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Tulane Review

| review.tulane.edu |

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The Tulane Review spring 2015

EDITOR in CHIEF ART EDITOR POETRY EDITORS

Lauren Wethers Natalie Shyu Meredith Maltby Samantha Patel

PROSE EDITORS

Lauren Baker Lauren Kornick

Cover art by Austin Aviles. Full image: page 61. ISSN 2166-5001 ISSN 2166-501X The Tulane Review is a literary art journal published by the Tulane Literary Society twice yearly. Submissions are judged by review boards in an anonymous selection process and final choices are made by the editors. For submission information, consult the submission guidelines on the last page of this issue or visit review.tulane. edu. To view this issue on the web, please visit issuu.com. Funding for the Tulane Review comes from the Undergraduate Student Government of Tulane University and the Tulane Literary Society. The works published in the Tulane Review represent the views of the individual artists and are not the expressed views of the Tulane Literary Society, Tulane University, or its Board of Administrators. Copyright Š 2015 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. The Tulane Review acquires first North American serial rights.

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Contents Gallery I | Poetry 7 8 10 12 13 16 18 20 22 24 25 26 29 33 36 37 38 39 41 44

Ash and light | Karina Lutz Elvis: For The Next Generation | Daryl Muranaka One Good Thing | Marilee Richards There’s A House | Abby Ratner Carpenter’s House | Kierstin Bridger On Higgins Street Bridge | Jeron Jennings Beach Read | Michael Barach Confiteor | A.M. Thompson hurt everybody | Andy Gross Homeless Millennial Survives By Picking Up Women | Justin Picard Khodorakiva | Abby Ratner Beer League Outros | Michael Barach During Breakfast | Monika Daniels Porcine Self-Portrait | M’Bilia Meekers The Night Owl | Christine Yurick Cows | CL Bledsoe Answers | Christine Yurick She Does Something | Carl Boon Anne | Mitchell Untch The Closing of the Opening | Paige Simkins

Gallery II | Art 47 48 49 50 51 52

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Sister: Mudgirl | Allison Baker Barren | Rebecca Buglio Bee Mourning Brooch IV | Luci Jockel Sforzinda | Maggie Hazen Iranian Collage | Gazelle Naghshbandi Jumbled Density | Anna Pleskow

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53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67

Africans, Wailing Men, and Clasping Hands | Allen Forrest She Pricked Her Finger | Veronica Hallock Covington Canaliculi | Taryn Mรถller Nicoll Knockout Genes | Taryn Mรถller Nicoll A Big Sweep | John Michael Byrd Splurge | Crystal Pei Collection | Bella Rosa Duster | Austin Aviles Nostalgia | Austin Aviles Follow The Light | Amy Blacketter Chateau Bateau | Edith Young Portland | Thomas Gillaspy Freedom | Thomas Gillaspy Transition | Gazelle Naghshbandi Transition | Gazelle Naghshbandi

Gallery III | Prose 69 71 77 86

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The Gastronomy of Naturalization | Jessica Zhang The Dance | Laura Leigh Morris The God-Maker | Ace Boggess The Singing Tree | Shawn Goldberg

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| POETRY |

Ash and light Karina Lutz

Dependently coarising: body and mind. Independently falling apart: two halves of a coconut roll away from each other. The machete hovers and withdraws.

The match burned out. Or did the flame burn through the match?

What is left? Everything, some as light (some as ash) across the universe.

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Elvis: For The Next Generation Daryl Muranaka Because my little boy should know the proper things, when Mommy is out I scoop him up into the air with Elvis blaring Viva Las Vegas and we plant one toe and twist knees and hips and he laughs when our shoulders shudder and sink as we turn day into night time and night into day time

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and he’ll never be the same again

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One Good Thing Marilee Richards

At the end of our street a disembodied brain gave orders. After I went to bed, with the help of the mysterious Sea Men, my father searched for my mother’s special opening. At school we practiced duck and cover exercises in case of nuclear attack or takeover by the communists who were already living among us, the regular humans. The point was to have one bomb more on our side’s teetering stack. My parents, who were also trying to smoke themselves to death, enjoyed racing the clock of global calamity. While the neighbors gophered out tunnels for fallout shelters, my father went on planting his seeds until my mother came down with my sister.

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The brain lived in a cave under a sand trap and sucked down anyone who got too close, like if the Russians won the cold war they’d turn us all into zombies. My father avoided my mother’s drums of conflict one day by taking me to see Invaders From Mars. I was terrified even though you could see the zippers. Under the insurance policy provided by Elysian Heights Elementary, he’d get $2,500 if I lost a limb or an eye, $1,000 if I were killed. I never did get pulled into the sand trap though. That was one good thing.

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There’s A House Abby Ratner

There’s a house in New York where now will be found weeds

plastic bottles your dad’s tobacco pipe lost mail addressed to the family you tried to run away to or something like that It was once a wetland of streams I gathered that one summer your grandpa told you about how it was of concrete of asphalt above the bullfrogs salamanders turtles to house some aunt you never met who was widowed by a politician she gloated as she hung his photo below rafters on a ladder my goodness her feet were shaped to the high-heels she never took off but I can’t remember what else you said happened there but haven’t we all seen the broken glass in lawns deteriorating alongside nature but who besides me tries to piece together what is already burrowed in each when all we do is build infrastructures that bury the earth further into the ground

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Carpenter’s House Kierstin Bridger

An up and down house, the choice to ascend or descend— the embroidered red barn in a square, oak frame; the first pretty picture to greet strangers and guests.

The water fight we had in the front yard— no lawn, mind you, this was cactus and yucca zone, this was cocoa-clotted earth, this was way-out west, a garden hose full of well water,

no tumbleweeds in the satellite dish for us— tin foil on rabbit ears, spaghetti westerns, and Gunsmoke. Ascend or descend—think shell shock, think careful steps like stitches.

This was an up and down house, a house of black and white, the Beaver’s grey-suited father on the heavy console— we watched him coax lessons, dole out white milk advice.

My father was an up and down man, a bi-level structure

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made of wood and hammer. Cut to the day the neighbors’ kids scooped mud from puddles, the day my terry cloth top

hung like a used chamois on my chest, the ties at my shoulders heavy with foul summer rain.

I’d made the wrong kid mad, cursed his mother and ran fast to my door, slammed the screen—

his seething face pixelated through the sieve, through the flimsy nylon door, He swung his dirt-drenched bucket, splattered the barn, puckered the muslin canvas— tang of iron on my tongue,

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horses in my throat.

Cue the western whistle of doom, the Good, the Bad, and. . . There’d be no heart-to-heart on a chenille-covered bed,

no choice to ascend or descend, no moral in red thread that bleeds its dye when I would be nail, pray he employ only the flat of his hand.

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On Higgins Street Bridge Jeron Jennings All season my eyes have been scanning ceilings for tight spaces, beams like undersides of bridges. What often keeps this chair in place is a vision of you grasping the reality of my empty frame of skin, my metal bones and the blade you’d use to cut them loose. I know all the pieces are already so telling – it would take you seconds to fathom the entirety but it would be the relief of my fears for the realization and yes, the realization of yours. I need a colder exit and cleaner. Lovers

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on a lonely street do nothing to allay my struggle. I am intruding or I am nothing, but the distance between the stringers and the surface has always determined what is actual from illusion and all my favorite roads run perpendicular to rivers.

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Beach Read Michael Barach

When I heard the ocean’s voice, a grain whizzed through me, swirling like a tongue. I stroked my leg hair, slapped the idiot drum of my cheek. What instrument would sound again?

That my ear remained pliable between a thumb and two feeler-fingers meant I lived. Then water was my winger. A freight of sunlight mottled the frying oil   I’d sealed myself in.  My hands splashed out to touch the face I missed.  Two worlds! We harbor a crystal pain in one, despite the overhang of orange clouds   we righten-up our spines to watch scud by. I could have wooed a sea slug, shiny as I

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was, in love with longitudes and print-blind.     All evening seagulls swung in the sky.

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Confiteor A.M. Thompson

Forgive me, love for gathering all my longing in my arms

from where it laid in hyssop and in thyme,

for setting it to lighten in full sun

for pressing it between these stones

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and shaking until it snapped.

But most, your mercy for folding it down

with empty wishing hands

to fit

the lovely fragile form

of who you are.

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hurt everybody For Clara Andy Gross she was born in stars & she became a moon – controlling my tide

dropped on a planet with some lost ones – held everything chilled, bottom lip bowed &

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blinded. escalated textures threaten my innards but I sleep: all: day

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Homeless Millennial Survives By Picking Up Women Justin Picard On the eighth day He

drank Olde English, He couldn’t remember when

the cashier had begun to avert her eyes.

He tugged at the rope bracelet on His left wrist, thin

hair already tangled in clumps a feast for bed bugs and lice.

Nearby, a garbage can had spilled. Lustrous vegetables and fruit

were scattered across the sidewalk, brittle, hollow, painted for decoration.

Their absurd radiance disrupted the muted cityscape

and He briefly considered crushing them, but worried about His

aching feet. He would go on to destroy them later that afternoon,

after a panic attack involving a miniature white terrier and a Gary Busey

look-alike. He liked to think of Himself as a modern day Holden Caulfield,

nobody understood Him, and after finding a tattered red tube sock that

functioned well as a scarf, He knew the uncanny connection to Salinger’s

protagonist was confirmed. When darkness fell, He was good and drunk and

ready to accost women with reckless abandon, covered in body spray

applied in the aisle of CVS.

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Khodovarikha (Arctic Outpost) Abby Ratner Silk murmurs seep beneath high winds, the radio transmission delayed again owed to tundra. Mrs. Kotorski watches tulip births (and tulip deaths) from a city as northern lights linger let’s say most days (there are no others) for Mr. Kotorski alone in a lighthouse once used as a Northern Sea Route, romanticized it is for people: who never come

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Beer League Outros Michael Barach

Fog billows. The Zamboni circles. Point after the players, your finger purples. With Fennimore, who knows if he’ll be back? He tottered into corners, snapped pucks through glassy seams, tenderness in his wrists and stars of anger. He undressed wearing a miter of head steam. Cloth tape ripped disputations. He drank.

****

Rick is going home. The Zamboni circles. No afghan hillock does a crossword. No husband in-thrusts and burns a plate of lasagna—the body Rick spurns for ninety-second shifts, until, as happens at his office, checking stats,

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intoxicants from squeeze bottles vault inside the attic of his nostrils.

****

Steve has headed home. The Zamboni circles. One van swerves at a lane of convertibles, and night’s glowing cat eye bends around Steve. If this were Winnipeg— he laughs, loose at the wheel—he’d float, a king of vermin breath, through twiggy trees. But it’s Anaheim. His kids will be asleep. Breakaway, he siphons from their dreams.

****

Carter needs to get back. The Zamboni circles. He hunches with his bag like a giant turtle

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on Planet Empties and Hockey Sticks. When Carter builds himself into a sprint, zones behind him go elastic. Monsieur! a defenseman sweeps aside the little door to his heart. Carter has an apartment, keeps his gear in his car.

