Table of Contents
.22 Hornet, by Herb Bursch
Death to the Death of Leaves, by Michael kaminski
The Funeral, by Amanda Worley
Departure, by Jade Bell
1980 December, by Cathy Amboy
Thanks for Shooting Spoonfuls, by Nic Custer
The Nail Biters, by Jennifer Justice
Yellow Lawns, by Nikki Roulo
Neighborhood Cats</strong, by Amy Anderson
French Hall, by Zacharia Chouikh
Clog, by Amy Anderson
For the Girl who Makes Time Evaporate, by James O’Dea
Even at Eighteen, by Nikki Roulo
Sketches, by Cathy Amboy
The Concentricity of Orbits, by Grace Carey
By Herb Bursch
It’s oily with newness,
crisp with fine tooling,
warm with dark walnut,
its snuggles hard
in the crouch of my arm.
I idly pick up Derrida’s
The End of the Book.
A useful book stop,
but the books never end,
they grow organically, fungi,
sucking the juice from Derrida’s
precious cave writing, images of dancing bison.
I never did this before,
talking to myself, my orality
more satisfying than his writing,
too improper, even to myself.
I open Derrida,
tear 3 pages of dense writing,
slide them slyly under a zipper,
and with gun and ammo head out.
At the range,
stapler in hand, gun on bench,
breach open, expensive ammo ready,
I walk with the words and staple them
100 yards away, three white targets,
three pages of disassembling Derrida.
Fifty precious rounds,
at a cost of $39.49 without tax,
45 grams, 2690 feet per second,
muzzle energy 735 feet pounds,
hollow point, didn’t open on paper.
The gun barks 50 oral exclamations.
Precisely, 54 words eliminated by
50 spitzer shaped missiles.
I read the revised pages,
read what is left
and feel some slight stirring,
but not enough at $39.49.
Penetrating, phonated editing,
brass and paper poked into a waste receptacle.
Table of Contents
Death to the Death of Leaves
By Michael Kaminski
Dead leaves are dead, yet
they settle in poetry.
They drift their way from
line, in between commas,
And those (hugging) parentheses.
The leaves never die,
in the folio’s foliage,
Unable to escape
the rake of the pen
and the child-poet
(is there a difference?)
who explodes them,
the tree’s plumage,
athwart the grass
These leaves live on leaves,
They die on them,
Words a mere elegy.
Dead leaves live on leaves
as close to their
as they can hope to be;
on dried wood-pulp.
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By Sara Kendall
She made him throw the rotten chicken out into the pond because she couldn’t be bothered to get her garbage picked up. It made pools of shining oil on the surface where it bobbed.
“This won’t catch any fish,” he said, wiping his hands on his jeans.
The sun was setting. She looked at him and the lighting made her face a black cutout.
“No, no fish.” Then she smiled a gap-toothed smile. “Tigers, maybe. Did I ever tell you the story of my leg?” She was an old woman, toughened like leather. She had never been beautiful.
He looked down at her stump foot, remembering his childhood at the cottage and the soundtrack of her wild stories. He knew for a fact that it was diabetes, and told her so.
They sat and watched the meat in the pond.
“Take me out. I want to go out.” She said suddenly.
“Where?” He asked.
She stared out over the pond and rubbed her knee.
“All right. I’ll take you out.”
The canoe was resting upside-down at the edge of the water, half shrouded in weeds. He turned over the canoe and dragged it out of the mud. He helped her to get in and then launched them onto the pond. They passed the rotten poles that remained of the dock. The strokes of his paddle made long rings that caught the dying light. The stripes of shadow in the reeds reminded him of crouching tigers.
When he turned back she was busy winding fishing line around her fist like it was yarn. She was bundled up tight against the chill.
“Did you ever really know my husband?” She asked.
He didn’t answer.
“He was a mobster, you know. They called him Billy the Kid.”
“I think that’s a lie.”
She looked up. Her teeth were gapped and brown, noticeably rotting. He turned away and looked out on the still pond.
“Of course that was back when it was expected. Prohibition times, you know.”
“Dad worked for the railroad.” He said.
