"

i did not stand on my head today another nonmilestone event under a pressing sky here’s a fluorescent thought i may not do it again tomorrow how’s that for Chinese discipline for sexy consistency i’m dizzy with achievement and you my darling beehive my first taste of upside-down desire you are satin to my cotton opium to my musk a pitch-perfect weathervane cock-a-doodle-doo

Last Sunday I heard a mysterious crash— An angel’s hallelujah of bullhorn brass Louder than the helicopters That buzz my insignificant house. It knocked me down, This breathy sound. Unlatched my hinges, unhooked my skin as if I were a purse, Exposing the red velvet of my skin of my intimate rubble: Spider lace of veins, buttons and pleats of my brain, Zipper of my crooked spine. Barely a sentence, No less than a song, The word was yes, then it was aum, Then it became an ocean, where I fell in—

Conditions were rough, when my brother set out in a twelve-foot outboard he started with a jerk, ignoring our family history of death’s stupidity. My great grandfather stood barefoot in water to replace a basement light. Of course, I never knew him. My mother’s uncle Leland got turned around, flew his stunt plane straight into the ground. I was there the Sunday my dad’s brother poured fuel on an already going grill, He went up like a Roman candle. Another family Fourth of July. As for my crazy brother alone out there in the storm, my mortician father stood on the jetty for hours, sea knives slicing his face. The Coast Guard brought back the boat and his shivering son. I once climbed a tower above Gettysburg, trees blazed below like bronze metals ghost soldiers called to me jump jump jump— daughter of morbidity. The worst death is clutching the rail, the slow drip of days—better to die at the edge of a cliff—eyes on an eagle, toes on a banana peel.


Mixed Media on Wood | 22" x 44"


Watercolor and Pen & Ink | 22.5" x 7"

The first three-syllable word my daughter ever said was Beautiful. She was the treasure that every first child should be. Exquisite. On a beautiful day I took her to the park. Running, laughing, black curls streaming. She followed the sandy-haired boy along the climbing bars, each step Perfection. “Get away from me, you little black girl!� My daughter was too young to recognize Prejudice. She would have continued to follow but I held her back. What do you do when the devil is eight year-old boy? We left the park, my soul stringing, my daughter still smiling. Her second three-syllable word was Dangerous.

John Haggerty

We met Ray and Raymond on our holy pilgrimage to Graceland. It was my mom’s idea, the pilgrimage thing. She was watching some show on one of the serious channels about how people go off to places to get healed and stuff. That and she had just read an article in one of our magazines that had 10 Ways to Bring Back the Pizzazz! and one of the ways was to take a trip somewhere, and that was it, I guess. Just so you know, my mom’s not crazy. She knows Elvis is dead and everything. And she doesn’t think that Graceland has magical powers like those places in Europe do. But she said we needed a change, and Elvis was so handsome and talented and he lived such a charmed and glamorous life, she thought that maybe some of that might rub off on us, since we really loved him. I could see she was serious, and, of course, my first thought was wondering what we were going to do for makeup. We had bought a pink traveling case a while ago, back when I had started to specialize in cosmetics, but we had never used it before; I guess because the lack of Pizzazz meant we never actually traveled anywhere. But now that we were really taking a trip that was supposed to last for at least a couple of nights, I started to get worried that I wouldn’t be able to bring everything we were going to need. Concealer, primer, at least two shades of foundation, smoothing powder, two shades of eye shadow, blush, bronzers—the list of absolute necessities went on and on. I could barely fit it all in, but I really couldn’t see how to cut it back any more, especially since my mom has been going for the Natural Look lately, and it takes a lot of work. Plus, there were two more things. I took a huge chance and brought our set of Celebrity Professional Makeup Brushes. They were so expensive and it took so long before we could afford them that I was terrified they would be lost or stolen, but then I thought that Elvis would want us to be at our best at Graceland, so I held my breath and packed them too. And then there was my mom’s True You, which is a picture of her when she was a cheerleader back in high school. She calls it that from when I was reading an article about Makeup Tips to Bring Out the True You. We searched all of our old photo albums until we found just the right one, the one that was closest to the way she really looks inside. That was kind of a chore because most of them had been chopped up quite a bit, because my mom had gone through and cut my dad out of all of them, which I guess she did when I was a baby. Sometimes, when I was little, I would get them out and hold them up to the sun, and it was like a blinding white angel was standing next to her where my dad used to be. He left right after I was born, and I always wonder if maybe he would still be around if it weren’t for me and my unfortunate condition. Anyway, I have to rely more

