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Artwork by Tina Pfeifer

Autumn Issue 2009


Table of Contents Tina Pfeifer Katie Lawrence Marvin Brooks Jacqueline Kelley Danielle Siemer Maria Campolongo Emilie Helman Jacob Stentz Amber Roth Jennifer Roesch Shalonda Smith Molly Robinson Matt Grosser Marvin Brooks Symana Dillingham Tina Pfeifer Paul Arrand Rodgers Michael Conner Amanda Martin Jillian McVey Emilie Helman Ashley Batchelor Michael Purcell Paul Arrand Rodgers Elizabeth Bible Jennifer Roesch Katie Lawrence

Heat Specials To Each and Every Woman Never Say Never Soul Mates Blooming in Tandem my somnambulant double Tears Click, Clack. Click, Clack. Events A Flutter in the Wind Peaceful Garden Children’s: Where a Kid Can be a Kid Such Silly Dreams Dream on a City’s Cry Chimera green man Leaving The Smokey Incubus Interactions untitled no. 37 Sugar Clouds/Glowing The Necessity of Certain Behaviors Genome Overlookin’ Berlin, Ohio Demolition


Cover 4 6 7 12 16 17 18 20 23 26 27 28 32 33 36 37 38 40 44 45 46 47 51 52 53 54

Specials Katie Lawrence I know what I am to you. I'm Non-smoking, of course. I'm side of onion rings Instead of fries. I'm another refill, Diet Coke with extra lemon, Bud Light with a frosted mug, No salt on the rim of that glass. I'm extra red pepper mayo, Honey mustard Sour Cream, Homemade Bleu Cheese, Tartar, Butter, Salsa, Garlic, Hot, Mild, Inferno Sauce. I'm 5 additional wings for only 2 dollars more. I'm 12.99 for 10 ounces and A baked potato With California blend Of the Day. I'm medium well, Braised, Charbroiled, Grill-fired, Bloody. I'm a double on the rocks. In a long stemmed glass. A lime wedge in the bottle. I'm Tom Collins, Old Fashioned, Bloody Mary, Slammer. Another round, An extra Pitcher, Straight Up, With an olive. I'm Jim, Jack, Johnny Red, Johnny Black, Evan, Morgan, Vladimir, And JosĂŠ. I'm a heart stopper special With sour cream, cheese, mozzarella sticks extra bacon bits And ranch dressing on the side. I'm Out of ketchup, Some more bread, With an extra spoon, And some Sweet N' Low.


But You, Well you honey. You're check please. You're twenty percent, Maybe fifteen. Ten if you're stingy, And a To-Go box.


To Each and Every Woman Marvin Brooks I have no seductive dress in the back of my closet There is none to be my secret weapon For I am MY OWN My hair is not long And I am too wise to be understood I am not svelte with a complexion that makes Kings fall to their knees Furthermore, around the neck of my woods I AM QUEEN Though I don’t have a crown You’ll think that I’ll never step from my throne Having stiff legs, long arms, and wide smile I walk I gain and embrace what I have And this is my style It is what I own, and now what you know You should know that no one can do what I do


Never Say Never Jacqueline Kelley The morning air was sweet from the blooming flowers of spring. And thunder rumbled gently through the sky preparing for the rain that was for sure to pour. At 8:30 p.m. it was pronounced that my mama had left this world. She was gone, and no more would I smell her scent or hear her voice, even feel her touch. The doctors told my daddy that there was nothing that they could do for her. The cancer had won the battle that my mama fought for eight years, eight years man. It killed my daddy that day too. No words came out his mouth to tell me what had happened, there was only gentle touches around my body, and I knew then that my mama was gone. We held on to each other tight knowing that in our hearts we would never let each other go, never. Two years have passed since my mama went away, and my daddy still has not spoken a word about her departing. I mean he would give a smile or smirk, even holler at the T.V every once in a while when the Bengals would lose not just one or two games, but... well let's just say several games. So I guess he really wasn't that quiet. Summer was approaching with this intense heat wave, and it was just too hot to move. So, I sat in my room by the fan I waited on my granddad ML to call ‘cause he said he would be takin me on vacation since school was out. I was excited. But these Butterflies cramped my stomach. This was only ‘cause I really didn't wanna leave my daddy. It seemed I was the only real thing that kept him at peace with my mama leaving us and all. "Kate!" my daddy called with his deep subtle voice from the kitchen. "What!" I yelled "Come’er I need to talk to you."


Man, I wasn't on him tryin’ to tell me I couldn't go with ML cause we ain’t have no money. I mean I know it’s been hard these last couple of years and cutting back really has not been a secret. Everybody in my family knew that me and daddy were having problems holdin’ the house down. But I was goin’ on my vacation school. Was just too crazy not to. So I went on downstairs, throwing my body along the stair rail. "What's up daddy?" "I got something I gotta share wit’ you." "Man daddy, I know you ain’t got no money but..." "No, Kate listen I'm serious now. It's about me, and well... another person." "Well who daddy? I mean you know you can talk to me. What's wrong?" Daddy just looked at me like he really had a something deadly to tell me. It was like someone had passed, or that he was sick. Fa-real he looked a little constipated, just stuck. "Daddy what is it?" I asked "Now, I know that you planning on going with ML this summer, and that's fine I want you to enjoy yourself. I plan to enjoy my summer just as well. Since I have been working at the factory with your crazy uncle, he introduced me to someone, and well... I think I might have a connection with her. I just looked at him real dumb. "Someone who, daddy?" "Her name is Kim and she's alright." I waited before I spoke any words out my mouth that would hurt my daddy. I knew that he may needed to be with someone that can satisfy his manly "things" but we suppose to stick together. Not go finding people to intrude on us. "Daddy I don't know about all this. Don't you think it's too soon for you?"


Daddy stood his shoulders out and I swear I saw tears in the corner of his eyes. "Kate, I love you, and don't think that there is anything or anyone that could take that away. I always think of your mother and she still in my heart always. So when is it going to be too late fa me Kate... Huh, tell me?" I held my head down. "Yes sir." My heart was broken, so I just went on the porch in the ridiculous heat. It took everything in me not to cry but biting my lip was not fulfilling the pain I felt. I missed my mama, and she needed to be here with me now. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. "Ma, mamma... I miss you so much." I knew she heard me, ‘cause I could feel her all through my bones, flesh and heart. Daddy walked up to the screen door. "Kate, your granddad on the phone for you, baby." "Hello, hey ML" "Hey love, you still riding wit’ me tomorrow right?" "Yes sir" I told him, but after what daddy just told me I was cool. My excitement had gone away. "Kate what's wrong with you now? I told yo daddy he ain’t need to worry about no money. So you go on and cheer ya self up, alright? I'll be by to get you in the morning now, so be ready. Now let me speak back to that broke joke daddy of yours." Before I could hang up the phone ML told me I was special and that mama would be real proud of me, but I ain’t even say nothing I just handed the phone back to Lee; he made me so mad. That's what I call daddy when I'm mad at him, by his first name, we both adults. I decided to go back outside on the porch where there was a little shade. Lee didn't move from the screen door, so I overheard him talking with ML.


