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Disease Du Jour… 4 Editor’s Note… 5 Nikki Lee… 6 Holly K. Artz…7 Elisa Granados… 8 Rachael Hess… 8 Sam Pizelo… 9 Jerimee Bloemeke… 10 Raphael Ellis… 13 Andrew Colarusso… 14 Rachael Hess… 15 Steven Benathan… 16 Meb Byrne… 27 Michael George… 29 Raphael Ellis… 30 Amanda Killian… 31 Andrew Colarusso… 32 Nikki Lee… 32 Ryan Krill… 33 Elena Vigil… 36 Rachael Hess… 40 Amanda Levendowski… 46 Tehmina Brohi… 49 Mahalet Dejene… 50 Nikki Lee… 52 Elisa Granados… 53 On Inadequacy/On Discontent Chinatown pancakes, beer, & stardust And On and On Artist’s Statement Lenguaje Romantico If you die… Orion Says Hello noise Reunification IHOP get.to do.ll Transient Truncation Baruch circa 2008 & on Alto, Mr. Ornette Coleman Untitled Heet. 012309
Andrew Colarusso… 54 Michael George… 54 El Gajiev… 55 Sida Li… 62 Rachael Hess… 65
illfits Ode To Brooklyn Carnivore
Talking Jazz & Travel with Sam Greenlee… 58 Sam Greenlee… 59 Be-Bop Man/Be-Bop Woman
Contributors, Masthead & Misc
Contributors… 66 Masthead… 68 Copyright… 70
& the dream state
Traditionally, western culture has not been the friend of dreams or dreaming. This is different from the American dream: an idea founded on financial frontier fiction. You may believe, as I believe, that dreams are a channel to a figurative reality. Dreams exist in something of a spiritual realm where the artist’s extraordinary metaphors are alchemically transfigured into sensory experience. Freud would say dreams are manifestations of subconscious sexual impulses. But we are more than sexual; we are more than simply biology. The soul speaks in dreams—the last bastion of subjectivity. Hopeless romantics are those whose wishes go unrealized. They wear their dead dreams on their cheeks, in their hearts and in their eyes. We’ve all made a wish; on a star, in a fountain, on a candle. Keep your wishes with you. Don’t give them away; dedicate time to making them come true. Your wish is your dream and your dream is what you build your life around. When you’ve made your dream come true, share it. The weight of a dream is relative to its dreamer. The Little Red Hen, for example, dreamt of bread. It may sound simple, but Hens don’t have thumbs. It’s really quite impressive if you think about it. So the Little Red Hen dreamt of bread and no one was willing to help. She made it anyway. It is true that no dream is impossible. Where the mind muses our hands must follow. So I dreamt of this collection. But, unlike the lovely Hen, all of the contributing writers and supporters were willing to be a part of my dream. In the words of brother Langston: hold fast to dreams & Proceed with caution. For my sister, who dreams like I do. For Pandya, Johnny and L —Philosophers For Solmaz, Shireen and Omar For all of Broome Street (hall council & college board) For Scott Statland For the spirits that walk with us Special thanks to Sam Greenlee: a national hero, a brilliant writer and an extremely cool guy. —Andrew Elias Colarusso de Sanchez y Taylor
Holly K. Artz
In the dim circular light of the kitchen Like beneath the warmth of mother's skirt or the lovable oddity of wearing a drum on the crown of your head gingerly seconds before it careens off your chin, hijacking your neck and crashing into hollow noises at foot's level
she bit into the rib of the edamame, its cousins’ swooping shells of dead green skins brimming in the plastic bowl the delicate thread of a membrane cupped and oozed on the hitch of her teeth ending in the birth of a moist silken bud alive in its heat.
Last night I slept nude. For lunch, I spoke naked, Awoke unclothed, Danced around in a shoelace, Unaffected by cold, Or the hail Or the snow. I need to not be naked --Put on some clothes.
where i s.it i sit at right angels i waited piss pools undulated and you you ululated i lessen a t.all man.s peak ma.jiavellian in hand drew hi s.words like lions in the wet semen.t he waist my time a while it.d ries and i getto doll ar. when i r.u.bber she rubs again st.me and her brain ex plain it all to.me everything then we rubber our feet to go.d own.town the t.rain t.racks the euchari st.electricity we going to hell fo.r sho.w i s.wore enough to take our minds off the c.easeless plantation in the c.loud you p.resent the smokes and light s.and we swallow tha.dry but do th e spirit.s care enough to con.cuss fo.r each vein of us sluggi.sh aikes wit.h air shimmers n the wind ghost.s jesus christ
At the face of All we drifted down Cocytus, beaching but at fields of elysium where we talked with Sisyphus and he told us we were dead then rolled away atop his stone; where we sought counsel from Jesus Christ, who still bled though it was sand and who sang to Mary Magdalene, My love / My true love / I'm deep down / I'm so beat down, and she responded to Him: My God / My own God / I'm so tired / And I'm tired of being around. Why didn't we bother to search out Julius Caesar or Shakespeare, or Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, or Thomas Jefferson, or Robespierre or, hell, Napoleon for that matter? Was it because we were tired, or did we suppose that we had eternity at our disposal. Or did we remember what we were told. It can't be that old… Did we even consider eternity to really be merely that instant we were often sustaining, with our everready consciousnesses that were steady lines from Point A to Point B (A and B being the same thing, but B being dying)? Imagine if Point A was the point from which we were borne and were told that it was our birth and that this was earth and that this was our life. Imagine Point A
was fate. the teacher would use.
And then imagine the pointer
In reality before ______, we caressed our absence, nothing nothing and crouching and curling, thinking, When I break through / I'm gonna do / Anything I want to do.
