The Literary Journal of Lindsey Wilson College



Spring 2011


No. 1

Spring 2011 Volume XIII No. 1


Liz Comstock Christina O’Rourke Meagan Ray Kendall Sewell

Faculty Advisor
Dr. Allison Egnew Smith

Dr. Tip H. Shanklin


Spring 2011

The Lyre of Orpheus Placed Among the Stars Drawing by Eduard von Engerth (1818-1897)

A Publication of Lindsey Wilson College © Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved 

Table of Contents
Tip H. Shanklin, Featured Faculty………………………………………………6, 7, 8 Christopher Ausbrook……………………………………………………………….60 Tiffany Berger……………………………………………………………………….20 James Brown………………………………………………………………...19, 28, 73 Liz Comstock………………………………………………………...29, 42, 58, 63, 71 Maria Cooper………………………………………………………………...11, 26, 61 Brandi Crowe………………………………………………………………………...18 Kacie Goode………………………………………………………………………….42 Ashley Graves………………………………………………………………………..13 Stephen Graves………………………………………………………………….. 21, 40 Megan Hadley…………………………………………………………………... 25, 45 Katie Hammond……………………………………………………………………...34 Matthew Hicks………………………………………………………………….. 44, 64 Megan Humphress………………………………………………………….. 35, 49, 77 Sam Johnson …………………………………………………………………10, 36, 50 Victoria Joseph……………………………………………………………………… 63 Phyllis Lewis…… …………………………………………………………………...48 Amy Lea Martin…………………………………………………………………….. 77 Christina O'Rourke………………………………………………………….. 35, 47, 70 John Overby ……………………………………………………………………..22, 69 Luis Parra……………………………………………………………………….. 14, 39 Brittany Pike……………………………………………………………………. 23, 34 Meagan Ray …………………………………………………………15, 28, 43, 52, 73 Jessica Rinesmith…………………………………………………………………… 57 Nick Schrager…………………………………………………………. ………...13, 74 Kendall Sewell …………………………………………………….9, 20, 30, 41, 51, 76 Anna Sundean………….……………………………………………………………. 38 Brittany Rose Wesley………………………………………………………...46, 65, 72 Danae Wesley………………………………………………………………………...16 Notes on Contributors……………………………………………………………….. 78



Editorial and Standards Policy
The editorial staff of Orpheus welcomes and encourages submissions of poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, artwork, and photography from any current Lindsey Wilson College student. While preserving the freedom of creative expression, responsible standards of decency regarding language and images are carefully observed. The editors reserve the right to edit both the form and, in rare cases, the content of submissions. Final decisions regarding acceptance or rejection of questionable content are reserved for the editorial staff in consultation with the journal’s faculty advisor. All submissions to Orpheus must be typed and must contain the following information: name, phone number, local address, class, major, and hometown of the writer/artist. All artwork and photographs should be submitted in camera-ready black and white. Editorial and other staff positions are open to any current Lindsey Wilson College student based upon experience or interest. The ideas and views express in Orpheus are solely those of the writer/artist and do not necessarily reflect the ideas and views of the editorial staff or those of Lindsey Wilson College.


April, which is National Poetry Month, has arrived, and with it comes a new volume of Orpheus. And like spring, this is a time of renewal. For the first time, the journal will feature an online edition on the college’s website; this year we received a record amount of submissions, nearly two hundred in all; and I am very happy to begin my new role as faculty advisor. In the spirit of rebirth, the editors asked the founder of Orpheus, Dr. Tip H. Shanklin, to be the featured faculty. He has graciously written the forward to this issue as well as three new poems. Arthur Quiller-Couch once encouraged writers to “murder your darlings.” And this is exactly what the writers in this issue of Orpheus have done. The pieces featured tackle an array of subject matter—some difficult, violent, dark. When students bristle at the darkness of a piece in my creative writing workshops, I often remind them of what Tobias Wolff said: “Far from being depressed, my own reaction to stories like these is exhilaration, both at the honesty and the art. It lets us know we’re not alone.” Certainly the writers featured in this edition let us know that we are not alone in our experiences. As Hemingway wrote in A Moveable Feast, “The spring always came finally but it was frightening that it had nearly failed.” Without the following people, Orpheus would nearly fail, too: thanks to the student editors, Meagan Ray, Kendall Sewell, Elizabeth Comstock, and Christina O’Rourke. The editors and I are also thankful for those who have donated to the journal—both financially and in regard to time. Finally, thanks to the English Program at Lindsey Wilson College for its continued support, specifically Dr. Kara Mollis, Dr. Tip Shanklin, and Dr. Mark Dunphy for serving on the Orpheus Creative Writing Award Committee. Warmly, Dr. Allison Egnew Smith Faculty Advisor, Orpheus



Orpheus has entered its second decade of publication, and as its founder and initial sixyear faculty sponsor, it is an honor to have been asked by this year’s editors to contribute a few words and some new poems written for this volume. I am most grateful to them for the opportunity. Endurance is my theme here. And so it does not, in fact, surprise me that Orpheus has been such a lasting success. When I began teaching here in 1998, one of the first ideas I had was to start a literary journal for our students; a public forum for their creativity and their voices. I also wanted the journal to reflect the College’s mission statement. At the time, some were skeptical that it would work or endure; some even disparaged the name Orpheus; but the journal is still here and that is what matters most. Over the years, there also always, always have been many ardent supporters of and financial contributors to Orpheus. Too many to name, they have my lasting gratitude. T.S. Eliot once described his momentous poem The Waste Land as “the relief of a personal and wholly insignificant grouse against life . . . a piece of rhythmical grumbling.” Eliot was not a guileless man. (His remark reminds one of Prospero abjuring his skills of magical conjuring in Shakespeare’s The Tempest.) Regardless of what continues to inspire and motivate our writers and editors – personal grumblings, insights into the human condition, voices from a darkness awaiting a reply, perhaps the beginnings of a literary career (yes, this has happened too) – I believe Orpheus will continue for another decade, and another, because it has always been an authentic place for an ongoing creative and passionate conversation; a conversation that reminds us all of what it means to be human in the first place. THS 02.12.11


Tip H. Shanklin One who has a why to live can bear almost any how. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche In the public garden heavy with snow, so early and cold that there are no birds, the crocuses still weeks and weeks away, it is as if the large bronze-green figure, head tilted, looking down not ahead (as the sculptor desired it), might begin to speak: ‘I went on alone through the lightless world and it killed me.’ The secret remark, as startling as the bitter air, might really have been the sudden sound of a snapping branch, the burden of a bit too much. Looking down from the middle of the bridge, the iced-over river holds the figure’s reflected shape in blue film, in brittle double. Searching my coat pocket for paper and pencil, a sparrow alights on the bridge railing, sending skidding snow just over the edge.



Some Things That Can Be Saved
Tip H. Shanklin Poetry is capable of saving us; it is a perfectly possible means of overcoming chaos. ~ I.A. Richards It is hard to deny that the species ist kaputt. Though in the doomed land there may still be some things that can be saved – The clock’s face in peril. The bicycle abandoned by an anxious heart on an autumn road. The only key locked in the box. The blue-hued letter from Paris Par Avion that never was opened: amour ruiné. Aptly, a taste for ancient ruins and a need to travel to them for silent solace. The uncanny quiver of a windy night. A filament of fire in the darkness to compensate for the loss of faith in humanity. Not any. Not any longer. Of course, the insatiate eyes of artists that could again see what could once be seen in light. And a hearing seer whose music of words would be like the force of Orpheus who bent the will of death for love. This is what is at stake. So say it. Because the unspoken can never save anything.



Tip H. Shanklin To share in the deathlessness, Which is the envy of this life. ~ Friedrich Hölderlin When time affords it me, I live in the ancient world where I come to life in ceaseless searching. I do not live there out of horror and disgust for the present – one can at least impose oneself on the present – but because in this field the dead do not stay dead though I cannot tell who is the more restless, they or I. Here, long past the day-lit world and its twisted confusions, I sit alone in the lamplight consuming and absorbing the exotic language of these chattering, dazzling Greeks. Here, beyond the heat and the smell of laurel, time is suspended – as it famously is in Keats’s ode to the urn. Here, then is now. Here, I can step more than twice into the same river. Here, through gate after gate, I go where I love, where I belong, the paths lit by low fires that show me I am back at the beginning, the archê. Here, words are riddles of blood that can make things happen with a vengeance. Here, nothing is murmured in gray corners; words glint like sunlit bronze and sound as if everything could be true, even the gods.


Kendall Sewell You could say soaring across the clouded firmament is a perfectly fine metaphor for life with its bumps and lurches and (occasional) crashes, but let’s speak candidly here. That’s too easy. So, I’ll give you a new one to roll around, ponder, and consider; Open your eyes to the dark basement of your grandmother’s old mid-twentieth-century house, and you’re tucked in the cobwebbed corner with nary an idea of who you are or what you are doing there or why you know it’s your grandmother’s house, you — in the darkness — alone. Speculate if you will, and beat the words to death but please don’t bind them to old Billy’s chair (and least of all, don’t make him watch). Give them a nobler death than that, please. Let me not digress; In that suffocating, inexorable dark you strike a match and like God you’ve created light. Flickers the flame in an explosion of minute proportion, flaring the brightness of hope against the eternal dark that is her basement. Quick—must be your movement For—quick—that flame shall die. Ponder that and consider giving thought to the words and not the image, or thought to the image and not the words, but please don’t make an allegory out of a plum in an icebox and please please don’t make a picture into a didactic rose and please please please don’t squeeze the life out of a poor, helpless verse.


Phobic Love
Sam Johnson I nurse my fear, keep it close and safe And the blackness it swallows is okay by me Because it takes care of me and infects all my friends So they can be closet cases, too As my body walks and talks and moves I sit somewhere within it, afraid and sweating Because my best friend is fear and he Takes real good care of me, Even as he devours all my friends Yeah, he takes care of me Even as he devours all my friends I keep my fear closer than I should, I guess But I love it like I love my pain Which I also keep close, and she infects my friends, too But that's okay, because it makes me the same And we're all swallowed up in black Yeah, one day, we're all in shadowy black


The Deer
Maria L. Cooper I. Whose eyes are these? These eyes staring at me, These eyes staring so deeply into my own, Those soul-searching, life-giving eyes. Eyes that see all. Eyes that know all. Eyes that understand. I've seen these eyes before Yet they are one-of-a-kind. They were my mother's. My father too once had these eyes. Now they are mine. They belong to me. I saw them once in the face of an angel in a dream, A teacher, A nurse, A stranger, my deer. And I see them again in the face of a soft-hearted soul. I see their light. I see the twinkling smile. I see the wisdom. I see it all. And I feel safe. Safe by knowing that there are still those with eyes, To be connected with, to be seen, to be understood. I feel safe, and the urge to draw near. My heart is filled with contentment, with warmth, That I might live, That I might thrive. II. I pull my heart and my eyes from the animal's hold. I see her body; She is dying. She is calling to me with her eyes, With her mind and soul. She's been rundown, run over By someone hurrying to live their life But her path crossed theirs Here is where it stops Where her life will end. She does not want to be alone. She trusts me.


