Richard Luftig Alex McGaughan Jae Newman Joey Nicoletti James Proffitt Evan Retzer Daniela Riofrio Brandon S. Roy Dan Ruhrmanty Francesca Sharkey G. Tod Slone Mary Walton Matt Wesson Aaron Wiegert Christopher Woods Jason Vega
Tulane Review Spring 2010
Geoffrey Aronson Christopher Barnes Patricia Bollin BORSHCH Brian Brown Lance Calabrese Rosa Maria DelVecchio Richard Dinges, Jr. Michael Filimowicz Mike Giangrasso David Issod Jason Joyce Monica Koenig Philip Kopel Edward Lee Roz Leibowitz
Tulane Review Spring 2010
Cover art: Nocturna Chroma #37. Geoffrey Aronson. Photography, 15.5” x 15.5”. Tulane Review is a literary and art journal published biannually by the Tulane Literary Society. Submissions are judged by review boards in an anonymous selection process, and final choices are made by the respective editors. Submission information can be found on the last page, or online at www.tulane.edu/~litsoc. Funding for Tulane Review comes from the Tulane University Associated Student Body and the Tulane Literary Society. The works published in this magazine are not the expressed views of the Tulane Literary Society, Tulane University, or its Board of Administrators. Copyright ©2010 by the Tulane Literary Society. The Tulane Literary Society reserves the right to reprint the journal in part or in its entirety for publicity on the web and in print. All other rights revert to the author or artist at the time of publication. Tulane Review acquires first American serial rights. In keeping with Tulane University’s commitment to protect the environment, this magazine has been printed on paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council for environmentally-friendly logging practices. Tulane Review was printed by Mele Printing.
Tulane Review Spring 2010
Editors in Chief Poetry Editors Prose Editor Art Editor Layout Editor Production Assistant Literary Society President Student Media Adviser
Micah Bluming and Natalie Gotter Katie Weaver and Abi Pollokoff Natalie Gotter ZoĂŠ Belden Stephanie Ainbinder Walton V. Clark Anessa Keifer Tel FranĂ§ois Bailliet
Contents Poetry Passage to America Rosa Maria DelVecchio Blackberries Patricia Bollin
Hives Jae Newman
Complex Daddy Mary Walton
Hikers Stranded on a Mountain Philip Kopel
Population Jason Joyce
Public Transit Monica Koenig
Bait Alex McGaughan
John 3:16 Revised Brandon S. Roy
sunburn Mike Giangrasso
Cinco de Mayo and a drunken memory of a hilly hamlet with a harbor Jason Vega
Weekly Trash Richard Dinges, Jr.
Chiaroscuro Richard Luftig
The Watch Dog Aaron Wiegert
Above Strings Lance Calabrese
â€˜tis the season Christopher Barnes
Three Koans Richard Luftig
Knapsack Moon Joey Nicoletti
Prose Working With Meat Evan Betzer
Stun Gun G. Tod Slone
I Will Wait For You in Baton Rouge Edward Lee
Art and Photography Allegiance David Issod
Dance Party Daniela Riofrio
Betrothal of Virgins BORSHCH
Kino Cosmo Michael Filimowicz
Trailer Door with Light James Proffit
Sonnyâ€™s Beach James Proffitt
Cage Dan Ruhrmanty
The Church of Ice Cream Christopher Woods
Midway Kitchen Christopher Woods
Black Forest Roz Leibowitz
Boring Matt Wesson
Fort Pulaski, Interior for a Video Gram 1 Michael Filimowicz
Uprooted Brian Brown
White Sleep Francesca Sharkey
Passage to America Rosa Maria DelVecchio
Rock hard Romano cheese in hand Bursitis in her upper right arm Our sleepyheads rest on fresh linen To the lulling roars of grating Breaks of metal tapping in between Signal the end of each round Â Christopher Columbus was booked She didnâ€™t want to wait any longer Says it was ten days vomiting On the Andrea Doria Brought her to my Papa So she could change our wet sheets
Blackberries Patricia Bollin
That day you asked me to pick blackberries with you, I watched to see how many you ate, how many went for the bucket, then did the same. We ended full. Tonight I head out back, (alone, long-sleeved) to trim my neighbor’s blackberry fingers that reach across the fence onto my shed. Skeleton vines crack under my boots, then bounce up, poke and stick to my pants. I drag the ladder over to reach the roof, put on my gloves, hoist clippers and climb. The roof’s a platter: rich plump bundles twinkle at the low sun. Thorns abound. It’s all temptation. As buds explode just past my lips, I don’t care if it’s blood or berry stains on my fingers. I know to eat the bounty, cut the vine.
15.363” x 10.029”
Jae Newman Because sometime in April, you reached for a phone. Because I spent six weeks in your shadow. Because you sang to me, but made no promises. Because you carried me, one morning, on an empty bus. Because you wouldnâ€™t look at me. Because when the doors opened you burst into tears. Because I was an infant and you were my mother. Because you told everyone to go to hell. Because you already knew hell was a kingdom, too, and
also hid within. Because my name was nothing: baby. Because I continue to daydream and canâ€™t be trusted on the road. Because you said things I never understood. Because my dependence on English is as good as I can do. Because I expect that much of you. Because I am a father now. Because you are a grandmother. Because time zones, words, and doors, couldnâ€™t contain me. Because this is fiction. Because I am non-fiction, a black blanket stretched overhead, a set of twenty questions, stars I whittled down to one.
Complex Daddy Mary Walton
Doc, look, heâ€™s got his shirt on inside out and on backwards again. Can I call you tomorrow, if itâ€™s upside down? What do you make of it, the way he stands at the end of the driveway, waiting for me to come home while I watch from the porch? I made a note here: Summer, fainted for the first time, listening to Daddy describe the dissolution of society. Came to in car.
What a fascination facial expression he wore as I waved goodbye. I didn’t make a note of it then, but as I now recall, it was sad. I can’t say specifically, just that it was somewhere between the sound of his voice asking where she was and the sound of mine saying I didn’t know. What do you make of it, the way he keeps calling up into the empty branches of the tree I climbed down from, to make our afternoon appointment?