and more on the True You for reference purposes, because, to be honest, she is getting further from it all the time. My condition consists of the terrible curse of manly bone structure, which I must have inherited from my father, my mom being so pretty and delicate and all. At the makeup counter I once overheard her tell the salesgirl that I was rawboned, but otherwise, there was no reason I couldn’t go on to live a relatively normal life, which is what I try to do. To be honest it’s kind of a relief because it means that I can concentrate on my mom, which is pretty much a full-time job anyway. I’m not sure how I came to specialize in makeup, except that I wasn’t interested in much else in our magazines. My mom pays attention to the fashion, of course, and the important celebrity news. And she really likes all the stuff about sex and relationships. In fact, I think she could get some kind of college degree in it. Sometimes I imagine her taking her final exam, where she is going to become a professor of sexology or something, and all of the egghead guys with glasses around her are sweating and nervous, but my mom knows everything. Like the head professor asks, “What 8 Things Does HE Want You to Know in Bed?” or “Name 12 Ways to Bring the Passion Back” or “What is the Earth-Shattering New Position?” And my mom knows every single one because she is a natural. Which makes it even harder to understand why she has such a hard time having her Tender Needs Fulfilled, as she puts it, and it makes me suspect that my makeup is the problem. But I try as hard as I can, and even my mom admits that things have improved since I took over, because she doesn’t have the patience for it and has a tendency to just really goop it on. I don’t remember much of the actual pilgrimage. To be honest I was a little bit nervous about the whole thing. Not only the pressure of getting Mom’s makeup just right, but also, I was feeling weird about Elvis in general. Unfortunately, I had learned a terrible secret: Elvis had a megacolon when he died. From the sound of it, you might get the idea that having a megacolon would be great but it’s really not. See, I found an Internet site on Elvis’s autopsy while I was researching our trip to Graceland, and it said that when he died, his large intestine was, like, two or three times its normal size and filled with a chalky, white substance. Which I really didn’t want to know, but I didn’t stop

reading fast enough, and now it’s too late. They said it was because he used too many laxatives and took too many drugs, which must have been some kind of mistake—the drug thing, I mean. Well, both, I guess, but the drug thing especially because Elvis had so much to live for, even after he and Priscilla broke up. I had to keep the megacolon from my mom, because she prefers not to dwell on such things. She says that her heart is too delicate, and she might shatter into pieces if she has to bear any more suffering. We got to Memphis eventually, and that morning, after a really long session at the motel to make sure my mom looked her best for Elvis, we went to Graceland. You can’t drive right up to the house; you have to park and take a bus, and, like I said, that’s where we met Ray and Raymond. I guess Ray is one of those guys who likes to make friends, because all of a sudden, he was just there talking to us. “Well, hey, pretty ladies,” he said. “What’s two lovely young things such as yourselves doing out here all by your lonesomes?” He was a big guy, tall and not fat, really, just a little bit sloppy around the edges, like he was a room that someone had stopped bothering to tidy up. And he was handsome but there were some problem areas I could have worked on. He was a little bit blotchy and could have used some concealer and a nice foundation layer. Also, he could have used 4 Ways to Trim and Tone a Problem Jawline, which I know a lot about, since that is also an issue with my mom. “My name’s Ray and this is my son, Ray-Ray.” He pushed a boy forward to meet us. “Raymond,” the boy said and that is when I saw him for the first time. His skin was flawless, like he had on a Prep + Prime skin primer and then a Light Medium Studio Mist foundation. His cheeks were a perfect Nuance Mineralize blush that accentuated his high cheekbones in a completely understated way, just like you’re supposed to do it. Lips the color of Heather Rose Mattene Lipstick, and his bone structure was delicate and perfect, and I couldn’t think of a single thing I would have done to change him. Ray was talking to my mother, and I thought this was probably a big Pizzazz opportunity for her and that I should make sure that her True You was showing, but I couldn’t take my eyes off Raymond. “My name’s Raymond,” he said. “Please don’t call me Ray-Ray.” And I said I wouldn’t. He asked me my name, and I said Lisa and I had never felt more rawboned in my entire life. The bus came and took us up to Elvis’s house, and Ray kept us laughing the whole time. He pretended to be our tour guide and pointed things out as we

