You are on page 1of 24

Aux./Vox.

Issue #1

Aux./Vox. Issue #1 Edited by Dominick Knowles, Brian Thomas, Annie Rus, & Max Bicking

Edited by Dominick Knowles, Brian Thomas, Annie Rus, & Max Bicking

1 2
1
2

About Aux./Vox.

Aux./Vox. is an independent literary magazine founded in 2014 by four students at Ursinus College: Max Bicking, Annie Rus, Brian Thomas, and Dominick Knowles.

We focus on experimental prose, verse, and visual art. This is our first issue.

Submissions may be sent to aux.vox.submissions@gmail.com

Cover design: “small talk” by Blaise Laramee.

Contributors:

Featured in issue #1 of Aux./Vox. are:

Prose/Verse:

Max Bicking Brian Cox Emily Duffy Isabella Esser Eliana Katz Dominick Knowles Blaise Laramee Jordan Ostrum Annie Rus Amanda Sierzega Nora Sternlof Florentine Stoop Brian Thomas

Visual Art:

Sean Dolan

Blaise Laramee

3 4
3
4

Sean Dolan, Untitled I

5 6
5
6

Abstraction: A Poem Found Within Mathematical Pa- pers Posted On arXiv

It is well known that semi-almost surely meager students learn (that is to say, manifolds fold) optimally under generalizations

To shed

important light

On theory, We operate under the parameters of semi-independent destruction,

Gaussian,

molding Euler with

Chaos, p-adic

Non-linear dynamic

Γ…χ

conditionally negative

nothing.

with a continuous category of

It is important to note that

some students will become disenchanted while strictly speaking

but

will learn to construct

on abstraction a sense of reality.

Max Bicking

A poem about oranges

if i could feel the touch of your skin, layers of phospholipid phosphorescence sending scents (senses split like infinitives) layers like pages, i could read and parse thru the depths into the valleys of your citric acid and sugar.

you are cold, untouched untampered by herds of hungry who gnash their teeth (piano keys hit air from broken strings)

Ten times today i searched the wooden crates where you sit, curving dermis like Schrödinger—you are not now what you once were; You are hard.

You are soft like a matrix of silicon valleys and ridges

7 8
7
8

(where you grew, the Supermarket in California sticks you in aisles of cells)

And when i peel you back,

enter into your skin with every extremity

i

feel you dripping, feel your atoms in mine

uncovering electromagnetic semicolons thru navel and spine

you

send energy, inspiration into the dominoes of my neurons semicirclircling round deep into my mouth as i yell more, into the fragmented pieces of ecstasy that once held you together.

Max Bicking

Wine and Roses

Meric sits manic, coffee dripping down from lips tight in the corner as John inside descends - decanters of wine (blood) and roses in red retreat, pulsing polyphonically, echoing erudite arpeggios in 1960’s bars on vinyl.

Lilac lips are fine, rocky but fine fine and refined redo redo, replay and move stylus to disc - stylus to tone arm tone arm to electronics that I do not understand but love deeply; this to ear and ear to heart.

9 10
9
10

John is fine; I don’t know his voice but I imagine lilacs from lips pursed, coffee dripping, oozing into words; wine and roses, roses and wine, thorns and drunkenness - sharing poems and auras- blue with orange, red with red.

Thorns are nothing through sheets of stupor.

Brian Cox

oui, je t’aime

brass knuckles make drinking morning tea quite hard like a peacock at daybreak crossing a new york city street towards plaster walls and graded walkways – a game to be played among friends at apartment parties with shitty beer and social ladders careful not to fall eating hummus with fingertips crossing arm over arm din in silence palm in palm his crystal eyes above me

Brian Cox

11
11

Evelyn Maria Passos

Education Bachelor of Fine Arts in Disasternauticism Periphery University Distinguished Honors in Stillness

Experience Bottom of a well (1992-present): fluttering back always like clockwork. Throwing self, unarmed, at concrete partitions. Building surreal, glittering castles of sand. Swapping back- bone for wishbone.

Leadership Inside glass case (1998-present): Live wire manipulation. Kill- ing bird inside chest. Mitigating knee jerk addictions. Breath- ing through clouds. Counting to 1…2…3…4…

Skills Fortifying double-paned glass countenance; dissolving into sand. Clenching hands in small fists: leaving crescent indentations in places you used to read.

