fall 2020 issue
Jade Fiorilla Editor-in-Chief Dana Saltz Creative Director Lily Weber Secretary Sabrina Ruiz Advertising Manager
Sloan Drechsel Samantha Furey Mia Merchant Sophia Petrucci Gabriela Lehmann Rodriguez
Cover art adapted from “Backstroke” by Olivia Johnson Copyright© Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine and respective authors. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine and/or respective authors. Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine reserves the right to edit submissions for layout, grammar, spelling, and punctuation unless otherwise indicated by the author. Any references to people living or dead are purely coincidental except in the case of public figures. The views and opinions represented in this media do not necessarily reflect those of Northeastern University or the staff of Spectrum Literary Arts Magazine.
Letter from the Editor // Jade Fiorilla
Tomorrow // Mel St.Cyr Don’t Let Go // Mirza Nayeem
Feels Like Yesterday // Olivia Johnson A Prototype for _______________ // Asma Bahadar
Golden Dandelions // Ella Filardi
“Self-Love” // Sabrina Ruiz Abby in Her Mask // Amanda Barr
Idolism // Allison Zheng Goosetown // Mel St.Cyr
A Lost Dream of Shadows // Noor Charif Field of Lights // Bhavya Kattamudi
Afterhours // Sabrina Ruiz Here // Sophie Leggett
At Least Her Earrings Were Cool // Charlotte Collins
Backstroke // Olivia Johnson My Car // Katrina Makayan
A Lifelong Cause // Jade Fiorilla Trapped // Deva Aishwarya
Emerald City // Yanni Pappas I Was a Bride Married to Amazement // Charlotte Collins
Why Do I Stay In? // Mirza Nayeem Dark Fall // Mia Merchant
Reflections // Yugandhar Bonde Heartstrings (In Short) // Sophie Leggett
A Letter from the Editor... While this issue of Spectrum is not specifically in response to the ongoing pandemic, we believe that all creativity, whether intentional or not, must stem from some emotional truth. There are pieces of art and writing printed here that show both fear and loneliness, as well as pride and optimism. In this issue, we have tried to use the literary arts magazine format to more actively converse with the reader. We do not want you to read on autopilot, but to engage with the text. Turn not only the pages but the book itself. Read forwards and backwards, and feel the rhythm as one piece leads to the next. The size of this issue also lends itself to being carried with you, so take it on the train or in bed or just keep it in your bag for later. Let the perspective of others help you reflect on your own path through this societal and political and cultural storm. Let your peers guide you forward and remind you of the promise of tomorrow. I have had a difficult time finding a sense of belonging at Northeastern. Often I feel adrift, moving as one among thousands without an identity beyond my physical appearance. Anonymity is like a breath of fresh air, but it can also feel exceptionally tiresome. One of the universal truths of the
5 world, at least according to my high school English teacher, is that we all strive to belong, to find a community that values our strengths and forgives us for our weaknesses. Spectrum allows me to not only be heard as a writer, but to feel spiritually connected to other students. Now, whenever the word â&#x20AC;&#x153;spiritualâ&#x20AC;? is invoked, some readers may be tempted to roll their eyes, but what has the pandemic taught us if not humble compassion. There is so much anger and frustration, yes, but we have also grown more thoughtful. Our generation can see the interconnectedness of humanity better than any generation before. To feel spiritually connected is to feel warmth that radiates from your core and spreads to every finger, toe, and strand of hair. It is both validating and uncomfortable at times. May this Fall 2020 issue of Spectrum bring you a sense of belonging in a time of social distancing. Approach this book with an open and curious mind. With love, Jade Fiorilla
tomorrow // Mel St.Cyr it’s impossible to live in the present when when when it’s all the slip edged hope of the future of fastening seatbelts and once more falling off into the mindless hive mind 6
there’s no time for soliloquy when the air smells like petrol and your mouth tastes like bottled coffee downed as your feet slapped concrete.
donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t let go // Mirza Nayeem
Feels Like Yesterday // Olivia Johnson
you only learned about it when your road trip to the south of this valley left you slicing through the thin throated road where each vehicle positioned itself to avoid falling. such was the case of life, to rescue the self from nearing the edge. to dissolve the journey with fear & nothingness. every time you learned to love, it rained, soaking the inside of your skull with lazy memories. this is not how you drive, your father said for the seventh time. eyes on the road. look ahead. yes.
A Prototype for _______________ // Asma Bahadar
you shrunk between your shoulders, restricting all thought from transpiring. you learned to maneuver to his liking, & so to your liking. After all, his happiness was yours & you can only exist if he does. how a black night speeds within a second, he is no longer & the source of your happiness is bleeding & you have to explain to the police, you didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mean it which is an exhausting process of trying to prove honesty in love.
Golden Dandelions // Ella Filardi
Abby in Her Mask // Amanda Barr 12
“Self-Love” // Sabrina Ruiz she jabs at my curves scoffs at my rolls perhaps her major should be math as she counts my calories on the daily there are days when I can no longer take her abuse but when I swivel around fists rigid, ready to throw a punch bracing for the impact they do not land on her face— they shatter the mirror.