****

That leaves Hal, me, and the Zamboni. Hal, who never speaks, whose voice curdles. He stares at the floor like it’s a portal. A kid! A map of misgivings, skeletal thin. He scores all our goals and looks down, as if to smile. Dekes and jukes, our flea. Picks corners and slings it. Beer the boy, for his sake, and ours.

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| POETRY |

During Breakfast Monika Daniels

Morning student drowns

in the milk

of her cereal bowl.

No one notices

the red kernel

spreading on her

forehead, a tropical

juice flower opening,

leaking like the

pink milk around

the bowl’s rim.

How casual for a

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bullet to saunter

through bodies,

like her molars

through Raisin Bran.

How easy for her

friend’s finger to

open fire while his

mind was busy un-

friending. Apple flesh

flayed, banana paste.

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| POETRY |

Shredded napkins among the corpses

and a heaving weight

with a splattered left knee

dragging himself

out of sight.

Diced tomatoes plopping

on the cook’s cap,

an egg crisping black

while the spatula melts

beneath it, and men

crouching down the hallway,

single-file ant swarm,

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while the not-friend guns

his mouth wide

for all to peek through.

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| POETRY |

Porcine Self-Portrait after Sula M’Bilia Meekers

III. Butcher’s Method: slice the teats clean off, cube the belly, press the flesh out like a mango’s. The customer enjoys the sow’s layers of meat and fat and sinew wrapped neatly in brown paper-the anticipation of rind, candied, melting back in his mouth. He resists the urge to tongue it down.

II. Roped around her ankles, hooves unbound by her body’s weight, the sow is silent. For the first time, her toes are not forced

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to spread into mud and matted grass. A farmer wipes them off with a rag. The pads are softer than you think. Small, cloven, tender. The sow catches the acrid scent of vinegar, spots a glint of silver flickering across her periphery.

I. She searches for tubers in the yard. Her snout folds the mud over, teases out roots anchored in the ground. The farmer pours cornmeal into a tin basin, granules ticking against its metal edges. Weeks pass,

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piglets are born, the farmer spends evenings whetting his blades. The sow lays her body down on a tuft of hay, suckles her piglets, noses the soil, wants something more than endless feeding.

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The Night Owl Christine Yurick

No matter how hard I push the day on It is still today. Though, on occasion, when all is right in the world I feel like the night owl does when he hears the clock tower ring and rejoices at the response to the sound of its own voice.

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| POETRY |

Cows CL Bledsoe

There’s something in the steady grind of grass between blunt teeth that hints at infinity. The brush of incisors through green hairs, nipping

their tips off to chew and swallow, regurgitate and chew. The cow’s sounds blanket the heart in direct opposition to the lonesome wail of the train’s call

as it passes, the bug chatter threatening to consume the night. How could anything that makes such soothing sounds not be wise? A cow

will lay down when it’s full, stand and chew when it’s not. Millennia of debate between the wisest men have produced nothing as simple or profound.

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Answers Christine Yurick

Why does she stare at the window with longing so often during the day, asking questions without addressing them to any one or any thing? In the evening, he tells her that bed is the best part of the day, and so is the morning. But he doesn’t know how she plays in that big open room which looks like her mind: clean, orderly, everything put away. There is a question in her eye that does not dissolve when she sleeps. There is a man standing outside. When the clouds part, it is even warm.

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She Does Something Carl Boon

She does something I’ve never considered to my verbs and turns my adjectives green. It’s because my usual grammar, she says, lacks emeralds, and I rely too much on sand  in seeking images.  I for example twist  frantically before her, but never fall and never quite turn the poem’s  corner past beauty  into righteousness. I could tell her 

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it’s my style, my love of journey minus destination-notion— just old bones punching keys. But then she won’t believe me and transform exponentially  my random pronouns into sincerity. I hate sincerity, and I hate  sitting in the light  because my poems come in the dark, and she’s all light  with powerful thighs getting very, very close.

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| POETRY |

Anne Mitchell Untch

I’ve saved you, Anne, for the train to Paris that eats its way through the underground at one hundred and eighty six miles per hour, shot from the barrel of the Euro Star terminal on the hottest day of the year, a Muse on the cover of your Love Poems, now slowly coming apart in my hands. An arm pokes through your white sleeveless dress, snakes along your trademark waist, as though you intended it, as though you might have wished the collarbone would nip the thin strap of the elfish couture, send it plummeting to the ground like a bottleful of Nembutal, there sitting beneath an archway, ashes dropping like fireflies from your Virginia Slims, all the men in your life snuffed out, wings pulled off, scrapped like the lines of your unfinished poems,

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your children you could not love. I heard how you once lifted your finger at the Algonquin, unnerved an entire generation of waiters, ready to strike with a couplet, a dinner fork, or a third dry martini. The line down the back of your nylons stalked your beauty senseless. I read how you heard lobsters hiss in the kitchen, how you learned to silence their muted screams the day you found out Sylvia stuck her head in an oven. You had taken your purse of kill me pills, left your staff with no messages. I see you now, your cigarette smoke wrapping around your shoulders like an elegant fog as you walk along the beach, the long dark aisle that was the sixties, one shoe in your hand, combing the surf with a flashlight. Waves close like zippers, the moonlight extends its long white glove to touch you, but where you are and where you are going is washed away.

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You once said pain exists without meaning until it is shared. Use it like artillery I think you might have said, though your obituary is not clear, your papers, less certain. So you read us your poems, free admission at the corner of Cambridge & Quincy St., Harvard, Boston, all the little darlings hatched forever from the perfect suburbs not large enough to hold you, or piece together the fragments that might have made them whole, their neighborhood complete, more so. Thank you. It is one hundred and five degrees and climbing. I turn your book in my hands, read through your Decembers.

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The Closing of the Opening Paige Simkins Dusk has fallen upon us,

the sun has become the moon,

the darkness exchanged with light.

I once kissed your forehead, your eyes,

and treaded on the air you breathed

on past nights long gone away from us.

We hold distant memories of standing

on that old historic bridge where white

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| POETRY |

and bright colored orange Koi filled

the pond, giving us their blessings.

Now I sit here and reason, making

an argument with the moon, I ask and am

not told but told the stars are aligning.

The stars are aligning for me, for me.

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| ART |

Sister: Mudgirl | Allison Baker Sculpture Installation | Found table, found clothing, wood, wax

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Barren | Rebecca Buglio Ceramic vessels with high and low fire glaze application | 17” x 21” x 12”

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| ART |

Bee Mourning Brooch IV | Luci Jockel Honey bee, beeswax, insect pin, steel | 6” x 4” x 1” 49 TR Spring 2015.indd 49

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Sforzinda | Maggie Hazen Polyethylene, found hardware, recycled materials, string | 4’ x 7’

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| ART |

Iranian Collage | Gazelle Naghshbandi Digitally assembled collage

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Jumbled Density | Anna Pleskow Digital Collage

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| ART |

Africans, Wailing Men and Clasping Hands | Allen Forrest Ink on paper | 9” x 12”

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She Pricked Her Finger | Veronica Hallock Three-panel chalk pastel drawing | 120” x 54”

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| ART |

Covington Canaliculi | Taryn Möller Nicoll Oil on canvas, 30” x 40”

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Knockout Genes | Taryn Möller Nicoll Watercolor and ink on paper. 15.75” x 10.5”

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| ART |

A Big Sweep | John Michael Byrd Watercolor and acrylic on grommeted mylar | 30” by 40”

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Splurge | Crystal Pei Digital painting | 12” x 11.29”

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| ART |

Collection | Bella Rosa Watercolor and ink on paper

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Here and There | Austin Aviles Digital photography | 16” x 20”

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| ART |

Here and There | Austin Aviles Digital photography | 16” x 20”

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Follow The Light | Amy Blacketter Digital photography | 20” x 13”

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| ART |

Chateau Bateau (from the Penobscot Bay portfolio) | Edith Young Analog film photograph | 20” x 20”

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Portland | Thomas Gillaspy Photography

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| ART |

Freedom | Thomas Gillaspy Photography

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Transition | Gazelle Naghshbandi Digital photomontage

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| ART |

Transition | Gazelle Naghshbandi Digital photomontage

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| PROSE |

The Gastronomy of Naturalization Jessica Zhang

When I was very young and my parents were very foreign and had yet to learn of the intricacies of American cuisine, they took me to McDonald’s every Tuesday after preschool. Thus the monster was born. I ate chicken nuggets until the day I bit into one and tooth met gristle. At school I told my classmates it had been a worm. I was reared on a convenience store diet. Silken egg tofu with green onion and my grandmother alike were only vague memories of my infancy. Fairy tales and nursery rhymes, in those days, could be mail ordered for enough labels clipped from baby formula packages. It followed that we owned shelves upon shelves of mass market picture books. Once my class had to leave school early because a boy vomited. No one ate the hamburger for weeks. I ate round foods and grew into a round child. The doctor recommended more fruits and vegetables. My parents dutifully replaced whole milk with 2% and that with skim. I stopped drinking it and consequently developed a minor case of lactose intolerance, abandoning milk whatsoever. In an unrelated turn of events, whole milk returned to our refrigerator. In China for a summer, my relatives recoiled when I drank cold water with hot meals – which would bring any native eater a case of indigestion. I refused shark fin soup and sea cucumber at dinner with a rich family friend. They laughed at me when I requested potatoes – a poor farmer’s food. They said the same thing in all cases. “She has an American stomach.” I was home by the time the leaves turned. Egg rolls and orange chicken in white Styrofoam boxes. In our cafeteria, I ate salads consisting of whole leaves of lettuce and acrid radish slices. A container of chicken cubes and raisins bathed in mayonnaise was called Waldorf salad. If we did not have money to pay for lunch we had to return our trays of food, right there in front of everyone else. Then we were required by law to retrieve a wilting cheese sandwich which had been waiting, plastic-wrapped, in front of the cash register for days on end in anticipation of the next student who ran out of loose change. We sat around Formica tables and some of the other children would ask me if I’d ever eaten dogs or cats in China before, while their small red tongues licked butter straight from foil packages. Each week we drove to Chinatown to buy groceries. Salted radish, browned and wet. Large flies buzzed over lychees and moon cakes. I was always afraid to walk through the seafood section, where half-dead fish sagged under each other’s 69 TR Spring 2015.indd 69

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| TULANE REVIEW | SPRING 2015 | weight and stared at me with bulbous eyes in water tanks stacked three deep. Fish were not boned or filleted, because this was part of the eater’s challenge. My mother once found kohlrabi at the store in our hometown. The cashier could not make head nor tail of it. The bag boy was equally helpless. I don’t know what it’s called, my mother kept saying, I only know how to cook it. They called over the manager, who carefully looked it up in a binder of produce codes, and finally told them simply to price it as an eggplant. I had a knife block and garlic so I thought that I could cook. Because pasta needed only to be boiled, I made it often. Tomato sauce on angel hair, fusilli, pots of roux and cheese sauce. Kale salad with chicory and pumpkin seeds. Yet I could not flip an omelet. The frozen foods aisle offered a wealth of options, once even a bag of little button mushrooms with scallops and tiny green peas in white wine sauce. On Thanksgiving I made three different kinds of potatoes for company. My mother scolded me because she said they would think us cheap. Potatoes – a poor farmer’s food. My mother was angry because I would often engorge myself on my own cooking and then have no appetite for hers. Crisp white daikon, wontons in copper-colored broth, a sea bass that once made her cry because it had been so difficult to cook.

