All Posts in Volumes

May 2013 - Comments Off

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moon. (Joel Fagerberg '15)

May 2013 - Comments Off

Family of Four

Esme Franklin '13

Auntie Zee
Robert the Haitian Voodoo Secretary
Bambola
Bad Baby

As a pill is pinched from its pocket
one or the other of them climbs into her
bag each morning, prepared

with adequate humor and crazy
to face the bureaucracy of poverty,
free clinics, and men who like that,

woman. I stop noticing the difference
between plastic and skin when I am young,
before baby can be parsed from mother or doll.

Crack Baby
Crack Baby’s Nurse
The Spy
Bad Little Myrtle

When a day is good I hear the clucking
of polyethylene bodies and cotton minds
come from within her cave down the hall.

On bad days they are quiet and she is loud.
On bad days we require many more purses,
satchels and miniature accoutrements of power

to leave the apartment; we travel
in swaths of meldola blue and cigarettes
scotch-taped to immutable, yellowing hands.

Toussaint
Batty
Bizzle
Vladimir Anasthasious Schwartz / Volo / Vo

In January Mo, Vo and I pass Willem Dafoe
on Canal Street. He looks from the nappy head
and placid smile of Mo’s purse to her face.

His wink, woman, is not-unpleasant dejà-vu.
I try to mimic him later on the L when Vo wants
to pose for a photo. If I can capture the genus of celebrity

will I belong in this family portrait? The plastic
of Mo’s skin when she sleeps sweats the American
Cheese of real doll. Steady us, long train.

Notes to “Family of Four”:

The Italian word for doll is bambola. Bambola was adopted from an outdoor market in Naples.
Bad Baby is approximately 3 inches in height. He wears a crown of golden laurel as a sign of his affinity with the authoritarian grandeur of the Roman Empire.
The inspiration for Crack Baby’s personality was taken, in part, from Diane Arbus’ “Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park,” NYC 1962.
The Spy is a Barbie jointed at the knees and elbow, with a video camera installed in her forehead that projects footage out through her stomach.
For further information on Volo: https://www.facebook.com/volo.theking?ref=ts&fref=ts

May 2013 - Comments Off

Sisters

Laura Creste '13

At 10:30 my sister and I were pulled out of school.
My mother stopped at Shop Rite to get water, in case
of another attack. In the backseat, I hesitated to take
my book out of my backpack. I thought I should
be thinking about the people who were dead and dying
that very minute. I opened a biography of Eleanor Roosevelt anyway
and my sister said Laura you shouldn’t be reading right now.
I was already prepared to be ashamed. Years later
I recognize my chronically guilted boredom and Allegra was careful
about appearances, even then. There was no water left in Shop-Rite.
We didn’t leave the house for the rest of the bright blue day.
After midnight my father came home from lower Manhattan,
where he’d been reporting for Telemundo. On the back porch
he took off his clothes, caked in carcinogenic white ash.
The three of us were already in his bed, excluding him,
which was not unusual. We are inescapably ourselves.

May 2013 - Comments Off

Deadly Seven

Hannah Kucharzak '13

I throw electric lightning bolts. I yawn
my godly grievance with white-knuckled force.

I dig and scoop the mire. I pile it on
my body, stinking happy piggy corpse.

The mirror tells me buxom bitch. I lick
the glass. My tongue tastes just like diamond pearls.

My mattress holds me: fleshy, concrete brick.
The beast gets what she wants, she lies, she snarls.

My eye strips off the clothes of everyone.
I see your meaty sex. I’m plump with drool.

I slather lard and headcheese on a bun.
I leap, gut-first, into the vodka pool.

I watch you touch yourself. Can I be you
for once? To feel my love and touch you too?

May 2013 - Comments Off

Kepler Trail

Brittany Kleinscnitz '13

I.
I tried to keep hell
in a box outside of the body.

My footfalls on the mountain’s backbone
opened hell up again

in my thighs and the shallow of my lungs.
Heat whines down -

the sun beats the tops of my hands
till they swell purple.

The shoulder straps so tight
the blood stops moving. Does the white flower

that grows above the bushline
represent hope.

II.
I left my mother seven hours in,
on a raised wooden platform.

The god in my head says
Carry this boulder

until your toenails fall off
until your toenails grow back again.

A parrot lands on the rock face,
his green scales dirty and rustled.

He looks down at me, shrieks,
he tells me my mother is dying. He insists

on the last skins of my almonds,
or a toenail.

III.
I see my mother’s white body
where it staggers along the ridge.

With my two fingers
holding down the tongue, I whistle loudly

into the valley and hear the same whistle
back. I throw a rock into the valley and

the valley throws the same rock back.
My knees break. The flower is able

to find its breath
before the boulder rolls down.

May 2013 - Comments Off

Chow Mane

Allsglass (Brian Dugan '15

May 2013 - Comments Off

Agritourism in Florence, Oregon

Esme Franklin '13

At two hundred feet down
the cliffside is still scrabbling
towards the highway’s edge
as though seasonally rediscovering
it was born a bastard.

Sea lions rest on battered rocks
at its base, screaming their ablutions
to the sea. Tourists descend
an industrial elevator to photograph
the beasts—to find their fat

pooling on one side of the body or the other.
Going down, I smell the sweat of children
who have never sweat before.
They do not believe monsters can be real.
Choosing an animal close to me

I imagine rubbing cooking oil
counter-clockwise onto its pelt,
feeling for the fetus of a form
that is neither fearful nor beautiful
but slow to discern the difference.