When being born we fanned our entrances with ferns; scoffed at this oxygen and flailed our appendages in relief; picked at ancient notes on strings of tendon that sounded tuneful when still damp and when we bended them, mimicking songbirds luring the meelworms and intuiting a symphony for Dionysus–– My bird / My true bird / You fly away every single day; Love was taught to us with a capital L by aliens that transmitted their thoughts which were read within our heads. The thoughts went: My lonely friend / I long for you / And I've looked long for you. We created a mantra of alien philosophy and whistled cadences, wishing everything was much cacophony, or ideally a sacred syllable being hummed infinitely
to mask the bombings and the gunning downs, which sounded like our initial limbo–– When I break through / I'm gonna do / Everything / You ask me Please, now, Do–– but different… When we owned our residence, together, we must have had a mutt or two. We must have had a verse for that, too. We must have. Let's not delineate ourselves as separate entities, let's have us as one, us as family. We must have so we could've serenaded our dog of the wetlands, called to him, petted him, and told him, My dog, my dog / I'm leaving town / O won't you come along to get down! They didn't admonish us, because, after all, we're all Picasso's children, we're all interpreting Guernica where flora resembles the Last Supper. Won't you come / Come get down / O won't you come / Won't you come! ––rang throughout the chamber of the Universe and echoed around when we let go of existence.
Baruch circa 2008
Rubber-band lips and small, sharp hips gyrate softly above me, God, and there are sheets of womb-like mesh draping my flesh— and there is heat, and scented hair pumping the air with Eve, God:— so do you think I’d ever leave, and dip my pen in ink for you?
& on Alto, Mr. Ornette Coleman
This is the house on Linden Boulevard. These are the suns in the window of th e house on Linden Boulevard. These ar e the branches of the bare tree that sca tters the light of the suns in the windo w of the house on Linden Boulevard. T his is the gray soil from which the bran ches of the bare tree grows that scatter s the light of the suns in the window of the house on Linden Boulevard. This is the rusted chain link fence that hedges in the gray soil from which the branche s of the bare tree grows that scatters th e light of the suns in the window of the house on Linden Boulevard. These are t he funereal sneakers of the child on the rusted chain link fence that hedges in th e gray soil from which the branches of t he bare tree grows that scatters the ligh t of the sons in the window of the house on Linden Boulevard.
A dimly lit bedroom, the eerie lighting is a byproduct of an open window and faint moonlight and streetlight wafting its way in. There is a nightstand by the bed, a number of dressers and a large dressing-room mirror to the right of the bed, a doorway to a bathroom in the bedroom and the doorway to the hell. Molly, mid to late 30’s, possibly even early 40’s but she certainly doesn’t look it, lies face down on the center of the bed. She is sleeping but she has collapsed with frustration and exhaustion in such a way we are relieved to see her defeated breathing. She stirs slowly, fingering the covers, tossing and turning until she finally rises. She walks to the bathroom and returns with a bottle of water and a jar. She sits down before the low dressers and the dressing room mirror. She flips on the light, and downs a pill with a slow gulp of water. She takes some lotion onto her hand, wipes her face over with it and pauses for a second as if meditation were a necessary step in its application. She smiles, heaves a sigh and stops. She tries again, again and again, poses, smiles, frowns, surprised faces. Her appearance disgusts her each time until she finally erupts in a frustrated shriek and collapses with her head on the dresser. We hear the sound of someone racing across their home as she sits there sobbing.
Her husband, James enters. This is not the first time this happened. He makes his way to her and puts his arm around her. JAMES It’s ok, shhhh. He rubs her back and kisses her neck. She turns to face him and we see clearly the scars and burn marks on her face and she sobs on his chest. JAMES Molly. He rocks her for a bit before reaching and taking the jar. JAMES Oh Moll. This, this isn’t going to do anything. She sobs harder. He takes the pills. JAMES And this too. He pauses. JAMES Have you just been in here all day? You were supposed to go out for a walk and sit in the park, it was a sunny day, the sun would make you feel nice. MOLLY No. JAMES No? Well that’s no good.
MOLLY I slept, I lay in bed. JAMES You told me this morning when I left; you’d take a little walk today after work. MOLLY Well I didn’t. I started to, I got up, I put on my jogging pants and I looked in the mirror and I couldn’t. JAMES You can’t do that, you can’t stay in everyday, it’s no good for you. MOLLY The skin regenerates when you sleep… your cell turnover rate is doubled and maybe if I sleep everydayJAMES Do you really think that? MOLLY I don’t know. I can’t look like this; I buy cream after cream that claims the world and down more Vitamin E than is healthy andJAMES You’re beautiful. MOLLY I was beautiful. JAMES Are. He slides down the side of her shirt to reveal her scarred shoulder. He goes to kiss it but she pushes him away. MOLLY No. JAMES Let me.
MOLLY No! JAMES So you’ve cut me off too. He gets up. MOLLY James. He turns back. MOLLY I am ugly. I am not myself. I prided myself on 37 years of beauty and facials and all this stupid shit that got undone and then Michael… JAMES You’re his Mother. MOLLY He lied and said that I was in a play. That’s why Mommy’s face looks strange. JAMES Little kids are assholes; I was an asshole as a kid. MOLLY I don’t work with clients anymore. I’m hidden… I make phone calls to the press and everyone wonders what happened to me, and what they tell them I don’t even know. What? That they’re publicist is a monster now. JAMES Moll, you’re not a monster. MOLLY James, please. I love you and Michael I do, but if I’d been crushed in those towers
JAMES Stop it. MOLLY And for what? I went back because I didn’t see Anita and who’s Anita? She’s no cripple, she could’ve walked down those steps, probably faster than me but I didn’t see her and she worked on accounts with me and we got drinks sometimes and I couldn’t bare the thought of her burning to death in our office. JAMES You’re a hero. MOLLY I went back because she didn’t leave because she sat by the air conditioner and it caught fire. So I get back to find my work friend fighting to put out a fire on her blouse and I get burnt in the process and we just run out of the building with skin pouring down her shoulder JAMES Moll MOLLY All this time and you can’t stand hearing it. JAMES It hurts me to hear it.
MOLLY Well you’re the only one. The office gives me a plaque I get some medal from the city and the two of us are sitting now, in the back like wild animals making phone calls to Cipriani’s to reserve tables and sure they give us our pay because if they didn’t they know we’d really bitchJAMES And you spend it on creams and vitamins. MOLLY I have a right to want to change this.