I focus my eyes on the road ahead. Tears well up and overflow. For my poor deer, and for my mother. For broken connections And the broken hearts that result. For my heart. I turn the radio up, and sing. My heart will go on. III. The sun sets and rises and sets again Those Phantom eyes are haunting me in my dreams, Those ever-beckoning eyes. I do not want to focus on the road ahead Not now I want to pull over onto the shoulder and weep. Weep for the soft-hearted souls. Weep for those who are not. Cry because of my father's eyes. Those unseeing soulless eyes. The eyes of a true animal. For all the lonely people, Isolated and set apart from the rest By my eyes I want to cry “I want a father, a mentor, a shoulder, a friend with those eyes.” I want to pull over But I do not want everyone's eyes to see the real me. I do not need an audience, a stage. The whole world is my stage and I need a place to be real. With someone who is just as real. No more playing parts. No more soap opera stars. I just want to be seen, to be understood by those tender eyes, those caring Is that possible? Or did I just ask too much? I pull my heart and my eyes from their hold. Focus my eyes on the road ahead, Turn the radio up and sing. I will survive. And the radio plays “Walkin After Midnight” by Patsy Cline.



Circle of Life
Nicolas Schrager I saved a bee’s life, Caught between the screen and the glass of a window. In return he stung me And died. So is my punishment, Punished for interfering with the circle of life.

Ashley Graves


Luis Parra The clock 6:23 advertising. the past on thirsty, and the present is an athlete without feet. It’s already 6:43 and the body of the minute that happened, I said well you live here like it or not. And nostalgia gets home in my head and given the 6 to 50. Who told you that it was the dream you dream once who told you that my future even turn upside down, it’s already 7:16, and the body of the minute that happened, I said I ruined your strategy, nothing is left but have to learn to live alone if you still have gills. The house is nothing, that a cemetery of stories buried in pits, some call memory. Minutes as salt in the wound, it happens to me life spending the clock Minutes they are the morgue of the time, corpses of moments that is never coming back no clock back back.


Meagan Ray I fear that I will live vicariously through racing spidery words sprawled on neat linen pages That I will find release through foreign words, strange words, not my own For I could never really speak like they do. I have a southern twang that peers from the shadows of my throat And I never sound quite as sophisticated as my brain thinks I should. But I will reach towards the path that leads to, oh, I don’t know. Happiness. A platitude like that where I will be scarred by grin lines burned along the corners of my mouth and I will be deafened by the roar of ecstasy against my head and I will skip as the wind trips my step and tugs against my hair. And I will ache for the sugary taste of beauty on my tongue as I am blinded by glass citadels stretched along the skyline and I will be aware of my heart careening into my rib-cage, free-floating, detached from the harsh membrane that holds it still. And I will crumble to my knees when I realize that I cannot be, oh, I don’t know. Everything. Anything. When I realize that I am not what I set out to be when I was a little girl. I didn’t wish to be a ballerina, but I wished to spin in glitzy carnival circles, Christmas lights like fireflies lit about the world. I didn’t wish to be a singer, but I wished to scorch my mouth as I gasped like a sinner released. I didn’t wish to be a pilot, or an astronaut, but I wished to lie against shreds of pavement and fall asleep enamored by the sheen of stars against my vision, mesmerized by trippy lightshows of fireworks against the night, hummed to sleep by chirping cicada voodoo. I didn’t wish for everyone to know me, some kind of fame. But I wished to know myself.


Danae Wesley Made in the night by a sad little man, By the hands of a player of God. Awakened by sunlight, Edges sharp, senses keen, And a girl in flight, Stopped short by his silver sheen. Clang Who could ever fall For a man of tin? Who could ever fall In love with such a sin? But down They Fell. Clang What a horrid sound When she was not around, The silence of an empty man, And clamor of his shell. Clang Her heart would pound, And his would not. If love meant sound, For love, her heart would drum. Clang For love, his hollow hum. He would serenade her a heart of song, The chimes and feeling, All in one. And every day, his whistle cried, Until the day she died. Until the day she died. Clang There is nothing left to sing. Nothing more to feel or play; His lover’s taken wing, Her steady rhythm, died away. And down


He Fell. There may be a cure For a broken heart, But none for the broken voice. In the woods, he’ll wait, In the woods, he’s safe. But through his tears, he’ll rust, In the rain, to crust; With his axe held high And his eyes open wide, His voice forever in a silent sigh. And there was no more Clang.


Brandi Crowe An abyss contained by silver edging Your own unexplored ocean The surface skimmed Translucent depths carelessly unknown Warm hands grasp cold edges Unsure you can handle what lies within Chin parallel to the floor No turning back Brown eyes on red ones of the same color You remember why that's so Another strike of lightening Straight to the heart and the pain screams normality A liquid imitation of your looking glass falls Shatters silently as more rush to join it It cannot be left alone Can't be like you because nothing should be Thunder, and your storm turns red Your facade cracks and the edging empties Pieces left behind are unsupported You recognize the irony An increased rain adds depth to your ocean The surface no longer affected by individual drops You know all the answers Who are you?


Weathered Irishmen
Jim Brown The rain trickled slowly, coming from a bright grey sky with the underlying sun masked by heavy clouds. The wind lightly breathed on the tall grass which waved slightly, keeping in the direction of the cool air’s flow. A road wound between the hills emerald with the grass. Its puddles and gravel reflected the bright sky, wet from the lulling rain. The blades closest to the road intertwined and brushed against the worn fence which followed the road, one weathered with rusted barbed wire crippled by age and hanging from the cracked gray posts that still stood stout with a few leaning away and towards the road. All was quiet spare the faint sound of the wind in the grass. He had ridden this route almost daily for the past thirty years. From home to work and back again, church when he could, thinking of only the work that had been done and the work to be done. Turning the pedals with a conscience funneled by these thoughts, he never went beyond the spectrum that founded the world which in he delved himself. Keeping to a promise, his daughter, the only other for which he had provided the last few years, had gone on to make another home. His wife whom had passed many years before had always stayed in his thoughts, as had his son whom had long disappeared to the Americas. He, having never remarried nor sought another acquaintance, ignored the calls of others on the habits of geese. Staring at the clouds as they passed over head, he let the drops fall on his aging face as he recollected the past years. The grass cool and wet on the back of his neck, the dampness of that beneath him soaking through his faded shirt, he thought of it all. Settling for what he had never consciously asked for, content with what was given turning away at the chance of change. It would be a few hours to dark, and no traffic had passed for some time, not even a bird in the sky, concerns of which were now beyond him. His home sitting empty and dark, a cavity in which there would be nothing but memories, somewhat sullen, to keep him company. He thought of the tavern down the road, where he had few times stopped. It was always full of a crowd too depressing to accompany and he wasn’t one to drink much. He loved his home country but not the life he had come to know, how he had come to make it as it was he was slowly figuring. His living to raise his daughter, keeping a quiet life. The rain began to pass finally and the wind stopped. He rose took a deep sign, and stretched combing with his hand the beard that ran along the edge of his face. Squinting in his thought he popped his back and looked out over the hills around him, emerald as always in the light with a small house far in the distance. Against the sky he spotted a gull, white with yellow beak, he could scarcely make it out but it was unmistakable all the same. It flapped overhead, passing without glance and undeterred in its direction, away from the glow behind the clouds, towards the coast, towards the sea. His spirit stirred, the smell, the feel of salt and spray, the sound of taunt sail in wind, a hull skimming waves with ease all flashed in his mind’s eyes. He pulled his cap and gathered his bike and followed, stopping only at the post office along the way.


Storm Winds
Kendall Sewell In the heat of hot July nights there are sometimes storms that push their way eastward, or southward— or whichever way-ward— nestling themselves just above our city to pour welcome upon us. Lightning flashes and thunder crashes And smile do we who do daily toil, and salt the earth with our tears. Daily on, we who toil do carry, and some us know it and some of us don’t; It’s no matter, really. Truth is in the storm: Revelation is in the lightning. In the flashes (glimpses of a reflection of something)

Tiffany Berger


Anonymously Spoken
Stephen Graves With eyes of Florence and loches of the Rhine motherly her eyes fall like Berlin the wall that binds In mind our wounds will heal, but scars will be left behind Fragments of a war lost only in time Our moment has come, as clouds part and the darkness begins to shine Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the beholder is blind Looking forward to the end as the journey has past the line A sonnet is not a sonnet without a look first through her eyes A prayer is spoken as my breath slips suddenly away Lifeless I lay and in her arms I pray to die No happiness will I ever see like the one my heart for love does bleed and in the end there is only one, not you, but me and I hope this is a lie As I write and I hope, my words are my tears and only the ink is left when I cry One final breath, one final thought, one final sin, one final... Why?


Suck it Art
John Overby A picture paints a thousand words But a pen paints so many more Not just one scene It tells a whole story, an entire book Filled with a wild journeys Tantalizing tales of bravery An astronaut, lost in space Never to return home again A scary, snowy mountain hiker That ends up thrown in the slammer A self-help author with drug problems The family turmoil that follows Perhaps a summer fling Just a small love affair A man that’s been stuck in Limbo And his struggle to return home Alien vs. robot wars With a million battle scars A death row inmates’ lullaby A crime he didn’t commit A superhero who’s a drunk One that just completely sucks The power of the pen The greatest tool of all Your wildest dreams Are just a page away.


My Hatter
Brittany Pike Please sit down! It's time for tea. We're great company, that Hatter and me. Delusional dreaming. Farfetched schemes. Radical ideas. Fantastical things. Cooridoors and passageways with zillions of turns. Which way is up? My mind how it burns! A racing of thoughts in a whirlwind of colors. I'm the only one here, there are no others! Preposterous nonsense. Oodles of ideas. Do not blame me, the idea was...his. That Hatter is here! I know it is so. You claim you can't see him. Just look, there he goes. Through twists and turns he runs away when someone confronts him, he's shy you could say. He scatters the thoughts which I have collected. Millions of obstacles he has erected.