My sea lion heaves onto its back.
A sign tells me they have been here
much longer than we have. Corpulent
symmetry fills the cavern, glinting
from one figment of a god to another.

May 2013 - Comments Off

Indiscretion 14

Kimberly Kirchner '13

A hatchback in the parking lot at Joe’s—
I’ll never eat a hot dog there again
without a secret smirk at how you froze
when I demanded “Shut it, and get in”.

Today I found your sock beneath the seat,
took twisted pride in knowing it was there.
Remembered trading words for tangled feet,
driving home self-crowned with tangled hair.

I plucked you from a field of broken glass,
and asked you what you saw in neon signs.
Beneath their lights, the boy with so much class
discovered how to let himself recline.

I’d heard you didn’t have it in you, kid,
but the footprints on my windshield say you did.

May 2013 - Comments Off

Qui Que

Laura Creste '13

My father has flown back from the funeral in Spain because his brother has died in exile. There was a service in an old church in Valencia.

In an email my father said it looked like a church for rich people, and we were happy
with the line. A few days later he returns with the ashes of Enrique,
a plastic bag inside his leather carry-on. Some of the ashes were sunk
into the Mediterranean, some remained with the family in Spain.
He was lucky the last two years of his life were peaceful.

If you call him lucky, it isn’t meant to be ironic. You think of luck as reprieve from something imminent and worse. Luck is always edged on misfortune.

Lucky that the son he abandoned came to rescue him. Lucas is a very good person, my father and Marie de Enrique keep saying.
Enrique was killing himself in Argentina, drinking on top of his meds, and starting bar fights with the provocation You live in a third-world country; this is fucking Africa.

Lucas is a very good person. Enrique left him at two, came to America to stay forever, and did not call or write to him.
Lucas became a cop. He flew to Buenos Aires and rescued his father, so that he could die in a country he did not hate.
In Spain, Lucas’s mother, Maria Jose took him back after thirty years and was satisfied.

The only women they would love were named Marie.
When the abuelos were alive, Christmas presents were marked Marie de Enrique (my aunt) y Marie de Esteban (my mother).
For the memorial in New York we meet his wife in the West Village.

My father drives like an asshole through the Christmas week traffic.
It is my sister’s car and in the backseat, she clenches her palms against
the idea of a crash.
I tell him to slow down and my sister is angry. The decorations on lawns
are misplaced. I hate the warmth of a world not yet green.

We meet Marie de Enrique at Our Lady of Pompeii on Carmine Street, around the corner
from where she and Qui Que once lived.
The happiest years of his life were in that apartment, they say.
We are waiting on my other uncle; my father and Marie de Enrique smoke cigarettes.
My sister and I are full of sympathetic faces and deep pauses, because we
are impersonally sad. When Enrique was deported in 2002 we were twelve and nine.

Marie says she would tell him we don’t like this city, this country anymore. You aren’t missing anything, baby. New York isn’t the same.
But if New York isn’t the place, than the world isn’t. Not wanting to live
in New York sounds like not wanting to live.

This was Qui Que’s church, Marie says. Even after we broke up he liked to come here.
He wasn’t religious, my father qualifies, lest we think badly of him.
Oh he was open to everything, my mother says, he wanted all the help he could get.

His wife asks is he here? Do you have him? She sounds choked when my father pulls out the plastic bag.
She tells us that Jim Carroll’s funeral was in this church, and Patti Smith comes in to pray sometimes. Marie gives walking tours of the village.

I am shocked at the beauty of the church. $1 is the suggested donation for an electric candle. For a dollar my sister and I light fifteen.
It is gorgeous, the illusion of fire.
They sit down to pray, a rare event but sincere. I walk around the back, where little alcoves house the iconography.
I remember from long ago Mass the smell of incense or candles, the red-electric of it,
the Virgin-blue of it.
I hated church until I was allowed to quit, then when I was older I hated it more.

The stained glass windows are saturated in color, with round figures, cartoonish.
Beneath the altar there is a Jesus baby doll wearing a crown and lit by white lights strung along the bassinet.
His arms are supplicant, not a laid aside toy, but a set piece, a dollar store baby doll.
I dip my hand in the holy water then wipe it on my coat.

In a Tibetan shop across the street from the church Marie de Enrique wanted something pretty.
She buys a soft cloth blue box to keep Enrique on her shelf.
My sister and I buy mittens, to encourage the idea of winter.
A warm December is wrong, the breeze not insistent. Our coats were open
even at the mouth of the river, where we went to leave Enrique.

Qui Que was 51. Qui Que had a hard life. If it is his own fault for dying, it was never
on purpose.

After the coup d’etat, when Enrique was in the prison camp at 16, they sat him and another
Qui Que at a table.
A confusion of identity: the older Qui Que was shot in the head a foot away from him.
Lucky then, to be the wrong Qui Que.

On the night the military entered the apartment they were looking for Qui Que’s father, a leftist playwright, who had already fled to Spain.
The soldiers put a bag over Qui Que’s head, taking his children as game.

His sister was in the camp with him, but she was 20 and stronger. She grew beyond trauma. She lived in Argentina as an adult,
until she died of breast cancer in 2007. Alicia was the only sibling without
a drinking problem.
The mind and body can heal. She forgave Argentina, but blamed her father for putting her there.

