Hanging Herbs by Adella Catanzaro
Past and Present Insecurity by Aisha Pruitt Gonzalez
Poison Words by Liz Hoffman
Out of Time by Ainsley Murray
Lunar Lakes by Leo Kolnberger
Serial Designation V by Enso McNay
The Modern Circus and The Eccentric: The Thing About Trapeze Artists by Caden Adair
Not Old Enough by Liz Hoffman
Chopin's Fantaisie Impromptu by Luis Alfonso Gutiérrez Villarreal
Trans Elf by Leo Kolnberger
The Wanderer by Enso McNay
it has the juice by Adella Catanzaro
West, i6 by Sam Robbins
Dreams do come true ;) by Harper Storey Wein
Orchestra of the Mind by Oscar Schiff
Urban Art by Adella Catanzaro
Ode to Triscuit by Solomon McKonly
Ode to Pizza by Benjamin Wallace MacLean
Ghazal for the girl with the least bluest eye by Meran Mustafa Paul
Cover Image: Out of Time by Ainsley Murray
Past and Present Insecurity
Aisha Pruitt Gonzalez
I held my breath when
My father would
my friend’s fathers
What would they say?
Crossing my fingers
Hoping they wouldn’t ask him
To repeat himself
It would be best
Beat them to the punch line
I don’t know why he talks like that.
He looked at me like
I was a fucking idiot.
I can hear you talking.
And I can feel your words sink deeper, deeper into my skin, into my mouth, into my brain.
They’re staying there, they’re sticking there, they’re making me never forget.
I can taste your words spray like acid, I can feel the burn.
I can feel your words sink in, making holes in their wake.
I hear your every breath, your every heartbeat and feel your tone.
I can see the trees burning, crying out in the pain that I wish I could feel.
The trees are screaming like I never could.
Because how could I?
So please leave me to my thoughts, to my fake imagination.
Leave me to my imbecile reasons, and leave me to my idiotic ideas.
Let me live my every lie, just like you try to live yours.
Let me try to scrape off your poison, even though I know it would never work.
Get your poison words out of my head,
And let me cry my crocodile tears.
If you let me live my life, I’ll let you live yours.
Get your poison out of my mouth,
Making me say things I never would,
And stop filling me with your futile words, their facets incomprehensible.
So don’t say behind my back “What to do with her?”, ‘cause there are answers that I will leave unheard.
Don’t tell me that I should live my life, when your example hardly shows, and never tell me what to do, because I won’t listen to you anyway.
Stop screaming in my head words you know will stick there.
Stop sugar coating them with fake smiles, laughs and sickening ‘I love you’ s.
Don’t say things you don’t mean, because what if I believe them?
I can still hear you talking.
But you’re in my head now, and I know you’ll never leave.
Your honey-sweet voice is making me sick, and I’m sick.
I’m sick of hearing your poison words, sick of you making me have faith in you, I’m sick of you never knowing what you’re doing.
Your words have meaning, they all do.
And they’re staying there, they’re sticking there, they’re making me never forget.
Out of Time
The Modern Circus and The Eccentric: The Thing About Trapeze Artists
I want you to look at yourself.
the nearest hand mirror, wall mirror,
iphone, android, polaroid
and tell me how you really feel about yourself.
Tell me how your brittle hair,
your sad eyes and dry lips that whisper lies
how they stick out like a sore thumb,
the cold pale skin over your ribs
dry and peeling, just as numb
as the rotting meat it covers
over and over it screams
and you want it out you would do
anything to get it out to cut it off
with scissors with knives
to peel the skin off your meat
to tear the matter from your bones
spreading the marrow onto stale toast
like jam fit for lips not yours
for gums plagued with gingivitis,
cystitis and meningoencephalitis
will screw your guts and rot your brain
yank your exposed nerves by their ends
and you don’t scream as the
tendrils push you up the bell curve
slam you against the clock and push
you all the way back down
mainlining the propofol for the soul
as you fall and you fall and you fall
and you dive into that vat of anxiolytics
close your eyes and so gracefully,
so aimlessly, so unmistakably
half-hazardous and oh so shamefully
bring your hands to a point
cutting through the air like a blade
twirling like a sapling on the descent
and the crowd loves it and they cheer,
and you hold your breath, until
there’s nothing left to hold onto.
Chopin's Fantaisie Impromptu
Luis Alfonso Gutiérrez Villarreal
Serial Designation V
Not Old Enough
Why am I not good enough?
