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1 1 : margot field collage

until forever : sadye sagov hand : nora anderson


IMAGE the glow cloud : oil on canvas : jun zhao : front cover collage 1 : mixed media : margot field : inside cover turning everything to ice : photograph : jackson holbert : 3 alex in park : drawing : margot field : 7 the window of 221b baker street : oil on canvas : jun zhao: 10 dance is live : crayon, oil pastel and watercolor : adam marx : 11 outside my comfort zone : photograph : alexandra zelle rettman : 12 spingold in snow : oil on masonite board : jun zhao : 13 untitled : mixed media : morgan brill : 14 (i have some) milk : photograph : allison clears : 15 fog : photo : alexandra zelle rettman : 16 the end is the most beautiful beginning : photograph : jun zhao : 17 untitled : photograph : sindhura sonnathi : inside back cover eyeliner : drawing : margot field : back cover spring 2014

where the children play

her : theresa gaffney : 3 new mexico : nora puricelli : 4 used to be fat : aliza vigderman : 5, 6 brother sport brother bear : charlene yi : 7 the idea : sarah rush : 8 how to be distinguished : leah weingast : 9 recovery ward : madelyn stroik : 10 late monsoons : elaine mancini : 13 aphorism : taylor baker : 16 remember where you come from : rachel hughes : 17 but i can’t tie my shoes yet : andrew elmers : 18 sweet spot : ryan molloy : 19, 20 before the haircut : madelyn stroik : 21



Her Rum n’ coke for the gal— She’s not drunk, just likes the soil against her warm, warm face. Difficult to walk by her without drawing attention to oneself. Pull eyes, tug ends of lips up approximately 30 degrees (the chemical difference between drunk and enjoying the ground.) Maybe when morning comes sun drags her heavy head around to think of me. - Theresa Gaffney


turning everything to ice : jackson holbert

New Mexico Amish Amy strangled Marvin with a loop of her ochre braids. The taut plaits of a novice nun her nickname came from, which I found offensive, to the Amish, I was never sure how Amy felt about it. Did she think of it at all? My roommate Bernadette contradicts me, Amy never wore her hair like that. She mentions Amy’s silk black chokerw rumored to be stolen from her mother who blew away on an eastward wind to Tallahassee, or Baton Rouge. Amy moved in and out of bars and strip malls with accidental impermanence that thousands of ensembles, woven caftans, toe ringshad been carefully selected to achieve. But Amy let smoke slip between her teeth and eyelashes. She was the muslin pattern for the American Gothic wife. I don’t remember Marvin’s face, perhaps he did not have a face. He was her boyfriend her brother her father Exstepfather last I heard, from Jesús — Jesús Valdivias — with the silver eyes, which must make it true. He loved Amy for a time, when first she stumbled from a popped balloon, the Gauguin girl in the yellow dress.

He laughed when I stopped him outside the car wash. She’s behind bulletproof glass at the Louvre with a smirk bought for the Paris bourgeoisie to ponder, he said. No one could love her It’s useless to study a girl of oil and powder, an eccentric’s dream. No no no I remember the blinding heat of Amy’s skin, the canary song of her voice. The girl who snakecharmed the life from a man, Amish Amy, wraith muse. True, Amy had vanished, seemingly for good. Did she try to say goodbye? Was she too drunk to care? She found me on the orange blossom patio cupping the shattered stem of a wine glass. This is my favorite ring, she cooed and locked it around my finger, Real turquoise, from New Mexico. I searched for her face, but it had changed already. - Nora Puricelli