The luckier Qui Que escaped death twice. Deported back to Argentina, he moved into the old apartment, with the stain on the wall from the firebomb.
He had not been back since the night they were kidnapped.
There was no record of him after the dirty war and when they erected a monument to the desaparecidos of the town, his full four names were on it.
He made phone calls but they never got around to effacing the name.

The second time was in America. In the early 90s he tested positive for HIV: a false positive, not uncommon in the cautious face of epidemic.
He resigned himself to fate, and drank heavily, stopped taking care of himself.
After years with no symptoms he realized he must not have it. Escaped death twice.
But the weight of that sentence, the positive – it might have all gone differently, we say now.

The monument was a gesture missing the mark. A living man’s name carved into the public gravestone.
It might remind him of his good luck, that he survived when 30,000 others did not. But he looked at the stone and thought of the inevitable.
He survived the episode but would not survive his life.

The body was burned and dissembled. There is no stone. A portion of Enrique
already spooned into the blue box, the rest pours into the Hudson.
In a rush it empties, coughing a pile of him onto the edge of the pier, behind the railing beyond our reach.

Marie de Enrique looks younger than the rest of them. She is happy and she believes in everything; God, spirits, palm-readers, reincarnation.
On the pier she touches the white pebbles of bone, and says urgently
“You’re back, you’re back, you came back” –
triumph of the material return to New York.

She had not touched him in eight years. Now he will sit on her bookshelf in a smooth Tibetan blue box.

My father got on a plane when Lucas called, said he was losing consciousness.
If Enrique would last one day more, he would see him alive.
From Mexico, he landed in Newark to make the next flight. A few hours to spare, he came home to wait.
I was making him a ham sandwich when he got the phone call.

Enrique loved to sing, and drink, and sometimes there were drugs.
If he was self-destructive it was only accidental.
He would croon to the cat, I’m sorry baby, your mother rejects you.
The cat’s mother was crazy and they took her babies away from her immediately. This cat, Oscar, was crazy too.

We drink Johnnie Walker and my father splashes a swallow into the Hudson.
She churns fully, darkly. There must be fish we can’t imagine it because of the proximity to the city. You stop thinking of pigeons as alive.
Enrique’s body will meet the fragments of things once-alive down there.
He will conglomerate to the sand or dirt bed.

If grass is the uncut hair of graves, then what of the ashes?
Why do some choose earth and others fire? Choosing melt the flesh, are you afraid of claustrophobia , being broken down by time?
In fire you are violated only once.

May 2013 - Comments Off

Jorie & Chopin

Julian Delacruz '14

May 2013 - Comments Off

Wednesday Night at the Publick House

Laura Creste '13

On Wednesday, a fifty-year-old man drinking beer
in the Publick House says Take your glasses off.
I say No, with little affect.

C’mon take em off. Four times he says it
until I say I like my glasses. I didn’t mean
to offend you. I say nothing.

An Irishman asks me to buy him a drink,
with his own money, because it’s cheaper
for women on Wednesdays. I can’t think

of a good reason to say no, so he slurs into my ear
about James Joyce, getting spittle on my cheek
while we wait for the attention of the bartender.

I lean away from his side-armed embrace.
You’re a very tactile person, he says. I know
something about me is inhospitable.

At the table the same middle-aged man scolds us
for checking our cellphones – my friends laugh
in apology: it’s a generational thing. I feel nothing

like remorse but we must think our lives are long,
if this is how we spend them. Let me ask you something –
he says, Do you think you’ll find Mr. Right in a place like this?

But I never wanted righteousness, only a drink.
I am most myself when I am disagreeable,
without any expectation but a gin and tonic.

Someone says that the Hamptons are ugly,
the ocean repulses. But when is the earth’s violence
not beautiful? The Atlantic on the east end,

dark concentrate, breaks the back of the sand bar
as the wave gives birth to itself. Arriving out of nothing,
the ocean says something about obedience.

May 2013 - Comments Off

To Be a Wishbone is an Awful Fate

Hannah Kucharzak '13

I would not do this to myself. I cannot
split apart my body at the legs.

For the poem I am a granite slab. But
for the mountain I show off pretty.
For the man I look so snap-able.

After he toils over me I watch
the single curtain gently flap against the pane

while his sweat seeps into my pores.
I wonder if he got a wish out of me.

A single birthday candle. A dismembered
pink rabbit foot. Seven seven seven heaven.
The meal before walking to the electric chair.

May 2013 - Comments Off

Blur

moon. (Joel Fagerberg '15

May 2013 - Comments Off

At the Foot of the Bed

Esme Franklin '13

My mother who art in bed
lifts her goosey comforter:
an invitation.

Our father who art in Heaven
calls a woman to prayer

and so called,
she does not
Lead me from temptation

but fingers the edge
of mother’s down.

Father forgive
her eyes. They assume
deference to the floor.

Our mother who art
raises her gaze

to the woman in white,
Give us
our mother’s figure

impressed on goose down.
Hallowed be thy bed

May 2013 - Comments Off

Telephonics in 3 Parts

Liminala Xis (Amanda Glover '15)

May 2013 - Comments Off

Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life

Alan Dupont '15

CIGARETTE – a woman of twenty, bone to pick with “life”
SYLVIE – a woman of twenty, hasn’t done much thinking
GINA – a woman of twenty, thinks she’s over it, isn’t
CUSTOMER – a man of forty, edgy dad with morals

(CIGARETTE and GINA are both behind the counter of a Barnes and Noble working.)