"Yeah, she's alright. She just upset right now ‘cause I told her about a lil’ lady friend I got over at the factory. I'm thinking about cutting her off though, I don’t wanna lose my baby girl, not ever, she’s mine." Lee and I didn't talk the rest of the afternoon. The sun had gone down and the cool air was starting to bring in a real nice breeze. So it was sort of chilly in my room with the fan going on high. I found myself trying to relax. Now while I laid there in my bed I realized that maybe I didn't really need to trip out on Lee like that. Maybe I was wrong. I know he still loves my mama, and I really can't stand seeing in the morning looking all dried up like he has no Life. Maybe he really does need this... whatever her name is Kim person. I'd learn to deal with her if I had too. All this thinking made me tired so I went on to sleep. While I was busy dreaming about Jamie Foxx, and his latest single Blame It On the Alcohol, something like a duck interrupted; honk, honk. Then I heard my daddy, "Kate!" Aww man, ML was here I was not ready at all, and my breath still smelled something awful. “Kate, you ready?" called daddy. "Uh...." "Well me and ML down here waiting on you come on." "Okay" I yelled while hopping into the tightest jeans I could find. I wanted to let daddy see me as the grown woman I am. He don't like me wearing tight clothing, and I don’t really want him to be with a new lady. But I said I would try so he just gonna have to try with me and my tight jeans, but I ain’t mad at him. As I went down stairs daddy and ML were sitting at the table eating. So I just start putting my eggs and sausage on the plate, looked in the fridge and got me some cheese. Now I know my daddy was watching me ‘cause I only heard one fork scraping the plate.


"Kate" "Yes father," I said with my head held high and my eyebrows up. "What you wearing to go with ML? I know it's not them jeans?" I didn't say anything, and neither did daddy; he just watched me the whole time, fork in and out my mouth. ML was about finished with his meal and he was ready to go. "All right Kate let’s head on out," ML said "Oh, Okay I’m ready" Daddy was still looking at me with this I-can’t-believe-it's-not-butter look. It was so funny. Only ‘cause he is probably thinking I'm still mad at him and I ain’t. I leaned over and gave daddy a big kiss and told him in a gentle whisper, "I love you for and ever and ever, enjoy your summer with Kim." Then I grabbed my bag and ran and out the door real quick so he couldn’t stop me. For some reason I just wanted my words to be the last thing in his mind, and he can’t never say I didn't let go.


Soul Mates Danielle Siemer My grandma once told me, “Love, Danielle, is all the proof you’ll ever need that God exists. In a world full of violence, opposition, and prejudice, love leads us back to faith. Keep your heart open to others and when you finally find that person you’re meant to be with you will know exactly what I mean.” Her words always impacted me, but they never held the true meaning they hold for me until today. With all the madness in the world and all the madness in my own life, it has been hard to keep my faith in a higher power. After years of struggle and being at the brink of giving up on God and love all together, I found the meaning of those words. On April 18th my entire world changed. After a day of community service, I walked up the steep ramp that led to the quad. I always took the ramp over the stairs because I preferred the challenge of having to get to the top on my own. The steeper the climb the more likely I was to take it. When I entered the quad, my eyes immediately went to her. Her smile gave me chills and, suddenly the only seat I’d even consider taking was the one next to her, which incidentally I pulled up myself. I didn’t know her name or where she was from. I knew nothing of who she was except that she was quite remarkably one of the most gorgeous girls I had ever seen. The true wonder in it all was that she seemed absolutely oblivious as to how beautiful she actually is. Things would only get better from that point. Each passing second I found myself falling hopelessly in love with her. From the very first minute of speaking with her, I was confident she belonged in my life. Despite my relationship with God, I have always been a strong believer in soul mates and love at first sight. I cannot say that upon seeing me she felt the same. I don’t know that she loves me the way that I


love her. I feel as though that notion is utterly impossible. Regardless of how she felt that day or how she feels now, I know in my heart that she belongs with me. I’ve never been confident with anything in my life. I have spent years constantly secondguessing myself and the people around me. I know with absolute certainty, and with all I have in my heart and with every ounce of my being, that the rest of my life belongs to her. I’ll go anywhere; do anything, so long as she is next to me. My future had always been nothing more than a fog of uncertainty in every conceivable way. But now I know if nothing else in my life pans out the way I had hoped, if none of the dreams or aspirations I had as a kid come true, I’ll have a better life than I could have ever imagined if I spend it with her. There is no sacrificing when it comes to her; in the end I know she is all I will ever need. I find a comfort in her presence. No matter what is going on in my life or how insane things may seem to be, I feel calm with her there. Her laugh is like a lullaby putting me at ease and if nothing else in my life is going right, knowing that she’s happy ultimately brightens my day and leaves me smiling. Though I may tell her I love her every day, I don’t believe she truly understands how much sincerity rests in those words. Those three words, uttered by millions of people every day, take on new meaning when I speak them to her. They are no longer just words but rather the very essence of all that is inside of me. When thinking of how I feel about her, my very soul begs to be released, I want to tell her every bit of how I am feeling but ultimately I know that no words will ever capture all that is inside of me. I’ll admit a part of me doubts that other people have ever felt a love like this: the kind of love that you can only find with your soul mate. She’s the girl whose eyes bring out the colors in the rest of the world, the girl whose voice is the only sound I ever need to hear again, the girl


whose smile leaves me at a complete loss for words and totally speechless on the outside with my mind racing a mile a minute on the inside. When she looks at me, I feel an instant smile come across my face and I can’t help but thinking, my god she is so beautiful. Even at her worst moments she more than surpasses other people at their best. She has all of me. No other people seem to exist anymore. When she walks into a room, my eyes, ears, and thoughts are all on her. I can’t say that I understand God, but I now do truly believe that one exists, not for any other reason, but for the simple truth that we were made for each other. We’re a perfect fit, though we both have our many imperfections. We complement each other in a way that is more than mere coincidence. I knew from the very first night I met her that she was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and, as each day continues to pass, I’m going to love her more and more. I can’t promise her much, but I know in my heart that I will give her all I have, day in and day out, until I take my very last breath. ********** It’s been years since my grandmother could speak a coherent sentence. I know that somewhere inside of her she remembers those words and knows the impact that she has had on my life. She would be proud to know that I followed all of her loving advice over the years and took those words to heart. I come from a long line of soul mates. Though my family has faced numerous challenges throughout the years, we are extremely fortunate when it comes to love. We may not be the most religious family out there and, I wouldn’t be able to quote the Bible if I tried, but I know through love that we’ve found God. My family has always believed in destiny. We are all extreme optimists, sometimes to the point of being naive but what is love if it’s not extreme optimism, the