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The Dance Laura Leigh Morris

When Everett appeared in front of Bradley, hair swept back, glasses smudged, Bradley wanted to mess up his own hair, also brushed back. “What’s up?” Bradley asked. The gym was draped in streamers, but it looked like someone had TPed the basketball court. The bleachers were shoved back, and the teachers had put little tables all around the dance floor, each one covered in glitter and flowers. No one sat at them. Instead, boys pulled the chairs into groups and bounced a ball back and forth or tried to spit on each other from across the open area. Bradley scanned the crowd behind Everett’s head. The DJ’s colored lights shone into his eyes and then moved across people swaying to a Bruno Mars song. It was the same slow song they played at all the dances, where girls snuggled into boys’ necks as they moved in tiny circles for four minutes, guys slipping their hands ever lower until the girls dragged them back to their waists. Girls without partners stood in clusters, swaying back and forth, hoping one of the boys would ask them to dance. “My mom can give you a ride home if you need it,” Everett said. “I’m spending the night at Jeremy’s.” Bradley kept an eye out for his friends, barely meeting Everett’s eye. The two of them had grown up on the same block. At Bradley’s end of the street, the houses were old, but people kept their yards trimmed and their windows clean. Walking to Everett’s, Bradley could see the houses in stages of disrepair, first with chipped paint or a tire-less car in the yard, then with broken windows and furniture on the porch, until he reached Everett’s house. It had garbage bags in place of some windows and three cars in the yard, along with an old toilet and claw-foot bathtub. What grass Everett’s family had was overgrown with weeds, but most of his yard was packed dirt. Sometimes, Everett’s granddad sat on the porch with a can of Stroh’s and no shirt. With their ill fitting clothes and shoes that split at the sole, Everett’s family were sturgeons. There was a divide at school between the sturgeons, the poor and unclean, and everyone else. Bradley always tried to keep Everett out of that group by giving him clothes and forgetting sticks of deodorant at his house when he spent the night. Now that they were in junior high, where everyone had more money than either of them, it was all Bradley could do to keep out of the sturgeon group himself. He clung to his new friend Jeremy, and Everett couldn’t accept that Bradley 71 TR Spring 2015.indd 71

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| TULANE REVIEW | SPRING 2015 | was leaving him behind. “We’re still friends, right?” Everett asked. “I should go,” Bradley said. “Clara’s probably looking for me.” He liked saying her name, wanted to add “my date” but didn’t. Jeremy had set them up. When he and Jeremy had climbed out of his mom’s mini-van and walked through the door with the girls, everyone had turned to look at them, the only seventh graders to arrive with dates. “Remember when we used to dance?” Everett said as his face turned different shades of red. “We still could,” he said. “I miss you.” “I don’t think that would be a good idea,” Bradley said. The previous summer, before coming to Brickton Junior High where the four elementary schools in the county consolidated, they had slow-danced to his mom’s old records. Everett, who looked so uncoordinated, was a natural on the dance floor. He helped Bradley, who was not a dancer, learn a few moves so he wouldn’t make a fool of himself. They’d stood on Everett’s back porch made of worn, uneven boards. “If you can dance here, you can dance anywhere,” he said. “You’ll look like you’re floating.” They wedged giant speakers, the old kind that popped and sputtered, between the sill and the empty window frame. Sometimes, they had to go inside and wiggle the cords in back to make the sound come out. They grabbed a Patsy Cline record from Everett’s mom’s collection of 45’s and set it up so the song would repeat until they turned it off. “Let’s see what you’ve got,” Everett said and put his hands on Bradley’s shoulders. Bradley touched Everett’s waist with the tips of his fingers, which seemed more intimate than when they wrestled on his floor and the winner had to pull splinters from the loser’s back. Bradley moved his feet from side to side, slowly turning Everett in a circle. After a few seconds, Everett stood back and said, “We have a lot of work to do.” When Bradley said, “I’m not that bad,” Everett laughed. They started with a simple box step, but Bradley stepped on Everett’s toes for the first two days. Eventually, he memorized where his feet were supposed to go and learned to lead, which was hard. Everett kept saying, “Guide me,” but when Bradley tried, Everett would say, “Don’t push.” Then, Bradley would shove Everett off the porch. When he reached for a hand up, Everett would pull Bradley down with him, where they’d wrestle and punch each other until they were too tired to continue. Then, they’d dance again, covered in dirt. Once Bradley could go a whole song without messing up, Everett said, “Tomorrow, you’re going to show me how much you’ve learned.” “I only know one step.” “And that’s all you need,” he said. The following day, Bradley arrived to find Everett wearing dress pants with duct tape covering a hole in the knee. He even wore a tie with his faded button down shirt. “Was I supposed to dress up?” Bradley asked. He wore denim shorts that were getting too tight, but his mom said that since summer was almost over, he didn’t need a new pair. Everett went inside and put the needle on the record, this time Elton John’s “Your Song.” Everett stepped into Bradley’s arms. “Pretend I’m your girlfriend,” Everett said. 72 TR Spring 2015.indd 72

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| PROSE | Bradley put his hands on Everett’s hips. “You wouldn’t hold your girlfriend like that,” Everett said, and Bradley locked his hands around Everett’s waist. They moved together, no missteps, their breath mingling in the space between them. Everett continued to dance, even once the song was over. Then, the record player’s arm made a loud clang, and the song began to repeat. Everett stepped closer and kissed Bradley. Everett’s lips were warm and chapped, and Bradley felt a heat in his stomach. “I’m not like that,” he said and let go of Everett’s waist. “Okay.” “I think I have the steps down now,” Bradley said, already moving away. “Thanks for teaching me. I should go. I forgot, I told my mom I’d mow the grass today.” “Today?” Everett asked. Bradley nodded and walked off the porch, through the maze of his backyard with its rusted out cars and toys tossed away and forgotten. “She’ll be mad if I don’t,” Bradley said. He walked home fast, his head down, face hot. It had been his first kiss, but he didn’t know if he liked it because of that or because it was from Everett. “Don’t you like me?” Everett asked now, the DJ’s colored lights playing across his face. “Like you how?” Bradley caught Jeremy’s eye and watched as he pulled Clara and Melanie over, the kind of girls Bradley’s mother said were “asking for trouble,” both in dresses too short, bright lipstick smeared across their lips. Jeremy hiked his pants up until you could see his hairless calves and pointed at Everett, whose pants stopped well above his ankles. The girls laughed. Bradley turned red. It wasn’t Everett’s fault his parents couldn’t buy him new pants, but Bradley felt guilty all the same. He used to pass his old clothes off to Everett but hadn’t since last school year. Everett’s shirt was also too small, the sleeves ending above the knobs of his wrists. “Are we even still friends?” Before Bradley could answer, Clara appeared behind Everett and smiled at Bradley. Then, she crouched, grabbed the legs of Everett’s pants, her red nails vivid against the faded black cloth, and yanked them to the floor. Bradley stepped back from the guffaws and watched Everett’s face turn red as he bent to pull up his pants, tighty whiteys on display. Teachers’ flashlight beams cut through the darkness, revealing stains on the back of Everett’s underwear and setting off another round of laughter, but Bradley ignored it. Mr. Higgins, the principal, put his arm around Everett and started to lead him away from the crowd. Bradley stepped toward them, then stopped. Everett shrugged the principal off. “It was an accident,” he said. The principal looked at him, and Everett met his eye. Mr. Higgins looked away first and scanned the circle of onlookers. His eyes stopped on Jeremy, who was still grinning, but moved past Clara who had now edged her way next to Bradley. She grabbed his hand. He didn’t let go but didn’t hold on either. “You’re sure?” Mr. Higgins asked. Everett nodded and turned away. The principal turned off the flashlight but watched as Everett walked across the floor, head held high but not meeting anyone’s eye. 73 TR Spring 2015.indd 73

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| TULANE REVIEW | SPRING 2015 | “Enjoy that?” Melanie asked. She and Jeremy stood in front of Bradley and Clara, still grinning. Melanie, an eighth grader, was even more popular than Clara, and Jeremy hadn’t let go of her hand all night. Mr. Higgins even caught them kissing during a slow song. “You should leave him alone,” Bradley said. “What?” Jeremy yelled above the music. “We shouldn’t pick on your boyfriend?” He said it loud enough that dancers glanced over at them. “He’s not my boyfriend,” Bradley said. He looked at Everett who stood on the edge of the dance floor alone. “What are you doing with a sturgeon?” Clara asked, and Bradley realized that she’d let go of his hand and now stood beside Melanie, the three of them forming a wall in front of him. “You bathe, don’t you?” She sniffed the air around him. “I’m not dirty,” he said. “And neither is he.” “Look at him,” Clara said. “He’s filthy.” Everett was poor, that was obvious, but he showered and kept his clothes clean, even if he couldn’t help when they didn’t fit. “I don’t hang out with him. Not anymore.” “You sure?” Clara asked. “Not in a while.” “That’s cause you’re our friend,” Jeremy said and slung his arm over Bradley’s shoulder. “Right?” “Yeah.” And he was, because Jeremy had taken him in right after he started at Brickton, told the other boys that he was okay, cool even. The boys had begun inviting him over to their houses for pool parties, and Bradley owed them. He’d never been in any pool but the pee filled public one he went to with Everett. Clara had only looked at Bradley with his Salvation Army clothes when Jeremy had said he was starting a new trend with old jeans and t-shirts no one else wanted. Jeremy called Bradley retro, and the others believed it. “Prove it,” Clara said. “Prove what?” “Prove you’re not his friend,” she said, “and I’ll kiss you.” “Okay,” he said. Clara leaned in. “Walk over to him and kick him in the nuts as hard as you can.” “Won’t that hurt him?” Bradley asked. “Just for a few minutes,” Clara said. “He’ll crumple and cry for his mommy. It’ll be funny.” “Not really,” Bradley said and looked to the others, but they followed along with Clara, laughing, Jeremy already cupping his own balls. He looked over his shoulder and saw Everett still standing on the edge of the dance floor, watching Bradley and his friends. He looked back to Jeremy, who smiled and raised his eyebrows. Bradley nodded and walked toward his old friend. Everett looked away as he approached, but Bradley stood in front of him and smiled. “We’re still friends,” he said. “Not really,” Everett said and looked over Bradley’s shoulder. He turned and saw his friends had inched closer and were watching. “We can hang out tomorrow,” Bradley said. Everett looked at him, a half smile on his lips, and shook his head. “You don’t 74 TR Spring 2015.indd 74