As soon as he comes he's practically gone, scrambling my senses making everything wrong. To catch him, I know would keep things intact. Help me find Mr. Tress, S. Tress to be exact.


Megan Hadley Bing, buzzing, or vibrating The damn phone, it’s always ringing Each gesture that it makes sends a chill through my spine Sometimes I sit and hold it, and just watch the clock tell time The poor thing gets interrogated; I can tell it’s hostile towards me I’m always prying it for information, searching for the answers I can’t see E-mails and text messages, but these aren’t what I’m waiting for I check it and check it, but can’t help begging it for more.


Emotion and Reason
Maria L. Cooper I do not find it easy to love those Who do not love I do not find it easy to love those Who love too freely without reason It is easy for me to love those Who do not love easily, are not loved easily I do not love due to a person's actions Nor is my love due to physical attraction My love is deep My love can not be explained but is felt Do you feel me? My love knows not age, race, gender, religion My love knows only love That feeling buried deep within That electrical magnetic touch That rushes from your essence to mine Your potential to love I love Your power to choose to love me I love For, my love, you are stronger than I I could never choose not to love you From the moment we were united From the second our selves recognized the other I was made incapable of not loving you I love you for the bad you've done I love you for the good I love you for the struggle each choice makes I will love you forever more Whatever strength that takes For you are not loved easily, nor easily do you love But, O my love, no one else could be loved as much as you For with you am I made complete For I am love and in you my love is made true Can you feel my energy surrounding you?


Do you love me too as I feel you do? Or have you not figured (it/me) out yet, so cute The whole purpose of our lives is to just be And in being we are to love Why swim against the current When the peace that overflows Will make you whole? Why do you choose to let me go? Once are hearts are made to truly see then, and only then, will our minds be liberated and set free.


Mason-Dixon Line
Meagan Ray Perhaps the real difference between us isn’t geography after all (And maybe I do like to be barefoot, but I like to be bare everything, barefoot, barefaced, Free from the restraints of normality and the laces of shoes so choking on one so swift) Perhaps, after all, tea is better when doused in sugar And compliments sweeter when laced with a drawl Perhaps my tongue’s scamper towards colloquialisms is not a sign of the darkest unintelligence, but a turn towards a higher level of thinking, perhaps the ability to converse with all kinds of people is greater than the ability to intimidate (And maybe I do say ‘hon’ like a burnt-out waitress, but no one could call me inhospitable. And if you’d pay attention to things around you, directions like ‘turn left at the Simpson’s silo’ and ‘keep going past the tractors’ would not be so foreign) Perhaps these hands, cow-milking hands, jar-canning hands, are just as strong as your taxi-hailing hands, French-tipped hands Perhaps I am proud. Perhaps I am proud that I can see the brilliance in mosquito bites from achy summer nights, the glory in the dust-filled barn full of shrill chickchirps, the splendid scent of fresh earth beneath sweaty fingernails Perhaps the real difference between us is my ability to see what is fantastic in every culture, to swampy starlit evenings, to breathless neon nights.

Jim Brown


As insomnia conquers yet another night,
Elizabeth Comstock the imperfections and failures surface, shining in their blistering light. she calls to mind her recent descent into madness. no longer working out, making excuses for herself, losing her disciplines she worked so hard to establish. she eats, but no longer purges. she thinks, but no longer writes. she gets no work done, writes no masterpieces. no motivation, no desire, simply riding out her gradual descent back into madness.


In Remembrance of Lilac and Sunlight
Kendall Sewell He spoke with love in his heart and truth in his voice when he told her that he loved her, and he noted the scorn in her voice and hate in her eyes when she in return said the same. No, perhaps it was imagined. Yes, imagined, of course. He was always imagining the things that were not there. Or were there, and they were imagined. Or were imagined and were there, too. They told him he imagined too much and knew too little, but he knew much more than they. She dished a large helping of green beans and mashed potatoes onto his plate. The beans were equally cut as he preferred, yes, and kept away from the mashed potatoes. There was ham already on his plate, and she did as he liked and kept it from the other helpings of food. Separate is best is how he always felt, separate is best and good. He liked that she knew how he preferred his food, but didn’t like that she might not be there. No, she was there. She had cooked the food that sat steaming on his plate and he felt himself drooling like Pavlov’s dog because of it. Pavlov. Who was Pavlov? A neighbor, certainly, yes. No, that wasn’t right. He knew the name. Or had he imagined it? They told him he always imagined things. That he imagined too much and remembered too little. They. They, who weren’t his friends. But she was a friend. She, whom he knew was real. “Eat up,” she said. “It’s good, I promise.” He nodded. Yes, eat. He would eat. She had cooked, and she was always a good cook. He remembered liking her cooking. And her hair. Her long brown curls. Soft curls that tickled his face when she kissed him. He remembered loving the way her hair held the lingering smell of her shampoo when he awoke with his head nestled against hers. Her soft skin, smooth and pale and lovely. He had loved it. He had loved that and all of it and her. He remembered, and he remembered that he still did. Surely that wasn’t imagined. No, not imagined. They told him he should remember rather than imagine, and he remembered. He remembered that he liked her cooking. He would eat. Eat. Man shall not live on bread alone. Bread alone. Who had told him that? He remembered it. And they said he imagined more than he remembered. He had surely remembered that. Had Frank told him that? He liked to remember Frank. Sometimes remembering Frank was hard, though. Sometimes he thought he’d imagined Frank, too. But the things he imagined were hard to remember. It wasn’t so hard to remember Frank. He remembered loving Frank. He thought about it, sometimes. Love was hard to remember sometimes, too. They told him he imagined things too much, that he had to try to remember instead of imagine. But remembering was hard. It all went away so fast. Any memory he had. Frank. (Where was Frank?) “Is it good?” “Where’s Frank?” he asked. She smiled. He didn’t like the way she wasn’t really smiling. “Frank would want you to eat, James.” James. Yes, that was it. He looked at his plate. The mashed potatoes were mounded into a mountainous glob with a lake of brown-gravy steaming in the center. He thought he remembered liking the potatoes like that. James. It seemed right. A man walked into the kitchen as he sat eating and he remembered that he did not like him. He looked unlikable, and James remembered not liking him. He didn’t like the


black hat that he wore, or the black coat and the red flannel shirt beneath. The man had a black beard, too, and James remembered not liking his beard. In fact, he despised his beard. He didn’t like his beard and he didn’t like the man. She kissed him, though, that man with the black beard and the black hat, and James picked up his plate and dashed it to the blue-and-white-checkered tile of kitchen floor. The china shattered, and ham and beans and mashed potatoes became a single conglomerated mess. He didn’t know why he’d thrown the plate, only that the man with the beard should not have been kissing her. “Dammit,” muttered the man with the beard, pushing her aside. “I got it. Don’t worry.” She walked over and patted James on the shoulder. “He hasn’t had a good day,” she said, and moved closely to the man with the black beard and whispered, “He’s been talking about you-know-who, today.” You-know-who. He knew who you-know-who was. They thought he didn’t, but he remembered. They were always telling him he should remember, and they didn’t know that he did. Frank. Frank was you-know-who, and Frank was dead. That’s why he wasn’t there. You-know-who had killed Frank. No, that wasn’t right. He had imagined you-know-who. No, he had imagined that you-know-who had killed Frank. You-know-who was Frank. Where was Frank? “He’s always talking about him,” grumbled the man with the beard. “His damn brother died twel-” “Shut up!” she shouted, and the man with the beard looked up at her. James liked that she had said that but didn’t like that she hadn’t really. But she had. Surely. Where was Frank? “The litany of lives lost and lives given in silence are surely no more or less than those lost and given in blood,” James mumbled, his hand rigidly gripping the glass of water in his left hand. “What?” asked the man with the black beard. “I will not be given unto silence,” said James. “I will not be given unto silence or blood.” Thus spoke James, and he remembered. “James, please calm down. Calm down, love,” she said softly, and patted his shoulder. He didn’t like how she didn’t really mean it. The man that James remembered not liking wrapped his arm around her waist. Her slender, perfect waist. The man with the black beard had his arm around her waist and James knew that he shouldn’t be touching her. He knew that was real, and he remembered. He hadn’t imagined that. They told him to remember more often, and he was remembering much today. “That was a line from one of his poems,” she whispered to the man with the black beard. “I just remembered. Wasn’t it, James? That was one of your poems from long ago. Remember?” Poems. He remembered. Some he remembered then, and remembered once remembering them. That was long ago, though, and he hardly remembered what was from long ago. That was what they always wanted him to remember. The things from long ago. But then, as he stared at her and the man with the black beard touched her side,


James remembered. He remembered poems, and he remembered a man named Whitman whom he had read. He remembered others, too. Names that faded before he could remember them. He saw their faces and remembered their names along the spines of book after book, words that faded before he could truly remember. Books. He remembered those, like the poetry. He had read them – had written them – and he could remember their pleasant feel to his fingers and the smell of their lovely, dusty pages to his nose. But he couldn’t remember them. He couldn’t. But they were there, and he wanted so badly to fish those memories out of the swallowing dark. Swallowing dark. Why had he thought of that? He remembered that. Perhaps he had said it once in a poem. Yes, a poem. He had written poems. He remembered the poetry. When he remembered the poetry, he remembered it all. He remembered books, poems, names, and everything in between. Everything came at once, flaring briefly like a flickering streetlight illumines poignantly the darkest of alleys; an instant later the darkness would return, but for a moment there was glorious light. In that light, he remembered. Mostly, he remembered her. He remembered her and knew that the man with the black beard should not be touching her in the way that he was touching her. Again, he remembered it all. “Lydia,” James said. His voice had a low rumble to it, growling like a whispered roar. “Lydia… Lydia, why?” “James!” she gasped, stumbling backwards into the stove. James stared at his hands as he sat in the kitchen chair. “These hands,” he murmured. “What are these hands for now? They are foreign and useless to me.” “James...” Lydia’s voice broke, and she looked away. “They are useless, yes,” he said. “Yes, useless.” James looked up and glared at the man with the black beard. “Useless? Not useless, perhaps. Not for some things.” James was a large and strong man, and though his hands were useless they were not powerless. His fingers felt right around the man’s neck. They squeezed tautly, and he felt the skin compress against the tender neck bones and James felt the man’s hands grapple onto his arms. The man was strong but James was stronger. They fell upon the floor with an echoing smack, and Lydia screamed and pounded James’ backside, but he remembered why his hands were around the man with the black beard’s neck and he pressed even more firmly, as if he were working to clasp his hands in prayer with the man’s throat compressed in between. He squeezed and continued to squeeze, and the man grunted and their bodies become sodden with sweat. It was all very quiet, save for their low groaning and James’ short, quick breaths. He felt tired, but he pushed Lydia back and let his weight fall upon the man beneath him and soon felt his breathing slowly cease. Moments later, James released his hold on the man’s neck. The man with the black beard lay still, unmoving. He eyes were fixed in an empty stare. Void of life. Void of existence. A vacant vessel, yes. It seemed right to have remembered those words. Lydia was crying. She crawled across the kitchen and pressed her face to the dead man’s cheek. “James!” she shrieked, and said no more. Her words were lost in her tears. James stood and walked to the stove. He prepared himself a plate of ham and green beans and mashed potatoes, keeping them separate as he preferred. He sat down, and tried to remember what he had remembered earlier. There had been a reason that Lydia was crying. Perhaps he had imagined it, though. They always told him that. He