ultimate bond between two souls forever linking their successes, failures, happiness, sadness, and everything in between to one another. Love, is unquestionably the most beautiful experience any person can ever hope to go through. There are over six billion people in this world and destiny brought the two of us together. How remarkable it is that the two of us found one another so soon in life. Most people can only dream of this undeniably genuine happiness. To me love is meant to be instantaneous; you should know from the start that this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with and each day that follows should reinforce this more and more. I’m not saying that love isn’t hard, but with her, our love is effortless. She doesn’t need to do anything more than be herself for me to find complete and utter happiness. No love is without its flaws, but the flaws, in and of themselves, are a contributing factor to the beauty of love. I’ve had so many trials throughout my life and I’ve spent so much time angry with God. I went years without speaking to him, doubting his presence from time to time. I never understood why I went through everything I did and I had lost almost complete faith in God, but when I met her I spoke to God for the first time in years. I simply said, “Thank you and I’m sorry.” What more can I do than thank God for bringing her into my life? All the things I went through in the past, all the pain, all the obstacles and tests were completely worth it once she joined me by my side. She changed my life and though I’ve only known her a short time it feels as though she’s been a part of me my entire life. And, in complete honesty, I’m quite positive she has. I’ve never been more myself than when I am with her. She gives me the freedom to be who I truly am and as cliché as this whole thing may sound, I know that she is the best part of me: my soul mate.


“Blooming in Tandem” by Maria Campolongo


my somnambulant double. Emilie Helman she weaves walking, steeped in the opaque tea of dreams. fixed in the insomniac’s autopilot. long exposures birth blurred faces, and a leap from a new york loft window.


Tears Jacob Stentz TEARs........ Rolling with sorrow When there’s no guarantee of tomorrow Cooling the intense heat of heart break Running with honor and pride The kind one just does not hide Revealing relief Outlining joy Stinging the heart as they leave a stain with the coming of pain A beacon of hope shining as a star With stress and loss of one’s self they seem so bizarre Piercing through a father’s lies The strongest expression that can flow from the eyes The cutest thing complementing a baby’s cries With strength to rebuild relationships With so many hitting the floor a ship would be needed to reach the shore No one is sure what or why, but scientists say they help to clean Physically, literally Emotionally ousting the struggles of the soul Cleansing, feeding the mind Just as words build the brain, they teach us to handle pain They rear their heads when someone is mean Visible exclamation points stating the obvious Misconstrued by everyone’s peers 17

Welling up whenever one truly fails Springing loose when the terminal become well Kind enough to put out the blaze of hell With all this they cannot be sold But in god’s eyes they are pure gold The marks of lessons learned by the old Majestically mysterious Making onlookers curious The sign of unconditional love Present for creation, honor, and the celebration of life Degradation, unfortunate, dark remarks Is where it so often starts Praise the day when none will fall But without them the outlook is dull It is what makes life worth living The contrast that makes life a blast Live one life; take the joy and the strife Never give up on life or throw in the towel Do not dwell in the past but the now The reason why is so complex It cannot be found in text It’s unexplainable But so meaningful Reading the feeling as if it were brail With each one comes its own original tale


Click, Clack. Click, Clack. Amber Roth Click, clack. Click, clack. The clock echoed through the house. It was an old clock, the same clock my great-great-great-grandfather owned, and as a result my grandfather insisted that we keep it in the house and not in the garage where it belonged. There was something gloomy and sad about the old clock. It was as if it were counting down the days that we had left on this planet, counting down the moments that we would spend with our loved ones, counting down the moments that we would see the sun rise or the moon fall. Yet, it meant so much to my grandfather. My grandfather had come to live with my family when my grandmother passed away. He played a huge role in every one of my family member’s lives. He was the one in the house that you could go to with any problem and he would make it all go away. He would even read me nursery rhymes as a child to try and cheer me up. He smelled of old oils and ginger bread cookies, a smell that had come to feel welcoming, a smell that came to represent home. Click, clack. Click, clack, echoed through the hallway. It wasn’t the same noise that I had heard a million different times in my grandfather’s room. It wasn’t the same clock that I had woken up to thousands of time. It was a much different sound: footprints. Where was I? I asked my mother, where had my grandfather gone? My mother’s face was plain. It looked as if she hadn’t slept in days. For the first time in my life, my mother appeared to look much older to me. Her soft and warm skin, which I had slept on many nights, now looked rough and cold. She quickly told me that my grandfather had been in an accident and that we were currently in the hospital. Click clack. Click clack. The hospital clock slowly ticked away. It’s funny what goes through your scrambled mind in a time of crisis. I couldn’t help but notice the similarity between


my grandfather’s hospital stay and my grandmother’s hospital stay. I began remembering when my grandmother passed away. My grandmother was only sixty-one years old when she died. I can still see the stretcher going down the side of my freshly paved driveway to the back of my old brick house. She had a heart attack. The doctors said that she would be okay with some rest and medication, so my parents gave her a kiss and told her they would see her in the morning. She did not make it till morning. Her death changed our family for good. Click, clack. Click, clack, echoed through the cold and empty hospital hallway. It was around two o clock now and I had been awake for what seemed like millions of decades. I wanted to go to sleep, but for some reason my brain would not shut down. I looked into the different rooms and pictured dead bodies lying all over the place. I mean we were in a hospital. People die in hospitals. What was to stop someone from dying in the next room? My muscles ached as I thought about death. The only real death I had ever experienced was when I was a child and my grandmother passed away. To me death represented the end, the end of everything good. I couldn’t imagine the man that I had loved so much dying. He seemed to have so much life in him. Click, clack. Click, clack. The doctors footprints echoed through the hospital hallway. I had fallen asleep for a couple of hours and was awakened by the footprints. Something felt different this time. The atmosphere in the room was quiet; I felt as if we were in church or even at a funeral. The only sounds present in the room were the tick of the heart monitor and my grandfather struggling to breathe. Usually, I was comforted by just being around my grandfather but these sounds were not comforting, they were chilling. I just kept telling myself to breathe and that everything was going to be okay.


Click clack. Click clack, went the monitor as the doctor began talking. He said that my grandfather had suffered severe trauma to both his head and his lungs and that he wasn’t going to be able to survive. I felt like, at that moment, my heart was going to stop instead of my grandfather’s. Click, clack. Click, clack, continuously echoed in my mind as I sat and stared into space. Could I have done something different? Could we have gotten him to the hospital quicker? How was I supposed to go on without him? All of these questions went through my mind. Click clack. Click clack: two simple sounds that seemed to follow me wherever I went. Even today I still visit my grandfather’s old room to get a look at that old clock. The clock has now come to represent him in many ways. It brings back the memories of him listing off the previous members of my family who owned the old clock. It also brings back the feeling of innocence and love that he so generously gave me. It’s funny; sometimes when I look into the clock I can see his kind, old reflection and it brings me back to the time when all that mattered was the sound of that old clock: Click, clack. Click, clack.