passed by, like “Ladies and gentlemen, on your left ... a tree!” Which doesn’t sound all that great now, but when he said it, it seemed really funny. When we got to the house, we were surprised to see how small it was. The whole tour was over in 10 minutes. There’s just the Piano Room and the Living Room on the first floor and the TV Room and the Jungle Room in the basement. I didn’t even know they had furniture in the jungle, but I guess they do, because Elvis found some. All the way through Ray kept making jokes, which helped some, but in the end it was a little bit disappointing, and I guess that’s what got him thinking about what was upstairs. Right when you come in the f ront door, you see the stairs going up there, but they have one of those velvet ropes across it, and there are two security guards, one at the bottom of the stairs and one at the top, because absolutely nobody is allowed up there, ever, except for Priscilla and Lisa Marie. After we got done in the house, my mom wanted a touch-up, so we went off to the ladies room for a little bit. When we got back Raymond and I wanted to go look at Elvis’s private jets, but Ray wouldn’t stop talking about what was upstairs. “What do you think they keep up there that’s so damn important?” he said. “Maybe they have gold ingots up there. Or uranium.’’ “Dad, why would they keep uranium at Graceland?” “A bunch of reasons, I bet. You know, in the eventuality.” Ray looked back toward the house. He was starting to look excited in a sweaty kind of way. There’s nothing up there, Dad. It’s probably just a bunch of dusty, old furniture.’’ Raymond was speaking really slowly and calmly, like you would to a little kid. Ray took out his ticket “Look at this. Look at what it says here.” His voice was getting louder. “It says, ‘Graceland Mansion, Admit One.’ It doesn’t say ‘Half of Graceland Mansion.’ And guess what? I haven’t gotten to see all of Graceland Mansion. Now that’s false advertising right there. That’s your classic bait and switch. Seems to me, somebody’s trying to put one over on old Ray Grimes. Ray-Ray, what’s our motto?” “Dad, let’s go look at the cars. I bet Elvis had some great cars.” Raymond was starting to look kind of worried. “Nobody, but nobody, puts one over on Ray Grimes. That’s our motto. Isn’t that right, RayRay?” He was starting to bounce up and down on his toes like a boxer. “I think maybe these folks need to get taken down a notch. I think maybe Ray Grimes might have to show someone what’s what.” “Dad, they have guards. They said the door was locked. You’ll never get up there.” Ray laughed. “Son,” he said, “you’re looking at an All-State running back here. Runner-up Tulsa Junior College player of the year. I’ll just blow past

those sleepy, old guards before they know I’m even there. What do you think? Maybe Elvis is still up there, singing away.” “Ray, maybe Raymond is right,” my mom started, but I could see she didn’t want to disappoint him too much.

the suit decided that the quickest way to get her out of his office would be to let us go. So they escorted us off the property, and that’s how we ended up, the four of us, sitting on the curb outside Graceland, wondering what to do next.

Then, when he was right next to the velvet rope, he jumped over it and started running up the stairs. “Now, ladies,” he said, “don’t go spoiling the fun here.” He smiled at us and he looked really happy, in a crazy kind of way. “Come on with me and watch the Ray Grimes magic at work.” We filed back into the house behind the next busload of people. I was starting to get really nervous, thinking about what he was going to do, and my brain went a little bit haywire, I think. I started to feel like maybe the velvet rope and the guards and everything weren’t there to keep us out, but to keep something in; that there was something really scary up there, like, maybe some mutated uranium Elvis with his chalky, white megacolon, and Ray would release him and something awful would happen, like in the horror movies. And for a while I was really afraid of that, but then I started to think that maybe it would be OK, that maybe all of the guards and everything, working so hard to keep their secrets, maybe that made the secret feel so much worse. And then I didn’t know what to think, and my head started to feel weird, and I realized that I had been holding my breath for a really long time. Ray wandered casually over to the staircase, like he was trying to get a better look at the stained glass peacocks in the Piano Room. Then, when he was right next to the velvet rope, he jumped over it and started running up the stairs. He was pretty quick, I guess, or maybe it had just been a while since anyone had been crazy enough to try to get up there, because he got halfway up the stairs before the two guards managed to grab him. Even then, he was pushing and shoving and giving them a terrible time, to the point that one of them finally had to pull a little canister out of his belt and blast him with pepper spray. The Graceland people were going to call the police and everything, and we spent a lot of time, the four of us, in a little office with the two angry security guards and a scary guy in a suit. My mom had to cry and carry on, which she is pretty good at and tell them that Ray’s only dream before the brain tumor took him was to see Graceland, and that she should have listened to the doctor more about the possibility of erratic behavior. And I could see that they didn’t really believe her, but after a while I think the guy in