Dance Party Daniela Riofrio
Acrylic on canvas 24” x 36”
Working With Meat Evan Retzer
achel was a slightly overweight woman with wisps of hair on her upper lip that shone in the overhead light like some cruel warning: Abandon all hope ye who enter here! As I watched her congealed meathook arms dive with purpose into the oblivion nowhere coleslaw mix, gloveless, the little cells of greased flesh quivering, I felt only revulsion. Rachel told me to process an order of fifty pig snouts for the elderly Church woman in a black shawl. I knew this was where I was going to be for the rest of my life. Sometimes you wake up in the morning with callouses on your hands, and realize your teeth are falling out. You have a coffee and a cigarette. On the morning of Jan. 1st, the afternoon wind blew outside uncaring when I woke up, and I stepped out on the porch and yawned at my rat’s nest of a yard. Over the fence and across the street I could see the Chicken Shack with its yellow and red plastic sign, the bums and hobo ethereals lined up around it outside buying chicken for a dollar or begging spare change from the whites and Asians. I would walk down to the chicken store on an average day and beg spare change from the poor blacks. Just to fuck with them. I could recite every word of Dante’s The Inferno from memory, and I worked in a meat market. At the meat market, you worked for twelve hours straight seven to seven, one fifteen minute lunch break, snuffed Rooster with your back turned to the boss man at high noon and came home in the carbon monoxide musk of evening, your eyes stinging and red from the bleach they use to mop the stains of blood from the tiled apathist floor, slept then until tomorrow. Sara was mourning the birth of our first child. It was a beautifully bright baby that cried through the night, through our haze of pot smoke and endless desperation. She didn’t know what to do with it, but she clung to it as it cried, and later she clung to a bottle of Jack as it slept in dreamless dreams and I gone in another world of dreamless raw meat. As night waned into early morning we huddled around the jagged glass of a broken crack rose, sharing rocks, and walked ten blocks down to the supermarket to steal soy milk and cheese under a blanket in the
bottom of our child’s stroller. Sara was pretty, but she had these dark circles under her eyes like death– One time I was climbing a ladder and noticed a little warning label that said: Failure to follow instruction may result in injury or death. I should have listened to the ladder. Ah, the late-greats, the too-lates. Today I spit out the little chunk of my tooth that had fallen off and tried to wake up Sara. Her middle name was Isadora after Isadora Duncan, and as she slept I pondered that she lived up to the name every bit: my blanket strewn about her carelessly, she slept in Zen coma, strangled by her affectations and affections. She was, as always, someone who would prefer to remain asleep forever, I am the samsara vulture come to wake her up eternally for our walks and carnal play. Today the sky was grey, streaked with the yellow of the sun like drying piss on the blanket skies, the chilly wind of purgatory, and we walked to steal fine bree and bread to feed ourselves. Everything was falling apart around us (we held hands) and what we both knew we needed was a fix. We knew this and kept silent. My I-Ching for the day was the Kieh Hexagram. That means there will be progress and attainment. The clause in my I-Ching was that all attainment can be only short lived, and nothing accomplished in the day of the Kieh Hexagram, supposedly, can be permanent. According to the lines in my book on the I-Ching, I am to look out for a Minister, who will remedy from me the evil of “dispersion.” When we found him, I thought the blue veins behind his dark skin were lit up with the aura of a saint. The saint’s name was Mark, he said. He had 30 mg Oxycontin and an assorted bag of other blue and green pills. Let me add a clause in here: when you live on Moreland Ave., just about everyone exists to rip you off. When you walk to the store to buy fucking eggs at least five grungy little capitalists will approach and offer you dime bags of crack cocaine. If you give them your money what you get in return, wrapped in plastic, are crumbled up pieces of a bar of soap. Or they take your money and have to walk down to their buddy’s place in the brick wall slums to get it; they spend all night smoking up your money down there and when you see them again they pretend like they’ve never met you. Or the next thing you know they’re knocking on your door at four in the morning asking for CDs to pawn. This is why Mark must have been some kind of saint or angel. The pills were real, and tasted to Sara and I like the sweetest salvation– I walked into an AA meeting once and they told me I was an alcoholic. I told them I didn’t drink, that I was just really strung out on pills. The guy next to me, an older grungy sort from the recesses of addled suburbia, nudged me in the ribs and spoke under his breath,
“Just say you’re an alcoholic. That’s what they want to fucking hear.” “Ok, then, I’m an alcoholic.” The group leader was impassive, with raised eyebrows and breath that sounded profane over his tinny microphone. “Would you like to tell us your story?” “Um, no thanks. Maybe some other time.” I walked into an AA meeting and they told me only God could cure me. I always thought that God was dead. The whole thing felt a bit religious, anyway– I walked into an AA meeting and they enthusiastically clapped and told me I was powerless. I was powerless, anyway, to stop their smug sense of self help. God grant me the serenity to accept the drugs I cannot toke, the courage to shoot the drugs I can, and the wisdom to keep my mouth shut. I walked into an AA meeting and they told me God can be a dirty sock, if I wanted. What is the point of fucking doing anything if my will is powerless before a dirty sock? Working with meat is like manhandling a rape victim. We sell beat up, bruised things that in days will be rotten, discarded corpses in the garbage cans of the world. We cut off extremities and cover them in our sour juices. We curse at them. We keep them locked up in a meat freezer to guarantee freshness. The meat is angry, yelling at us to hurry up and die, to continue the cycle of life, the wheel of rebirth ending with hopeless humanity made more useless because NOBODY EATS IT. Ed Gein, eat your heart out. Or shrink my head for decoration. Something. We sold angry Hindu cows at two dollars a pound. They were spoiled. I walked into an AA meeting and told them my problem was working with meat. From the right perspective, we are all bought and sold by the pound. Sara was a decaying bag of meat. She’s shrinking by the day and I am stealing bloody legs in my cargo pocket every night to feed her, and the baby is crying with the realization that this is all there will ever be, our dreams, only illusions induced by toxic amounts of bleach, and I try to comfort it but the blood stains its sheets, it cries of the dead things– To forget all this I’ve tried everything: Spontaneous sexual affairs with ugly women, orgies, The Daughters of the American Revolution, Nazism, Leftism, Rightism, Alcoholism, Alcoholics Anonymous, faux realism, visceral existentialism, voyeurism, anarchy, order, loving hatred and hateful love, needles and razor blades, agoraphobia, claustrophobia, catatonic dysphasia, pleasure seeking, asceticism, Descartean Nietzcheism, philosophy is dead, meat! Saints and Beggars! The sinful rich and the pious thieves! Bleach! Memories like roses in the house of the dead, unable to breathe. Spring 2010
Betrothal of the Virgins BORSHCH
Inkjet print 25” x 20”
Hikers Stranded on a Mountain Philip Kopel
Frostbite black fingers fumble buttons, bloodless hands struggle with zippers, arms which no longer feel fight off sweaters and jackets: marionettes to half frozen brains long since delirious with cold. Middle aged men frolic like failed nymphs, stripped to skin, starved to bone, hypothermic. They bathe in the snow, tossing broken radios like garlands, girl-giggling while frost ices their short black belly hairs. Death the satyr darts among them around the torn tent and clothing pile, slapping a beat on his tambourine.
