Editor-in-Chief Liam Sarsfield Vice Editor-in-Chief Amelia Nezil Director of Finance Michelle O’Brien-Groves Directors of Morag St. Clair Community Outreach Jack Derricourt General Assistant Jana Kiefl Copy Editors Naomi Smedbol Natalia Esling
Drama Editor Tom Stuart Poetry Editor Sarah Burgoyne Philosophy Editor Luca Mihalj Nonfiction Editor Nadine Sander-Green Criticism Editor Baz Tembo Fiction Editor Megan Welsh
The Warren Undergraduate Review is a semiannual publication lovingly compiled by undergraduates at the University of Victoria. Submissions are accepted all year round and must be made electronically at http:// thewarren.uvic.ca/ All submissions are processed by the Vice Editor-in-Chief and then blind-read by the editors. With some exceptions, the work approved by the editors is printed in the journal. Want to get involved? Don’t think it’s good enough? Check our website for volunteer opportunities! The Warren Undergraduate Review is graciously funded by the University of Victoria’s English Department, the faculty of Humanities, and the greater community. Publication designed by Liam Sarsfield (in ten hours!) Cover Art: “Attention” by Marc Junker Staff Photo by Ottilie Short
Letters from the Editors Great writers, thinkers, and artists do not exist in isolation. With this in mind, this first issue of The Warren is the birth of a community, a culture, and a movement. It is an act of protest against a dominant ideology that has fragmented and marginalized the arts. The poet, the philosopher, the critic, and the artist will all find a home in these pages. If you didn’t manage to get your hands on a ticket to our launch back in February, you missed one of the strangest and most inspiring arts events that I’ve ever been to. It’s usually a good sign when you can fill an hour of open mic without much effort. It’s usually an even better sign when the open mic acts are actually good. Such was the case that night, and everyone seemed to want to participate. The crowd was loud, the room was dark, it was perfect. In many ways, the energy of that room is what I want this journal to be about. People were dragging staff members aside and demanding in their best drunken English that they be allowed some stage time to present something that they had just remembered (I was, admittedly, numbered among them). The Warren is about getting you—in all your brilliant creative drunkenness—on stage. As the journal’s first Editor-in-Chief, my primary motivation is political. This journal is the reactionary response of a group of university students that believe art is in some way integral to this beast we call society. If you haven’t met us yet, we’ve included a picture. Introduce yourself and get involved. My sincerest thanks to Dr. Miles, Dr. Rippin, Dr. Dopp, Dr. Bradley, and Ottilie Short, all of whose support has been continous and startling. Liam Sarsfield, Editor-in-Chief In the 1995 movie Empire Records, Lucas tells Mark, “The first thing you need is a name. Then you’ll know what kind of band you’ve got.” In myth, to name something is to recognize its true essence and give that essence outward manifestation. Maybe that’s why it took months of warm, wine-drunk nights, brainstorming with large pads of paper and felt-tipped pens to come up with something that stuck, something that felt right. To me, “Warren” symbolizes community (specifically underground community), interconnectedness, and, well, bunnies. This word holds a lot of power in relation to interdisciplinary studies. What is a campus but a forum where different styles of learning and creativity can be brought together? Each faculty, be it Environmental Studies or Creative Writing, Psychology or English, is important in itself, and yet each one relies on the others. With so many rabbit tunnels beneath us, running from building to building and between departments, what better metaphor could we choose? Thank you to Jamie, for naming us (you Adam, me Millipede); to Liam, Michelle, Morag, and Jack, my copilots in crime; to all of our exceptional editors and copy editors who worked so hard; and finally to the contributors: without your talent and support, this baby would never be up and walking. I am humbled. Amelia Nezil, Vice Editor-in-Chief
The Uncomfortable philosophy
The Work of Art in the Age of Etsy criticism
Orthodoxy & Grammatology poetry
Den Mother creative nonfiction
Boom Town, Sandon Town fiction
Sylvia Munson and Donâ€™s Flower Shop & They Came Out of the Bushes photography
6 Meters sculpture
Summers on the Reserve poetry
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari criticism
The Stray fiction
Fiction Burn criticism / satire
UlaanBaatar creative nonfiction
Zak Zawaduk Andrea Churchill Wong
Maia Wasowski Jesse Cowell Heike Lettrari Kade Krokosinki
Vanessa Stofer Ottilie Short Elizah Rosewylder Andrew Wade Vincent Colistro
Zack Zawaduck The Uncomfortable: The Importance of Interdisciplinary Discourse The five driving forces behind The Warren emphasize the question, “What doesn’t get published?” Poetry, fiction, non-fiction, criticism, and philosophy are all encouraged submissions. But why isn’t The Warren merely a fiction journal? A poetry journal? A journal of criticism? Why not become specific? In other words, why be interdisciplinary? The initial and obvious answer would be that this is an accurate reflection of the world we live in. Writing is a passive function or replication of the things that occur “out there.” Writers bring a variety of experiences anyway, and to deny the interdisciplinary or interdiscursive would be a failure to meet some requirement of living. To ignore the interdisciplinary would be to fall short, and it would fail to provide insight into the world that we hope to find in all writing—literary, academic, or otherwise. However, the form that writing adopts is much more than this passive accordance to a real world composed of many disciplines and subjects. It isn’t enough to simply align ourselves passively, because we would only be limited to the methods and ideology of a particular field. There is a responsibility to engage in interdisciplinary communication so as not to remain stagnant or become institutionalized. The philosopher is limited if she does not bring a new perspective to a discipline rooted in analytic, deductive, and seemingly objective analysis. The artist is limiting himself if he does not embrace criticism as productive, creating something new from the text as opposed to detracting from something primordial. And so too is the critic limiting herself if she fails to recognize a subjectivity and aesthetic that cannot be definitively filed under any particular branch of writing. Artistic and critical writing fall into the same stagnant position: they both limit their audience. My roommate studies environmental science and is enthusiastic that such progressive sciences are being taught. However, most of the students in these classes are already predisposed to thinking about environmental destruction and change. In order to create actual environmental change, we must extend beyond the limitations of environmental science and its discourse. Existing disciplinary methods limit not just the material involved, but the people as well. The specific has driven us to that which is comfortable, until those that learn of literature are already literature lovers; those that appreciate art are those that create art. Strict disciplinary thought forces us into more specific roles and specific knowledge. It becomes impossible for us to extend beyond our limited knowledge to that which is new. Thus, it is not only the audience that is limited by strict disciplinary methods—the performers become limited as well. Interdisciplinary methods have been applied in academia and popular culture. However, particular methods have become as self-evident or “appropriate” as the limited and fixed disciplines from which they have grown. For example, we are taught to employ a feminist criticism when analyzing a woman’s poems, or encouraged to examine Dickens’s tales of impoverished London through class-based analysis. Both of these are examples from literature, but the same can be said of philosophy. One is encouraged to study the “major figures in philosophy” because these figures define the discipline itself. This is a false history of the discipline, but is still the practice to which most undergraduates are exposed. the warren undergraduate review | 5
All of these classifications serve one purpose—to confine our discourse. It labels writers and their texts and seems to end the chapter on interpretation and productivity. It defines what can be found in a text and what should be found by us, so that we do not actively engage in new pursuits or interpretations. Instead, we fall back on the more institutionalized interdisciplinary methods that have swept into popular and academic discourse. So we are finding ourselves limited to the self-evident—the feminist critique, the post-colonial critique, and so on. We should not ignore these methods of interpretation, as these examinations are important and productive. But by limiting ourselves to these now self-evident approaches, we fail to produce any change—whether in methodology, academia, or popular mindset. We succumb to a stagnant sort of methodology. This limitation creates rigidity and enforces an institutionalized structure that seemingly cannot be changed. Rarely do we see the critic step away from the self-evident approach. We are seeing a slight shift in this with the rise of digital humanism or environmental criticism, but bold new approaches such as these are still not widely taught or encouraged. There is a pervasive, stagnant attitude that maintains rigid disciplines and rigid barriers between areas of study. But why aren’t these new approaches taken? Why is the divide between popular culture and academia still so strong when it is clear that the two inform one another? Why do the artist and the critic argue over the value of a text when both depend on their dialectical partner? This should be our focus—a shift beyond the apparent to the uncomfortable, to that which hasn’t been applied or examined yet. We are ignoring a whole range of possibilities that both academia and popular culture have denied as appropriate. The Warren is and must continue to be a medium for these newer approaches, and it encourages an open level of interpretation that is not fixed, but fluid, that will lead us to a better kind of knowledge.
