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VISIONS | FALL 2011

VISIONS

VOLUME XII, ISSUE I

A BROWN/RISD ART & LITERARY MAGAZINE ENVISIONING AND BUILDING A STRONGER ASIAN/ASIAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY

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Inner Conflict MEHR CHATTERJEE, RISD `15 ACRYLIC ON CANVAS

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letter from the editors As the leaves fall and the temperatures sneakily begin inching into sub-zero territory, we begin to remember, amidst the haze of exams and papers (and for some of you, the acute symptoms of a caffeine overdose), that the year 2011 is inexorably drawing to a close. And yet we know that another year, and another beginning, is just around the corner. With this issue, we bid farewell not only to 2011 but to three of our illustrious editors: Susie Ahn, Ayoosh Pareek, and Stella Chung. The three of us are proud to see how much VISIONS has grown, both as a publication and as a community, since its beginnings in 2000, and we are proud to have been part of its history. As Robert Frost wrote, “Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.”

do any of what we do without our editorial board, a diverse and creative group representing the extremely wide gamut of interests and cultural backgrounds at Brown and RISD. Their ideas and voices have been incredibly important in the realization of this issue and the continued growth of the magazine. As a group, we cannot wait to see where the magazine will go—and how far we can take it! We would like to thank Dean Kisa Takesue for her continued support of VISIONS. As the founder of VISIONS in 2000, she has supported VISIONS throughout its evolution, and we are grateful for her dedication to the magazine and to our community. We would also like to thank the Third World Center and RISD’s Asian Cultural Association for their cooperation in helping us build a passionate Asian/Asian American community here in Providence. Most of all, we want to thank everyone who is a part of VISIONS, especially our contributors and readers. Your experiences, and your willingness to share them with us, form the fundamental core of our magazine and of the community we hope to empower.

VISIONS has undergone many changes in our time on its editorial board, and we expect that it will continue to undergo changes in the future. Yet it is, as it has always been over the years, a publication dedicated to providing an open forum for the rich and diverse perspectives within and surrounding the Brown and RISD Asian/Asian American community. We seek to empower this community by giving it a voice—and by speaking out as a single voice, we support a unified Now, we invite you to join us in Envisioning and Building movement toward eradicating the forces that have a Stronger Asian/Asian American Community. silenced us in the past. We pass our mission on to our new editors, Larry Au, Margaret Yi, and Celia Chung, Peace & Love, who will be joining Katherine Ng next semester as editors: a new year, a new eboard, a new beginning. We hope you stay with us to witness (and contribute to!) the new directions in which VISIONS will grow, both at Brown and RISD, so that VISIONS can continue to be the forum of a flourishing community of writers, artists, poets, and thinkers. Of course, we could not Susie, Ayoosh, Stella, and Katherine

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Editorial Board

editor-in-chief SUSIE AHN `13 art & photography editor STELLA CHUNG `13

networking STEPHANIE KIM `12

layout & design editor KATHERINE NG `14

freshman representative DIVYA BHATIA `15

managing editor AYOOSH PAREEK `12

risd representatives SUE KWON, RISD `14 MICHELLE MAO, RISD `13

ASSOCIATE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF LARRY AU `14 ASSOCIATE ART & PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR CELIA CHUNG, RISD `13 ASSOCIATE MANAGING EDITOR MARGARET YI `12

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publicity MARY FEI `14 PANPAN SONG `12

webmaster TIFFANY T. CHEN `13 copy editors CAROL KIM `15 SHARON SUN `14 BRANDON WANG, RISD `15 printer BROWN GRAPHIC SERVICES

A Very Special Thanks To

Mission Statement

The Third World Center Kisa Takesue, Director of the Stephen Robert Campus Center The Office of Student Life Undergraduate Finance Board Creative Arts Council The RISD Asian Cultural Association Ann Hall Contributors and staff

VISIONS is a publication that highlights and celebrates the diversity of Brown and RISD’s Asian/Asian American community. We are committed to being an open literary and artistic forum for Asians and Asian Americans, as well as other members of the university community, to freely express and address issues relating to both the Asian and Asian American experience. VISIONS further serves as a forum for issues that cannot find a voice in other campus publications. As a collaborative initiative, VISIONS attempts to strengthen and actively engage Brown and RISD’S vibrant community of students, faculty, staff, and alumni, as well as the larger Providence community.


01  Sinking     SUE KWON 03  Inner Conflict     MEHR CHATTERJEE 07   Phewa at dusk, Pokhara     nepal     HAN SHENG CHIA 09   Seeing the world     downside up     JUSTINA LEE 10  Memory     LESLIE SEUNG HYEON LEE 14  Mother and child     ZUNG NGUYEN VU 14  Peace     MICHAEL CHUA 15  Lazy Afternoon     DIVYA BHATIA 17  SOlace     LESLIE SEUNG HYEON LEE 19  Light     HYUNSOO KIM 21  At Ease     JASON SHUM 23 Copper     JENNY JISUN KIM 25  creation     SUE KWON 26   striped     CLIFTON YEO 26  The Method man     HYE RIN PARK 27  Red Sky     LARRY AU 30 Vegetation     STEPHANIE TEO 33  Portrait of an elder lady     NATI HYOJIN LEE 35 Wake     JESSIE CHEN

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06   GIRMITIYA     AMRITENDU GHOSAL 08   NOTES TOWARDS STAYIN'     ALIVE     SERENA PUTTERMAN 11  Renaissance     PANPAN SONG 12  "I can see clearly now     the rain is gone"     MATTHEW D. LEE 16  默愛 MÒ ÀI     BENSEN KOH 18  "Much Madness is     divinest sense"     TIFFANY CHEN 20  Paul Urabe [1938-2003]     MICHAEL S. HARPER 22 Origin     STEPHANIE ANNE MALIG     CANLAS 24  turning moons     ROB REN-PANG 28  Dear Grandma     NATIVIDAD CHEN 31  becoming tangibly love     TIFFANY PHU 32   Today I Lost My Hat     VI KHI NAO 34  Dumaguete (parts 1 & 2)     REXY JOSH DORADO 37  letter home , ,     VIVIAN TRU O NG 39  A Real Dream     CHRISTINA PAN 40  Eye-flutter symbolism     AYOOSH PAREEK 45  Hot Sauce     REVA DHINGRA 48  Peking Colors     ETHAN REED