Population Jason Joyce
A toothy smile like the yellowing sign of the dated Dairy Queen, plaque bits collecting around the base killing the grass, the marquee proposes something profound twisted words from the sale some summers ago You were wearing that same top the day the cat died on our bed curled up in the clean laundry light little head fighting to surface, a child in the car without a pillow, a great battle we missed while we watched Americaâ€™s Funniest Home Videos like green and gray toy soldiers tossed in the Tinkertoy tin
The same top the day the furniture joined our conversation, I had not meant to say you were replaceable, sea legs of anger poor aim Fireworks bought in the next state A gunfight on the only road we had A letter to you mother, We are learning to settle
Public Transit Monica Koenig
picking him up at 26th street he sits close and as strangers we settle into each other situating our shoulders together like we were falling asleep in our bed. i pretend to read. he smells my hair, pretending not to.
14” x 9”
Alex McGaughan We only have one piece of bread so the first fish will be bait for the rest. The hook, a ball of pinched Wonder pressed hard so it won’t dissolve under water, dirty bent filament tied to a stick— Huckleberry wholesome. It won’t come off the hook and you don’t know how to stop it’s gasping and flopping in the grass; not bait. The wet, cartilaginous crunch of hook, cheek and jawbone made you wince. I saw it. The cruelly dull pocketknife chewed through you, the minnow, bait I cut in the years between you and me.
John 3:16 Revised Brandon S. Roy
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that drove a wedge into their already strained relationship.
Trailer Door with Light James Proffitt
10.03” x 6.67”
10.03” x 6.67”
Photo and digital painting
12” x 9”
Stun Gun G.Tod Slone
here weren’t any long stories on the planet. They were all short stories. Routine turned you either into a functionary or a recusant. Harbard, the other language professor, taught Spanish and was in his 60s, portly, balding, and short. His blond hair had not grayed. Perhaps he was dying it. His office was located next to mine. —Did you put those egg yolks in my garbage pail? —The bucket was in the hallway outside your door and full, so I didn’t think you’d mind. Is that what we’re supposed to do to get the garbage emptied? —Yes, I guess so, but then everyone will throw their garbage into it just like you did with mine. —Do you want me to take the yolks out? I don’t care. I’ll do it if you want. —What do you mean? —The egg yolks. —Oh, yeah. Did you read this memo? —No, not yet. —Well, they’re getting cheap as hell around here! We were supposed to get a twopercent salary increase this year and now we’re getting nothing. You don’t have to worry because you weren’t getting one anyhow. Only those who’d been at Bethel for three years were supposed to get one. Here, listen to this: “As a reminder college stationary is only to be used outside the college. If you send professional correspondence to the outside community please use the college stationary, it comes with the letterhead new logo, second sheet and envelop. Any other college community memos may use the letterhead copy to save the expensive paper. Remember do not send in-house correspondence on the college stationary, it is for outside purposes only.” —That all sounds a bit complicated to me. I don’t even have any letterhead. When I asked the secretary for some, she only gave me two sheets… and was grumpy as hell.
Harbard often stood in front of my office, talking or complaining about something or other. He was a right-wing libertarian, fanatical in his criticism of liberals. I liked him. He was quite refreshingly congenial and honest for a lifer academic. Sure, he was right wing, but I’d take him over a dozen indoctrinated lefties any day. He spoke frankly. Sometimes I didn’t agree with him. But he was one of the frankest professors I’d ever known. While he jabbered, I read and answered my emails on the computer screen. My mother was 84 and email proficient. She wrote: “Better start sucking up, eh? Show how great a teacher you really are. I believe. Mom.” I wrote back: “I don’t suck up!” When Harbard finally retired to his burrow next door, I walked down the hallway. On the way to the toilette, I caught the Chair by surprise. —Good morning! She was a nicotine addict and suddenly jerked her head upwards looking quite guiltily at me, while simultaneously hiding her lit cigarette under the desk. She was about 60, tall and lanky with an odd, gray, Dutch-boy hairdo. She was waiting for Godot like the rest of my new colleagues. —Good morning, Dr. Cusantre. —Oh, you don’t have to hide that. I don’t care; besides, you’re the boss. I wasn’t waiting for anything or anyone, Godot included. I hadn’t even asked if there was tenure at Bethel. The less I knew, the better I seemed to feel. I walked back to my office. Then Harbard reminded me of convocation, so we walked across campus together over to the chapel, where students in white dresses marched in procession to the solemnity of 20 minutes of organ grinding. Then everyone—well, except me—sung “Lift Every Voice and Chant.” Then everyone sat down. Then a prayer was delivered. Then the “Ceremony of Matriculation” was declared and the President gave a windy speech. She was Muslim and talked her idea of God, while the minister seated across the stage was Methodist and sneered rather conspicuously. Evidently, a conflict of faith lay sizzling on the stage. —Everything that’s in the past will remain in the past if we release the past. So we should all contemplate our past and try to let it go so we might pave a new, promising future. Otherwise, when our minds and souls remain anchored in the past, our futures also tend to remain anchored there. The audience of faculty and students applauded enthusiastically. The air conditioning in the chapel was broken. Everyone sweated profusely. Harbard whispered to me: “It’s so hot in here. I think one of the students will drop. That’s a Southernism, you know?” Harbard and I would end up sitting together during such get-togethers for two long years, discretely