never wanted to imagine things, but he never knew when what he was remembering was imagined. Poets, maybe? Had that been it? No. Not them. He didn’t remember poetry. Lilac. Her hair had smelled of lilac and sunlight. Her skin had been smooth like a weathered pebble against his rough and calloused hands. His hands. What was their purpose now? They were worthless, useless like his empty soul. No, he was imagining these thoughts. They were not his. Dismissing all thoughts from his mind, he smiled at the woman lying on the floor of the kitchen and spooned a helping of warm mashed potatoes and gravy into his mouth. “Lydia,” he said cheerily, smiling in her direction. “Fix another plate, won’t you, Lydia, dear?” He glanced at a calendar on the wall. It had pictures of horses on every page, and he remembered that she liked horses. “Lydia, it’s Friday and I’m sure Frank will be coming tonight.”


Britney Pike Obscure in thought. Delighted in guise. Searching eyes scan my frame, head to toe and back again. Fooled by what they cannot see, they judge me. But how? I ask. For the same mask that adorns my face, is also positioned upon theirs.

Katie Hammond


Christina O’Rourke Liar, you lie so well Well what should I expect Expect the hollowness Hollow like a porcelain doll Porcelain dolls’ smile emptily Empty like you feel Feeling too much to handle Handling too much at a time Time that there is not enough, yet too much Of the buried truth Truth that will set you free Freedom will break the chains Chains can be repaired Repairing words are not possible Possibilities are endless Endless like the lies Liar, you lie so well.

Megan Humphress


Sam Johnson You’re so thin I can’t hold you now So frail from disuse And all that dust in your attic Denotes there’s no use But still I grip your form Still I hold your flesh Xenophobic, stripped apart Nothing but a viral mesh It’s made to hold you together But now it’s torn you apart The skin, so appealing Ignoring the heart And what kind of human, No, no: what kind of fiend? Could do this to someone Whom upon him leans? I see your sunken eyes So dark in your skull And I want to heal them I want just to pull And have you pull back Instead of wasting away I’ll hold up your body I’ll polish your day On the snowy white clouds, they... They beckon the rain Precipitation which Could rinse clear your pain If only we’re lucky, If only you hold There’s just nothing left now Your tears have grown old It’s an ancient crime now That repeats every day And he grins his teeth at you In that predator’s way Stealing out your lifeblood Draining out your will


Even though you still speak Your spirit’s been killed You’re just a body now The animate dead A cadaver with no joy Just pictures in her head The playback, cinematic Haunts your days and your dreams Through nightmares ever darker Still pulling at the seams He says you’re only his That you’re always his A toy of blood and lymph Never resisting this And you pray that he forgets That he skips a single glance But that will never happen You never stood a chance


Rape in the Mind
Anna Sundean I feel you. Your feelings grow more intimate With every kiss you draw me in, as a spider and its Pray for guidance in this situation. What is right? What is Wrong for me to think these thoughts of lust toward You continue to commit this action as your lips migrate lower With every kiss you make me want it oh so bad, but I stop You stare up at me with those deep blue eyes and start Again I cease you. This time you don’t stop, rather you continue On top of me you ease yourself as I’m fighting you in my Mind my words, for my breath is running short With every kiss that you perform on my body drawing me into this Sin is not of god. They why do I want it? Tell me it’s Rape is not wanting it. If I believe I don’t want it, then I’m Innocent is being pure, which no longer I am for these actions Continue telling myself its rape in my mind.


The Problem
Luis Parra The problem was not finding you, the problem is to forget. The problem is not your absence, the problem is that I wait. The problem is not the problem, the problem is that it hurts. The problem is not to lie, the problem is that I believe you. The problem is not the play, the problem is that it’s me. If I like it for free, who am I change. If I was wanting alone as to force you to do The problem is not love, it is that you do not feel the same.


Sinking In
Stephen Graves I drown in the thought of your lips touching mine Whether by accident or misfortune that venture does me fine In constant torture I stare and wait For that moment, that instant for the barrier to break I wait wondering if I'll ever know Is she the one true love that I'll hand my heart to hold? Will I warm her soul when its cold and our hands are held close? If I chose, I suppose it would be just a dream But a kiss means nothing unless it is shared between you and me.


Lament Seen in a Wineglass
Kendall Sewell He passes her there by the bistro each morning as they each go about their early routine. He travels west, she east, and her raven hair always dazzles him, and she quickens his pulse toward explosion. They meet and smile and say the howareyous and the finethankyous and it’s over very quickly and each day ends quite bleakly. He wonders why he thinks of impressing her while matching his tie to his shirt, and she wonders why she imagines him as she chooses the perfect dress, and she selects the perfect necklace, even still. But they merely meet and smile and say the howsitgoings and the goodthanks and he thinks only of the significance of man’s lowly place before the gods. And one day it comes to him as he finishes his meal in his chosen isolation. The cheap wine slips from his hand, and the wineglass shatters into a thousand shards of desolate damnation. “These, our lives,” said aloud and alone. And in his mind he sees the devilish saints crowd around in black and hooded raiment, each holding a golden goblet of crimson Christ-blood in a sort of perverse communion, toasting his death with wicked grins and evil teeth. And the wineglass slips from his hand. The blood splatters and —maddening—a rush to the head: An epiphany found in blood-red wine, though there is no feast and there is no transubstantiation. There are bloody outlines staining the edge of memory.


The fly on your wall can keep his position,
Elizabeth Comstock I’d rather be the pillow you rest your head upon. The pillow you cry in and the pillow that muffles the screams of delight in the night.

Kacie Goode


I Go Mad
Meagan Ray I mark my days on concrete walls where Others marked before like The hieroglyphics of hope the Ancient loonies scribbled before They went mad inside these Concrete walls where We found remnants of crackers that The roaches forgot to consume at Our feet that refuse to kill yet Only designed to run they Go numb with misuse as we Beat for an opportunity to Escape these cells of Academia that holds us the Saddest of captives for we know There must be more than Scratching one’s days on an Empty dorm room wall.


Matthew Hicks As my hand cuts the red velvet crease starts to show a tInglIng feelIng spreads through to my fIngertIps my arms start to quIver my head Is spInnIng lIke a top on a table my heart races then stops lIke a halterIng crash the velvet crease turns Into an ocean of crImson runnIng down then drop splatters on the floor lIke a tear hIttIng a cheek I have a feelIng of remorse I have a feelIng of regret I have a lonely feelIng I feel fear, sadness yet wIth all of these feelIngs I smIle I smIle cause wIth all of thIs It hurts nothIng lIke my heart blIsterIng paIn I feel day after day from lonlynes, I search for the one star brIghter than the rest but lIke a leopard In a crowd I am shunned away I long for the one thIng I can’t have for the golden crown of a kIng when I am a mere peasant I reach out for a hand that has taken another so when that last moment comes when the velvet water begIns to pour smIle, cause the wound wIll heal mIne will not for the wound I hold cannot be cured the scar I have Is deeper than the ocean floor the one I reach the one I adore adores everyone else and wants all the other bIrds and doesn’t want the bIrd with the broken wIng. 44

Broken Melody
Megan Hadley He stood behind me with his arms around me and whispered into my ear He’s not the one I wanted to say it, but it was what I wanted to hear We lay together, cuddled up…and I couldn’t help thinking it was wrong Being in his arms, while he sings to me our song.


It’s Just Another Day
Brittany Rose Wesley A heart-wrenching scream in the alley, The black-and-blue does not stop. No one seems to be bothered, But, they whisper that four-lettered word. It’s just another day. A little boy peeks into the toy store window. His clothes are tattered and dirty, There are bruises on his arms and legs. But, the manager grunts and shoos him away. It’s just another day. A young man sits down at the café, Eyeing the women with a come-hither look. His conscience says don’t do this. He looks at his ring with a critical stare. It’s just another day. Another walks down the aisle in a store. His eyes catching the gleam of silver and gold. He wears a filthy grin when no one notices. His wallet is empty but his pockets are full. It’s just another day. She’s carrying a cane, moving it to and fro. Her eyes say nothing, but her smile says it all. Gangs of boys push her to the ground. They all laugh and make fun of her. However, she smiles and says, “It’s just another day.” A white cloth covers the bloody corpse. There’s a hustling crowd behind the tape. They want to see the most gruesome sin, Not caring for the who or the why. It’s just another day


Once More
Christina O’Rourke I want. I want it so badly. The burning need. I need. I need. I need. Gasping To put it down. To walk away. Oh, but the desire is so strong. Just a little. Just a taste. Just once more. Perspiring No, no, no. Yes, yes, yes. Oh, by God help my soul. Return, go back. Leave, move on. But. No buts. Shaking What if? No what ifs. Heavy breathing. Stop it. I can’t do this on my own. Yes you can. No I can’t. Yes, you can. Sobbing No. Please? Never, not again.


Free Verse: "Love"
Phyllis Lewis What life, what dreams, what passion in my lifeto know that which I have never known before, to taste that which has never touched my tongue, warmth, liquid and gold, giving and taking alike. Sharing all that is with with all that may become. The light you have shattered the darkness withNever did I know how black was my world, till your love caused the sun to rise in it.


Megan Humphress


Aqua Regia
Sam Johnson Dissolution. Can we hold hands? Does it dissolve the container it’s placed in? Only composed materials? Compounding. Solvent. Even gold? Do you love me? Water is universal, now. Solidify. Solution. When it dissolves, it mingles, Mixes, dances, limps around. Where did you wake up? Dissemination. Acidic. It burns if you touch it. An ultimate medicine. Does it salve your ills? Base. Sleep. It’s hard to measure, Natural chemical response. Are we okay? Awaken.