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Andrea Churchill Wong The Work of Art in the Age of Etsy: Post-Benjamin “Craftivism” as Fuzzy, Hand-Knit Fascism When Walter Benjamin wrote “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (published 1936), he posited that “for the first time in world history, mechanical reproduction emancipates the work of art from its parasitical dependence on ritual” (1172). His argument attributes this emancipation to the shattering of the aesthetic “aura”: the traditional, unique, sacralized element of an artwork. Discourse on art in the age of mechanical reproduction can foreground and challenge the politics embedded within any aesthetic—politics once masked behind the aura. More than seventy years after he wrote “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” much of Benjamin’s theory remains relevant; current technology has developed in ways that Benjamin could not have imagined. More than ever before, we must navigate an aesthetic environment radically affected—even determined—by mechanical reproduction. However, as they consciously design art objects for reproducibility, some art makers simultaneously exploit our nostalgia for the aura with problematic political implications. Etsy, an “online marketplace for buying & selling all things handmade” (“What is Etsy?”), demonstrates this intentional perpetuation of aura-nostalgia; from a theoretical perspective influenced by Benjamin, Etsy is also interesting because it highlights tensions between art and political function in a contemporary art-producing community. Many of the artists, artisans, and crafters on the website market their products as meaningful alternatives to anonymous, corporate, mass-produced counterparts. In this way, the making and buying of handmade products takes on an apparently political function for Etsy participants: blending craft and activism, they pledge to practice “craftivism.” Although craftivism claims to subvert the late capitalist system by enabling buyers and sellers to circumvent globalized corporate structures, it undermines its own political intention by remaining implicated in the capitalist system and promoting nostalgia for the lost aura. Before we consider the contradictions embedded in Etsy’s “craftivistic” agenda, we must first understand some important elements of Benjamin’s theory of the changed relationship between aesthetics and politics. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” explains how mechanical reproduction undermines the “authority of the object” through two avenues (1169): first, through technological advancements that allow for easy, quick, and precise reproductions of works of art; secondly, through the development of new artistic processes such as photography and cinematic film, whose art is reproduction itself. Benjamin’s essay argues that an increasing emphasis on “mechanical reproduction emancipates the work of art from its parasitical dependence on ritual” and reverses its function so that “instead of being based on ritual, it begins to be based on… politics” (1172). From Benjamin’s perspective, such politicization is liberating because it divests socalled “high art” of its authority by allowing more people and ideas to enter into artistic discourse. Formerly, artistic discourse was confined to the dogma of ritual: protected by its aura, the aesthetic of a “great” work of art compelled an elite audience to accept its aesthetic without question. For this reason, Benjamin’s essay lauds the shattering of the aura—begotten by the age of mechanical reproduction—as an important demystification. If the aura no longer exists, then it no longer demands our unquestioning acknowledgement of its authority, so it becomes possible for us to discover and the warren undergraduate review | 7
expose the politics implicit in any work of art. The cyber-community affiliated with the Etsy website engages in both art and activism in a manner that seems to foreground its political agenda: those who use the website are “craftivists.” Craftivists buy and sell products made by hand because they believe that reconnecting consumers with artisanal producers (versus “faceless” transnational corporations) helps to create environmentally and socially sustainable communities. Craftivists can declare their commitment to the handmade lifestyle by signing the online “Buy Handmade” pledge on a site operated by the Handmade Consortium, a group to which Etsy belongs. Kim, the 39,621st signee of the Handmade Consortium’s online “Buy Handmade” pledge advocates buying handmade items because in her experience, small-scale producers “repurpose, reuse, [and] refurbish” materials to achieve environmentally positive ends. Jonathan R, whom Etsy features in one of their “Handmade Confessional” videos, reports that he “buys handmade because he likes the direct connection to the artists’ creative experience” (“The Storque”). Another signee of the “Buy Handmade” pledge, Beth Fansburg (39,601) expands on the sentiment of Jonathan R’s statement by urging consumers to “keep your dollars local1 and support your independently owned business[es]!” These declarations mask certain aspects of handmade culture’s politics. If we read the political statements of Etsy participants while re-reading the actual practices of this community through a Benjaminian lens, we can expose a different underlying political agenda. Etsy-based craftivism works against its own attempts at cultural, social, and economic resistance by reinforcing the very systems it purports to challenge. Although Etsy promotes a “vision… to build a new economy and present a better choice [by encouraging people to] Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade” (“What is Etsy?”), its “new economy” relies on the same capitalist model that it claims to oppose. Hidden in grey text on a white background at the bottom right corner of every page on the Etsy website is a copyright notice that reveals “Etsy” (highlighted in orange when displayed at the top of every page) is more accurately “Etsy Inc.” Etsy Incorporated occupies a strange territory: it is a corporation that downplays its corporate structure in order to profit from craftivists whose beliefs theoretically oppose corporate-run chain stores and the economies and cultures those “big boxes” perpetuate. The company has it both ways, so to speak, seeming to resist corporate capitalism while operating under the same economic principles guiding companies like The Gap or Ikea. Even at the level of the average Etsy user, capitalism remains the guiding philosophy. On the Etsy “Community” page, the heading of “Contests and Opportunities” for art producers is qualified with a telling phrase: the contests behind the link are sites of “the friendliest kind of competition,” but will nevertheless award “opportunities” only to those craftspeople skilled enough to win the approval of Etsy staff judges. Even if an artisan chooses never to enter one of the advertised contests, she must still vie with other sellers for opportunities to generate income from the vending of clothing, accessories, furniture, antiques, paintings, soaps, or whatever her product may be. With so many producers selling their handcrafted artistic wares through the Etsy Inc. website, each makervendor must find ways to stay competitive within and beyond the Etsy-contained capitalist market. Due to its corporate structure and its emphasis on entrepreneurial competition, Etsy Incorporated remains far too implicated in the capitalist system to resist or even critique it. Although Etsy’s attempts to oppose the corporate aspect of late capitalism may be troubling, the methods the website and its participants use to disguise these contradictory means to an end are even more problematic. Marketing their products with descriptors that recall the aesthetic aura (phrases like “one of a kind,” “unique,” and “original”), craftspeople selling their wares through the Etsy site make themselves complicit in the corporation’s problematic goal: to maximize profits while professing resistance to the corporate, chain-store mode. Sellers on the Etsy website benefit by perpetuating the illusion that their products are somehow more authentic, valuable, or spirited than those made on a factory assembly line. Such marketing allows them to benefit from the many Etsy buyers who feel alienated by the obvious sameness offered by big box stores and still entertain nostalgia for artworks that come with a “special” aura. By signing the pledge at buyhandmade.org, craftivists avow their aura nostalgia and, in doing so, help to further construct a market for their the warren undergraduate review | 8
products. Etsy and its “community” of craftspeople benefit financially from these hidden contradictions of politics. Glossing over their capitalist goals with an aestheticized activism that bills itself as counter-cultural, Etsy and its proponents eliminate potential for resistance—and profit in the process. Although it claims status as an enabling tool for anti-corporate “craftivists,” the internet-based Etsy Incorporated and the “Buy Handmade” pledge actually reinforce capitalist ideals through the perpetuation of aura nostalgia. Far from revolutionary, Etsy and the “Buy Handmade” craftivists do not inspire change; rather, they actually deny the masses “their right…to express themselves” because their brand of activism does little “to change property relations” (Benjamin 1184). In the world of Etsy, originality is nothing but ritualized nostalgia for the shattered aura, and countercapitalist resistance is a masquerade for the promotion of capitalism. Because it “render[s] politics aesthetic” (Benjamin 1186), Etsy’s craftivism culminates not in a communist critique of late capitalism, but in the perpetuation of capitalist ritual. It may appear fuzzy and hand-knit, but according to a Benjaminian analysis, Etsy is soft fascism in disguise. Works Cited Benjamin, Walter. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed. Vincent B. Leitch. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001. 1166–86. “Buy Handmade.” 2007–08. Buy Handmade. Accessed 24 March 2009. Web. “The Storque: Etsy’s Handmade Blog.” Etsy.com. 30 January 2009. Accessed 26 March, 2009. Web. “What is Etsy?” Etsy.com. 2009. Etsy, Inc. Accessed 26 March 2009. Web. 1
Etsy does offer a “Shop Local” search function on their “Buy” page.
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Colin Fulton Grammatology Fact is, god wouldnâ€™t need a scribe. Highest to lowest choir, none saw the wings of the Exusiai for a long time before they finally unfolded, nanotechnic, in filamented pages of sleek atomic clarity. How big is said pin? Seeking out the Egyptian always felt giddy and hormonal. His apartment holds funerary incense. The reddish orange sphere will not leave its place above his dust-striped plumage. So many angels make such a small space cramped and radiant, Thoth not smiling, refusing to give lessons.
Orthodoxy Thoth leaves the imagination of a colossal Baltic candlemaker, scribbling in his archives as usual the old urge to invent. People learn how to make gelatin from bone, firmer bookbinding adhesives, lighter utensils. He doesnâ€™t miss the desert or gods. In Vilnius, Lithuania, cobbled streets are buckling as a national park installs itself throughout. His beak shines, his warm mug gets ignored. Thoth inspects the promenade where he sits. Will a new language be good enough for them? Or automatic rat poison dispensers?
