stick with po ppy s e e d
A Dopenhagen Chapbook

Compiled by Zach Schonfeld Cover photo by Katie McConnell November, 2010

The Story of Physic and Syntact Shivan Bhavnani Regarding Muffins Scottie Farmer She’s Sitting Zach Goldberg Dad Hates iPhones Zach Goldberg Lost Car Keys Found on the Side of a Freeway Gracie Hays Ode to Keats Emily Kianka Untitled Samantha Maldonado Room 403, Clark Dormitory Katie McConnell Challah Recipe Katie McConnell HE WANTED THE KINGDOM OF GOD ON EARTH Shelley Miller Lessons from Partition Peter Myers For Z Dope Andrew Pfeiffer Fable News Network Alex Ray Sometimes I Like to Bark at my Neighbor’s Dogs Rachel Schneider Stacked Wax Zach Schonfeld You Are So Ugly Ryan Sheldon Friends, Romans, Countrymen David Shimomura 5 6 7 8 9 11 12 15 17 19 20 21 22 23 25 27 29

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. —E. L. Doctorow

“Joanie did it,” I cried, whereupon Dad informed me that it was a human impossibility for one person to pee in another person’s pants. Little he knew about the power of art. —Philip Roth, My Life As a Man

The Story of Physic and Syntact
by Shivan Bhavnani
“Remember that boy?” wispy hair asks a squint goggly eyes, who straightens her back and neck and looks at the old ceiling lamp that mothers give their daughters, closes her eyes, and slightly purses her lips which start to glow orange pink like a dying maple, and her hair splashes itself with paint, and her pupils started to eat ravenously. Like pink starfish. She starts a low sound from the tiger, just for a split second, and then. Potential energy snaps. The dinner is still in the microwave, and the heat is not on, but it’s late tonight anyways. Years are not facewash. They are super-fine glass you keep breathing in until one day you choke, because of the buildup. She hears the ringing familiar gong coming from a some cupboard, chatters her plastic teeth, and says, “Yes, I do.” He becomes motionless, and the gong and crickets are darting to somewhere else far from there or possibly deeper within the cupboard. “That boy. I remember that winter like a song I used to sing. His eyes never got tired.” “He was so hungry that’s why. He stole my processor once, and just because he used all his battery for the night. But his eyes…they’d eat everything in sight. Just a kid born hungry for attention because no one gave it to him” “No, Peter, he knew. He knew. He’s the one who did it.” “I say that’s bullshit! I say once you get wings, there isn’t up and there isn’t down, I know.” “Well, you were his closest friend, didn’t you?” “And you? What about you, Wen?” The microwave beeps again. It knows it hasn’t been opened yet. “My heart is yours when it’s with you. There lives a woman who dances on the dark soil that ends in that sweet nectar. That heavy air. She lives on the ground level. You know me. You know her. And what about the rest of the world?” “The one always cooking with apples? And all you can do is become a damn coach. You don’t fall off the horse in battle, because the horse needs a rest. It’ll only rest when it has a good dream and wakes up, you know.” “Yes sir, in her underwear. And that’s heroic, Peter, truly heroic,” she wrings a melody out of iron. They both laugh, and she touches his knee, while his smile dumbs down. And then she snaps her fingers loudly, and screeches, and laughing from her toes. It still sounded like the most agonizing music because it never really reached his ears. It just hung around the entrance. “You two-trick bitch! Midgrade sorceress. My god. I knew it. You’re pupils. Jesus. Faster than they could be fed. Well. Where are we going? “Nowhere, Peter. Just tell me if you remember what he said, being the friend that you are.” “Forever. He was going to hide forever in the forest. He told me that we won’t be back and he told me not to ever come across and find him.” She starts to breathe high puffs and wince. It sounded like crying but the strawberries started to leak on the window. “What?” he said blackeyeing the steaming cupboard in the bathroom mirror. “He told me… not to dig it up, and I believed him,” she cries, smiles, imagines leaves tickling the boy’s shoulders and his laugh underwater, and denouments the day.

Regarding Muffins
by Scottie Farmer
I Honey, delicious goo seeping, through the channels, not now. Fuck yo’ muffin Fuck yo’ couch Windchills eating my torso for breakfast, I mean, a midnight snack. Where the hell are my keys? II Muffin stumps are the worst, all italicized up in my zone, cramping, piles of undesired oscillatory waves of bull. What a waste. No, I change my mind. III Either florescent-eco-lube or those weird, chocolate candycorns. But not muffins. God, no. Mini-cupcakes stuffed with cheap, fake love are fine, though. And don’t forget the frosting; drown those fuckers in frosting please. IV I swallowed it okay but those crumbs are all over the place. V Second thought, you’re not so bad I guess. I’m okay with it. Just stick with poppyseed.

She’s Sitting
by Zach Goldberg She's sitting, staring out her window at a mounted painting of some third world country. Watching awkward interactions between school children and streetlights, semidark exercises in sidewalk sovereignty. Some of them stand crooked, leaning. Some of them are broken, scattered glasscape crags, sharpened cigarette burns like bullet marks left by Wall Street market bulls. She's got the belt again Tourniquet to tie off, turn down, tune out. Gives her those little tingles on her neck, not a shiver but certainly cold. One that grabs at the shoulders of the rising as if they could be dragged back into rest, snatch her from the inbetween. There's no going back. Imagine the radio's on. Now imagine it's picking up waves that reach out like a riptide,

waves that might be particles. Leather seat pulls warmly like microwaved spiderwebs, highlighting those folds of skin that might do better to skip town. And what a town it is.

