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Issue #1

Edited by Dominick Knowles, Brian

Thomas, Annie Rus, & Max Bicking

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.

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

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

our first issue.

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

Submissions may be sent to

Cover design: small talk by Blaise Laramee.


Visual Art:
Sean Dolan
Blaise Laramee

Sean Dolan, Untitled I

Abstraction: A Poem Found Within Mathematical Papers 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,

molding Euler with
Non-linear dynamic
Chaos, p-adic

conditionally negative

with a continuous category of

It is important to note that
some students will become disenchanted

while strictly speaking
on abstraction
will learn to construct
a sense of reality.

Max Bicking

A poem about oranges

if i could feel the touch of your
skin, layers of
phospholipid phosphorescence sending
(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 Schrdingeryou are not now
what you once were;
You are hard.
You are soft
like a matrix of silicon
valleys and ridges

Wine and Roses

(where you grew, the Supermarket in California

sticks you in aisles of cells)

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 1960s bars
on vinyl.

And when i peel you back,

enter into your skin with every extremity
feel you dripping,
feel your atoms in mine
uncovering electromagnetic semicolons
thru navel and spine
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.

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.
Max Bicking


oui, je taime

John is fine;
I dont 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 aurasblue with orange,
red with red.

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
crossing arm
over arm
din in silence
palm in palm
his crystal eyes
above me

Thorns are nothing

through sheets of stupor.

Brian Cox

Brian Cox



Evelyn Maria Passos

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Disasternauticism
Periphery University
Distinguished Honors in Stillness
Bottom of a well (1992-present): fluttering back always like
clockwork. Throwing self, unarmed, at concrete partitions.
Building surreal, glittering castles of sand. Swapping backbone for wishbone.

Inside glass case (1998-present): Live wire manipulation. Killing bird inside chest. Mitigating knee jerk addictions. Breathing through clouds. Counting to 1234
Fortifying double-paned glass countenance; dissolving into
Clenching hands in small fists: leaving crescent indentations
in places you used to read.

Echo chamber feedback loop
Semblance of faade
Unendingly moving to a place which is relentlessly the same.
Emily Duffy

Blaise Laramee, dress sharp



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 infolding, 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
over dust hills, the steep inclines made up of footholds so
pressed upon others, we are so pressed in upon others, so
hemmed in upon others, I am a collection, I am a flowing
thing, I am guileless, I swear, I am speechless, I swear, noiseless and noisy I have shoes on my feet, see, hair on my head
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
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?

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 saplings
in the summer we were frogs
I have never had a voice so fine, deep

in my memory, hissing

back, retract

these pale watercolors, I remember

I remember!
O god,
give me a name,
give me a name,

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



Lets talk about fingers, spindly and raw

Bourdieu, Cavell, Pennebaker

Lets talk about fingers, spindly and raw

about fingertips: pearled, light as petals.

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

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

Isabella Esser

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
womans belly. Havent you ever heard



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 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 Ive cracked it into bits
for my own learning purposes.

in the spirals of a shell,

in the bleats of your eyes

Crunchy Kitty Musings

[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

Isabella Esser

But when my professors 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. Its nothing but
a deep muscle massage, I assure him well a nerve massage,
a trachea massage, a vein and artery massage, with a tweezers and scalpel. Youre 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 youve always got my back
too. He tries to snatch my pencil as I scribble long words that
describe him across the page...



... When I get up to put

him in his bag, he puts up a fierce fight - a hissy fit, with uncoordinated cracked bones flying in unexpected directions. So
I whisper, Just this once, and I leave him out.

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 draping 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 thats his best feature Id 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.

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 cant 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.

Eliana Katz



Quine in Love (For Italo Calvino)

Cloud Mouth (For Michael Snow)

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:

To the right of the sun, right there between flared-up solar

thats 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 gods arm
thru deadend alleys of wind. What appeared as sun
here elsewhere detonated. Paralunar blades cleave causeways
of mirrors from sublunary motel balconies.

Constellations vanish in dawns 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

Auden wrote about the Old Masters, how about suffering

they were never wrong. Me, Im 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
becoming dead, passes quickly as it arrived,
in muscular heat like a blowhards homily,
and there is that unexplainable thrust
toward some unstill endless lonely vision



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

Sean Dolan, Untitled II



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.

Id 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.

Water below me, water beside mea 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

Blaise Laramee



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.

I want to write a childrens 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 wifes 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 dont know how to end
this poem. It will never end. I will always
be writing this poem.

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.
Blaise Laramee



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
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 treasure
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 prostrate
A meal more filling than you never before have mortals ate
Booty, I worship you, Ill 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 Nileif 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



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
wordsAnnie, your mirrors broke.
They may slide my brother into an embryotic morphine shell,
slick with gingko leaves.

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

Annie Rus



Skinny Dipping in Paint Canvases

Purple nail polish and pouring rain
told them to take off their clothes.
It was the closest shed been to skinny dipping,
dripping in why nots,
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.
Blaise Laramee, st. francis



Remember summer heat indexes

Remember removing a silver paint splattered shirt
Remember removing shorts, sports bra, thong
Remember removing the shield
A British indie-rock band sang somewhere
in clouds and pitter patters.
Instead of him she saw guitar strings,
cigarette smoke,
notches carved into drum sticks
of concerts hosted
and everyone who watched this set list
through whiskey puddles.

Amanda Sierzega

The Philadelphia Museum of Art

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
lost ists and isms, their fascinations, the visions of physiognomic features, half-lit, flickering, half-lost in the arcane,
the idea of the sudden overtaking flame, the spirit that all at
once beads and sings-- like a lit up arcade. Elite equations, all
bent to the evocation of a common essence, endless insomniac
numbers assemble: but where is the gold? I love that kind of
thing, the way I love the 13th century theologians who studied miracles, from the fear, were told, that their own bodies
would transmute, into wolves and wild things, when they
werent looking. Thus, attentive catalogues for phenomena:
some of the worlds 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 unreal than love awaking between two people who are after all
only tired meat. . The reigns of men are not created equal and
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 unburdened emptiness, like the kind you find over in the modern
wing, where canvases are two stripes of bright vacant color. .
I think that these remind me of a swimming pool, I remember
that Raymond Chandler said (c. 1953) that theres nothing



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 doesnt notice. Portrait of a Gentleman, c. 1486:
no one quite knows why.

Nora Sternlof

Sean Dolan, Untitled III



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.

Hooliganism. Poetry splattered onto walls

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

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 clickclacking of keys. Her skin glistens with the sweat
of an end-of-summers day and mine
with the glimmer of sunbeams on my
metal. Ever-silent, I tower
and she, is kept safe
under my cloak.

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. Im driving through
North Philly and Ive 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,

Florentine Stoop



Lost/looming on crumbling brick. And then I see it/a sign,

White on black, over a store: We ship to prisons.

Christ-like, philosophical dissonance,
I feel like Im 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 wonderAm I Blakes 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.

Brian Thomas



When it rained with no clouds,

I thought of softness, poets, whats in bloom.
A Sunday, churchless, full of grapes and guiltThe 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

Blaise Laramee, typography club



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.

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