Kendall Sewell Grind with the gears and operate efficiently like the newest operating system and you’ll go far, tells our reflections. Automatic apparatus— Robotic, programmed movement. Card-swipe, drive on and red-light stop, break, do it all again in fifteen. Smile and exchange. Never really know (or remember, really) what really was really— Or has ever been. Carry on in monotony mistaking mundanity for vigor and vivacity. Run Like the fastest software And pass me (and button click) And forget that (exit, switch program) And never really sleep. Only run and run and run on an autopilot-kind-of quiet release, a separateness and an uninterrupted socially-connected unfettered and unrelated silent and automatic world.


Meagan Ray For whoever’s listening I. I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by tradition, cynical desperate dependent Scrambling along cracked sidewalks dimly lit by security lights surrounded by lethargic flies and summer mosquitoes Searching by the light of cracked cell phones for some kind of amusing event worth retelling at a post-adolescent lunchtable Who giggled at empty tales over cheap soda and swore they’d remember the joke to tell Gatsby later Who threw money at materialism in an effort to escape the terror of being another number in a vague term called generation y but why care? Why bother? Who wept to realize our art was a parody and joke Who inhaled books in order to get good jobs, not because they are a driving life force Who memorized clever clichés in order to be at the center of the room at another dull party, wishing they could be cutesy and kitschy, wishing all the alcohol wasn’t gone Who wrestled with God by night and denied their own existence by day, wondering if they were just a computer program like Spielberg said Who were labeled as entitlement brats, but we’re just as good as anybody, I don’t want everything given to me I just want someone to give a shit about me Who were told to be humble and told to be the best in the same voice Who were jailed for marijuana while convinced that O.J. was guilty Who ran away to join an army or join a cult or join a movement or are all those really the same thing anyway? Who screwed in alleys because momanddad are home and they wouldn’t understand the ecstasy of brooding tumultuous gasping riotous fucking Who stayed up late watching porn and youtube and searching for the newest buzz to find at least the semblance of life happening Who supported homosexuality abortion drugs peace and tolerance but were deemed too young to matter Who colored slogans on white tennis shoes in order to plead for individuality Who mixed their own Kool-Aid Who ate food stamps and bummed cigarettes Who watched the unhappiness of the squares and swore they would never follow that path, so they went to art school and slept around and drowned themselves in coffee and whiskey Who weren’t the Lost Generation or baby boomers or Beats or Hippies or Yuppies or anything really except a basket of puppies trying to figure out how to grow up in the gutter


Who were only paranoid about facts, not the antichrist or tattoos or 2012 but about Wall Street and war and death Who fought through the depths of the cyber atmosphere instead of with chains and crowbars Who opposed family values but lived at home because rent is too high Who watched the world crumble to desperate, arthritic knees and swore they’d put it back together even if they couldn’t put themselves back together when the threw themselves away Who read every banned book and refused to accept traditional constraints of humanity Who dressed in plastic and cellophane smiles, glittering shimmering incandescent fakeness “made in China” stickers stuck to the bottom of long stiletto tips Who were not color blind but saw the world in every promising shade and hue while still being more skeptical about the inner thoughts of man Who could debate over anything, but who has the time? Twisting digital watches around thin wrists in order to absorb lost moments and communicate to the movers of chess pieces that this little pawn wanted more than capture by the pristine queen who gets to move in whatever direction she likes or the cocky rook who jumps in inexplicable patterns that are impossible to gauge or the wise bishop or castle that slides along the length of the board with splintering accuracy or god forbid the ancient king who keeps the board moving Who couldn’t remember when Kennedy was shot, but remembered being pulled out of chalky classrooms to watch New York explode in a Pollock burst of color Who watched the oceans move in a whirl of destruction but rebuilt with an arrogance they could not truly feel Who could warm the earth but could not do the same for burned-out tepid hearts Who never slept with the lights on, tripping in the dark for a drink of fluoride water, but made love under fluorescent bulbs because life is too short for the imagination, one must use every sense, see hear smell touch taste Who swayed to baby-makin’ music and throbbed against strangers in a bizarre search for a rough mysterious harsh pulsing feeling they could not find Who worshipped the cult of the peculiar, feathers glitter techno kazoos anything but the classical, we make our own classical, we’ll spin in a world of our own making, joining hands and walking on water, we’ll spit at naysayers and hippie-get-a-jobers Who struggled to remind themselves that their parents were once young, who fought to keep the ancients young, who fought to stay young Who were so enamored by perfection that they dropped out of college because failure was too looming and eminent to ignore Who began their careers as cat ladies early Who frantically ached for someone to share their smoldering hearts, searching to find being in another being Who googled their own name in the search bar and realized they had done nothing Who realized they were nothing but also knew that they couldn’t judge the worth of a life, even if one’s own source of life streaming crimson lovely blood sells on the black market Who scuttled in dumpsters to find something for ebay Who downloaded stolen folk music because art at its most beautiful base value was to


make people think and feel and even if the world sells those two things it should be free Who supported each freedom but fought with the first amendment tongue instead of the second amendment weapon Who poured out salt shakers and made lines on restaurant tables in order to scare the waitresses Who lay awake wrapped in cheap hospital sheets and only wanted to look outside and feel the glow of stars and bite of bugs on their legs Who sat on rooftops and wept, for they knew they were falling apart, and the choice of crawling back into confining window or rolling off the building was too pressing Who kept trying, but knew their demise was pre-determined II. What barren bitch keeps us empty and trite, demands that we pour our guts on the cracked dirt and dries it as we scramble to wet our ashy mouths, oh Lazarus let a drop fall on the sinner’s tongue Atlacoya! Wretched! Mercenary! Glutton! Oil and rain smattered on canvas! Newspaper blankets bleeding ink onto vagabond bodies! Blistering ballads a breath against our bruises! Boring prophesies that cannot save us! Atlacoya! Atlacoya whose skin is painted bronze! Atlacoya whose hair is peroxide yellow! Atlacoya who smokes the same cigarettes as Mick Jagger! Sameness in Atalacoya! Oneness in Atlacoya! Identical in Atlacoya! Atlacoya who must be known! Atlacoya who must be popular! Atlacoya who sleeps with senators! Atlacoya who sleeps with stars! Atlacoya the centerfold for fucking the right man! Atlacoya who worships sanity! rosaries! sanitariums! crucifixes with the body of Christ raised up against gilt plastic! ten commandments! lawsuits! dharma! pay out the hoo-ha for yoga classes! pay for what’s free! bottled tap water! yum! Atlacoya who worships conformity! rolled bop socks and soft rock! wizards! vampires! zombies! monsters under the bed! freaks on top of the bed! yabadabadoo! jeez louise! Atlacoya who promises boys education if they fight! Atlacoya who promises girls babies if they shut up! Brainwashed in Atlacoya! Ransacked in Atlacoya! Patriots in Atlacoya! Atlacoya who took liberty and gave security! Atlacoya who rewrote holy documents rather than write new ones! Atlacoya who led the masses to be made into solent green! Atlacoya who made stereotypes! cheerleaders! jocks! nerds! losers! goths! druggies! preps! punks! basketcases! hipsters! nutjobs! rebels! bastards! Homeless in Atlacoya! Dreamless in Atlacoya! Thirsty in Atlacoya! Atlacoya whose veins are filled with ancient order! Atlacoya whose skin is covered with symbols! Atlacoya whose breath is ripe with the blood of individuals! Atlacoya whose heart is raw thumping consistency! whose heart never slipped up in its pattern of beats because her heart never surrendered! Atlacoya who made us all bricks in the wall! Atlacoya who did nothing to bring down the Berlin Wall! Atlacoya who did nothing in Rwanda! Atlacoya who did nothing in


the cities! Atlacoya who sat on her judgmental pompous ass and criticized! Atlacoya who grew fat on the bodies of babies! Atlacoya who took Swift literally! Atlacoya! Atlacoya! fake Chinatown purses! real human suffering! Oprah suggests literature because she’s a genuine scholar! Cosmo sells the orgasm! McDonald’s makes you fat! tabloids! news! gossip! read all about it! Towers to Atlacoya! Rain dances to Atlacoya! Sacrifices to Atlacoya! Prayers to Atlacoya! Threats to Atlacoya! Atlacoya who kills authenticity! Murderer! Liar! Whore! Jezebel! Atlacoya who is a virus! Atlacoya who shoots into subway stations! Atlacoya who passes along country roads! Atlacoya who still travels Route 66 just as fast as the nearby highway! Atlacoya who will not bend! who will not pour out golden rain! who will not cure our young coughs for newness! who keeps the earth sizzling with ritual! who encourages habits! Atlacoya who has nine lives! Atlacoya who cannot be killed! Atlacoya who cannot be contained! We wear your chains! We curse your name as we slide into your bed! We wrap our heads around your power as we wrap our hands around our throats! nooses! guns! dynamite! goodbye! nail me upside down for the sake of originality! oh brave new world that has so much fucked up in it! III. I’m with you in America Where we are all free and equal and similar I’m with you in America Where you see the whites of scared eyes and the blue of bruises and the red of drip-drop pitter-patter blood I’m with you in America Where we trek across the frozen land of liberty, apple pie and milk and honey I’m with you at home Where you grow madder than I I’m with you at the institutions Where Grandma is dying but surrounded by the best medical care available I’m with you at Waverly Where you hope to see a ghost of insanity but all you really have to do is save your twenty bucks and look closely in a mirror I’m with you at the JFK Space Center Where we put men on the moon but could not save them from the infinite orbit of space that envelopes us all I’m with you at the cinema Where beetlejuicebeetlejuicebeetlejuice could not perform the full instantaneous exorcism necessary I’m with you at the therapist’s office Where you write out checks to learn your childhood was bad and you want to fuck your own mother I’m with you at revival meets Where you twist your purity ring around your finger while daydreaming of slipping your


hand up the preacher’s daughter’s skirt but shut up! Satan! Temptor! Demon! Only virgins go to heaven! I’m with you at the polls Where I am not safe and you are not safe and now we’re really up shit’s creek I’m with you at the protests Where you wallow in the hot sweaty sticky mass of flesh that is group think I’m with you at the universities Where you learn that Skinner was right and Salinger was right and Darwin was dead wrong I’m with you at the cafes, Where you sugar down your coffee so that it loses whatever strangeness it might have created in your soul I’m with you at the malls Where a zillion shades of plastic cannot make you worth the hunger in your handbag I’m with you at the bookclub Where A Clockwork Orange prompts no horror but only sympathy for madness I’m with you at the office Where you are throwing in the towel, flinging towels out the window, bawling down clinical hallways and being told to ‘shusssh’ I’m with you at the unemployment office Where you are a number and I am a number I’m with you at the monuments Where you are amazed at granite statues that rival the Tower of Babel but we could never really reach god, we could never really reach greatness, give me your poor and hungry and we’ll ostracize the hell out of them, Irish need not apply, dirty Mexicans need not apply, wear colored blue-eye contacts faux Aryan I’m with you at the day cares Where the kids yowl for mercy but are raised in stifling, sweating ovens in order to protect them from the big bad world and bleached bread I’m with you at the hospitals Where they take your eyes and kidneys since the back of your license says ‘donor’ and you’ve literally given everything for your country and humankind, why stop in death? because even your guts are not your own, why let it be? I’m with you at the morgue Where you are just a lump under a sheet, returning to the ground in an iron vault instead of the simple dust you are, trapped by modernity to the very end, choked in a secure coffin instead of melting with the worms I’m with you at the cemetery Where ashes to ashes we float away and grow crazy, perhaps we would’ve been better off sequestered in Rockland after all


Jessica Rinesmith I have a secret. Locked up behind bars disguised as thin, pink lips, hiding behind enormous white teeth and lodged in my scratchy, dry throat. It will not move. It cannot move. I barely think about the secret. Contemplating about it allows it to slide up my throat, and the further up that it travels, the harder it will be to keep. I've kept it for a while now. Not a soul knows, and I intend for it to always be that way. I haven't told my Mom or Dad. I haven't told my sister or brother. I haven't told my adorable golden retriever, White Banana, or the flowery-printed walls pressed around me in the silence of my room. I haven't even told my diary. It's not my secret to tell. It's yours. It's your secret, but I'm keeping it. We both know it's safe here.