Dad Hates iPhones
by Zach Goldberg Dad hates iPhones. He especially hates those little signatures iPhones leave at the bottom of emails: “Sent from my iPhone.” In fact, he’s started ending his emails with scathingly clever yet juvenile (as is Dad’s way) post-scripts to remind his regular correspondents how much he hates iPhones: “Sent from Susan’s iPhone.” “Sent from Dave’s hot tub.” Dad hates iPhones so much that his right hand incessantly hangs around his pocket, hoping for an excuse to dive in and emerge with his iPhone. If no excuse presents itself, Dad takes out his iPhone every five minutes anyway so he can check his email. Dad hates checking his email on iPhones.

Lost Car Keys Found on the Side of a Freeway
by Gracie Hays Cars abandoned on the side Of the interstate We walk barefoot across The dirt paths of Nowhere Where Walden Pond Has not yet been drained For the concrete swimming pool That is only looked at And never swam in Where a rain puddle Is as deep as the Atlantic And where a bath tub has no walls With water that flows past the Nile Where the eyeball stops acting as a makeshift mirror for the blind and becomes the uncovered final page of a story with no ending Where the name James Gatz Is etched in the peoples’ faces And where the name Jay Gatsby Was forgotten years ago A place where the worms Have never wished to fly, And where they are never fed to Young hatchlings Or used as bait. A place where the baby worms

Finally eat the mother bird And where the bait Swallow the fishing poles whole with the boat and the entire Sea Floor as an entrée We’re looking for the Central Park of the Mind Himalayas of the Soul… And when the soles of our feet start to blister and when our blisters start to blister and when they finally heal Perhaps the day and night Will finally Stop interrupting each other And bleed into one Until then we turn our backs Towards the paved roads of Today And follow our own footprints Waiting for the day our feet will start to form calluses

Ode to Keats
by Emily Kianka 1. On my stomach, I lie in the light with my book. Itchy grass scraping against my thighs, my toes pushing The warm dirt, like crusty chocolate frosting, now only a hundred years until May. Every word you ever wrote is an epiphany, Like sticking a fork into my chest, Pushing through me as a thumb-tack to a wall; I suppose I wouldn’t mind a tomb of itchy grass and chocolate frosting, Sleeping until the first hour of May. 2. There are lilacs by the side of my house In full bloom, dying softly, their fragrance sinking slowly into the whites of my eyes and lingering on my fingertips for years after. The green sprawl of my lawn upturns its palms to me, Offering old voices and stories told over and over, most that I have now forgotten While waiting for the rain, my legs over the side of a porch swing. 3. You taught me about digging graves, About watching lightening in the night sky, which flashes a sickly purple but never strikes the ground. Your voice is full of just-born butterflies and reapers, candid photographs I lost under my bed years ago. The night I packed up and crossed the river home, I realized there is no river. And there is no home. Sitting in the light with my book, I wait for something to grow.

by Samantha Maldonado To twenty, I asked two. The twenty: people, my age, with whom I’d lived and laughed for nine months, blurring the space between family and friends, knowing each as well as one could know a nine-month cohabitant. The two: questions, both simple on the surface and ready to explode, like millions of fireworks in the sky, something gloriously beautiful or disfiguringly terrifying—What are you afraid of? What do you want to do before you die? My questions took flight like smokestacks from a fire, swirling from their hollows on park benches and library steps, in transit and in bed, under trees and under covers, met with squinting eyes, cocked heads, expressions of doubt. The smoke met the atmosphere with quick answers, stuttering, struggling to turn thoughts into words as the questioned avoided my inquiries and requested my response, surrendering to five-minute replies and three-hour conversations. While I hid behind my pen and used my notebook as a shield, they voiced not only their own feelings, but one another’s feelings. While some invited me in as others walled me out, I observed honesty and confusion, and I found my own clarity. These are their words, words that belong to themselves and each other as much as they belong to me. I want to join the navy. I want to be a cop. I’m afraid of being attacked. I’m afraid of pain. I’m afraid of being hurt. I’m afraid of being numb. I’m afraid I’m not enough. I overcompensate to make up for my insecurities. I’m afraid of failure. I want to be successful. Individual accomplishments won’t matter if they don’t make me happy. I want my dreams to come true. I want people to admire my work. I hold myself to high standards. I want to be seen. I want to be respected. I’m afraid of being judged. I’m afraid of disappointing others. I’m afraid of disappointing myself. You can’t be disappointed without expectations. How do expectations benefit you? I want to figure out what I’m the best at and do it. I’m afraid of dedicating myself to something wrong. I’m afraid I could be meaningless. Is it enough to be myself and contribute what I have to contribute in daily life? I’m afraid of never amounting to anything. I want to make a difference. I want to help people. My life must have positive effects on people. I want to share. I want to change the world. Worry keeps us awake at night, and desire molds slumbering dreams, welding the spark of idea to the action of choiceless possibility. Both insomnia and dreaming manufacture ambition and induce paralysis. Dreamers are unable to escape the clouds and build on earth, but their options are never-ending. Insomniacs construct plans, but lack the rest to implement them. They’d rather toss and turn. In a night, my mind fumbles with consciousness, trying to distinguish controlled thought from subconscious perception. My tired soul is satisfied with the fantasy of dreams. I could lose myself in the decorations of my desires, until my dreams design demons that lurk on the edges of my


