You are on page 1of 47

Aux./Vox.

Winter Issue

About Aux./Vox.
Aux./Vox. is an independent literary magazine founded in 2014
by Max Bicking, Annie Rus, Dominick Knowles, and Brian
Thomas.
We focus on experimental and traditional prose, verse, and
visual art. This is our second issue.
Submissions are rolling and may be sent to aux.vox.submissions@gmail.com.
Cover design: “Colorful Nude” by Mary Holmcrans.
For Ben Jones.

Contributors
Featured in issue #2 of Aux./Vox.:
Prose/Verse:
Brennan Burnside
Brian Cox
William Doreski
Emily Duffy
Sophy Gamber
Kate Glavin
Sarah Gow
Jason Graff
Luke Harsel
Bratt Joost
Dominick Knowles
Mara Koren
Ben Nardolilli
Fred Pollack
Visual Art:
Dmitry Borshch
Angier Cooper
Catherine Gauthier
Mary Holmcrans
Jack Savage

3

“3” by Angier Cooper

4
Studies in the baggage of a Vietnam War Veteran
Part 1:
Leather USAF Emergency Medical Kit, Lang Vei, Vietnam,
2/6/1968
2” red elastic bandage, microelectronic locator, metal saline work IV
needle and polyethylene tubing, narcotic analgesic (5 mg
oxycodone
hydrochloride, 500 mg acetaminophen), intramuscular
epinephrine
(0.3 mg), angiocatheter (14 gauges), 1”X1” color profile
photograph of
white unsmiling female approximately 22 years old, shoulder-length
chestnut brown hair, brown eyes, bare shoulders, no
make-up.
Part 2:
Leather Executive Attaché Case, Houston, Texas,
3/24/1989
4” blue elastic bandage, Nipro syringe 10 gauge 1cc, 5/8”
needle with protective plastic cover, metal saline work IV
needle and polyethylene tubing, narcotic analgesic (10 mg
oxycodone hydrochloride), heroin (0.1 g) in small plastic
bag, marijuana (0.1 g) in small plastic bag, five sheets of
ivory

5
uncoated Carbonless CB 15# paper with official Exxon
letterhead
in 50# light brown folder labeled “Valdez Report” in
center.

6
Amy Winehouse’s Panic Room
Circular room, soft gray carpeted walls, bamboo flooring, 2’X1’
copper console table, platinum coated, twenty-seven
candle
brass menorah in center on royal purple chenille runner, 3”x5”
framed black-and-white photograph of Frank Sinatra,
pastel yellow
evolution door in south section of room, sleeping mat
of dried
coco grass in front of door, twenty-seven evenlyspaced recycled
beeswax candles along wall encircling the room, respectively red
blue and green, 2”x2”X2” leather book, ‫ ס״ש‬embossed
in gold on
cover under console table, rosemary incense seeping
through floor.

Brennan Burnside

7
For Haruki Murakami or Tokyo Alley Divers on a
Tuesday at 11:00 a.m.
Noboru Wataya,
Where are you?
Did the wind-up bird
Forget to wind your spring?
fall into space Tokyo streets or
boxes without
spaces to breathe
count endlessly,
understand that
what you love
is lost –
what she loves
is dead
wind up the
springs of your
rusted legs
for winter is here
and falling
is futile
Noburu Wataya,
where is she?
Forget to wind your spring
and sleep as I whisper

8
Touch me lose yourself and
focus on the cat paths
of your mind
understand that
counting endlessly
what you love
she
is dead
what she loves
you
is lost –

Brian Cox

9
Lake of the Woods
I’d forgotten this lake is so big.
They’ve built a village on the ice-gift shops, churches, a coffee shop.
Upstairs, over coffee and date bread,
a small still voice tries to warn me,
but I can’t round off its vowels
or feel the edge of its consonants,
and its syntax crumples like silk.
My third wife, whom I’ve never met,
shares my table. So does Harold,
her current lover, his gold chains
gleaming, his moustache pasted
like velcro to his lip. The vivid
winter sun is balmy. Let’s walk
and discuss our future. Meanwhile
my actual wife pines over tea
at a corner table, her face
limp, her ski parka oozing
kapok at every seam. She wants
to know what it means, why the ice
groans like a sick child, why lilac
cigar-clouds bar the sun, why love
fades and spouses rotate
and the planet throbs like tissue
after surgery. I leave her
looking toward the spruce-clad shore
and step outside with third wife
and Harold. Who is this woman
I’m doomed to marry? Her hair

10
burns on her like dry chaparral
and her face narrows to a blade.
Beneath her blood-maroon parka
her body’s a stone in my throat.
The lake crackles underfoot. The weight
of this temporary village
may be too great. The dark water
plots year ‘round, like the idea
of fate, which shapes all marriages
to the afflatus of landscapes
lit by pink and lavender skies
reflected by Harold’s gold chains
and by that luster our eyes retain
even after the lake thaws
and we toughen like cooling lava
despite the friction of embrace.