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| PROSE | have to pretend. It’s okay if you don’t like me anymore.” Bradley was almost mad at Everett and the way his eyes darted between him and his friends. “Your friends are waiting for you,” Everett said and cocked his head toward Jeremy and the girls. “You’re my friend too.” “You’re not acting like it.” Bradley realized he was in Everett’s space, toes meeting toes, his voice too loud, breath in his friend’s face. He stepped back, unclenched his fists, took a deep breath. “You know they’re not really your friends,” Everett said. “If you don’t do what they tell you, they won’t hang out with you anymore.” “How would you know?” Bradley asked. “It’s not like they’d even talk to you.” “Then do it,” Everett said. “Whatever it is, you can’t say no to them.” “No,” Bradley said. “I can’t.” Everett’s hands shook, and Bradley watched the way his friend clenched his eyes shut, opening himself to whatever Bradley had to offer. Their breaths were shallow, almost in unison. Bradley turned back to his friends who nodded and pretended to kick, their legs cutting through the air. Everett’s eyes were still closed, and his lips moved silently. Bradley pulled his leg back, took a deep breath, and stopped. He watched Everett’s chest rise and fall, his heart fluttering against his skinny chest, afraid and determined all at once. The way it did when he slept, his heart beating against his ribs. Bradley didn’t move. He glanced down at the floor and back to his old friend. Everett would never have asked him to kick Jeremy in the balls. He looked back to his new friends, Clara making kissing faces at him. Mr. Higgins moved through the dancers, pulling couples apart when they got too close. The DJ’s lights flashed and flickered across the gym, the lingering smell of socks and sweat out of place. He looked back to Everett, whose eyes were now open, watching him without expression. Bradley balled his hands into fists, pulled his foot back, and swung his leg forward as hard as he could. The toe of his shoe mashed into Everett’s crotch. Everett’s eyes widened before his legs folded underneath him, and he curled into the fetal position, both hands cupping his crotch. Tears ran down his cheeks as he rocked back and forth on the floor. Bradley watched Everett’s agony and couldn’t move. Jeremy and the girls crowded in on him, slapping him on the back. Clara wrapped her arms around his neck and planted a kiss on his mouth, but Bradley didn’t return it. His mouth remained slack, his eyes on Everett who lay still. Mr. Higgins came forward, knelt beside him and said something, but Everett didn’t respond. Instead, he turned his head to the side and vomited. Students backed up, whispering, their eyes darting between Bradley and Everett. Clara took hold of Bradley’s hand and tried to pull him away, but Bradley was rooted to the floor, paralyzed. He let go of Clara’s hand, and she backed away and joined the others. A circle of students had formed around Everett, Mr. Higgins, and Bradley. He stared at his friend’s prone body, then at the group. They stared back at him. Bradley pushed his way through the circle. Once outside the group that surrounded Everett, Bradley ran. Across the gym, out the double doors, and into the night. Bradley stopped at the edge of the road, took a gulp of 75 TR Spring 2015.indd 75

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| TULANE REVIEW | SPRING 2015 | air, and vomited into the gutter. Then, he sat on the curb and waited for someone to claim him.

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The God-Maker Ace Boggess

The first time I reached The Turning Point, I nearly bumped into her in the doorway. She stood there tall, regal and dressed in earth tones like the queen in a kingdom of mud. Golden as a crown, her hair hung straight and short, a glittering frame for a smile so sincere and soothing it seemed as if she held a projector on her tongue that spit beams of light wherever her lips would point. The only thing off about her, in her arms she held a stuffed purple alligator — two feet long and with a grin on its face easily the equal of hers. I met her gray-blue gaze then skipped back, embarrassed. She retreated also, held the door for me and refused to budge until she’d ushered me through into the AA clubhouse. I humbly passed by her, crossed the smoke-filled pool hall and headed for the meeting room where I found a seat in back, away from what I thought were sharp, judgmental eyes. That first meeting, I said nothing. I didn’t so much as mutter my name when the chairman asked if there were any new members. Instead, I sat there with my head down like a schoolboy stuck in the corner for spitballs and backtalk. I’m not sure I listened at all that day, and I can’t say for sure if the mud queen ever entered the room. The alligator made its appearance, however. I spotted it beside me out of the corner of my eye. Different arms held it: a man’s hairy, muscular arms. I thought little about it at the time. I sat dumbly through the meeting, then stood up and skipped out before the closing prayer. I moved so quickly I forgot to get my paper signed for the judge. I arrived too early the next night, so I sat in a shadowy corner of the clubhouse, hoping no one would notice the stupid young bastard serving penance for his second DUI. “Howdy, friend. Welcome, and keep coming back. What’s your name, partner?” “Uh...,” I stammered. “Take a breath and try again.” “Stanley Carl….” “Whoa. First names only. I’m Righteous.” “Beg your pardon?” I said. 77 TR Spring 2015.indd 77

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| TULANE REVIEW | SPRING 2015 | “That’s my name: Righteous.” “Seriously?” He grinned, laughed, then settled back into the grin. “Yeah, I get that a lot. No wonder I turned out to be an old alkeeholic. But enough about me. What’s your story, son?” “Me? I’m not…. No. Just here to get a paper signed for the judge.” “How many times?” “Uh….” I choked on the number. “Twenty.” “Driving drunk, eh? Second time? Can tell by the number.” I lowered my head. “Well, don’t fret about it. I got here on my first drunk-wreck. ‘Course, I’s drivin’ a loaded tanker at the time.” More laughter. I lifted my eyes to study his affable, grandfatherly face, blow-dried silver hair, and the fringe-covered leather jacket he wore. “Cheer up, son. Don’t sweat it. It ain’t that blue-bloody bad. You’ll see.” I nodded in acknowledgment more than reply. He talked to me for a while, made me feel comfortable. That helped me pay attention in the meeting. I still didn’t introduce myself, but at least I listened. Watched, too. I studied all the faces: happy faces, harsh faces, powerfully energetic faces, the faces of businessmen and born drunks, lawyers and ladies’ men, faces that could’ve belonged to carnies or clowns, soldiers, state senators or frustrated songwriters waiting for a break, so many faces — gray or flushed — brought low by bottles of anything, or whatever. I recognized all those faces now, though I’d never seen any of them before. More relaxed though I was, the discussion brought my discomfort back to me. It seemed pseudo-religious and preachy. Folks spoke up from around the room, sharing their different concepts of a god they claimed had kept them sober. I shivered at times, and held back a snarl at others. I wasn’t ready for any of that nonsense. “My name’s Righteous, and I’m an alkeeholic.” “Hello, Righteous,” sang the tragic chorus. “It’s not so much about that for me,” said Righteous. “This is a spiritual program. It took me a long time to get it. I denied God, then cursed God, but when I found a god I could understand, well, that’s when I started to recover ... not as an alkeeholic, but as a human being.” I tried not to cringe while he spoke. I didn’t want to hear what he was saying, but he seemed like a decent enough fellow, so I also didn’t want to offend him. All the same, I rejected his spiritual mumbo jumbo and thought, That’s it? THAT is their glorious scheme to keep people sober? I shook my head once, then caught myself and stopped, staring down at my scuffed loafers. After the meeting, I took the side exit straight into the alley beside the club. I stumbled over a pothole the size of a salad bowl, barely regained my balance, then looked up in time to see the blonde in a flowing white dress as she handed a much younger girl what looked like one of those dancing hamsters sold in supermarkets. Not turned on, it neither danced nor sang, though it showed its community spirit by wearing a Pittsburgh Pirates cap and jersey. The young girl stared at it, apparently shocked. I heard the blonde say something, but I couldn’t make out the words. Then she turned toward me as I got closer. I gave a curt nod, and she said, “God be with you.” 78 TR Spring 2015.indd 78

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| PROSE | “Yeah, uh ... you too,” I muttered. Lowering my head to avoid her gaze, I marched away into the night like a toy soldier with only a single path to follow. “Who’s she?” I asked, a couple nights later when I finally convinced myself it was time to go back. I sat in the club talking to Righteous when I spotted her entering like a wave of fog through the open door. She wore a gray dress so thin and delicate it made me think of spider webs. I studied her, searching for whatever strange toy she carried tonight, but her hands were empty. I glanced away in time to miss her stare, only to find myself caught by that of Righteous — an intimidating scowl on his lips. “Stay away,” he said. “Don’t go near that’n. She’s ... let’s say trouble and leave it there.” “You gotta give me more to go on than that.” “You’re young in your recovery, son. I can tell from the look in your eyes you don’t even know if you’re one of us yet. Even if you did, I’m not sure you’d need her crafty kind of voodoo messing with your mind.” He smiled, reassuring. I shook my head. I felt angry about his condescending attitude. “Listen, Righteous, I’m the type of guy who needs to know. You tell me don’t talk to her but don’t tell me why, and the first thing I’m gonna do is chat her up to find out the truth.” “That’s the sort of thing that’ll get you drunk,” he said. I shrugged. “All right, son. I’ll tell you just to keep you sober one more day.” “Deal,” I said. He hesitated, glancing around at all the pale yellow tables as if worried someone might overhear. Leaning down, he whispered, “That’s Evelyn. Don’t know her last initial, and don’t know if she’s ever said it. She’s a drunk like us, and a junky, too.” “That’s why you don’t like her?” I asked. “Huh? Shee-it, no. Most of us done a little sniffin’n poppin’ on the side before we got here. The day and age, son….” “Oh,” I exhaled. “Sides, I never said I didn’t like her. Hell fire, I like everybody. I said she’s trouble, that’s all. Especially for a pigeon like you.” “Pigeon?” I said. “Newcomer,” he told me. “Isn’t that what they call the mark in a con?” He snarled. “Okay, so how’s she trouble?” “I know what you’re thinking there, Stanley, but it’s not that.” He winked at me, then paused to watch as a tall man in a striped pink shirt came through the door, scanned the room, shook his head and left. “Probably thought it was a bar. We get that sometimes.” He stopped again. Scratching his chin, he said, “Anyway, there’s this thing about Evelyn. The old-timers around here have another name for her. It’s not very nice, but it does seem to fit.” “What is it?” “They call her the idol-maker.” 79 TR Spring 2015.indd 79