GINA
He’s bored with me, I can tell. It’s insulting.

CIGARETTE
You’re bored with him, though.

GINA (defensive)
That’s different.

(pause because it’s not different, CIGARETTE indicates the stupidity of this with her face)

CIGARETTE
Rip off the band-aid.

GINA
I should do it before he does. I don’t think my self-confidence can handle being dumped right
now.

(takes a breath)

He’s just so critical, like I’ll say something about how I feel—not fishing for a compliment or anything, just sharing—I’ll say ‘I probably shouldn’t eat these onion rings,’ and he’ll just say something like, ‘yeah they aren’t very good for you’.

CIGARETTE
Yeah.

GINA
It’s hard to come up with a good example, but it happens all the time.

(pause)
(SYLVIE enters)

Look whose back from break.

SYLVIE
I’m lightheaded.
(pause)
I think I’m a little lightheaded. It isn’t too bad though.

GINA
You should lie down.

SYLVIE
We’re on the clock I can’t just lie down.

GINA
Why not? Cigarette and I never care when we are on the clock, we just do whatever.

SYLVIE
We’re getting paid to do a job, though.

CIGARETTE
Stop being so hyper-ethical. There’s a reason nuns don’t have friends.

SYLVIE
My Mom is a nun, you shouldn’t say things like that.

GINA
Nuns don’t have kids.

SYLVIE
I was lying.

GINA
Have some water.

SYLVIE
Good idea.
(does not have water)
Wanna know why I’m lightheaded?
(pause)
I smoked a cigarette. It’s something I’ve been doing pretty often lately. When I’m stressed, usually, but also just whenever.

GINA
That’s great Sylvie.

SYLVIE
Why do they call you cigarette?

CIGARETTE
Because it’s my name. My parents named me that. Virginia Cigarette Slim.

GINA
What’s it to you, Sylvie?

CIGARETTE
It’s also a word with beautiful aesthetics: cig-a-rette.
(pause)
(oddly aggressive, perhaps sarcastic)
Why are you called Sylvie?

SYLVIE
My actual name is Sylvia, it’s a nickname. Can I call you Virginia? That’s a beautiful word too.

CIGARETTE
No, but I’m going to call you Sylvia from now on.

SYLVIE
Yeah that’s totally fine.

GINA (to CIGARETTE)
Do you even smoke?

CIGARETTE
I used to but East coast weed doesn’t do it for me anymore. Not after I had some of that medical
grade Frisco shit. Why, you got a spliff?

SYLVIE
You go by Cigarette and you don’t smoke!?

CIGARETTE
Oh, you mean ciggs. When I’m drunk sometimes or if I’m in need of inspiration.

GINA
And you still go by cigarette?

CIGARETTE
Maybe if you had a cool name your boyfriend wouldn’t be bored.

GINA
Gina is a cool name. You aren’t supposed to say things like that, you’re my friend.

CIGARETTE
Yeah.

SYLVIE (to CIGARETTE)
I always forget you do art.
(pause)
Cigarette, can I see some of your art?

(CIGARETTE silently walks over to her bag, takes out a computer, sets it down where they can both observe, opens it up.)

CIGARETTE
Art isn’t something you do, it’s something you are. At a certain moment. No, all the time. You
can’t slip it on and off like a glove. If you’re an artist then you’re always an artist and everything you do is art. Understand?

SYLVIE
Totally.
(pause)
No, not really.

GINA
You’re not saying you’re an artist, you’re saying you’re art. That’s dumb. We’re all just people.

CIGARETTE
No we aren’t, we’re stylistic choices. All of us are stylistic choices. The people who
acknowledge it, they are artists.

SYLVIE
I don’t know about that.

GINA
My stylistic choice would be...like, casual prep with hints of something lurking underneath: a
wild side.

CIGARETTE
I really don’t see you that way.

GINA
Is it lunch yet, I want to call Zack.

CIGARETTE
Just call him.

GINA
Fine.

(GINA distances herself a little bit, dials her cell)

SYLVIE
Are we going to look at your art?

GINA
(into her phone)
Hey Zack. I just wanted to call and say hi. No, no, nothings’ really going on; well, just that one of the girls here was being kinda mean. How are you?

CIGARETTE
This is my dog when she was a puppy. I know you don't like pets. But I don't care.
This is a dress I wanted but it got sold.
These are shoes I want. They are 300 dollars. They will never be mine.

GINA (phone)
That sucks, listen: am I boring? It’s something I’ve been thinking about lately. Also, why don’t
you have a petname for me. Like, everyone else is off calling each other ‘honey’ or ‘sweetie’ or ‘ladycakes’ and you’re always just like: ‘Gina, hand me the remote.’

SYLVIE
Woah, those are COOL.

CIGARETTE
This is Julie and her cat.
This is Mason and me.
That's my sister's boyfriend and his cat. Gulliver. This is France.

SYLVIE
I’ve always wanted to see France.

GINA
(phone)
No, no, I don’t want you to call me ladycakes, I want something that’s heartfelt. And maybe edgy. You know how I call you ‘Zee-Zee’ sometimes? I think you should have something like that for me.