psyche. The nightmares cast shadows upon the false reality. I wake up and confront my fears. Awake, I live. Awake, I have the ability to go after what I want. And the sun is rising now. I want to see people. I want to make connections with people. I’m afraid I won’t be accepted. I’m afraid of being lied to. I hold a disbelief of people’s intentions based on their words. The words need to be backed by actions. I’m afraid to trust people. I’m afraid I will never trust people. I’m afraid of being vulnerable. I want to open up to people. I want to fall in love. I’m afraid my love will be unrequited. I’m afraid love doesn’t exist. What if I don’t find the right person? I want to get married. I’m afraid of commitment. I’m afraid of being alone. I want to have a family. I want to settle down. I’m afraid of being stuck. What if there’s no way out? I want to give back to my family. I’m afraid of something happening to those I love. I’ve never lost anyone and I’m scared of how I’d react. I seesaw between being too much and never enough. I am full one moment, and near empty the next, as a dog’s dish of water exists like a widow's heart, never crossing over the border. I am a citizen of nowhere, not of America nor Canada, and the stress makes me heavy. I am a soiled car battery in a junkyard, deemed of no use after examination. I am wistful and careful and powerful and thoughtful and painful and respectful to the point of being awful. There’s not enough room for all in a person, and I overflow. I must make room. I must be reckless and fearless and ceaseless and ruthless. I must free myself from being full, sever the strings that attach me to my decorum, letting go of my happy balloon so I may drift limitlessly, so I may soar But I’ll want to push. I’ll want support and foundation, solid ground for my feet and walls off which I can ricochet, like a bowling ball down a lane with no gutters, heading for a pins at the end. As it is I float, going nowhere, braced between here and there, then and now, hesitating to grasp either. I’m afraid there’s no purpose to life. I’m afraid of leading a typical life. It is a triumph when you overcome your fears enough to function. I’m afraid of leaving my comfort zone. I’m afraid of being bored. There’s so much shit I want to do! I want to experience. I want to learn another language. I want to explore. I don’t even know what I will learn in the future, but there’s a lot worth learning. I want to see the world. I want to go to the Himalayas. I want to visit Machu Picchu. I want to live in another country. I want to live in a city. I’m afraid of tall buildings. I’m afraid of bugs, clowns, needles. I’m afraid of heights. I want to get my pilot’s license. I want to climb Mount Everest. I wish to have stories to tell my kids. I want to party. If you want something, do it now. I want to be reckless. I want to be rational. I want to be carefree. I’m afraid of forever worrying. I’d like to stop worrying, just for one week. I’m afraid of wasting my time. I want variety. I don’t want to squander my potential by repeating myself. I want independence. I think physical freedom leads to mental freedom. I’m afraid of restrictions. I want to change. I want stability. I want roots. I’ve felt loneliness based on my faith wavering. I’m afraid of being wrong. I want to read the Bible. I’m afraid of going to hell. I want to go to heaven. You die and that’s nothingness. Death is just a lack of existence. I’m afraid of death. I need to be okay with the fact that I’m going to

die. I want something to happen to my spirit when I’m gone. I believe in soul recycling. I’m afraid of the future and growing up. I hope I don’t have a shitty life. I’m afraid of growing old. I should do the things I want to do now, before I’m too old to do them. I want to be content. Desires do not only exist for the sake of being wishful. Desires exist in part to cast off fears. The Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander once said that wishing for health is to fear for disease. Even if fright is cast out of the mind and desire is embraced, when one is near, the other is nearer. Indeed, I am afraid of what I want. It is terrifying to even ask for what I want. I am scared that once the desire leaves my mind, its cocoon of safety and secrecy, it will touch the air of the outside and shrivel up, disappear, become mangled, and evolve into a beast. Doing what I want, actively moving towards a goal in mind, is frightening in itself—failure is possible. I picture myself lost on a walk on a winter night, having found a cave that provides a satisfactory amount of shelter for the time being. I wish to be elsewhere, and I start walking for miles in the snow, ghosts on my trail, panic bubbling up inside me, and seeing a house in the distance with smoke coming out of the chimney, being so close that my body can feel the particles of heat as they brush through my hair. I might be pulled away by the wind before I can make it to the door of the house—I could lose. But if I am able to enter the house will it be all I hoped for? Will I be content? Will I wish for more, or would my reasons for living and searching and reaching cease? What then? What now? There could be consequences to my cravings. I might never know what could be in the house—perhaps warm blankets and tea, or a murderer, or nothing at all. Is it worth finding out? I’ve been told to be careful what I wish for. I even want what I am afraid of when I am attracted to the danger or mystery surrounding my fears. I can feel the fears fester in the back of my mind while my desires fizzle in the front. I feel as if I am in a transitory state of sort—that I will achieve what I want in the future and that I will not have to face what I fear until later. So what is wanting worth? Is what we want worth waiting for? This I know: for every desire, there is a fear; for every fear, there is a desire. Which is greater?