Night terrors
Elizabeth Comstock I awake to piercing screams, breaking the still of the night. It’s happening all over again. She cries No! No! Stop it! I roll over grabbing her hips, pressing my body onto hers. She wails and screams muffled names I recognize from her stories. I grab her wrists to keep her from pulling out her hair. The hair she already ripped out tickles my wrist as she twist and turns. She is screaming and crying, re-living it over again for the thousandth time. She’s incredibly strong as I scramble for grip of her arms again. She keeps hitting herself and me, arms wailing around and legs kicking. I, now under her while she lies with her back to my chest, whisper it’s ok baby, I’m here. I’m here. Shhhh. Her body begins to tremble as she begs for him to stop. I hold her tighter, hugging her so tightly she cannot move. I wonder which one it is this time, and for how long this one will last. I begin to grow weak from the constant thrashing. I try for it seems like hours to get her to come back to me. Whispering it’s ok. Krystal, I’m here. I’m here baby. You’re safe. It’s ok. Shh. I love you. Forty minutes go by before she jolts straight up, wide-eyed, and panting. She rolls over on top of me, drenched with sweat. We make eye contact, her mascara from earlier now runs lines down her cheeks. I can tell she is back, but she is not coherent yet. I smile crookedly and kiss her. She lays her head, now soaked with sweat and tears, on my chest. Her warm body shakes as she relaxes each muscle and lets herself melt into my chest. I whisper It’s all over now baby. You can sleep. Knowing what she was thinking, I reassure her I will be here when you awake ,my dear. I promise. She sighs a near inaudible I love you before she drifts off into, now peaceful, slumber. I shortly follow, and we drift together into our dreams. I awake to the dark room. The lighting suggests the omniscience of a candle-lit cabin off in the woods somewhere . I lie in bed, snug in the cool of the sheets on this hot summer morning. And She lies next to me, half naked in the cool of the sheets. We lie facing one another, her head upon the powder blue satin pillow offsetting her mocha colored hair. I adjust my head onto my hand, propping myself up on my elbow. We both lie there, half naked, in the dim light gazing into one another’s eyes, peering in to the depths of one another’s souls. She starts telling stories, looking up at the white clouds painted on my blue ceiling. I watch her hands as they play out the stories, hanging on every word. We both laugh, as the story ends on a lighthearted note. I take hold of her hand and hold it tightly. She turns and looks at me, no longer focusing on the clouds. She huffs up at her wavy chocolate hair through the corner of her mouth in an attempt to get her hair out of her face. My heart weighs heavy in my chest as I know that she’s holding back, afraid that her story might break me. I smile, reassuring her of my strength and love for her. She moves in closer, our hips pressed against each other. Our body heat offset by the fan circulating above. I slowly move in, pressing my lips against hers. It’s honest and pure, no hidden motives of sex or seduction. She takes a deep breath, I watch as her chest rises and sinks back down, exposing her ribs. I gently pull her body closer to mine, entwining our bodies as if we were one. I lean in and press my lips to her ear, and softly whisper I love you. You can trust me. The fan hums above, and the sound fills the room. 10 seconds linger in the air like the odor of morning breath. My heart begins to pound in my chest, as I begin to be as nervous and tentative as she. I breathe slowly,


trying to remain patient as I wait for her to gather her strength. She tells me the story, of the first time she was mutilated. Her body shakes, but not from the cold wind coming from the fan above. She tells me every excruciating detail, the rasp in his voice, her friend in the other room letting it happen. My stomach churns in anger and guilt, as she sets the scene in my head. Still, she goes on. She tells me each word that his dirty ash tray of mouth said to her. My hands ball up into fists and I can feel the blood rushing to my knuckles as all my muscles tense in rage. She tells me what he used, to rob her of her innocence. She tells me how she went numb and tried to block it out. My chest is bursting with fury with each detail that escapes from her lips. She tells me how he would slap her so she paid attention. She told me how he told her she wanted it, and he was going to make her feel good. I have never felt this much hatred for any, thing, before in my life. She’s told me these stories before. Each one gets worse as she trusts me more and more. With each story she shows me more of herself, of who she is, and how she came to be. Each story is a window into her entire being, for only me to see. The window, a painful part of the healing process, as if cleansing a wound with peroxide, necessary for healing, but excruciating all the same. I keep a soft face. Squeezing her delicate yet strong hand tighter with each deep breath she shutters, reminding her that I am here and she is not alone. In the silences of the stories I picture what I’d do to the bastards if I ever saw them, going into gory detail. I try not to let my body show the rage I am tackling inside. Despite my best efforts to hide my anger, she sees. She sees the pain I feel for her, and the guilt I place upon myself. She reassures me that she is fine and that she wants me to never see those men. She assures me that each story she struggled through brought her closer to the woman she is today, the woman with me. She finishes her story, and I softly wipe away the tears that managed to escape her eyes, trying to hide the tears in mine. With a heavy heart, I lean in and give her a kiss on her forehead. She smiles, heavily, and curls into me the way a child curls into their mother after a nightmare. I put my arms around her as she settles her wet face into my bare chest. For a moment, our hearts beat as one. And for a moment, everything is ok. And I protect her from the cold outside.


I, Refrain
Chris Ausbrooks A younger spirit in a rooted body Oh to dance the dance electric to take the road less traveled To say I’d rather not But life does not allow such frivolities. Focus…that is the dance…Maturity its song Were I a stronger man I’d spit in the eye of those who demand I follow the well worn path But the lot I’m cast speaks of “better” things Things that others step on me to achieve This is what man calls success I call a yoke Forced to trudge through the field of mediocrity For a semblance of individuality A crumb of self in a loaf of conformity Words...the true teller of tales…the weaver of dreams They speak when the mouth is silent My cry, a soundless cacophony to those who would not listen These words…my song My epic Read them and hope for yourself a moment of self Free from the fetters of society Break free and do not ask “What now?” We all must paint our own portrait And call it by its true name…self My brush is Time and Imagination my paint I need only to think it and it shall be! Yet the bit of compliance pulls me back Back to the world of sensibility and nightmare A world that seems to have lost its sense me By relying solely on the whole But do not weep for this soul, for I cannot lament for yours I could no more paint for you Than you could write my song I, alone, shall rage here now…with these words If only for a moment Against the tempest of docility and cry I am me...and that is all that is or will ever be!


The Paramour
Maria L. Cooper The warmth of your skin upon my lips So soft, so smooth I kiss, I kiss Feeling you Now I am tasting you With my tongue I am feeling you “Are you thirsty? It is so...so...so hot in here. I am thirsty” “Then let us drink” The liquid burns my throat and leaves my lips tingly The warmth from my belly oozes thru my body To the very ends of my finger tips I brush them across your cheek Behind your ear they travel Down the nape of your neck skipping Over your collarbone to rest upon Your breast You breathe deeply and I withdraw Your eyes how they want me and yet how they push me away The phone rings “I'm sorry I have to take this” “But of course feel free” You try to keep your eyes from locking with mine But you cannot resist me, love You turn from me My hand touches your thigh then embraces your waist While my head leans ever so gently against your back And kisses your bare shoulder I feel you grow weak You're falling into me You cannot resist me “I'm sorry I'm going to have to call you back” “Mmmm...now where were we” “Yes, where were we” “I do believe we were about to settle in for a nap” Comfortable with the idea You snuggle up against me Your head against my bosom So tired you are, so in need of me


You have had a very long and interesting day And while parts may have been my fault I will make it better I smooth your hair and kiss the top of your head Then reach to turn out The lamp It is darkness, but we are not alone


Blinded by Zippo lights
Elizabeth Comstock Drowning in Maybelline tears Arms tattooed by ruby red designs Covered by gaws and ace wrap. Ribs buldging from the chest Shoulder blades completely defined Burn marks in places no one else can see Eyes bloodshot Insomnia taking over Body shivering. Shaking. Cold Stomach growling Insides churning Eating itself Cramps all over Jaws clenching Air pierces the lungs Each breath is more painful than the one before. Hell. My lonely, inescapable solitude Blood release, tears, pain My own bittersweet abyss And its all mine for the taking My sweet paramour Calling for me Engulf me in your misery.

Victoria Joseph


Making Love to an Angel
Matthew Hicks Our eyes are locked A gaze of volcanic passion and starstruck love Heartbeat racing pulse is rising Desire is growing with this infatuation We are bonded together forged as one The allure of your gaze Is amazing and enticing The touch of your lips is tantalizing and addictive your gorgeous body entwined with mine as you rock with your luscious hips The sensation cannot be defined Your smile is radiant like the stars in the sky I marvel at your heavenly structure God blessed me with you by my side Making love to you is my only addiction but with that contemplation I will accept with ease Cause there is nothing that compares to you and me And this feeling I get as you lay on my chest God how I am blessed.