35  The Crossing     JESSIE CHEN 36 DepayseR     JEFFERSON CHEN 38 Lighthouse     SHARON SUN 40  Forest Woman ..     LIISA KRUUSMAGI 41  Ride That Shadow     HYE RIN PARK 43 Amsterdam     DIMING ZHONG 43  A Virgin Female Wasp - 4     ASHLEY ADAMS 44 Physiognomy     DIANE ZHOU 45 Abstract     CELIA CHUNG 46 Henry     ANNA GAISSERT 50  Windmill     ZACHARY BORNSTEIN 51  Fish #1     NATI HYOJIN KIM 51  Microcuts (Bone, Sperm,     Cilia, Diatom)     CHARIS LOKE 53  The Beaulieu Car     SUSAN M. B. CHEN

table of contents

art

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words

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Girmitiya BY AMRITENDU GHOSAL VISIONS | FALL 2011

An old Maithili poet friend Had told me once that At Mahendru Ghat on Ganga There used to be a coffee house, Where all the poets of the land met and talked. I stand on the steps and feel warm In borrowed nostalgia. Now they’ve turned it into a government office. The steps of the Ghat, Where I had lit my first cigarette, Where I saw my friend break down Because a girl wouldn’t love him, Where my engineer brother lamented and told me That all his education was in vain Because he couldn’t see the schools of dolphins swimming with the current And was merely one of the infinitesimal beings In the fascism of our gigantic dreams And cried, he didn’t know where to go. In the chill of this January afternoon I stare at the red letters Painted against the yellow background— “Mahendru Ghat”, on the barbed wall of the office. Until today I had never noticed the peepal tree And the tin thatched hut over there. I absorb them now and wonder How the memories of these days will Keep the human Amrit alive When I’ll be away, working in distant lands. I see Ganga and think of Lethe. Will my memories dissolve in the stream When I cross it and reach the other side? Or in my cubicle, across the waters Will I still long to spend a winter night In that tin thatched hut Sitting and gazing at the fog Steady over the river Like I do now?

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Amritendu Ghosal, FULBRIGHT FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHING ASSISTANT 2011-2012, IS LOOKING OUT OF THE TENEMENT WINDOW AT THE FREEZE WITH A DRY FLOWER OF SPRING.


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PHEWA AT DUSK, POKHARA NEPAL HAN SHENG CHIA `14 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

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Notes Towards Stayin' Alive

BY SERENA PUTTERMAN

VISIONS | FALL 2011

ALL KINDS OF THINGS I’ve been described as “acting like an Asian man.” I don’t know what that means, but I can only take it as the highest compliment. When I was seventeen, the other thing I was reading was The Tao of Gung Fu, by Bruce Lee. “There are big differences,” says Bruce Lee, “between Chinese and Western hygiene.” The book had illustrations. Mostly of different kung fu moves, but also one or two of that Western man with his disproportionate biceps and his inflexible posture. I extrapolated all kinds of things. I WANT TO MAKE A PIZZA PIE This is the most beautiful sack of flour I have ever seen, and with it I plan to make a friendly dough. These tomatoes are the tomatoes whose acid vines sweet scraped my cuticles raw, and you get the idea. I want to be beautiful and make beautiful pizza pies. I will feed these pies to my friends. My friends whose favorite types of beer overlap and differ, as favorites will. WHAT THE WEATHER I was babysitting this little girl and she did an ‘e’ with like sixteen in the middle. You bust that out in the middle of the day, and my god. You spice it with poetry. So hold onto that—that happens a few times a day, and you can bust it on anyone. Sometimes it happens in real time in the physical world: I was babysitting this little girl and she did an ‘e’ with like sixteen in the middle. Sometimes it happens flat on the page: You took for good fat what was only swollen. Others: The music teacher’s wedding band across the piano keys while he accompanies your friend on viola. Two things that are exactly the same color find one another for a moment or an afternoon (sweatshirt and pen, chip bag and cell phone). Three people throwing three dimes off the abandoned highway. Boy you don’t love leaving chocolate and poems at your door. Visiting your lover of two weeks at the hospital. Hearing your name in a crowd. Going to sleep excited for breakfast. Going to sleep excited to bathe and dress. Going to sleep excited to wake to a smiling face. Going to sleep excited to find out in those treasured morning increments what the weather will be: foot outside the covers. Texture of the window pane. Bust out that door. THE WAY HE LOOKS BACK It’s daring to wear glasses if you don’t need them, is what it is. Doesn’t matter if it’s just clear glass. Looking out those frames changes everything. The way you look at your math teacher or the bartender and the way he looks back. The way the New York Times Magazine article looks back. It’s pragmatic, is what it is. Oh, it’s kind of silly. It’s frivolous. Spend your money on something functional. I can’t even see anymore and my eyes are perfect. I go to the eye doctor once a year because it’s free with insurance, and why not go if it’s free? If it’s free and you don’t go, now that’s frivolous. Going to the park and eating tandoori chicken out of a little container, when you could be going to the eye doctor for free? Now that’s frivolous. Every year I think maybe I’ll just read line four slightly wrong. But I’m not stupid, I know these things aren’t that simple. It’s not like a linear algorithm and you just change one variable, you have to know how these things interact. APPARENTLY Apparently washing clothes by hand isn’t necessarily the lowest-impact method, in terms of the lifespan of your stuff. Doesn’t that seem so counter-intuitive though? What if I wash my favorite shirts in a little bucket in cold water in the kitchen sink and I’ve got the forearms to prove it. And what if when I carry those shirts upstairs to hang-dry, draped over my shoulder, they leave a cold, damp spot on my sweater. What I’m trying to say is, so much love goes into that process, so much intentionality. What I’m trying to say is that washing that light blue cotton button-down shirt you wear when you want to feel awesome—washing it carefully, with your most genuine motivations, using your goddamn body, isn’t even good for it necessarily. What I’m trying to say is that maybe for you, the difference between a relationship and a non-relationship is using words like intentionality in text messages. But maybe to me it’s how you feel about James Franco’s ashram. Maybe one should machinewash one’s shit on cold.