Room 403, Clark Dormitory
by Katie McConnell Looking straight down the long hall at the light blue walls and the doorknobs that punctuate from yellow wooden doors and navy doorframes, I am reminded of a conversation I had once in which someone likened this place to a children’s hospital. I suppose from this angle the comparison might have some weight; the overwhelming impression is that of conformity and sameness, and seen without its inhabitants the hall seems stark and lonely. But walking the length of the hall, looking side to side at the individual doors, traces of the variant lifestyles and personalities that reside within show themselves in the small decorations and miscellany taped up. This is the fourth floor of Clark Dormitory where I have lived for the past five months. Architecturally, it is a replica of the other three floors; each contains seventeen rooms, that in turn each house two college freshmen for approximately eight months at a time. For many students, this is the first space that they have had to share with another person, the first space that they have relocated to after living at home for so many years. The space of one’s dorm room is, in theory, a place of comfort and groundedness in a situation that is entirely new for most students—living alone for the first time in a university setting. After having lived in this dorm for nearly five months now, I have found this to be true for myself, but not for all others. Be it due to tension between roommates, small room size, uncleanliness, loneliness, or any other number of reasons, some people seem disconnected from their own rooms, and instead tend to gravitate towards the rooms of others. I have chosen to write about a room that seems to provide some sense of stability and relief for not only its official residents, Loam and Zach, but also for those who don’t live there, whom I will refer to as visitors. There is a regular flow of traffic in and out of their room, and it is generally recognized by both the residents and many visitors that this flow is much larger and more habitual than most other rooms on the hall. I write this description not from a position of outsider turned observer, but rather as one of the room’s many visitors who is now merely recording common happenings that many within the room were already cognizant of and discussed at some length. It was only a few days before beginning my “official, anthropological” recordkeeping that I overheard one participant of the room say of the frequent comings and goings, “What is this, a goddamn sitcom?” A range of musings have followed over the demographics of Room 403 between Zach, Loam, other visitors, and myself, and what I have recorded here is a compilation of discussions, observations, and stories told to me about occurrences within the room. Each door on the fourth floor of Clark has two pieces of construction paper which name the inhabitants and have images representing the millennium on them; each floor is themed with a different decade, and we’ve been stuck with the awkward “thousands” that no one really knows how to refer to. I come to Loam and Zach’s door. Zach’s sign has a picture of YouTube, the end of “Zachary” has been scribbled over to show just “Zach,”

which is preceded by “Dr” and followed by “Esquire,” both in his handwriting. Loam’s sign has an image of a Wii video game and is covered in “I voted” and robot stickers. The rest of the door is covered in a Newsweek cover of Sarah Palin (also covered crassly with stickers), a band emblem, a whiteboard, a short monologue by George Carlin, a pin from the 1984 Democratic Convention, and a sack of Chanukah gelt, among other things. Moving inside, I note that the room is small in comparison to my own, cleaner and generally brighter as well. The beds are pushed to opposite sides of the room, making a small space between them that is the frequent resting place of inebriated visitors. “It’s cozier than your room. Your room has a lot of empty space in it, which I think contributes to a lot of negative emotion,” Zach says, not quite jokingly. He and Loam get along well, which is not the case for many of the roommate pairs on the hall. Loam adds, “It’s very cozy and homely, not that big, though. I’m ambivalent . . . I don’t really need a bigger room, though.” I stand, waiting for my tea to heat in the microwave, staring into the heavily lined eyes of Prince and his band (or maybe it’s multiple images all of Prince, I can’t quite tell) staring back from a poster on the wall. I find myself here multiple times on most weeknights, mostly to borrow the microwave or take a break from work and talk with Zach and Loam. Tonight, a Tuesday around 10:30, I am here also to take notes for writing my description. I ask the residents if they would like pseudonyms, and if so, what. “I’m happy with my own name,” Zach responds, but Loam is more interested in the idea. “Can I submit to you a list of requests?” he asks, and I am soon trying to pick a name from a list of Lucifer Sam, Samson, David Froth, Loam Jameson, Wilkins Jonas, or The Meerkatcher. I am still deciding when Robert walks in, and the four of us are soon in an argument over the number of syllables in the word “fire,” and eventually an R.E.M. song is played to help demonstrate that it is, apparently, two, and not one. The door opens and John walks in, a crazed look on his face. He aims a nerf gun at my head, which I cover for several seconds, and he soon leaves. The conversation turns to the validity of science, which is almost a joke at this point—Loam or Zach or I have only to make one comment about the overlap of subjectivity and objectivity, or use the phrase “critique of science,” and Robert begins to loudly propound the material benefits which science has provided (“Do you like your tea, Katie? You wouldn’t be drinking it right now without that microwave!”). Elizabeth, who lives next door, hears Robert yelling and comes inside. Eventually Robert calms down enough for me to ask him if he has any special preference for a pseudonym. “How about Louis? You know, for Louis Pasteur. Wait, no, Robert! For Robert Oppenheimer! I also want to be represented as a hero . . . debonair, svelte . . .” I ask Elizabeth for a name, and Robert answers, “Name her Marie, for Marie Curie.” Instead she decides on Elizabeth, her middle name. At this point none of us are doing our work any longer. “I don’t want to do my Physics anymore,” Robert says. “It’s so lonely.” Everyone except Robert laughs and the subject changes. The conversation will wind down eventually, and ten or even forty minutes later we, the visitors, will disperse. One or many of us might return again multiple times on the same night for just as long or short a time period. These are how most week nights seem to pass, Loam and Zach working inside their room, interrupted relatively frequently by visitors. Now it is a Thursday night, the strange hybrid of weekday and weekend where those who have class Friday morning watch enviously over their books at those who do not. I am about to go to bed when I get a phone call from Zach, who tells me to come to