commenting and joking. I whispered back: “What is?” “In the south, women like to faint.” “Oh, I didn’t know. You mean like Gone with the Wind?” “Precisely! That and they’re all so goddamn fat!” “I’ve wondered why nobody says anything about it? Somebody ought to say something. I’ve got hugely obese students wearing belly shirts, some with pierced belly buttons and tongues. They can hardly fit into the chairs.” The president continued. —We are going to transform Bethel into a first-tier college! Have no doubts about that! When people think of Harvard or Yale or Princeton, they will also think of Bethel! The audience applauded vigorously. Harbard whispered again: “Yeah, sure. This place is way out there on the fringes, and I’ve taught at some pretty bad places.” The president continued. —We must make and carry out the following resolutions. Our first resolution will be fundraising. We must seek funding so that our programs will not be hindered by lack of funding. Our second resolution will be image enhancement. We will need an army of volunteers to paint our buildings, landscape our grounds and keep the lawns mowed regularly… When it was over, Harbard and I were amongst the first to exit the chapel. We both walked briskly towards the parking lot and our respective vehicles. The next day, Harbard walked into my office to announce he had only one student in one of his classes and the Chair had ordered him to cancel the class and take half of one of my over-enrolled classes. Of course, I was delighted. —Henry, have you read this thing on building leaders? —No. Why? —They come out with some of the wildest shit around here. Listen to this: “Students do not become leaders just like that. Only with the personal care, esteem building, nurturing and training provided at Bethel College can our students develop into real professional leaders, including politicians and why not college presidents. In this way they will be prepared to shape the future. With 25 registered clubs and organizations, they’ve got plenty of joining to do, plenty of opportunities to develop their leadership skills. In collaboration with Bethel College Women’s Leadership Academy, real Leadership Development Training is provided to student officers of clubs and other organizations so they will be more fit to lead. Etiquette is important of course, professional demeanor and clothing are too, and we couple it with correct parliamentary procedure, four-year plans, and hands-on budget workshops. So, Bethel students really do receive the necessary training to assume real leadership positions upon
graduating.” —Well, it sounds damn funny and damn tragic. That state college where I used to teach also had a Leadership Academy. Suddenly every college in the country has a Leadership Academy. When I went to college they never had such things. —The only goddamn leadership most of our students are going to do is leadership in donut eating or some fool thing like that. They can barely read let alone lead. Sandy Glen is on the Board of Directors. —I thought she was run out of this place by students last year for stealing the place blind. —Well, she was. She was the biggest scandal to hit Bethel in its 150 year history. —So what is she doing on the Board of Directors? —Well, for one thing, she’s still got a lot of friends around here. She paid them off with perks and bloated salaries, stolen from federal monies that should have gone to students. Later, Harbard appeared standing by the doorway of my Spanish 101 class, where I was already mandating the split, holding up my little blue role book, getting rid of the worst and grumpiest of the bunch. It was revenge time. Chaos and panic ensued. —WE DON’T WANT TO TAKE HIM! —I’M NOT TAKING THAT GUY! —HE DON’T TEACH LIKE YOU, DR. CUSANTRE! WE LEARN WITH YOU! —YEAH, HE’S BORING! —BUT I SIGNED UP FOR YOUR CLASS, NOT HIS! IF I HAVE TO TAKE HIM, I’M GOING TO DROP THE CLASS ALL TOGETHER! Harbard evidently had a terrible reputation at the college. He’d make students read seven full textbook chapters of basic Spanish each semester. Students didn’t like him because he was too hard… or so he’d said. Downtrodden and resigned, students eventually walked slowly out the door, one by one, following Harbard to their new classroom across the hallway. I stood my ground against the pit-bull protesters. Later in the office, I was in the midst of peeling a hardboiled egg—Harbard standing in the doorway delivering a mini-lecture on the evils of socialist humanism—when a boisterous female called on the phone. —DR. CUSANTRE, YOU APPARENTLY DIVIDED UP YOUR CLASS TODAY. MY ADVISEE DOES NOT LIKE THE NEW SITUATION AT ALL. SHE’S A SENIOR AND MUST PASS SPANISH. SHE HAS ISSUES WITH DR. HARBARD AND WOULD LIKE TO BE BACK IN YOUR CLASS, THE ORIGINAL CLASS SHE SIGNED UP FOR.
