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Fall 2021 Issue

EXPLOSIVE PIECES FROM YOUNG LITERARY ARTISTS

 
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Final Transcript

JANE SIMONS

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.

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Routines

MARY KATE J.

I woke up late today

At 10:51 A.M.

I woke up and

Yawned

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

Regurgitated Rituals

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

And curses

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

Can We Still Be Good Enough If We Don't Overcompensate_ - Wit & Delight _ Designing a Life Well-Live
 

Gag

LAUREN JONSON

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


Your palm 

Once met mine in the park 

in Bruges

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 

they’d be 

gray

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Delete, Confirm, Delete Forever?

SHANNON KINGSLEY

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”

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Reckless Pride

IBRIHIM MALLIK

“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.

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Don't Miss It Right Now

ANYA KERCHEK

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.

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Short

KATIE HOLLRAD

I painted the sun 

I was sad when I did it 


I met you

Painted the stars

And smiled

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Advice From the Court Jester

ISABELLA KHAIR

I think I am among the wisest this reality has to offer

Stop

Look me in the eye 

Pick one, either one, whichever you want and look, please

Please

Thank you


I really do think I am wise

I do not want to come off

Pretentious 

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

Too

You see

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

True things

Tangible things

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