his room—there is a good scene to include in my study. It is a little after midnight, and I walk in to find Elizabeth and Robert sprawled drunkenly between the two beds. “They just came in?” I ask Zach. “No, they barged in, make sure you put that in your study!” Robert lies, back on the floor, limbs spread wide—“I’m going to try to do physics while I’m drunk,” he says. Zach, Loam, and I laugh condescendingly, the way that only those who are doing work soberly laugh at those who are not sober, and know they ought to be doing work. “Who wants water?” Zach asks, and Elizabeth and Robert reply in a singsong, childlike voice, “me-eee.” Zach pours them cups of water and scolds, “Robert, you are not sleeping on my floor.” Elizabeth flounces down on the chair at the computer and turns on loud music. “Can I have some more water?” Robert asks, and Zach refills his cup. “Ok, so this is really personal . . . ” Elizabeth begins. She goes on to explain things about herself that none of us felt entirely comfortable knowing. From the notes Zach later sends me after I leave, both she and Robert talk about things that are often comical, but at some points cross a line into the personal and crude, as things that are not shared with others when sober now emerge. This could be any Thursday or weekend night; the only real differences between weekdays and weekends are the time periods with the highest volume of visitors (“prime time,” in Loam’s words) and the use of alcohol.

Challah Recipe
by Katie McConnell Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine 2 packages of active dry yeast 1 teaspoon sugar ¼ cup hot water In a separate bowl combine 6 cups of all purpose flour 1 tablespoon salt In flour mixture, make a deep well and pour in yeast mixture. Combine and add 2 cups of hot water 3 slightly beaten eggs ¼ cup vegetable oil 3 tablespoons sugar 1/16 teaspoon saffron (optional) Beat well until a ball of dough is formed, then knead on a floured board for approximately 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in a large, greased bowl, cover, and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, approximately 1 hour. Punch down and divide dough into two sections, kneading each for several minutes. Cut each section of dough

into 3 parts and roll into cylinders. Braid loosely from center to ends. Cover and let rise until almost doubled in bulk. Brush top with a mixture of egg yolk and milk (this step is optional, it adds the shine). Bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce heat to 375 and bake another 45 minutes. Adapted from The Joy of Cooking.

by Shelley Miller
Open my hands for sesames, sesames, though some of them linger in the creases of your fingers and palms. Sesame, a taste of an older place, a hue of your soft or scraggled face; sesame, a shape of your last winking eye. A seed of a fighting pear tree. Your dog, your best friend galloping through your Eden, mighty horse of a dog. Mom and I chew on the grapes while we search your vineyard for a clover whose four leaves haven’t wilted. We search for things for you to see and remember your bygone life. Wooden coyote arches in our grief. When shall I bring to you your last two pears? So sweet, so ephemeral, growing on a bed of three-leaf clovers. So ethereal. One last wink given for a bee and two rolls of bread for your dog, who misses you and I, who misses you, your knowing my name, your giving me sesame candy in wax paper and cherries in chocolate, your soft pattering of feet down the hall, the humming oxygen. The growing of pears, you in every season. Autumn, Winter, Spring. And then Summer. That last wink, it was so ethereal.

Lessons from Partition
by Peter Myers It’s not uncommon to awaken after sixty-something odd years to find time, hate, and restlessness chowing your dinner down, the gluttons— ravenously bored, moaning a discourse on the forced allegory of the father beating his young son with a fresh issue of The New Yorker. The bruises encode a poem written by a man raised in the Punjab, now diaspora grunge machine—it seems associated with the story on page nineteen about the legacy of Partition or another insertable World Event. “Ah yes, that was troubling, wasn’t it?” says the father, his glasses squirming. A smack rumples sandy hair and turns a dandelion ear three alarm red—it hurts like the sound of a car door slamming. He flips to another page. “Did you know buildings in many Pacific Rim cities grope ever upwards—just like large, ponderous children?” In clinical trials, the brain constructs an association between latent humiliation and Hilton Als interviewing himself on page forty-seven in lieu of a more candid subject. Retrospectives note how the Kennedy Kurse caused tremolo aftershocks even decades after the fact. On weekdays, intoxicated media outlets whistle the fictionalized ballad of the Golden Temple’s demolition amidst asbestos particles fomenting from the fumes of Columbine. Accordingly, on a November night eleven years from now, the young son will raze his father’s gated subdivision, slashing tires and violating mailboxes to rend apart the well-adjusted patchwork of the quilt of space-time. On the other side of the world, where things are also torn, myriad youths throw stones in Kashmir to shatter themselves from a childhood of violence, poverty, and meek grey cartoons. Beyond Partition, beyond the seasonal monsoons of action, beyond the colossal Western shrug that sends S waves hurtling through the Earth to dismember the collusion of time and place; beyond all these things, families remain together, bonds unlimited beneath firestorms of words.

For Z Dope
by Andrew Pfeiffer (read with Gandalph the Grey’s voice resonating in your mind) Not a place, An idea. Not just a group of people, But a third-world country. Maybe there are no political parties, But indeed there are Meat Pyer parties. And, yes, there are no burgers of silver, But be there a Berg of Gold I believe. No agriculture to be seen of anywhere, But a Farmer resides amongst them. No Mormons to be heard of, But indeed there presides a Shelley from the very land where the Mormons take their incestuous breaths everyday . Not only one Shaun, the most mystical creature from the North, But a whole fieldddd of shonsss flapping their wings as one. How does one find this place, ye may ask? I shall tell you in earnest and from the beginning: Twas a time on Middle Earth, Labeled the fourth Clark Which, to this marvelous third-world country, Otis gave birth. Ye may also ask, who was this chap . . . Otis?? Why . . . Otis was merely a cube of steel in our reality. But to understand the eternal gift that Otis gave, and continues giving, this, now thriving, third-world country and Culture……….. (now think Will Smith, circa Fresh Prince of Bel Air) Well, shitttt, that would take foreva playa. Dayummm, I mean I don’t got all day.