Ray was hunched over and streams of tears and snot were still flowing off his face, into the gutter. Raymond watched him for a second and then asked if I had a bottle of water, which, of course, I did, just in case. He said “OK, Dad, you know how this works,” and held his head back and pried his eyes open and poured the water straight onto his eyeballs. When he was done Ray shook his head like a dog, and snot and water went flying everywhere, but it seemed to make him feel better. Raymond came back and sat down next to me. “At least they didn’t Taser him. That’s usually worse, believe it or not.” “Has he done this before?” I asked. “Well, not here, but other places. It’s best not to let him get too worked up.” “Lisa,” my mom called, and I knew what she wanted. She raised her eyebrows to me, asking how she was doing. It was a disaster. Her mascara was down her cheeks in stripes. The foundation had rubbed off in spots, and the skin underneath was all red and blotchy, and her lipstick was smeared all over. I opened my kit and then closed it back up again. “You look great, Mom,” I mouthed silently, and she gave me this bright smile. For a second she looked happier than I had ever seen, and she went to sit next to Ray. I didn’t know what to say next, and Raymond and I just sat there until, finally, I got so uncomfortable that I just blurted something out “Do you want some lip gloss or blush or something?” He said, “No, thanks,” and I was instantly mortified. “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean…I mean, you’re perfect’’ He sat there for little bit and then said, “My dad says I’m too skinny for football. He says I wouldn’t last a down.” Suddenly, I knew I was going to say it, whether I wanted to or not I held my breath to stop it, but then I had to let it out. “I’m…rawboned,” I whispered. I reached into my makeup kit and pulled out my Celebrity Professional Small Duo Fiber Fan Brush. I touched it lightly to my cheek for the very first time, and for just a second, the whole world looked sparkly and new, like it had been painted by angels.

Illumination Performance Machine

Video | 20:59


Inkjet Print | 9" x 13"

Every Good Garden

Digital Print | 17" x 11"

What about heels is like the hot red sear of an ambulance at night? The phallic spike—death stilts to pierce your brain through your eye. You too want that sex, that flint and spark of lust like bomb, like barb. Or else, a glass-thin wobble. Weak ankles. An old man painting angels on the head of a pin. She’s oil in the boardroom, the grasp before the orgasm, a gemstone dare. You need her arrow to be tipped in poison, the suffering brutal, long.

Andrew Jones is currently a senior at UNCC pursuing a BFA in Photography. Andrew strives to reflect the paradoxes of gender and identity that he recognizes in western culture though his photography.

Nicole Anderson is a native Charlottean who studies art at UNC Charlotte. She is interested in all art forms and is having a difficult time deciding what to concentrate in because she wants to pursue everything. TJ Anzulewicz was born into a military family and spent 18 years moving around with them. Now 22, with that pattern firmly entrenched he has continued to move which at 19 took him to Greenville, NC where he enrolled at Pitt Community College where he first found his passion for photography. After receiving his AA, he transferred to UNC Charlotte where he hopes to receive his BFA in photography and eventually obtain his MFA. Elizabeth Arzani is a compulsive collector of stories, ideas, and things. She takes found objects and photographs abandoned, overlooked places and things to recreate them into a new context and purpose. Austin N. Ballard is currently completing his BFA in Sculpture and Fibers. His works reflect ideas and thoughts about the human body through a variety of manifestations. Paige Cochran is a feminist artist and founder of the group New Surrealists, with a publication coming soon. Amelia Fletcher is a junior at UNC Charlotte working on her BFA in Photography. Suje Garcia is a California born artist who is currently seeking a BFA, with a concentration in painting, from UNC Charlotte. He formerly served in the U.S Military and received an AFA from Central Piedmont Community College in NC. Having traveled the world, he uses his life’s experiences as inspiration to create and define his vision. Damon Hood is currently pursuing a BFA in Painting at UNC Charlotte. Much of his work reflects an interest in the cross-fertilization of visual media disciplines. Those subjects often include illustrative concepts that are developed through multimedia techniques. Imaginary figurative elements are included in many images. He continues to search for the power of image through simplification of formal elements. Amanda Johnson is currently a junior concentrating in Graphic Design. She is interested in digital illustration and experimentation of media.