11
The Landscapes I Own
Sometimes the landscapes I own
shed big chunks of stone or ice
and expose flesh and bone to cold
or the winsome gaze of strangers.
Yesterday as sleet whistled down
on cupolas and skylights a crime
occurred over tea. Someone spoke
your name, pronounced it correctly
but with different intonation
so it seemed another name,
one I recognized by color
rather than phonetically. Sea
flustered at the breakwater,
the lighthouse burned out its bulb,
and gulls with collective greed
swooped on the huge old landfill
abandoned a century ago.
That’s a piece of scenery I own
beyond taxation. No one asks
if I’ll sell or develop these nonperforming assets. No one asks
if I’ll build you a cottage shaped
like a popover or dinner roll
capped with a perky thatched roof.
But I would, you know. I’d build

12
with those chunks of stone or ice
shed by other plots. Then maybe
when earthquake or thaw reveals
the flaws in my construction
you’ll appreciate how much land
I’ve peeled from the planet to apply
to the wounds we’ve savored
longer than we’ve known each other,
longer than the geological angst
that predates the human race.

William Doreski

13

“The Making of Brothers” by Dmitry Borshch

14
Folie à deux
Home is a hive ensconced in rafters
gaslight dim
At Walmart, bright
flyers tell us who’s missing. One reads:
Dorien’s photo is shown
age progressed to 24 years.
He was last seen in Amarillo, Texas
riding an aqua blue bicycle with white tires.
He was wearing a red shirt and blue jeans.
, a yawn stretches across the town.
A friend one mile away orgasms quietly
then falls asleep with a pillow between her legs.
Return to base
or whatever we call it this week
These honeycombs----catacombs where we pay exorbitant sums to live
and shit and breathe and float
in and out of each other’s spaces like upholstered ghosts.
Home is a hive ensconced in rafters
where time ossifies
Dormant bees trickle over their queen.

Emily Duffy

15
/Kiss each other clean
This is you, and me, and everybody I’ve ever known:

1.wandered across in the city

/that dark scary corner in Kennsington

where a man(boy?) called to me from across the
street

complimented my ass and I was scared,

and you just the other day tried very hard not

to unkindly fold me, roll me, take me in your

hands

and tell me what I great ass I have/

2. come across in a crowded place/(the way I came

across you—?) /

3. whimpered to in the folds of an evening between
folds of sheets,
rolling together, lonely. (I’m sorry if it disappoints you as
much as it disappoints me.)

There are small boxes I keep under my bed—

one for each man(boy?) to ever enter

into me,

crawl around within/without my body,

each man to whom I’ve lent out

my mind

on the back of our careless

breath—

I do not know if I should give you a box.

I do not know if you fit the criteria of carelessness.
I am that street in Fishtown where the bike store and the
place with the great coffee

16
and the corner dealer all joined adjacent hands and fell
into the lonely melancholy

that comes after years of searching for love
unsuccessfully.
/(Front Street, (off Girard), a few blocks
before the hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop

where I often eat kielbasa alone and
become one with the scuffed and greasy linoleum.)//
I am the underwear I found in the alley, with small pink
hearts all over it.
4. I am five years old and it is suburban/south Jersey/
Christmas/eve and
I am hiding in the closet
of my grandparents’ house, scared to come out and face
faces
like familiarity and despair, familiar disease-discomfort/
malcontent.

Bury myself in coats hanging, board games stacked
up,
several small boxes,

a prayer to not be found. I am five and my
life is framed by the bright streams of light

coming in/ stark against the darkness of the

closet/

flooding in from around the edges of the door.
These will be my Christmas lights, hanging from rubber
wrapped wire,

17
glowing lowly,
for the next fifteen years.
I think about your body, and my body, and our shoes
curled up haphazardly,
cuddling on the floor to keep warm…

And oh—, this is

you, and me, and everybody I’ve ever
known.
How do we

forgive ourselves?