Used to Be Fat It is a Sunday morning, so Dad has put in a Richards Simmons tape into the VCR. My Dad is yelling “keep UP!” at us, and I think he’s smiling, or at least, his teeth are flashing at me. We do this every Sunday, my family. That’s me, my mom, my sister Emma, and my Dad. Once I slept over at my friend Anna’s and in the morning we just ate pancakes and slept in, even though it was Sunday and Sunday is Exercise Day. Then I remembered, Anna doesn’t have any sisters, especially not one who is fat. “Why does Daddy make us jump up and down to that funny man on the video tape?” I asked Emma one morning over breakfast before school. We’re in the breakfast room eating bagels. I look at us in the mirror on the wall. I am sitting at one end of the table with my legs crossed, while I spread my cream cheese onto my bagel like Mom showed me. Emma leans back in her chair, one knee up, as she dumps chunks of bagel into the cream cheese. She can do this because Mom is busy in the kitchen. Also, Arthur is playing on the little TV, so she can’t hear us, either. Somehow, I know she won’t like this conversation. Also she doesn’t like us to talk so much when we eat because she thinks we will choke on our bagels. “I don’t know! God!” She is mad. I can tell she is mad because her face turned red and her eyes filled up with tears. She


gets that way when she tries on clothes or when she accidentally breaks one of her plastic ponies. “Is it because you’re fat!” I yell at her. I don’t do this to be mean or anything, although she screams and runs out of the room. The next day during dinner my parents are acting weird. It’s like they are trying too hard to be normal. Like when my Dad asked me what I learned in school today, his voice sounded like he was reading off a script, like a dad from one of those shows on TV Land or something. They said they have something to tell us, but only after we eat all of our broccoli. “Why do we have to eat this stuff ? It tastes like it’s from the gutter!” I complain, pushing around the brown rice and vegetables with my fork. Emma immediately looks down at her plate. She has not eaten anything. Emma never eats anything at dinner because she likes eating Tastycakes which she keeps under her bed. “Lily, don’t start. You know you have to finish your broccoli”, Mom warns. “Dad’s not even eating his broccoli!” I point out. “Sue, let’s just tell them”, my Dad says under his breath, clenching his fork. My mom’s lips disappear until her mouth is just a straight line like she drew it on with a ruler. Quickly, she changes it into a smile with upturned corners. “Honey,” she begins, looking at

Emma. “How would you like to go to camp this summer?” Emma, still pushing her food around, doesn’t answer for a few seconds. When she does, her voice comes from the back of her throat, like she had to muster up all of her strength just to talk. “What kind of camp?”, she asks. My parents flick each other a look, and my Mom clears her throat. “It’s a fitness camp!” she says, but her voice is too high. Emma’s face, which is normally red, has now turned white. Her fork scratches against her plate, jolting me out of my seat. “Are you making me go to fat camp!?” she asks, but she already knows the answer. “Emma…” my Dad warns. Last time she had a meltdown, she ended up falling backwards on her chair and breaking the little wooden poles. This time, though, she doesn’t rock back and forth until gravity kicks her ass. She just sits there, like she can’t move. Her cry sounds like the noises a whale makes when it winds up on shore. Her nose, too, drips onto her plate, combining with her tears in a sort of veggie-mucus stew. My Mom quickly brings a napkin to her nose in order to protect the remains of the stir-fry. “Come on, Emma, cheer up! It’s not like we’re sending you to jail! You’ll feel so much better once you lose some of that baby fat”, my Dad tries. Emma leaves the table, fluids still leaking out of every crev-

ice of her face. We can hear her clomp up the stairs, go into her room, and slam the door. We sit insilence. We are listening to see if she’s going to eat the Tastycakes. A few months later, Emma comes back from fat camp, but it’s not her. Her face isn’t round anymore, and she’s always cold and has to wear a blanket around the house. She sleeps on her side with a pillow between her knees to keep them from knocking together. We don’t have to do exercise videos on Sundays anymore. At breakfast, Emma has stopped dunking her bagel into her cream cheese. She doesn’t even use cream cheese at all, she just eats a whole grain bagel, plain. She stares at herself in the mirror as she eats, studying herself, one hand on her stomach, which used to be fat, making sure she didn’t disappear. - Aliza Vigderman