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SEEING THE WORLD DOWNSIDE UP JUSTINA LEE `15 GRAPHITE

CALL IT YOUR SPECIALTY Make a sandwich with the onions sliced as thin as you can, add salt and pepper and call it your specialty; drink your beer cold from the winter air; make a phone call to say hi; make a fist inside your jacket pocket when you walk; this is how you flatten your chest; this is how you stand a little bit taller; this is how to smile at your enemies; this is how to love your friends—with all your brilliant, bruising heart; learn to tie a tie before you turn twenty one; this is how you lose at basketball; this is how you walk cute with a girl—hands in your pockets, cap low; don’t speak loud to too many friends; be humble; be vulnerable; don’t forget to learn your history; don’t forget to grin at the woman who catches you staring; here is how to air your dirty laundry; this is how to tell your father what you mean; don’t kid yourself about sex or anything else; this is how you shave your friends’ heads; this is how you shave your own head—without a mirror.

Serena Putterman `12 HAS MORE NOTES IF YOU NEED THEM.

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Memory LESLIE SEUNG HYEON LEE, RISD `14 ACRYLIC PAINT, BOOK PAPER, CORRUGATED CARDBOARD

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The other morning I woke to one of my mother’s rare and winding text messages, blinking orange on I-95 south towards the converted Hollywood Records. It began with “I am worrying about the end of the world again” and concluded “The good thing is I see that everything is small. They are all small.” She signed it “small mom”. So I wasn’t looking at the screen but at her hand (silhouetted against), thin wrist and fingers curled like the most fragile things, and the pastor is saying “and though we be but specks in the sun,” and I am thinking about all the frail little things that float, then flicker there.

Renaissance BY PANPAN SONG

panpan song `12 IS UNPACKING EVERY BOX!

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"I can see clearly now the rain is gone." BY MATTHEW D. LEE

[Note: “x” on its own indicates a single clapping of the hands, a stomping of the feet, a clicking of the tongue, a snapping of the fingers, or even a cracking of the knuckles.]

“I can see clearly now the rain is gone.” The skies have waved away the clouds as the bearded silent tired statue, welded into the inscribed bench with cold greened arms and splintered back, waves away a mosquito. x She dies before she had been conceived. Birthday: DNE, like the limits that attempt to restrain a four-eyed, aged four sadist’s imagination: rusty nails, poopy walls, screams so chilling and guttural with phlegm that the demon bullies and bully demons run into the safe soft draped legs that smell like citrus and future-osteoporosis. Rain x x feels good. x x x Pain x x even better. x x x

“I can see all obstacles in my way.” ‘I am the greatest,’ recalls she, pen in mouth, suede fedora in hand, manuscript on head, cigarette behind ear. x The linguist sips sour Cass, the student weizen, over ashtrays filled with cousinly spit, ice, and imported mini-cigars, over conversations with fraternal pulse. x ‘I am the greatest,’ declares he, fists overhead, face bloodied, lights popping, consciousness slipping, cheek pressed against concrete and fragments of glass sanity.

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x The linguist discusses public education in Germany. The blind bartender knows, better than anyone, the inflections of aliens.

“Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.” And the dreaded gray mass converges over the palace and tries, again yet again, to wash away the pebbles in the courtyards, to peel away the red paint of endless, tedious renovation, to come to terms with the ongoing wave of liberalism in a country where black and white rule the overcrowded streets. x But in the countryside away from the perpetual and noisy smog in a land surrounded by green sunlight and blue skies she sits cross-legged on bamboo slats and weaves hemp fibers into gold for the travelers on their way to heaven as she has done for eighty years. x

“It’s gonna be a bright bright bright … bright sunshiny day.” x.

MATTHEW D. LEE `15 THINKS YOU'RE COOL FOR READING A LITERARY ARTS MAGAZINE.

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Mother and Child ZUNG NGUYEN VU `12 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

Peace MICHAEL CHUA `13 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

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Lazy Afternoon DIVYA BHATIA `15 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

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默愛

MÒ ÀI

BY BENSEN KOH

VISIONS | FALL 2011

The character for mo is made up of the character for black and the character for dog. It means ‘silent’. ‘Silence’. But not ‘quiet’. For example, you can’t use it to write ‘The classroom is very quiet’. You can use it to write mo xie, which is silent writing, which is Chinese dictation, which is like English dictation. Except that there is no dictating except the dictating to yourself in the silence of your own head. The mo xie in my schoolbag is silent. I can still hear it, though. Its voice is soft but sharp. It is a tide that comes in suddenly, cutting away the base of your sandcastle. Recedes then comes back again. Wang lao shi (Teacher Wang) had it branded with his stamp—his red hot ink pad left the words ‘Parent’s Signature’. It is red. Very red. So red it is steaming. Wang lao shi wants to make sure Ma and Pa know that he knows that I failed mo xie. My bag feels heavier than usual because my mo xie is in it. I have it slipped in between my math textbook and workbook. You do this if you don’t have a plastic folder, so that the mo xie doesn’t get crumpled. You don’t ever let your failures get crumpled. When I am home I put my schoolbag underneath the table. I take nothing out. Tip: Never bring up bad things before dinner—you’ll probably end up missing dinner. Even if you don’t miss it you end up eating really late, when your food is all cold. Maybe around 9 PM. Dinner is at 6 PM and is rice and chicken and carrots. I like chicken but I hate carrots, so all in all dinner is okay. Right after dinner is the best time, because Ma and Pa are full and probably don’t feel like moving much. It is 6:40 PM. Pa pushes his plate away and Ma gets the maid to clear the table. Now is the time. I am crouched beneath the table. The zipper makes a zip-zip-zip sound and I think about the guy who named the zipper ‘zipper’. I wish that somehow, my mo xie has disappeared. This is what my classmates would call ‘stupid’ because I know my mo xie is in there because I put it in there myself. Now I am wishing that the stamp has disappeared. This is also impossible but I wish it anyway.