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| TULANE REVIEW | SPRING 2015 | “Idol-maker?” He nodded. “Yep. Even to her face.” “I know there’s got to be a story behind that one,” I said. “Sure is, and it’s a story that’s still going on.” He told me she had a few years of sobriety under her belt, and she’d really taken the program to heart. “The foundation of our fellowship is each of us finding a higher power to believe in, keep us safe and guide us. Lots of us come in believe’n in nothin’ and nobody, and the Big Book tells us we gotta start believe’n if we want to stay off the whiskey. We don’t care who you choose for a higher power, or what—even if it’s a doorknob. Well, she took that idea a little too seriously and just sort of ran with it.” “How do you mean?” He told me, “She invents gods for folks who ain’t got one.” “That’s absurd,” I said. “Maybe. But when you don’t believe in anything, why not take a chance on something silly?” I held out my hands, gesturing for him to stop. “Hold on, Righteous. You said she was trouble, but now you sound like you agree with her and what she’s doing.” He laughed, deep and slow — sinister. “Believe? Don’t know about that. But I tried her game once, and in some sick, twisted way, I think she actually helped me — crazy old fool that I am.” Righteous told me how he’d gone to Evelyn the idol-maker for help. “She told me to give her money,” he said. “Not to keep, and no particular amount. The more I gave her, she promised, the better my new god would be. So, I gave her thirty bucks I’d been keeping in my boot as a secret stash — you know, just in case I said To heck with this, I’m gettin’ good’n drunk. In a way, that was a step in the right direction. “Anyway, I met up with her the next night, and...” He stopped long enough to laugh. “...she gave me this...oh, I’m embarrassed to say it. She gave me this blue and white platform boot like they wore back in them disco days. It had a fish bowl for the raised part. And...” Another laugh. “...in it was this scrawny little goldfish with white spots all over him like he’d been shot by a paintball gun. Ugly fellow. If a fish could be an alkeeholic like us, I swear to you, son, I’d’ve bet on that’n.” I shook my head, stopping him. “She gave you a disco boot with a goldfish in it?” “Sure did.” “I’m almost afraid to ask….” “You wanna know why?” I nodded. “That was my god,” he explained. “She told me straight up, ‘This is your new god. You didn’t have one to believe in, but now you do. His name is Inkblot, and this is his heaven. However, he travels the universe as well. Move him from the shoe into a bowl for at least a couple hours a day.’” “That’s disturbing,” I said. “Better believe it, son. Smacked me so hard it nearly knocked me bow-legged. She told me the entire story about the great god Inkblot. Shit fire, son, I thought she’d lost her flippin’ brain. But you know what? I was desperate to stay sober. Desperate as a grass-chewin’ cow in a blizzard. So I took a chance and accepted Inkblot into my life.” “Ridiculous,” I said. 80 TR Spring 2015.indd 80

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| PROSE | “No, true story.” “Ridiculous,” I said again. “We have a rule around these rooms, son: never judge another man’s god. I didn’t have one before Inkblot came along. I took it as a joke at first, but I gave it a try. Damned if it didn’t help me, too. Gave me a line on some spiritual stuff. Know what I’m saying?” “Not a clue,” I said. He rubbed his chin and grinned. “Don’t worry about it. Keep coming back. You’ll get it.” I tried not to mock him with laughter, then tried harder not to scowl. “What happened, anyway? What became of your goldfish god?” “Died.” I shook my head, no longer fighting the laugh or the scowl. “Yeah, forgot to take him out of the shoe for a couple days.” “Sorry,” I muttered, covering my mouth. “It was crazy. I nearly got drunk over it. Came down here that night shoutin’, “God is dead! God is dead! Woe is me — the man who killed God….” I went back to the clubhouse a dozen times over the next three weeks. I started to feel at home in that dirty brown room with its coffee-stained walls and chairs comfortable only because they were old and broken in. Before long, I knew all the faces in the photos of the AA founders, and I remembered all the banners on the wall urging Keep It simple and One day at a time. I still couldn’t say I was happy to be there, but at least I’d grown comfortable. I saw the idol-maker half a dozen times, trying not to stare. It wasn’t easy, especially the evening she bent her form over the red felt of the pool table. Her body looked slender and well-defined, despite the baggy khaki cargo pants she wore. Shivering, I turned away. Righteous met my gaze and grinned that now-familiar grin of his, free and full of life. Was that grin because I was looking at her shapely body or just because I was looking at her? I didn’t ask, and he didn’t say. Then he pulled me aside and whispered, “You know, son, on second thought maybe you should talk to her. If you’re really one of us alkeeholics, maybe it’ll do you some good. Know what I mean? And if you ain’t one of us ... who knows? Should be fun to watch it either way.”

“I’ve seen you around.” I nodded. “Likewise.” “You always look like somebody kicked your dog today.” Her tone never menaced, instead promising empathy in the tender breath sounds forming every word. She stood outside in the alley under an arc lamp, her hair cast in bright gold even under the dull yellow light. Her blue eyes pierced the night like bayonets, cutting me open as well. “Do you feel lost and lonely?” “Sometimes,” I confessed. She didn’t ask which times. Lifting her eyes toward the overcast sky, she said, “I take it you haven’t found a higher power yet.” Not giving me time to answer, she 81 TR Spring 2015.indd 81

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| TULANE REVIEW | SPRING 2015 | added, “You’re talking to the right person...that is, if you want one — if you want to stop feeling all alone.” I kept quiet. She took that as a sign. “Well, you didn’t swear at me. A good start.” “So, how does this work?” I said at last. She met my gaze again, soothing and wounding me. “You give me money, and I give you a god.” “What kind of god?” She winced. “Okay, then how much money?” “That’s up to you. Everybody gets exactly the god they need, and it costs only what each person can afford. I take it you have money?” “Money’s no problem. I’m a lawyer.” “Good. Then let me ask you this. Do you believe in a god?” I kept silent again. “No?” she said, smiling and reassuring me. “Let’s say three hundred.” “Dollars?” I gasped. “You’re a lawyer,” she said. “You can afford it. That’s just an hour’s work for you. It also means you need a better god if it’s to be any help. Three hundred sounds about right. So, pay up...and you can meet me back here tomorrow at this same time.” “I...,” I began. “I...,” I continued. “I….” I reached for my wallet. “Don’t worry,” she said. “Best money you’ve ever spent in your life.” “How may I help you?” The robot’s red eyes fluttered, and its tiny, square head whirred from side to side. Its voice sounded like a customer service recording from the phone company as heard through a coffee can with a hole in the end. “What’s this?” I asked. The robot replied, “Does not register. How may I help you?” Evelyn sat the robot down. It stood calf-high to me, took two steps forward, repeated its message, whirred and then went silent. The idol-maker said, “Shut down,” and the robot went to sleep. “Uhm,” I said, but nothing more. “Let me intoduce you to Zao Tzu, your new god.” I laughed. I couldn’t control it. “Not a good start,” said Evelyn. “Laughing at your new god? Could bring his wrath down on you. Beware of his fury.” “He’s gonna smite me?” She grinned, an electric arc in the darkened alley. “Okay,” I said after a long silence. “What am I supposed to do?” “Wait,” she told me. “First, I need to tell you about Zao Tzu. Zao Tzu was created by the universe in the same instant he created it. He was part of the infinite dust speck that became the Big Bang. In the moment he awoke to consciousness, his desire to escape caused the explosion that brought all matter into being.” “An all-powerful god made in China?” I joked, smirking. “Oh, no,” she rebutted. “Zao Tzu’s not omnipotent. In fact, his powers are very limited.” “Then what good is he?” 82 TR Spring 2015.indd 82

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| PROSE | “Whatever his limits,” she replied, “he’s still more powerful than you.” I wanted to keep laughing, but I didn’t get the sense she was joking. I stared at the dripping honey of her hair and hid for a breath in the warm lagoons that filled her eyes. We both kept silent for a long time before I finally nodded in resignation. She stretched out her hand and ran her knuckles down my cheek. Her touch felt like a soothing breeze that stroked my skin at the exact moment someone stabbed me in the back with an icicle. I felt elated and terrified like I’d just been healed and might break loose in a frenzy of tremors at any moment. I couldn’t speak or move, and couldn’t sing...which, oddly, was what I suddenly felt like doing most. Evelyn the idol-maker pulled away, smiled a different smile — motherly — and said, “It’s very simple what you have to do. Charge Zao Tzu for an hour a day. Other than that, just pray to him for help in the morning and say thanks before you go to bed. That’s all there is to it. Just don’t forget to charge him up. Don’t forget to plug him into the power.” Over the next few months, I saw her often. I kept going to meetings long after I’d met the requirements for court, and parts of me began to buy in to the program. But she gave me an added reason to attend. I wanted to learn more about this new religion she’d made for me. I needed information, instructions, anything that could guide me along the way. The blond goddess, however, showed no interest in following up on my relationship with the god she’d made for me. She often said hello in passing, and a few times we shared a brief conversation on general thisand-that, philosophies of nothing and the moon. Rarer still, she greeted me with a smile and a hug, squeezing so tightly I wondered if we were best friends in another life. Yet there was never a mention of the robot god. Too bad. If Evelyn had asked, I’d’ve told her Zao Tzu pissed me off almost every day. I’d followed her instructions, praying in the morning. “Help me, Zao Tzu,” I said. “How may I help you?” he replied. Then, at night, I said, “Thanks for keeping me sober today.” “Does not register,” he replied. “How may I help you?” Sometimes, I answered. “I want a drink of that clear, white whiskey. Please stop me.” “Does not register. How may I help you?” “Fix my life. It’s falling apart.” “Does not register. How may I help you?” “I’m depressed.” “Does not register. How may I help you?” “My ex-wife’s lawyer called....” “Does not register....” “Gaaaah! I’m pulling my hair out and wanna throw myself off a tall building.” “Does not.... Does not.... Does not....” I kicked my god often. He kicked me back whenever I was down: “Does not register. How may I help you?” Without the instruction book, I never figured out exactly what Zao Tzu was designed to do. Other than ignore me in a loud, obnoxious way, the only things he seemed good at were breaking small items, walking into walls, and startling the 83 TR Spring 2015.indd 83

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| TULANE REVIEW | SPRING 2015 | cat with surprising frequency — I often heard a shrill cry, followed by a hiss and the sight of Wally, an orange and white blur, racing around the corner and down the hall. Immediately after the cat’s disappearance, that familiar voice always chanted its irritating mantra: “Does not register. How may I help you?” “I want my money back!” “I’m sorry,” she said, voice warm and friendly, eyes filled with peace. “No refunds or exchanges.” My eyes, in contrast, were twin howitzers firing shells toward the sky. Not at her, of course. As furious as I was, I still couldn’t direct any menace toward her. “I’m serious. I want my money back. And you can take this...thing.” I held the slightly dented robot out with both arms. “It’s worthless. I want to smash that damned bastard into a thousand pieces.” She laughed as usual. “Are you mocking me?” “I always find it funny when people get so desperate they curse their gods.” “That’s not a god,” I exclaimed. “It’s a Chinese robot, and not even a particularly good one.” The intensity of my scowl could’ve disproven a thousand deities and still had enough juice left to blow away whatever devil it is that steals more souls in traffic than all the whorehouses and opium dens of the world. Evelyn never surrendered her easy charm. She always seemed like the sky wasn’t falling, even as the rest of us raced to get out of the way of the moon. “Activate,” she said. The robot whirred and squirmed in my hands. It bleated out its useless promise. “Isn’t it adorable?” said Evelyn. “Shut down,” I said. Then, to her: “It’s not adorable any more than it’s a god.” “Activate,” she said. “Whirr...How may I help you?” “Looks like both to me.” She brushed a hand across the robot’s forehead, accidentally stroking my arm with her small finger. Too numb for chills or delight, I shouted, “Shut down,” followed by, “You don’t know what you’re talking about. That thing is the most annoying piece of junk I’ve ever seen.” “Activate.” “Whirr...How may I...?” “Shut down. Would you please stop that?” She giggled. Not laughed this time. She actually giggled like a young girl in love. It’s the only real crack I’d ever seen in her detachment. “This is so....” I stopped dead. Those childish sounds she made disarmed me. “Yes?” she said between short bursts. “It’s so....” “Go on.” “Oh, never mind. Don’t worry about the money. Thank you for the robot. I’d greatly appreciate it if you’d take it back now.” I held it toward her again. She accepted it lovingly, smiled and said, “What about your god? What about Zao Tzu?” I shook my head. “That’s not a god. Just a toy robot. A poorly built mechanical 84 TR Spring 2015.indd 84