Megan Kelly is a senior art major at UNCC and is getting her BFA in Illustration. She is from the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, which has greatly inspired some of the diversity, culture, and color she often likes to bring to her work. Luther Montrose is a senior BFA Graphic Design student who enjoys using other mediums to express himself artistically. Minimal, yet detailed, paintings and drawings are what he’s usually done but now has moved toward more sculptural ways. Children, nature, and decay are all main sources of his inspiration. Micheal Noland is a junior pursuing his BFA with a concentration in graphic design. He enjoys working in Photoshop and Illustrator, and mixing the media between fine art and computer software. Joseph Pepe is a Charlotte-based street photography whose main goal is to represent city and rural landscapes honestly and nostalgically, along with the people and objects that live within them. He wants the viewer to take in the smallest and largest details of his simple, yet beautiful photographs to create a story and a scene in their head that is special to them. Eric Alan Wattinne is a well-defined mixed media artist who thoroughly enjoys simplistic design and minimalist handmade works. As well as recently receiving his BFA status as a Painter here at UNCC, Wattinne has also accomplished many other milestones in his life as well. The events leading up to and following his parents’ recent divorce had, one could say, a very large impact on his work as well as work ethic. Though, the line is thinly drawn when it comes down to if these events strengthened Wattinne’s art, or if they have diminished his experiences in the art community. Only visual aid can help now. Amber D. Watts received an AFA from Caldwell Community College in Hudson, NC, her hometown. She now lives in Charlotte with her son Remington, who was her first true love. Amber is a senior BFA student at UNC Charlotte and although her official concentration is painting, she is working in a variety of mediums. In her recent work, there is a focus on collage and the harmonious integration of painting, printmaking, and photography. Ashley York is currently a senior completing her BFA in Sculpture at UNC Charlotte. Her work is intended to be a fictitious and comical reflection on humanities relationship to machines within our environment.

Jay Carson is a seventh-generation Appalachian from Pittsburgh. After spending more time listening to stories from Archie Jones and Crazy Bob the Chicken Killer than West Virginia University’s English literature program, he settled down and completed a doctorate in English (rhetoric concentration) from Carnegie-Mellon University. He has taught at Robert Morris University for more years than he will admit. Active professionally, he hangs on by teaching, presenting, and consulting on rhetoric issues, especially language across the curriculum. Roger B. Cowin is a lifelong resident of Indiana, attended Indiana University East and has spent the last twenty years working with the mentally ill and substance abusers. He is married with five dogs and various other snakes, lizards, cats, and rodents, all of which want to eat each other. After a career as a copywriter and freelance journalist, Pamela M. Davis retired and devoted herself to writing poetry. Though she has recently started to submit her writing for publication, she has spent years refining her craft by studying and/or taking classes with Ted Kooser, Philip Levine, Ellen Bass, Christopher Buckley, Jack Grapes, and other poets. For two years in a row, she has been invited to read her work at Shakespeare and Company, and independent bookstore in Paris. Tracy DeBrincat is a freelance advertising consultant in the entertainment industry. Her first novel manuscript, Every Porpoise Under Heaven, received the 1996 Washington Award for Fiction, and her story, Troglodyte, was chosen as the second runner up for the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards.

A native of Moscow, Andrey Gritsman immigrated to the United States in 1981. He is a physician who is also a poet and essayist. He has published five volumes of poetry in Russian. He received his MFA in poetry from Vermont College. He runs the Intercultural Poetry Series in a popular literary club, Cornelia Street Café, in New York City. He also edits an international, bilingual online poetry magazine, John Haggerty is a writer living in California with his lovely wife and their dog. His stories have appeared in, Opium Magazine, Right Hand Pointing, War, Literature & The Arts, and the 2007 Bridport Anthology. Stephanie Hammer is a professor and a two-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Argestes, Bellevue Literary Review, Bridges, Mochila Review, Square Lake, and Red Rock Review, where she was awarded 3rd place in the Mark Twain Fiction Prize. She teaches comparative literature, creative writing, and women’s studies at the University of California, Riverside. Darryl “Hart N. Soul” Hart started writing poetry when he was in the 7th grade. There was a time period during his late high school and early college career where he took a short hiatus from the writing game, but has now returned with new vigor. Upon graduation, Darryl hopes to attend graduate school as well so that he can attain a master’s degree in clinical psychology, but still plans to maintain his passion for writing. Dwight R. Hilson is a recovering businessperson, having succumbed to parental influence rather than risk a career on the creative writing he first enjoyed at Boston University (he earned his BS in public communication in 1981).

Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Mary Bess Dunn is a graduate of Peabody College at Vanderbilt. Now a professor of education at Tennessee State University, she is the recipient of several distinguished teacher awards. While always literary-minded, she has focused more on her writing in the past decade, attending workshops, seminars, and conferences such as the Sewanee and Kenyon Writers’ conferences. She is currently at work on a short story collection and a novel.

A special education teacher and educational evaluator, Michele A. Hromada has spent over 20 years advocating for children with special needs. Short fiction writing is something she loves and has been working on throughout her life, attending writers’ workshops at Hofstra University and numerous writers’ groups and meetings. She lives on the Lloyd Neck peninsula on the North Shore of Long Island, a remote and coastal place in the shadow of New York City and is the setting and inspiration for some of her work.

Francesc M. Franch is a native of Spain who came to the United States at the age of seventeen. He has authored two novels, Gray City Under the Rain (Editorial Milenio, Spain, 2007) and A Hidden Portrait (Editorial Milenio, Spain, 2005), both of which were written in Spanish. He has also written A Catalan Symbolist: Selected Poems of Marius Torres (Peter Lang Publishing, 1992).

Lisa Jillani, former literary editor of The Charlotte Poetry Review, is a senior history major with a minor in English. After graduation, she plans to return to her life of 18th century living history interpretation, with hopes that the occasional meaningful poem still finds its way to her pen. She is the mother of Savannah & Madison (her wondrous treasures), and married to Ahsen, who still remains an exotic mystery.

Prior to pursuing her dream of writing, Lisa L. Leibow practiced law for 11 years, drafting legal briefs and memoranda. She has participated in exclusive writers’ workshops and retreats, including studying with Julia Glass at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and with Michael Neff of Algonkian Workshops. She also won an honorable mention in the John Gardner Award for Best Character Description. After receiving a master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Denver, Alita Pirkopf became increasingly interested in feminist interpretations of literature. Eventually, she taught several related classes. After that, she enrolled in a poetry class at the University of Denver taught by the poet Dr. Bin Ramke, editor of the Denver Quarterly. Since then, poetry has been her obsession. Joseph Prendergast is an English teacher with over 35 years of experience, having taught poetry, advanced placement English, and various reading classes at Rolling Meadows, Illinois. He studied poetry with Molly Daniels in the Clothesline Creative Writing School in Chicago for five years. In summer 1996 he was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar For School Teachers—The Gothic Cathedral as a Reflection of Medieval Life. Marilyn Ringer received a BA in Social Sciences and an MA in Experimental Psychology, both from Southern Methodist University. She has been a chef and restauranteur, a poet-teacher with California’s Poets In The Schools, and a teacher of adult creative writing workshops. During the summer, she spends extended time on Monhegan Island in Maine where she writes with a group of women who are artists, teachers, Gestalt therapists, and gardeners as well as writers. Judi A. Rypma is a recovering “garden-aholic,” having gone from trying to maintain sixteen gardens to eight. However, she haven’t been able to break the impulse to write about the natural world, and so lately spend more time pulling weeds metaphorically than literally. By day, David Scronce is the director of student service systems at the University of California, Berkeley. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of California, San Diego, and an MFA from the writing seminars at Bennington College. He lives with his partner in San Francisco, where he enjoys raising orchids that, unfortunately, his cats enjoy eating. Adam Peter Shinn is an amateur freelance writer and recent Belk College of Business graduate from UNC Charlotte. In the realm of written word, he is heavily inspired by poetry and short stories. Shinn also produced musical artwork under the stage name Pete Wurthy, in which he writes, composes, and

performs original hip hop pieces. The son of a fine artist, Shinn allows his life experiences to fuel his motivation for using literature and music as an outlet for self-expression. L.D. VanAuken has had writings appear in Flyway, Fourth Genre, Sou’wester, Many Mountains Moving, Southeast Review, and many other venues. Her first popular fiction novel debuted under a pseudonym with Hachette Book Group in 2009 and a second book is in production. Her literary fiction was recently nominated for inclusion in Best New American Voices (2010) and The Pushcart Prize (2010). Samantha Webster: (See Staff Bios.) Fred Yannantuono was fired from Hallmark for writing meaningful greeting-card verses, once ran twenty straight balls at pool, finished 183rd (out of about 10,000) at the 1985 U.S. Open Crossword Puzzle Tournament, won a yodeling contest in a German restaurant, was bitten by a guard dog in a tattoo parlor, survived a car crash with Sidney Lumet, and had Paul Newman once claim to have known him for a long time.

