This is the space where I am supposed to be precise and esoteric-things I am not particularly good at being. What I am good at is singing the praises of Phoenix, UT's 44-year-old literary arts magazine. First published in October of 1959 and originally named The Orange and White Literary Supplement, Phoenix has undergone multifarious creative changes over the years. Some years we restrict our selection process by dreaming up a particular theme; other years we simply alter the size of the booklet, but regardless, each semester the design concept changes. After a recent trip to Hollywood, graphic designer Luke Renfro selected a Hollywood theme for this semester's issue. He modified his own photograph of the famed Hollywood Hills to craft our cover. This year has been especially hair raising for the Phoenix staff. We were awarded the Pacemaker award distinguishing us as the best college literary arts magazine in the nation by the Associated Collegiate Press. Also in the works-- this coming semester we'll be including a CD in the issue. This will be a first for us. The CD will feature local music, short films, longer fiction pieces, poetry, animation, artwork and more. In this way we will be able to incorporate even more creative genres into our repertoire. My only qualm with Phoenix is that it goes largely neglected by UT's art community. Only a smattering of people have ever heard of it at all, and it is my intent to heighten awareness of our creative child. Though Phoenix is well into middle age, in my eyes it's still a tottering child, steadying itself with one hand on the wall, always precarious. I genuinely feel that Phoenix could uplift the creative community at UT substantially if only students and faculty were better informed about it. Here are the basics: Phoenix is published once a semester. We accept submissions from students, faculty and alumni at the beginning of each semester at 5 Communications Building. At the close of each semester, Phoenix holds a poetry reading and art display featuring our selected writers and artists. I can honestly say that being a part of the Phoenix has been the highlight of my college career. I was first published in the magazine as a sophomore, and nothing in the world could have filled me with as much exhilaration as the day I got the letter of acceptance or with more terror than the prospect of reading my poetry aloud at the poetry reading. This semester has been my first at the helm of the Phoenix staff, and gosh it's been fun. I'm obliged to my delightful, helpful staff and thrilled with the quality and quantity of the work submitted. Peace and happy reading . ÂŠ copyright 2003 by the University of Tennessee. All rights reserved by the individual contributors. Phoenix is prepared camera-ready by the student staff members and is published twice a year excluding special issues. Works of art, poetry, fiction, and non-fiction are accepted throughout the academic year.
Phoenix Literary and Art Maga zine Room 5 Communications Building 1345 Circle Park Drive Knoxville, TN 37966-0314 Online: http:/web.utk.edu/- phoenix1 e-mail: phoenix l @utk.edu
A Funeral for "Mil
Blue silk Robe after 2/7/96
Darius A. Stewart
After Cheating on My Wife I Find
Myself in the Museum of Natural History We Both Must Fade
Darius A. Stewart
New England Glass
Under Emily's Umbrella in New York City Adam Herrington in dreams, i see his tatoo
ode to a cheese grater
Statue in the Steeple
Julian Rogers John Truex Adam Herrington Eflen
From a Knoxville Prison
Darius A. Stewart
Lisa Krekelberg Danny Scates Eric White
Beth Buczynski Norma Dycus Stephanie Kowal
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She wrote her Ds like musical notes, Now Ave Maria tries to shadow cries. Her mother, head bowed In a new broad rimmed widow's bonnet, Silently wipes her dry nose with a Kleenex passed from behind. Her father, soaked in a suit he had to dust off from his ex-mother-in-Iaw's funeral , Runs in late, scanning for those who noticed his entrance. She didn't even believe in God, Now Father Garrett preaches a day of reckoning. "If God existed life wouldn't be so unfair," she had said underneath the dim streetlight, The two of us with our book bags packed, determined. ' That was the first time we had run away. When we came back to the house her mother was naked, Kissing with Officer Doogen. Later she loved to drive on sun-drenched days, windows down. Now umbrellas scatter cold raindrops in the aisles. Recently she had started to turn off the radio, Claiming the natural noises were more soothing. I laughed at her, not hearing anything. At each straightaway she closed her eyes and smelled the air, Hands gripping the steering wheel. She painted her nails with Revlon's Raspberry Red, Now her naked fingers lay vulnerable. Her hands seem too old, too numb, Draped across her chest Like wilted wings, Broken and spent. Sometimes she drew petunias on scrap paper when she got bored, Now, white roses invite strangers Passersby in a hurry for lunch Have come for appearance rather than appreciation. She used to sign her notes "M" when she was in a hurry, Now all she's got is time.