Fable News Network
by Alex Ray The court makes 'don't ask,' the rule, again, since the cost of health plans is going to rise after the last two Ecuador miners were found dead, and the ex-flight attendant's home was burglarized. A soldier was charged in the comrades' deaths, even though the Hartley 2 comet is visible in the northeast sky. The ruling sparked an 'extreme' debate in PA, forcing the U.S. to enter into a $60 billion arms deal with the Saudis. Having heard this, a man pleads guilty in 'South Park' threat and Apple unveils sleek, lightweight laptops so that afterwards LeBron reveals hate-filled tweets, claiming that 90% of medical studies are wrong? Maybe, but an actor, athlete survives abuse with the opinion that more ethanol in fuel is risky. He watched Alba's (not really) nude scene with Wilson: and Cheney is a traitor, as the 'Teen Mom' couple investigated. Ten infants found dead in a California whooping cough outbreak, prompting Rendell to comment: Dems 'bunch of wusses.’ Therefore King offers Stewart a potty solution; as for Ono: John would be 'totally activist.' But the Russian spy was exposed... again, so a paper outs gays, calls for hangings of their favorite savory-sweet creation. The real question after Apple unleashes Lion: which cat next? 'American Morning': the man behind the song reports.

Sometimes I Like To Bark At My Neighbor’s Dogs
by Rachel Schneider I’m lying curled up on the grass next to my mailbox. I just peed here so it’s mine and those other two are not allowed. They are on the other side of the driveway, chewing on bird bones. I just had my steak bone. The other two didn’t get one because they are stupid and don’t know how to work my people yet. I own my people. I don’t roll over onto my back for them when I want a pet, like the other two. I nudge their ankles with my nose until they give in. And if they don’t pet me in the right spot, I growl until they figure it out. And when I smell meat on the grill, I just trot over for my steak bone while the other two run like idiots around my house, wrestling and chewing on shoes and hats and toys. The sun is warm today, and I found an extra grassy spot. My tail is wagging. I can’t help it. I feel my eyes start to droop and my tongue loll out of my mouth, but when a car zooms by on the road in front of me, I perk up and follow it with my gaze. It speeds up, I think, once it senses my presence, because I am the greatest guard dog of all time. All people who dare pass near my house on foot, jogging with strollers or walking with canes, stop in their tracks at the sound of my bark. I have a terrifying bark. A squirrel is digging a hole in my yard. “RUFF, RUFF, RUFF,” I shout, and run towards it. It drops its acorn and freezes in terror. I sprint towards it and it doesn’t know which way to run, its head twitching from side to side. It decides on a nearby tree, and I run to the base of it. I have trapped many squirrels in trees before. My favorite part of the game begins when the other two, all shaky and excited, come running up to the tree. They stand behind me because they know I am the strongest. The sound of my powerful bark sends them into hysterics. The brown one with the short legs, I’ll admit, has a decent bark. The one with the orange spots doesn’t bark. It yelps, standing farthest back from the tree. It’s afraid of most things, like falling leaves and television screens. Both of them scurry back and forth, too frazzled to stand still. I stand my ground and bark in triumph. I play this game many, many times an afternoon and I chase away all intruders. Nothing escapes my attention. I also eat a few grasshoppers. And then I hear it. That bark that doesn’t sound quite right. Alarmed, I search for the sound, and I see her across the street. My nemesis: the barking human. This has happened several times before. This human mocks me from afar. But I have never seen her so close before. I can usually spot her in a chair by the house across the street, a book clutched in her hands, glaring back at me. But today, she stands directly across the street, which catches me off guard. She waits there, menacingly, eyes locked on mine, unblinking. Cars zoom by, but I can’t break the stare. I don’t bark yet, she is not on my territory. After a few extended moments, I lose attention, but then she barks again, and I look back, frozen as the squirrel. And she takes a step towards me. And another. And another. She’s standing in the middle of the street in front of my house now. Once she

reaches the halfway mark, I start barking, but she does not react. She just keeps walking forward. She is immune to my bark, I realize, barking harder, panicked. She smiles, eyes dark, and barks back again. What is this person? I jump onto my hind legs, pushing her back with my paws, but she takes her final step off of the street and onto my yard. Her foot lands on the place I peed by the mailbox, her arms are crossed, she looks straight down into me, towering above me, and I whimper. I can’t help it.