and waiting for the 7 PM drama to start. Their faces darken as they hear the guilt in my footsteps. Pa grabs the remote and switches the TV off. My brothers and sister skitter away. I quietly place my mo xie before them. Their anger is on their faces, and in the silence I dictate the words that they are not saying to myself in my own head. It is about half past seven, I think. I am not sure because now I’m outside the house, so I can’t see the clock. My arms and shins hurt where I have been caned. This week’s caning wasn’t as bad as last week’s. Last week I hid the cane before telling them about my mo xie, so Pa used his belt instead. The belt is much worse than the cane. Still I am sniffling, and I hate that because boys aren’t supposed to cry and I am already nine. I look at the red welts lining my arms and legs. They make me look like I was in a fight, and that makes my sniffling stop a little as I rub them with my finger. I count them as I rub them. One, two, three on this arm. Plus two here and another three there, and … Ten altogether. That’s less than last week but more than last last week. I am outside the house because I failed three of the last four weeks’ mo xie. This is the first time I’ve been chased out of the house, so I do not know what to do. I just stand there, outside the gate. The neighbor’s dog is barking at me. The sun is setting. I look around, and my neighborhood looks different. It looks strange. I realize I have nowhere in the world to go to and I begin to feel a bit scared. Suddenly, I see the curtains on the second floor twitch a little. I can just make Pa out, looking at me from through the gap in the curtains. He looks angrier than ever. This makes me feel less scared, but I start to sniffle again anyway. Even more than I was sniffling before. ---

I am not sure what the time is now, but I’m sure it is later than ten because the sounds of the 9 PM drama have stopped coming from the other houses. I stopped sniffling long ago. The neighbor’s dog stopped barking a long time ago too. The dried tears on my face feel crusty. Pa is still looking at me through the curtains. He hasn’t moved since. I don’t look directly at him, so he The stamp is there too. I hold my mo xie in both hands doesn’t know that I know, but I glance upwards once in with a sort of reverence. I walk to where Ma and Pa a while to make sure he is still there. He is. The moon are lying on the mat in the living room watching TV is hanging really high in the sky now, and it is very

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Solace LESLIE SEUNG HYEON LEE, RISD `14 CHINA PAPER, MAT BOARD, ACRYLIC PAINT, PLEXIGLASS

pretty. It’s almost a full moon, but it is still not bright enough to light up the world and everything is now in shades of black. The leaves on the trees, Pa’s car, the neighbor’s dog … I realize that there are many different colors of black. The neighbor’s dog is watching me too. Now that it has stopped barking, I realize how cute it is. I remember that the character for mo is made up of the character for black and the character for dog. I stop looking at the dog and glance back up at the curtain. Pa isn’t there, and my body jolts. All of a

sudden, the porch light comes on. Ma unlocks the gate and walks back into the house. I wipe my face on my sleeve and follow her. In the silence, I dictate to myself words that aren’t there.

BENSEN KOH `14 LIKES TO EAT CHICKEN RICE, LA.

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"Much madness is divinest sense" TRANSLATED BY TIFFANY T. CHEN

VISIONS | FALL 2011

Much madness is divinest sense To a discerning eye; Much sense the starkest madness. ’T is the majority In this, as all, prevails Assent, and you are sane; Demur,—you’re straightway dangerous, And handled with a chain.

疯狂往往是最非凡的理智 在能分辨的慧眼里; 理智往往是最彻底的疯狂。 在这获胜的依然是人民大众。 你屈服,就是合理的; 你反对—必定是危险的, 陷于桎梏中。

—Emily Dickinson (1890)

TIFFANY T. CHEN `13 THANKS HER MOM FOR EDITING THIS.

THE CONFORMIST MICHELLE MAO, RISD '13 PHOTOGRAPHY SLIDES AND MIXED MEDIA

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light HYUNSOO KIM, RISD `14 FILM

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Paul Urabe [1938-2003]

BY MICHAEL S. HARPER

We have said WHITE ASHES and Nadame humbly early in the day (after your birth in San Luis Obispo) VISIONS | FALL 2011

we ate from the hundred pound bag of pearl rice green tea at bulk rate (long before Von’s Dairy Products) we laughed on Ivy St between Laguna/Octavia a few blocks from the Opera House none of us could sing the vedas listening to our tunes on a gay alleyway with no backyard no speakeasies no parking we did good time ‘at the Blackhawk’ the Jazz Workshop on Broadway in the fog Miles and Trane apart and together down the block “City Lights” Lawson’s hangout I read you the poems of Bob Kaufman when “Howl” was old l5 original copies mimeoed Lawson was writing about the camps in Arkansas Fuzzy was in Chicago (maybe knew Hayakawa’s hideaway in the pentacostal church on the south side) remember when Kay Boyle reviewed my poetry in the chronicle how many chinatown greasyspoons did we baptize before the renaissance dim sum when you could afford it you ate higher on the hog than was good for you that abalone we took out of season pickup hoops the Spinnaker to hear Bill Evans drool pacifica fm then you moved to management Severna Park foggy bottom of the swamps (how you could trek back to valley kin) when I needed a house you found one on Miramar owned by a Mexican Amador who did repairs kept the rent down when I could have bought my own house on l7th St with twin peaks and two bridges I left town instead saw you at the pier met your children enjoyed Judy’s laugh at old times (Lawson’s first cousin) always about family the brood out of camp but the camp not fully out of them I knew about those hard hours you never talked about I watched you wrap your bad knees as you chamoised your wheels in the driveway took the fine wine

