Fall 2021 Issue
EXPLOSIVE PIECES FROM YOUNG LITERARY ARTISTS
Call 1, 12:58 A.M., 39 Seconds
Hey dad it’s me i can’t be too long i only have a few more minutes on my phone because you forgot to pay the phone bill again but it's okay because i'm going over to miss laurence’s tomorrow after school and after my shift and after tutoring to babysit baby steffanie you remember baby steffanie right you blacked out at her second birthday party so i should have enough to cover the bill for this month … oh hang on dad i think i see you wait why are you on the ground and why is there powder under your nose and why do you smell like jack daniels and why are there needle points on you arm and why are you unresponsive and your pupils are massive and are you there dad are you there you promised you’d stopped do you hear me are you there dad?
Call 2, 12:59 A.M., 9 Seconds
Hello my dad isn’t responding and he’s on the ground and he’s shaking or like convulsing i don’t know and i’m at 4 culver cove please hurry no i don’t want to stay on the line i don’t have the minutes please hurry.
Call 3, 1:09 A.M., 24 Seconds
Hi mom oh no this isn't misha sorry it isn’t misha it’s me i need to tell you something no i know you said don’t call anymore i haven't called in months mom we haven’t spoken in months mom this is important no i’m not asking for money i’ve never even done that before please stop talking over me it’s loud in this waiting room and i don’t have many minutes i don’t have the damn minutes my last job was messed up but just listen please mom it’s about dad he’s, hello?
Call 4, 1:12 A.M., 27 Seconds
Misha don’t hang up don’t you dare hang up sorry for my attitude sorry for bothering you you’re probably having fun at a fun frat party of something fun but i need you to come home no i know you left for a reason i know you left me for a reason but that reason is gone now do you understand misha he’s gone now and mom won’t come yes i called mom please stop yelling i don’t have phone minutes to waste will you please come home misha please come and get me please come home-
CALL DISCONNECTED YOU ARE OUT OF MINUTES YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SEND OR RECEIVE TEXT MESSAGES OR PHONE CALLS PLEASE VISIT YOUR ONLINE CELL PHONE PLAN PROVIDER TO RENEW SERVICES YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN GOODBYE.
MARY KATE J.
I woke up late today
At 10:51 A.M.
I woke up and
Covered my mouth though there was no one to see
Stared in the mirror -
And so did Jane, across the street
I did not change, no need to
Sunday’s Suboptimal Soothe
Brushed my hair
Fed my frog, the blasted thing, refuses to die
Went downstairs and skipped breakfast -
And Jane missed it too, across the street
I texted her
Asked which of her other realities she dreamed in last night
No response, not weird
Glanced once more at my phone, put it down -
And Jane looked too, across the street
I went on a walk, alone
My head was already too, too clear
It was raining so, so hard
Tears of Zeus; never pull His punches, afterall
He roars, so, so loud
I wiped wistful wetness from my undereyes -
As well as Jane, indoors, across the street
I looked at her house
Always were oddities, her ancestry
Grey wood with grey windows with grey doors and grey leaf-clogged gutters
The color of monologues, monochrome, monotony
I did not look into her window, knew she was home, thought
Always knew the location of her sallow soul, unfortunately
Back at home, as though I held Atlas’s burden, I groaned-
Much, much lounder, so did Jane, across the street
Your index middle and
thumb cover my mouth and
I remember the way you used to feed
me pomegranate seeds
The red underneath your fingernails— clear from lack of
nourishment and vitamins and probably affection and attention and it all
Once met mine in the park
Now presses too hard it grinds on my
teeth I told you I hated and you told me you liked
and if I could see yours eyes they wouldn’t be brown
Brown like mine something I
liked about us
Delete, Confirm, Delete Forever?
On the bus, handcuffing back tears
“Not now, not now, not now”
Getting home, running up the never ending stairs
I’ll get through it “How, how, how?”
In the bathroom, the door is locked
Sinking down to the glacial marble floor
All the emotions that had been blocked
Now pour, roar, soar
The tears, numbing, trickle like dew into my phone
My fingertips open the photo album that wounds the most
Knowing what I am doing, the vision of him still haunts me to the bone
I see his face, his hair, his eyes, the remnants of a ghost
Swiping to the next picture, a smear of water streaks across his face
The tears blur him, or is that the memory?
Focus in, an image of the two of us, smiling, happy, in someplace
The more pictures I force myself to watch, the more excruciating the documentary
One shaking, trembling finger presses the trash: “Delete” and “Confirm” keys
Funny, that’s how he treats, no, treated me
I think I am free, but “Delete Forever?” assaults the screen
My body does one thing, while my heart does not agree
In a thousand milliseconds, he is gone
Physically, at least
A crushing element of me is still drawn
To the memory of him, which has only increased
Each picture I delete, pixels, floating away
Ones and zeros add up to one hundred percent of his memory in my brain
“Delete,” “Confirm,” “Delete Forever”, three steps make me wonder what made him betray
When did the tears stop? Did they soak away the pain?