He kisses her shoulder in the split second. MOLLY James. JAMES I’d do it again without a second heart. MOLLY Just stop placating me, you’re allowed to say it bothers you. JAMES It doesn’t. MOLLY Not a bit? JAMES I don’t see the scars, I just see you. MOLLY You took that from a movie I bet. JAMES No movie, just me. He touches his heart. MOLLY (Laughing faintly) My friends always said you were a bitch. JAMES So did mine. He inches in closer and puts her arm around her. JAMES So here’s a story. MOLLY James, please.
JAMES When I graduated from Penn I went on a tour of Europe with a few friends. So we went to a concentration camp outside of Berlin. MOLLY I know this one. JAMES Didn’t say I was done did I? So our tour guide gives this dignified, thorough, wrenching story of the camp and we’re all thinking how do you do this everyday? And he told us, because someone had to because people had to know. MOLLY I see. And? JAMES Everyday you walk around, you are a heroine. You are celebrating life. MOLLY I’m scarred. JAMES You are beautiful. You’re life, you know you gave someone life. MOLLY This is not a fix, like I get it James. Thank you. You’re a good man but the world is not gonna think that. JAMES Well maybe this happened for a reason. You know you get out there and tell your story or you make people feel something, you motivate them. MOLLY No. JAMES I’m serious. That tour guide, I mean think about it, he was the grandson of a murderer and he committed himself to telling his story and educating andMOLLY
I didn’t ask to educate people. I’m not special. JAMES Well you are now. Whether it was a split second and you saved Anita or you saved me or the President or whomever have you, you are marked now. She sits silently. JAMES Moll, we all have choices you know you can take Vitamin E every day and lie around or you can claim your life. He picks his arm up off her and goes to walk away. MOLLY Where are you going? JAMES I have to get ready for bed, I have work tomorrow, I want to grab a late snack, shower, shave and then I’m hitting the sack. MOLLY Oh. JAMES I’m sorry Moll. MOLLY Sit for a second. JAMES Moll please. MOLLY Just for a second. He considers leaving but ultimately gives in. She lies on her back and he follows suit.
After sometime she puts her arm around him and nestles into his chest and they lie there for a bit in silence. Finally… MOLLY Are you going to speak to Michael’s class next week about being a lawyer? JAMES Yes. MOLLY Can I go instead? JAMES (Kissing her forehead) Yes. He goes to get up. MOLLY James? JAMES Yes. MOLLY Do you want to go out? JAMES Now? It’s lateMOLLY Get my coat. I’ll be there soon. He goes out. Molly gets up slowly. She sits again at the mirror. She takes the cream and opens it and goes to apply more but sets it back down. She stops and looks at herself once more.
JAMES (O.S.) Molly? MOLLY Be there in a minute. She returns the lid to the cream and wipes a tear from her eye before collecting herself and exiting.
luci.d was here She made it rain. maybe, someday, you’ll find this federal reserve note. if you do: say hi to luci.d for me.
It’s called the International House of Pancakes. Maybe that’s why English isn’t the staff’s first language. One waitress asks another how many Ls are in chili, one or two, as I sit waiting on the squashy bench, grey drizzle skittering down the window pane behind me. The whiteboard by the cash register proclaims Smile Your At IHOP. Apparently, it’s my At IHOP. If English was the staff’s first language, maybe the titles of the dishes would be more precise. I order the Rooty Tooty Fresh ’N Fruity, which sounds like Carmen Miranda’s hat, chopped up and served in a chilled glass, stuck through with a plastic sword and a maraschino cherry. It’s not that exciting. It’s just another permutation of omnipresent breakfast foods. You still have to say Rooty Tooty Fresh ’N Fruity when you order it, though, even though you know what you’re really getting isn’t very fruity, not particularly fresh, and mostly void of rooti- and tootiness. You still have to say it. Otherwise, it doesn’t count. I’m not bothered that the Rooty Tooty Fresh ’N Fruity isn’t a fizzy drink. Sometimes, words just can’t convey intended meaning.
I say Rooty Tooty Fresh ’N Fruity, twoeggtwosausagetwobacontwopancakewithfruittopping, because there’s no better way to say it and the staff knows what I mean.
When I sit there with you, I don’t say “You helped me get through four plays, two musicals, two years of high school and one boyfriend,” or “You were my only friend on the first scared night I spent in New York City,” or “You have never steered me wrong, and I still have immense faith in your opinions.” I order a Rooty Tooty Fresh ’N Fruity instead, and we share stories while sipping syrup, and it is enough. When you pick up the tab and you drive me home, even though you don’t have to, I don’t say, “I have loved you as long as I have known you.” That’s a hyperbole (a tiny one) and I don’t think they’d understand hyperbole at the International House of Pancakes.
If you die…
If you die, I will develop a cold or a taste for the crucifix. Wet mold on your white body would eat more than mere flesh— for you are in my head like an idea, a mesh of fingers and words that is a net that holds— strong as straps on a table—me, in desperate folds, to reality’s ragged cloth. If you flash like a spark from a socket, if you ash like a cigarette, I will be so bold to say that I will be your smoke, grey and old, and your extinguishment will sadly press me out of existence into the sky. God bless.
Orion Says Hello
to the stars beneath him and a blinking, lighted wing to the mirrored earth to sky. There are many more constellations and a blacker sea to try the tenderness of humans against our missed bent-foil fate. I’m flying between two states of sickness, of reason and love on a night made with shattered bits of restless potential. I’m listening to the voice and rhythm of clustered light some under city clouds planned and gridded some amorphous in my raw asymmetrical heart. I’m measuring degrees of the longdead stars.
I wore the distant light of an apartment windo w in the reflection of M y ear.