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ORIGIN AL IN FO LY PUBL IS U AND RTEEN HI HED L C LS O L LE USE T ROUB CTED IN LE (2 009)


VISIONS | FALL 2011

at ease JASON SHUM `14 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

you’d saved for reunions finally took you to concert AN AMERICAN REQUIEM at the symphony nearby where neither of us were members as a Buddhist you had better not pick pineapples as in Hawaiian sushi will do remnants of the fish market for all the clan to eat one simple pose of you on your walker the stitches plain so you could walk with a cane at your sister’s 80th in Fresno I can see you on video Von’s in the background your first security check in the mailbox salt & pepper Boddhitree the fertile fields arias at Lisle Calaveras chapel the down pedal of Evans’s pavanne lone pacifier © Michael S. Harper, 2003, 2009, by permission of the author

MICHAEL S. HARPER, PROFESSOR OF LITERARY ARTS AT BROWN UNIVERSITY, WAS BORN IN BROOKLYN, NEW YORK AND HAS PUBLISHED 16 BOOKS SINCE COMING TO BROWN FROM SAN FRANCISCO IN 1970.

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Origin BY STEPHANIE ANNE MALIG CANLAS

I am Puzzle pieces— stitched together by invisible string, gleaming with immigrant dreams: deep Pacific blue. Look at me— a picture in pieces, secondhand parts: mother’s eyes father’s lips conqueror’s tongue, tasting and spitting Bataan blood— royal blue and scarlet red flowing from purple hearts on uniform chests… Sakit. I am Rooted— standing in soil and white sands, two homes, two treasures in hand: a gold gilded pearl.

STEPHANIE ANNE MALIG CANLAS, RISD `14 IS A 12-YEAR-OLD TRAPPED IN A 12-YEAR-OLD BODY.

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copper JENNY JISUN KIM, RISD `14 MIXED MEDIA

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turning moons BY ROB REN-PANG mono no aware first coined in a literary critique of the tale of genji, literally “the pathos of things”, also translated as “an empathy toward things” or “a sensitivity to ephemera”, is a japanese term used to describe the awareness of impermanence (japanese mujō) or the transience of things and a gentle sadness (or wistfulness) at their passing. the moments of sepia-toned, murakami-esque ii tenki desu ne “oh, the weather is nice today” the western equivalent is memento mori remember you too will die in ancient rome, the words are believed to have been used on the occasions when a roman general was parading through the streets during a victory triumph. standing behind the victorious general was his slave, who was tasked to remind the general that, though his highness was at his peak today, tomorrow he could fall or more likely be brought down. the servant conveyed this by telling the general that he should remember, one day you too will die I have always loved, women who have nowhere to come from We find each other in the shadows, of pale moonlight. mementos are totems, keepsake items that only hold power in the hands of their intended wielder. for instance, this hollow-centered coin could remind only me of my grandfather. because I know that he is not only a professor of physics, but of numismatics, a coin collector. he used to turn coins between his gnarled knuckles coins were once used as covers for the eyes of the dead, so that they could pay their bittersweet toll for their passage into the next world. he says with a sad half-smile, that one day soon now, the butterflies will come to collect his soul. beckons the man leaving on a ship made of kites into the waning silver disc he will be near the land that calls to him and the verses that inspired him. the copper of the coin floats into his mouth and dark tea leaves that wash over him and taste like still water and the songless ringing of the moon in the dark. ROB REN-PANG ?? IS GRATEFUL FOR THE GODDESSES OF THE MOON.

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Creation SUE KWON, RISD `14 PEN AND INK

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Striped CLIFTON YEO `14 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

The Method Man HYE RIN PARK `14 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

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red sky LARRY AU `14 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

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Dear Grandma VISIONS | FALL 2011

Grandma, do you remember when I used to collapse in your bed after school, kiss you on the cheek, press my face into your arm and listen to your childhood stories? While the machine massaging your swollen leg hummed, you told me about being picked to sing in front of the whole school during third grade, and once more when you were in middle school, to the accompaniment of the entire school orchestra. You told me you were so scared, your knees buckled and your voice echoed tremendously through the microphone. You never said it, but I always knew from your enthusiasm and your wistful voice that it was one of your proudest memories. Remember when you would tell me about the WWII bombings in your village in Taiwan? Your arms waved as you described to me how suddenly the street sirens blared, loudly and ominously, and how quickly you and your classmates strapped on those ‘protective’ cotton hats, rushed out the school building and sprinted with the rest of the villagers to the mountain cave hideouts. You always talked about it like an action-adventure movie, describing the thumping of your heart and the overpowering fear that pumped through you while the American bomber planes flew low over the village houses. When I asked you about the bombs that were dropped, however, you just sighed and said there were too many tragedies. Instead you told me that at the end of the war, when Japan lost, you and your classmates sobbed for days after listening to that fateful radio announcement. You went to a Japanese school, so those that were shipped back to Japan included your friends and all your teachers. You told me that not every Taiwanese person felt this way, but for you, it was devastating to say good-bye. And what about the story about the scar on your shin? Do you remember telling me about running across the station platform early one morning, leaping across the gap, and barely landing on the train’s ledge? You told me you were so relieved that you wouldn’t be late for high school, you didn’t realize that you had banged your shin until it started throbbing, puffed up like a balloon. I used to be fascinated by that penny-sized spot on your leg. Remember how I used to run my fingers over that scar? I used to say that it was as if all the meat got sucked out from under that round patch of skin. Each time I said that, you reminded me that there was no such vacuum and that it was rot and pus that ate away at the tissue. Remember how I didn’t want to believe you? Grandma, do you remember when Mom and her siblings were young? When I asked you, you smiled and asserted that all five of them were good, smart kids. But then, you would cluck your tongue, shake your head, and tell me that it was the busiest time of your life. Each morning, all five of the kids needed to be dressed, fed breakfast, and given lunch boxes. While they were at school, you furiously scrubbed their tough khaki uniforms until noon, after which you cleaned the house and shopped for groceries. Remember how you would pause here, and turn to me to declare how easy Mom has it now with washing and drying machines and the extra help from nannies? You described to me how in the evening, after dinner, you always sat in the middle of the living room mending clothes while Mom, her sister, and her brothers worked on their homework around you. Everybody sat around the same wooden table, except 大 uncle, right? Your oldest-born worked at his own personal desk. You told me you helped them memorize their class materials by giving them mock tests that you bought at the corner store. You marked them with a red pen. Mom and her siblings would recite their class texts and you would check carefully to make sure they knew them by heart. Sometimes, you told me, you would read their textbooks while they were at school, so you could understand the material. You told me you were always pleased with your children’s grades, but you smiled broadest when schoolteachers complimented you on the brightness and cleanliness of their uniforms. Remember how I laughed when you said that? Grandma, do you remember when I pestered you to tell my baby stories? You told me you baby-sat me all the time before James was born and Mom was still working. When you brought me along to visit your friends, you told me that I never fussed and that I always won them over, even that one who hated toddlers. And you told me that when I woke up crying in the middle of the night, you would take turns with Mom and Dad to carry me and rock me back to sleep. While you trudged up and down the staircase with me in your arms, you sang Japanese lullabies about fishermen hauling nets to feed their families and soldiers fighting far away from their newborn sons. Do you remember