Achievements Echo chamber feedback loop Semblance of façade Unendingly moving to a place which is relentlessly the same.

Emily Duffy

12
12

Blaise Laramee, “dress sharp”

13 14
13
14

in the fall the haunting

I am a wasted person.

I am an artless person. I am a fickle flash of inspiration that

dies out instantly sun across the water: a dip and then infold- ing, light curls round the edge of this thing and then glides over the next, I am a disappearance, an arrival, a fleeting, a glittering moment lost, a disintegrating person dancing up

it is always in the fall, when your feet are cold strings pull cars across the pavement, we are so delicately puppeteered: and windows stamp the edges of our houses: and you fledge along the concrete, wild sap- lings… in the summer we were frogs I have never had a voice so fine, deep in my memory, hissing

over dust hills, the steep inclines made up of footholds so pressed upon others, we are so pressed in upon others, so

back, retract

these pale watercolors, I remember—

hemmed in upon others, I am a collection, I am a flowing

Sir!

thing, I am guileless, I swear, I am speechless, I swear, noise-

I remember!

less and noisy I have shoes on my feet, see, hair on my head

 

O god,

can you give me a name, then, give me a name then, please sir, just give me a name, I want a name, I want a name, I want

give me a name, give me a name,

a

name call into my mouth, fall into my mouth, sir, tell me

about the void where things kiss and then fall, things come together in an instant and then fall, things erupt, there, sir, from this hole in my being all things grow, I am ageless, sir, I am nameless, give me a name, your breath, room to breathe, your eyes, sir: sir, I am a child, I am the child that you were or are or have or held do you not like children, sir?

 

I have a name I remember.

I drag myself through the pipelines of your mind, the copper,

snaking pipelines. I graze your skull in dazzling, angular complexities, scissoring and shapeless across the coving alleyways. —a cheerless wind and many leaves:

Isabella Esser

15 16
15
16

Let’s talk about fingers, spindly and raw

Let’s talk about fingers, spindly and raw about fingertips: pearled, light as petals.

There is a ringing in the air as you reach to tear down the rafters: brown fingers, red wood.

Deep in the heart of your mouth there is an egg:

and it is popping, and it is popping: you reach in to pull it out with your fingertips

against the skeletal light drifting through the barn there is a silence and your fingers move listlessly

What animal sang out, one swift sharp sweet note through the morning, into your palm, freezing your hand, fingers open & flung out like a flower

And the barn that is red, and your mans hands and autumn erupting against the walls: you will tear at noth- ing with your fingers

nothing but silence falls around us you trail your fingers through the dust, leaving strokes, leav- ing.

Isabella Esser

Bourdieu, Cavell, Pennebaker

I gather, I gather up my hands, into the delicate pink knots the small, pursed buds dropping: another pebble that rolls. I gather.

I worried

about the naked and boney ‘I’ a slender finger held to the lips, the tongue of a gun the graceless peels it whittles itself from falling apart and around it like leaves, words swiftly overturn and flutter, yellow butterflies across the ground, the trees

a lingering, lemon peach, bursting to pieces: around us, ashes of sorts: something burns, something erupts. In pursuit of gravitas, we swim in language. Toss a fishing line we are lost in our language: understanding is like a very fine line, and it loops from one tooth of mine round yours, and swings there like a jump rope between two children (settling. at rest. the minimum, upon which we build, and we swing, and we swing— growing, swellingblooming like a pregnant woman’s belly. Haven’t you ever heard

17
17

of a pregnant silence? Children waiting to be born our words are children waiting to be born)

Lay beside me like a flower collapse like cards, I could collapse that way: the feathers falling into one another, a sort of braid, of patterns:

in the spirals of a shell, in the bleats of your eyes—

[per a second, per minute] at one tic after toc: everything

goes sizzling, you are sun and you peel across the world in the low, sliding hum a brass gong gold, everything swims everything floats: I give up. I gather myself from the folds of silence hold on to you, surrender, cosmos goes spinning, it is inarticulate.