brother sport brother bear There’s a beach under there, There’s a mountain, moss, sweat— and adventure. There are bodies under a cascade of water there, here. The threshold of experience and flesh, only just a crack, a slit for the gallivanting of the day to slip into. To become petrified and emulsified, eternally bound up with dirt and skin and cigarettes. But they make nail clippers, don’t they? - Charlene Yi

alex in park : margot field


the idea you may not have noticed but lately the stove-top has been talking at night; when the sun’s cold shoulder lends fire to those four twinkling sapphire eyes— its stare burned my retinas in the dark so i crawled out from the cold bed covers impelled by a faint smoky scent of desire melting, or maybe melding at midnight and as i entered the kitchen i could have sworn i heard the striking of a match and the gasping of singed air as the stove-top made my acquaintance: it saw me behind my two twinkling branded eyes reached far within and lit some pyre— one i had buried so deep below the others i had forgotten... ‘touch me’ the eyes said, ‘love me’ and i won’t deny i wanted to - Sarah Rush


How to be Distinguished Among the ‘Lots of Those’ remove the ink from pilled cotton pockets, lined with white icy juice and venomed courage In blue night air choking crowds, hoards, surrounding the incapable Who yearns for the pursuit of pleasure in a basement? Air escapes lungs in solid yellow chunks, blackened and charred by malice Strung with melting jewels that sink into sewer gates A shredded checkered sleeve claws, barely scraping a burning and syrupy gate - Leah Weingast


recovery ward i marvel at common miraclesthe silhouettes of birds caught in my soap, the closeness to harvest i find the moons of my nails. outside my cooled mouth, each of my ribs are fragile, antique thermometers. inside them the mercury recedes,

a hairline tide of toxic silver that stunts summer solstice (each new day born with defects and so much darkness). the lawn is a carpet of splintered sapling my lips blue in the backyard the sun, standoffish now distant and cold as i recall how to pull socks over achilles heels, clasp bait on bra hooks, and sterilize my hair from the last chlorine and campfire- Madelyn Stroik

the window of 221b baker st : jun zhao



dance is live: adam marx

12 outside my comfort zone : alexandra zelle rettman

Late Monsoons many miniature skeletons served soup from the pot of infinite jealousy I am hungry and I will eat comatose like the cormorants now fast asleep on the beach I reach for the rafters in the room jealous of the monsoon it is hot and wet outside but the moon makes cinders of stars miles of blankets above rainy acid the planets thickly plunge my back sweats with him in the room we bake in a damp, cool oven Kinsey ladles scorched jealous on skin we wait for whatever is coming - Elaine Mancini


spingold in snow : jun zhao



(i have some) milk : allison clears

Aphorism No, blue darkness does not come off like a shirt, a sweaty sock after a long day, but like pieces of rusted metal flaking off a sink. - Taylor Baker

fog : alexandra zelle rettman


remember where you come from you might have been at Rockland when you read to me and teal sea breezes, coral sand, grit softened by waves and softening me poured out of your mouth. brown eyes glazed in LED light I could see the words traveling your irises springing up gardens on your tongue, in the flat dirt outside, in the acrid pearl rain that brought me here. - Rachel Hughes


the end is the most beautiful beginning : jun zhao

But I Can’t Tie My Shoes Yet: Cartoons, cereal; Abuelita sat and watched While daddy was out working and mommy was driving home I liked watching and my brother sat next hunched Over a carpet full of Legos that kept us company when they would roam. Fabiola came in the door, crying Tears of utter disbelief streaming down her glossed cheek Screaming, cursing, choking, breaking All our hopes and dreams with three simple words that turned her meek “Ella está muerta.” Abuelita, dumbfounded; confused by this sentence Brother and I couldn’t bother to look away from the screen Flashing bright lights and dizzy sounds that formed a resemblance To what mommy last night woke up and would have last seen Daddy never cried before he stood in front of that church He never cried again after walking away from that tombstone But afterwards, what always would feel the worst Was how no one would be there to make sure I wasn’t alone - Andrew Elmers