—Uh, well, I’m afraid if I let her back, then there’ll be a landslide of others wanting the same. —THAT’S NOT MY CONCERN AT ALL. WE HAVE A SENIOR HERE WHO MUST GRADUATE AND SHE NEEDS SPANISH TO DO THAT. —I understand but you have to also try to understand my predicament. The class is much too large. —YES, JUST THE SAME, WE HAVE A SPECIAL CASE HERE, ONE THAT MUST BE RESOLVED. TONYA HAS ISSUES WITH DR. TERBOR, uh, HARBARD! Evidently, the advisor did not intend hanging up until she got what she wanted. I wanted to eat my egg. —Okay, okay. I’ll do it, but let’s keep it quiet. Can we keep it quiet? Can you tell the student not to say anything? —SHE’S RIGHT HERE NOW. I’M GOING TO SEND HER DOWN TO YOUR OFFICE RIGHT NOW TO GET THE WORK SHE MISSED TODAY AND THEN YOU CAN TELL HER. The woman hung up. Harbard queried. —Who was that? —Damn if I know. What a loud freaken voice! —Oh, I know who it was. That was Kissinger-Kanter. —Well, who ever the hell it was, I gave in just to get her out of my face. —Yeah, that’s who that was. I could hear the voice. She’s the daughter of one of the state’s most well-known lawyers. Well, he’s dead now. So, what did she want? —She was complaining about the split class and wanted her advisee back into my class. She said she had issues with you, whatever the hell that means. —Well, that means, I’m too hard. That’s all. And you’re probably easy. Your predecessors were all too damn easy. Torrelli only used to assign three chapters per semester! They loved him! And Gonzales had a terrible attendance record. They loved him too. He was touchy feely with them. And who wouldn’t love him? He never came to class, for chrissakes! They think you’re easy, Henry. That’s why they want to take you. So, what did you do? —Well, I gave in like I said. What else could I do? She’d still be on the phone or be heading down here to holler at me. Harbard laughed, then continued his anti-socialist lecture. The phone rang again. —Did you drop Timaya Smith from your Spanish 101 class, Dr. Cusantre? —Yes, I dropped her. I warned her if she missed more classes, I’d be dropping her. The
few times she’s been in class, she’s been late and disruptive. —But why did you drop her? —Well, I just told you. Because she’s already had over the permitted number of absences, and she’s really been disruptive and immature in class, constantly, much more than the norm, which is already pretty bad. —Did you count the excused absences? —Excused or not, she’s missed two weeks of classes and she’s due to miss another one this week. The Dean sent out a memo mentioning Timaya would have to appear in court. —Yes, I know about that. But she has had her problems and you must know the mission of Bethel is to help our young students cope as best as we can. —Well, Timaya isn’t really that young, is she? —No, she’s not, but her family life has not been an easy one. The next day, Timaya popped into class 20 minutes late with a big fuck you grin as in I told you I’d be back in your class. —Timaya, you’re not in the class anymore, so I won’t be calling on you. She didn’t respond, looked high on coke or something. She sat down and started whistling. —Timaya, we can’t have whistling in class. It disrupts things. —I’M NOT WHISTLING! I WANT MY PAPER BACK ON MEXICO! —You’re going to have to get a note from the Dean because you’ve been dropped from class. —I DON’T HAVE TO GET A NOTE FROM NOBODY! —Well, as far as I’m concerned you’re not here… even if you are here. —WHAT IS HE ON? I DON’T NEED THIS SHIT! I’M LEAVING… I’LL BE BACK TOMORROW! YOU’LL SEE, MISTER! I’M GOING TO GO DOWN TO SEE PRESIDENT THOMAS AND TELL HER JUST WHAT YOU SAID. YOU’RE GOING TO LOSE YOUR JOB, YOU’LL SEE! —Whatever, but you’ll have to show me a letter or have the President get in touch with me. —I HAVE A LETTER! She walked up to me and threw a letter on the desk. I looked at it, but it was simply a letter excusing her because of the court appearance. —Sorry, that’s not what I mean. She walked out the door, but didn’t slam it. After class, I bumped into Beth Droppsy,
one of the Institutional Effectiveness manager/professors. —How’s everything going, Henry? —Not bad. Well, I’ve got this manic-depressive in class who whistles and just makes a lot of noise. —Henry, I’d report it to Health Services to cover your ass. —Yeah, maybe I’ll do that. But then I wondered how much time that would take, filling out papers, attending meetings, etc. I mentioned it to Harbard back at the office. —I’ve got this student, it’s like having a boxing match every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Then she suddenly disappears for two weeks, so I dropped her. I really have to keep my eye on her because I’m afraid she might suddenly lunge at me with a knife or something. Harbard immediately pulled out a catalogue from his desk drawer, opened it to a page where they were selling stun guns for under $200. —This one would be pretty effective, Henry. But it’s a little expensive. I’d buy this one here. It’s half the price and it will stock a person on their ass. —Maybe I should just bring in a knife. She’s a big woman. —They’re all big women around here. —Well, this one’s always dressed like a cheap hooker. I don’t trust her. —Then take this catalogue and buy yourself a stun gun. I’ve got one. —No shit! —Yes, and I bring the damn thing to class everyday. I’d much rather victimize than be a victim. Harbard pulled out his stun gun and showed me how it worked. —Well, you’re the first professor I’ve seen with one of those. How do we get such grossly immature students? I mean some of them really get pissed off because they just can’t do the damn work. —Yeah, and they take it out on you. It’s beyond them. A lot of them don’t have the mental capacity. What if she doesn’t lunge with a knife, but comes in with a gun? A knife wouldn’t do much good against that. No, if I were you, I’d buy one of these stun guns. Look, here’s one for $150. You can deduct the cost on your taxes. I do. —Yeah, well, I’ll look through it. Thanks for the advice. —Don’t procrastinate! —Well, I have to head over to Marie Scott’s. She’s supposed to get me connected to
the Internet. —How did you ever get in touch with her? —It wasn’t easy. —Be prepared. She’s probably the most irascible employee on campus. At Scott’s office I knocked and knocked and knocked. Nobody answered. Yet I’d just called her up and she’d told me to come by with my laptop. I’d been trying to reach her for several days. She rarely picked up the phone. I’d told her I’d be there immediately. And immediately I’d raced across campus with the laptop. I knocked and knocked again, then asked one of the women in the adjacent Health Services office whether or not Marie Scott had left. The woman chuckled. —Well, she doesn’t answer her door a lot of times. She led me out to the rear parking lot to check for Scott’s car. —Well, that’s her car right there! She obviously didn’t leave. She never goes anywhere without her car. Not even across campus. Maybe you should knock again. I knocked and knocked and knocked. Then the woman knocked and knocked and knocked. —Would you like to leave a note? —Sure. The woman led me back into Health Services, where she handed me a piece of paper and pencil. I wrote a brief note, thanked her, walked back to Scott’s and slipped it under the crack. As I was leaving, the door slowly opened. Scott appeared, drowsy, overweight, and mean-faced. She picked up the note, glanced at it, and scowled. —WELL, COME IN! The office was dark with the shades drawn. A small desk lamp cast a dull light. —SO, WHAT’S THE PROBLEM? —Well, uh, here’s the computer. I tried everything and still can’t get on the Internet. Damn, I forgot to bring the wire for it. —YOU MEAN CABLE! Well, no need to battle with harpies. I bit the ole tongue and let the laconic bitch bitch. Apparently, she’d been snoozing on the large black couch in the back of the room. —TURN IT ON! The office was in total disarray. I booted up the laptop, while she hunted for a cable. She looked under a mess of computer programs, then in a box of wires, under books, until