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BY NATIVIDAD CHEN

VISIONS | FALL 2011

chuckling every time you told me about my inability to jump? You told me I would begin by crouching so low that my bottom touched the floor, but as hard as I tried, I only ended up on my tippy-toes. Do you remember how I would giggle even after hearing the same stories for the umpteenth time? Grandma, do you remember complaining to me those evenings when your body wasn’t feeling well? Your eyes were sticky and itchy. Your swollen leg was aching. Your head was pounding. While I squeezed drops into your eyes, kneaded your calves, and rubbed your head, you told me your regrets. You were tired of being old. You were weary of wearing false teeth and seeing wrinkles pucker your face. You grumbled about being ill and constantly cooped up in the basement bedrooms of your children’s houses. You lamented not seeing enough of the world. You wished you could still sing, but your voice had become scratchy. Often, you complained to me about Grandpa. While you gave up your job as a kindergarten teacher to maintain the household, Grandpa constantly came home late after the kids had fallen asleep, breath reeking of beer. You told me that Grandpa’s employers relocated him every couple of years, and that each time you had to move, you felt uprooted. He’s so stubborn, you insisted. During arguments with him, you could never be right. Do you remember how I tried to soothe you? I wrapped my arms around your stomach and leaned my head into the crook of your neck. I told you that you are still beautiful, that you are lucky your children want to take care of you, and that Grandpa misses you when you are in Vancouver with us. Remember how I tried to make you feel better? Grandma, do you remember when you told me you were starting to forget? On Skype late last year, you mentioned that your brain was getting cloudy. You barely remembered what you did last week. Sometimes, you told me, you’d enter a room and couldn’t remember what for.

When auntie Ei-jang told me that you were beginning to repeat your sentences during conversations, a wave of despair trembled through me.

Do you remember how I drilled you when I visited over winter break? Remember how I made you tell me what time you woke up and what you ate for breakfast every day we spent together? While I gripped your papery fingers, you patiently answered my incessant queries. Sometimes you answered “ground root yam with rice” or “7:15” and we’d both grin in simultaneous victory. Other times, when you tightened your hold on my hands and faltered, I’d remind you that you ate raisin bread from the Swiss bakery and repeat it, twice. Grandma, it seems to me that lately, you are only happy when your body is not troubling you. Last weekend, you told me it was a great day because your bad leg was less stiff than usual. I know I cannot fully understand your suffering until I grow old myself. But Grandma, the tenderness, vivacity, and patience with which you still share your memories with me are evidence that the agents breaking you down physically cannot injure your soul. Besides, even without your false teeth, your permed hair, and the white powder caking your face, I still think you are gracious and loving. Grandma, do you remember when I used to squeeze my small cold feet between your calves? You always shivered, but you never pulled away. While my feet warmed, you told me you used to do the same thing to your grandma. Grandma, do you know that when my grandchild sticks freezing toes on my legs, I will think of you?

NATIVIDAD CHEN `13 WILL NEVER FORGET.

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Vegetation STEPHANIE TEO `12 OIL ON CANVAS

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becoming tangibly love BY TIFFANY PHU

Once, there was a grandmother. But she was, first and foremost, a mother before she was ever grand. She cherished her life enough to fight for it amidst a country warring with itself, but loved her husband and five children enough to easily give it away. The mother rejoiced in the sleepy smiles of those who derived their all from her. She let these joys go in exchange for a chance for her family to seek freedom from communism, and guns peeking out everywhere on walks to school, and the fear of bombing prodding at barely sleeping bodies underneath beds wondering what lay sprawled before clenched eyes and shut doors. She let them go, and she held her breath and waited two years as the safety net for failure: feet planted, head bowed. Ounce by ounce, she drained the ocean on which her boat laid, floating it instead upon the fluid hope of her children’s dreams. The grandmother’s hands became home-cooked meals, her arms laundry, her feet trips to school, while her sons and daughter struggled in a new country, beyond the reach of her fingertips. She quilted patchwork reminders of the fabric they derived from, and covered stillborn doubts with the warmth of her belief in them. And ounce by ounce, the water of her sons’ and daughter’s and grandsons’ and granddaughters’ dreams became self-sufficient. Evaporating, they drifted into expansive skies, forming clouds that even the ever upwards-glancing daydreamer would disregard. Because it is not anything new, it is not anything amazing: it is a restaurant opened in the suburbs of Canada, it is a store full of old outdated electronics to repair, it is the stability of a career picking mushrooms, it is the manual labor of a garbage man that seeps into the bones and gently sculpts muscles into tight aching hurt. It is more hope and possibility than they once dreamed of. This is the happiest ending. And then the grandmother was stagnant. You see, she had learned to breathe on another’s exhale, survive upon another’s need for air. Devoid of others, her brain suffocated in small intervals. Her spine stopped sending messages of her own needs. Messages of hunger. How to walk. To urinate. And finally she was simply a mass of barely-there life, the weight of what it means to love with every fiber of your being.