Sweet Spot The first time we fucked in the church, he took me by surprise. I was scraping drips of candle wax off the tile when I heard him walking up behind me. I thought it odd that he’d already finished polishing the tabernacle, but I’d just wedged myself under a particularly large pancake of wax and was not about to abandon ship only to remind him that gold plating needs three, yes three, coats of polish. As I pried at the wax, his hands snaked under my armpits and lifted me off my knees. Before I had a chance to turn around, slap him and threaten to check his handiwork behind the altar, he pushed me down over a pew, tore out my belt and threw my workpants to my ankles. Judging by the tickle of flesh on the backs of my thighs, he’d already hopped out of his jeans, and I dug my nails into the wood as he spat on his cock and began to fuck me. I lifted my head and saw the doors at the entryway, heavy slabs of mahogany waiting for someone to push them open and scream. The alcoholic mothers met on Wednesdays, Rotary club on Friday, and I stopped wondering who might barge in because I got off thinking that somebody would. Neither of us had shut the lights off, but I liked that. Maybe some townies strolling by on their way to the diner would come up to the mosaic windows and see us refracted through a purple stained panel, or maybe they’d hear our moans. Oh the moaning! There hadn’t been so much noise in the rectory since the traveling evangelicals bowed to the altar and screamed in tongues. We echoed up the cathedral ceiling down to the floor still splattered with wax, and when I looked back to him, I saw the crucifix looming over his shoulder on the back wall: Jesus nailed to the boards, forced to watch two fags fuck on his turf. Between grunts and moans, I made sure every discernable syllable crossed him. Fuck. Christ. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck me. His eyebrows had that animal arch, the lowered slant that only came in our most intense bouts


of fucking, the shadowed eyes that I hadn’t seen since before we’d each learned the other’s routine: an unbridled seize the moment mounting, no come and get me, jut get, pounding on my backside, grinding my elbows into the bench, shins to the seat and shouts to the ceil ing, rolling onto the tile, reaching around to my cock and pulling it to climax. Half clothed, I sat and picked the wax out of my fingernails with him next to me, both of us looking up. We stared at the deadpan Christ, at one another’s giddy expressions and at the church that had yet to be mopped. We pulled on our pants and finished our contractual cleaning. He polished then swept; I scraped then mopped. We drove home in the aimless wake of broken boredom. The second time we fucked in the church, we prepared. Every surface was scraped, dusted, mopped, polished and dried before we began. I pulled some tawny port from the rectory, and we sipped it from tiny wax cups, tossing back eight or nine of them before agreeing that we should bring our own wine that, while nothing special, didn’t taste as if it were fermented in a toilet bowl. Next time, we said, adding it to the list of minor imperfections to remedy in future go-rounds, the one that began on the car ride home with mentions of chaffing and bruised knees. Before telling him to push me back onto the pew, I shut the lights off. He asked me why bother fucking in the church if it’s pitch black, and I told him because that’s how I fucking liked it but nevertheless compromised with a pleasing dim. I undid my belt, slid off and folded my pants, and lowered my knees onto the cushion as he pulled out a bottle of lube. Again, I looked up at the front doors, but I couldn’t muster the excitement of possible risk. I didn’t like that I knew nobody used the hall on Tuesday nights, but it’s hard to doubt something that you’ve known for a while. He pulled out and came on the floor; CONDOMS, I said. Let’s not forget the condoms

