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Editors Annelise Furnald arfurnald@loyola.edu

WARNINGS Loyola’s Literary and Art Journal Vol. 8 Issue 1 Feb. 2013

Anthony Medina ajmedina@loyola.edu Design By: Annelise Furnald Anthony Medina Editorial Staff Madelyn Fagan Rebecca Heemann Sarah Karpovich Elizabeth Carr Warnings is published periodically. All rights reserved. All content, unless otherwise noted is the property of the author(s). Warnings welcomes and considers unsolicited manuscripts and electronic submissions that are either kept on file for the annual writing contest, are available on warningslitmag.tumblr.com, or are discarded. For more information, email warnings@loyola.edu. If works denoted as fiction or poetry bear any resemblance to actual events, locations or persons, living or dead, it is entirely coincidental. Store in a cool, dry place not to exceed 72°F. Thanks to those who helped make this magazine possible: Education For Life, Doug Evans, Crystal Staley, Ned Balbo, Dan Schlapbach, The Writing, Fine Arts, English, and Communication Departments, SGA, The Greyhound Collective Poetry Revival, Loyola University Maryland, and all those who support the arts and creative thought. 2 | Warnings

Dear Readers, Just when you thought we were down for the count, we rise from the proverbial ashes like the legendary phoenix. After a short hiatus, a lot of planning, writing, and fundraising meetings, Warnings is back and better than ever. With that out of the way we proudly present to you our first issue of the new year: Choice! College, as we all know, is a time full of many difficult and pressing decisions. From what to major in, to what to wear in class, to who to love, we are faced with choices on a daily basis. In the heat of a tense election year, and engulfed in the everyday stresses of college life, we (here at Warnings) felt this issue’s theme would resonate well with our loyal readers. And so we extend to you a fair choice: To read or not to read? That is the question. “Your choice is simple: join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration. We shall be waiting for your answer. The decision rests with you.” – Klaatu (The Day The Earth Stood Still) Enjoy. Your loving editors, Anthony Medina and Annelise Furnald front cover image by Courtney Lemon back cover image by Annelise Furnald


Artists, by Category by Sarah Karpovich

I keep looking at piano keys and trying to write with them. Who’s to say I couldn’t have been a composer? It feels so much the same: fingers dancing freely on keys, distant internal music, a quiet solitary madness. I look for a chord that says “Sing of the rage,” or “Once upon a time”; I want to bend the notes to my narrative. But the alphabet is truncated, repeated, sung, rung, translated, and the words that I know cannot find their form. I think often of the hierarchy of things like this, like the highest of high art, like the beauty of human ingenuity, like the languages we speak to one another. I wonder often of the origin of things like this, perhaps an accident in the genome, perhaps a diligence untiring, perhaps an intangible brilliance.

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A scene from Fort Williams by Rachel Christian

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When The Summer Grew Too Hot by Samantha Segar

We chose to run away on the roller coaster foothills of the Berkshires. The fire grew inch by inch, ferociously, fed by the stolen pine and our own eager breath. It provocatively danced the salsa to the cricket’s buzz and to the dreams we shared of a world where free meant free. To our dreams of oceanfront houses floating on balloons through heaven. To our dreams of leaping from continent to continent on no more than a wish. To our dreams of knowing every cell of every person inside and out. Smoke of all sorts grooved around our bodies and up through the trees hiding our guilty grins. We too danced in the charred orange of the broken light with our dreams and our jug of cheap red wine. We cursed and spit flames back at the cool summer evening. We sat on the Mexican braided blanket and built ourselves a holy circle of incense. We adventured to the stream by moonlight, jumping madly from boulder to boulder and an intriguing, vicious lump of danger rose in our throats. We lay hysterically, laughed humanly, hooting like wild things as our faces blended in with the night. We radiated the celestial glow of the man in the moon. We squeezed on the one flat stone that all four of us could occupy and the water circled, threatening our finger tips. Our toes dipped into the current and out flowed the coyotes of our mistrust, the spiders of growing older, the snakes of our treacherous loves and the owls of our desperate loneliness. They all trickled through the rocky mountains of the river. Someone whispered, “It’s okay...God is a buffalo.” Someone wondered, “How could he help us anyways?” Someone jumped in, went for a swim, and our speculation began again.