And On and On
I was seven when my dad decided it was time I made new friends. Only, he had failed to inform me that the friend he had in mind was the daughter of the woman he had been sleeping with the last year of his marriage to my mother, which had just ended. We pulled up to a squat house on the edge of town. I was small, and buckled in the back. “We’re here,” he said over his shoulder, “and it’s going to be fun.” I sat still with my hands in my lap as he got out of the driver’s seat and made his way to my door. From where I sat I could only make out small details: a brown, flaking house and fogged windows, a tall yellowed tree and the skeleton of a tire swing, untrimmed bushes and branches which stuck out at odd angles from dried clumps. I jumped as my dad opened the door and helped me from the car, smoothing the fly-aways from my hastily made bun and straightening the pleats of my dress. It was the first time he had ever insisted I wear a dress, usually piecing together for me any jean and tshirt combination he found clean. Putting my hand in his, I followed dad closely as we walked around the front of the house to the chain link fence that enclosed the back yard. Through a broken gate, its hinges hanging loosely, my once shiny, black shoes scuffed at the brown grass and out of the corner of his mouth my dad whispered, “Stop dragging your feet.” The tone of his deep, scratchy voice sounded unfamiliar to me. There seemed to be a kind of rushed, erratic stir in his otherwise calm demeanor. Even his smell was off. Where once was the scent of sandwiches and glass cleaner now lurked a thick cloud of his bottled cologne, and it burned my nostrils with every swing of his arms. The back yard was empty except for a rusty set of monkey bars that loomed in a far corner and two faded lawn chairs rotting in the sun. The house sat on a hill and from the back I could see miles of freshly cut fields and plowed sod. In the distance I could see trees, green and lush, and imagined running through the sunflower fields that encircled them. My mother’s favorite flowers were sunflowers. The scratch of a screen door interrupted my reverie and we turned to face a faceless woman. She was tall and slender, leading a small girl behind her.
“This is Julie,” my dad said, indicating this tall figure. She took my hand. Hers was dry and too big. “This is Star,” she said in rather deep voice, motioning with her head to the small child with her hands in her pockets. Star was a few inches taller than me, with uncombed hair and a strange smile on her face. She was not wearing a dress. “I’m sure you two are going to have lots of fun together.” My dad gave me a reassuring shove. “We’ll be inside. You two stay here and play.” I stood and watched as he put his hand on the lady’s waist and the two of them walked into the house, whispering things to each other and slamming the screen door behind them. Star turned to look at me, eyebrows raised. “We’re going to play ‘Keep Off’,” she told me, running to the monkey bars and climbing on. “What’s that,” I followed her, slowly. “KEEP OFF!” she yelled, now sitting at the very top, legs swinging below her, positioning herself well above me. “Oh.” I took a seat on a red lawn chair, hoping it wouldn’t break with the weight. “So how old are you?” “Seven,” I timidly replied. “Oh, well I’m almost nine, so I think I win.” We said nothing for a while, or rather, I said nothing and she showed off the multiple things she could do on the monkey bars. “I learned this yesterday,” she said, edging herself to the very end of the bars and standing up, arms outstretched. “I bet you’re too chicken to try this.” She wavered a little in the soft wind, and I had a strange and excited feeling she was going to fall. She didn’t. Since I wasn’t allowed to touch or try anything on or around her sacred playground I sat quietly, minding my own business, hoping at any minute my dad would walk through that screen door and we would leave this little girl and this little house behind. And then the music started. It came from inside the house, through the half opened windows, a quiet, almost soothing melody accompanied by an inaudible voice to a tune I’d never heard. It was oddly hypnotizing, and the sound gently washed over me and I imagined I was somewhere else, somewhere wanted, with my mother, rocking on our porch swing on a cool summer night. Hearing the final chirps of the birds as they made their way home. Breathing in deep the sweet smell of sprinklers and newly cut grass.
Suddenly the music began to build, the rhythm getting louder and the voice more distinct. It shook me out of my trance and grew heavy and trembling until finally it was beating in my ears and the image of my mother and the swing and the grass was pulled from my mind. The music came over us like a wave, rolling and vanishing into the miles of empty fields that lay beyond. It was only one song. Playing over and over and on and on. “Yup,” Star shouted over to me, “the song is on. They must be having sex.” I quickly turned my head from the noisy house to the nineyear-old girl sitting on her monkey bars. Sex. I had nothing to say so I whimpered an “Oh” and let Star continue. “That’s what always happens. Mom puts on the song and I wait here until it’s over. I’ve heard it millions of times. Don’t think your dad is so special.” I did think he was special, that I was special, that this specialness was the reason he had dressed me up and brought me over here. “You do know what that is, right? Sex? My mom told me all about it. I’m almost nine so she says I’m a big girl now. You’re only seven, so you probably don’t know anything.” “I know a lot,” I protested. “Oh yeah…” It didn’t really matter anymore what Star had to say. I had to figure out what it meant to be left in this yard while things happened and I waited for them to end. I repeated the word in my head slowly, breaking it down by the mouth formations. But still, I drew nothing of its meaning but a long slithering ‘s’ and a throat tickling ‘x’. Sex. There was nothing. All I had was a sense of my father’s abandonment and a song on repeat. “This is my mom’s favorite song, you know. I know most of the words by heart now,” and she began to sing. Star’s voice screamed in my ear and I wanted to tell her how my mother listened to better music at a better volume. How my mother had small, soft hands. I wanted to tell her how my mother had an actual fence made of wood. I wanted to tell her that my mother would never have taken another child’s father away and left her all alone with a rotten stranger, a know-it-all little girl who thought she was better than everyone and did the kinds of things on monkey bars that a twoyear-old could do. Star had her legs entwined in the metal bars and let her hands swing free. Her messy brown hair swayed below her and with every
ounce of confusion and anger I had I stood up from my lawn chair and pulled that mass of hair. “Ahh—“ and her legs loosened and she fell to the ground. Then the music stopped. Stunned by the silence that rang in my ears I started from where I stood, surprised at the little girl lying in the dirt, and ran to the door, my heart beating in excitement. There was movement inside the house and like a dream my father emerged through the tired screen door with his tie in his hand. “Are you ready to go home?” I took dad’s hand and hurried him back to the car. He gave a small wave and a smile to Star and I, not wanting to stay any longer than I had to, mumbled a short goodbye and avoided eye contact. Once through the broken gate I looked back and saw Star standing at the base of the monkey bars, in the growing shadows of the evening, alone and defeated.