next time. By the time we told anyone that we’d fucked in the church, it had been going on for several months. We had burned through all of the altar candles and had agreed to just screw in the dark. This dulled the excitement of borrowing from the pastor’s rack of robes, but at that point sacrilege was as much of a turn-on as spontaneity. Our wine from home started with fifty-dollar bottles of pinot but quickly descended to whatever box we could find at the liquor store en route to the church. Wine soon proved too weak, and we began taking shots of gin off the tabernacle. We fucked on the altar, in the confessional box, in the bathroom, in the secretary’s office and even in the parking lot, but all of these changes failed to bring back the initial novelty, like trying to recreate a forgotten taste by dumping the entire spice rack into the pot. Still, nobody ever walked in on us. We revealed our juicy little nugget of sexual deviancy at a dinner with the bitches. Terry was bragging about his locker room escapades with the tone and hand movements suggesting that his act was neither moral nor trite. We decided to shut him up with our tales of after hour screwing in the church, and all of the bitches clamored. Oh how they clamored! When he first bent me over the pews and fucked me, we’d marked new territory. We knew it; they knew it, and they all wanted in. Jamele gushed about how much of a radical statement we’d made, whether we knew it or not. He begged us to let him bring someone to the church so he could get fucked and consummate what seemed like a lifelong vendetta against his homophobic priest. We didn’t have the heart to tell him that the Lutherans had welcomed queers since the eighties and that our pastor identified as pansexual. Instead we gave him the keys.

their own shot. Jonah hoped for a similar act of queer defiance; Terry, an exhibitionist at heart, really took to the idea of God watching him, and Kasey had simply reached a point where he would try anything to pump a drop of blood into his limp cock of a jaded sex life. Word spread through the gay community of a hot new cruising spot just outside of Providence with an authentic homophobic atmosphere, and we’d find men already lined up by entrance before we even started cleaning. Who were we to deny these men? We frequently restocked the tissues at the entrance, slipped condoms into the missalettes, squirted astroglide into the fonts and left the bottles of port in plain sight, all to fuel the experience. Of course, such perks meant that we had to begin charging an admission fee of ten dollars, a small price to pay to get fucked in a clerical stole and chasuble. Naturally, all of this extra action posed messes that we hadn’t seen before. Recurring anal sex proved a bit messier than the weekly meeting of AA. What was once an hour breeze became an arduous process of sterilization, deodorization and scraping cum from the robes, pews and tile. These tasks pushed our work into the wee hours of the morning, but we nonetheless appreciated the extra money from the I Got Fucked in a Church and All I Got was This Lousy Shirt t-shirts. Eventually, we even made enough money for a new queen size mattress. - Ryan Molloy

After Jamele began raving about his vengeful screw in pews, every queer and his daddy wanted


before the haircut in six weeks my hair rejects green thumbs and returns to the wild. combs lose their bite on sight of my thornbush hair jawfuls of slender fangs sunk in brambled knotwork branches deflowered, blossoms beheaded by neighbors with scissor fingers and empty window box hearts they charge interest on cups of borrowed sugar until i owe plantations of cane (cut in distant countries with blades less electric than my father’s razor) i claw at boar bristle brushes buried up to their tusks in braided vines and unironed leaves but my hair stays fruitlessi want to burn the whole forest down. - Madelyn Stroik


Editors in Chief: Taylor Baker Rachel Hughes Editorial Staff: Theresa Gaffney Jackson Holbert Elaine Mancini Matthew Manning Ryan Molloy Dan Truong Leah Weingast

untitled : sindhura sonnathi

switch on summer from a slot machine

Where the Children Play is an art and literature magazine created at Brandeis University. We publish original artwork, literature and sheet music selected from the work of the student body. Student editors choose the contents. All work is published with the name of the student writer or artist. We reserve the right to edit contents for publication. The magazine is funded through F-board and is published every semester. It is distributed to students and to members of the university community without charge. Copyright laws protect the contents of the publication.

Production Notes: The magazine is printed by Archer Publishing in Waltham, Massachusetts. Garamond font is used throughout the publication. All art reproductions were produced by using a scanner or digital camera, when submissions were not emailed directly by the artist. All layout was done using Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop CS and Adobe InDesign CS.

Where The Children Play Spring 2014  

Where The Children Play is the arts and literary magazine of Brandeis University's undergraduate student body. WTCP produces two issues per...