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Mirror

by Kelly Gieron Ruffled black satin stretched and gasped for relief, begging my already-drained lungs to tighten, begging my calloused fingers to curl over the zipper, the stubborn goddamn zipper that was pinching my flesh but holding me together. A single inch remained unfastened, just one. So close to victory, that zipper was only taunting me. It knew I was fake. It knew I wasn’t a size 2, I would never be. It couldn’t squeeze me in forever, it was too weak; that was something we had in common. I gave up. The overworked zipper obeyed a downward jerk with eagerness.

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My body was released yet still bound. Lips curved in absolute disgust, at the nakedness on exhibit. Bending over the nauseating, peach tiled sink, I trace my lips with an apprehensive finger before travelling down that guilty throat in search of the trigger teasing my instincts, and then retch. Just spit. I stare with a withering look at my distortion and refuse defeat. I’m more than these failed attempts.


Three Little Birds Greg Stokinger

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Sap

by Hope Gamper

My father knew that he was going to die at the age of 62. He knew because the doctors at MedTrust Hospital ran a multitude of tests on him and all signs pointed to an untimely demise. When the nurse came to the lobby, my mother’s hands tightened around mine and began to tremble. Four months, she struggled to repeat after the nurse. In four months my father would be 62 and dead. And I just sat there next to my mom trying to understand the words spewing out of the nurse’s mouth: “stage four,” “inoperable,” “chemo.” These were words we had heard before, but they immediately became alien echoes bouncing around the walls of my head. He was a conservative man. He drank three beers a year. He made frequent dental appointments. He never missed an anniversary. And yet his entire adult life was pockmarked with various maladies, including bouts with depression in his early thirties. And of course, at the age of 62, his stomach was riddled with cancer. I immediately started thinking about what he would eat. If your stomach has cancer, wouldn’t eating anything substantial yield immense pain? And when exactly did he get 8 | Warnings

cancer? Does one just “get cancer” or is it more of a gradual shitstorm? If it is really just the proliferation of mutated cells, shouldn’t there be a way to signal these cells to stop dividing? What are these scientists and doctors and lab technicians doing, anyway, if not trying to find a cure for my ailing father? “He’ll eventually have to be fed through a tube,” Nurse 1 relayed. What kind of food? “Well, it’s not really food per se. It’s nutrients—iron and vitamins and folic acid—so that he doesn’t have any major deficiencies.” I can tell that you really care about the well-being of your patients. “We’re doing everything that we can.” Sure. And after we finished talking to Nurse 1, Nurse 2 came to the lobby to tell him that a burn patient somehow got rolled over onto the bad side. The whopping 300-pound male required the attention of two nurses. The doctor was making his rounds to those in the lobby, but it seemed as if he swung his semicircle of consultations toward and then away from us. After an hour we hadn’t talked to anyone except the nurse. The whole time my mother

was wringing her hands raw. Mine were occupied by a Styrofoam coffee cup that I was stripping the outer layers off of. When I looked up at the clock it was past midnight. It’s just food poisoning. It’ll go away. My dad isn’t going to die because of some bad seafood. He was starting chemotherapy today. They would put him in a La-Z Boy chair, hook him up to sacks of fluid, and try to make the cancer go away. Dad didn’t want us to come in. He said that he would meet us in the car after it was over; in the interim, we should get lunch and try not to worry. We watched him walk through the automatic doors of the hospital without turning back. Mom swerved the car into a Dr. Rivera’s parking spot and locked my arm in a death grip, somehow managing to pull my obstinate body into the hospital lobby with her. We walked down the hallway into the chemotherapy ward. We stopped outside of Ward 35 where we could see dad through a small window, getting his chest outfitted with an IV. The medicine in the drip was a deep, rusty red. It looked like the sticky sap of a tree, slowly incorporating itself with my father’s flow of blood. His wedding ring


looked tight against his skin, but the rest of him looked slimmer than usual. I hadn’t noticed in the car, but his cheeks were cavernous and the form of his body was barely visible underneath the thin khaki pants that mom had dressed him in this morning. He was surrounded by other men and women, all hooked up to similar machines, all with cancer, all trying to get better. Some of them had their family members with them. They were talking, holding hands, some were even laughing together.