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Jessica Clark Den Mother Between her lips, held tight by her front teeth, are three straight pins. Her measuring tape drapes her shoulders; the loose ends flutter as she folds the bottom of my pant leg. I look down to see how her slender fingers rework the hem, but her head blocks my view. Her thread-black hair weaves with wired strands of grey. She looks up at me and says, Stop fidgeting or it will end up crooked. Mom has tailored all my jeans since middle school. She has committed my inseam to memory, filed next to my blood type. I feel the bite of a pinprick on my shin. I said stop fidgeting. The denim is beneath her. She spent over twenty years clothing her family in award-winning costumes for annual Halloween parties held at our Calgary Legion branch. My younger brother won Best Dressed as Mario; my father as King Tut, Dracula, and Robin Hood; Mom as Cleopatra, Elvira, Maid Marian. And I once won as a Red Fox. At Fanny’s Fabrics store, among the wools and silks, I scavenged a bolt of auburn faux-fur, priced at three dollars per metre, from the racks. Mom tried to barter me down to cotton for its breathability. She hunted through pattern samples, metal cabinets stuffed with inspiration. Why don’t you go as a gypsy? she asked. In her hand was a pattern for Esmeralda. The Disney version looked like Mom, her thick black hair in waves around her face, a set of full black eyebrows, and stubborn set mouth. I refused and pushed the bolt of fur. She narrowed her eyes at me. That fabric might get stuck in my machine, she said, but conceded, saying she would replace the stationary presser foot with a walking foot for the jaw of her Kenmore—to push the fabric through with greater ease. For sixth grade Halloween, I chose to don the fur of my favourite woodland creature, the Vulpes vulpes—the red fox. Hours of time spent cross-legged in the library, I pored over wilderness picture books, scanning the glossy pictures of sly canids. Their ears became two triangles of battingstuffed fun fur—tips dipped in black paint—glue-gunned to a headband that I nestled in my thick red hair. I bought a plastic novelty dog snout with nylon whiskers to cover my own schnoz and drew my lips into a smirk. I pulled long black gloves to my elbows and black socks to my knees; Mom and her machine could handle the difficulty of body and tail. She kept her sewing station in a corner of the master bedroom. An elegantly disheveled pile of fabric crowded around her machine. The appliance looked warm, tucked in, hibernating until she would stir it into play. Paper patterns served as template for our interpretation of the bushy-tailed canid. Pinned to the backside of the fabric, the tissue-paper pieces spread out in dismembered parts, a tail, a hind leg. Snips sung out in metallic tones as my mother maneuvered the sharp blades of her sewing scissors around the curves of pattern. Paper-bag brown, each pattern contained the hieroglyphic ink-language of tailors—arrows, numbers, weight, and conversions to ensure successful execution. I helped with the cutting, but curled up behind her on the edge of her bed while she stitched. General Hospital played on her old RCA. The television jumped with static lines every time she ran the machine. Kenmore operates on a drop feed. My mother bridged the parts of the sewing machine with thread as if she were drawing a pencil line on paper to connect the dots. Brown Polystar thread the warren undergraduate review | 11
from the spool pin on top of the machine slid its way through the upper thread guide, into the take-up lever, and down into a face-cover thread guide. She licked the end of the polyester sinew to thread the eye of the needle. As she sewed, she pulled the tailpiece of thread away from her body, joined with the tail of thread from the bobbin and held both between her fingertips while the machine devoured fabric. She pressed her stockinged foot against the cool metal of the pedal. Push of pedal against the floor whirred the needle into motion as it bit through the fabric to stitch together a furry bodice. The hum of the flywheel echoed outward. Sometimes, if she ran it too fast, the machine would lament a high-pitched howl. Eye of the needle winked out of view as it wove deep through the fur and into the throat plate. A set of metal dogs, designed to guide the fabric, lunged out of the slide plate and ran alongside the needle. The presser foot met the serrated teeth of the dogs and clamped the fabric to fuse the pieces with a lockstitch. From the mouth of the Kenmore, my skins emerged like a well-rehearsed poem. I slipped into the pelts, pinned my tail on, and positioned my ears. Mom etched around my eyes with black coal liner, drew up the corners, to make them into almond slivers. She kissed the side of my mouth, nuzzled her nose against my cheek. I walked on the balls of my feet, the pad of paws against wood brush.
Maia Wasowski Quest In the Namib, a snake winds his body sideways across the sand this little snake-apostrophe, snake-apostrophe-snake breaks the desert with every tip-toe-sweep in that pressing heat each wrinkle of sand bellies his shadow the wind swelters; hush-hush weâ€™re still moving.
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Jesse Cowell Painless [an excerpt] DONNER, 35, male Donner enters. Sits on a chair. DONNER: “And that’s why green is my happy colour.” That’s what she said. After we got her out of the hospital. Huh. “Red is bad.” I used to work building economic models. God, it was boring. The pay was nice, the workplace was friendly, but it felt like...advising faceless companies how to make even more astronomical sums of money was just...wasteful. I never knew what I was fighting for. Was it efficiency? The economy? I thought, maybe, just for a minute, I was fighting for employment. Not for myself, but for everyone. If the company collects all its dimes, then maybe it won’t have to downsize once the recession really sets in. Maybe I could be a modern-day Robin Hood, saving your livelihood from economic decay. But...no. The more my company made, the more it sucked the money out of its competitors. One rival declares bankruptcy, another sells itself to us piece by piece. I’m not saving anything. Remember this: all corporations are psychopaths. Psychopaths who just want to play monopoly. You remember monopoly don’t you? It’s possibly the worst board game on the face of the earth—because it relies on one principle. Everyone should be having less fun than you. Admiration always turns to envy when money’s involved. I’d say I’m much happier now. But that’s untrue. I’m much happier in my work. I have no money anymore, that’s not what environmental lobbying is for, but I enjoy what I do. I like digging myself out of bed in the morning and joining the crusades everyday. I’d say it’s invigorating, but it’s better than that. It’s fulfilling. It matters to me...I matter to me. But that’s...I...I come home one night, one day, I can’t remember the time, and Holly—my wife—is on the phone. So I lean in and kiss her on the neck, and ask where Jessica is. Holly says she’s in her pen, and we laugh, and...I get to Jessica’s room. It’s too pink. I think I went overboard trying to make it sparkle. It’s too bright. It almost blinds me. And our daughter, my Jessica, is sitting in her crib, playing with crayons on a sheet of... what I thought was a sheet of paper. She’s smiling, and half-laughing, so I don’t know that anything’s wrong. I go up behind her to rub her hair and I see the sheen of it—the red—is off, but I don’t think about it, and when I get to her she’s...There’s blood all over her crib, it’s over her clothes and...I didn’t scream, not then, but I looked down and she was still drawing. She was laughing and smiling and drawing with...I couldn’t process what it was, I didn’t know what she’d...Then there’s a scream, and Holly’s in the room, and her eyes are wet and terrified. Jessica turns and she smiles at us, and her teeth are stained with red. She’s missing the top right joint of her left index finger. When we get her to the hospital, the doctor asks her how it happened, and Holly and I say we don’t know, but Jessica...She says she bit off the top to get at the colouring. The doctors think she’s lying, until they test her...test her pain responses. Turns out she doesn’t have any. There’s something wrong with her brain. It doesn’t...It doesn’t recognize when...Then Jessica gets sad. She didn’t understand why we were upset. So I hugged her and said it wasn’t her fault. And that she should hate red. She should hate it and fear it and abominate it. She didn’t mind. She said green was her favourite colour anyway.
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Heike Lettrari Boom Town, Sandon Town You and me, we play negatives with a white and blue checkerboard sky. Horns appear and disappear in the shifting cumulus: elephant tusks, swallowed whole in a milky gasp. Horsegrass digs into the back of my scalp. Me on top, not you, you say, laying down the law and me, pressing my back into the ground with a manicured hand, secretary nails, long and square slivered like almonds at your fingertips. Twenty-eight-year-old almond tips (I think it’s hot you’re three years older) that pulled pink Birkenstocks off your ankles, opened the straps to let your feet free, free to the knees at your summer dress hem and goose-bump thighs. Sandon town asleep in the afternoon below you and me, silver, zinc, and mica fragments mixed quiet with black ore in scree piles in the hills: exhaust lanes like permanent piss lines dark on the land. Mark me some ownership! I was here! (That’s how they coded the land, making imprints with pick axe, hammer, and dynamite.) 1892: a one-twenty-five ton galena boulder found on the upper length of Sandon Creek. Great great great uncle R. S. Cunning coming to build the first hotel, first of its kind on Reco Ave. I want to tell you it was the beginning of the upper gulch, up over there, to our left (I’d point it out if you gave me a second, but my hands are busy with your chest, finding nipples below shirt and bra between trying to draw a breath—SLOW DOWN)—five thousand people used to be here, bustling rough in the streets and sprawling out of piped-up poker halls, sneaking from brothels, herding braying mules and horses up the trails, men meandering up to the mines, up to money, up to morning glory. Now what’re left are the ghosts of miners in the shadow of the Prospector’s Pick, museum boon with hunting tourists, and a suck like me, keeping this camp alive. I want to tell you all this, show you that I know, that I’m part of this place. I want to tell you about Sandon town, mining boom, bust out of fire on the 1910 nose (great uncle Cunning’s hotel lost in flames). I want to tell you about the Goodenough, Mollie, Viola Mac, the Kam-Kiota, and the Silmonac, want to take you up to their shafts to shine flashlights in, but I’m busy getting to know you right now, so I can’t. You lift a retainer from your teeth before you grin close-eyed and kiss me. Lips connect and your taste buds flick mine. Out of a side squint, I catch the curl of plastic in the flickering sunshine, held straight up and away from our heads by your thin sunburnt arm: 500mL peach yoghurt container, finished this morning so you could squish our PB and cheese sandwiches in. I am in heaven. Kiss you again as my pants bulge and my arms hug your spine like a personal curved lifeline. I can already see making you mine for May and June, and maybe the rest of the summer. White spruce, you point out, tilting your nose before my chin, laugh in the crescent of your cheek, smile cupped in the fold between shoulder and neck. I nod, sweet. Your nose leans to a Western red cedar: See, straight the trunk, straight up like mine in my jeans between your legs in the sun of the afternoon. I question your sanity when you sigh Aspen (How do you know all these?) before you sink back onto my lips, eyes like sleep shut, me not caring except for the end of your action, me your base, lips homeport planted on mine, my hands on your back wanting you. With a burp on your breath I taste IPA—injecting my body with a virus, ‘cause I hiccup like a drip-drop tap. HOLD UP! Nope, nope, nope nope nope, no breathing, not an atom of OH-TWO, until the hics stop. the warren undergraduate review | 14