Just A Little Hope
Brittany Rose Wesley Seven days ago, the city of Evermore was once a city that had very well kept green lawns, happy children, loving parents, and a sturdy government. It wasn’t like that anymore. The lawns were full of weeds, the children were gone, the parents were gone, and the government had collapsed. The buildings were desecrated by plagues. The bricks that had once bolstered the beautiful buildings had fallen, either flown, or melted off. The courthouse that was once in the middle of the city was just an empty floor of stone that had once belonged to the basement floor of the courthouse. There was once a high-towered church that everyone joined for worship on Sunday mornings, and occasionally Wednesday evenings. There used to be sunflowers that paved the way to the stone steps of the atrium. There were now dead bodies. Bodies that had once been wearing Sunday morning clothes of periwinkle blue dresses and black suits. You wouldn’t be able to tell one body from the other. It was a disaster. There was no more hope for the city of Evermore. Or was there? Although the church seemed as if it was completely destroyed like the buildings around it, it was surprise to see that it was not so. The bright, intricate doors that once led god-fearing people inside to worship were completely closed, but the glass windows in the doors were cracked. There seemed to be no way to get inside. However, upon closer inspection, there was one small hole from the destruction under the front stone steps. Inside the church, it wasn’t as bad as it could be. Although the windows were all broken, some of the stained glass still remained behind the pew. A picture of Mary and Joseph was just one of those pictures. The rows of seating were drenched from unnatural hurricanes. Bibles and hymn books that were once held up in the front of the seats were now soaked and had been thrown in every direction, as if an angry child walked through the aisles and threw a tantrum. The one thing that was still standing was the cross. It was the only thing that was left unharmed in the church. Water dripped from the ends of it, but it was not singed, or moved from its original placement. Was it even possible? A small noise assailed the silenced room. It was the only noise on Earth. Hiccup! Crawling out from under a fallen table was a small head of red curls. The head turned upward, and a child of three or four with twinkling blue eyes bent at her knees and looked around. Her surroundings did not disturb her in the slightest. Yawning, she rubbed her eyes and got up off the floor. Her face was dirty with bits of dust and grime from sleeping on the ground, but there was still a little tinge of red to her cheeks. She was wearing a dirty, pink and white Sunday dress. They were now play clothes to her. The little girl turned around, put her hand back under the table, and took a teddy bear that was once white. It now had only one eyeball and its right ear was dangling with bits of string. “Come, Teddy,” she whispered and hugged her teddy close to her, as her arms shivered in fright.


Hiccup! “Excoose me,” she said, walking towards the back of the altar where a leaning bookcase was. On the lowest shelf, there were boxes of cheese crackers and vanilla wafers. The girl took the box of crackers and opened it, sticking her hand in while making sure her teddy was still in her arms. “You want some, Teddy?” she asked as she held a handful of crackers in her hand. The teddy didn’t respond. She made her way to the pews and sat down, not caring that her bottom was getting wet from the soaked cushions. Hiccup! “Excoose me, again.” She swung her legs and pretended to feed her teddy. “Teddy? Do you know when our Mommy and Daddy are coming? Evyone left.” The teddy bear didn’t answer her. The little girl put the box down, wandered toward the doors, and tried to push them open with her dirty hands, but they didn’t budge. She was trapped. The little girl sniffled and sat down on the ground in front of the doors, waiting. “I want my Mommy.” Several minutes passed and then the little girl heard something. “ – do you mean there’s one left? Haven’t you seen the look of this place? Earth is nothing. There are dead bodies scattered outside the church. It’s ridiculous. You should have made it a little cleaner. There shouldn’t even be a single human alive after this kind of destruction.” The little girl stood up quickly, almost toppling over in her urgency. She ran behind one of the pews in the middle. The voice was not familiar to her. “Why would you care? Even if there’s someone here, they’ll be close to death anyway. You should know Famine already took care of it.” The front doors banged open and were thrown off their hinges. The girl squealed in fright and her eyes widened. She quickly put her hands to her mouth to silence herself. Salty tears streamed from her eyes down her pale, gaunt cheeks. “You have got to be kidding me! The cross is actually still standing. Even after all of this. I detest that child. I thought I had Him thousands of years ago, but – Yes, yes. I know!” A tall figure with flowing, black hair stepped into the church. His eyes were a soulless black and there was no kindness in them at all. He was wearing a pitch-black suit with an undone black bow tie. The only thing that wasn’t black was his skin, which was actually quite pale compared to the little girl’s. In his right hand, he held a scythe. In his left, he held a cell phone to his ear. The girl moved her head so that she was able to see the strange person. She couldn’t help but smile. She didn’t think he looked mean. Her older brother wore the same costume when they dressed up for Halloween last year. She giggled and her tears stopped. “Have you any idea what this human looks like? Are they male or female? Young or old? Or even where they are hiding in this desecration? I don’t see anybody, just a rundown church. I’m losing my patience with you, Lucifer. Even though you’re the – “ Hiccup! “Wait.” The figure removed the cell phone from his ear and moved forward. The little girl popped up from behind the pew. The stranger’s empty, black eyes bore into her blue ones. “Nevermind,” he said into the phone and flipped it shut without hearing the answer, putting the phone inside a pocket of his suit.


“Hi.” The little girl said, waving her hand and smiling at him. The figure stepped forward, but did not move too close to her. He lifted his mouth into a small smile and bent at his knees so he was at her level. His black hair moved to the side of his face as he tipped his head sideways and spoke in a kinder voice than he had on the phone, “Well, hello there, little girl. What might your name be, Sweetie?” “Are you a stranger?” she asked, biting her bottom lip. “My Daddy says I’m not allowed to talk to strangers.” The figure chuckled. “No, I am not.” “Oh,” she said and smiled widely at him. “I’m Hope,” she pulled up her teddy bear, “and this is my bestest friend, Teddy. I’m almos’ four. Wha’s your name?” “You’re four? You’re a big girl.” The figure bypassed her question smoothly. “You wan’ know my birfday?” She didn’t give him a chance to answer. “It’s Seppember 13, and it’s really close. Thas what my Sunday school teacher said. She’s smart.” “That must be exciting. Do you know what you have planned for your birthday party?” The figure wanted to smile at her exuberance. The little girl’s eyes were bright as she nodded enthusiastically. It had been a long time since she was able to talk to someone besides her teddy bear. “I goin’ to Chuck E. Cheese’s! Sara, Mary, and Joey is coming too. They my best friends.” She stood up and hugged her teddy bear tight, “You have a best friend, Mr. Sir?” “No, I don’t.” he answered her. Her eyes widened and she reached out a hand to his face and patted it, “Everyone needs best friend. I be your best friend, ok?” The figure took her hand from his face, cradled it in his own, and swung it back and forth in the air between them. There was a small silence between them and then his cell phone began to ring. The figure ignored it and said, “It’s my birthday today. How would you like to get some chocolate cake and ice cream with me?” “I really like chocolate. I can have sprinkles on da ice cream, Mr. Sir?” “Oh, of course. Anything you want, Sweetie.” His eyes twinkled and he stood up, not letting go of her hand. The cell phone started to ring once more and the figure sighed, annoyed. He leaned his scythe against one of the pews, took out his cell phone, and looked at the Caller ID. It took him a moment to speak, “Just give me a moment and we can go get that ice cream.” He watched her nod, then flipped his phone open and put it to his ear. “What?” the figure asked angrily. There was silence from him as he looked down at the curly-red-haired girl who smiled at him. “Yes. She’s still alive.” Pause. “I really don’t like talking to you, but I guess you have a point.” Pause. Hope started to swing their hands back and forth again, already getting tired of being quiet. “I would think that someone of your reputation would stray from making such a statement of pride. For instance, the miraculous cross still standing behind the pulpit!” He rolled his eyes at the answer on the other line. “I didn’t sign up for the job, pal. Moreover, stop calling me that. You know I do not like being called that. It is a degrading name.” “Mr. Sir, I getting hungry.” Hope said, pulling on his arm with a small frown. The figure looked down at her and heard a small sound that came from the girl’s stomach. It was unmistakable. “Don’t worry, I’ll get you something soon,” he said and went back to the


conversation on the phone. “Well, when do you want her?” Pause. “I have one request. Make sure Gabriel isn’t there waiting at the Gate. The angel gives me the creeps. You should give him another job.” “Angels are perty,” Hope pulled on his arm, frowning up at him at his description of an angel. The figure looked back down at her and raised his eyebrow, “Are they? That’s interesting, I didn’t know they were.” There was a sound from his cell phone and he rolled his eyes. “If Gabriel is not there, then yes I will come immediately.” He sighed. “You know Lucifer is not going to like this. He called me before you, wanting to get here first. He had first dibs.” Pause. “I don’t have a heart, pal, so I can be heartless. Oh! Don’t start saying that mumbo jumbo. It doesn’t suit me.” “Mr. Sir, my stomach growled again!” The figure quirked his eyebrow, “Seriously?” “Mmhmm,” she nodded. “I’ll be there soon. If that angel is there, then I will not be doing you any more favors for the next century. That’s a lot of dead guys.” The figure flipped his phone shut and looked down at Hope with a strained smile. “Come, Hope, I’m going to take you home.” “Mommy and Daddy there?” she asked happily. The figure looked around the church, nodding. “I have no doubt.” The figure picked up Hope into his arms and exited the church. As they started walking down the street, Hope got smaller and smaller … and then there was no sound of feet upon the ground, nor the happy giggling of a little girl. Death snatched Hope. For good.


The Night Awaits
John Overby He sits in front of his plasma television. There’s a drink at his side. A Seinfeld marathon is on, But he knows what’s coming. The night is coming. He sits pondering the worst, Hoping for the best. But the clock keeps ticking, It keeps tocking. His possessions are countless, And so are his duties. One night off is all he asks. Just one night. The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler They’re all in Arkham. But they always get out. Always. The clock has finally ticked its final tick. It has tocked its last tock. It’s finally nighttime in Gotham City. He takes one last drink, And he’s off.


Christina O’Rourke Just as a rose comes it goes. Just as you are born you die. While a rose is wilting you are dying. And just as the last petal falls and touches the ground without a scent in the air, your breath leaves you and there is nothing but deadly silence. Just as a rose falls, so do you.


Master of Evils
Elizabeth Comstock I knew I shouldn’t have done it. No matter how bad someone is, you shouldn’t destroy them. Be HE was no human. The deeds he did, no other human being could look into his mind without wishing death upon themselves to end the torture. His mind is twisted; it has a whole being of its own. Living off victims, parasitic, disgusting. Prying into their feeble minds, putting thoughts in their minds, changing their morals, making them think they have no self worth. Such manipulation causes the rest of the world to suffer. Convincing his victims that they have no worth, ripping away their dignity, stripping them of their well-being. A master of evils. His knotted soul gains pleasure from their pain. Their tears and blood making him wet. He takes delight in their piercing screams, agonizing torture. Gut wrenching pain, his arousal. Fantasies just like the nightmares of others. His hopes, his dreams, his desires, to become notorious, yet never restricted by rules of others. The destroyer, the giver, the master of evils.