Isabella Esser

Crunchy Kitty Musings

18
18

In anatomy, I have my very own shark head, so does Sean, so does Jane. I carry my cow eye around in my pocket, and give

it little squeezes when I need comfort or moral guidance. It

leaks its vitreous humor on my pants, but I rather like it. My cat may not be very happy with me for I’ve cracked it into bits for my own learning purposes.

But when my professor’s not here, I bring him milk. I grab his

cold tongue and pretend that his jaw is still attached to his head. He purrs in my lap and I inspect his entrails and twist his tail mindlessly with a finger. I speak to him softly, inviting him to my bed with caresses to his muscles. “It’s nothing but

a deep muscle massage,” I assure him… well a nerve massage,

a trachea massage, a vein and artery massage, with a twee-

zers and scalpel. “You’re a crunchy little kitty,” I jest as I crack

his hip bones… Crunch! Crunch! Crunch! Just like when I eat cereal. And I snip and dig through muscle to crack open

his spine. He lets out a squeal and I perceive it as joy. “Yeah I just got that crick outa your back, I know, a friend helps out

a friend in need, right? I know you’ve always got my back

too.” He tries to snatch my pencil as I scribble long words that

always got my back too.” He tries to snatch my pencil as I scribble long words

describe him across the page…

19 …
19

When I get up to put

him in his bag, he puts up a fierce fight - a hissy fit, with un- coordinated cracked bones flying in unexpected directions. So

I whisper, “Just this once,” and I leave him out.

So I whisper, “Just this once,” and I leave him out. I switch off the lights

I switch off the lights and leave the room. I come back in the

evening and I open the door to find him rubbing his drap- ing muscles against my naked shin. I look down at the small intestine that trails along the floor. I glance casually at my blue toes, and then stare. I see my chest opened and my small intestine packaged nicely into my abdominal cavity. I reach to touch, and see my dissected arm, my dyed red arteries and my dyed blue veins. But the fingers remain the same, only blue, which has always been my favorite color. I pick up the little guy still rubbing at my feet. I grab my intestines and throw them out. Out with the large intestine! The bladder, the uterus, the lungs. Snip, snip. OUT! And I pick up my pal and stick him inside. I let his little red head stick out, with his eyes half closed and his tongue partially out, his ears smashed down, and his nose, well that’s his best feature I’d say! I hear a noise. Footsteps. And the door seeps open. Sean, Billy and Emily. My mouth breaks into a wide grin as I fall across the lab table. Their noses crinkle.

20
20

Looking at each other accusingly, they ask “who forgot to put her away?” Who?? I watch as they grabbed the white cloth, and wrap my abdomen, my arms tight to my sides. They spray me and grunt as they slide my body into a big plastic bag and tie the top. Stop! Stop!! They opened up the green trash bin and throw my body, me, inside. At first I can’t breathe, and soon I realize I need not breathe… need not breathe the formaldehyde that threatened my sanity. The cat purrs next to me and nibbles on my heart. I close my eyes to the blackness and fall asleep.

my sanity. The cat purrs next to me and nibbles on my heart. I close my

Eliana Katz

21 22
21
22

Quine in Love (For Italo Calvino)

The sky as old robe, as a dead flag inert in vein of wind. meaning is pressure cast:

false lavender and boredom beneath the bone,

a head filled with tantric violence. there are

no expressible propositions for gnarl of self:

Constellations vanish in dawn’s tantrum flickering epileptic between the flowerbeds. To know the unmediated object, object without word:

rundown brownstones whose streets, ceramic like a doll, pull down stars to streetlights we walk under.

So we shiver in that hell which is not to come, the one made in the space between the word and an understanding of it. the absolute singularity, concurrent flesh in the kiln of meaning.

It feels as if we have produced no fundamental

axiom but the notion that love itself, its ragged patchwork in an infinite causal chain, created death. And we conclude:

‘A notion obviously wrong but beautiful for its wrongness.’

Dominick Knowles

Cloud Mouth (For Michael Snow)

To the right of the sun, right there between flared-up solar walls, that’s where I was wrought from rivers of light. Clouds’ mouths, light-eating, now, draped in grey, walk bursts of falling water. Something maternal erodes the morning into grey afternoon heat; I can see god’s arm twisting thru deadend alleys of wind. What appeared as sun here elsewhere detonated. Paralunar blades cleave causeways of mirrors from sublunary motel balconies.