CIGARETTE
This is four goats in a bucket.
This is me when I looked like a lesbian.

SYLVIE
You’d be a great lesbian!

(CUSTOMER enters)

CIGARETTE
They’ve been trying to recruit me for a while now.
This is two sheep sitting on a sheep. I don't know what that is.
That's Julie's cat again. With me.

CUSTOMER
Excuse me, Miss?

GINA (phone)
What about ‘G & T’?

(To CUSTOMER)

One sec, can’t you see I’m on the phone?

(Back to the phone)
'G & T'.
Like the first drink we had together and it also /sounds like Gina, so.

CUSTOMER
/I don’t mean to interrupt, but.

GINA
(phone)
I can be—I am edgy.

CIGARETTE
This is kind of the tattoo I want. Sort of.
This is hello kitty but she's a Scorpio. This is a dog wolf.

CUSTOMER
Miss, I just would like

GINA
(to CUSTOMER)
Ask them. Okay? They work here too. God.
(into the phone)
You know what? I called you to feel better about this whole thing and you just make me feel worse.

(the CUSTOMER moseys over to CIGARETTE and SYLVIE)

GINA
(phone)
There are times when I don’t want to hear the truth, Zack. No. I said that wrong. When the truth is not the right thing to say. That’s what I meant.

CUSTOMER
(to CIGARETTE and SYLVIE)
Excuse me, could one of you help me?

CIGARETTE
There is a self check-out, you know.
(to SYLVIE)
This is a pink chicken with long eyelashes.
That's boring.
This is more sheep.

SYLVIE
Um, Cigarette, I think we should help him.

CIGARETTE
He’s fine.

CUSTOMER
Can I speak with your manager?

CIGARETTE
I am the manager.

SYLVIE
No you aren’t.

CIGARETTE
Yes I am. And he needs to wait for one more minute.

GINA
Well, this has been great for my self confidence, Zack.
(pause)
That’s not fair, when have I ever said I think that this relationship is all about me? I would never say that. I don’t get why you can’t just validate me right now. You know what, just: bye, Zack.

CIGARETTE
This is France again.
This is the birth of Venus.
This is a cat in a car, this is a cat with a hat. And everything else is boring.

SYLVIE
Cigg, you’re so cool.

CIGARETTE
Don’t call me Cigg.
(to CUSTOMER)
What is it.

CUSTOMER
(puts book on counter)
...

CIGARETTE
Jane Austen, how original. Read some Foucault or something.

CUSTOMER
It’s for my daughter.

CIGARETTE
Do her a favor, get some Bukowski.

CUSTOMER
I don’t think that would be appropriate. I would just like to purchase this book.

GINA
(Walking toward them)
Is he giving you a hard time too?

CIGARETTE
He’s buying his daughter Pride and Prejudice. Now she’s gonna be one of those girls.

CUSTOMER
...

CIGARETTE
You know.

GINA
I bet your family is, like, perfect. Not even any secrets lurking underneath. Little suburban dream.

CIGARETTE
Ha, probably.

GINA
Yeah, and I bet you all eat dinner together.

CUSTOMER
...

SYLVIE
Sir, maybe I can help you.

GINA
No, Sylvie, this guy is being mean to us. Sylvie, what do you think his name is?

CIGARETTE
Yeah, Sylvie, what’s his name?

CUSTOMER
...

SYLVIE
Probably Phillip?

GINA
Oh my God!

CIGARETTE
Let me ask you something, Philip, how would you describe yourself?

CUSTOMER
...

GINA
Just answer this question and we’ll help you check out.

CIGARETTE
Yeah, just answer the question.

CUSTOMER
I am an optometrist.

GINA
(Starting to help CUSTOMER, scanning the books, etc.)
Definitely not an artist.

CIGARETTE
Typical regular guy. Not living like an artist for sure. No stylistic choices.

SYLVIE
Haha, no, not like you, Cigarette. With your sheep in a bucket or cool pictures of cats.

GINA
Cats.

(GINA finishes helping him. He exits.)

GINA
Have a nice day!

CIGARETTE
What a loser.

SYLVIE
Is it just me, or did he seem pretty unaffected by that?

GINA
Yeah on the surface, but there’s probably something lurking underneath.

CIGARETTE Yeah. He’s insecure, I can tell.

SYLVIE
You think so?

CIGARETTE
Yeah.

GINA
Phillip.

(blackout.)

May 2013 - Comments Off

Margaret in Mass

Katie Foster '15

Lace of veins beneath skin
discernable valleys and blue

soft palms
soft white palms

three rings, all gold
cupping Eucharist
sun through stained glass window on jewel on hand

May 2013 - Comments Off

Theory of Panacea

Sam Dolph '13

for B.

I feel like a whale, she told me,
referring to the tissues suspended from
her nostrils like fluffy tusks.