Kyla D. Hall (McDaniel) is still in her senior year, seeking a BFA in Ceramics. Due to recent drastic changes in her life, Kyla seeks to rediscover and reinvent herself through her artwork and poetry. Always on a roller coaster, she is excited to see what may come around the next turn…

Aimee Parkison, an Assistant Professor at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, teaches creative writing in the English Department. She has received a Christopher Isherwood Fellowship, a Writers at Work Fellowship, and a Kurt Vonnegut Fiction Prize. Parkison writes and publishes fiction and poetry. She has an MFA from Cornell University. Her story collection, Woman with Dark Horses, won the first annual Starcherone Fiction Prize and was published in 2004. Parkison’s work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in or is forthcoming from Hayden’s Ferry Review, So to speak, Nimrod, The Literary Review, Feminist Studies, Mississippi Review, North American Review, Quarterly West, Santa Monica Review, Other Voices, Crab Orchard Review, Fiction International, Seattle Review, and Denver Quarterly. She is currently working on a novel. Christopher Davis was born in Los Angeles, and received an MFA from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop in 1985. His three collections of poetry are titled, The Tyrant of the Past and the Slave of the Future, The Patriot, and A History of the Only War. He is a professor of creative writing at UNC Charlotte. Julie E. Townsend is a published short-story writer with stories in the MacGuffin, The Distillery, and Creative Loafing, Main Street Rag. She has also won a NC Working Press Award, and two, first-place short story competitions.

Jamie Franki is currently a tenured Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he coordinates the Illustration program in the Department of Art and Art History. For two years, he was a Master Designer in the United States Mint’s Artistic Infusion Program. In 2005, his American Bison Nickel reverse design was selected for a six-month minting. This Nickel was awarded a “COPY” (Coin of the Year Award) as the Most Popular World Coin of 2005. In January of 2006, his Jefferson 1800 Nickel obverse design began its long-term run on America’s new and historic forward-facing circulating coin. In 2008 Franki designed the Order of IKKOS Medallion, the United States Olympic Committee’s perpetual honor society award for Team USA coaches. Kristin Rothrock is a Foundations Lecturer at UNC-Charlotte teaching 2D Design, Drawing, Figure Drawing and Concept Studio. She also teaches Book Arts and Papermaking. She received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, focus in printmaking and received her undergraduate degree in Art Studio from Skidmore College in New York. Dr. Jae Emerling is an assistant professor of modern/contemporary art at UNC Charlotte. Currently he is working on a book entitled Photography: History and Theory, which will be published by Routledge in 2011. His other publications include Theory for Art History, “The Vestige of Time: With Wylie and Deleuze in Carrara” in X-TRA: Contemporary Art Quarterly, and “An Art History of Means: Arendt-Benjamin” in the Journal of Art Historiography.

Contributors: Whether or not your name appears in this magazine, you are the life of this magazine. We are priviledged to showcase your lives, your writing and your art. We hope that you continue to submit!

Dr. Jae Emerling: You broadened our minds on the topic of art, showed us a can of shit to question what we believe, and took the time to talk about it.

SAFC: You continually provide us an opportunity to publish amazing work in a creative outlet. Without your faith in us, we wouldn’t be here.

and throw them into rivers; that if you don’t make a dummy,

Wayne Maikranz: A huge depth of gratitude for supporting Sanskrit for many years and providing your guidance and care to this staff and each staff before. Mark Haire: Well, we are definitely NOT thankful for flying rubberbands or being scared half to death and encouraging Wayne to do the same.You know we got you back! Seriously though, thank you for getting dough in our pockets and aiding to our every beck and call. Michael Teague: You calm our nerves by using your magic touch when stuff just doesn’t work. And it isn’t our fault! Kelly Lusco Merges: We love the fact that you’re so enthusiastic. You offered your help whenever needed and help getting certification for the ez-go. We promise not to run over anyone! Judges: You offer time out of your busy schedule, perspectives, and enthusiam every year to make this publication a success. You are a big part that makes up this magazine! Melanie Jansen: You helped so much in guiding us and giving us good advice! Take care in Kentucky and be sure to visit! Samantha Webster: You volunteered your time and skills and it was greatly appreciated! We know you needed a break from IKEA anyway! How long has it been? 5 or 6 years?! Either way, a long time! This time, it might be goodbye for real! :[ (But we know you’ll always stop by!) Kelly Shuler, Maria Olarte, Gavin Boulware, and Jamar flowers: We know it it was a lot of reading, but you took the initiative to work here you are welcome to visit anytime! Sammi Zheng: You came at the right time! Your suggestions and help during crunch time were awesome. Hope you come back next year! This time we’ll pay you!