Events Jennifer Roesch They wrap the baby with a blanket, kiss her face, and dream of all the things she will be and of all the people she will touch, taking hundreds of pictures of every silly face and each disastrous dinner, and life goes on. Her mother releases her hands and she takes her first step towards her father, much to his delight and amazement at how such a small and compact person can learn so quickly, and life goes on. At four, she falls down and splits her upper lip, which causes her to need stitches, and as it heals a scar is left behind that she will carry for the rest of her years, and life goes on. They sign her up for swimming lessons in the summer and make her go to the pool, and she swears she’s going to drown this time, even though she said that the last three lessons before, and life goes on. Her brother steals her favorite Cabbage Patch doll and she frantically searches the house, the basement, the barn, anywhere she can think he may have hidden it until she finally gives up, sobbing, and throws herself onto her bed – where she is caught by her favorite Cabbage Patch doll, who seems to have been there all along, and life goes on. She comes home full of smiles and announces she got the lead of the musical and that rotten Mary didn’t and proudly declares she’s going to sing her little heart out so grandpa can hear her from heaven, and life goes on. With one second left, she shoots the basketball and watches as it rotates in slow motion towards the hoop, knowing her three point shot will win the game, being sorely disappointed as it bounces off of the rim and back to the floor and time runs out, and life goes on. She bursts through the door full of tears, as she throws herself into her mother’s arms and announces she’s swearing off boys because they’re pigs and they deserve to eat the mud she walks on, and that awful Josh can go to hell, which then causes her mother to scold her for her colorful use of 22

language, and life goes on. Her mother takes thousands of pictures as her name is announced and she walks up slowly to last year’s homecoming queen, tilts her head slightly down, and waits as this year’s crown is bobby pinned to her hair, and life goes on. One foot in front of the other, she strides across the platform when she hears her name, grinning from ear to ear and proudly grasps her diploma while she stops and smiles for her mother, who insists yet another picture must be taken, and life goes on. She calls her parents and discusses the philosophy of ethics, because she now thinks she knows everything and understands everything and can argue against any point that anyone makes, all from her little single-roomed residence, and life goes on. She stands rigid beside her brother, arm around her mother, while they watch the casket lower into the ground and wonder, “Why did he do this to us,” all the while fully knowing they will never know, feeling as though they’ve just been abandoned in the most blunt way, and suddenly understanding they have been pushed into adulthood without requesting it, and life goes on. She meets him for the first time and her heart stops, even though he’s nothing she thought she would want, even though he’s a republican and she’s a democrat, even though his hair is beginning to recede and he’s not the president of his own company, and life goes on. She walks down the aisle, alone and smiling, all the while looking at her future husband and silently repeating to herself, “say the right name, say the right name,” and stops so her mother can take a picture, even though there are professional photographers capturing every second for all eternity, and life goes on. She screams and cries and argues, saying he’s the worst husband in the world and makes the mistake of spewing that he will abandon her just like her father did, which then causes him to stomp out of the house and not return until the next day, and life goes on. They look at each


other through the candlelight and lowly speak of the present and how the past has shaped them, as they dine in her favorite restaurant, eat her favorite cake, and decide their future is with only each other, and life goes on. She wraps the baby with a blanket and they bring him home to his new house, taking pictures of every silly face he makes, and life goes on.


A Flutter in the Wind Shalonda Ann Marie Smith This poem is dedicated to Daviene “Dove” Hutsell I see the leaves flowing through the wind, I hear your name. Birds soaring above everyone, I think of you. Wind combing through hair and tree branches, I know you are here watching us. Tree flowers may be fluttering off of trees, but They remind me of how you flew into everyone’s lives. Leaving a path that always leads back to you. Gentle and calm like a warm breeze surrounding us like your hugs.


“Peaceful Garden” by Molly Robinson


Children’s: Where a Kid can be a Kid Matt Grosser Have you ever experienced a place that is tied to your life? Maybe it was just for one moment, or maybe it was for a lifetime? Cincinnati Children’s Hospital is a place that matters to me, because it is tied very closely to my life. I understand what the people there are going through, because I was once in their shoes. My experiences at Children’s changed who I am. I am now considering working there as a Social Worker, because Children’s gave me a second chance at life. From the start, I haven’t had it easy. When I was 13 months, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. From that point on, my life would be forever changed. I went through surgery and endured eighteen months of chemotherapy. The surgeon didn’t believe I would live to celebrate my second birthday. After a recurrence at age three, I went through surgery again and that time, I was given radiation treatment too. At four and a half, the cancer spread to my spine and I had to have radiation treatment a second time. After having seizures, I was put on medication for many years. Five years later, at the age of 10, the cancer on my spine came back and the doctors opted only to do surgery. When I was sixteen, I had surgery to remove a tumor on my thyroid. Thankfully, it was noncancerous. The experiences I’ve had with cancer are unique to me; they define who I am. For the past eight years or so, I have been cancer free and full of life. During all my treatments, I saw oncologists, neurologists, endocrinologists, and ENT doctors on a regular basis and received MRIs every three to six months. There were times when I would spend days and sometimes even weeks at a time at Children’s. The best part about my cancer days, if there was one, was doing everything a normal kid could do. As a result of my last 18 years surviving


cancer, I have come to believe in miracles, as I and many other people are living proof of them. I have learned to take each day in stride and appreciate every day for what it is worth. Children’s Hospital changed my life for the better. As I previously mentioned, my brain surgeon didn’t think I would live to blow out the candles on my second birthday cake, but here I am, just one month shy of my nineteenth. Because of Children’s and its many doctors and nurses, I am able to do almost everything a normal guy can do. Even at the hospital as a kid, I felt normal. The staff provided me with good food to eat, games to play and movies to watch. They even brought Santa Clause to my hospital room! They threw “No mo Chemo” parties and I would get toys for holding still during radiation treatments. When I was younger and in the hospital for chemotherapy, I remember riding down the hall on a Big Wheel, with my mom pushing the I.V. pole behind me. Children’s make it feel like it was normal to have cancer, as much as that is possible. Since having the radiation treatments and chemotherapy for my brain tumor, I struggle with learning. Reading comprehension is especially difficult for me. Every two to three years, I have neuropsychometric testing done, which involves tests that measure learning styles and patterns. These tests also measure my verbal and nonverbal I.Q. and the tests themselves help doctors identify my strengths and weaknesses when it comes to learning, so that doctors can offer suggestions about how I might best overcome any difficulties I have in the classroom. When I was a kid, I would often work one-on-one with a psychologist. I especially liked one block exercise in particular, during which I had to build a design to match a picture. I was timed to see how fast I could accomplish the task. Back then, this test allowed me to find and receive the necessary accommodations in school.