Truthfully, I do not understand you, popo. This is how I connect with you, the only way I know how—to fabricate caresses and yearning and the clasping of hands after your fingers forget how to curl, when I have never seen my mother cry. I make believe and fill in the flesh of details on skeletal facts. I do not know the manner in which you feel, but will stay forever reaching across generational gaps and immigrant culture and neurofibrillary tangles, slow confused blinks: who are you?

TIFFANY PHU `14 REALLY ENJOYS PUNS, PICK-UP LINES, AND POST-ITS (PLUS ALLITERATION).

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today i lost my hat VISIONS | FALL 2011

BY VI KHI NAO

Today I lost my hat, took the wrong bus to work, grandmother died. And the panic voiced in my mother’s esophagus. Before Dawn: A funeral landed at my door. Inside. The roof of my mouth imploding with muttering liquid. The rain poured down. The fingers of rain droplets digging into my skin. Fog hovered over the earth like a giant shroud. Morning: I hung my wet sock on the giant coffee maker. A co-worker offered his large winter glove as a makeshift sock. In two hours, the warm breath evaporating out of the throat of the sock steamed my toes. Brunch: When the sun did not show up for work. When there was much dying to do. Lunch: Rice tasted like raw goat’s milk. This afternoon. The sun did not burn. Evening: The moon dancing, tumbling off the precipice of the universe. Did Lucifer know that she couldn’t be touched? Even when she was decadent, mellowed, indecisive? Even when she fell into the lap of Eden, her white globular head tossing in the wind of stars, her face pressing into the bosom of yesterday’s dream? How death made one suffer!

VI KHI NAO, MFA `13 IS WAITING TO BE A BODY BUILDER.

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VISIONS | FALL 2011

Portrait of an elderly lady NATI HYOJIN KIM `13 GRAPHITE

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Dumaguete (Parts 1 & 2) BY REXY JOSH DORADO VISIONS | FALL 2011

The dark-skinned old beggar finds her perch beside another dusty street as the church spills its proceedings out into the courtyard. Silent figures stand shoulder-to-shoulder behind occupied pews: hands linked, eyes all gentle attention, bodies squeezed for space. And as the sermon echoes past the openings in the crowd and through the cracks in the cathedral walls, the old tramp responds with a kind of rhythmic nonsense: her words lost in the noise of pedicab engines, the chatter of tempura vendors and the quiet prayers of families lighting candles on the altar. This is where you find yourself: looking for memories in the familiar smells of burning wax and roasting chicken; the water’s breath in your hair and the sun in your eyes as you sit at the edge of the promenade. That feeling that you lost in your pilgrimage is the same that floods you now: in the rush of the waterfalls, in the roar of the rain that swallows bridges yet soon settles in the soil of your grandparents’ yard, and in your uncle’s old waterbed where the children jump and laugh and you lay your head.

REXY JOSH DORADO `14 SHOULD PROBABLY KEEP HIS CLOTHES ON.

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VISIONS | FALL 2011

wake JESSIE CHEN, RISD `13 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

the crossing JESSIE CHEN, RISD `13 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

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VISIONS | FALL 2011

'

DePAYSER JEFFERSON CHEN `14 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

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Letter Home VISIONS | FALL 2011

, , BY VIVIAN TRU O NG

here everybody talks to me like i know vietnamese. i trip over my words and worlds and the woman selling cà phê sữa đá at the corner nook cheats me and charges me twice as much for half the usual amount of creamy brown ambrosia. here i don’t know what to say when people ask me who or what i am. here it thunderstorms, a lot, and my clothes get soaked again after i handwash them and leave them out to dry on the balcony. here i duck under the back of my homestay sister’s poncho to shield myself from the rain, but peer outwards because i like how the city looks rushing past when i am sitting on the back of her motorbike. i have stopped holding on to the back handles of motorbikes, and i have gotten used to the feeling of almost falling. here i eat noodles and caramelized catfish with great-uncle on his birthday. second aunt bargains for me at the plaza when i want to buy clothes that make me look less like a foreigner. everybody still talks to me like i know vietnamese. here children put candles on newspaper boats and the newspaper boats on water. here bánh mì comes crisp and wrapped in newspaper. here the humidity makes the trees greener. the forests and jungles sprout lush like war never happened. here there are a lot of things that make me sad and angry all at once, like the white men sitting at bars with scantily clad vietnamese women, or european tourists clicking flashing their cameras at young monks who are trying to pray at a temple. some foreigners think that vietnamese people (my people?) are exotic zoo animals and they click flash click flash and the vietnamese people turn away. maybe they are used to it. maybe they don’t know how to respond. maybe they say things under their breath that the foreigners don’t understand. here people talk to me like i know vietnamese. i don’t know if i have the right to make the distinction between foreigner and vietnamese because i am both and neither and chinese, too. i don’t know who my people are, if they are all or none or just the intersections. here i try to find history in photocopies of yellowing pages under fluorescent lighting. i learn about the massacre that led to the rebuilding of what today is cho lon. i learn about the chinese-vietnamese who took up arms with their ethnic vietnamese brothers and sisters to defend against western imperialism. i learn about the tide of discrimination and exodus and find my mother and father, you, mommy and baba, awash somewhere in the flood of symbols swimming on the pages. here people talk to me like i know. like i carry the burden of your displacement everywhere i go. here i am, here. i wonder if your here has always been here and not there.

, , VIVIAN TRU O NG `12 IS COOKING UP YOUR STORMS.

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VISIONS | FALL 2011

Lighthouse SHARON SUN `14 OIL PAINT

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A REAL Dream VISIONS | FALL 2011

BY CHRISTINA PAN

I lived within a dream with the red redder and the blue bluer with exponential sounds amplified and dropped like pearls on a piano Phosphorescent leaves Light’s broken shadows and her breath enveloping me in me. Dawn woke I to see that this dream is a real dream.