“Isn’t that just like a young man. Thinks he knows it all.”
“I’m old enough. I’ll be married in the summer.” He said.
She squinted at him.
“Her name is May.”
“Ungrateful boy. Go on, then, leave me to the worms. I don’t mind.”
“Don’t say that.”
“What should I say?” she asked.
“Tell me the one about the mobster if you want.”
“Don’t be cruel.”
She looked over to the island of reeds, and maybe she saw something that wasn’t there.
“Did you know that in the moment before a tiger attacks, you can hear it purr? Just once, softly. Did you know that? I think I read that in a book somewhere. Or maybe I dreamed it. I wonder if you’d hear it, in that last moment? Before you were in its jaws.” She was oddly gregarious.
“I went to India as a girl, you know. I never saw a Bengal but I always wanted to catch one, to wear those grand stripes. They were ever so beautiful. What an idea! An old bat with her rifle, off to slay a man-eater. Ha! I could have done it, too. Before your father, before you, I was wild. That’s what they all used to say about me.”
“I don’t want to know what they used to say about you.” He said.
Her rheumy eyes rolled towards the horizon. “They said I could do anything.”
“There are no tigers in the marsh,” he said. His palms sweated where they gripped the paddles.
They circled the pond before he left her on shore. He kissed her wrinkled cheek. Her tight lips covered the gaps in her mouth. She looked at him for a long while.
“It’s funny how you do that.” she said. “Not quite like a son.”
He left her with the nurse, propped up in her wheelchair like a china doll.
When the police called him in to identify her body, found floating in the reeds, he made himself look hard. It wasn’t easy, but she had never been beautiful. He and his new wife cleaned out her house together. The maid hadn’t been over as often as she’d said and the hallways were crowded with the detritus of living alone. His wife sobbed like she was sorry for something, but he sorted through the junk and the memories with careful, equanimous regret.
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By Amanda Worley
My mother sits on the porch rocking,
Rocking back and forth like a mechanical doll
I watch in silence, calmly eating a bowl of Cheerios,
Undisturbed by the freakish sight of pale nightgowns and wild
What’s this? she asks, holding up a frayed apron.
It’s a hankie, I reply, munching delicately on my soggy Os.
I get up and put my bowl away without washing it, my mind racing
Like a hamster on its wheel,
When I return outside,
My mother is squatting next to a dead spider
That has already curled into a fetal post-mortem position.
She pokes it with a stick,
The frayed apron still in her other hand.
It becomes a burial shroud when she picks up the spider
Carefully, like an egg, and lays it on the stained cotton.
Stop, I say to her, Don’t do that. Here—
Take a flower. Do you want a pansy?
She takes it gently, saying,
It will be its funeral garb.
Why do you want to bury it? I ask. Maybe it’s not
Maybe it’s just hibernating.
She pauses, her hands midair,
One cradling the spider, the other cradling the pansy.
Then, without second thought, she brings it down
Full force on the spider.
Just in case, she says.
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By Jade Bell
Upon my demise
scatter my ashes in wind
and watch me take flight
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By Cathy Amboy
“He’s dead. A crazy shot him,” said the leftover
hippie chick waitress in a Make Love Not War T-shirt.
John Lennon’s picture covering the front page,
thinking how much of my life played to his music.
Late dawn at the Zen Garden Vegetarian Restaurant in Toronto
syrup sticky plates, coffee cups resting on drip stained napkins
as hopeful fingers reached across the plastic tablecloth,
pinging rain freezing on the windows.
When looking for an ocean I found a great lake, and you
becoming an IBM trench coat in a city that didn’t see you.
City Hall skating rink a launch pad for inexperienced emotions
nestling against a mushy gray Canadian winter.
Toasting tea cups full of happy scotch in after hours jazz clubs
trombone wake up call forced a rumbling streetcar ride home.
It was loneliness, not gravity that pulled you to me,
while ice was beginning to build along the edge of Ontario.
The waitress returned with our bill. “I saw Lennon in concert at
Madison Square Garden. Main floor. Now he’s gone.”
Some things you know all your life –
green shoots of crocuses will work through promised gardens,
new winds float over reckless water;
someone gets out of a car and walks in the final direction.