I buck my hips toward yours, hopeful (you’re giving me blue balls, rubbing hip between my thigh), but you sit up, alarm tower backbone, alert. Skinny thighs squeeze mine, hands on my forearms, breasts delicious drupes before my nose, but your head turns to the parking lot down the hill we climbed. Sandon town, boom bust town, downtown behind the lot, one car besides my white Honda, and it’s rattling, blue roof shaking on go! like my loins, soft purr, light putter. He’s alone. In full frown, you climb off me and begin to wave your hands, wave at the mining town, wave at wood rot buildings and rust iron wheels of stationary carts beside the parking lot as though you could freeze the car leaving from the road below with a hand shake. Toby! Questions flit behind your eyelids as you bat them, wanting an answer. Your irises want to accuse me of something, pointing out that he’s my buddy, my roomie, thirty-six and responsible, but your mouth stays pressed shut, until you say, Where is he going? I’m up beside you, cougar in my pants tranquilized. Scoop up your sandals and toss me the backpack. We run hesitant down the hill, but Toby’s blue Subaru snakes from the lot, not a slow second on the gas pedal. Turn-off, left: twenty minutes to New Denver, to park in the drive outside our house, home house beside the shop where me and Toby met you and Louise, one long night ago. Silver City May days and you wanted to play; hitchhike out of Trail, following the path of the smelters to my mountain lake-town, crashing down at my tool-shop. You said you were following history and the US draft dodgers. Sexy, Kat, super sexy. MAYDAY, MAYDAY, automobile about to explode! Jee-sus I was turned on when I saw your bare shoulders in the blacklight of my basement, bumping to the bass beat, hair flying crazy with your rocking head. Pinky-finger first in the MDMA flytrap. Me your love, and you my lover. We’ll explore each other’s tunnels in this brothel town. (Fifty buildings and a hundred and fifteen “ladies of the night” to fill them here a hundred years ago. You’ll be my lady day for a bit?) Maybe I was a bit surprised this morning about how well you still liked my face. So I brought you here; we brought you here, double date in the centennial year of this mine boomtown. Summertime! Let’s have some fun. Louise. Louise, Louise. Louise! I join in to be convincing, my voice echoing up the mountainsides behind yours like a ghost dog. Tobes, man, where’d you go? I have an empty glance for the highway, and a boulder in the pit of my stomach for Louise. My mechanic mind spins to stall for a sec; I’m no SAR manager, no search and rescue handyman to start looking for your doll friend, who is probably high on some weed pinched from Toby’s front seat stash, which is probably why she stubbed her toe and got into some crap she shouldna. The shitter’ll be back soon. He probably launched to town for more beer or smokes. Please the bombshell he got his hands on. I’m trying to do the same, but Christ, times are tough. Alec, get down here. We hafta look for her. OVER-reacting. Glaring to me from below on the road, I can feel the heat of your glance. Chili pepper hot. KA-BOOM, Kat. You’re blowing my cover. The edges of my jean pockets are hard pressed between my fingers. Why? Why something go wrong now? I want to go digging, want to mine galena from your core, Kat, want to find the killer vein inside your finicky bones. Me and Tobes felt like right royale dudes this morning; you in my bed, hiding between the camo sheets, and Louise on his futon, green painted toenails sticking out from the duvet. First Prize is a tie: Toby R. Wilkes and Alec M. Cunning: New Denver mech boys if you never did see ‘em before. Round up, round up, get closer to the champs! Thank-you, thank-you God, Tobes muttered while we waited for the coffee to finish its spiel. He clapped me on the back before he grabbed two mugs (Princess needs her caffeine) and headed to his room, smiling. I’m sure the gal is fine, sitting somewhere on a rock sunning her dandy city self. A few hours of light left. Early May and the days are still getting longer in the Koots; in the mountains, in this valley, it’s gone even an hour earlier. Valley bottom, low point; mountaintop, high. Carpenter the warren undergraduate review | 15
Creek gurgles as I near the ground, the road rushing up below my feet. Thump on the landing between ditch and dirt road. The flume that double-dutied as town (city) flume and Main Street above Carpenter Creek shattered to bits is glimpsable here and there. Final washout in the fifties. KOWABUNGA! Highway out! No need to build cribbing for a new sidewalk—no need for the sidewalk, when the washout was so big it wasn’t worth the trouble. I follow your calves to the parking lot—dainty calves, like a runner’s? They’re defined like I can read your body, and I want to run you in a footrace up Reco like they did a century ago. But your cotton candy sandals are walking to the lower gulch, brothel quad. My mind stuck the gutter, and you worried about your girlfriend. Wind picks up the end of your scarf and waves it, flagging me down; I catch up beside you. Head tilted to the side in thought, your neck looks one-hundred-and-thirty percent kissable. I don’t even know where to start to look. Louise is, you know, Louise. You lift your arms in a small shrug. I nod. Louise, you’re right, is worse than you. She arrived in orange heels, a dress thinner than yours, and is living out of one hell of a stout suitcase (I hit my shin on it this morning—didn’t expect a hardcore bag parked between fridge and counter where Tobes stuck it). I imagine the thing loaded with necklaces and makeup and shirts and shorts and all other manner of summer clothes a gal could think she needs. Kat, if the K&S Line or the CPR still ran, I would put my jacket down for you before the first step up on the wagon we could shuttle to New Denver on a scenic route. But the lines are down and have been for years. Next thing I’m knowing is your fist nailed to my right left shoulder for an A-plus Charliehorse. OW. Wake up, you shit! Help me look! Jesus. Your eyes are shiny, and it takes me a sec to realize you’re about to cry. I clear my throat. Look, Kat. No, you look here, Alec. You stand there daydreaming while Louise could be down a hole or something in this stupid town. You hardly talk—it’s creepy! I barely know you…Shaking your head, you sigh and blink hummingbird fast, making a tear leak down one cheek. My breath is stuck in neutral in my throat, and I gear into first so I can get a word out. Speak man, no space for being shy! I can feel kindling catch in my cheeks and make me sputter-blush like a firestarter. Kat. What? You say it like a semi, engine bonfire-mad. I’m not Mr. Bright, but I know one thing: right now, you’re the lady for me. You’re shaking your head. I really don’t need to hear this now. We need to find Louise. Foot stamp with clenched fist, you turn from me to look up the hill, Prospector’s Pick direction. You are awesome. Really, I think she’s fine. I got this feeling— Well, then, where is she? You explode. Your hair takes a shot of E as you whirl around and a gust of wind catches your brown strands and makes them stand on end. With a quick hand flip you whip the fly-aways into a ponytail. I want to throw some fuel on the fire in your eyes. BURN ME DOWN, DOWN, down, like the Sandon Hotel. I didn’t keep a golden eye sharp on her and Tobes when they wandered off the beaten track like we did. I clear my throat again. We can start up by the north end of the road. We’ll call on the way up. See what we can find. Tobes, man, no coming back? No sign on the highway, on the window shield, on my driver’s seat. Toby, bud, you could have left something. We speedwalk up the road, you in first place, me following like a flop fish. Clearly, you’re in better shape than me, but you also don’t have steel toes pulling at your feet. Watching you quickstep it up the road, I wonder if Louise really did stick her foot in a half-hid hole or jam her heel beneath a rock and take out her knee or something. Dumb broad. You miss a slight incline as the hill shifts upward and you kick up a mini dust cloud. Saloon the warren undergraduate review | 16
12 to the right hand side, PITSTOP. You face me on the road, hands on hips, thinking. What is it that you do? Whisper words. I catch them above the crunch of the gravel underboot. I don’t even know what the hell you do. What are we doing here? You swivel around on a heel for a second, looking at the trees and half-rot structures around. I want to tell you about the Bendigo, and Blue Grouse, the Slocan Star, Silver Bell, and Monte Carlo. The Kesa. I want to stake a claim for you, dear one, honey of my eye, stake it among the other sweethearts, wives, and mothers, politics, and personal philosophies, now that I’ve found my payload. I want to make you mine, babe, MINE. Gold bar to the max. Kat! Yoo-whoo. Kat and Alec! The squeal of a whistle as loud as I’m sure train brakes are got caught echoing in my eardrums. I clap a hand over an ear and shrug my shoulders to try to make it stop. OW. Unnecessary. Louise sounds ridiculously close. You spring into a run to the picnic table on the far side of the saloon. Louise like a little kid, licking a wooden Popsicle stick, legs swinging off the end of the table. Heartbeat: down, boy, down. Walking slowly over, I miss most of your words, but Louise’s eyes go big and she bursts into a laugh. She throws a glance my way and suddenly my boots are too big, and my nails too dirty and my shirt untucked and wrong. I wipe my hands on my pants, then stuff them in their pockets. I didn’t care about me with you Kat, but with Louise, I’m feeling like a shovel forgot out of the tool shed in the rain. Louise is saying I’m fine, just fine. Want to hitch back to go for a paddle in the lake? Paddle in the lake? SHIP TO DOCK! SHIP TO DOCK! Harbouring the stable tug immediately. Shit. It’s still freezing in May. My balls shrivel in my boxers thinking about it. I fiddle with the keys in my pocket. So you’re fine? Kat, your voice is like melted chocolate, warm, and I want to lap it up. Louise nods insistent, eyebrows raised. She spears a finger out and pokes your stomach, coaxing a laugh from you. You palm your hair over a shoulder. Where’d you get the Popsicle? you ask. I can tell you, but Louise is faster: the PP. Prospector’s Pick. End of the lot on the right. Last week, the fire alarm went off in my shop, beeping like a berserk alarm clock. A similar sound ticks off in my head as Louise looks at me and smiles. Let’s get back to town, hey? You nod to me, and I mirror you back. Great idea, Kat. Yeah yeah yeah. Back to the big ND, back to hometown. Twenty minutes. You look sour when you hook your arm through Louise’s, and you don’t meet my eyes. I feel I have a bucket full of waste rock tied to my heart, and someone chucked it down a shaft. Not sure when the ginny’ll hit the bottom, but for now it’s dragging. Bye double P. Bye Hallmac and Mount Payne. Will be seeing you soon again. Uncle Cunning, until next time. Louise took the front seat on the drive back. It was the worst drive ever. I’m a little amazed at how you did it, coming all the way over here with her. Toby pushes his mug around on the kitchen table. Louise still screeches “I love your smile” with the radio (bugger KBS) in the deep pockets of my mind; I don’t want to let anybody see the black thoughts I mightta got, clenching my teeth through that. And Kat, you grinning glum in the backseat, half-hearted if I ever saw a down puppy. We’re gonna take off when we get back, okay? You were checking with Louise, green eyes glinting. We’re gonna take off when we get back. Echoing, ECHOING. Tobes, clear out the smoke. What happened to you, man? Toby keeps his eyes cast on the table, on the spoon, on the mug. He brushes a hand cat cool through his hair. Kat and Louise are packing their bags. My ears are going spotty, and my chest has a hole big enough for ten lit dynamite sticks, sizzling, about to blow. BOOM BOOM BOOM. Beat on my drumming ears. We’re gonna take off… What happened, man? Fists tight, I’m trying to keep my patience. Help me out here. No kids. Huh? Toby pushes the mug around again, spoon clinking. the warren undergraduate review | 17
She doesn’t want any kids. Head cock, ‘cause I’m confused. You never said you were looking to settle, Tobe. NOD, NOD, nod, nod. Shake. Shake shake, bobble head. I’m thirty-six. It’s been on my mind. I can’t be like a little kid anymore. No more playing, no more fooling around. I feel like tossing my coffee in his face. I had you in my arms, Kat, and I was making progress, making it work, then Toby of all people has to wrecker-ball it for me. Giggles sift into the kitchen like flies. Fellows, we’re out! Louise perks her nose in the doorway, then with a flash is out. Kat behind her. Kat, Kat! I stop you in the doorway, duffle in hand. I’m rasping my throat into second gear, carburetor clear. If you can’t catch a ride… Your eyebrows perk up. So hot, like chilli peppers. Hmmm? If you can’t catch a ride, come back, okay? You can come back. Your smile, galena trail. You set fire to my saloon. Boom bust boom.