Idolism // Allison Zheng
Goosetown // Mel St.Cyr I left Goosetown torn tattered that safe haven beat me backwards with love and longing someday maybe Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll decide to find my own Goosetown have my own ugly ducklings filled with the same emotion and I will feel empathy for the life they have been forced into the love they cannot escape
A Lost Dream of Shadows // Noor Charif i know where the lost girl goes streaks black as coal painting her face when the winds are howling in the shadows the beaten look of tattered clothes bloodshot eyes, head bowed in disgrace i know where the lost girl goes
desperate for another dose of summer sun and a warming embrace i know where the lost girl goes until sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dragged back down to those whose presence she can never erase when the winds are howling in the shadows the four walls stare and then expose a black hole keeping her in place i know where the lost girl goes when the winds are howling in the shadows
Field of Lights // Bhavya Kattamudi
through the wallpaper over the meadows trying to vanish without a trace when the winds are howling in the shadows
Afterhours // Sabrina Ruiz
Here // Sophie Leggett Some call it God, or love or light or poetry— whatever it is, it was all over your hands as you lit that candle, and all over the way the smoke rose up in ropes after blowing it out. It was all over that little, nearly hidden sandwich shop painted neon green, all over the train yesterday baked in four p.m. sunlight, all over the morning mist that seeps through the car windows. Some call it kindness, art, hope, joy. I used to think it was glue. I used to think it was waiting for me somewhere, in a paint chip in a new set of guitar strings in a person, maybe, or a night in the city full of laughter and dance. By the ocean. In Ireland, in a book. I’m not so sure anymore. Maybe it’s up to me.
she was a silver 2007 honda civic and by august she was sold at 73,000 miles. i never named her. but she always had a dent in the back bumper, the AC was shot, and her wipers couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t clean the windshield for me when it poured. but she always heard me cry. she played my favorite songs, gave me a hug in the form of blasting heat through the vents, and even buckled my friends in.
my car // Katrina Makayan
Backstroke // Olivia Johnson 23
this time i wouldn’t even get to know you. the way you’d walk towards my car or the way you’d kiss me when you got in. or how your hand would fall on my thigh while i drive.
the way you talked reminded me of the warmth that’d seep out of her vents, so i can’t help but miss you the same way i miss her.
this time, she wouldn’t get to know you. the way you’d recline the passenger seat or the way you’d adjust the volume just so you can hear me talk clearer. or how you'd roll down her windows because you know she likes it that way.
now when all i have are my feet, i miss her hugs. sometimes when it rains in the city and the music in my ears can’t block out the sounds of the streets, i wish i could go home to her. i could sit and let the rain pass while the bass beats to the rhythm of an overplayed song. she’d never get tired.
a lifelong cause // Jade Fiorilla itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like a dream of reality painted with stained glass so the light filters through and my body, awash in color, heals 24
the resilience of a fledgling the patience of marsh grass waiting for the first deluge the trust between the moon and sea I close my eyes to the wind let it carry me to that land where I am bathed in color; let these tears reveal a stronger heart
Trapped // Deva Aishwarya
I was a bride married to amazement. —Mary Oliver, “When Death Comes” // Charlotte Collins
I was a bride married to amazement. Arms opened wide, I took in all of life through my torso and held it there, solid Like the chestnut desk I’d like to own one day And sit at with pen in hand And write verses that a stranger will memorize. I want to stand on stage, someday, clutching tattered notebook, Bated silence poised precariously on words unsaid, And open my mouth; Reach before me to grab a leaf from that oak tree At that farm on that day that you Took me there, bright eyes bursting sunlight, And smell it, because in my family We always smell things, And toss it out into the eager crowd
And they will catch it; hold it in careful hands, Steady fingers, This thing now said but still unspoken. My heart—my heart! Pressed and molded on granite slab, This thing by which I am, this precursor to body, mind— Hum softly to it, take care.
Emerald City // Yanni Pappas
In this moment, I am trapped in the confines of my consciousness, Like the twilight-tinted clouds that envelop on my universe What makes our existences significant?
In this moment, there is no beginning or end to my journey, Only the cold petrichor that seeps into my lungs What is the source of our inner warmth?
In this moment, I wander aimlessly, My footsteps muffled by a steady drizzle Why do we strive for the things furthest away from us?
Dark Fall // Mia Merchant
why do i stay in? // Mirza Nayeem
In this moment, my destination is temporary, Taking the form of a concrete not-home When will our search for belonging come to an end?
In this moment, I feel more alive than I would on a summerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s day, But Fate has already collected her dues from the leaves rotting into the sidewalk Why must Death be inevitable?
In this moment, I am untouchable As beams of watered down streetlight fail to catch my huddled shadow Why do we fear what we cannot hide from?
In this moment, reality is but a shadow, nothing more than Reflections blurred into rain-slicked concrete Why do we force ourselves into narrow definitions?
Heartstrings (in short) // Sophie Leggett I am sitting next to a man on the subway who is reading the comics section and smiling to himself The woman across from us is kissing her baby on the forehead
Reflections // Yugandhar Bonde
I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know how anybody can know anybody without falling a little bit in love.
32 NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY 2020