Every summer until about five years ago, my family and I were invited to picnics for hematology and oncology patients and their families. We’d get our faces painted, we’d play games to win prizes and there was always great food and even better desserts. During those picnics, it was nice to be with other patients and families who were going through similar experiences. I especially like the clowns, some of whom would paint my face and others who would create masterpieces from balloons by twisting them into animals and other shapes. It was in these ways that Children’s made an effort to make us all feel special. I always had an amazing support group. During those first long weeks, during which I would spend day after day in the hospital, my mom and dad were always there. I had mostly the same nurses and doctors throughout my treatments and during my follow up visits too. My favorite nurse was Judy, who worked in the neuro-oncology unit for 15 years. We used to tease each other during my clinic visits. When I was younger and she checked my reflexes, I would kick my foot out before she even hit my knee. I thought I was so smart. She always did neurology tests with me, asking me to touch my finger to my nose and then touch her finger, or making me walk the line on the floor. I had terrible balance and Judy always joked that I should never drink and drive because I would flunk the sobriety test even if I’d had nothing to drink. I received countless visitors and many get well gifts. The pastor at St. Catherine’s, my family’s parish, stopped by and gave me the Anointing of the Sick and made visits just to stop in and say hi. Relatives would come to the house to watch my brothers and bring meals over. My parents couldn’t have dealt with everything without the love and support of countless family members and friends. For their generosity, I am forever grateful. Since I am now doing well, I only go in for regular checks and I have an MRI once a year now. I can relate to the patients that go in and out and I can also relate to those that are at


Children’s almost 24 hours a day, because at one point, that was me. My experiences in the hospital give me a deeper understanding of what people go through when they encounter disease and I have such an appreciation for not only my life, but for the lives of those who cared for me during those first ten, and most difficult, years of my life. These are some of the reasons why I want to become a social worker when I graduate. Children’s inspired me to help those who really need it and to ensure that their health-related needs are taken care of, so that they can live normal lives. This past summer, when I had my yearly check up, I spoke with a social worker at Children’s who explained what it’s like to do her job and that’s why I want to help people who are going through the same obstacles I went through to give them the support that Children’s gave me. Without Children’s and the people who work there, I wouldn’t be here to tell my story. They gave me a second chance at life and I couldn’t be more grateful. They also embraced me and my obstacles and helped me to live a normal life when I was a patient. Cancer gave me a greater appreciation for life, one that I probably would have otherwise. I feel it is my calling to continue the work of those who came before me in the field of social work. Children’s Hospital will always have a special place in my heart.


Such Silly Dreams Marvin Brooks Unlatch my heart to such silly dreams We laugh as we play to have no cares Without our worries We live to sing

That by waiting, thy seek no unknown In dangers we work until blood pours Until tears are denied inside eyes Happiness causes such that devours

Rose blossoms for soft pedal souls I taste honey in the winter Together we sip tea through spring Releasing our souls underneath stormy summer

Devoted to our king We beat such dreams Until our soldiers have arrived Softly home


Dream on a City’s Cry Symana Dillingham You don’t know how small a city is until you are running away from a crazy plan. Abused by the system and your so called man... You are running as hard and as fast as you can. Keep crashing into walls that represent your inner pain. There was a drought in your life so your soul supplies the rain... A-B-U-S-E doesn’t necessarily mean he has to hit me. Abuse is a mental crime as well; your body can’t be free if your mind’s in jail. He’ll claim his love reigns on the pain You’ve experienced at his hand but then he’ll blame You for the blows to your body and yes your mind, You’re children look on as they learn their lines... To this nightmare that you all are regrettably playing in, There’s no applause at the end, just a burying… We must refuse to attend another dead woman’s wake Black eyes, ruined children, how much will we take?!!! Woman wakes up this morning with aches from the day before, She grits her teeth, wakes the children and tackles her morning chores. She lends a loving smile to all who need it as she ignores the pain of her busted lip. No time to cry, she has to hurry off to be the breadwinner as her mind pays the cost. Dark sunglasses and head bowed passes, Towards strangers she would never meet, as she hurries on wounded legs through the city streets. Battered and bruised, she reads the news… Of another woman dying; husband said he wasn’t trying to kill her


But he forgot to tell the reaper, that although she was barely breathing he would keep her… To do his cooking and cleaning and punch receiving, While to her goals and dreams she stopped clinging... Woman puts down the paper and makes every excuse! For her husband’s tiredness and his abuse. She has convinced herself in moments that he will change, And believed it firmly; until she feels the pain… Of round infinity and ten, She walks in from work and into the furry of Sir Jerk! Accusing her of everything under the sun, Knowing all along that he was the one! Woman slides down the kitchen wall, And to the Lord she places her 9-1-1 call… “HELP ME!” she screams, “I can’t take no more!” As she sobs and shivers her way to the floor. Now here he comes with the I’m sorry’s and I love you’s... And now here girlfriend stands with her shinny .22! The words she speaks are those of a poet, He has messed up now and the fool knows it. I’ve been here for you in ways few could fathom, I cared for you even though you’re bastard! I kept you out of jail with lies of falls never taken, I worked for, shopped, cooked and even fed you the bacon... Now no more lies, no more hits, no more nothing am I takin’! I gave you the best years of my life, And allowed you to awake me from all my dreams… But I’m takin’ my life back and if you try to stop me, Your dead body will be my theme! I’m taking the kids and I’m getting out of here! With my head held high and no more tears. I placed a call to my father and He answered before it rang, In instant the work on my self esteem was done with no pain.


A city Cries, When the Love Dies... It may take a few falls before her legs, of will, are strong again But eventually, on her own, she’ll begin to stand! Fact, there are no coincidences all that happens has a reason Never rely solely on another, to God and thy own self be pleasing‌


“Chimera” by Tina Pfeifer


green man Paul Arrand Rodgers he drags his feet through the black air pale skin glowing night vision green cigarette dangling red breathing fire through tumors once lips car passes sprays gravel on skin green man dances and jerks as though caught mid-orgasm feeling for the ground with white divining rod green man finds asphalt and flicks the cigarette away his head trailing in the direction he feels the wind carries hoping to catch grass catch fire and burn but smelling nothing through nostrils caved in years ago he moves forward again until tires screech and doors open and he hears a hey mister before an arm wraps around his shoulder snapping him from delusion hey mister asks if green man wants a beer yeth yeth he replies nodding cigarettes yeth yeth nodding a light no no i got one a six pack at his feet and marlboro in his hand while hey mister gets his camera green man puts a cigarette between his lips the wrong way and lights the filter while flash flash flash goes hey mister bulb burning atomic white are you sure you don't want a light yeth yeth sure he says hey mister leaves yeth yeth green man says staring blindly at the rattle hum of hey mister's muffler fumbling through his pocket for the lighter with the mona lisa smile flick fire smoke falling over pop top keystones shining silver in the grass