Dad’s eyes were focused up at the ceiling. He could probably see us out of his peripheral vision, but he didn’t want to cause a scene by telling us to leave. Instead of turning his head he simply let a little trail of saliva slip out of the crease of his mouth. Somehow I figured that this meant he was okay. It was funny– seeing my father drool in a pallid chemotherapy room should have made me upset and sympathetic, but instead I could only pull my mother in close at my side and impart a soft sigh on the top of her head.

Reflection by Nikki Doster

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untitled by Evan Slagle

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because you dance like a heart attack. why I’m breaking up with you because you reek of turpentine.

by Eric Loy

because you kidnapped me and locked me in your trunk, drove around for years laughing at my muffled gags and the thump of hairpin turns. you never knew, but the battery acid stained my forehead with chemical burns and failed rom-com movie dates. the spare tire told me once, it’s so dark in here, but I couldn’t tell through the blindfold— sight suffocated by your bleach black hair. because you hold me like a food stamp. because you are your mother. because you trapped me in amethyst, left me fossilized on your mantle somewhere between the Xanax and loose change. you’d throw extravagant galas for your posse of socialites with cocaine & cheap wine and say to them, Isn’t it shiny? Never concerned with how the violet strangled. because I introduced you to the girl I picture as in my head and she hated you. because you drowned me in your bathtub, your pruned spider fingers dug in my scalp. through the shallow surface, I saw you watching Maury through the open bathroom door as I choked on soaked vowels. at the commercial break, you lifted my comatose from the drain and cuddled with what was left of me. I heard you finally whisper, when you love me as much as you love to breathe, then 11 | Warnings I’ll let you go.


The Compass by Taylor Hadley

Direction lies at the end of a needle– its end dipped in red or gold. A magnet, or is it a manipulated touch, hides below the layers, the mantle, the core, surely living its secret life as a molten ocean, unseen but continuing just the same. Or does direction sit quietly, waiting to be picked up by our own hands, and taken onward rather than waiting to lead us? Is the force a pull, or a push? The infinite coastline lies smooth and calm. Dusk skies reflect onto the sea, and onto the glass surface that encases the answers to where and how far. Stars are the guides to everywhere, but these four letters cannot be concealed by clouds, making them more reliable. The four corners of the world are determined by delicately printed font, and a gentle pivot. We set out on a course, mapped by sight. The navigator holds the route, taking to the waters and land like a child taking his very first steps: wobbling at first, but slowly steadying. There is something about the way a guided course runs smoother than frantic speculations made on a stormy night; Orienting oneself brings easy breathing and restful sleep. But sometimes even the sunrise and sunset forget which side they are supposed to be on, and the captain’s map is sometimes upside down. Can one not pick her own direction, simply turn away from the needle, or has it already been decided? The core’s forces display only strong regularities. More careful than the captains of ships are the navigators making interpretations.

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untitled by Katherine Marshall

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Childrearing: Darwin Style by Madelyn Fagan

Treat humans as computers; set default to female, they are programmed to produce offspring that leech productivity. Set default to female. You can’t alt delete this gender construct to offspring that leech productivity when dimorphism is encoded destiny. You can’t alt delete this gender construct to pretend we are more than our environment. When dimorphism is encoded destiny we cap lock culture around it. Pretend we are more than our environment; treat humans as computers, cap lock culture around it, update it to suit modern interpretation.

The Choice To End by Sarah Haley

Is it best I wonder to ignore the end? That fateful blow under, against which we cannot defend, inevitable blunder, injury with no mend. Is it better maybe to be concise and aware of the final scene we share? To hold with bated breath each applause, each duet. Shine and live to our death, for we won’t come back like good Mannette, However far or near it is surely there. perhaps not to strike fear, but to teach us to care, each moment, each laugh, each tear. So in fleeing from death, we kill our light still, we waste most precious breath, but we will do as we will.

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GREYHOUND COLLECTIVE POETRY REVIVAL SPOTLIGHT

Untitled

by Jessica Hackley You make my love unfurl Like the pent up Sent up Drug of desire I attempt to curl and hide And keep on my underside. No one should see that side of me, With it comes all my broken insensitivity. The part that was made impure, By no choice or conscious direction. But now, This is my lesson. I take control, I hold the reins. My decision in this love, This game. And this type, Some may let it rest, But for us. This lust. This jest. For now, We let this course take nest.

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“Will it make me something? Will I be something? Am I something? And the answer comes, already am, always was, and I still have time to be.” –Anis Mojgani


Choice