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| PROSE | menace.” “How do you know it’s not a god?” she asked. “I just do.” “But how...?” “Because I picture God as something just a little bit greater than that.” She stopped giggling and blushed, but kept grinning as if she’d just seen nude pictures of a clown. “What?” I said. “Congratulations,” she replied. “For what?” “Looks like you’re not really an atheist after all.” “I....” I stood there dumb and silent, sober yet drunk with confusion. “Hey, Evelyn,” a female voice shouted from across the room. I turned slightly and saw a young girl in red standing over by the coffee pots. “Want some joe?” she asked. The idol-maker warmly replied, “Set it on the floor by your feet.” The young brunette didn’t question, following the instructions she’d been given. Evelyn also placed her parcel on the floor. “Activate,” she said, and the robot came to life. “How may I help you?” “Cup,” said Evelyn. The robot marched in slow, steady strides across the floor, picked up the tiny white cup with amazing gentleness and ease, turned and strolled back to Evelyn. It moved without tremors or the clumsiness I’d seen from it so often. Not a single drop of coffee spilled onto the floor. I stared on, even more dumbfounded that before. Sighing, I said, “Well, I’ll be damned.” Evelyn’s gentle fingers brushed my shoulder. She leaned down and whispered in my ear. “Maybe,” she said, “and maybe not. At least for today you’ve got a chance.”

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| TULANE REVIEW | SPRING 2015 |

The Singing Tree Shawn Goldberg

sit alone in a quiet room dimly lit for five minutes before beginning 1. Holding hands... jumped off a bridge. Swam to safety, escaped to the woods. Peacefully lived in a cabin. After tending to the garden, another day’s work complete, the man and the woman would stroll the rolling countryside, its verdancy shining horizon to horizon. This time, wandering a way never before wandered, they heard a faint croon somewhere ahead where vague traces of a beaten path were followed, and beyond a brook surrounded by poplars, and wading through patches of rhododendron and verbena, and sundering sprawling brushes of spoonwood and blackberry bush, finally parting like a curtain a wall of willows to discover towering tall and glorious The Singing Tree, singing the popular oldie Love Me to the River. The Singing Tree gestured a welcoming wink, developed a more acute curve to its crescent smile, and belted out with all its might, Hands cradled A campfire Its branches tossed and swung, its leaves vibrated and shook. Love me To the river Its black eyes bulged, its wood-grain tongue waggled. Swim to me Young lover, swim Love me Its trunk rocked elastically back and forth. Love me To the river Reverberating in their chests was its voice, enchanting, soothing. 86 TR Spring 2015.indd 86

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| PROSE | Love me To the river They were speechless. - Well? What do you think? They broke into applause, and The Singing Tree sang again Love Me to the River. Upon finishing, they clapped even harder. - You have the most beautiful voice. - Yes, beautiful. - It hasn’t been easy. Put in a lot of hours of practice. - Is that the only song you know? - I know thousands of songs. Every genre. But today I feel like singing my favorite song. Two young lovers once parked their car beneath me and made love and this song was on the radio. Singing it really takes me back. From then on, every dusk they entered the wall of willows to listen to The Singing Tree. One day, after a medley of Sinatra, ending with My Way, that brought tears to their eyes, the man repeated what the woman had said the evening before, - If only we lived closer and could hear you sing all day long. - You really mean that? Gracefully the woman knelt to kiss its soil, and The Singing Tree unplucked its roots, which it used like tentacles to progress in spastic slides of momentum, trailing behind the man and the woman in moonlight that showered a sheen of silver upon their silhouettes, and transplanted into the warm earth outside their cabin. 2. The woman gave birth to a girl the man named America, but America did not look normal. Suffered from holoprosencephaly, a malformation of the cerebral hemispheres, resulting in a singular anterior hemisphere of the brain. Quite freakish were her mid-line facial features: a sliver of nose cartilage beneath a single eye that drooped from the base of her forehead; in short, a cyclops. By day, while the woman cared after America, the man toiled diligently to raise the crops, and although on opposite sides of their property, their thoughts miles apart, they hummed in harmony to The Singing Tree. Nighttime, resting his weary limbs in soft grass, enthralled by the dazzling range of its timbres, he smoked his pipe. The woman would put America to sleep and join them, curling beside the man, dreamily skating her nails across the bold definitions of his forearms. And The Singing Tree noticed how its midnight serenades were interrupted – how panicked and swift the man and the woman urgently raced off – whenever from cabin windows did detonate America’s jarring screeches. Some weeks later, after a heartfelt rendition of Solomon Burke’s Electronic Magnetism, The Singing Tree cleared its throat and sobbed perfectly a pitch of pure misery, a shrill tantrum that pummeled their eardrums, mimicking the mewl of a newborn. - Singing Tree, what’s wrong? - Don’t you like my new song? America sings like that and you rush to listen to her. - No Singing Tree, she’s crying, it means she needs something. - Or she’s uncomfortable. 87 TR Spring 2015.indd 87

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| TULANE REVIEW | SPRING 2015 | - Yes, uncomfortable. - My mouth feels a little dry, maybe my mouth is a little dry, and it emitted in an operatic baritone, warming up its vocal chords, - Mee mee mee mee... mee mee mee mee... mee mee mee mee... mee mee mee mee... and then splattered out chokes, snorts, spittle, and unleashed a series of bloodcurdling wails, howls of crisis, the frequency glass-shattering, and the echo sounded demented and horrendous, heaving a sense of threat and turmoil throughout the wilderness like a wicked gale. Birds fled treetop nests. Critters and insects burrowed frantically into inaccessible nooks. Predators yowled and scurried for safety. Blurry colonies of bats swooped overhead in chaotic patterns. Blinking bewildered, the man and the woman grimaced, thumbs corked in ears, and what flashed through the woman’s mind the crazy idea the full moon might crack in half and crumble from the sky. The Singing Tree’s superb weeping, in a whine of confused stammering, attenuated to silence, and it added matter-of-factly, - I know you adore America’s singing more than mine. But the man and the woman were already hustling toward the cabin, where America was awake, crying, her shriek like an eagle’s. When they returned, in unison they shouted toward the outskirts of their homestead, - Wait! Don’t go! Please! Don’t go! Wait! The Singing Tree twisted around, darkness sketching the feeble wilt of its posture, though shrouding the assembly of its glance. Gloomily murmured, - You’re still my favorite audience... fading into a receding fog. 3. The cabin was in derelict condition, its structure slanting and askew, holes puncturing its roof. Not a sprout sprang from the garden once lush. In a yard of dust a young boy played with sticks, his eyes goggling surprise, absolutely stunned, at the sudden appearance of The Singing Tree, who was not a bit unchanged but for the eye-patch covering its left eye. Exploding furiously from the cabin, a woman waving a shotgun threateningly, barking, - Off my land! You sons of bitches ain’t gonna scare me off my... until she stood in the puddle of The Singing Tree’s enormous shadow, and as her sole eye fixed upward in wonder she stuttered, - It’s you. You’re real. - America! Greetings. My, you have grown. And who’s this little guy? Still thunderstruck, - This is Gadsden, she muttered. - Gadsden! Greetings to you. Gadsden trembled with fear. Astonished America, - I never believed you were real. - Where are your folks? I’d love to say hi. America pointed the firearm beyond the cabin to the sun-bleached field flourishing with tumbleweeds, where rested two tombstones, - Gone since before the boy born. The Singing Tree released a sigh like whoosh of wind. Inside his shirt Gadsden hid his head. Tenderly patting his back, - Don’t be afraid. This is an old friend. Say hello to The Singing Tree. Like a cautious turtle he eased his face outside his thin cotton shell. Meekly, 88 TR Spring 2015.indd 88

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| PROSE | Hey there, Mr. Singing Tree. The Singing Tree laughed, and the laugh rippled and creaked up its trunk, wiggled to the tips of its branches, rattled its mass of leaves, - That’s hilarious! Mr. Singing Tree, ha! No no, Gadsden, I’m no mister. - What happened to your eye? he squeaked. - Gadsden! America scolded. - Oh America, that’s alright. He’s a curious boy, and The Singing Tree focused on the sun, - What do you think happened? - Woodpecker, woodpecker got peeved at you. With a jocular smirk, - Would you believe for a time I was a pirate? and needed to blend in? 4. Atop a steep hill outlined by sherbet sunrise. - Singing Tree, will you sing me a song? - Oh America, I haven’t done that for years. You see, in the big city... She waited for The Singing Tree to continue, and when it didn’t, - What? Why don’t you sing anymore? Immense despair lingered in his one good eye, and a tear of sap escaped from beneath the eye-patch, - Twas a hard life, much harder than I expected. I am totally at a loss to understand the reasons why I was rudely treated by so many. Awful might be a better word. I can summarize it simply as this, and here The Singing Tree quivered with sadness, slurring like a drunkard, - I wanted to show the world something spectacular. Make the road less tedious. Give people a moment outside themselves. Forget about everything, their lives, their desires, responsibilities, memories, the world. Uplift their hearts. Gently placing her hands on a knot in the middle of its trunk, - It’s okay, it’s okay. Sniffling like the shuffle of rustling leaves between - I know, I know... and after coughing twice, the hoarseness and dolor were no longer detectable, - Wow, I feel like I’m doing all the talking here. Tell me, America, how are you? What’s been going on with you? Crestfallen, - My husband died in the war. - That’s terrible! Wrenching her hands, - Now the bank wants to take my land. - What! In a low groan, - They won’t let me alone, and her tone ached with grief, - I owe a lot of money. Make ends meet I took out a loan. Used the land as collateral. Then locusts came and wiped out my harvest. If I don’t pay by first of next month, bank will own everything. As if a foul taste rolled about The Singing Tree’s tongue, - So money. Money. That’s your problem. She was shuddering, - Haven’t a clue what to do. I feel cursed. - How’s that old saying go? About it not growing on trees... And with that, The Singing Tree yawned wide its maw and spewed forth a torrent of hundred dollar bills, which assembled in squared stacks at America’s feet. Gleefully screamed, - Holy shit! Then The Singing Tree belched beastly and spat out two gold bars. 89 TR Spring 2015.indd 89