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Crying While Driving
by Jennifer Justice
You can’t just be there for someone. It’s as if you really weren’t there to begin with. You knew you were, but they’re forgetful. They forgot you even cared, because they don’t care.
That flash on the screen, that muffled ring, that vibrate in their pocket, in their hand – they were already waiting for someone else to distract them.
You have something important to say – but you can’t say it, not now that their eyes are lit up by the display on their phone. Something flashes, reflecting in their eyes, and they smile.
You have something important to say, but you bite it back, and tap your fingers against the restaurant table, hoping they will notice the noise. But their fingers are also occupied, tapping against the tiny screen.
And when the food comes you eat silently, swallowing quickly. Swallowing the bubble that has made its way up your throat. You hope your face shows indifference. Not that it matters, because their phone flashes again.
Your eyes fog over, but you blink quickly. They aren’t purposefully ignoring you. No, it’s a family emergency. It’s someone they haven’t talked to in a long time… but they haven’t talked to you in a long time, and it’s becoming quite clear to you that maybe they don’t want to.
So you take another bite, trying to distract yourself from the burning sensation that has ripped its way up to the roof of your mouth, and the bubbling in your throat continues. You shake it off again, seeing the check. A quick write off and you’re out of there.
You think about letting the door drop on their face as they keep it down on the screen, but hold it wide open instead, letting them pass. And you think you hear a thank you, but that couldn’t be. You both sit silently on the short ride home. It’s dark out, but the car is lit up by the LED screen.
Your knuckles are white as you pull up in their driveway. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” they’ll say. You know it’s not true. You smile anyways, thinking that next time you see each other maybe you’ll get to tell them what’s on your mind… but you know it’s not true.
Thanks For Shooting Spoonfuls
By Nic Custer
Thanks for shooting up spoonfuls of stars
into the black hole veins of your spiral arm galaxy.
Being that energy can’t be created nor
destroyed, it’s imperative that you continue
to waste away — shoveling bad energy out
of the way for others choosing
a much brighter path.
The truth is that yes, there is
a narcotic warmth to the
burnt space rock ritual,
which you initially likened to devouring
suns whole. But no, you are not a hero.
Just a planet losing its atmosphere.
One people too ignorant to see the
truth behind their own volcanic gods.
Your meteoric habit, on the outside looking in,
is just a desperate search
for occasional small flares
to break up the nothingness
of your own
clouded night sky
there won’t be anyone left to keep searching.
The Nail Biters
by Jennifer Justice
Jagged, rough and worn
I bite them ‘til they ache
I bite them ‘til they bleed
Nerves eat up my insides
Nerves eat up my home
Jagged, rough and worn
I keep them perfectly torn
I keep them perfectly occupied
I bite them ‘til they bleed
I curve my fingers so
no one will see my nails all
jagged, rough and worn
I can’t stop this habit
I can’t stop these nerves
I’ll bite them ‘til they bleed
jagged, rough and worn
By Nikki Roulo
My yellow lawn of dandelions
would have townspeople
rushing to exterminate the weeds.
Dandelions grow white, too,
eventually, grey seeping into
the blond tresses, and into
the wind, each tendril blowing
away while children still pry
for wishes. Listening to the
tick of the neighbor’s spreaders
behind a fence, I peel apart the stem,
pick off petals and release them
to the wind, my ochre-stained fingers
all that is left of my wish for a few days.
Table of Contents
By Amy Anderson
The neighborhood cats pussyfoot amok
drop oblong shits where I’ve lain seeds
and at pavement’s edge, test their luck
hunting up bullfrogs between the reeds
for a meal with legs, indelicate
catching onto these ravenous breeds
through pane, my clawless indoor cat
intenses, stitched with widest eyes
toast warm and whistle clean and fat
she has no sense of grass nor flies
but liver and linoleum
and blanket surfing otherwise
By James O’Dea
My professor wants to be gentle. But she’s a philosopher and can’t ignore the truth.
“It’s tough to get out of Flint,” she tells us. “You know it is.”