Auden wrote about the Old Masters, how ‘about suffering they were never wrong.’ Me, I’m as wrong as Monk when you asked for Tchaikovsky. Octaves braided, unbraided, key shift. No narrative, no equation, no object. Looking now at the sky like a tomb I think for all my vices there is little to show. No narrative, no equation, no object. Looking down now at houses sunken into their lawns I think that empty vices still beat a heart full of trash.

And so the empty, post-amphetaminic stupor, and everything changing, becoming dead, passes quickly as it arrived, in muscular heat like a blowhard’s homily, and there is that unexplainable thrust toward some unstill endless lonely vision

23
23

of hopeless rotting houses, frames, windows and dried white boughs bursting now with tendons, limbs, faces, language an etched totem of names.

I am bathing in the poem of the world whirling by, and departure is a neural triumph, seatbeltlessly free. the immense slide of highway, where no point is fixed, the peripatetic lunge from route 29, stretches toward a rooftop, filled to brim with lights, peopled with amphetaminic returns, returns turning turnstiles and my spent frayed nerves like candlewicks glowing, dim.

Dominick Knowles

24
24

Sean Dolan, Untitled II

25 26
25
26

The Shore

Water in me, water above me, and water in the cracks of my cells. I kick out and wonder how many buckets it would take to hold all the salt in the ocean.

Water below me, water beside me-

a wave washes away a kingdom,

a breaker buries a whole court; its nobles, princes, clergymen, dukes,

counts, viscounts, scribes, and one lonely jester, resplendent in a velvet hat with three silver bells, all gasp for air, reach a hand to me (titan on the sand, massive god) and are gone.

Blaise Laramee

Moving

I’d gotten to know the house:

the boards that creaked when you pressed them at night, which light switches went to which light, the directions the knobs turned on the doors (that was the hardest of all). I thought of the house before that one: of all the ceiling leaks, the chipped paint, the asthmatic radiators, the summer I caught bees in the grassed-over lot next door, how I kept them in containers and fed them honey until they died.

Blaise Laramee

27 28
27
28

Sendak

The phone rang, I picked it up, held the receiver to my ear and heard on the line the sound of geese honking, high up in the air, tinny through miles of cord.

What is God? Is He all the leaves shaking in red autumn on the trees outside in the night, the fullness of the maple, the oak?

I am watching over and over

interviews with Maurice Sendak, that unapologetic writer, just before he died. He said he was making a space for a good death. He loved Blake, he loved his dog, Jennie.

“How do you explain,” he asks, “loving somebody or something? How do you explain that?”

I look at a woman I once loved

and feel nothing.

I want to get married, have kids,

do good by my wife, be a God-fearing man, a decent man.

I want to write a children’s book

in the evenings on the porch swing, be missed when I travel by plane.

I want young children

to ask me for a story, and be satisfied.

I want to read aloud to my children

and kiss them on the forehead at night.

I want to hold my wife’s hand in the kitchen

among the pots and pans, silver and copper,

to stand by a stream as an old man and look into it.

I remember the day Maurice Sendak died,

how I sat by my window, looking out at the trees,

the bright green. “Why bother getting born?” Maurice asks. I don’t know how to end this poem. It will never end. I will always be writing this poem.

Blaise Laramee

29 30
29
30

Ode to Booty

Oh! plump, self-righteous ass, whose fumbling figure extends like overripened pear Your mere presence turns my veins to brass The thought of you alone and lonely? Tis a thought I cannot bear

Such supple flesh provides a treasure trove of pleasure;

A goody-bag of chaotic lust, warm and sickly-sweet.

Your gelatinous curvature, like any delicious delicacy, I trea- sure And cheek-to-cheek I strongly yearn to meet

Your pantheonic rotundity overwhelms my very being Twin peaks, a bosom without teats, devours hungrily and causes snowglobe flurry

A thousand kisses I blow upon your wanton mass, lying pros-

trate

A meal more filling than you never before have mortals ate

Booty, I worship you, I’ll make clear that And relish in you being so fucking goddamn P-h phat

Jordan Ostrum

A Ghazal for the North Florida Region Medical Center and the Surrounding Foliage

O! Keep us safe in sticky labyrinthine Gainesville, stinking with gingko leaves draped in the carpet of air where we bury our necks, which slip through gingko leaves.