Leaving 12:00 am Michael Conner Well I'm leaving 12:00 am because I can't think enough to even think at all. Still they say things will get better, I say it's just one more politician, Who will sit, behind another curtain call. It's true you could escape, just climb the city gates, & make sure that you don't fall. Then follow them, all the way out Until you reach the suburban wall. Trade your needle & your powder, for you are among the ones in power. They have your freedoms just behind the counter. That’s when you began to see, your sickness was just greed, A design not a disease, And you were never truly meant, to be free at all. It’s not just in “A supermarket in California” it’s them all. Where you find Walt Whitman some late night hour, “muttering small-talk at the wall” From metamorphosis comes change. Just like disease inside the vein. The seed evolves, only because of the rain. We must be blind... Live to consume and then say goodbye. They lead us to our chambers, a mass of sheep just born to die. But there's no blood on the hands of the killers For the victim's, gladly paid, were exempted from the brain. A piece of apple pie, Uncle Sam has made. Rendered clinically insane. You’d better find someone that cares, and also has the time to spare. It’s reason that I speak, like a broken record far beyond repair... It’s for the ones that may be falling, wondering when to go and where. You see our story was never meant to inspire laughter. I know I keep on pointing out the rails on which I travel SEEM to GLIDE so much faster, like a nuclear reactor. And my slow train coming... spells disaster, it seems to be killing all of the actors. To you, I hope it’s nothing more than incoherent chatter...


Pay no attention; do not run when you've become the one. That every channel is tuning into you. It is impossible to believe that through Satellites and schemes, big brother has finally found a way to keep his eye on you. Oh, then you follow it through and through. From the front page of the news, Someone is calling out to you. Man I’m really “Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues.”


The Smokey Incubus Amanda Martin Little tube of mighty pow’r, Charmer of an idle hour, Object of my warm desire. —Isaac Hawkins Browne Smoke, grey and foggy, filled the absolutely white room. Streams of salt water ran down the pale surface of her skin, following the contours of her face. From her eyes, her soul is leaking, spilling the beans if you will, letting the worlds, both physical and spiritual, know her secrets, vices, weaknesses. She’s been still. She’s sitting silently in front of her window, atop a white-cushioned bed with tears escaping at every possible moment. The moon stares at her as she wonders where all the tears are coming from. A red light blinks in rhythmic motion from the corner of her eye. The glass ashtray lies by her side on a glass end table filled with the ashes, the remains, of her little friends known to kill. She lights another one. Picking the last one from the blue box with one hand and grabbing for the matches in the other, she lights it. Inhales. One, two, three seconds pass before she releases the demons swimming through the smoke. She’s waiting to be consumed, hoping the smoke will devour her – in one piece. The red light continues to blink. Blink. Blink. Though this distracts her attention, she hardly moves. She’s on autopilot. The only movement her possessed mind will allow is the bending of her left elbow so that her thin lips can wrap around the end of her killer friends. There’s a struggle as she tries with everything she has to slip away. She begs for an ending to her sad story. Reaching as far back into her mind she finds nothing – no memories, no thoughts, no feelings. She is numb. Her mind is empty, as empty as the soul her body encompasses, as empty as her one bedroom devoid of other life, as empty as the heavens above her. She begs for a trace of something. Her eyes blink, allowing the last bit of humanity she has left. Dry eyes cry no more. Exhalations release the last bit of guerrilla smoke. She places the butt in its tomb to be with its like. A mix of her dead 39

assassins are piled about together, smothered by the ashes. Dry eyed and smoke free, she doesn’t like being alone. Minutes pass and the red light continues on. Nervous and agitated she approaches the light. Her shaking hand reaches for the button. She hesitates. Her little white friends are gone. She has nothing to comfort her now. Nothing to fill her lung, blood, body and soul, with the calming sensation of warm smoke. Dry eyes cry again. It’s painful for her to flip flop like so, to have no control over her own mind and to cry over a lack of real emotion. It’s frustrating and tiring. Her fingers creep toward the button on the black box lying on the kitchen counter. Time is at a near stop. One, two, three, seconds pass. Her finger touches the button ever so slightly, just enough to activate the voice inside: “One new message” and a beep. Within those few seconds, time freezes, her tears stop in place and her lungs collapse. When time starts again there is silence. This is what she was afraid of. She yanks the black box off of kitchen counter and it flies through the air finally crashing into a white wall. The little pieces are scattered on her white carpet. She should feel miserable, but she doesn’t. At this she cries harder than ever. She collapses to the floor and melts into a fetal position. She closes her crying eyes and begs to be taken away. Where to? She doesn’t know. She doesn’t care so long as she’s carried away from her reality. 1 Hour Later Her eyes open. As the last bit of water falls to the ground, she notices her once white room is slowly turning red. She smiles and breathes a sigh of relief. This is familiar to her. She continues to lie there with her eyes on the ceiling waiting for the red to make its way to the top of the room, to then engulf her body, her mind, and her soul. As each second passes the pieces of her little black box turn red. This red abyss is spinning around her, faster and faster, as the


seconds move forward. Moments pass, the spinning stops. She’s lost in her own subconscious – the mind of Millie Chilvers. The moment she realizes her entire apartment is not coated red, Millie jumps up. She’s convinced she’s gone forever. With hopefulness in her eyes, she scans the room. Her mind jumps to the unopened pack of Embassies in the kitchen drawer just below where her answering machine once sat. As she lights and inhales the intoxicating smoke, her free hand moves. She places it on her chest just left of center. One more inhalation as she gently pushes her fingers through the moist sweat-covered skin. The blood runs over her fingertips, down her chest, soaking in the cotton fibers of her white shirt. She reaches for the pounding. With each movement her chest opens more, blood flows more freely, and the pounding organ is removed. Moving, left foot then right, not thinking at all, she starts towards her front door. Her blood-soaked friends are in one hand and her heart lies in her right palm. Drips of life make a path behind her, disappearing in the red floor. She turns the doorknob, heart still in hand, Embassies in her pocket, and with a cigarette resting between her lips. Millie wanders off in a world she’s never seen. The red room is left behind her as she encounters something truly magnificent. Blood is dripping between her webbed fingers. Heart pumping in hand, quicker now, as she looks down the black hallway seeing a bright light in starburst with my eye in the middle inviting her in. The beating organ gets wilder as the aorta stares back at my unblinking blue eye. With each beat blood falls slowly to its destination – the black floor under Millie’s hand. She stands in that moment, ashes floating below her, smoke escaping between her lips and nostrils. She throws the finished cigarette to the ground, turns left and the room once belonged her snotty neighbor is changed. There is no door, only dirt and sticks, trees and flowers. Everything is devoid of color – completely black and white. Mystified, she turns and walks, her stature not


changing through the movement. Toes and drops of blood touch lightly on the dirt filled ground; blood bringing life and the touch of her skin bringing color – and it’s beautiful.