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• • • I)III®))~ ~ml lll~\ ~(@)~~ ~/@~((f fJl7II~1Y It is not until seven years later that I remember Granddaddy's robe, cobalt silk, shaded as if never worn. Shapes of curlicues and symbols-Chinese or Korean-pirouetted down the length. The day after Granddaddy's body was found rigid on the floor, I climbed through the sliding glass window. I was like a grave robber, intruding the house of the dead. I slipped in and out the shadowed rooms, the sunlight spilling through the curtains like searchlight rods, illuminating my body, reflecting dust particles falling as if the first snow of winter. In the living room, the knob less television set usually tuned to The
Rockford Files, The Andy Griffith Show, Jeopardy!, was blank. I remember the sounds he made as he watched these shows: the car-ignition rattling of his sinuses, the wheezing-dry whoops from his throat, sometimes wet with booze, all echoing like muddled clapping of a studio audience. Alongside the television, the silver-scratched portable stereo, the cassette player door unhinged. He would lounge in his robe, on the couch, legs spread wide, as "Under the Boardwalk" or Luther Vandross' Songs warbled from the speakers-whistling the tunes through the space between his teeth. I crept into the kitchen where I found the robe, strewn across the countertop as if thrown in haste, the last act before death. My fingers traced the outside seams, the silk cold against the tips. My arms entered the sleeves of his robe. There was a weighty collapse upon my back, the cotton interior heavy like the bulk of him. I was swallowed, as if I had entered his body, the silk like skin, hanging loosely from my bones.
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• • • 1n!I/~~(/f ~1Im~®»tE1Ufitl», ~fitl» m, UJJJ1!)hu/~ $ Pr'lufitl»d m'ff~11 IUfitl» ~I»~ ml(1!j)ff~l(1!j)m <@I f!fJiJ®»~l(1!j)(/f®»1 HUff~<@(/f' Here is a lifelike tableau of the human ancestor,
Note his likeness to modern man, his upright walk, the proportion of his limbs and the alert expression of his deep-set eyes. His differences are almost comical; the diminutive stance, wide jaw,
supraorbital torus-his thick and heavy browand the odd absence of a mortgage.
I find myself imagining his weekday routine: hunting all day on the trail of mastodon, eyes gleaming the reflection of the newly mastered and deadly fire. Or kissing his wife hello after the long commute home, hoping she doesn't smell the incriminating perfume on his collar or Chardonnay on his breath.
1. And he will say ... at least look at me . .. but I never listen to the boy hiding in the shadows of his own insecurities. Instead I stuff my head with thoughts of when & where & how It will end, we will end .
The only thing constant in the world is change, He says.
-You could talk the stank out of shit. Write a song about it, I reply. My eyes will not bear his body giving in to its own weight, slinking to the carpet. His fingers swim through the yarn-like fabric, to the potted hyacinths, uproots them, slings dirt.
This is you, this is you! He points to the organic brown matter as he teary-eyes my movement out the door-
2. The night is cold, bitter as the voice calling as I vanish into the storm of trees, scattering birds to safer places. My head bends against the streams of wind. I am thrown back in the opposite direction. Hours later I find myself at the steps of a former lover. He greets me with a molasses-smileslow to form, yet still warm & sweet as the nights when we slept, our bodies weaving strange shapes in & outside of each other. I stand weather-beaten, searching the eyes of the man before me, remembering he is the former.
3. I follow the cracks in the pavement (like kindergarteners trailing their teacher). In time I stand before the clapboard house, exposing dark patches of corroded wood.
Clair de Lune-our song stolen from Frankie & Johnnywhispers on the portable radio. The house is dark & drafty, as if there is a breeze blowi ng off some vast body ot water just outside the door. I continue to the bedroom where we forgot to make love when we made love. Inside I see words scrawled on the walls: the only thing constant
in this world is change. My tight-shut eyes black out the pirouetting body head-cocked & bowed, the dea~ parker flapping in the breeze from the open wi ndow.