She meant a seal because only
narwhals have tusks: coiled cutlasses
of the brow used for who knows

what—to assert dominance or beauty,
(underwater peacocks circling their lovers
in songs of virility), to thrust them deeply below

the duvets of the sea, to stab predators in the gut,
to spearfish for dinner? To hang themselves
from the ocean floor in effortless headstands of

resignation? Doomed from the start: corpse-like
and colorless, just some ugly dolphins, there are no
unicorns of the sea here. The males have been seen with

their tusks crossed and rubbing one another, a dance for Poseidon
and Pelops before this kind of love was forbidden.
Her own tusks keep falling out as she reads in bed (female

narwhals have stunted tendrils too, backwards ponytails
of knots cocked to the clouds) face tilted downwards,
lips contracting and relaxing into one another as she soaks

up whatever she’s reading, simpering when she knows
I’m looking at her. I stick the tusks back into her
nostrils when she doesn’t and tell her the garlic

oil is good for her sinuses. Ptacek taught us
this trick a few months ago while telling us stories
about his road trip across the US: shortly after

the closeted and lonely old man, naked from the waist
down tried to seduce him with years of bad poetry,
someone told him to stick garlic up his nose when

he wouldn’t stop sneezing. Did you hear about the
woman who cured her cancer by eating ten cloves
a day? It works. No animal protein (not even

babička’s weekly duck), a shot of slivovice upon
waking, some holy basil in between meals, and sunlight.
I will cure her every ailment, I have every trick in the book,

classical music for the heartbeat will reverberate in and out
of her humid pores, her body my church without prayer.
I will lick every joint and pour vinegar through her veins,

plant citrus trees all over the room and make them grow
in winter. Years from now everyone will know
how I never let her die.

May 2013 - Comments Off

Dairylide

Brittany Kleinschnitz '13

A cow lies in a paddock,
a dead eucalyptus.
A cow lies in a paddock,
dead, beside the fence.
A sheep scratches its wooly side
on the fence, brown.
A cow and a horse share a paddock,
the paddock is not yet burning.

There I am on the cliffside
above the stone water,
above the dam on the cliff rock.
On the bus, questioning the authenticity
of this experience.
A girl has drowned in France
and at evening, the body on the bank
bloats white, the skin blues.
In the morning
a dog finds her but does not whimper.
In the afternoon
the same dog herds wooly sheep
through matchstick trees.
The eucalyptus peels her own skin off
in downward pinkish curls.

A farmer skins the dead cow by hand.
The meat is pinkish, soft and heavy,
much like the milk. Intestines
bloat white, blue-veined.
Atop the beehive boxes passers by
place towers of rock totems.
Or tie their boots by the laces
to barbed wire fences.

May 2013 - Comments Off

In Malibu

Julian Delacruz '14

In Malibu you left me waxing Sapphic on a cliff:
sandy dunes, rocks, sea moss,
vertigo of clouds, sun like faded china.

I always said I would die in California.
When I watched you impale another man’s mouth
I fell asleep behind your car.

I waited for the wheel to break me,
hibernating like a bear in despair
in the hollow cave of your driveway.

I used to think the Pacific was a beautiful steel sheet.
Now what lies between us is an inner malice of the sea.
The ants are eating me alive.

I’m not your Ariel. I’m not the bedpost you have sex on.
I’m a moth on a light fixture in a subway.

May 2013 - Comments Off

Summer Morning

Laura Creste '13

The sun exposes the shy anatomy of leaves.
Sheer greenness here where we aren’t speaking –
purposefully or for lack

of anything to say, I can’t remember.
I turn a page and find blue hydrangea
pressed in a book: the stem like a throat giving

way to mouth, the blue-veined crush
into the cream page: collapsed
impulse for delicacy. Soon we’ll get up.

Soon, I’ll find him a train schedule.
I hate sex in the morning –
Outside next to the loose maple leaves

are the stronger trees, leaves darker, glossy
and folded. Vines harass the bark
and the maple falls open like an offering.

I dislike animals and that is why
no one will ever trust me. We have come
together again to answer the question

would you rather suffer now or later?
The rain is coming; the heat breaks and does so violently.
By August Queen Anne’s lace is blanching dry.

The ocean on the east end has been calm
for two summers now. We have been deciding
about each other for five years. They are nothing

like the waves when I was child – when I stood at the shore
darting hesitantly close like something feral.
I don’t know why you need me; I know why I do:

I am an obsessive compulsive.
You’ll console yourself with a cat.
You had to love something, to be made weak.

May 2013 - Comments Off

Arcadian Beauty

Hannah Lipper '15

She is substance;
Arcadian beauty, or so she is told;

and under once cerulean,
now sometimes grey,
she lost two years of her life
in what her lovers may refer to as

a boating accident.

But she had never been on a boat where she didn’t deposit
her stomach into the sea and return ashore and she
had never spent a morning doing the same.

No, it had been
some ugly Greek God that had stolen
these years and I know she looks to replace them.

She says she wants to remember what films she loved
and what she built out of blocks with her hands;
Falling Water, perhaps;
or some

masterpiece unknown to the world because it had been
sold to pay for her health; organ market.

And suspicion never grew because of her ingenuity.

She has different voices for different days. She is
over-zealous, flat-chested, half minority.