There is a benign duplicity highlighted in my photographs; a constant play involving humor and melancholy. My work is an attempt to satiate my appetite for children and the fantastic natural world. The images hint at something lost and unadulterated. The frank inner monologue of children is often overlooked and undervalued, as is the phenomenon of a natural landscape. I seek to align the two with personal relevance and deep memory. I do this with a cinematic focus, a sort of soft film noir glamour that compliments the paradox between vulnerability and strength native to my subjects. Found in everyday environments, these subjects belong to a world of magical realism, where nostalgia becomes a necessary psychological function.
-- Rachael Hess, March 17th, 2009
They sit outside, drinking cafe americanos. --Yo. . . quiero viaja. . . con tú, he says. He pauses between each word, thinking too hard; his conjugation is not good. She laughs, and says she would like travel the world with him, too. Her conjugation is perfect. It began as a study session for Elementary Spanish class as a way to help him distinguish between the friendly tú and the formal usted, to prepare for the examens given every Thursday. He failed the first exam, mistaking the present for the past tense, and completely forgetting that he still needed to include the conjugations for the vosotros, even though only the Spanish used the formal ‘we.’ She did very well because she had taken four years of Spanish in high school, and threw the diagnostic exam so she could take an easier class. He made a very loud joke about how no bueno his performance was, and she couldn’t resist correcting him. --You mean bien. Bueno means good; it’s an adjective. But bien means well; it’s an adverb. He asked if she could tutor him, and she told him that she was free on Wednesday afternoons; she’d heard that the professora gave quizzes every Thursday morning. --If you do well on all the quizzes, it should be enough to offset the test. She did not really believe this. They arranged to meet the first week in October, at a Mexican restaurant near where the girl lived in DUMBO. He’d never taken the subway to Brooklyn before; he took the Downtown V instead of the F, ending up at Second Avenue, still two stops and a bridge away from where he needed to be. By the time he’d realized his mistake, switched trains, and wandered into Pedro’s, he was forty minutes late. --Sorry, I took the V ---Don’t ever be late like that again. Over the next two months, she taught him the delicate nuances of the present perfect, scrawling notes in the margins of his Spanish
book in tiny letters. He began to notice the way her hair curled at the temples, the way her bangs were a little crooked, and the way she smelled like Spring Break, a combination of tequila and ocean and lime. He discovered that he liked the way she turned d’s and t’s into soft lisps when she said them in Spanish. He lay awake at night trying to imitate those sounds. Es-thas. At their last session before the examen grande in December, he asked her what she was doing the next Wednesday afternoon. --I fly home at nine. --En la mañana? --No, at night; and you meant ‘por,’ not ‘en.’ --So what are you doing Wednesday afternoon? She guessed she was doing nothing, and broke into a grin. She only agreed to tutor him because he made jokes in class, and always smiled when he stuffed himself into the seat beside her. He had a cute, round face, with a straight nose and white teeth; she thought he had a sweet face. For weeks, she had been hoping that he would ask her out for coffee, or even just suggest they stay at Pedro’s for dinner, but he didn’t. She could also have easily asked him to coffee, or suggested they stay at Pedro’s, but she never seriously considered this a possibility. She was the kind of girl who usually waited for things to happen. He asked her out several more times, and though she tested out of Spanish II in the Spring, she continued to help him with pronunciation and memorization. Instead of meeting at Pedro’s, they practiced in art galleries, or little bookstores, attempting to carry on conversations about a contemporary installation or best-selling novel, groping for adjectives and verbs. Sometimes he came over to her apartment, and watched Spanish films. The movies were very beautiful, usually sad and filled with sex. She tried to distract him from the girls’ bodies by making fun of the poorly translated captions. He always looked away and laughed. As they sit outside, drinking cafe americanos, talking about the future, it is undeniable that they think they are in love. When he looks into her face, he sees himself in five years, doing graphic design for a book she’s translated, or even written. The book might even be bilingual. He imagines living with her in one of the places he reads about in BUEN VIAJE! like Santiago or Buenos Aires or Madrid. To show her he loves her, he gave her the full works of García
Márquez in Spanish, and listened to her translate for him, trying to capture the poetry of every sentence. When she looks into his face, she sees herself tomorrow morning, rolling over with sleepy eyes to squint into his ear. She might suggest they go to a poetry slam uptown tomorrow night; she cannot imagine too far into the future. She still shows him she loves him by burning CDs in Spanish, and letting him translate for her. Sometimes his mangled attempts capture the essence of the lyrics; sometimes they mean nothing. For now, they are satisfied with their love: they have not yet watched every Spanish film, or heard every Spanish song, and he does not know the conjugation of every verb tense. But it is possible that one day, one of them will wake up and realize that they are only together because three years ago, she helped him pass Elementary Spanish, and the only thing they have in common is a shared knowledge of a romance language. Neither of them knows it yet, but it will be her.
You asked me to explain how I have been feeling lately, I told you: "I am a lion and I roar insecurities." I am a girl and you are still a bird. How can we defy Mother? Sometimes I reunite with my vision of you in the dark and I steal the truth to make songs. This is my hook: I see you and I see the end. Peel my skin and out fly moths. If I bleed heterocera then you shit light posts. All of this talk about high fives makes me feel incomplete. I am not a bird today, so here, if you want it, you can take a low five.
Cherry cotton-candy lips, you taste so sweet on my tongue I forget how potent your poison is. Don't touch me. Your hands do not caress my anxieties away. Your lips do nothing for my nervous mumbling. Your nose does not kiss mine and make me forget everything that has happened. Take me into your flesh or slay me. Cut me from your body like a festering wound on a degenerate limb. Fuck your words, speak to my bones.