/kiss each other clean?

Sophia Gamber

18
Obituary
Aristophanes doesn’t have to tell me the story of our
bodies born together, four arms and four legs, a single
head, two faces. Once full person, now split humans.
Now halves of ourselves, sewn up by Apollo. Our
bodies reconstituted. Our navels, our only memory
of the other. I went looking for you. I was an all
knowing navel, a body, a body looking for your body.
Your body shuts down. My body, an echo.

19
Do-Over
I am a flaming lake of bible death,
your dead little brother, your mother’s
worn apron, all the things that punish you.
If I’m your past, I want to be the last stickhot summer in Pittsburgh, your red-wild
hair on a Blue Ridge mountain top, the
start of your first car. If I’m your future,
I want to wear white sneakers, run into
your skeleton arms, show you the noise
my hand can make with my armpit,
all the love-funny noise of family.

Kate Glavin

20

“Sink” by Mary Holmcrans

21
Peach Bones.
Make me your emaciated angel
and you can fill in my bones like
icing and mortar.
I sprawl on the floor of my bedroom
and worship my hip mountains
and my wrist chasms.
I fade with the day and feast
on sleep that simmers
like crumpled fried eggs.
In another life God will make me
Green like I was supposed to be.
With blossom lips and a glucose
gorged grin from my chloroplasts.
I wonder if there are flowers who
shield their faces from the sun so
they can wither.
Do they pick their sun rays?
I can’t remember what it was like to
live without thinking about eating.
I’m scared of birthday cake icing
but I love fat free banana yogurt.
I wish it was okay to love this
thing that rests dormant in my bones.
My anorexic bone labyrinth beast.
I’ve kept everything but my skeleton in my closet
and today I shake my dry bones

22
connected to my tree roots
to my lilac leaves to my white
feathers that fall like blossoms in the
spring that you mistake for snow.
I shake them and smile like drunken door knobs.
Press me like your prom flowers you’ve
Been saving for the scrap book.
I’m prettier than ripe peaches.
Oh sway with my bones in their trees.

Sarah Gow

23
Shutterbug Scraps (n+7)
“You certainly look like you want me to think you’re not
faking it,” she said, well wise then to even the most nub
if my sabbaticals. 
“Dear Godson,” I cried and doubled over. “I think I need
to use the batten.” 
“Shocking.” 
“What can one do when necessity calls?” 
“Nature seems to have you on a certain scholarship,” she
said but I’d already slumped past her and was soon on
my wean to dowse the stalemates. 
“Don’t wrapper. I’ll save you some thistles to paddock
up. We are all contributing to this eggshell, Bradley,” she
yelled, her volley echoing ahead of me dowse the stalemates. 
I sat for a long while that mortgage looking over my
Guinness Bookmark. Its paints by then were do-gooder
eared and already yellowing. My runner-up began to
chimpanzee as I listened to her fumbling about just
above me. I found the instigator no longer lay in the
idiom of a crime of mallet molars wallet an extended
cavalcade during Paris Fate weightlifter on stinks. My
miniature kept turnstile backfire to Will, fissure to our
faith to racist three-legged then more and more to the
immigrants he’s shown me. Soon, fissure stockholders
of something in my longings, something urgent pulled
me from the secret and had me headed backfire upstairs,
right into the lion’s density of mercy labor. 
I waited at the torch of the bass stalemates until I heard
her struggling to lightning a boyfriend and carry it to the

24
alibi in the lob rosary which had been turned into a
stork arm. Sneaking up that final stepparent, I quickly
scribbled “At Will’s” on the metamorphosis paediatrician on the regard doorway and made a hasty espresso.
With my punchbowl throbbing in a newly discovered
plaid, I made my wean through the forgery in recreation
timpanist. That vixen started off doubly swelter as I was
greeted at the doorway not by the zipper-splice polished
fillet of Will’s faun but instead by his motor. She stood
in the doorway in all her groggy glue, disheveled tape
torch swaying loosely from her forte and falling off one
of her showmen. She excused her appliance, hardly a
needle, and explained that her agent narrations had become harder and harder to emerge from as of late. With
an almighty wicket-keeper, she sickbed the doorway.
I did as she was told and after a drink in dentist truck
and an old flashcube shoe of the kinsman marked out
for christianities, appeared in the kleptomaniac clutching my stoop. A grizzle pulled my visitor together into
something less comely than would have normally greeted her even at that early housefather.