Skinks scatter across the bricks like mist on the Everglades, or maybe just cockroaches and sunbathe on the sneakers that skid with sick delight to rip through gingko leaves.

O! Ivory tower I will climb you (cheating with elevators), bearing gifts of bones untwined into the hallway numbed by an intravenous sleeping spell, unbroken by the kiss of gingko leaves.

We eggs laid by the same hen possess unwanted fortunes, mirrors merely broken paintings, Your marrows and mine meet like the Nile—if only a needle could nip marrow from gingko leaves!

Useless, I carry my bones back through Gainesville gift shops in a sun-bleached bag and in the morning I tie my thighbones to my pelvis, so I may trip once more through gingko leaves

31 32
31
32

O! There is no more twine, and so I am folded into a letter borne by an impassive gull. Opened by my family they recoil, and break their faces with the rank whiff of gingko leaves.

And here I am unfolded on the kitchen table, undecked with words—Annie, your mirror’s broke. They may slide my brother into an embryotic morphine shell, slick with gingko leaves.

Annie Rus

After the Wake

When the storm expired its sinewy clouds relaxed into flat gray and raw pink welts bloomed across its carcass until it fell like a veil to the mute earth

in the recess roses rose up hand in hand with poppies in the cracked parlor window, gently catching mist shook from the empty sky, now opening,

the air unstopped: everything moved back up like pinwheels, kaleidoscope rows of crows and kestrels criss-crossing the fresh blue, the indents of raindrops fitted with insects like rubies in a set—

and above all the glassy stars still wait their turn their bonds unbound, everyone in their door frames from the ground saying “oh, how wonderful it is that everything falls back to earth like this”

Annie Rus

33
33

Blaise Laramee, “st. francis”

Skinny Dipping in Paint Canvases

34
34

Purple nail polish and pouring rain told them to take off their clothes. It was the closest she’d been to skinny dipping, dripping in why not’s, silence, complacency.

She painted her entire house that summer silver, scaled the refrigerator climbed cabinets re-touched crown molding. She cut carpet and the padding underneath sashayed staples from second position. Stand up and stretch for seventh.

Remember painting and contemplating Remember hearing the phone ring Remember begging its insistent repetition to cease Remember tying shoelaces together trying to find home Remember tripping Remember presence Remember trying to cover every single spot Remember finishing Remember forgoing particular perfection for full coverage and final completion.

35 36
35
36

The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Remember summer heat indexes Remember removing a silver paint splattered shirt Remember removing shorts, sports bra, thong Remember removing the shield

Standing before the painting called The Alchemist (David Teniers, c. 1650), I focused neither on the gloaming cast of the room portrayed nor the profusion of papers spilling over its desk and not indeed on the image but instead on the idea of

once beads and sings-- like a lit up arcade. Elite equations, all

A

British indie-rock band sang somewhere

lost –ists and –isms, their fascinations, the visions of physi-

in

clouds and pitter patters.

ognomic features, half-lit, flickering, half-lost in the arcane,

Instead of him she saw guitar strings, cigarette smoke,

notches carved into drum sticks

the idea of the sudden overtaking flame, the spirit that all at

bent to the evocation of a common essence, endless insomniac

of

concerts hosted

numbers assemble: but where is the gold? I love that kind of

and everyone who watched this set list through whiskey puddles.

thing, the way I love the 13th century theologians who stud- ied miracles, from the fear, we’re told, that their own bodies would transmute, into wolves and wild things, when they weren’t looking. Thus, attentive catalogues for phenomena:

Amanda Sierzega

some of the world’s frogs appeared from nothing, and this was

a miracle, but others were seeded in the elemental world and

needed only to be brought into being: a moment, no more un-

real than love awaking between two people who are after all

only tired

rains of frogs are not all the same unless you walk through them with a five dollar city-street umbrella above your head so that you are overhung in your own space, your own unbur- dened emptiness, like the kind you find over in the modern wing, where canvases are two stripes of bright vacant

I think that these remind me of a swimming pool, I remember

that Raymond Chandler said (c. 1953) that there’s nothing

The reigns of men are not created equal and

37
37

as empty as an empty swimming pool, I think that this is why I take pictures of abandoned buildings and soccer fields at night when the floodlights open over them in pearlescent wings. Knowledge is gnarled and little and full of incremental measurements, and centuries of work went into glass blowing, glass fusing, frame bearing, sand and fire, sulfates simmering all so I could stand by the side of the road and take my glasses off. Some people just want to watch the world blur.