Skin pulled taught in defense of the chill in the air. Puffs of smoke waft. From people and manholes. Clouding the vision of red street lights. Light beams bounce from snowflake to snowflake. In hues of blues and yellows. Time weighing down on eyes and spine, curled over, almost to crawling, down the street. Carrying bags that carry the weight of a hundred years of guilt.
pancakes, beer, & stardust
i woke up and realized there werent any pancakes; only beer in my hair, & quiet contemplations in the deepest part of me. i woke up and realized i was no where to be found; only my words in a shot glass, & those that were yours i meant to speak into your ear but kissed onto your lips instead. i woke up and realized there wasnt any stardust; only smeared makeup across my face, & my dress abandoned by the bed but not by you i went to bed and realized that there was no hi; only high, & exchanged byes; and i realized there wouldnt be pancakes in the morning.
microsleep a city in dreams o f domestic paradise we speak so pantry banter and mechan istic doldrums bring dimly lit the restitution of the illfits …
Ode To Brooklyn
brooklyn, where the nostalgic scent of philly guts rides with the cool summer breeze where the greatest are either born, bred, or inspired where i was hired to work at astroland, the last remnant of the glowing empire of coney island which is just another piece in the puzzle that is brooklyn, where trains hum you a lullaby of dreams in which you're not in brooklyn, where god is thought and thought is brooklyn, where respect is communicated by "ay, how ya doin" where you learn real quick or lose all you've got to brooklyn, where the moon is just a giant spotlight and the main attraction is brooklyn, where the sun is the all-seeing eye of brooklyn, where streetlights replace stars because we’re that much closer to reaching them in brooklyn, where we need something to believe in and that something is brooklyn, where friends form bonds that go beyond the borders of brooklyn, where stuck up chicks only pay notice to stuck up pricks when what they really need to pay notice to is my stuck up dick, but shit, it's only in brooklyn, where the deli's stay open 24/7 and at times seem to resemble the gates of heaven but heaven itself is brooklyn, where the devil reigns supreme and the brooklyn in you knows what i mean brooklyn, where you trust no woman and fear no man brooklyn, where we hitchhike trains to get even deeper into the heart of brooklyn, where a tough walk and a tough talk can make you feel new yawk, but it's in brooklyn that you truly find yourself immersed in yourself and maybe something else but that's besides the point; i point to brooklyn on the map because i could never forget where the fuck it's at for in brooklyn, we feel guilty for not feeling as guilty as we should be feeling for brooklyn, where the guineas, niggers, kikes, spics, commies, chinks and
arabs stand proud and loud, with their eyes open and their hands ready to take what middle america is too slow to realize and too dumb to appreciate brooklyn, where the silence of sirens coincides with the silence of crying for brooklyn, when a tree sprouts a branch then a boy has become a man because in brooklyn we are all intertwined mothers, fathers, daughters, sons muslims, jews, christians, bums me and you are connected through brooklyn, so don't hesitate to call on brooklyn to come save your soul from brooklyn, yes i know this must be getting odd and old but it’s this feeling of brooklyn that's got me speaking this way and preaching my love/hate for brooklyn where we cry: dear world, don’t give up hope we haven’t love, brooklyn aka the home of the latest, the greatest, the phattest, the baddest, the best, and the rest of brooklyn, where old men roam, spewing their nonsense philosophy to the youth of brooklyn, the soul of america that greets each day with a real dash of life and an ideal glass that's halfway full until you drink in all the brooklyn, where money may not buy happiness but it sure as shit eases troubles in brooklyn, where lifetimes are spent just trying to figure out what it means to be brooklyn, bk, crooklyn, buck town, kings county, home with fists raised high enough to teach the pigeons in the sky not to mess with brooklyn, where we baptize our eyes in the east river and turn back to the streets of brooklyn, where a passing car has more than one grill as soon as you look within it because in brooklyn no one ever strives to be the beta male brooklyn, where is my mind?
in brooklyn love hates hearts that beat faster than brooklyn, where a beer, a blunt, and a blowj is all you need to take that broken escalator to heaven, or as we've established before, to brooklyn, where admitting your insanity is the only way to make sure you’re sane, for in brooklyn normal is fearful and fucked up is the status quo so pass this note around brooklyn, where angels sing hymns of biggie and gods relinquish immortality just to bathe in an open hydrant where it begins and where it ends and where the middle simply is brooklyn, where you can go down the wrong street and find drugs, booze, and sex and then go down the right street and find drugs, booze, and sex because it's only in brooklyn, where perception is everything and nothing at the very same time for we perceive brooklyn to be nothing but a borough but it’s something more, something alive, something that'll enlighten you past your limitations, desires, or beliefs. something that’ll teach you god and crack and how they are one and the same except for the difference in brooklyn, because we’re in it for life yo, since life lasts for a brief moment, and if you’re with me for this next one, then you’re with me for brooklyn, where every day is a struggle and every man, woman, and child is a muscle in the heart of brooklyn, where jesus rides the f train decked out in the warriors colors because its only in brooklyn, where i get me and that's all i need, so if you're on your way just remember that all roads lead to brooklyn
Talking Jazz & Travel with Sam Greenlee
A warm and unexpected greeting: “Ciao baby…” Sam Greenlee, author of The Spook Who Sat by The Door (1968) and Baghdad Blues, is widely known for the subversive language of his novels. In fact, Greenlee’s first novel (The Spook) was turned down by every American publisher he sought out. The controversial topic of black militancy and urban insurrection proved to be too much for American publishers. It was finally published in the United Kingdom, going on to sell millions of copies across the globe. The novel was seen as a recipe book for black anarchy and government subversion. It’s been described by Time as a James Bond parody with wit and rage. The title is a striking play on words. Spook is both a pejorative term for blacks and code for an undercover operative. The activist, poet and author spent seven years working for the United States Information Agency doing what he described as “propoganda work”. While with the USIA, Greenlee travelled to Iraq, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Greece. Of those countries, Indonesia is his favorite. I ask Mr. Greenlee why and he responds, in his nonchalant cool, the women. He could no longer bear the work he’d been doing for the USIA, promoting a nation that refused (and still refuses in many ways) to acknowledge his unique presence in the world—a nation known to have practiced imperialism abroad and racism at home. From 1965 to 1968 Greenlee spent time completing and proposing his first novel only to be rejected in the US. To this day Greenlee is unable to find a tenure position at Universities because of his militant past. “Unlike my colleagues, I have yet to apologize. I have no intention to…” Many of his teaching endeavors have been relegated to overseas work. He recently taught a screen-writing class in Nairobi. In 1973 a film adaptation of The Spook Who Sat by The Door was released (Greenlee co-wrote the screenplay), opening to large crowds but unexpectedly removed from theaters shortly after its debut. In some respects it’s as if the United States had closed the book on a native Jeremiah. But he remains in our psyches, etched into the hide of American history as a voice of dissent and truth. He hearkens back to a time when he’d been consumed by his rage and distrust of white America, but he has no regrets.