When I was three, I put my
On the kitchen table, and
You were sitting across from me.
Mama gulped, and I
Stared at you,
From across the
You stood up then.
You stood up, the chair you were
You pounded your
Pale, clenched fists
And all I could do was
Stare, bewildered at how
My feet made you
But I was a child,
And I laughed.
Not because you were being
Funny, lord knows you weren’t.
It was because I didn’t
I shouldn’t have done that.
You walked like a cat,
Drunk in your rage,
And you made me stand
Out of my chair.
You made me feel so
Small, towering over me like that.
Like I was helpless,
Of a black painted room,
But the spotlight is on me.
I didn’t even get a
“1, 2, 3” count.
I guess you thought I was old enough
Still not old enough.
I don’t think I ever will
Because you still don’t
“1, 2, 3”.
And It scares me,
Just like it did
Sand is something we take for granted; we think it's just stone destroyed by time. But each grain of sand has a story as old as the stone it was formed from. Each stone having one story but after time the stone dissolves and each grain of sand has a new story and some continue making stories to pass to the next grain of sand and after time that grain of sand will dissolve in something we with the naked eye cannot see. So the stories of that grain of sand will be lost forever until the tides pick it up and spread its stories across the ocean.
it has the juice
Dreams do come true ;)
Harper Storey Wein
I swiped a copy of you from Grinnell and never
brought it back,
It was the first issue I had ever read.
You were thicker back then,
Claire could always work her magic well,
You started with white privilege,
ending with intellectual angst,
And in between, you scouted the honest, the funny,
and the strange
With a cute picture of cows in there too.
I was enchanted,
I wanted to be part of it all,
Part of you.
I fought crocodiles at morning meeting,
I made you a website and a bank account,
I clutched 5 glossy copies of you to my chest while
Mr. Gay gave me financial advice.
So here we are,
Mr. Miller wrote about the geese on RT. 2,
The road that named you,
The road that my father pulled over on when my
coconut water went down the wrong pipe,
He held me by the ankles and shook me by the
roadside until my lungs emptied themselves.
I flipped through rejection and spicy Cheetos,
Frosty morning and Chinese,
magpies and an ivy facade,
Before I stumbled into the gaze of a moon-lit eye
painted by someone who taught me too many
lessons the hard way,
Some day I will leave you while I run off to a college
you got me into,
I’ll put you in caring hands that will keep you alive
and healthy until one day,
as I drive down your country highway,
I will find you again, blowing in the wake of a semi.
I will snatch you from the air and read those wisps
of honest emotion you hold in your pages.
And the trunks will honk,
And the geese will honk,
And all will be well on a road 2 the West.
Orchestra of the Mind
For as long as I could remember, I had never heard silence. I had gone to many doctors, but none had been able to diagnose it. You see, I heard music in my mind at all times. Music that I had never heard before. My friends said they wished they had the same thing: a constant radio in the mind. They could never understand. It was a curse, not a blessing. I learned to write music and play the piano. I wanted to become a musician, my dream as a child. I could never learn any songs because I always confused them with the music in my head. Sometimes I just listened to the music. It was actually very beautiful, never repeating anything, but creating a soft, mellow tune.
One day in late summer, I was sitting in a café near my apartment in New York City. The café was a small place that is long out of business now. I was sitting, listening to the music, and drinking coffee. Suddenly I had an idea. I pulled a pen from my pocket and grabbed a pile of napkins from the front counter. I drew the staff for a line of music and began writing down the music I have always heard. Over the course of a few minutes, I was able to fill all of the napkins. I left a large tip and rushed home. Climbing up the stairs, I flung open the door. When I got inside, I got right over to my piano and looked at the napkins. I began to play the piece and instantly fell in love with the piano’s beautiful sound. The music in my head was played unadorned on some instrument that I cannot name. Played on the piano, however, it was much better. I played the whole thing. When I was going to bed, I realized that the music was fading. The next morning, I realized what I must do. If I lost the music completely, it would be lost forever. I silently wondered why it was going away in the first place, while I walked over to the café. This time, I brought a stack of paper. I began writing the music. I sat there for hours, just writing the music and went through probably half of the paper. That night, I invited some of my friends over. I prepared the music and piano and made dinner. I wanted to play for them. When they entered, I told them to sit down and listen. I readied my fingers and began playing. It started fast and it was hard keeping up. It then slowed and went all low, keeping the perfect tone. My friends just watched as my fingers danced between the notes like ballerinas in a recital hall.