What she doesn’t know is that in 1936, my great grandfather – the first of four consecutive James O’Deas – sat down in a factory not far from here. He sat for workers’ rights in a strike that birthed unionization and made blue-collar life viable. He sat so the dignity of common men might not be completely lost on those running the machines of power.
But now I have to hear about looks my professor gets at conferences, when others see the name on her nametag: University of Michigan -Flint.
The -Flint separates her from the legitimate intellectuals of richer schools. It strips her of prestige. The Ann Arbor tags have no hyphen. They say, simply, University of Michigan. They are the real academics. They are original and pure, not a spurious, hyphenated subspecies.
“It’s the letterhead you have to overcome,” she says. This is not her usual seminar; this is more serious than Hegel. She feels responsible for reminding those who might have forgotten. The Ivy Leagues don’t want us, the blue-collar rabble of a -Flint school. The -Flint is an obscene addition to the sanctified University of Michigan name, a heinous enough blasphemy to condemn even the most hopeful graduate school applications. She explains how we must market ourselves as exceptions to their rule, as -Flint students worth taking a chance on. Every letter of recommendation must be thoroughly convincing; every bullet-point on our resume must reassure them. We promise not to make you look bad. That is the only way to overcome the -Flint.
It wasn’t until I lived in Michigan that I began to understand the gravity of Flint’s stigma. The Browns have been in Flint since 1914, but I was 12 by the time my parents moved back to where they’d been raised. I haven’t experienced real Flint hardships; I didn’t grow up in fear of escalating violence or rampant unemployment. My parents made the safe choice to move to Grand Blanc – a suburban haven for the upper middle-class. I was not prepared for the disdain my classmates would have for Flint. A classic utterance was, “I don’t want to go to Flint. I’ll get shot.”
During my elementary school years in Alabama, we would spend vacations in Flint, visiting my cousins and grandparents. As a kid, I idolized the city (and the rest of Michigan) as the location of my family’s history, the true land of my people. Sure, I was raised on dark jokes about Flint’s crime rates and its placement atop the lists of America’s most dangerous cities. But I could never fully separate Flint from the parts of me it contained. To me, the city itself felt like a distant relative – something I loved arbitrarily and unconditionally – built-in affection.
That’s why I wouldn’t go to Harvard if they paid me. I refuse to look up to those who would look down on my -Flint. I’d tell them to take my friend, Zach, who tends to his studies better than parents tend their children, and who trudges through a quagmire of busyness to add honors to his resume. He sends papers to scholarly journals and wears suits to class cleaner than any I’ve owned. He tutors, runs two student organizations, and is currently helping design studies for Flint’s Insight Institute of Neurosurgery and Neuroscience. Still, some professors advise him to not even attempt the Big Name grad schools. But he craves the esteemed validation of an Oxford or a Princeton. Zach didn’t get into Ann Arbor. His -Flint was an unfortunate back-up plan.
I was not always aware of my compassion for Flint. I only stumbled into the university after an abrupt change of direction. I’d been accepted to study culinary arts at a school near Detroit when I decided to pursue the more intellectual “liberal” education. I narrowly slipped in my application before the deadline and was later called about a scholarship. It was an honor to be offered anything from anyone. Still, I felt guilty knowing that so many others, without parents as financially stable as mine, were more deserving of the money. After all, I hadn’t even applied to any other schools; they didn’t need to persuade me. But it was this school that kept me in Flint and made me want to defend the city. It was a crucial part of why I embraced my calling to bring Flint back.
When I told my high school teachers my plan to revive Flint, the usual response was a grin and a chuckle – like how you’d respond to a little boy who promises to grow up to be an astronaut and a cowboy. But most of them at least seemed to admire my passion and optimism – he same lack of apathy that alienated me from so many of my peers. The good teachers were the one redeeming factor of a high school (and town) well known for being spoiled, snobbish and fake. In Grand Blanc, your GPA wasn’t as much an indicator of your future university as was the label on your clothes.