May 2013 - Comments Off

Messages I Received

Julia Mounsey '13

Subject: blow his ego up suck it down again blow it up again

Body: blow his ego up (balloon)
suck it down again blow
it up again that is how

Subject: blow up the bank

Body: suck his dick and
blow up the bank
no one will know

Subject: do not fall asleep in the kitchen

Body: knives there

Subject: these are our lives and we slap them against each other like dead fish

Body: these are our lives and we
slap them against each other
like dead fish these are our lives

Subject: your boyfriend

Body: watch out
don’t try it

Subject: went to italy did not eat anything

Body: the italians hate me because I never eat
have you blown up the bank yet tell me

Subject: fell asleep at an outdoor cafe

Body: the italians hate me

Subject: things are getting fishy

Body: don’t stand by the window
I have settled comfortably
into myself, do the same

Subject: slept with an italian man his dick

Body: tasted much better I think it is
the diet here I still hate the food
did you blow up the bank tell me

Subject: no longer in italy

Body: prepare ( for arrival, etc )

Subject: airplane food

Body: fully comfortable now

Subject: terrified

Body: I ordered the fish

Subject: what did you decide about the dick and the bank

Body: what did you do about
the dick and the bank
what have you done

Subject: knife

Body: your boyfriend

Subject: that was just a suggestion

Body: that was just a suggestion did it put you off

Subject: bank

Body: what did you decide

Subject: these are our lives and we slap them against each other like dead fish

Body: looking forward to arrival

May 2013 - Comments Off

Omega Alpha

Allsglass (Brian Dugan '15

May 2013 - Comments Off

Portrait of Reality via TV

Catherine Pikula '13

We eat the same meals every week.
Red velvet cupcakes with a side of

ten minutes to go. We make it work or
swallow African cave spiders whole.

Our heads like TV screens flash images
out of context. The cats are tired.

We say I love you then kiss.
We say I don’t love you then kiss.

We buy pills from the men
in lab coats, we don’t feel

better. We watch ourselves
collapse in the shower.

We are not this bad. In bed
we dream of eating roses,

cut each other’s bodies open.
From blood spatter, we determine

the weather will be rain. For weeks
we float in the ocean gelatinous

as giant squid. On ice
we find capers and rapists.

Aliens, we prove exist.
Without hieroglyphs to hold,

we mistake hands for helicopters,
err submarines for birds.

May 2013 - Comments Off

Sediment

Anna P. Rogovoy '13

For six weeks I carried the unopened envelope with me, from the Israel-Syria border in the Golan Heights to the foot of the Dead Sea, from the Western Wall in Jerusalem to the brilliantly loud Carmel Market in Tel Aviv. I kept it in the hidden pocket at the back of my notebook. I forgot it was there.

I had packed my bags so scrupulously that bringing the envelope seemed an unpardonable luxury. I brought only black clothes so that dirt would not show and assembling outfits would be easy; I did laundry in the bathtub every week. My only indulgences, three books of poetry, sat mostly untouched at my bedside. I was in Israel to study dance and spent most of the time that I was not in class wandering around Tel Aviv. The date of my return flight crept up impossibly quickly until I injured my knee and skipped class on the eve of my departure to slowly explore.

I wandered alone through the neighborhoods of Neve Tzedek and Lev HaIr, pausing to photograph the fountain outside Independence Hall and the patches of graffiti in Hebrew I’d admired on my daily walk to class. My dusty leather boots clicked down Rehov Daniel as I followed the sun on its nosedive into the Mediterranean, the din of the artisan’s market on Nachalat Binyamin buffeting me gently forward. Back in my apartment my small suitcase was tightly packed with gifts and my belongings, and the number for a cab company to take me to the airport in the morning was scrawled on a post-it note on the kitchen table.

The shoreline was peppered with sunset-gazers: black hats, young couples, businessmen unbuttoning their wool jackets. A thickset black and white cat turned his back to the horizon and watched me as I approached a rocky outcrop. I murmured nondescript prayers for the safety of my family, stepping up onto a low boulder. This habit of prayer had begun after I visited the Western Wall and experienced a release of deep tension while pressing my forehead to the stone, awkwardly whispering pleas for divine intervention in what then seemed to be an insurmountable mourning. The cat blinked lazily as I snapped a picture of him before turning to the water.

The Mediterranean Sea has an average depth of 4,900 feet and the deepest recorded point is 17,280 feet in the Calypso Deep. It covers an approximate area of 965,000 square miles, but its connection to the Atlantic (the Strait of Gibraltar) is only 8.7 miles wide. Twenty-three states have a coastline on the Mediterranean Sea. On February 12, 2013 at 3:30, an earthquake that measured 2.8 on the Richter scale occurred in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Two hours later, the sun was setting while I watched, and the waves had calmed.

I did not remember putting the notebook into my bag but as I turned to leave I felt it bump against my hip. Without thinking I took it out and turned to the very end, where only a few blank pages remained. I planned to finish the notebook on the flight back to New York, which seemed a fitting capstone. I drew from the hidden pocket the small envelope and tore the seal open.

The ring had come to me through the mail, in a small box inside a padded envelope inside a medium box inside a big box. It stood for an engagement that was already agreed upon and there was no ceremony involved in its acquisition, just trembling hands that held my trembling hands in my room at Bennington and unwrapped absurd packaging to reveal what I had chosen myself and paid for myself. I wore it for a few months, admiring my own taste. Unfortunately, the ring suited me better than the proposed future it bound me to. I hung it from a string around my neck for several weeks after removing it, as if to wean myself slowly from its allure, but before long took it off entirely.