David Brodeur: You taught us how to kill widows and orphans you’re a dummy; and 90% of what we know about graphic design.

Giulio Turturro: You trusted us with your wood type. Sorry for skipping class! Ann Kluttz: You took time out of your schedule to help us when we were in distress! The staff of University Times, NinerOnline, Media Marketing, and Radio Free Charlotte: You kept us awake from your bird noises to your random visits, it would definitely be boring without you! Brandon Grubbs: You offered your amazing airbrush skills, kept us company with your late night phone calls, and constantly argued the definition of art. Amelia Fletcher: You let us borrow your make-up and stayed late some nights to help. And making sure we got sleep. TJ Anzulewicz: You let us borrow your 4x5 camera and helped us solve polaroid issues. Adam Harris: You helped us with our photo shoot and solving polaroid problems. SafeRide: You made sure we got home safely when working those late nights. Janitors of the Student Union: Sorry for the mess! You sure do tolerate it well! Residents of University Terrace: You didn’t call the fire department on us. Mr. and Mrs. Lascara: You let us use part of your house as a studio. Readers: You took interest in our hard work and creative talent. and food, sleep, music, internet, caffiene.

Staff Page

COLOPHON Copyright © 2010 Sanskrit Literary-Arts Magazine and the Student Media Board of UNC Charlotte All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without permission of the copyright holder. 3000 copies Wallace Printing Newton, NC

APPROPRIATED: iMac G5 computers with OSX 10.5.6 Epson Perfect 1240 scanner Adobe Creative Suite 3 Font Agent Pro Canon T1i Cannon Zoom Lens EF-S 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 IS Cannon Macro Lens EF-S 60mm 1:2.8 Cannon Zoom Lens EF 24-85mm 1:3.5-4.5 430EX II Flash Sunpak 7500 Tripod Optekta Flash diffuser Nikon D60 DX AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G VR Nikon D40x DX AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm 1:3-5.6G Iwata Custom Micron Airbrush SilentAire Compressor Cambo SC-2 Basic 4x5 View Camera Polaroid 52 Film pencil, calligraphy pen, silver-plated wire 18ga and 24ga and silver plated chain, pliers, wire cutter, cardboard, gasoline, lighter, box cutter, Deer Park bottled water, Holbien black acryilc paint, antique vanity, chest, makeup, fabric, scissors, yarn, rubber cement, sewing needle, sketchbook paper, wood block letters, store-bought sand, store-bought bottle of blood, Chroma A2 Acrylic Titanium White, Chroma A2 Acrylic Mars Black, brayer, paintbrush, Sharpie marker, bulletin board, tacks, sketchbook paper, torn Xerox copies of our inspriations and ideas for wdesign

80 pages 7” x 11” trim size, perfect bound 120 lb Cover Classic Columns Chocolate Crayon, blind emboss 80 lb Text Cougar White

FFF Tusj MrsEaves Roman MrsEaves Italic MrsEaves Bold MrsEaves SmallCaps Budmo Jiggler Birth of a Hero VTKS News Label Cover, Thank You, Jury Page: Karen Pierce Title Page, Colophon: Karen Pierce and Adam Iscrupe Editor’s Note, Art Pages: Karen Pierce Table of Contents: Karen Pierce, Sammi Zheng Poetry Pages: Andrew Lichtenhan, Karen Pierce, Adam Iscrupe Hats We Wear, Mermaid: Andrew Lichtenhan, Karen Pierce, Adam Iscrupe, Sammi Zheng Our Friend The Professor, The Other Half of Graceland: Paul Lascara, Karen Pierce, Andrew Lichtenhan Sucker: Samantha Webster, Andrew Lichtenhan, Karen Pierce Forbidden Passion: Adam Iscrupe, Karen Pierce, Andrew Lichtenhan Contributors Page: Karen Pierce, Brandon Grubbs Staff Page: Karen Pierce, Andrew Lichtenhan, TJ Anzulewicz INSPIRATION: Handmade Graphics: Tools and Techniques Beyond the Mouse by Anna Wray astory Magazine BJ Bett’s Custom Lettering Guide