Stacked Wax
by Zach Schonfeld
“Tuesday night I reorganize my record collection; I often do this at periods of emotional stress. . . . I try to remember the order I bought them in: that way I hope to write my own autobiography, without having to do anything like pick up a pen. I pull the records off the shelves, put them in piles all over the sitting room floor, look for Revolver, and go on from there; and when I’ve finished, I’m flushed with a sense of self, because this, after all, is who I am.” —High Fidelity, Nick Hornby

Dusty and dense, my father’s vinyl collection lines the walls of my family’s basement storeroom. The collection is sizable, of value both monetary and personal, but there’s no readymade autobiography lurking within the boxed stacks—no story, no coherence, certainly no concrete organizational mechanism by which to provide one. There are only fragments, half-formed and fleeting, glimpses and descriptors of the man my father was and is and perhaps maybe could have been. And, of course, dust. From the sixties come classics—Abbey Road and Tommy, Forever Changes and The Band; everything you would expect, require, of a baby boomer with just the right countercultural instincts intact—but also the shadier, more esoteric treasures, the early Zappas and Beefhearts, the Jefferson Airplane LPs that I imagine soundtracked a troubled adolescence among uptight immigrant parents. Which disc did he turn to when my grandfather got out the wooden spanking spoon after a long day at the tuna company? Was Uncle Meat the potent antidote to a dismal, postwar suburban Jersey landscape? Was Ummagumma there when my grandfather threatened—and ultimately followed through—with a one-year boarding school sentence? More importantly, perhaps: was it allowed to come, too? The seventies hit. College, too. The collection explodes, all psychedelic colors and acid-drenched prog fancies and Grateful Dead live releases befitting a 1974 graduate of the University of Vermont. There’s the faded Sticky Fingers with the zipper broken off, the Exile on Main Street double-LP with the letters ALOI scrawled across the grooves. His college girlfriend’s name, he explains when I ask. This I regard as some bitter victory for my father, if not the whole male sex: she probably broke his heart, but he kept her mint-condition first-pressing Exile (it would even, some 30 years later, grace his eldest son’s turntable), and there’s what matters. Better luck next time, Aloi. I sense his lifelong completist instinct: there are more Moody Blues and Emerson, Lake & Palmer LPs in one place than should ever be seen outside an East Village record shop; there is every Neil Young release from the self-titled (’68) to Re-ac-tor (’81); there is a section of a crate devoted entirely to Chicago. This is the father who once saved $270 worth of pennies in a massive jar in our basement: he has always loved collecting things for the sake of collecting things; in the age of internet shopping, this spells danger. I see the endless Zappas and Nilssons and even one Devo, the lewd song titles and bizarre

cover art, and sense his oddball humor streak. I remember hearing these as a child and laughing along. The discerning cratedigger will here notice the white, multi-disc radio compilations and concert specials (the deluxe Woodstock set is a gem) that mark my father’s beloved tenure at the UVM college radio station. These are his clearest and most treasured college memories (make no mistake: they are far from clear); this is the experience that shaped him more than any class; this is the extracurricular activity that directly and decisively inspired a career path in radio. I wonder which discs he spun on air, which he saved for the dorm room, which ones tormented the dreaded freshman year roommate with the military haircut. And which are missing because that disgruntled roommate stomped them into oblivion. And then, more tellingly, the FOR PROMOTIONAL USE ONLY: NOT FOR SALE engravings. He had entered the radio industry; if the pay was good, the free records were better—and came home with him every night. I see singer-songwriters galore—Joni Mitchell, James Taylor’s Greatest Hits, Carole King’s Tapestry, a complete Simon & Garfunkel collection—and know that he has met my mom, that music tastes have merged into one comprehensive synthesis, because isn’t that what marriage really is? Soon come easy-listening excursions into George Winston and Keith Jarrett, a few minimalist nods to Glass and Reich (I favor the massive Einstein on the Beach set with the corner apparently devoured by a mouse). And soon, too, come glaring holes where I appear: the empty spaces for records that I commandeered for my own collection, the missing sleeve posters that I snagged for my dorm room wall—and, maybe someday, the lazily labeled burned CDRs that I hand him each night when he asks what it is that I’m listening to these days. There is, I realize, an autobiography within his record collection. You just have to know how to read it.

You Are So Ugly
by Ryan Sheldon Today, when you take Tom in your hands, you will be a poultry farmer, fingers runny and hot with the oil of slick feathers. Tomorrow, a sculptor whose work verges on metallurgy, predicated on romantic and colorful fixations. This is just an exercise, of course, until he figures out exactly what it is he’s looking for in you. Until then, he has instructed you to bivouac in the world: you will inhabit tents made out of skin and ideas and tastes and weaknesses. You are a mess of organic potentials. Consider the things you could work through: the dyspepsia Tom has carefully minced over dinner (his analyses recall descriptions of wine: hints of desperate loneliness, notes of liberal guilt, your predisposition to mania floating about the dialogue like a mention of the acidity or virile woodiness of the cabernet); unhygienic phobias (you have suffered from inexplicable, seething bouts of athlete’s foot, and you worry about contracting MRSA from the community pool); the itch of prejudice that flares unpredictably in the company of your neighbor, O’Shaunessy, like a hateful rose garden of oral herpes. His insouciant Catholicism is unwelcome in this town, you think, for this is Michigan, and you must be Lutheran (which you are, for all convenient intents and purposes), or at least Muslim. Your parents deserted you for twinned scabs of earth that seem to hold hands, and with them have gone all thoughts of your own spirit. Now there is an abscess—or absence—that defines your soul, hence your hatred of your neighbor, who brings food he can’t eat over during the Lenten season, a perfect cocktail of sin and piety and tolerance. Really, there is nothing wrong with being a Catholic, but the man is goddamn pious, and you are so goddamn not-believing-in-anything. This marriage needs faith! That’s it, you decide, the worst, or the best, as you like it: when Tom returns from the office (exhausted, you imagine: his evening patient is a fellow psychotherapist named Leistedel, a shrill man who rips his brain to pieces each week), you will up the ante. He will never expect this one: you will regard him cautiously, without speaking—you are the wife of a mujahid, your silent fervor like a knot of condensed soup in your throat. Here is your battle-hardened man, the hairless crown of his head wet with old snowflakes, waxy looking. His beard a penitent snarl of hair that he refuses to comb or trim. When you do speak, your voice will take on the guttural tenor of an Afghan boy you met in school, a bronzed, wiry kid who you once forced a kiss on in a fraternity basement. Indulgence, Tom has occasioned to observe, is a quality of your condition, and look how you’re indulging! You generalize about people, about the characters you inhabit. You’re wrapped up in narcissistic self-loathing, and you project. That’s why you’re never up to snuff. You would never make a good wife to a mujahid, you realize sadly. This is terrible, but the point is that you have become terrible, and he should have to see it, in the same way an artist has to live with the tragedy of his creation day in and day out.