CHRISTINA PAN `13 IS COVERED BY FALLING LEAVES.

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Forest woman .. LIISA KRUUSMAGI RISD `11 MIXED MEDIA ON PAPER

VISIONS | FALL 2011

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VISIONS | FALL 2011

Ride that shadow HYE RIN PARK `14 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

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VISIONS | FALL 2011

Eye-Flutter Symbolism BY AYOOSH PAREEK

Palindromic line cuts, we are exercising our ability to excise thoughts. I. They call this selective memory formation. This poem is playing tricks on you, my words playing with minds, cannot separate what is in front from what is behind. I did not mean to rhyme that time (or this). I saw you, earring halos, and red waistband coronary arteries synchronizing the indentations under your eyes remind me of cobblestone ambitions, and only hopes that you can catch puddles will ever be good enough. Skin tones resonating the wood the best violins are made of. II. Anything you can say reminds of the dare games we play in front of each other, such a bother it is trying to plan encounters. And baby, I have seen it all, is what you think. Did you know girls blink twice as much as guys, on average. You are not average; whiskey in glass glasses, I did not know it was possible for us to like bitter things together. I said it was just distraction. Distraction for me, or you? Either way, I am planting seeds that will not turn into trees. III. Do you dare me to drink this she asks me. Yeah sure, I reply. With a red flower in her hair, she wants to burn down volcanoes. Talking about things that will never really happen, I walk down hallways which might lead to accidents. We are like the sounds raindrops make on frosted windows, white noise for the perfect slumber at night, but a source of discontent in the morning.

AYOOSH PAREEK `12 NEVER SNOOZES.

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VISIONS | FALL 2011

Amsterdam DIMING ZHONG, RISD `15 OIL ON CANVAS, WOOD

A Virgin Female Wasp - 4 ASHLEY ADAMS `12 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

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VISIONS | FALL 2011

Physiognomy DIANE ZHOU `14 WATERCOLOR

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VISIONS | FALL 2011

Hot Sauce

BY REVA DHINGRA

when, caught in the inertia of a well-lit alleyway your lover calls you: baby with all the solemnity of a dead bishop or Communism; and smears your dollar -store lipstick over his stubbled cheeks and you, unravished and dreamy, are compelled to seek solace through infinite psychosis, think instead of warm neon nights outside the Vietnamese restaurant, when your first lover was only incidental to the taste of sriracha drifting from his skin

REVA DHINGRA `14 WEARS GLASSES SOMETIMES.

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VISIONS | FALL VISIONS 2011 | FALL 2011

Abstract CELIA CHUNG, RISD `13 ACRYLIC PAINTS

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VISIONS | FALL 2011

Henry ANNA GAISSERT `13.5 DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

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Peking Colors VISIONS | FALL 2011

BY ETHAN REED

I. The evening passed with green leaves descending in a tall square glass of toady chartreuse: elsewhere Toad the Leper, the King of Time, shows his flaking eyes in the ash end of a roach or in the heads of fresh pints stacked like so many sets of minutes paced by thirst and things to say within the grandeur of his immobility. But here white is the wax surrounding green tea floating free in a hot paper cup. II. The peanut is brown and hairless. It has been handed down for generations And will continue to be quietly opened By practiced hands, Though it is often found to be empty, Much like the sunflower seed Spat from the back of the truck By the soldier .  

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VISIONS | FALL 2011

III. I have been heaved into being on all fours from the purples and blacks of the steel bench in the public shower with another dawn. Lustless, fruitless peristalsis; in search of a word to finish the ellipsis hovering over the middle of ‘Beijing’ the night had come to a head. There was no sudden turquoise of heaven above. Everything that was left, like everything else came with burning gasps between and a hard finger where the word would have been: knuckles stuck like two glistening pupas and a pool of urgent milk on the tiles the spent color of soy. IV. Exhausted megaton red Hues the woman with the magenta mop Violet in the wet.

ETHAN REED `12 HEARD THE ROAD TO BEIJING STARTS 600 MILES NORTH OF THE CITY CENTER AND ENDS RIGHT HERE.

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windmill ZACH BORNSTEIN `12 INK

VISIONS | FALL 2011

E-board Bios

susie ahn `13 WANTS COFFEE BY DAY, (RED, RED) WINE BY NIGHT.

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SUE KWON, RISD `14 NEEDS TO WAKE UP.

larry au `14 WON'T TAKE MAYBE FOR AN ANSWER.

stephanie kim `12 JUST WANTS TWO THINGS: THE ABILITY TO TELEPORT AND A CURE FOR HANGOVERS ... IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK FOR?

DIVYA BHATIA `15 LOVES SITTING AT HER PIANO, TOYING WITH THE MELODIES OF LIFE.

Michelle Mao, RISD `13 IS KERNING IN TYPOGRAPHY LAND.

Tiffany Chen `13 HAS A CHRONIC CASE OF THE GIGGLES.

katherine ng `14 IS LIVING IN STOP MOTION.

celia chung, risd `13 LOVES TO STOP AND SHOP!

ayoosh pareek `12 IS BALLIN'. SHOT CALLIN'.

stella chung `13 DREAMS IN CONSTELLATIONS.

panpan song `12 IS LAUGHING!

MARY FEI `14 ADDS A SPOONFUL OF HAPPINESS TO EVERYDAY'S ENDEAVORS.

margaret yi `12 IS STILL SEARCHING FOR THE BEST PAD THAI.


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FISH #1 NATI HYOJIN KIM `13 INK, SOFT PASTEL

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VISIONS | BROWN/RISD

MICROCUTS (BONE, SPERM, CILIA, DIATOM) CHARIS LOKE `13 PAPER

VISIONS | BROWN/RISD

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The Beaulieu Car SUSAN M. B. CHEN `15 OIL ON PA PER

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of VISIONS' advisor, editors, or sponsors.

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