finally locating a cable in a pile of tangled wires. She fiddled with the laptop, seemed to calm down a bit and even warm up a tad. —That should do it. When you’re at home, you might have to change the settings back: Go to control panel, Internet options, then connections, LAN settings and uncheck user proxy server. Call if there’s a problem, but when you do, tell me who you are cause ‘I’ HAS NO MEANING! —Sounds good. Thank you. I left the harpy, walked back across campus to my office, booted up again and tried to get on the Internet, but was still unable. I called Scott. The phone rang and rang. I hung up and tried again. The phone rang and rang. I gave up. The Adjunct popped out of her office and greeted me. —Hi, Professor Cusantre. I wanted to ask you how Nica’s doing. I’m her advisor. —Well, she doesn’t have the basics, and I mean the basic-basic basics. She got an F on the last test. She might be seeing a tutor but it’s not helping at all. She can’t even answer: ¿Cómo te llamas? A voice from the Adjunct’s office suddenly bellowed, then appeared next to the Adjunct. —I CAN TOO! I CAN TOO! I CAN TOO! ME LLAMER, NICA!” —Well, uh, guess I was off on that one maybe. —Now, Nica, I told you to wait in my office! This is a conversation between Dr. Cusantre and me. Nica withdrew like a whipped mongrel, still the gloom and anger in her face. —Wow, guess I was off on that one. —I’m sorry, Dr. Cusantre, I should have told you she was in my office. But she’s having similar problems in my English lit course too. (The Adjunct was a talker, a non-stop yakker.) I don’t think she should even be in that course. In fact, Bethel is doing her a disservice by taking her tuition money. She doesn’t have the basics. They should be ashamed. I know the college needs money, but there has to be a more honest way to get it. (I ceased paying attention and read my email on the computer screen.) Some of these students shouldn’t have gotten out of high school yet somehow they’re going to graduate from Bethel. When I was enrolled at the university, we never received the kind of attention these kids are receiving here. The sad thing is that they need that attention. I don’t think that should be what college is about…
The Church of Ice Cream ChristopherWoods
Photography, digital media 12.5” x 16.67”
sunburn Mike Giangrasso
red skin on the omelette line deep maroon and itchy touch my arm apply pressure and watch it turn white as yellow bubbles animate the pan this can go two ways: I could tan, or the burn could fall apart flaking to restore pale normality Iâ€™m next. I get the last of the peppers same as the person in front of me yesterday who, still, I havenâ€™t forgiven.
Cinco de Mayo and a drunken memory of a hilly hamlet with a harbor JasonVega
But there’s a fifth left. Like those Fifth and Market blues we had. Remember that stair well behind the strip clubs in North Beach? I do. Seen it in a movie once. Maybe a documentary. Catalog those spices from Chinatown, ‘cause, Jake, it don’t matter anymore, and frankly, dried shrimp cures flatulence and powdered bonito makes cocks hard. And I ain’t hard, as the Irish artist has sex with the Irish waitress in the next bunk, all the while I keep an eye on the guy who sleeps with a purple dildo under his pillow. So I go out to the roof top and actually watch the fog roll in, and there ain’t no emotion to second; no dock to sit on, but a view of a hotel sign, red and flickering— And Otis, oh Otis, I get it, as you rode a Greyhound here (like I did) and realized it was overpriced, and the best place for burritos and bread: the Mission, or the store on Market and Fifth, next to the vodka shop with those three dollar bottles! Oh how the houseless would squawk in the streets.
Weekly Trash Richard Dinges, Jr.
Twice a week I fill my garbage can with memories and broken promises, scraps scribbled with forgotten words and plastic pieces that no longer fit my life, creating space in my home to be filled temporarily, until another week passes, hauled to the curb, abandoned and reclaimed to fill gaping holes on cityâ€™s edge under a sky gone gray, my life dedicated to the discovery of something better, so much a slow decline to garbage, filling an unfillable emptiness.
Midway Kitchen Christopher Woods
5” x 7”
I Will Wait For You in Baton Rouge Edward Lee
he’s maybe five foot three and points her toes when she’s sitting on the floor. This is a habit picked up from looking at too many Degas paintings and thinking for thirteen years that she was good enough to be in A Chorus Line. She’s not, but that hasn’t stopped her from letting out great sighs, each slender breath containing minute particles of God and alcohol. She doesn’t let these precious droplets of life out like a casual yearner, either – they’ll come out like an old faucet tat-tum tat-tum tat-tum tat-tum, a rhythm that might have reminded her of iambic tetrameter if she didn’t blink slowly on first mention of poetry. I watched her as she drew her glass up to her lips and let the liquid tip into her mouth, like old dandelions into the wind. Like a good girl she finishes and doesn’t smack her lips, keeps her back straight. Her eyes are still the color of the fading lights of summer, and her hands are the same size as when we said goodbye, but everything else feels different. She looks at me like I’m the detour at the next street corner: a jaunt away from where she’d like to be, but perhaps close enough. We talk about her medication and senior year and just a little about us. Her body language suggests she’s going to tell an unexpected joke, a showy wave of hands to make all the heartache disappear, just another prop for a punchline that won’t ever come. There’s a translucent blue tank with some fake vegetation and a heat lamp on the desk, something new I don’t recognize next to the Murano glass flowers I gave to her a couple years ago. She explains she’s bought a snake recently, that the concept of Ouroboros has begun to fascinate her. The way she talks, you feel like you’re eating a five course dinner in Italy; she fills you up with conversation the way Franklin D. Roosevelt might have done sitting next to that fire. And you sink back on your elbows some more on her orange shag rag and let it enfold you. There’s almost a southern drawl about her, that satisfying tone that makes stories of Houston city fairs pleasant and quaint. But she’s a New Yorker through and through, she tells me about visiting Park Slope in Brooklyn and I can’t help but smile. Her voice drapes all over the words, entangles them so they don’t quite escape her mouth so she can savor the sounds just a little
bit longer. She talks about the city like a thirty year old who’s fallen in love for perhaps the fifth time, a cautious optimism that hasn’t quite declared itself yet. Through glasses of wine I know I am shifting into those different states of consciousness where you begin to dissociate with yourself and everything around you and conduct that odd search for happiness on an elevated plane where everything is happiness. And in that transient world you grasp on to anything that will carry you where you need to go, so that when you venture however timidly back – when you can feel your spine prickle, your heart burst as she stops talking and looks into your eyes – you get a residual reminder, a tiny flush of color, of what that feeling might be.