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They Came Out of the Bushes by Kade Korokosinki Double exposure on a leica m8
Sylvia Munson and Don's Flower Shop by Kade Korokosinki Double exposure on a leica m8
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Six Meters by Maria Konstantinova
This sculpture is made out of one large panel of fabric, in which the threads have been separated to expose the structure of the material. The shape that I have created with this panel is purely experimental, as the fabric now moves and falls in a way that it hadnâ€™t previously. The final structure has been hardened with a mixture of sugar and hot water.
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Alana Cook Summers on the Reserve
The fields shake, dry as a cough, rubble roads spiced with rosehips. We follow the yellow crocodile mountains lazing between the earth and clouds trickling along the sky. The days stretch, honey-thick, the sun our promise of protection. Tongues garnished with smoke sprouting sweat this is when we prowl. Crouched in old grass among the boys, hunters in our new skin. We are the colour of old photographs. Oily palms and mud-caked toes, lips sweet with wildberries, and the scent of cedar that clings to coarse, sun-bleached braids. We watch, silent as stargazers, as the oldest boy guts the plump creature. It gasps into the blade. Blood blooms like constellations on a moon-slick night. Beside my brothers of the long sun I make no more noise than a kitchen at night. The city child with the eggshell face casts only the shadow of a memory.
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Arthur Hain The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: Fabricating an Expressionist Landscape Much has been said about The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’s bizarre set design over the years. The film’s coupling of a realistic suspenseful narrative with a heavily stylized distorted setting has been rightfully credited as one of its greatest innovations. Jagged edges, slanted verticals, long painted shadows: these make for a disorienting mise-en-scène and contribute to the film’s unique ambiance. What interests me particularly is the film’s fabrication of outdoor settings. We are not to believe that this was done purely out of the necessity of the studio system: films as early as the Lumière Brothers’ experiments had been shot outdoors, and films like Edward S. Porter’s The Great Train Robbery (1903) had combined outdoor locations and studio shots. The fabrication is an attempt at uniformity—a shift between Caligari’s stylized sets to an unaltered outdoor landscape shot would seem jarring to the viewer—and can be partially seen as a formal consideration, enabling director Robert Weine’s complete manipulation of lighting and mise-en-scène. However, I intend to argue that the decision to fabricate and actually alter the appearance of natural elements like trees and mountains in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari contains something that is distinctly and intrinsically expressionist. It is an extreme subjectivity facilitated by a handful of philosophic and artistic movements in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and is unique to a particular cultural landscape. More so than the film’s use of doubling signifying the divided self, than its preoccupation with extreme emotional and disturbed psychological states, than its expressive use of shadows, I believe that Dr. Caligari’s willingness to create non-representational versions of natural real-world elements is the film’s most uniquely expressionist characteristic. Let us begin by looking at a more-or-less representative “outdoor” scene: the mountain view outside Holstenwall. This set provides our first introduction to the actual narrative framed by Francis’s story, and, like the film’s various interior and architectural sets, is flat (in terms of depth), sharply truncated, and heavily abstracted. In the foreground, we find gnarled and twisted bare trees, which bear only slight resemblance to their real-world counterparts. We find similar tree shapes on the peripheries of crucial scenes, like the fairgrounds of Holstenwall and the bridge that Cesare later carries Jane over. These shapes are designed with a sinister quality; as Lenny Rubenstein writes, “the film is much more the terrain of its villains than of the erstwhile protagonist, Francis” (364–65). There is a great deal of distortion in these scenes, showing a peculiar willingness to not only recreate natural landscapes, but also to deliberately alter them in a non-representational fashion. Rubenstein writes, “the political implications of much of expressionist works were almost lost amid the finely crafted stage-sets [sic]” (367), but the truth is that the underlying philosophical concerns of Expressionism are inseparable from these kinds of formal devices. Expressionism inherits its underlying philosophy as much from nineteenth-century protoexistentialist thinkers—Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard, and, more directly, Nietzsche—as from Marxism and Freud’s early psychoanalytic theories. Of primary concern here are the former three (in the above list, not chronologically), as their influence is more intricately tied to the formal and visual components of set design and mise-en-scène in this film. It is primarily from these thinkers that the warren undergraduate review | 22
Expressionism derives its emphasis on extreme subjectivity, a crucial step towards Caligari’s set designers’ (Hermann Warm, Walter Reimann, and Walter Röhrig) striking decision to actually create distorted versions of natural landscapes. For many expressionist artists, like Kierkegaard before them, “the crowd is untruth” (94). Nietzsche elaborates: “one must shed the bad taste of wanting to agree with many. ‘Good’ is no longer good when one’s neighbor mouths it” (“Live Dangerously” 53). This illustrates a subjectivity of values that later comes to manifest itself in the kinds of nonrealist depictions we find in expressionist art. In the wake of Nietzsche, people no longer need to take the qualities of the outside world as objective or real in themselves. This subjective expression is what we find in the set design of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, rather than objective facsimiles of the “real” world. Nature itself becomes subjective, to be questioned or refuted if for no other reason than to assert one’s own subjectivity: “what do I care for the laws of nature and arithmetic, when, for some reason, I dislike those laws and the fact that twice two makes four?” (Dostoevsky 61). The project becomes to escape submission to nature, whether in the physical environmental sense, or in the sense of a natural state of being. Nietzsche asks, in a characteristically aphoristic style, “living—is that not precisely wanting to be other than this nature?” (“Live Dangerously” 15). In art, this suggests questioning the notion of qualities (i.e. shapes, dimensions, colours) in the world around us as ready-made. To impose on the world one’s own set of values and to represent it as an expression of such is the practical extension of this. To clarify, this imposition is precisely what is behind Caligari’s fabrication of non-realist outdoor sets. Finally, Nietzsche’s most oft-quoted statement may help in concluding this argument: “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, the murderers of all murderers, comfort ourselves?…Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must not we ourselves become gods simply to seem worthy of it?” (Beyond Good and Evil 105). The point here is not a shift towards atheism, as has often been inferred, but instead the suggestion that we may, and indeed are compelled to, become godlike (in the loosest possible terms) in our own subjective reevaluation of the world. For expressionist artists, this means an increasing move toward abstraction and fragmentation and an emphasis on non-realist depictions. Caligari’s bizarre sets betray this extreme subjectivity: Warm, Reimann, and Röhrig have fabricated a landscape, but in such a way that questions the real-world qualities of such a landscape. They have projected inner states onto Caligari’s filmic world, rather than basing their sets on an objective reality. This is all the more poignant with regards to the film’s “natural” features like trees and mountains because it is no longer simply a distorted representation of something that was human-made to begin with. Caligari’s outdoor sets reevaluate the natural world and represent it with subjective psychological states taken into account. This, to me, is the film’s most intrinsically expressionist characteristic. Works Cited Dostoevsky, Fyodor. “Notes from Underground.” Existentialism: From Dostoevsky to Sartre. Ed. Walter Kaufmann. New York: Meridian, 1960. 52–82. Kierkegaard, Soren. “On Himself.” Existentialism: From Dostoevsky to Sartre. Ed.Walter Kaufmann. New York: Meridian, 1960. 83–99. Nietzsche, Friedrich. Beyond Good and Evil. Trans. Walter Kaufmann. New York: Vintage, 1989. - - - . “Live Dangerously.” Existentialism: From Dostoevsky to Sartre. Ed. Walter Kaufmann. New York: Meridian, 1960. 100–12. Rubenstein, Lenny. “Caligari and the Rise of the Expressionist Film.” Passion and Rebellion: The Expressionist Heritage. Massachusetts: Bergin, 1983. 363–73.