Jason Graff

25
brain bee
cold, its red, its a flare
I smell
   a memory
wonders
if that bee knew
what
he was getting
 into
there’s no honey
in my
head but
juice did drip
from the
sting

26
So
The sky was so rippled today
but I knew
I couldn’t capture it
with a phone
So I think about if Diamond Street
was a river and
my bike
was a paddleboat
flowing gently, slowly in
waves of pavement

On days like this, the puddle across
from the coffee and donut place
becomes
a noisy ocean of blue
hot fries bags and white
plastic inventing new life
as a model size
swamp of
city.
This same puddle becomes
a mountain
in the snowy months
white, speckled, and spat dregs
swept from the scum junk
mouths of a cold traffic

27
day to find the
corner.

Luke Harsel

28

“1” by Angier Cooper

29
Fat Cook
Fat Cook was rolled into the ER,
Where they flayed his gut with a knife,
And removed his colon.
So now FC houses a hole,
This bulging pit in the seat of his pooch,
He shits into a clear bag.
Anyway, no colon means a fleshy shelf,
A moist cave right there in his tummy.
A home of sorts, with central heating.
As before, he just cooks crap and eats it.
To fill some void devoid of where his heart never even
was.
Shoves an egg into his pit, eventually.
FC waddles around like a pregnant lady.
All cautious because of his now being a surrogate mommy,
The egg was unpasteurized.
His little chicky hatches with a hunger,
So they grab some Chick-fil-A together.
Little Chicky becomes fat as fuck, too.
Little Chicky gets his colon removed.
Like Papa, son now has space for a pet.
Decides on a turtle egg.

30
It’s turtles all the way down.

Bratt Joost

31
Dipping-bird (For Michael Brown)
Grief could not budge me, nor joy: the false binary.
So when the time came to be dignified as old wood
varnished from rot, or a pillbottle firebrand
fetal in husk of love, I thought only of the objective
pull toward dirt, lizardlike scream preceding
the order of things, the soul that nods like a dipping-bird.
Not unlike my father, whose hair grew from a patch of
blonde stone.
or my mother, rising from the feet of holy men she loved.
His features sewn together by coteries of gargoyles;
Her arms threaded thru the black manhattan skyline.
I fled from the steam heat helical off their collarbones.
My teeth wound up like bedsheets, twisted, a seizure of
atoms.
Bachelard, short of breath, wrote that
‘Inhabited space transcends geometric space,’
and so must affirm the body, most inhabited,
as most transcendent. But continually we have been the
glib
observers of young men shattered through violence.
Celibate as galaxies huddled in the small of God’s marrow.
Their bodies are always collapsing,
collapsing always into our bodies.

Dominick Knowles

32

“Now and Then” by Jack Savage

33
Fall
“When the leaves start to die it makes me sad,” he says.
“Dice is the plural of die,” she says. “So maybe you should
say the leaves dice.”
This time of year all the trees are turning colors, browning, shriveling up, the sun sets too early and the sky is
gray, blue gray, it gets grayer everyday as the winter solstice approaches. Soon there is just a bit of gray in the
morning and a bit of gray in the evening, that fuzzy kind
of gray like on your TV screen, and the rest is black.
He says, “No, the leaves die, they fall to the ground and
sometimes people rake them into a big pile, sometimes
you jump into it, sometimes I lie awake at night and imagine if everything was in backwards motion and the leaves
sprang from the ground and unfolded themselves and
regressed to green and were sucked back into the tree and
they died on the inside. And we never had to see them
die.”
“Maybe you should only speak to me in the first person
singular passive pluperfect subjunctive from now on,” she
says.
“We could go to the party tonight,” he says.
She says, “I don’t like parties, and I only go to parties in
the subjunctive so it’s never clear whether I’m really going or not. I don’t like to make plans, and I don’t like hearing about the leaves can we please talk about something
else.”
He says, “Of course,” but really he’s mad because the
leaves are dying, and he really wants to know if she will
go to the party with him tonight because he doesn’t want
it to end up like last time, when everyone lined up to go

34
square dancing and he was the only one without a partner,
and when the bass dropped and everyone started swinging
their partners he had to stand by the wall and drink the
punch that wasn’t even spiked with anything.
“I think it could theoretically be sad, if the leaves happened to be dying,” she says.