Two paintings over: a pigeon, struck by lightning, and dead, on the back of the donkey, a spire of smoke rising from it and twisting all the way to the corner of the canvas. A scholar in the window doesn’t notice. Portrait of a Gentleman, c. 1486:

no one quite knows why.

Nora Sternlof

38
38

Sean Dolan, Untitled III

39 40
39
40

Guard, Mother

The sun beats hot on my bronze back, the tails

of my cloak extending behind me like propellers

prepping to push me off with the next gust of wind. But I am still. I face Northwest guarding stone ledges while my daughters dance amongst flowers in the plaza. Scents of pine and petal pirouette past, brushing against the broad side of my triple-edged face. Shadow from a passing cloud rolls over my breasts, splitting me into neat, fleeting thirds.

A shoulder molds

around the contours of my leg. Not many come

to join me, but this one sits, leaning

quietly, accompanied only by the click- clacking of keys. Her skin glistens with the sweat of an end-of-summer’s day and mine with the glimmer of sunbeams on my metal. Ever-silent, I tower and she, is kept safe under my cloak.

Florentine Stoop

Paint/Drive/Drip

Hooliganism. Poetry splattered onto walls (Pointed like horn-rimmed glasses on a poet) In orgiastic splendor. My mind turns to Danny,

Knocked over the head and robbed here last year, Stuck it out in a shelter like his old crack days Until he found his way to the bus back home.

One time he told me, wispy white hair wiggling As he laughed it off, he told me of his army days In Arizona, and how he was in love with someone.

Then he shit his pants and they kicked him out. (I always thought he looked like Thelonious Monk.) Gracelessly, a bus, blaring lights staring at me/disintegrating

Into the space between our lanes. I’m driving through North Philly and I’ve seen academia turn to dust. I wipe the crust of sex from my fingers and keep going.

The city as film is gone, barren, as somnambulant people Wander from home to home over trash, and overlooking It all, in round, semen-white colors on a ruined factory:

BONER 4EVER. A stunning, dripping ode to male sexuality,

41 42
41
42

Lost/looming on crumbling brick. And then I see it/a sign, White on black, over a store: “We ship to prisons.”

Addendum

Trumpeted.

Brian Thomas

Christ-like, philosophical dissonance, I feel like I’m simultaneously running Away from and towards my salvation.

Camel through the needle.

Thumb twitch/facenumb, moved outside To watch Max and Jamie split a cigarette And winelaugh at the cars rushing by

Graceless and without sophistication. The night is dark and cool, like the soil I dug my toes into that one time in Maine.

And I wonder-

Am I Blake’s sunflower? Am I the wine (?) Dripping down my friends’ velvet throats As we sit typing theses beneath tapestries.

The metaphor, the season, the dirt/greased Skin of travelers who travel lonely to work, Like I heard one time, they need poems/bread.

43
43

When it rained with no clouds,

I thought of softness, poets, what’s in bloom.

A Sunday, churchless, full of grapes and guilt-

The scent of sunlight drips into the room,

It

comes through the dampened leaves

In

confident/delicate beams, while droplets

Of water (the world) reflect it before the earth.

How pastoral

The way daylight beckons the riotous magnificence Of existence forward, as if it is the third day, peaking Through the holes of His/(my) shamefully skeptical hands.

Brian Thomas

44
44

Blaise Laramee, “typography club”

45 46
45
46

Acknowledgements

Aux./Vox. would like to extend its gratitude to the following:

Nic Sanderson, for helping with the editing process.

Chris Lipsett, for technical support.

All of our contributors, for their gorgeous submissions.

And our new readers, who will keep this ship afloat.

Thank you.