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Vanessa Stofer The Stray Eric never believed you, that you liked it here. The water shortage, he said, the ferries. Still, Hornby Island was good for a vacation. Before tourists overran the place he came to visit every few summers. He’d brought Ty, too young to be memorable then, and the first wife. She was alright. She was in sustainable urban design, ran appreciative fingers over the cabin walls, the driftwood railings, the rain barrel. It’s like the hundred-mile diet for houses, she always said. The second wife only came once, and that was towards the end. You remember her nails with their fake white tips, like an excuse not to do anything. How could you ask those nails to help with dishes, to gather eggs? They had a Newfoundland that wouldn’t stay out of the ocean; when they left, their SUV always reeked of kelp. The dog was the best part of the visit—it had Eric’s dutiful loyalty but more joy than he was ever able to muster. Eric was a doctor. It was ironic, like a firefighter’s house burning down, or a cop getting arrested; if he wasn’t your brother it would make a good story. A doctor, and such a freak thing. When you were in high school kids joked about that stuff in the hallway. That Chem exam, like, gave me an aneurysm. Two years ago he fell off the treadmill at Fitness World and hit the mat, hand halfway to his head. Blood clot in his brain. No one was there to catch your little brother, just to gather around, to pick him up off the floor. It was how the world usually worked. You’ve driven past bad mash-ups on the highway. Once, a car and a motorbike. The car won. You’ll always remember that, the twisted leather body on the median before the paramedics arrived, the scattered slam of car doors, huddles of people along the yellow line. The heavy quiet, and the overturned wheel spinning spokes against a backdrop of sky. “Shouldn’t you call your stepmother,” you tried this morning, when you found him with a duffel in your driveway. Ty had just looked at you. But that’s the whole point, he said. You sit now in the cold sand after dark with black bubbled marshmallows on sticks. Barefoot, playing hippies in the firelight. His beer can hisses open. You bought it for him, like a cool aunt should, to make up for lost time. The silence stretches so you ask him questions, about life, does he have a girlfriend. Where is he going to college? He plays soccer, Ty says, and no, no girlfriend. No college, either, it’s all up in the air. “Why didn’t you come to the funeral,” he says. Deadpan. He mouths the skin off a marshmallow. “Because.” You lean backward, sink on your elbows into sand. “He said he never wanted one. He thought they were depressing.” You used to build forts, together, to play Indians with stretchy belts for slingshots. He’d never teased, back then, never made you feel apart. “They think you’re crazy, you know.” Ty has started to slur, a little, and laughs. Then he is quiet. He chews the tab of his can. “I wish I came here sooner,” he says. When you glance up he eyes you like a stray dog, haunted, hungry. “I wish I knew about you.” Across the fire your face is hot and tight. You have your farm, your life; you’re nobody’s mother. Tomorrow you’ll tell him he can’t stay. Firelight licks your cheeks and you shut your eyes against the stars. the warren undergraduate review | 24
Intersection by Ottilie Short
8 x 10 inches, Silver Gelatin RC Print, 2009
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Elizah Rosewylder Fiction Burn: A Quasi-Intellectual Analysis of Green Eggs and Ham An initial reading of Green Eggs and Ham, a title by Dr. G. Theodor Seuss, reveals the prototypal grappling between probity and malfeasance. Such an apologue would amuse even bottomentry readers. The depth, however, of this complex, inventive work manifests in the interweaving of sophisticated short-fiction techniques that scintillate “with all the covert complexities of an obscure modernist poem” (Boyd). What at the outset appears to be simple fiction soon develops into a daring, deviceful interweaving of metafiction within a classic text (Webster’s). Perhaps more risky, however, is the decision to later extract this same avant-garde style so the reader is returned to the archetypal form, which includes the emblematic “happy” finale, leaving the reader dazed in a manner not unlike an encounter with an alien. Seuss creates immediate tension with the introduction of two mythical characters that appear benign—so much so the reader is alerted to the antithesis. Arthur Plotnik writes, “Fiction in by its very nature promises to transport readers to imaginative realms” (127). Seuss’s use of the fantastical succeeds in exactly this, all the while adroitly mixing the form into a fable with parabolic overtones such as those found in works such as Haruki Murakami’s “A Shinagawa Monkey.” Green Eggs and Ham begins with an unnamed character who simply wants to sit and read. (It should be noted here that the author is openly left-leaning, and at least one previous text covertly identified two double agents who have since been arrested by “Mother” after the publication was released. Please refer to “Thing One and Thing Two,” found in the CITH archives, cross-referenced under “Sally.”) To further the guise of simplicity, Seuss departs from complicated plot, allowing instead character-driven, causal events to guide the story. Such a technique immediately piques the reader when the first character seen is not the unnamed protagonist, but rather the secondary character— the antagonist—who identifies himself as Sam I Am. Seuss relies on cursory monologue and precise sensory description. We1 are shown SIA wearing a red hat, and the first metaphor emerges for the reader: the red of danger, the command to stop. Tension fairly shivers. But Seuss does not shillyshally. His spare narrative introduces the main Unnamed Character, who appears to be studying an unidentified text. The author knows the value of action to illuminate character; he therefore avoids plethoric description. The UC is shown to be disgruntled, and the only clothing mentioned is a rumpled black hat. Seuss subtly hints UC’s dismay at being disturbed by the nettlesome SIA, whose codename is I Am Sam. The technique of paralleling the obdurate nature of both characters removes the story from mere plotting to a more complex understanding of the innermost workings of personality. SIA/IAS displays a bonhomie that cleverly disguises his true nature. Seuss achieves this misleading persona by placing SIA/IAS in the company of a sympathetic creature that may be a graduate of an animal testing facility, possibly Delta Kappa Epsilon (center of operations for the wellknown Bush cartel) or CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association.) While SIA/IAS displays in his character the smugness of an insider who knows more than the protagonist, Seuss has managed with a careful unveiling of this tertiary personality to integrate this arrogance. We are shown, for instance, the camaraderie between the antagonist and the tertiary character. This camaraderie conveys a background that causes the reader to distrust any initial assessment of the antagonist and the warren undergraduate review | 26
engenders sympathy with him, which increases conflict in the story: it becomes difficult to paint the antagonist as only villainous and the protagonist as purely blameless. Though its protagonist is disturbed by SIA/IAS and his companion, Seuss’s narrative demonstrates an abstruse connection between the two main characters. Rising action interspersed with pseudo-dénouement within a scene is a pattern we find throughout Seuss’s story, and it is done to perfection. The choppy rhythm mounts tension, and Seuss is unrelenting in driving the suspense, because—as Noah Lukeman points out in The Plot Thickens—“if suspense exists, the audience will stay with the work” (119). Seuss forces the story forward as the protagonist is startled into losing the papers he has been scrutinizing by the offer of what is disguised as a meal by SIA/IAS. That the protagonist can be distracted in so believable a manner and so early in the story is again testament to Seuss’s ability to create believable characters within the backdrop of so apparently trite a tale. Is this offer a bribe? Or does it represent a more dangerous possibility, such as poison? Certainly this inventive use of symbol is indicative of Seuss’s high-caliber writing; his addition of pork to the culinary disguise gives us enough clues to recognize there is some kind of racial undertone that will carry as theme throughout the story. Particular attention is paid to setting when we are shown how the protagonist lives. The detail with which Seuss paints the house, minute but powerful sensory suggestions about the table in his living room having a black base with a kind of enamel surface, shows us the protagonist’s elegant mindset. However, Seuss does not allow the setting to lull us. The presence of a leaning brick chimney hints at the tipping of the protagonist’s life. The irregular colour and design in the landscaping around the house is enough askew to tease out more suspense. Seuss moves from scene to summary and back to scene with effortless narrative. He brandishes a box suspended from a tree in yet another symbolic revelation of the UC’s plight. Yet the character walks away from the box, rather than toward it. The reader senses the unspoken frustration of the protagonist in the simple clench-fisted eloquence of one gesture. It is at this point we clearly understand what Schoen means about goals in The Truth About Fiction: “a story is an account of a character struggling to reach a goal” (4). The protagonist (initially focused on deciphering some kind of text) is thrown into the authentic goal of escaping what is being offered him until he can determine how to get the papers back. The precipitating event, the interruption by SIA/IAS, has mutated UC’s goal from benign interest into pushing the protagonist toward more and more extreme behavior. Seuss is unswerving in his drive toward tension when SIA/IAS (along with two henchmen— one of northern European extraction, the other a midget)—appears in a turquoise convertible coupe. The dialogue in this scene elucidates. It points to critical action the reader must not miss: “Eat them! Eat them!” is the cry of the antagonist and his colleagues (26). Seuss once again places us in faultless scene. The hillside of yellow, dried, late-summer grass is detailed carefully, as is the skeletal, blackened shrubbery left by a fire that destroyed all the buildings in the area earlier in the season. A long scene is devoted to the turquoise coupe, in which the action rapidly escalates. Crisp dialogue and spare narration laced together with half-scene deftly creates the visceral experience of a speeding car. Sharp, irregular verbs describe the scream of wind. Spare use of adjective suggests the protagonist’s paralytic realization. He can do nothing. He must scrabble. He must cling if he is to survive. We hear tight, intense dialogue: “A train! A train! A train! A train!” (36). Both the protagonist and SIA/IAS are speaking at once, yet Seuss cleverly avoids the trap of dialogue tags, allowing the horror of the words to ring in the reader’s mind. The train locomotes through the countryside; verbs shake trees in their wake. The car metals toward the train; adjectives burn from the smokestack. We discover incidental characters aboard the train whose vulnerability and innocence heighten the stakes incrementally. Seuss’s credible narration of the improbability of the car landing undamaged upon the train is exemplary. How has Seuss managed to transpose a benign realism to absurdist metafiction? The protagonist announces, “I would not…in a train” (39), thus self-conthe warren undergraduate review | 27