“Interactions” by Jillian McVey


untitled no. 37 Emilie Helman i spent days and hours handstitching yr pants, and we’d look more like something else: black tights and black tight pants proving political affiliations, but fascism by any other name you know, yeah you know, i spent hours and days writing it out, but when i call you in the middle of the night, or the morning, at whichever point i am still not sleeping, i can’t remember words and you fall asleep in the telephone wires


Sugar Clouds/Glowing Ashley Batchelor Sugar Clouds Got Sugar in my eyes... Lickin' eattin' from those candy skies My girls we so bitchin' cookin' up sweet goodies in that kitchen Lovin' you crazzzy You makin' me see all hazzy Will you still be my bayybee? Don't wanna hear maybe Just grab my face and kiss me don't be lazy! Cuz boy you drivin me crazzzzy.... Glowing When you touch me it is like a toxic shock You walk with me down the block Kisses swoop in like a hawk Spread my arms open Boy when I am with you I be floatin' Glow chalk... boy you sexxy stop! Good thing you ain't a cop or this lovin’ would have to stop and ya number I would have to chop! Ya hair look like a dirty mop Amor, Amor, lovin’ you ain't no chore Come on can't we play a little more Lucky number four sent me to your floor Sending me to new heights I soar flying through that glittery door....


The Necessity of Certain Behaviors Michael Purcell A door slowly creaks open. A young man with curly brown hair stumbles into the doorway after an extended battle with the lock. He turns in the dark house, fumbling to pull the door closed behind him. He musters up all the stealth that heavy boots and a bottle of vodka can grant him to quietly close the front door. The door jamb’s slam echoes through the empty halls and tall staircases anyway. The dim light from the door’s window cast itself towards the kitchen. The man stumbles, but catches himself against a wall. The impact shakes the wall, freeing a framed picture from its spot. The shattering glass pierces the silent night. He stands, wavering for a moment, listening for any sign that the inhabitants have heard the crash. A middle-aged man wakes to the sound of shattering glass pane. He springs to his feet before a conscious thought forms. He glances about his bedroom, surveying his immediate surroundings. His quick movement startles the woman sleeping next to him. Confused, she asks him, “What’s the matter?” The man responds in low, hushed tones, “I think I heard something.” The man runs his hand through the graying hair on his head. He is keenly aware of how defenseless he feels, standing unarmed in the dark of the early morning. The woman makes no move to leave the bed. She pulls the sheets tight around her neck and watches the man’s eyes as they scan their surroundings. He finds her eyes in the black room. The fear in her stare unnerves him more deeply than his worst imaginations. Another crash interrupts their locked vision. The man instantly whips about to reach for the closet door. The glass shards blanket the hardwood floor. The young man stares at the broken frame. The photograph is vaguely familiar. Four shining faces smile at the man amidst sparkling shards. He pauses momentarily, deeply contemplating his situation. With his eyes locked to their unchanging image, he imagines placing one foot in front of the other. He then imagines his feet 46

transform into knots and toss him to the floor. With confused resignation, he pulls himself to his feet. As he awkwardly rises, the man rubs his arm. His arm feels wet. He leans against a wall, holding the source of dull pain in his forearm. He stands in the dark. He turns his head upwards at the distinctive sound of his father’s voice. Even without intelligible words, his voice terrifies the young man. The microwave blinks “4:11”. “Wait here.” His stony expression leaves no room for argument. The woman gasps in the face of his determination. “Be careful”, she whispers, her tiny voice barely audible. Their eyes meet briefly. The man nervously fingers the safety on his weapon; the monster of the closet had a name – “my shotgun”. Its eighteen-inch barrel rests against the man’s tense shoulder. He is thankful; thankful he owns a shotgun, thankful for the deadly load of twelve-gauge shells, thankful that nobody can see his trembling arms as he slowly swings open the bedroom door. Darkness and an empty hallway greet him. He sighs in relief at the emptiness. He takes the breath of a soldier heading into battle and opens the first door on the left. His focus snaps to the bed. His held breath escapes as he notices his still sleeping young son. He carefully closes the door. Only his toes touch the second floor carpet as he slowly moves for his other son’s room. The open window lets in just enough light to illuminate a mound on the bed. The man wipes sweat from his brow knowing his sons are safe. He stealthily descends the stairs. The boy’s worried thoughts overpower the quiet footsteps in his ears. He is staring inside the open refrigerator. The young man grasps his head tightly but he cannot stop the dizziness. He worries that his parents will find him stumbling about after curfew. He fights back the fear rising from the pit of his stomach. He knows they would not approve of his drinking or late arrival. Thirst pushes him deeper into the search for sustenance, despite his worry. Desperate to


break the oppressive silence, he brags to the world “Don’t know why I’m worried. The pile of pillows is genius.” He decides on a Coke, and is taken aback by the blood on his arm. He stares confused until the previous few moments reappear in his mind. He lets out a hushed “Oh crap” at the sight, and then grabs his can of soda. Each footstep echoes in his ears as the old man descends the stairs. His knuckles are white against the dark wood finish of the shotgun. His trigger finger twitches slightly with each breath. The house is dark, yet the man sees many things. He notices the unlocked front door at the base of the stairs. He sees the possibility of an armed invader. He sees himself in front of his family. He sees the necessity of defense. He sees his family’s smiling faces among the shattered frame and broken glass in the hallway. He hears a few slurred, mumbled words from the kitchen, “Dunno why I’m worried.” The man froze at the last stair. The same voice reaches his ears once more; “Oh crap.” He sees his arms pump the shotgun. The young man feels especially proud of how quietly he shuts the fridge door. The sound is nearly inaudible to his alcohol-muddled perception. He hears a strangely familiar sound from the hallway before he can celebrate. Curious and unsure, the man stumbles to the hallway, soda in hand. He turns the corner to find an older man silhouetted against the front door. The man’s hair shimmers slightly gray in the dim light. Of the many thoughts rushing through his mind, the young man finds himself beside himself with terror. The early morning excursion could earn him punishments beyond his imagination. He finds his arms shielding himself from his father’s inevitable anger. He tries to say he’s sorry for sneaking out. He hears an explosion. The old man realizes he is sweating and breathing heavily. His decent was not physically strenuous, but the cold pressure of the situation squeezes the moisture from his body. The shotgun feels heavy in his hands, firm against his shoulder as he waits. He stands, aiming his


weapon at the empty hallway in anticipation. He anticipates a man, a man who doesn’t care for his family portrait, a man who doesn’t care for locks, a man he doesn’t care for. A man stumbles into the hallway, full of terror and liquor. He swings his hands up to his face, something metal in his hand catches the light streaming in from behind the old man. The older, armed man sees a weapon and fires in self-defense. A father flips a light switch. A broken picture frame, knocked down by accident, lies next to a growing pool of blood. The rug will need to be replaced – soda and blood are a difficult mix of things to clean. A son also lies broken on the ground. His face is frozen in confusion, as if the ceiling holds some divine, yet unattainable secret. A shotgun falls to the floor, and someone screams, “Oh God no!” Tears splash onto the floor. A man dies that night.


Genome Paul Arrand Rodgers First Draft On a warm summer day six months into the new millennium, humankind crossed a bridge. An announcement: the first draft had been assembled. The human genome: 3 billion letters long; written in strange, cryptographic code. Such is the complexity of the human body: a stack of paper read day and night for 31 years, 3 letters at a time.