“I went through a period of anger and bitterness and came out the other side. I paid my dues. I’m cool.” I ask Greenlee about black militancy and contemporary race relations. He doesn’t hesitate in responding: black militancy is dead. He has lived through racial strife and has been an active participant in the movement against it. He sees how far we’ve come in a supposed “postracial” world, but mentions that “…we’ve still got a long way to go.” Greenlee’s writing is quite often poetic in description. He paints scenes infused with jazz imagery, blues and somber tones. Every great artist has been influenced in some way. Greenlee’s greatest literary influences are Chester Himes and Langston Hughes. On jazz we speak next. I ask what music he’d keep with him on a deserted island. Lester Young on tenor sax is one of his favorites—“the most underrated musician.” and Billie Holiday. He responds quickly and without doubt. Music, jazz, is a part of who he is. His knowledge on the subject runs deep. I tell him of my affinity for McCoy Tyner and he counters with Earl Hines. The conversation is easy and, at times, humorous. Andrew: Mr. Greenlee, how did you feel about being the Illinois Poet laureate in 1990? Sam: I was never the Illinois Poet Laureate… Andrew: Oh... Misinformation…? Sam: I don’t know how that got up on the Internet… Andrew: Does that bother you? Sam: …No He leaps into a raspy laugh. That’s the kind of misinformation he can appreciate. He’s working on a final polish of his autobiography Sam’s Blues: The Adventures of a Travelling Man on a Macintosh he bought recently. “We’re stuck on an alien island. I’m nomadic man…” He’ll be going to South Africa for the first time later this year. And on July 13th Greenlee will be 79, operating with the grace and style of a 20 year old. Andrew: When you were in college, did you write poetry for the ladies? Sam: Nah. In college I was kind of shy… Honesty is perhaps his most defining characteristic. Greenlee has seen many things in many places. He doesn’t plan to stop his travels; he doesn’t plan to stop writing. Greenlee remains genuine, active—a voice, perhaps, not so militant anymore but certainly relevant and sharper than ever. He speaks his own language, mellow and sage; cool
Be-Bop Man/Be-Bop Woman
From: Ammunition! : Poetry and Other Raps Sam Greenlee
ASHANTI MAN I am a be-bop man; I used to dance to Charlie Parker and we slid light and cool to Dexter’s rough-edged tone; rubbed bellies to Jug’s soft-edged tone; tapped toes to Prez dancing “Taxi War Dance” on tenor sax. We mamboed to Diz, Chano Pozo, Machito and Candido and knew there was another Perez named Prado. I cried rivers with Dinah Washington; saw red sails in the sunlight sounds of Lady Day and Nat king Cole; sat through sad and muted moods to Miles’ mute-melded microphone musings. FULANI WOMAN I am a be-bop woman; I used to dance to Charlie Parker, Duke, Diz and Count Basie and he told me he loved me on that soft, sultry summer afternoon while dancing the Bop at Al Benson’s Battle of the Bands at the Pershing Ballroom when Jug played Red Top and won again. We scatted Donna Lee on the way down Cottage Grove Avenue and past the Trianon Ballroom, very up-tempo and Moody’s Mood. I did Lady Day and he laid behind me scatting obbligato like Prez used to do on Fine and Mellow and I was fine and mellow on that fine and mellow summer day, with him smiling love on me and we were as young and immortal as the music we worshiped. We did the Walk while waiting for the stoplight to change with him humming in my ear and as we ran across Sixty-First Street; I started as Sarah and ended as Ella at the other curb. ASHANTI MAN I am a be-bop man. I used to dance to Charlie Parker, Erroll Garner, Oscar Peterson, Little Jazz and Howard McGhee and they danced with us through the South Side streets and into Washington Park. We took off our shoes to run barefoot through the grass, shunning the hot, black asphalt paths. Winos sat surrounding a paper bag-clad bottle; lovers lounged on the grass near the lagoon; a junky nodded in the sundappled shade of a tree; somewhere a baby cried and another laughed and night people sat and waited for their sunless day’s work to begin. Old men and women fished at the edge of the lagoon with grandchildren at their sides; broad-brimmed straw hats shading their faces from the sun; their bamboo poles held gently in work-hardened
hands, legacy of the south that had bred them and abandoned decades ago, its memories lying light and faded on their shoulders like a handwoven shawl. They watched the bobber for the sign or a nibble but the bluegills, sunfish and perch that would not blot the memory of the sweet taste of catfish, freshly caught and fried. A kite bobbed on the sunny breeze and we bobbed our heads in time with it, bopping Dexter’s Deck. She took my hand and clothed me with her smile and Sonny Rollins ran through my head and out my mouth and she gave me back Moody’s flute. FULANI WOMAN I am a be-bop woman. I used to dance to Charlie Parker and he danced with me to my apartment. I lit a stick of sandalwood incense while he checked out my sounds and I had the women all the way to Bessie and the other Smith girls and Ma Rainey, Ivy Anderson, Sarah, Lurlean Hunter, Ella, Lady Day, and Carmen MacRae, Lorez Alexandria from the West Side and Miss Dinah Ruth Jones Washington out of a South Side Baptist church choir and how many sisters singing Nearer My God To Thee, including me, dreamed of becoming another Miss Jones. Miss Jones is what we called her as she swept regally through the Pershing Ballroom to hang backstage with Prez, Miles, Bird, Max Roach, Clifford Brown and on down with the crowd parting before her like the Red Sea before Moses. We knew who Carmen MacRae meant when she sang, Have you met Miss Jones? ASHANTI MAN I am a be-hop man and we danced to Dinah Washington, with her singing along with the record sounding like Dinah’s little sister. I talked of college and running track and writing because I could not separate them in those days and she listened to my searching poems, searching for a voice my own as much as searching for myself. At dawn we went to bed. Not my first time for sex, but my first time of making love and we danced once again in bed in the way she had of knowing how I was going to move before I did it. We spent Sunday in bed with the Sunday tapers strewn about us and once made love with the sound of the sports section crinkling beneath our dancing hips. ASHANTI MAN I am a be-bop man; she is a Be-Bop woman and we danced to Charlie parker, and, in my memory, still do!