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| TULANE REVIEW | SPRING 2015 | America paid her debts, renovated the cabin, and purchased the adjacent property. Had enough money leftover to hire a worker to help her cultivate the crops. 5. Gadsden had a plethora of toys to keep him occupied, and his favorite place to lounge with his playthings was in the dappled shade of The Singing Tree. - Hey there, Singin Tree. - What’s up, buddy? - You should really change your name if you’re not going to sing anymore. - Say... what should I change it to? - I don’t know. Super Tree? I like that... oh... but you don’t fly... or can you? - That’s a thing I was never able to master. - Also you don’t have X-ray vision. Singin Tree? When are you going to sing again? - It’s complicated. - What’s so complicated? - Gadsden? - Yup. - Can I tell you a secret? - Yup yup. - Gadsden? - Yup. - Can you keep a secret? - Of course. You’re my best friend, Singin Tree. I won’t tell a soul, and across his lips he pulled his thumb and forefinger as if closing an invisible zipper. - I can still sing. But I can only sing for people that are truly in love. - What about when you were in the big city? Must’ve been tons of people in love there. - You’re right. In the big city tons of people are in love. But I’m talking about truly in love. You see, most people are in love for only selfish reasons. They love only to get something from the other person. - But some of them must’ve been truly truly in love. - You’re right. You are right. A scant few were truly truly in love, but they didn’t like the songs I was singing. - Really? - They’d stop me in the middle and request a different song. As I am they did not want me. Didn’t like what I was doing. They’d tell me to change the tune. And I’m not a fucking jukebox! Unfazed by the outburst, not frightened or upset, but scanned his surroundings left, right, left, to ensure his mother out of earshot, elsewhere, and after a pause, with a cupped hand beside his mouth he whispered, - Big city people sound like assholes. 6. Gadsden and The Singing Tree recognized the muteness of melody was in fact a veritable blessing, a benefit whose motives were notably harmonized and to be mutually shared, because on that fabled day the singing would return, Gadsden’s 90 TR Spring 2015.indd 90

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| PROSE | beloved would be rightfully revealed. Whenever he got serious with a gal, he made it a point to introduce her to The Singing Tree, who, sadly, never felt an iota of impulse to sing, although afterward for each would always have to admit she was a real peach, and Gadsden would suffer a severe bout of melancholy, for now, in his mind, the spacious golden vista of a happy future was marked and discolored by murky mists. Knew what he had to do, would have to sever the relationship. Despite establishing a romantic bond remarkable, and sensing something just right, he believed wholeheartedly this was the genuine test of compatibility. But finally, it happened, that magic moment... unlike any other... Cathay her name. When The Singing Tree saw the two together, their auras were stitched into one, and skimming along its soap-bubble surface, where the hem overlapped, twitched slithering strikes of voltage and minute ribbons of psychedelic flames, and the response automatic as instinct. At first, The Singing Tree’s delivery (of David Bowie’s Moonage Daydream) cracked a little, fighting through a slight frog in the throat, croaking out, I’m an alligator, but when it reached the lyrics Keep your mouth shut, the cobwebs had cleared away, the rust had vanished. Between each syllable there graced its Cheshire smile. Just like the old days. By the end of the year Gadsden and Cathay were married and planned to depart west to start their own lives. From the cabin’s porch, while watching the young lovers drive toward a horizon glossy and pale as a cataract, America waved goodbye, gushing affectionate tears free of sorrow, and The Singing Tree sang Andrea Bocelli’s Con Te Partiro, its demeanor merry as when drenched in sunbeams, understanding that Gadsden’s innate crave to set out and quilt a destiny designed by his own will was the way of his flesh. 7. Gadsden was a man wrinkled more than his years when he finally came home. - Where is my mother? Am I in time? The Singing Tree moaned like a gust before a thunderstorm, - Oh Gadsden, oh Gadsden, she passed away last night, and crushed a hug upon him, - I read your letter. I’m sorry about Cathay. Against its rough bark his cheeks were stinging, - The cancer was rapid. She barely suffered, and he squirmed out of its leafy grasp. His eyes were subdued and sad, as if in this breath he was contemplating his entire life, but the pondering and the reflection were quickly dismissed from his gaze when he spat on the ground and uttered calmly yet bitterly, - Life sometimes deals you a string of rotten hands. A tremor of worry, - Will you stay? The farm is yours. Staring thoughtfully into its one good eye, - You are now the only thing to live for. What The Singing Tree saw next made his mouth gradually hang agape. At the center of Gadsden’s chest pulsed a spark, stirring and whirling and expanding into a pear-shaped glow, that vividly intensified and throbbed jagged into a dense ivory blaze, and this luster further brightened as it steadily spiraled forth from his heart. Boundless his love visibly projected outward, crafting the stamp of an intricate mandala, pinwheeling in neon hues, its vibrancy and size outgrowing his 91 TR Spring 2015.indd 91

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| TULANE REVIEW | SPRING 2015 | dimensions, radiating beyond the geometry of his body, unfurling from his depths even without Cathay’s presence. The Singing Tree blissfully cackled, - No. That is not true. Believe me, and on its lowest limb abruptly ripened a red fruit. A flabbergasted expression was frozen on Gadsden’s face, - Has that ever happened before? - Not in a long time. Gadsden plucked the fruit and took a great big bite, and The Singing Tree deliberately hummed unhurriedly the opening bars of Book of Love, clicked its tongue, and burst into a breathtaking version of the song – made famous in 1958 by The Monotones – as twilight squashed a velvet sky upon remaining smears of peach and amber embraced across the landscape. Behind the stout stalks and bushy vegetation of the harvest, to gather and swirl around them to the song’s rhythm, emerged numerous rows of purplewigged ballerinas in rainbow tutus, twirling on tip-toes, clutching sparklers between their teeth, followed by cowboys spinning rope tricks, peacocks fanning their plumage, hula girls imitating the sway of wind and water, Uncle Sams on stilts. Children wearing Superman costumes and hotdog costumes and blinding-white Elvis jumpsuits tossed handfuls of flower petals aqua, fuchsia, and hot pink that scattered and floated in the air like glittering confetti. Weaving throughout in a figure-eight pattern were stone-faced Rosie the Riveters hoisting flags red and blue and gigantic black and white photographs of skyscrapers and muscle cars. A collegiate marching band, animated like it was halftime at the homecoming game, snaked about the jumble of activity, their multitude of drums and brass instruments accompanying The Singing Tree’s rising volume. Flooding the scene en masse were huge papier-mâché Groucho Marx heads, bears balancing on medicine balls, back flipping clowns, Abe Lincolns on unicycles, standard poodles riding elephants, obese tabbies riding donkeys, sailors in spotless navy blues juggling plump Florida oranges, gold men breathing fire. In every direction spread day-glow bikini-clad hula-hoopers, carnival strongmen in leopard-print leotards effortlessly lifting massive barbells, cartwheeling cheerleaders, clusters of roosters, does, hares, klondike prospectors in coonskin caps leaping and bounding and carelessly throwing cigarettes and donuts, barefoot Huck Finns clattering spoons and makeshift noisemakers, Buddy Hollys doing the twist with pony-tailed teenyboppers in polka-dotted skirts, and between the gaps in the revelry elevated rotating platforms, where bronzed beauties in domino masks flailed and writhed in kiddie pools overflowing with cash, buffalo wings, french fries. Long chorus lines of Vegas showgirls, bejeweled in star-spangled wardrobes, eye-high kicked in perfect unison, and zooming by went George Washingtons on motorcycles popping wheelies. This dizzying spectacle, synchronized in nuanced choreography precise and guided as a clockwork of gears, reeled about in a kaleidoscope of mirth and hoopla, their stamina enduring and unyielding. The shadows were giant and smooth, and during the song’s finale – as the pageantry’s velocity reached a crescendo of turbulence that would have disoriented a seasoned dervish – in the distance drained away sunset’s last dab of color. … … … 92 TR Spring 2015.indd 92

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| PROSE | … Darkness. ... … A galactic blankness. … … … … yet from this limbo surged a frenzy of applause... … … Thundering, deafening. Unrestrained. From the starless vacancy, resounding the outbreak of raucous yells roaring emphatically, - Encore! Encore! Bravo! … … Ringing out from the void, - Bravo! Bravo! Encore! … … Enthusiastically trumpeting, - Encore! Bravo! Encore! Hovering from peaks impossible to identify, spotlights illuminated the throng, their ovation wild, hysterical, the atmosphere pure rapture. Capacity of energy and fervor somehow swelled well beyond its previous magnitude of ear-aching elation into a peal of delirious dissonance that endangered their hearing. Like lunatics they convulsed and flung their arms ecstatically into the air. Crisscrossing above the pandemonium, flocks and flocks of Prohibition-era flappers sailed aloft on butterfly wings composed of lightweight fabrics fashioned after stained glass windows in the style of art nouveau. Fireworks, one after the other, immense, carving fluorescent zigzags, asterisks, vectors, consumed the background, and this succession of eruptions drowned out the copious dinging and clinking of champagne glasses raised, kissing rims, and the toasts of chin-chin, chin-chin, salud, cheers. After taking a bow, The Singing Tree launched into I’ll Be Your Mirror. As if glazed in dew, all were gleaming. All were waltzing and singing along, orbiting Gadsden and The Singing Tree. And here suddenly to him gliding out from the swarm of traffic were his grandparents and his mother and father, youthful and in their prime, and Cathay was there too grinning beautiful and toothy, dressed like the Statue of Liberty, and behind her stepped Gadsden as a young boy, in a babyblue tuxedo, who The Singing Tree lifted up into its shimmering emerald canopy, where at the edges of its highest boughs he tipped his top hat and commenced to tap dance.