Didn’t Caravaggio sever his own head and suspend it from David’s hand in the darkness? After you’d been dating Tom for a few weeks, you two saw copies of that painting in a local gallery, and after downing hot dim sum in his office, he pressed you into his couch, a dark, leathery thing that smelled pungently of ammonia. He was sensitive when you shivered, a film of icy sweat running between your naked back and the upholstery. He drew himself over you: a mass of warmth to be reckoned with. He has always been sensitive, but sensitivity is not empathy. Tom has always been a good therapist, but a piss-poor spouse: an astute man who amputated his compassion, as a chef might split the breastbone of a chicken. You have started to keep a journal, and you write that one down: sensitivity is not empathy. Reflecting on Tom makes you shiver pleasantly. At first, you lived in fear of his discovering the journal, but fuck if he hasn’t. You imagine faint shock winding and unwinding like DNA in his mind. An elaborate, taxing jigsaw puzzle. It is not altogether unpleasant, this thought, but Tom has steeled his mind to such things, and your observation would be as jarring as a drop of milk in the ocean.

Friends, Romans, Countrymen
by David Shimomura Lend me your fears It's been several years The war machine, it turns its gears We've slept deep in our beds We weavers spun our threads While vorpal blades stand above our heads I've grown hungry for a Snickers snack To war, To war, we're right on track Medals and ribbons on you, we tack Lessons we refuse to learn Bodies in the fields we burn The hand of fate, its influence stern Smoke filled skies above turn grey Wolf eyes true intentions do betray This our work, This our play

Bonus Feature

Early Correspondence
by Zach Schonfeld and Peter Myers SUBJECT: Wesleyan FROM: Zach Schonfeld TO: Peter O. Myers July 22, 2009, 8:35 PM Hey Peter, I don't know if you've checked housing yet, but I've been assigned your roommate. I'd love to talk at some point; feel free to call me at 914-400-3784. (I'm working at a camp this summer, so I'm pretty unreachable during the day, but any time after 9:00 is fine.) --Zach (For the record: I don't currently have a Facebook account for a couple of reasons. I did, though, promise my friends I'd make one before school . . . ) SUBJECT: Re: Wesleyan FROM: Peter O. Myers TO: Zach Schonfeld July 23, 2009, 9:19 PM Sorry I took so long to get back to you. I don't check my Wesleyan email account particularly often. Anyway, in terms of talking, I also work at a camp, so days don't work so well for me either. Are weekends cool? Most of my free time is concentrated then. Anyway, email me at peteromyers@gmail.com because I'll probably actually check it. Also, where do you live and stuff? I live in Maryland right near DC. Peter SUBJECT: Re: Wesleyan FROM: Zach Schonfeld TO: Peter O. Myers July 24, 2009, 7:14 PM

Hey, I'm from New York -- in Westchester, about 45 minutes north of the city. I'm working in the middle of Massachusetts this summer, though. We can definitely talk this weekend. Feel free to call me, but there's a chance I'll be working (and not able to pick up) if it's before 9. --Zach By the way: you can set up a forwarding service so that all your Wesleyan mail gets automatically forwarded to your GMail account. Click the "create a filter" link on top, and you won't have to check two different accounts for the next four years. SUBJECT: Re: Wesleyan FROM: Peter O. Myers TO: Zach Schonfeld July 24, 2009, 9:14 PM Thanks for the advice, I'll do that. Anyway, my number is 301-219-2656. I'll probably call you on Sunday, but I might on Saturday. SUBJECT: Re: Wesleyan FROM: Peter O. Myers TO: Zach Schonfeld July 27, 2009, 9:29 PM Zach, I've tried to call you a few times, but I keep getting this weird voicemail that belongs to someone named matt or something like that. Is that your number? It might be easier if you tried calling me when you're free. Peter SUBJECT: stuff FROM: Peter O. Myers TO: Zach Schonfeld August 25, 2009, 8:37 PM Zach,

I figure that we should probably figure out some college related stuff pretty soon. My parents have said that if you bring a mini-fridge they’d be willing to get a microwave, so if you want we could do that. Is there anything else you think we should figure out? I’m not working anymore, so you can call me basically anytime. Peter.

SUBJECT: Re: stuff FROM: Zach Schonfeld TO: Peter O. Myers August 26, 2009, 1:17 PM Hey, I have a fridge and microwave, so it's alright. (I tend to eat at odd times, so it should be good to have.) I'm home, too; feel free to call if there's anything we need to discuss beforehand. --Zach