Only Fairy Tales
Brittany Rose Wesley There was one who dreamt in shadow, Trapped in a cursed cage, Wishing to fly high, Dancing alone in the dark, Believing only fairy tales.


Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You
Meagan Ray I used to slay dragons, back in the day. Bitter air chaffed my nose crimson as I stood against terrific/terrifying creatures My hair flew in my eyes as the wind wrapped sheets of January at my angled jaw But now it’s spring, and thus the real monsters appear Because horror I can deal with but ecstasy? Sprinting spinning swirling ecstasy? I can shimmy over NO TRESPASSING signs, but WELCOME mats? alarming Because, well, what if I embrace it? if I welcome the revelry/revelations of the new, if I shed winter skin and slice the stubble on my legs away, if I glisten in the balmy sun and rub ice cubes along my angled jaw and as they melt I melt And what if I was wrong? what if there is joy in deceit and I was tricked/taken by the optimism of naivety? What if the meadows I fled to by day are cemeteries by night? and the coffin has space smeared inside for me? But what if I’m only paranoid?

Jim Brown


Nicolas Schrager Scattered across the passenger seat of his gold ’93 Ford Ranger was his supplies; three bottles of water, two Cliff bars, an assisted opening pocket knife, a Ruger SingleSix, a book of label-less matches and his last pack of cigarettes… Winston’s. Everything but the pistol either slid rattles or rolled across the seat as he drove along the abandoned dirt service road. It’s a common misconception that the desert is always hot. The truth was, our nameless character was cold. Very cold. The desert temperature can be unforgiving at night, especially in the winter. The biggest desert in the world is Antarctica he thought to himself as he exhaled with an open mouth so that he could see his own breath. It was six antemeridian and the sun poked up from the horizon in front of him. No matter going to or coming from, the sun was always in his face. He made a note not to walk towards the sun today. No need to be miserable, today of all days. After twenty more minutes of driving he turned off of the service road and began driving into the desert, winding around the dead growth, rock and cactus. There was no need to disturb them, no need to leave a trace of where he went or where he was going. Three hours before this when he had awoke, he skipped his coffee and instead made a cheese sandwich and washed it down with Maalox and Coke. That was an excellent breakfast. It wasn’t filling but soothed his stomach which was rotten from the whiskey and egg dinner from the night before. After breakfast he called in sick from work. No one was in the shop but he left a message on the answering machine just the same. He wasn’t sure why he hadn’t said that he quit. The Native-Americans called these sorts of things “Spirit Quests” or “Spirit Journeys.” He thought to himself that he guessed that that was what he was doing, except that he had no intention of returning to civilization or his life with some kind of newfound vision of what was, what is or what is to be. In fact, there was no plan to return at all. There was no point to. It wasn’t exactly a plan to die either, but he knew that he would. That- was inevitable. The thought of death did not haunt him, but he had wondered then why he have even bothered with the gun, It wasn’t for self defense or for hunting and he thought; Maybe I’ll just do myself in when I can’t walk any further. After a while longer of zigzagging the rough desert terrain, our nameless character slowed the aging pickup to a stop. He lit the first cigarette of his pack and inhaled deeply. This is where my journey will begin he thought and from the floorboard of the passenger seat he picked up his Jansport backpack that he had had since high school (which seemed like a century ago) and put his food and water in. He put the cigarettes and matches in the front pocket of his flannel jacket and once out of the truck, he put the holstered pistol on his belt. This was it, the point of no return. Turning around now was pointless, Even if he had, he wouldn’t remember how to get back to the service road. He slung the bag over his shoulder and slammed the door shut. One last look through the window revealed that he had left the keys in the ignition. He decided that he would leave them there, it’s not like anyone was going to steal the truck. Conserve your energy, conserve your water, conserve your food, there’s no need to rush to your death he thought- and then; don’t walk towards the sun.


And he was off. No step in particular was difficult to take, but the first ones he took were in stride with ease- and had he looked back he would have seen that there was a slight breeze that erased the print from every step he took. Nature agreed with his plan and was helping him disappear. That day- was meant to be.


Under an Overpass and During a Rainstorm
Kendall Sewell there is silence and a hushed stillness. Quiet reflection and a two-second eternity of utter other-worldliness. Fleeting, it’s the murmured breath before the plunge; an order to the bedlam and a short interlude in life’s trivia. [A glimpse of serene simplicity] – gone, and (Cut to black) and the water falls (and the water falls) and the water falls and it deafens you.


Those Need Us
Amy Martin Those who cannot speak need a mouthpiece from those of us who cannot shut up. Those who are in pain need those of us who have been in pain and have survived. Those who are hurt, need those of us who are blessed enough to know how to heal. Those who are not worth saving need those who must save them all. Those who are on their last leg need two to carry them all the way. Those who cannot sleep need those of us who are dreamers. Those who are broken need those of us who have already been mended. Those who have no one need those of us who have too many. Those who cannot find hope need us to show them there is. Those who are lonely need those of us who know what it is like to be alone. Those who can only make it one step at a time need us who are willing to step a mile. Those who are on their last breath need us to give them ours. Those who are without, need those of us who have too much. Those who don’t know where to turn need those of us who wrote the map. Those who are hungry need those of us who can feed them. Those who need need those of us who can give to those in need Those Need Us.

Megan Humphress


Notes on Contributors
Christopher J. Ausbrooks, from Scottsville, KY, is a sophomore majoring in Business Management at the Scottsville Campus. Tiffany Berger is a Junior English/Journalism and History major from Cumberland County, KY. She is grateful to all her friends and family for encouraging her love of photography. James Brown is who he is, and is thankful for his many teachers, who are no fewer in number than each individual whom he has ever come to know. Liz Comstock is legit. Ask your mother. Maria Cooper is a senior English and Secondary Education major. She is a free spirit and a romantic who likes to take the time to stop and enjoy all the precious things in life. She loves to listen to music and dance, to cook amazing food, and to spoil her two darling furry babies, Lilly and Jazzmin. Brandi Crowe is a freshman from Mount Hermon, Kentucky. She’s a Bonner Student Leader and in ACES. She loves incorporating art into the everyday. Kacie Goode is a sophomore from Bardstown, Ky. As a Journalism major she finds this collection to be a refreshing break into creativity and individual expression. Ashley Graves graduated with a degree in Communications from LWC and is currently working on her Masters in Human Services and Counseling. She serves as graduate assistant for the Women’s Studies program and directs the Catherine Wilson Center. She is also planning for her September wedding while taking care of her four precious dogs. Stephen Alexander Allen Graves from Milltown, Ky is currently a 3rd semester senior who participates in Band and Wrestling. Je parle francais beaucoup, l'espanol un peut, y nihongo sukoshi demo musique es ma vie, y mi vida es musica. Megan Hadley has become a lot of things but was born a poet. Kathryn -aka- Katie Hammond a senior double major in Human Services and Counseling and Christian Ministries from Russell Springs, KY. Matthew Hicks, from Columbia, Kentucky is a sophomore majoring in journalism. Megan Humphress is a sophomore from Louisville, Kentucky, majoring in History. Sam Johnson lives in Columbia. Majors in English. Would be the hardest endboss ever if you faced him in a video game.


Victoria Joseph, from Essie, KY, graduated 2010 with a Master's of Education in Counseling & Human Development and appreciates the beauty that is found in every day life. Phyllis Lewis is a non-traditional student from Greensburg, KY. She returned to finish her degree after a 15 year break in her education, taking care of her family. She is mother of 5 and grandmother to 15. Her goal is to teach Secondary English Education. She says the support of her husband helps keep her going. Amy Lea Martin of Corbin Ky is a non- traditional student majoring in Human Services and Counseling at the London campus. At 34 she works an EMT and is a Graduate Assistant at London. She is pursuing her degree so that she can provide a better life for her daughter Jenna. Christina O'Rourke is a second year student double majoring in English and Elementary education. While long walks on the beach are great, she really enjoys creating alternate realities and multitasking way too many things at once. John Overby is a Journalism/Writing double major from Creelsboro, Ky. Luis Parra is a senior Communications major from Venezuela. He plays varsity baseball at Lindsey Wilson College. Brittany Pike is a senior Psychology major from Taylor County, KY. She says it’s not always easy transforming feelings into words, but once you do there is no greater freedom. Meagan Ray would like to thank her haters. Look at me now! Jessica Rinesmith, from Shepherdsville, KY, is inspired by anything and everything, from a simple trip to the grocery store to something someone has said or done. Nick Schrager believed that paper never judges you, but learned that readers do; thank you reader. Kendall Sewell is still scrawling in the details with a wastebasket by his side. Anna Sundean is a sophomore from Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. She is a member of the track and field team and is majoring in English/Education. Brittany Rose Wesley is a junior from Bowling Green, Kentucky. She is majoring in English Literature, and hopes to become a writer. Danae Wesley is too cool.


The Legend of Orpheus
The ancient Greek mind was both subtle and skillful and the legend of Orpheus (pronounced or΄-- fee – us) amply epitomizes this. Orpheus (‘he of the river bank’) was the son of Apollo, god of poetry, and the Muse Calliopé (‘she of the fair voice’), who gave birth to him on the banks of the Hebrus River in Thrace. Such was his power of verse and song, he could move the trees and rocks and tame wild beasts. He was given the gift of the lyre by Apollo. When his wife Eurydice died from a serpent’s bite during their wedding celebration, Orpheus, in his grief, descended to the underworld – no easy task for a mortal – to attempt to win her back from the land of the dead. Arriving at the judgment seat of Persephone and Hades, rulers of the underworld, Orpheus began to sing his lament for Eurydice. So sweet was his voice that the dead, including Eurydice, flocked to hear him, weeping for the beauty of the upper world, which was lost to them. Persephone and Hades were so moved, they chose to let Orpheus take Eurydice back to the world of daylight, on condition that he not turn to look at her until they had reached the upper world. Hermes, the guide of souls, led them on the arduous journey back to the land of the living. With his foot on the very threshold of the day-lit world, Orpheus, whether from impatience or anxiety, turned around too soon – Eurydice was not yet out of the realm of the dead. Because of the edict of Persephone and Hades was irrevocable, Hermes was forced to lead Eurydice back to the eternal darkness. Though Orpheus wandered for days through the dark caverns and tunnels of the netherworld, pitifully calling out his wife’s name, he never found her again.

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