After the piece was done, I looked at them. Mark Lillian, a rock climber who I met while hiking the Appalachian Trail, had a tear running down his face.
“It was beautiful,” he said. The other three sat silently. We all ate dinner in silence. The music was getting quieter as I said goodbye. I could barely make out the notes. The next morning, I got up early and began writing the music. I couldn’t hear it clearly anymore and the notes mixed together in a big lump. I wrote as the music deteriorated into plain sounds in my consciousness. I gave up around 8:00 PM. There was a buzzing growing in the background, like a swarm of hornets. The sound grew and it became irritating. Suddenly, the sound vanished. My eyes widened. I was free of this curse. There was the occasional car horn or shout, but no music. I went down to the café and got a cup of tea. I could hear the people talking around me, the shatter of a dropped teacup, and my own breath. I could hear the mice beneath the floorboards and the bubbling of a teapot in the back of the café. The sound became louder and louder still, until I could hear the distant whispers of the Old Ones. I listened closer, falling deep into a trance beyond mortal domains. I woke up and the sky was dark. How long had I been sitting here? I ran outside. Suddenly, under the sky, a horribly loud static began in my ears. No one was on the street. I ran as fast as I could and jumped into my car. Strands of madness pried at my anxious mind as I started the engine. I could now hear nothing but the static.
Driving for miles, I was speeding at about thirty miles per hour above the speed limit. I couldn’t stop. I had to get away. The darkness grew stronger, tearing away the outer layers of my head to reveal my tender brain. Speeding down the highway, surrounded on all sides by tall evergreens, I cried. It started out as a light cry, but grew to be great sobs. My vision fogged in the night. Suddenly, I hit something with such force that I crashed straight through the windshield and onto the cement. The ground was hard and my shoulder stung with a bloody scrape. My lip was bleeding too, and my leg was twisted the wrong way, throbbing like crazy. I sat upright and saw I had hit a deer. Its mangled corpse lay, strung out over the road. It had totalled my car and I had only one option. I called the police. They took me to a hospital and after I told them about the sound in my head, they assumed I was insane and let me leave after a few stitches and being fitted into a cast. The sound had stopped after the crash, and it never started again. Now, I live in the same apartment and just a few days ago, I found the sheet music I had wrote, folded up behind a book in my bookshelf. I think I might burn the music. I have no proof that anything I have just wrote is true, so I guess you’ll just have to try and believe it.
Ode to Triscuit
His warm fluff of fur.
I call him.
The Ding of the bell
as he comes with a trill
asking for another treat
I give it to him
it is well received with
the crunch of enjoyment
Ode to Pizza
Benjamin Wallace MacLean
As I line up to the plate,
all eyes on me.
The ball comes, CRACK! Home run!
I know I just scored our team a pizza party!
As I come running ‘round the bases
and to the bus
all the players are already on it.
As I sit beside parker
smelling like dirt and covered in grime
that kid can already smell the pizza
and is waiting, like a wolf, stalking its prey
As we all shuffle out of the bus,
the pizza man is already hard at work,
the dough in his hands spinning as fast as the buses wheels
Then comes the delicious sauce
and the cheese
and the ham
and the pineapple.
Big jack pounds through us smaller kids
To grabs the last slice of
Of meaty, gooey, loaded meat pizza.
As the chef pops out the last pizza
and ten more cans of amazingly good, strong
root beer he made himself, we gobble up the
last pizza, the oil going down our arms
like rivers, we walk out
of the restaurant, bellies full of pizza
and minds full of joy,
I feel at home.
Ghazal for the girl who has the least bluest eye
Meran Mustafa Paul
There is really nothing more to say—except why. But
Since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how.
But how can I even ask you to handle how? How?
You demand we must seek refuge in how? How ?
Hate, open your gate - “belief” made me a refugee of sanity,
Jealousy only curbed me but “envy” totally freed me from “love”
This panic of urgency killed all decency of my great lie !
The world is dead. Who will give birth now to God’s love?
In life, you were the zoon - hanging from the booyn
that shades your grave now from God's violent love.
I tried to annihilate myself in your skin of ugliness, but
“Beauty is a sustainer” they say “in the universe of love” !
1 Kashmiri word for “moon”
2 Platanus Orientalis