sciously pointing to the irony of a mild, pragmatic character standing atop the hood of car while hurtling through space—certainly in the very least a physical improbability. It is at this point Seuss demonstrates true genius as a writer. The author removes the reader momentarily from the visceral experience of the story. He holds the reader captivated to the fictive present by placing the characters and their rushing vehicles in a darkened tunnel. Though he remains riveted to the third-person limited point of view, there is no landscape, no dialogue. We still hear the roaring train, but the characters are suspended. The only visual is written in verbs: flashing whites of eyes as they blink open and shut, off and on, similar to faraway stars in the darkest night. Setting is limited to the last portion of the train, with the still-intact turquoise coupe atop it. The passengers remain blissfully unaware. Nouns become unspoken words. Verbs crawl onto the hood of the coupe; nouns cling to the train and emerge abruptly and absolutely into full light. Once again, succinct dialogue tells the story: SIA/IAS implores, “Would you, could you?2” “I would not, could not!” the UC screams (46–47), all the while pleading, pointing heavenward, his right hand open in a supplicant’s gesticulation. Yet, when sanguinity seems vanished, Seuss continues to push the story forward relentlessly as he provides the protagonist some measure of hidden strength. The ensuing tension heaves the train tracks from the ground and suspends them on the anxiety of the moment, which is yet another careful metaphor. The protagonist faces a Hobson’s choice as he breaknecks on the symbolic train. Blasts of engine effluvium are forced down the reader’s lungs; the air is soldered with hot engine oil and creosote; suspension in midair reveals distant houses and scrub trees atop mountains razed by the same fire that destroyed the homes and vegetation in the valley. Somehow, a character named Billy crawls from the train into the car. The reader hears the protagonist’s terror—mouth open, hat askew—at the exact moment the train’s high speeds lift it from the track. It is at this point Seuss provides the first real hint of climax and the promise of dénouement. The reader recognizes that the story cannot endure much more escalating action. Seuss sends every character flying through the air at the same moment that he writes the passengers asleep, maintaining the credibility of their being unaware of the falling train. The tension and action remain pristine. Critical dialogue is inserted: the protagonist is heard screaming, “I could not, I would not, I will not, I will not…” as he hurtles toward the choppy sea and the Russian trawler that is passing through the straits that churn below (46). The author slings the story at the reader: the protagonist plunges into water. He seems ready to accept imminent death and is once again confronted by SIA/IAS. We are spellbound by perfect bubbles escaping from the protagonist’s bronchi into the bleak, bitter water, and by UC’s goggle eyes as Seuss once again locates us exactly in scene: water so deep everything has taken a teal-blue tinge, waves so high they appear to be broken only by the sky, the tide turning seaward, toward oblivion, away from everything the protagonist can ever know. This cold, floating place signals a change in the pace of the narrative. For a moment, we are floating in watery silence. We have reached the climax of the story. UC must make a choice, though clearly he has not managed his goal. Will he accept responsibility for this? Will he re-enter the struggle? Will he capitulate? Seuss snatches the clichéd ending away: no struggle for survival—there is neither champion nor rout. Rather, protagonist and antagonist unite. The meal offered by SIA/IAS represents the selfnurturing the protagonist has denied himself. Seuss answers the primary question of the chronicle: What is the meaning of happiness? Additionally, he justifies the warning of the epigram, “You do not know the sound of one hand clapping.” We see UC survive the division within him. He is a changed man. “Say!” he says (59), “I like! I do!” The incidental and tertiary characters merge with UNC and SIA/IAS. Through this clever twist in the story, Seuss identifies the division within each human: questioner and knower, male and female, yin and yang. This brilliant, engaging parable shakes the obdurate zeitgeist by the neck. The times, they are a-changing, and Seuss’s story, Green Eggs and Ham, points to a better world for us all. the warren undergraduate review | 28
Works Cited Boyd, William. “Brief Encounters.” The Guardian 2 October 2004: 01.07 BST. “Deviceful.” Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary. MICRA, Inc. 20 Nov. 2008. Dictionary. com. Web. Murakami, Haruki. “A Shinagawa Monkey.” The New Yorker, 13 Feb. 2006. Lukeman, Noah. The Plot Thickens. New York: St. Martin’s Press. 2002. Plotnik, Arthur. Spunk and Bite. New York, Toronto: Random House, 2005. Schoen, Steven. The Truth About Fiction. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1999. Seuss, Dr. The Cat in the Hat. Toronto: Random House. 1959. - - - . Green Eggs and Ham. Toronto: Random House. 1960. The irregular avante-garde shifts between plural and singular gentle readership—“reader” and “we”—is a deliberate Horatian jibe at overwrought stylistic conventions in academia. 1
To demonstrate his writer’s control, Seuss allows no magniloquence here from the temerarious SIA/IAS. 2
Andrew Wade Hullaboo HULLABOO: Mikaila’s discarded purple-green imaginary friend. MIKAILA: A nine-year-old girl. Mikaila’s house and front lawn. Lights up. Mikaila sits halfway up a set of stairs, next to a blanket and a magazine. Hullaboo sits beside the stairs, floor level. They are depressed. HULLABOO: I’ve lost Mikaila. The Scowl has won. That tar and black scribble beast called The Scowl has won. So now she sits, Mikaila sits, behind a closed window. She sits and she slouches to the light of her computer and she’s miserable. Mikaila The Magnificent is miserable. Mikaila! Let’s play a game! Open the window! I once tried to teach Mikaila how to fly; (Hullaboo pedals as if on a bike, in a large circle in the stage area. At the same time, Mikaila eagerly bounds down her stairs and tries, but her movements are awkward and don’t seem to be working) it’s like riding a bicycle, paddling around with your feet. Her toes aren’t like mine, though, so she couldn’t stay afloat. So I puffed myself inside up and became a hot air balloon. We flew up over all the town, just Mikaila and— UNISON: (Mikaila hugs Hullaboo) —the prettiest purple-and-green hot air balloon she knew. HULLABOO: Mikaila had been sad, so we dove into a volcano to find dinosaurs to cheer her up. Then...The Scowl appeared. Sometimes he looks like Mrs. Hanson, or Dad, or even like Mikaila, but he always has scribbles for hair and scribbles coming out his sleeves and giant rotten-tomatoslice eyes. He always smells like rot, and dirt, and washrooms after Dad. That time, in the volcano, The Scowl grabbed a comet from space and hurled it at us. Mikaila told me to become— UNISON: —a Tricera-stega-tops— HULLABOO: —so I did, and she swung my tail at the comet, like a baseball bat. the warren undergraduate review | 29
BOOOOOM! The comet flew so far it got sucked in by a black hole. When we went to stop The Scowl though, he hid behind the moon, and when he shuts his rotten-tomato-slice eyes and concentrates on being grumpy, (Hullaboo closes his eyes tightly, and Mikaila shuffles back into her moping reality on the stairs) he goes as black as the bathroom with the door closed, so we couldn’t find him. HULLABOO: Today is Saturday. Saturdays should be fun days. Mikaila! Open the window! We should play a game! One day, when Mikaila was shorter than now, we saw a sparrow shake snow off our tree. She told us her name was Amy. UNISON: Amy Sparrow. HULLABOO: Every few days, she would fly to our window in the morning and sing to us. When winter melted, she stopped saying hi. Mikaila asked Dad, and he said that sparrows don’t live here in the spring; they migrate. HULLABOO: That night, Mikaila had a nightmare where two winged monkeys chased Amy Sparrow up into the sky, down dark alleyways to a dead end where the monkeys gobbled Amy Sparrow right up! (Hullaboo throws purple and green feathers from a pocket up into the air.) HULLABOO: I used to see Mikaila’s dreams like that. The next night, Mikaila asked me to— MIKAILA: —make sure Amy Sparrow is safe from The Scowl. HULLABOO: I take six minutes and forty-seven seconds to fly around the world, find Amy Sparrow, and get back. I try to be quicker every night, but Earth is a big place. Mikaila’d wait up and count her wall-clock until I came back through the open window. On Friday, she didn’t ask me to go look, but I went anyway. Six minutes and forty-seven seconds later, Mikaila’s window was closed. She just sat there, rap-i-tap-tapping. I’ve been stuck outside. Mikaila turns ten in six tomorrows. She says because she always remembers me being here, I must have the same birthday she does. One day, I asked why she rap-i-tap-tapped so much. That was when she still listened to me, back before The Scowl stole her. She said her— UNISON: —friends were/are more important than games. HULLABOO: We didn’t play a game that Tuesday. Or Wednesday. Or Thursday. She isn’t home like she used to be, and when she leaves, she closes the car door behind her so I can’t follow. I should make hands, shake them into claws, spin them into drills, break through the glass window and make The Scowl give her up. I’ll...I’ll tear him apart, scribble by scribble. I want to play a game with Mikaila The Magnificent! But he’s made it so she doesn’t want to play with me. The Scowl was easy to beat in games. Even when he was a storm of scribble ink, blowing grumpy gas across the playground, or a squatter in the pipes turning Dad’s water into angry potions, he was never a match for Mikaila The Magnificent, Wizardess Extraordinaire, and her trusty companion Hullaboo, The Amorphous Monster. Amorphous means I turn into stuff. Mikaila found the word in a thesaurus. (A car horn sound. Mikaila jumps up expectantly and dashes down the stairs and across the stage. Hullaboo jumps up happily and follows Mikaila to the edge of the stage.) HULLABOO: Mikaila The Magnificent! Where are we going today? (Mikaila leaves, stage right. Hullaboo “hits” and bounces off the edge of the stage.) HULLABOO: Mikaila? She used to take me to school with her, used to hold Mum’s car door open so I could get in behind her, sit down beside her. But now I’ve lost her to The Scowl. She isn’t having fun when she needs to, when she needs me. But I can’t beat this. Mikaila The Magnificent washed away the dirt-stink when The Scowl tarred the Yellow Brick Road. Mikaila The Magnificent climbed up Mount Forgetful when he made people forget the things Mikaila did for them. I can’t fight that. I’m just Hullaboo. Mikaila isn’t listening anymore. I didn’t protect her. She won’t be magnificent anymore. I...I can’t smell him. When The Scowl infects people, because that’s what he does, he infects, makes them smell as awful and rotten as he does, but I can’t smell you, and I didn’t smell you on Mikaila. But you’ve got to be here! I smell hairspray and hair, and flower-juice perfume, but no rot or dirt or washrooms after Dad or scribbles or grumpy or anything. Mikaila has been grumpy. Mikaila has been sad. When Mikaila’s sad and grumpy, it’s your fault, we make it your fault, and then we beat you back and Mikaila’s happy again. But you’re not here. I can’t smell you anywhere. Maybe you’re dead. Maybe there’s just Mikaila. Maybe she’s forgotten me—MIKAILA! the warren undergraduate review | 30