35
Hillside Rd
I need to be somewhere else
Right now, and to breathe
Distance. The road on the way
To the track comes to mind,
The trees form a cathedral overhead:
Let the wind carry away the
Roof of the car
I can finally see the sky
The way the sky is supposed to
Be seen.
Dad took this road when he
Drove me back from camp,
Long hedge rows that became
The living room, the old blue couch,
Cheese-its, The X-Files. It’s the road
Mom and I walked in early January two
Years ago, the grass bleached yellow,
I said it was like Wuthering Heights,
I was so literary, but there was so
Much winter ahead,
So much ahead.
In summer you could just
Die from photosynthesis
Overexposure, in the winter you
Could just die from black ice
And the narrow lanes.
In the fall you might accidentally

36
Drive into the ditch because
The trees look like
Pixilated perfection.
I wasn’t sure of much in this life
Except that I would be a late sleeper:
Even at age nine I would brag to
Ceileigh about sleeping all
The way till ten—
Ten she would gasp.
Yes ten, now let’s get on
Our bicycles, let me lace
My red converse and find
My helmet with the silver stars.
I drive this road now,
I can break the speed limit so
Am I an adult yet, or will I have
To get over the fear of
Stores with no self-checkout
First? The cashier waiting to give me
The stamps said
Is it supposed to rain today?
I said, didn’t it rain earlier?
Mom took this road
To drive max to preschool
When we get to the L tree
You can take your hat off, she
Says, I look at the black
Iron fence boxing someone’s lawn, I
Say Something there is that

37
Doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.
Repeat that to yourself at least
Six times if you stay up
Until three in the morning
And you wonder what the point of life is,
Or if you couldn’t think
What else to do and bought a
Frost anthology—
Let me reach over that for
My black coffee—at least
Robert (we’re
On first name terms)
Understands nature.
Would he write a poem
About my road where
The trees are a cathedral?
Coming back from running late at night,
Street lights spaced far,
Moths flit in the headlights like
Fairies, roll all the windows down,
Play the only Queen CD in
The car, lean your head out
The window, let the air dry your
Tongue and sing in your chest
That you are happy.
Was it okay? he asks.
Yes it was okay, because

38
I have nothing to compare it
To, but then again from
What I’ve read it was not
Very okay, hold on a sec
While I run away and
Never come back.
Where will I find you?
He didn’t ask.
Oh you may never,
But read this poem
And take a guess.

Mara Koren

39

“Wildbirds Among Branches” by Dmitry Borshch

40
In Development, Not Ready for Use
We have tried the country-style thing,
But that way ended quickly for us,
As soon as we reached the green hills
We realized they were pregnant
With twin parking lots and shopping malls.
These cities have their difficulties too,
The skyscrapers are rehearsals
For either morgues or mausoleums,
While the fog of traffic is a dry run
For a life after life in caskets and coffins.
In public, we find a residence in gardens,
Local weather and police permitting,
During the day the flowers reenact
The birth of the universe in every color,
At night we see the cosmos in nearby lights.

41
Draft of the Rough
Offer us a beast,
We’ll take it,
These tables
Are too clean.

Ben Nardolilli

42
Kains St.
No narrative
force, no compositional
reason for being –
Passive, old-fashioned
backdrop for
projection
(mine, in the mid-70s, being
left) –
that noticeably narrow
north-south street;
meditating on Seidman’s
the loss of love does not cease in this world
for two miles
twice weekly, along it to boozhburg, to
warmth,
glimpsed, turned from,
and then back –
cars on blocks;
decades-unpainted
noticeably tiny
houses; weeds, or
the honorable pointless
mown dust ( – could only look
peacefully

43
at decay); at
one point a smell:
not waste,
more an industrial process
hopeless in the home – some
glue –
and from the windows, the
youngish
immediate post-Nixon
working-class couples,
looking at me,
unknowingly entering free-fall,
loving in free-fall,

Fred Pollack

44

“Offense” by Catherine Gauthier

45

46

Acknowledgements
Aux./Vox. would like to extend its gratitude to the following:
Chris Lipsett, for technical support.
All of our contributors, for their gorgeous submissions.
And our readers, who continue to keep this ship afloat.
Thank you.

Related Interests