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Contributors Austin Aviles is a photographer and a current student at Virginia Commonwealth University in the heart of Richmond, Virginia. In his work, he tends to focus on the photography of nature and of people in their daily routines. Richmond provides a unique and wonderful contrast and integration of natural settings merged with the urban life of the city, providing the perfect grounds for his current work. Allison Baker is currently at the Rhode Island School of Design pursuing a Masters in Fine Art (sculpture). She completed a B.A. in Gender Studies and Human Sexuality as well as a B.F.A. in Sculpture from Indiana University. The seed that germinates her work is often a feeling of pathos. She is interested in confronting her own profound hypocrisy and wrestling with her presence within an ambiguous state, the grey area between desire and action. Michael Barach’s poems and essays appear in various publications, including The Cincinnati Review, Mayday, Meridian, River Styx, Salamander, Sport Literate, and elsewhere.  Michael earned an MFA from UC Irvine and a PhD from Florida State University.  He is the Co-Poetry Editor of Juked and an employee of the Florida Department of Education in Tallahassee, where he lives with his wife, Brandi.  Amy Blacketter is a graphic design student at Louisiana State University who is actively involved in the art community and serves as the vice president of the Graphic Design Student Association. She has won multiple awards recognizing her graphic design work and had three pieces of artwork selected to be in the 2015 LSU Juried Student Art Show. She is also a volunteer for the non-profit organization Campaign for Community: Future’s Fund.  CL Bledsoe is the author of a dozen books, most recently the poetry collection Riceland and the novel Man of Clay. He lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.  Ace Boggess is the author of two books of poetry: The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2014) and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (Highwire Press, 2003).  He is an ex-con, ex-husband, ex-reporter and completely exhausted

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by all the things he isn’t anymore. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, Atlanta Review, RATTLE, River Styx, Southern Humanities Review and many other journals, with recent fiction in Coe Review and NEBO.  He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.  A native Ohioan, Carl Boon teaches literature and directs the English Prep School at Istanbul Yeni Yuzyil University. Recent or forthcoming poems appear in The Adirondack Review, Posit, and Rain, Party, Disaster Society.  Kierstin Bridger is a Colorado writer and winner of the Mark Fischer Poetry Prize. She is editor of Ridgway Alley Poems, co-director of Open Bard Poetry Series and contributing writer for Telluride Inside and Out. Her work can be found in upcoming editions of Fugue and The Lascaux Review Poetry Anthology. Find her also at Prime Number, Memoir, Thrush Poetry Journal, Mason’s Road, Pilgrimage, and elsewhere. She received her MFA degree at Pacific University. Rebecca Buglio was born in Chicago, Illinois and is currently attending Rhode Island School of Design to obtain her Masters in Ceramics. She is an alum of Berry College, in Rome, Georgia where she majored in art with concentrations in art education and studio art: ceramics. Her current art focuses on decay and the beauty that can grow over time, giving new meaning to an object. John Michael Byrd holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studio Arts from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and is also an alumnus of Louisiana State University with a BFA in Painting and Drawing. Byrd’s two-dimensional work compels viewers with a vibrating, sensual use of color and line, and transports us to a realm somewhere between reality and artificiality, what is familiar and what we fear.   Monika Daniels is from Alexandria, Louisiana. She’s a junior at Tulane studying Anthropology and English and one of her future goals is to work at the Smithsonian Institution. Graphic artist and painter Allen Forrest was born in Canada and bred in the U.S. He has created cover art and illustrations for literary publications and books. He is the winner of the Leslie Jacoby Honor for Art at San Jose State University’s Reed Magazine, and his Bel Red painting series is part of the Bellevue College Foundation’s permanent art collection. Forrest’s expressive drawing and painting style is a mix of avant-garde expressionism and post-Impressionist elements reminiscent of van Gogh, creating emotion on canvas. Thomas Gillaspy is a northern California photographer with an interest in urban minimalism. His photography has been featured in a number of magazines including the literary journals: Compose, DMQ Review and Citron Review. Further information about his work is available at thomasgillaspy.com and flickr.com/photos/ thomasmichaelart/

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Shawn Goldberg was born in Tampa. Currently he lives in Madrid. His email address is kayheye@gmail.com. Andy Gross is a senior philosophy and political science student at Tulane University. His poetry has previously been published in Killer Whale Journal. While keenly attentive to aesthetic, rhythm, and sound, Andy’s work engages with the balance of the existing and the perceived, simultaneously engrossing the reader in subconscious surrender to undertakings of psychological illness and suffering. Andy plans to pursue writing, music, and civil rights advocacy in New Orleans after graduation. Veronica Hallock’s work transports the viewer into a landscape of the bucolic and the macabre. Veronica’s work is influenced by the folk aesthetic, and her work utilizes visual folk traditions such as the distortion of space, scale, and perspective. Her work utilizes a self-generated folktale as a vehicle for expressing her experiences with new landscapes and many family deaths. Ultimately, Veronica’s work reconciles the transition of home; the journey we take from our childhood home to the new homes we build. Maggie Hazen is an installation artist and sculptor who combines electronic media and simple materials exploring her interests in cosmology, virtual space and spirituality. She is a current MFA candidate at the Rhode Island School of Design and received her BFA in sculpture from Biola University. She has been presented in exhibitions internationally and has been featured in a range of magazines and journals. She is featured in a full-length documentary, LAR-20, presented at the 6th Annual Korean American Film Festival in New York. Jeron Jennings hails from Saint Regis, MT. He is a second-year English Teaching student at the University of Montana, but has an unofficial passion for creative writing. When he is not smashing ungraceful words together and deeming it literature, he is likely listening to music, enjoying a few libations, and pondering the meaning of existence. Luci Jockel was born in Indiana, Pennsylvania. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Luci is currently a Jewelry and Metalsmithing Graduate Student attending Rhode Island School of Design. She has shown her work at exhibitions including: Beyond the Surface in Johnstown, PA; Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival’s Juried Visual Art Exhibition in Pittsburgh, PA; and Mettle: Biennial Graduate Show at Sol Koffler Gallery in Providence, RI. Josephine Luck is currently a second year at New York University’s College of Arts and Sciences. She’s from Los Angeles, California, but prefers cold weather and warm coffee, so NY seemed like the place to go. She’s studying journalism and linguistics and is not really sure what she wants to pursue in terms of a career, after college. So in her free time, she uses her sketchbook and some pens to release her frustrations with life, unwanted emotions towards others, and sometimes even her own aspirations onto paper.

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Karina Lutz is a workshop leader, poet, teacher, and lifelong activist. She helped secure passage of sustainable energy legislation, thwart a proposed megaport, and restore wetlands in her home watershed of Narragansett Bay, RI. She teaches yoga and sustainability and facilitates deep ecology workshops. In 2013, she received honorable mention from Homebound Publications Poetry Prize for her manuscript, Preliminary Visions. M’Bilia Meekers is an English major at Tulane University. She has won numerous awards, including the American Voices award in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards of 2011 and Mable Faun Poetry Award of 2011. Meekers’ work has previously appeared in Poet Lore, Tulane Review, and Killer Whale Journal. After graduating, she plans on pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry. Taryn Möller Nicoll (BFA (Hons), Otis College of Art and Design ’12) is a South African-born artist who works with doctors, scientists and patients to depict physiological/emotional transformations experienced during pregnancy, reconstructive surgery, neurodegenerative disease, cancer and more. Taryn is a Master of Fine Arts candidate at Louisiana State University, Artist in Residence at Louisiana State University Neuroscience Center of Excellence, and a guest lecturer at universities throughout the United States, Germany and South Africa. Laura Leigh Morris is currently the Artist-in-Residence at Bryan Federal Prison Camp and a Ph.D. Candidate in English at Texas A&M University. She has previously published fiction in The Louisville Review, Conclave: A Journal of Character, Weave Magazine, Qwerty Magazine, as well as other journals and anthologies. “The Dance” is part of a larger collection, “Jaws of Life and Other Stories,” which is currently in search of a publisher. Daryl Muranaka was raised in California and Hawaii.  He received his MFA from Eastern Washington University and spent three years in Fukui, Japan in the JET Program.  He lives in Boston with his family.  In his spare time, he enjoys aikido and taijiquan and exploring his children’s dual heritages.  His first book, Hanami, is forthcoming from Aldrich Press and his first chapbook, The Minstrel of Belmont, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Gazelle Naghshbandi was born in 1983 Tehran, Iran. She graduated from Art and Architecture Azad University in 2006 and has 6 years of work experience in many advertising agencies in Iran. She is also a member of the Iranian Graphic Designers Society (IGDS), Icograda, and New Orleans AIGA. She has attended many international competitions. She is currently an MFA student at Louisiana State University. Crystal Pei currently studies sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design. She uses digital and found media to confuse refined with unrefined qualities in her practice, deriving influence from anime, kinetics, and realism. Justin Picard is a current student at Tulane University studying English and communications. He is a proud member of Phi Gamma Delta and ​the Phi Eta

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Sigma honor society. He enjoys reading poetry, short stories, and the Wall Street Journal. Anna Pleskow moved to Richmond, Virginia to pursue Photography at Virginia Commonwealth School of the Arts. She uses photography to organize the world around her and create worlds of her own. Abby Ratner is a junior studying English and public health. She enjoys writing prose poetry and short personal narratives and plans on having a career in education after she graduates. Marilee Richards lives in Sedona, Arizona where she is probably the only person in the country to lead hiking/poetry classes.  After learning poetry from the Berkeley Poet’s Co-Op, she dropped out for a couple of decades and has recently returned to writing.  She has poems forthcoming in half dozen journals and was an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Tor House Poetry Prize and the annual St. Petersburg Review contest. Bella Rosa is a sophomore at Tulane University studying Studio Art. Paige Simkins is a poet who lives with her dog, Sir Simon, in Tampa, Florida. She holds a Bachelor degree in English (CRW) and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. She works as a Public Librarian and is very passionate about poetry, libraries, VW Beetles, and visual art. Her poems have appeared in Stepping Stones Magazine, Burningword Literary Journal, The Wayfarer, Crack the Spine and the Tulane Review. A.M. Thompson has poetry in Ardor, Blast Furnace, Flyover Country Review, Literary Imagination, Lost Country, Mezzo Cammin (U.S.) and Acumen, here/there, The Journal, Lotus Eater, The North, Staple, Vine Leaves (U.K.); prose in KYSO Flash, Leopard Seal and Best New Writing 2014; and video remixes online at poetrystorehouse.com. She was a 2015 Princemere Poetry Prize finalist, 2014 Eric Hoffer Award finalist, 2014 Robert Frost Foundation Award Honorable Mention, and 2014 Able Muse Write Prize long list.    Mitchell Untch: Finalist: C.P. Cavafy Award; Janet McCabe Poetry Contest Semi-Finalist; Atlanta Review Poetry Contest Finalist; Paumonack Review SemiFinalist; Millennium Writers Semi-Finalist. Pushcart Nominee.  Publications include: Confrontation; Nimrod Intl; Natural Bridge; Beloit Poetry Journal; Poet Lore; North American Review; Owen Wister; Solo Novo; Glassworks; Knockout, Illuminations; Poetry Society of America’s Cecil Hemley Memorial Award (Finalist 2015); Other works forthcoming in 2015 include: Baltimore Review; Lake Effect; The Catamaran Reader; Grey Sparrow; and Painted Bride Quarterly. Edith Young is a writer. She studies photography and the history of art and visual culture at the Rhode Island School of Design.

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Christine Yurick’s poems have appeared in Schuylkill Valley Journal, Autumn Sky, Angle, and forthcoming in American Arts Quarterly. She is the founding editor of Think Journal. These two poems were written during a residency at Studio Camnitzer, in Valdottavo Italy. Jessica Zhang is a high school junior and prose reader for The Blueshift Journal. Her work has been published in the Winter Tangerine Review Summer Anthology and The Marble Collection. She has also been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

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SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

The Tulane Review accepts poetry, prose, and visual art submissions. All submissions should be uploaded via Submittable (tulanereview.submittable.com/submit) along with a cover letter and short biography. Our Submittable form can be accessed through our website. Please submit no more than five poems and limit prose submissions to 4,000 words. Visual art should be submitted in high-resolution format of at least 1 MB. Please include the title, dimensions, and media form. The Tulane Literary Society normally acquires first North American serial rights, but will consider second serial publication. For more information, visit our website at review.tulane.edu. Contact us: Poetry & Prose | litsoc@tulane.edu Visual Art | tulane.review@gmail.com

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Tulane Review Spring 2015  

The Spring 2015 edition of the Tulane Review includes poetry, prose and art from a diverse range of contributors.

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