a dream of going somewhere nice and warm where sautéed lambs run wild run free replenish themselves !
a fear of dying in flames the sightsoundsmells of burning flesh beef browns do we ?
Holly Artz is a sophomore at New York University. She enjoys fashion journalism and the way Nabokov makes the grotesque seem beautiful. Steven Benathan is a Junior in Steinhardt. He is a proud member of Zeta Beta Tau. He has written for both Disney and Playboy. How ironic… Jerimee Bloemeke, originally from Coral Springs, FL, currently resides in Brooklyn, NY, and is an undergraduate at New York University. Tehmina Brohi is a bad influence. She studies at City College and enjoys Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Meb Byrne is a sophomore at Broome Street. She has a furry white pet dragon that resembles a dog (this is probably untrue). Andrew Colarusso is not too militant these days. He loves his family, enjoys traveling and sometimes speaks out against injustice. He also likes poems in little boxes and most of the Blue Note catalog. Mahalet Dejene was born and raised in Dire Dawa and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; having lived in the States for a little over a decade (She loves the city). She is a proud believer in honesty before guilt and hopes to continue living life as truthfully as possible. This is her first published poem and she hopes it to be one of many. Raphael Ellis gets annoyed when people mispronounce Yeats. El Gajiev is a sophomore at Fordham University. He recently started his own religion: the United Church of Brooklyn. Michael George is a sophomore studying photography and imaging in the Tisch School of the Arts. If you hang out with him, he will probably take your picture. You can check out his website at http://www.inceptivenotions.com While you're there, check out the blog! Elisa Granados is a sophomore at Baruch. She enjoys beat poetry and randomness. Rachael Hess was born in Ottawa, Canada, 1987. She will receive a B.A.
from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU. She is an artist and life-liver. She loves her Rolleicord and plans to take it to Iceland with her come Summer. Amanda Killian is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She’s an English major with a Creative writing and History minor. Her poem "Huis" was recently published NYU's Undergraduate journal West 10th and she’s working on a project called "Fractal Uni verses" which she hopes to make into a chat book. Ryan Krill is an amateur travel photographer from Philadelphia and is currently finishing his masters in Real Estate Development at NYU. He has lived in Spain and California, enjoys surfing, doner kebaps and has traveled to over 30 countries and counting. Nikki Lee is a sophomore studying Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is admittedly shy and clumsy with words. She prefers to paint portraits that reflect her subject’s unique personality. Amanda Levendowski is originally from Phoenix, Arizona, where she took three years of Spanish -- everything she remembers appears here. She is currently studying publishing & editing at New York University. Sida Li still likes sherbet ice cream and hypothetical situations, preferably at the same time. He also writes for The Minetta Review, an excellent avantgarde journal that can be found for FREE on the seventh floor of the Kimmel Center. Samuel Pizelo studied finance at Stern before leaving school to pursue other options. He now resides in Puget Sound looking to publish his poetry and fiction. He enjoys sounds, words and faces. Elena Vigil is about to graduate from NYU with a Bachelor's in English and American Literature, Minor in Creative Writing. Her favorite authors are J.D. Salinger and Ernest Hemingway. She’s wanted to be a writer since she wrote her first play in fifth grade about the dangers of being a news anchor. Sam Greenlee is the author of several novels and poems. He’s a screenwriter, an activist—a renaissance man. visit his site: http://www.geocities.com/maatguidesme2u/Sam_Greenlee/ check out his body of work; especially The Spook Who Sat By The Door the novel and film.
Editor-in-Chief… Andrew Colarusso Managing Editors… Jon Woo Yoojin Lim
Cover Photo by Lauren Peralta
Apo(phonic) is a literary journal run by students of New York University’s Residential College. It is an annual publication headquartered at Broome Street in association with the ResCollege stream: City is a Page. We accept submissions of poetry, fiction, essays, brief memoirs, photography and art. All submissions should be sent to
City is a Page (writing, reading for pleasure, The New Yorker, poetry, literary events) New York City is a page, a poem, a novel, a text to be written and read, a song, a symphony, a muse, and much more. City is a Page urges participants to view the world around them as a writer would. Immersion in New York City's vibrant literary world in concert with in-house readings, workshops, and guest writers incites residents to hone in on their singular voices and experiences.
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Apo(phonic): The Broome Street Review New York University Residential College 400 Broome Street New York, New York 10013
Copyright © 2009 Apo(phonic) All rights revert to author upon publication ISSN: pending
Nikki Lee Holly Artz Elisa Granados Samuel Pizelo Jerimee Bloemeke Raphael J. Ellis Andrew Colarusso Meb Byrne Amanda Killian Mahalet M. Dejene El Gajiev Sida Li
Art & Photography
Rachael Hess Michael George Ryan Krill Tehmina Brohi
Steven Benathen Elena Vigil Amanda Levendowski
Talking Jazz & Travel with poet, author & activist: Sam Greenlee
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