I think that they did, I feel hollow
I think those are my feelings and not blind desire
Desire for him to be gone and that his echo will not follow
All I can think now is “Liar, Liar, Liar”
“This wind will make the trees fall down. I am sure of it” Nadine states.
“No way, you’re just making that up” Counters Aakash.
Nadine deflects just her eyes to look Aakash up and down, daring him to continue.
He does not.
“When a particularly weak maple falls on your bedroom roof and crushes your head like a cantaloupe, don’t say I didn't warn you!” Nadine giddily remarks.
No response from Aakash.
The strong wind blows once more through the forest of the siblings’ backyard, causing their matching coiled black-brown hair to cover their faces.
“I wonder if some ancient Greek king has sacrificed his daughter for this weather, aye?” Nadine attempts a joke.
“God, would you shut up?” Aakash shoots back, clearly not amused by Nadine’s nerdy mythological references.
Aakash stands from their shared crouched position and stands over Nadine’s still folded body for a moment, relishing in this physical advantage. Once satisfied, he storms inside their two-story home, whispering something about this being the reason he is embarrassed to be seen in school with her.
Nadine does not care, though.
She likes her mind, finds it to be her proudest asset, really. It was certainly not her forced mannerisms or awkward appearance that had got her into her dream school of Georgetown University.
No, she really was proud of who she was. The Iliad references and all.
“Aakash’s just jealous, obviously” Nadine told the wind, “Hell, if I was gonna be stuck in Iowa for the rest of my college career, I’d be in a perpetually pissy mood, too! When I’m living it up in DC, going to clubs and boujee restaurants every night, then he’ll be sorry. I’ll make sure to post it everywhere on Insta, too!”
“Nadine Newens, I swear to god if you don’t come inside right now i’ll come out and make you!” announced Caddy, the twin’s mother, if you could call her that.
Nadine considered staying out an extra minute, just to stick it to Caddy, but thought better of it. As Caddy loves to so often remind her, Nadine’s entire life is funded and paid by Caddy, so if she wants to realize her DC dream, playing nice was really the way to go.
Nadine trudges inside, but once in Caddy’s line of vision, transitions to a calm saunter upstairs.
“Nadine, aren't you forgetting something?” suggests Caddy, sporting a smug grin and extended arm.
“No, I really don’t think I am, thanks for checking” replies Nadine, though her monstrous voice crack wipes away any semblance of self-assured Nadine had hoped to exude. Defeated by her own vocal chords, Nadine hands Caddy her iPhone for the night. Nadine was not trusted to keep the blasted thing overnight, of course not! It was not like Aakash was allowed to either, oh no, that would just be too unfair! Sarcasm.
Don't Miss It Right Now
I miss that...
That infinite nothing
Not having things to do
Not having responsibilities
When I was four
I miss that.
I miss that…
That feeling of ignorance
Not knowing restrictions
Not what’s “reasonable”
When I was nine
I miss that.
I miss that…
That first taste of freedom
Not having to check with anyone
Not needing an “okay, go ahead”
When I was twelve
I miss that.
I won’t miss that…
That constant pressure
Not having a minute to breath
Not having a single break
When I was fifteen
I won’t miss that.
I won’t miss right now.
I painted the sun
I was sad when I did it
I met you
Painted the stars
Advice From the Court Jester
I think I am among the wisest this reality has to offer
Look me in the eye
Pick one, either one, whichever you want and look, please
I really do think I am wise
I do not want to come off
Not as much as that word that fragment of Miriam Webster’s corrosive mind
Diction is as good as bullets and darts in the gaping mouth of The Amature Poet
I dreamed the other night but I cannot tell it to you because it has been forgotten and I did not Write it down
I think this world is much too small for me
Smaller still for the population of Thieves and kings and Beggars, who are
The richest among us
Discarded is the evangelical ego, reliant upon rightness
The kindness which makes the best of us ignore our mothers and mistresses
I know I know
I have been ignoring you
I am in my mind, always
I am in the Palace of Versailles and the Temple of Artemis and my childhood bedroom
Yes, I am still in my mind
If I am being honest
I had hoped to bathe in your heart
but someone has used up all the hot water and I am left with lukewarm leftovers
I wish I could admit these things more often
I seem to have taken an oath, hand over hearth, to lie until the devil’s requiem
But let me show to you my wisdom:
Rose tinted glasses do not exist
only those who exist just before birth and just after death truly see in color.
You can trust this
But not me
Because I never dream and I never lie