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MIKAILA! Mikaila...(He sits down and despondently rolls downstage, then squats in a fire hydrant pose.) HULLABOO: I’ll become a fire hydrant, here in the dark, and wait for dogs. (Mikaila crawls out and sits centre stage.) Mikaila used to be afraid of the dark. Dad would close the door, and she would crawl out of her covers (Hullaboo notices Mikaila, there, smack dab in centre stage, with disbelief. Mikaila looks miserable and scared, staring out at house centre, unaware of Hullaboo) and sit cross-legged on her bed in pink-and-blue polka-dot pajamas. She would sit there, breathe slow, and stare at the wall as she talked to me. (Hullaboo slowly, gingerly, reaches over and touches Mikaila on the shoulder, she reacts happily, and they joyfully hug.) HULLABOO: I would hug her like a soft-leather book cover, and then zoom around the room, and we’d talk about the Amazon River, the Inuit, and Oz-not-Australia. And then Mikaila wasn’t so afraid, because I was with her, bouncing off posters and ceiling stubble. She could just think, and I’d hear every detail, from the taste of bread crust pyramids, to the laugh of a diplodocus. And I’d fly above her bed, tuck her into her covers, and (Mikaila lies down and watches Hullaboo) poof myself into ninety-seven purple-and-green poppies and (Mikaila sleeps) magic her to sleep. I stayed awake, of course. I’d swim in through her ears and hide behind her eyes and watch every Magnificent dream, (Mikaila gets up, and backs away, uncomfortable and regretful) all so much more wonderful than I. Mikaila The Magnificent could talk to dragons but was still afraid of the dark. Today is dark. Tonight. Mikaila was right to be afraid. UNISON: Adults and older kids go outside when it’s dark so they can hide and have secrets. (Mikaila exits.) HULLABOO: I’m a secret now, and the cement is cold. I’ll sit here until I disappear, disappear just like The Scowl. I’ll fade and feel faint and feel empty of emptiness, until I’m nothing but nothing but nothing. (Mikaila enters, stage right. She is disoriented and distraught over what happened beyond the stage. Hullaboo confronts her as she walks past.) HULLABOO: Back so soon? Forgot something? (Mikaila makes her way up her stairs back to her moping sitting position.) Well you’re too late, Mikaila. In six minutes and forty-seven seconds, I’ll disappear into the air and get carried away to every end of the world, to the mountains, the jungles and to the penguin-snow fields; no, to space; I will be spat into space as so many different puddles I can’t ever be splashed together again. Mikaila? The Scowl’s gone! Isn’t that great? Do you want to know where I went? I’m here! Right here! Open the window and say “Hullaboo, I’m sorry I took so long.” I’ll forgive you. Let me in. Let me hear you dream again—we can make this better, Mikaila. We can bring back The Scowl and play a game. Remember, when you were mad, how the doors in the hallway became portals, and sometimes they’d lead to Oz-not-Australia, or Australia itself, and a kangaroo would poke its head out and say “G’day.” (Mikaila walks down the stairs and moves to stage right.) Come on, Mikaila. Let me in. (Mikaila stops, but still faces away from Hullaboo.) We just need a game. I’ll be a horse-of-a-different-colour, and you can be Magnificent again. (Mikaila turns to him and reaches out her hands.) Mikaila...say something to me...(Hullaboo lightly holds her hands.) It’s... It’s not fun anymore. (Hullaboo lets go and steps away. He waves meekly to Mikaila, who waves back, and then Hullaboo exits the stage. Lights down.)
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Vincent Colistro UlaanBaatar “Even foul water will quench fire.” —Mongolian proverb Dust shimmers over Peace Avenue. City dogs ply the street in a pack, glaring at you. The sun is a honeysuckle, bloodclay, pouring over the high cheekbones, heavy chins; beating on the spindled milkbags; gathering yellow on the steel face of Chinggis Khan. The sun gets in your thoughts. You feel as though you’ve sleepwalked to this place, stomping a path from Moscow to Malaysia and here in the centre of it, the heat, you droop and turn unkempt. There are lean men selling cigarettes and tissues out of an old box, and your sympathy starts out for them but lands on the gritty concrete because they don’t care enough to receive it. The dust gets in your thoughts. It chokes up the gears, makes you wild for horsemeat and butter, makes you miss the rain. **** The nomads had a ritual for their dead: shroud the body and take it to the nearest peak, then move on. It’s a ritual that Mongolians still uphold, and the hills that gird the city are teeming with bodies. A femur lies jilted on the sidewalk of Peace Avenue; feet away, a cleft pelvis, scraps of red still corded to it. A rascal dog has brought them into the city from the surrounding hills. He smiles at you. Life is always clayed by death. **** That’s what you’re dealing with, nightfall. You’re drunk. In a city of nomads, kicking dust around in a bowl, hungry for another place. Everything is an iteration of the body without its skin. There is a riot happening in Sükhbaatar Square, the sky flensed and bleeding dusk over the angry shuffle of faces. You kick a pile of flint on the ground: your contribution to the chaos. There are burning cars; there are angry amber spirits not suitably shrouded; there are flags waving hot air. You cull what you can from a garbled report on a shopkeep’s television—a disputed election involving the People’s Revolutionary Party. There is no sense getting involved, nor any tact gained in sobering up, so you take to the streets with your white friends and look for a good white time. The fire gets in your movements. It makes you quaver in a shiver of light, makes you wild for a stick to shake. The men in the street are all charged with something red. It’s in their cheeks and in their looks of purpose. It reminds you of an old Mongol saying that you just made up: “If it will not rain rain, then make it rain something.” The two Brits you’re with seem like they have their heads on straight. They lead you past the wet shale shacks, where men with no teeth play board games, past the rubbed garnet glow of distant blazes, hysterical dogs, past the only neon sign, flaunting “chicken and beer,” and down, down, down **** to the underground. Passing through the threshold at the Marco Polo Club, like ducking underwater in a shipwreck clamor, the riot muffles and becomes unreal. You follow the Brits down the the warren undergraduate review | 32
stairs past the bouncer, who looks like a John Wayne stand-in, and wade through a thicket of fake palm leaves. In the terseness of the neons, nude Mongol women pass you on either side, smiling at you. You order a Chinggis beer, lay down your 2,000 tögrög note, wonder whether the bartender supports the revolutionary party, if he’d rather be outside and burning red. You tell him he can keep the change. There are more whites here than you’ve seen in a long time—most of them pasted to a wall, covered by the body of a stripper. You begin to question the Brits’ ability to think straight. They are giggling. Somewhere outside, a man is being burned in the frenzy of a torched building. A woman dances on you. She smells like potatoes and perfume. A man outside loses his teeth, and all the silver that was in his mouth. You smile at her, unnerved, and she moves on. A dog dies. **** The following days are tough and dry. Dust-dry, and alcohol has been outlawed following the upheaval. When the rain comes at last, you follow the crowd rushing for cover under the awnings of the parliament buildings. People cram next to one another, talking to strangers, laughing at the children who play in the puddles. The dogs wrestle in the square, nipping at each other’s hinds, rolling in the wet-hot gravel. Soon there will be green flecks of grass dotted along the steppes surrounding the city, and the cattle will grow their summer fat. You rustle the water from your hair, check to see that your train ticket is still dry. You move on.
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Contributors Marc Junker is a graphic designer and cartoonist. He sometimes goes to UVic to study things like visual arts. Zak Zawaduk has studied English, philosophy, social work, Russian language and history. He also builds his own furniture. Andrea Churchill Wong is a distance education student living in Toronto. She is currently completing her final electives before graduating from the English Honours program. Colin Fulton is a fourth-year Creative Writing and Environmental Studies student with a minor in Philosophy. Jessica Clark is originally from Calgary, where she attended Mount Royal University. She transferred to UVic to pursue English and Creative Writing. Maia Wasowski is a sixth-year student with a BFA in Writing and a nearly complete BA in Psychology. Jesse Cowell is a fourth-year Theatre and Writing double major. Heike Lettrari is a fourth-year Creative Writing and Environmental Studies double major with a passion for most things outdoors and many things on-page. Kade Krokosinski is a poet and photographer from Calgary. Maria Konstantinov is a fourth-year Visual Arts student interested in conceptual art, theory and aesthetics, and new genres of work making. Alana Cook is a first-year Creative Writing student minoring in Journalism and Religious Studies. She enjoys writing poetry, articles, and short fiction. Arthur Hain is a fourth-year English and Film Studies student. Vanessa Stofer is a fourth-year Writing student majoring in fiction. Ottilie Short is a Humanities and Visual Arts student at the University of Victoria. Elizah Rosewylder is a sixty-year-old student in the Department of Writing. Andrew Wade is an actor and playwright currently pursuing concurrent BFA and BA degrees. Vincent Colistro is a Writing and English double major who believes in working for his drink.
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