Black Forest Roz Leibowitz
Collage, ink and gouache on vintage materials 30cm x 30cm
Chiaroscuro Richard Luftig
“The perfection of art depends on the correct distribution of light and shade called chiaroscuro.” - Leonardo da Vinci
For her, the darker shades are always in the foreground like those low-hanging clouds that seem to crowd out the stars. But there are times, so brief, when some unexpected happiness, so surprising, almost unnoticed, appears like background in a pointillist painting – here, a cut of sunlight, there, off somewhere, a brief ribbon of remembered summer, but mostly winter shadows, evening cold, the steady crosshatching of his touch, his smell, what’s left of his clothes still hanging in the closet. These memories ranging full black to mere wishes, gray to perhaps. A sure sign of progress.
Digital media 5â€? x 6.5â€?
The Watch Dog AaronWiegert
I’ll call him, a Pincher Because I’m not sure Of his breed, but from His perch I am certain Of his prominence Atop the darkly varnished Wooden cube, tucked into The corner of the bar An immovable object Not unlike a miniature Virgin Mary or the slightly More provocative Vishnu, This hollow idol may have Been left to rest just beneath The customer’s conscience Staring across the dark café As if he were expecting His callous-handed maker To return from a five decade Holiday, but intensity concedes
Vulnerability, one glance past His pointed ears, a framed mirror Reflects the back of his head Accentuating a collarless neck, Although he is stroked only By a distant light, heâ€™s never Been abused, chest and shoulders Sleek and furless, a piggy bank With no coins and no dreams Just take a hammer to his jowls And he wonâ€™t even wriggle His bulbous fire-cast snout And never would he reveal His absence of tongue, wearing A solemn expression even as He was packed with pots and Ashtrays in the heart of the kiln.
Above Strings Lance Calabrese
Tonight, let dishes glut our scrubbed sink. Astride, not musing flung shoes and gasps they forgot themselves, or abandoned my hands closing upon former days when you were bashful while disrobing, and I was awkward practice fingers. Reserve, subdued, crumples your stockings: keys pressed gingerly prior the notes of years waited hammer’s striking wire. Now I meet your short, astonished breaths. Always you’d curled hidden into me, and I kept my eyes clamped, fretful as you pull our sheets to the swept hardwood, our bedroom door let open windows. Never had they stood apart, marking the unlock of arms from a coiled breast. You were ever humming that I’ve heard, that I take you to the stripped mattress.
Fort Pulaski, Interior for a Video Game 1
14” x 10.5”
‘tis the season to be jolly Christopher Barnes
The clap and slam of kitty-eyed marbles over orange-pink and purplish wagon wheels of a polyester bedroom rug, shallow cut as gossamer threads, a one-dimensional, under rub to on-ice air. Blasts skim the nonstick door, back up from lilac skirting, rat-tat-tatting a grey-glass window, that sash with a buckshot peephole condensing powdery snow. He was a prettyboy pocketmouse, I clinched into the mousebox, monofilament eyebrows, epileptic whiskers, a gnaw of indifference to cuddlesome nerves of fur. Blanched on the fire – I’d been black-sheepishly forgetful, “it’s dead, it’s dead,” I screamed, blind to the mask of hibernation.
13.65” x 9.08”
Three Koans Richard Luftig 1. Every poem I have known Seems to be disappearing. I try to recite them Each night as if remembering My childhood prayers. 2. All of my unwritten poems have learned to be patient. They know I will get around to them sooner or later.
3. Have I read these poems before? There is an underline here, a question mark there, written in a hand that may be my own. I am blessed or condemned to read these lines as if new, be moved or cease to care, like karma or a reincarnation I can no longer recall.
White Sleep Francesca Sharkey
Oil on canvas 30cm x 30cm
Knapsack Moon Joey Nicoletti We ended like this: my shoulders slouched from carrying the weight of the moon in my knapsack. I reached for it in a grab-bag of clouds as far as I could, only to come away with handfuls of dust and pebbles: the soil and seeds of my nightmares. And now Iâ€™m like a dishwasher, foaming with scratched forks and knives. Tomorrow morning they will be sorted and put away, and at night they will stab and stain their way back into my blue, gap-toothed mouth.
Contributors Geoffrey Aronson currently teaches ESL to Mexican students at Universidad de Oriente Valladolid. He earned his MFA in Photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Christopher Barnes won a Norther Arts writers award in 1998 and had his collection LOVEBITES published in 2005 by Chanticleer Press. Patricia Bollin was raised in Chicago but has lived in Portland Oregon most of her life. Her poems have appeared in a number of journals including Clackamas Literary Review, Pearl, Oregon Literary Review and The Grove Review; her book reviews have been published in CALYX and NW Writers. She has been writing poetry for fifteen years and is working on a first manuscript. Currently she is employed by Oregon Volunteers to support AmeriCorps programming in Oregon. BORSHCH was born in Dnepropetrovsk, USSR, studied in Moscow, Russia, and today lives in New York and exhibits internationally. His work has been exhibited at a number of places in New York City, Parish Art Museum (Southampton, NY), and, Frieze Art Fair (London, UK). In 2008 he was awarded the National Arts Club award for graphics. Brian Brown is a documentary historian who formerly worked with GPB on their acclaimed Georgia Backroads program. He is presently doing the final edits on his illustrated history, Georgia in the Great Depression. Much of his time is spent traveling the back roads of the Wiregrass Region, photographing endangered vernacular architecture and folkways for his blog Vanishing South Georgia. Lance Calabrese is a self-taught writer whose work has appeared around the world. He lives in California. Rosa Maria DelVecchio received a Ph.D. in English from Case Western Reserve University. She currently lives in Brooklyn, Ohio, and makes her living as a secretary at Cleveland State University. Her poems have appeared in Case Reserve Review, Free Focus, Outlook, The Plastic Tower Quarterly Magazine of Poetry, Whiskey Island Magazine, and Wide Open Magazine. Richard Dinges, Jr. has an MA in literary studies from University of Iowa and manages business systems at an insurance company. Hurricane Review, Verse Wisconsin, River Oak Review, descant, and Soundings East have most recently accepted his poems for their publications.