“Overlookin’” by Elizabeth Bible


Berlin, Ohio Jennifer Roesch Deep in the heart of Ohio’s Amish country lays a small, hidden town named Berlin. This sleepy community is located inside the rolling hills and plunging valleys of the countryside. The landscape is breathtaking as the view is coated with checkerboard patterns of greens, yellows, and browns. You can see for miles when you arrive at the crest of a hill and watch the shadows of the clouds above race across the land before you. Houses are spotted here and there as you move away from town. Subdivisions do not exist and the spider web of roads makes sense to only the residents. In the heart of town, there are numerous tourist shops, a grocery store, a gas station-subway-video store combo, and a few doctors’ offices. Within the last three years, Berlin received its first two stoplights, but other than this new addition, the town has not changed in the past thirty years. Although not everyone in this town is Amish, the philosophy of all its residents is a simplistic one with few distractions. This is a dry community, ridden rich with religion, duty, and tradition. Everyone attends church. In fact, it’s hard to drive anywhere in this community and not find a building with a tall steeple. Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, and even Wednesday nights are deemed the “appropriate” amount of time to spend inside the church building, reading up on the Word and repenting the sins that have been committed in fear of the fires of hell. Christianity offers the only diversity of religion in this location: Baptist, Methodist, Mennonite, Non-denominational – all which are so similar that to hear one member argue with another over the theology of their values is quite comical. Most families who live here stay here; their children marry local children and thus continues the survival of Berlin. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all live within a fifteen-minute drive from one another. Children work for their parents, families own businesses 52

together, and friends back friends when a new business is seen as a profitable decision. Most millionaires in this area have made their money from tourists who flock to the “simplistic” life as an escape from their hectic city schedule. Most millionaires in this area have only an eighthgrade education, as most of them were Amish during their childhood years. Berlin is a very charming town where only home-cooked meals are offered in the local restaurants and where Amish will wave to strangers as they pass by on the streets. During the Christmas season, shop owners put candles inside empty, plastic milk jugs and set them on the sidewalk through town. The warm glow against the harsh winter snow is a reminder of mom’s homemade hot chocolate after hours of playing out in the cold. Yes, Berlin is a very charming town indeed. But there is an ugly undercurrent in this perfect little community. Among all of the masked smiles and Sunday morning hymns, there is a dark, unmistakable heaviness, a type of weight that even the most devoted of churchgoers cannot deny. No one acknowledges the slick, oily film that layers all who live here, because to acknowledge it means there is something wrong – and how can there be anything wrong when the community is as perfect as Berlin, Ohio? There may not be a name for the oppression that exists here, but what comes out of the darkness is evident: rape, suicide, alcoholism, adultery, theft, and the most common of all, the thick, self-inflicting acts: the malicious act of gossip. All residents in Berlin are aware of the danger that lurks just below the skin, however very few will acknowledge that there is any reason for concern. Unpleasant things are not spoken about, however the definition of “unpleasant” must first be defined. One is allowed to discuss only the potential of a matter, but once that matter is indeed fact, the matter should no longer be discussed. Most of the habitants inside this community enjoy the potential much more than they


enjoy the actual outcome. Even when the local newspaper displayed a story of how a few Amish boys were arrested in the act of buying drugs from members of the Hell’s Angels, no one breathed a word of this crime. Before long, even this act became just a distant dream that one ends up doubting ever happened. Unattractive matters are never to be spoken about, or the halo around Berlin will tarnish. This community cannot allow visitors to discover the darkness, for the survival of this town depends on the money tourists are willing to spend for frivolous Amish dolls and homemade candles. In an effort to keep the heavy, blackness at bay, the residents of Berlin simply refuse to acknowledge this presence exists. Life continues on for many, with their Sunday hymns and Friday night bridge tournaments, just as it has for years. Only a select few will identify the hideous monster and leave, before they too are eaten by the black, stickiness that clings to every soul in this picture-perfect scene. So if one ventures into the remote hills and valleys of Ohio, please visit the small settlement of Berlin. Smile at the storekeepers and wave to the Amish children as their buggies trudge on by. For you see, the survival of Berlin depends not on the continued visitation of tourists and the millions of dollars they spend each year in this community, but on the façade of being the perfect place to live in which its residents gladly stoke the fire. Visit Heini’s Cheese, the Weldell August showroom, neighboring restaurant Der Dutchman, and stay in one of the “Honeycombs” at the Inn at Honey Run. One must experience the simplistic philosophy of this perfect, quaint environment at least once in a lifetime, for as you will discover, there is no place like Berlin, Ohio.


Demolition Katie Lawrence I haphazardly construct verse. Each block of meter and rhyme, metaphor and hyperbole, symbolism and sensuality, precariously perched where they have been dropped, teetering on the brinks of one another, crumbling into a long lost semblance of comprehension. The blueprints, dissolve slowly into the slightest of tastes, flitting in and out of dream scenarios and homework assignments. I could place each block delicately, bricking each side exactly. Sharply hewn edges interlocking tightly to form the straightest of walls. The technique, textbook. The craftsmanship, time-tested. Durable. Classic. Approved. But I want a staircase, that spirals. And I want a tower, with a turret, that reaches well beyond the tops of the garden walls. I want great arching cathedral ceilings and a skylight and a drawbridge that opens over my waterfall. And my bricks, just won't do that.


The sides bulge in the middle, or the mortar oozes around the edges. The top slopes to the left, or my beautiful ceiling, simply collapses to the floor. So I slap them away, in the most graceful of tantrums, spraying the blocks across the carpet. Refusing to even look in their direction until I finally pick them up, and then let them fall, leaving them where they rest. Teetering.



Submission Guidelines Initiated in January 2005, Lions-on-Line is a literary collection of works by the College of Mount St. Joseph students and alumni published online with the cooperation of the English Department. Lions-on-Line is published online twice yearly, during the fall and spring semesters. When our budget allows, Lions-on-Line goes “in print.� We take submissions during all twelve months of the year. If you are currently a student or a graduate of the College of Mount St. Joseph and you would like to see your work published, you may submit your work to LOL simply by emailing poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and/or artwork to For full submission guidelines, please consult our website.

Editors and Staff Editor-in-Chief: Poetry Editor: Fiction Editor: Creative Nonfiction Editor: Art Editor: Computer Design: Treasurer: Assistant Editors:

Emilie Helman Paul Arrand Rodgers Thomas Ciulla Stephanie Brokaw Jennifer Von Gries Jamie Mason Danielle Siemer Marvin Brooks Megan Hinckley Elizabeth Taryn Mason

Faculty Advisor:


Lions-on-Line Autumn 2009  

Lions-on-Line is the College of Mount St. Joseph's student-operated literary magazine

Lions-on-Line Autumn 2009  

Lions-on-Line is the College of Mount St. Joseph's student-operated literary magazine