New England snow cuts like glass. She glides on the silver-studded platform, ballroom dancing in fabric-conditioned warmth; the conifers like curtains over the parade. A little pick-me-up for the childlike sense captured in slicing skid marks. Pratfalls to the deck, the unbalanced struggle with the icicle works peeling off in knee-skinned flecks. Hello, hello. We meet in a tumble, hand-cuffed in a twosome. Capture my insecurities in your fur-lined glove, And maybe we can meet later for tea under New England glass, leaving our skates behind on the dash.
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I don't need caffeinated kisses
from you r coffee ca ked lips I watch your hands slide
(slick lace) across mud stains on your hips.
Black lined eyes to pale, slight legs,
(pink slit, soft) a purple bangled magic marker, sparingly draped in wet dresses, soggy, bristled toes on pressure blistered feet.
Something silver slides through your hair,
(lighter and faster) that may be a cab light, or blurs of passersby or the lonely half-moon tonight.
But while we're swapping singles
(a tiny empty gesture) you curb curious glances from uselessly tasting sweet pickled pupils and bitter brown breath .
tonight it shocks me again the inky emeralds, coals of a willow tree snaking a landscape across the canvas of his back. the trunk his spine to hang moons like ornaments from its branches, wispy arms with roots long and deep enough for us both i want to hollow him out and crawl in i want to etch my initials in the skin where hers now lie.
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I rub the bar of cheddar against you . it falls through your gaping metal and spills onto my spaghetti in skinny yellow ribbons.
0 , grater, you gnaw my cheese into thin edible strips; you chew away at the cheese for me like a mother bird who grinds up food for her young, lets it rest in her body for one moment, then dutifully spits it out. the cheddar smears its taste across your firm , unmoving holes, but you keep nothing except the occasional crumbs lodged in your helpless teeth. pile the golden ribbons high on my plate; all my life I have wanted someone like you: incessantly shredding .
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At five, Martin D'Evaquene became one of the lucky few children who discover at an early age the freedom of being left alone in a large house. His mother worked full time as the assistant art director of Modern Cliche fashion magazine, allowing Martin to be alone in the house for a few hours every day after school.
Though she wasn't the most attractive girl (Martinique's editor said Andrea looked like a mop had hastily applied some lipstick and eye shadow), she had an amazing figure (Yeah, a stick figure) . Andrea had been Martinique's best friend for years, and the two were always discovering mischief together.
Martin had always been a practical and responsible child, quite the opposite of his reputably wild mother who saw no problem with leaving children unattended. Her son, of course, had never called the neighbors or any of the other emergency numbers she had mounted on the fridge because she had never actually done this.
As she climbed the stairs down to the purposefully musty dance floor of CellarDoor, Martinique turned to her friend and sidekick. "1 don't know about this place, honey," she said. "This may be a little too underground for us. Are we slumming tonight?" Andrea giggled and shot Martinique a knowing look as they continued to survey the club.
Now at nine years of age, Martin was still performing his afternoon ritual. When he arrived home, he immediately locked the doors and pulled all of the curtains shut. After double-checking every lock and curtain, he grabbed the mop out of the kitchen closet, ran down the hall, flung open the French doors of his mother's bedroom, and became the glamorous celebrity/reporter, "Martinique." After selecting the day's dress (with complementing gloves and shoes), Martin laid it on the bed and began to apply make-up and jewelry using his mother's bureau mirror. As usual, his lipstick color would be the deep red of Midnight Velvet, as it was most suitable for his dark complexion. For jewelry, he wore his favorite necklace which he'd found two years ago by the dumpster on the playground at school. It was a painted gold chain with big red rhinestones formed into angular heart shapes. No matter what outfit he had picked out, "Martinique" always insisted upon wearing that necklace, but because she was a famous celebrity/reporter, no one ever thought to point out such an obvious fashion faux pas. Today, Martinique's assignment was to report on the newest club to hit the scene, CeliarDoor. As the fashionable columnist for an au-courant magazine, Martinique never went out for the evening alone. She always brought her waify French girlfriend, Andrea .