Michael Filimowicz is a new media artist working in the areas of sound, experimental video, creative writing, net art, public art and digital photography. As a writer he has published poetry, fiction and philosophy, and as a sound designer he has mixed soundtracks for film and television. Recently, as part of an team of new media artists in Vancouver, he was awarded a Cultural Canada of Canada Public Art Commission for the City of Surrey, British Columbia. He is on the faculty in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University. Mike Giangrasso is a freshman at Tulane University. He comes from a family of artists, but is majoring in Neuroscience. He is honored to have his work published here, and hopes your day has been going nicely. David Issod works with people with developmental disabilities and recently got back into photography after a long hiatus. He enjoys shooting just about everything, including himself. He feels a photographer should be just as comfortable in front of a camera as he is behind one. Jason Joyce just graduated from the University of Wyoming with a bachelorâ€™s in Business Administration and a minor in Creative Writing. Jason is currently working on his first full-length collection of poems. You can find out more about his writing and published poetry on his blog at jasonrjoyce.blogspot.com. Monica Koenig will be graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder in May 2010 with a bachelorâ€™s degree in English. Her poetry has been published in Illiterate Magazine, Walkabout Literary Journal, and Palimpsest. Philip Kopel is a chicken with a machine gun disguised as a chicken without a machine gun. Edward Lee is a sophomore Political Science and English major at Tulane from McLean, Virginia. He became interested in creative writing during his freshman year. Roz Leibowitz was born in 1954 in New York City where she still resides. Having worked for years as a librarian, she is an avid collector of old books, ephemera, vintage photographs, and other traces of memories and forgotten lives. When not engaged in drawing, printing and writing, she can be found wandering the streets of her beloved Manhattan with her two dogs, Tina and Girlie Girl -- all three busy collecting the memories of the departed Richard Luftig is a professor of educational psychology and special education at Miami University in Ohio. He is a recipient of the Cincinnati Post-Corbett Foundation Award for Literature and a semi finalist for the Emily Dickinson Society Award. His poems have appeared in numerous literary journals in the United States and internationally in Japan, Canada, Australia, Finland, Bulgaria and England. His third chapbook was published by Dos Madres Press in 2007.
Alex McGaughan is a Tulane alum currently living in Maryland where he runs a poetry open mic series called “We Like Words.” He is currently working on applications to MFA programs in poetry, with the eventual goal of teaching other people how to not make any money. All of this is with the constant support of his best friend, a ball python named Ozymandias.. Jae Newman, born in South Korea, lives with his wife and daughter in Batavia, New York. He works as a writing instructor at Jamestown Community College. His poems have appeared in many journals such as Redivider and The Bellingham Review. In 2008, his work was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Joey Nicoletti was born in New York City. Educated at the University of Iowa, New Mexico State University, and Sarah Lawrence College, his poetry has appeared in Bitter Oleander, Italian Americana, The Potomac, Aethlon, Free Lunch, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and elsewhere. He currently teaches creative writing at Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville. James Proffitt photographed abandoned trailers at a campground on Sandusky Bay near where the Sandusky River runs into Lake Erie on the Marblehead Peninsula. Evan Retzer is a writer, musician, and watercolor artist. He currently resides in New Orleans, LA, where he no longer works in a meat market. Daniela Riofrio is a senior at Tulane. The piece, called “Dance Party”, is a gestural abstraction done with acrylic on canvas utilizing a combination of only greens, reds, yellows, and white. Brandon S. Roy has had work appear in numerous journals, including the Ottowa Arts Review, Loch Raven Review, Origami Condom, Pedestal Magazine, and Pocket Change. His first book Chaos Love Theory has yet to be released. He currently resides in Southwest Louisiana. Dan Ruhrmanty is an artist living and working in the southern United States. His art and photography have been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, and London. Notable publications featuring his work include Barefoot Muse, Centrifugal Eye and Word Catalyst. Francesca Sharkey is a painter working and living in London and has shown regularly in the past 10 years. She graduated from Plymouth University (Exeter Faculty of Art & Design) with a BA Honours in Fine Art in 1993. She later lived and worked in Paris for a few years where she designed theatre sets for a small Parisian operatic company and has exhibited regularly in London, including Shipton Street Gallery, No More Grey Gallery, Waterstones Studio Lounge and Boston University, South Kensington and Oxford House.
G. Tod Slone is a firm believer in speaking truth openly, as opposed to team playing in semblance of collegiality. He is an unemployed college professor and with a PhD from a French university. Also, he is founding editor of The American Dissident, A 501 c3 Nonprofit Providing a Forum for Vigorous Debate, Cornerstone of Democracy. He is always seeking to publish rare student writers who dare question, challenge, and criticize their professors and university. Mary Walton was born in Flemingsburg, Kentucky. She is currently a graduate student in the creative writing program at The City College of New York. Her work is forthcoming in Promethean. Matt Wesson is a Junior at Tulane. He does freelance graphic design in his free time. Aaron Wiegert graduated from Iowa State University in 2008 where he studied English and Creative Writing. His work has been published in Paper Darts, Poetry and Writing, The Ames Progressive and Message in a Bottle. He will be featured in the 2010 issue of The Broken Plate and the forthcoming issue of The Writer’s Block. “The Watch Dog” was first published in Paper Darts. Christopher Woods lives in Houston and in Chappell Hill, Texas. Other work of his appeared recently in Litchfield Review, Glasgow Review and Narrative Magazine. He shares an online gallery with his wife Linda at Moonbird Hill Arts. Jason Vega lives in Tallahassee and dreams about coral reef.
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