Two weeks after I had taken off the ring, I discovered a quarry. I was in residence with a dance company at a festival in Western Massachusetts and due to the minimal rehearsal schedule and stifling July heat, my colleagues and I spent most mornings flinging ourselves into this still water. Along the path leading to the quarry were a selection of rusted-out old cars and we presumed that there must be more hidden beneath depths where our lungs could not reach. I remembered a drowned squirrel I’d found in my wading pool as a child and knew there must be skeletons nestled into steering wheels, perhaps an ursine skull tucked under an aqueous glove compartment. I left the ring inside my boot and floated into nooks and crannies around the edge of the basin, turning over onto my back to stare up at the stone ceiling. I felt the pull of distance below me but relinquished nothing; my loss was still too fresh to compound.

The artifacts we imbue with our love and desire are worth no more than the feelings themselves. They are pieces of earth molded into significant forms, beautiful and rare, but their value is ultimately sentimental. Supply and demand, limited resources; no economic principle explains the simmering glow of adoration or the searing agony of heartbreak, just as there is no logical reason why a wispy-thin silver band worn on my left ring finger for a matter of months came to feel like a Sisyphean boulder. There did not seem to be an obvious answer to the question of what to do with the ring, since it had not been given to me so much as permitted me and therefore there was no one to whom I might have returned it. I took up the task of carrying it wherever I went in case an opportunity presented itself through which I might be rid of it.

Crumpling the envelope into my pocket, I held the ring out towards the water between my thumb and forefinger. I peered through it, imagining that I could see in this tiny frame a glimpse of the life I had decided was not for me. Then I wound up and threw it as far as I could.

The Mediterranean Sea is considered a small-scale ocean with high environmental variability and steep physicochemical gradients within a relatively restricted region, with salinity, temperature, stratification and alkalinity all increasing towards the east. Acidification is an additional pressure on Mediterranean Sea ecosystems, already suffering from overfishing, increasing sea surface temperatures, and invasions of alien species. With their relatively short residence times, Mediterranean Sea deep waters are likely to lag changes in surface waters by a few decades at most. What I think this means is that an object that rests at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea will be jostled around more often than it might in a different ocean, and also that it will be eaten away by acid.

Months have passed since I turned my back on the sea and let it devour the bond of a relationship that I do not miss. Mine is not the last ring it has taken. I believe beyond the shadow of a doubt that among the sediment and refuse that prevented my ancestors from eating the animals that dwell on the ocean floor, there are fields of diamonds, relics from thousands of men and women who awoke one day and thought, this cannot go on. I am certain that at the very moment that I was drawing back my shoulder for a mighty pitch, somewhere along the shore, someone else was doing the same. I imagine that at the bottom of every body of water, there is a layer of grief.

A week after I left Israel there was another, larger earthquake in the Mediterranean, one that I imagine might have cleaved the earth beneath my little ring and pulled it even further out of reach. Now and then I still feel it on me like a ghostly caress and I catch myself reflexively reaching to touch it with my other hand. I like to think of it being slowly pulled down through the ocean floor, into rock and lava. I imagine great, romantic adventures for it, a fantastic love that lasts for a thousand years, burning away at the core of the world.

May 2013 - Comments Off

Between Jobs

Kimberly Kirchner '13

What filters through
the overpass falls
in broken angles

over the bedspread
while you sip coffee
from a shot glass

and I count wrinkles
in your shirt. An
eighteen-wheeler

rips the sky and
buzzes through
my chest on the

way to Buffalo, and
I laugh. You look up
from last Sunday's

paper for the first
time since it left
the presses.

'You know, I think
I was always meant
to be a steering wheel',

I say, and mean it. But
this is not the answer
to forty-six across,

so you toss me half
a bagel and we
chew our thoughts
in silence.

May 2013 - Comments Off

What We Mean is the First Thing that We Dream

moon. (Joel Fagerberg '15)

May 2013 - Comments Off

What is the Story

Laura Creste '13

Transcend, says the box of tea,
a promise or imperative I resent.

I thought I lived in my mind because
the body can be forgotten until it is called
into use. I remember when I could drink
without the headache.

I think there once was buoyancy.
Imagine the brain. Imagine
writing a poem without being in it. I

pretend the pills are growing
my skin and I won’t be raw nerved.
Tell me about the usefulness of pain.
Tell me we’ll be better for it.

The therapist wants me to talk
about my father but I say
that’s not what the story is about.

May 2013 - Comments Off

Hickock

Esme Franklin '13

I neglected my business
and came to know helplessness.

Like that branch too high to cut,
beatpanting on the pane

of night’s inked bleat, I
felt myself adopt insistence.

And what stomach, lying with
sweated yearn, goes unchurned &

lets the man say to his woman
spent more money than I earned?

Wrote bad checks, wet pussy mine,
and in the end became a thief—

for this last I am a snake in the grass,
moaning at the girls’ bare ankles.

December 2012 - Comments Off

Explorations of Honesty / Investigation of Lies: Traveler’s Log

Lila Cutter '15

A Midwestern woman called
the “remote” a “switcher”. She left
the Midwest and called it
just the same.

Tuesday, September 28, 2007
a man flew to Australia.
In Australia, he arrived
Thursday, September 30, 2007.
The flight was 32 hours.

At fourteen I hitchhiked
through Quebec
with my brother. We were
picked up by a bus
for handicapped children. I miss
those roads.

When Spring packs it takes her
hours. When Spring unpacks
it doesn’t take her long at all.

My uncle is a monk
in the Himalayas.
He said he’d only come home
for a death.
(No one has died
yet).