"Well, the whole cobweb thing is a nice touch," the famous reporter announced as she brushed strands of silk from her tightly bobbed hair and rolled her eyes. "It isn't overdone, or anything." Andrea's smirk said she caught her friend's sarcasm and totally agreed. Her slight lean towards the back wall, however, said that they both needed a drink. "You a lways know just what I'm thinking, sugar," Martinique replied, and the two tried to navigate across the worktable/runway that traversed the moldy room. They had finally reached the bar and nearly had their dirty martinis in hand when a woman in some sort of business skirt/jacket outfit burst into their view. She kept yelling for someone and was causing quite an unattractive scene. "Martin!" she yelled, sounding exhausted and bewildered at the same time. "Martin?" Realizing the woman looked oddly like her mother, Martinique's eyes widened slightly as she sipped her drink. She turned to her unattractive friend (who had already ordered a second martini) and said, "Oh Andrea, I think we're going to be fired."
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My father stands before me, wavering from drunkenness, professing
I'm a stupid nigga, wetting my face while his spirit-lacquered eyes pan across me, desperate to know why I want to weave language for a living instead of swelling my fingers fat with labor, bleeding torn flesh stacking boxes on boxes in the graveyard hours. But isn't writing like
stacking boxes, I wan t to say. Fitting words into the empty spaces to make meaning, the laborious task of filing through my mind to eke out the few words that die when spoken, but breathe on the page. And when my eyes become glazed and red-rimmed from staring at the blinking cursor for hours, my back racked by fatigue, my fingers pecking toward arthritis-have I not labored long and hard? The "graveyard hours" is metaphor, yet my father asks what is metaphor?
Be a real man; his eyes darken to some color like smoke coiling around the irises. He wants to know why? Will he understand that Hemingway killed himself for lack of stories to tell? Will language speak for me, braver than Hemingway, telling stories too terrible to tell?
Dusk settles on the hearts of passersby A few random lights dot the landscape the topsy-turvy rhythms pounding drunkenly on a drunken brainSomeone must be proud Of these beautiful evenings You loll your head And laughA raspy thing of cigarettes and beer and tears ... 'I'm too young to die' Lovely China hands know more than they shou ld Eyes blood-red, dilated with hallucinations of Peace and Love and Peas and Limes and of and on such a lovely night! The stars fade black with shame, the moon's pale face blanched with regret, the tipsy palsy of a hell of a hangover As they hide their nakedness in their business suits becoming 'respectable people.'
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Thursday night you slipped into me, slithered up my neck and sighed your lies into my matted hair. I moaned and turned my head; I heard your hand creep up my shirt, cold and hard
I blinked awake, but in the corner only fuzz: a blank bookshelf where I dreamed you stood.
I imagined your eyes- chlorine blue with white flecks of sunlight on the ripplessearched for me in the darkness, but somewhere in Knoxvillenot my bed-you lay staring at the ceiling through the black hair of a girl passed out on top of you, heavy with sleep and smelling of pot. your dirty white sheet twisted itself around your bare blonde legs while I dreamed that you were beside me, with my rotating fan blowing goose bumps across our warm skin.
while I woke up to the empty corner, you scratched your shoulder and adjusted your hips under hers, because I'm only a crusty-eyed tangled-hair baby yawning through my sticky mouth and longing for a boy who doesn't care, comfortable in his cruelty with no knowledge of my bedroom
how I wanted oh how I wantedbut nothing. only blackness that grew darker as I stared.
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When they tell me, I am twelve, locked out on the porch with my sister, as if snapping shut the dead-bolt will suddenly make us deaf. Cross-legged on the top step, a sharp thud shatters our silence, I feel her hand push inside of mine. An hour later, back inside, my mother is pushing groceries into cabinets and drawers. The culprit, a can of sliced peaches in heavy syrup, that she threw at him, lying on its side, below a crescent-shaped scar in the wall, bent over in a crumpled sigh. I place it in the cabinet, between fancy peas and pineapple chunks, wonder if now some peaches are squishing up against each other to avoid this intrusion, denting in on them in the darkness of their liquid house. If I throw myself against the wall, will you pick me up and place me, aching, next to the green beans and sweet corn? With no hand to hold this time, and no one helping, my father is on his knees, packing books and clothes into boxes.
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Ellen Agee hails from Richmond, Virginia . She transferred to UT from Virginia Commonwealth University. She should have graduated already, but as do many others, she is taking the long route. She has a major in English on the creative writing track. In addition to writing, she also enjoys creating art, especially through photography. Ellen hopes to have a career in writing, perhaps children's books, and she aspires to open a center for children focusing on art, music and drama. Matt Alexander is a senior in sculpture. He's kind of tall and works in the woodshop. Matthew Blondell is a senior in painting. Kara Borum is a third year creative writing student with a large collection of audacious hats-- partially so her friends can spot her easily in large crowds. She dreams of becoming an underpaid professor at a pretentious university and wearing corduroy patches on her elbows. She's already started to prepare for her future by way of a messy desk with poetry piled high in precarious, unorganized stacks, a must-have academic decorative scheme for any dorm room . Kelly Bryan is a 22 year old senior in media arts. She currently works for Speed magazine, the new entertain ment magazine for the Knoxville area, as a photographer and editor. She is mainly interested in portraiture and fash ion photography. She wishes to someday work in some sort of entertainment field . Beth Bucznski likes porches and cheap red wine. She
work she spends most of her time building her photography portfolio, but she also draws and paints a great deal. When she graduates she plans to get her MFA with a concentration in photography, but she's still not sure which school she wants to attend."
Lisa Krekelberg says, "I was born in a blizzard in Minnesota; my father named me when he heard Nat King Cole's "Mona Lisa" on the way to the hospital. I'm a tea -drinker-Oolong or Earl Grey with a little cream and sugar. Ben and Jerry's Brownie Batter is the best cure I know for a broken heart. I like hiking in the mountains, particularly in the autumn . Some day, I want to own an Italian villa complete with vineyards, marble fountains and rose gardens. I have beautiful handwriting, but my class notes are almost unintelligible." Lacresha McKinney is a junior in media arts. She says, "Driven by that which is greater than I, eyes wide, and still striving for completion ." Julian Rogers would prefer to use this space to talk about his painting rather than himself. He says, "Statue in the Steeple is basically about an atheist's temple within, freedom and confinement and planned spontaneity in painting."
Ben Rucker is a freshman with a love of music. He says, "I try to play the guitar as much as I can. I will be taking a drawing class next semester, and I will see if maybe I want to apply for the College of Art in the future. I also li ke to take photographs, and I hope to maybe take a class in that as welL"
is also a senior in creative writing .
Ashley Charlton is a senior with a major in English and a minor in journalism . She hopes to write for a magazine after she graduates this summer.
Norma Dycus is a media arts major with a love for large format photography. She is a local, originally from Sweetwater, TN and now lives in The Fort with her husband and daughter. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org . Adam Herrington is a 5th yea r senior at UT majoring in not much anything at all and plans to do about as much after graduating . What perils await our hero in the great big world? Will he find romance and adven ture or solitude and disappointment? Probably the latter.
Danny Scates is a senior who is working on his degree in media . He says, "so it invades me again, and I rummage through space and medium for substance to dissect and reconstruct in hopes of unmasking this unforgiving leech ... well I've never understood it myself and that's why I'll never be satisfied ... explains my motivation, my devotion, my life." Darius Antwan Stewart says, "I am deeply committed to the arts, especially the creative arts, and that is what motivates me to write. I study creative writing and literature because I have a spiritual connection to language and how it can be manipulated to exact an understanding of what it means to be human in this very complex world ." John Truex is a senior in sculpture.
Martin Jack is an English exchange student from the University of Kent in Canterbury. He is majoring in America n literature. He's 30 years of age, and has been published in the British small press, He also serves as co-editor for the University of Kent Literature Magazine 'Logos.' After he finishes his degree, he wants to do graduate work in Modern Poetry, and receive a Ph .D., to go on to teach in England or in the US. He mostly loves literature from the Modernist period in the 1920's, which is the era he wishes he had lived in, especially around the art movements happening in New York.
Stephan ie Kowal is a 21 -year-old Knoxville native. She is currently a junior at the University of Tennessee, majoring in media arts. When she's not at school or
Ashby Tyler says, "I am a Junior-ish English major, and this is my first publication . I am, indeed, married and my wife would follow me to the museum and beat my ass inside-out if I ever really cheated on her."
Eric White is 18 years old, and he's from Knoxville, TN . He's interested in life, fashion, and music-The Beatles, Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra . Leslie Wylie is a senior in creative writing and a previous contributor to the Phoenix. Her poetry is primarily motivated by the Sunsphere, the moon and broken hearts.