When I told people my school of choice, their faces seem to say, That’s it? (Or, You have to stay home? Poor thing.) Nobody thought it was cool. Nobody congratulated me on getting in. Nobody got excited like they did for those going to the other University of Michigan. I overheard classmates justifying their -Flint: explaining that they’d be transferring after the first year, wanted to get their Gen Eds out of the way, and would save a ton of money staying home. Although most of them assured me that U of M-Flint was a “great school,” I couldn’t help sensing that even a few of my teachers had somehow expected better of me.
That was before I started hearing horror stories of aborted opportunities, of -Flint applications guillotined on sight without a trial. The tales create images in my head of a stuffy tweed-clad man, trashing -Flint applicants without a second guess, refusing to hear their cases.
Then I think about how much worse it must be for the Mott students. Their –Flint bleeds deeper than the ink on our diplomas. Their -Flint is implied; it doesn’t have to be stated. Their school’s name doesn’t need the explicit -Flint disclaimer. It’s already understood that their education is from the bargain bin. The name brand schools won’t trust it. Community college is a -Flint unto itself.
But the stories don’t scare me. I do not share Zach’s desire or my professor’s concern. I have no desire to overcome my -Flint; my -Flint is my inheritance. I refuse to consider it a disability. My name has been aligned with this city for almost a century. I do not wish to wrench free of my historic roots.
I will not forget how James Joseph O’Dea sat in that factory, so I could sit in these classrooms. So his work, and the work of the next two James O’Deas, could one day provide me the elusive opportunity of a higher education. This is why I have to rescue Flint. No matter how much it struggles, it will always be the fossilized dream of my ancestors. If someday I have to leave – like my father did – I, too, will come back. I will not abandon this city or my intention of restoring its past glory. By now it should be clear: I don’t want out.
Birds rise like fumes
Scattered little plumes
Table of Contents
by Amy Anderson
For the Girl Who Makes Time Evaporate
By James O’Dea
You are the first salty nip of ocean air
I felt as an elementary boy
the night I met the Atlantic
and mistook the sand for snow.
You are the breeze in my Alabama heat.
You are a laugh welling up inside me
and when you’re away
I’m forced to be polite
and keep you buried
act like a normal man
when all I want to do is shout
your name in God or my neighbor’s face –
for no other reason
than to rattle
with your vibrations –
and paint your letters on a water tower.
Because you turn hours into droplets
through all my grasping spaces.
But it’s ok, because
felt like dancing,
like we just won the lottery,
like two hungry mice
that just realized
This maze has cheese after all.
Table of Contents
By Alisha Welliver
Isabel slowly turned her right foot to the side, rocking it back and forth, letting the sun cast a shine on the glossy, white surface. Then she admired her left shoe in the same fashion. They were perfect for a Sunday afternoon concert or a trip to the mall with friends. A sigh of great pride released from her lungs; pride that she had walked all this way and had not gotten them muddy. But as she slowly turned her left foot inward, she discovered a smudge. Carefully, the young penthouse resident bent over, licked her finger, and rubbed away the desecration until the shoe was shining with greater brilliance. She followed the same procedure with the other shoe, making sure both were rid of all unwelcome specks. Isabel looked up from the beauty of her feet to the young boy a few steps away, squatting as he stroked the frog resting in his hand. His eyes looked far off towards the grassy hills. Clumps of mud caked his jeans.
“I got this little guy after I moved in. Grandpa helped me find him,” he said.
His sister pulled the compact from her pocket and reapplied her lipstick, adjusted her hair, and looked disapprovingly at the beads of sweat forming on her brow. She couldn’t believe she’d been thrown outside with this filthy child. Why me?
“How long did they say we had to be out here?” she asked. “I think it was 45 minutes. Isn’t that what they said?”
“Maybe,” the boy said, standing and gently placing his pet into the ragged sack hanging off his shoulder. “Hey, I want to show you something! It’s on the other side of the field.”
“No, thank you. I’ll wait here -–”
The boy didn’t listen but sprang to his feet and ran through the brush down the hill. Within seconds, he disappeared.
“Jake, you come back here,” she screeched, but her voice never reached him. “You’re going to break your neck running through there!”
She stood still, looking around at the vast openness of the field. The tall grass reached past her waist. Nothing moved. She was alone. Completely alone. She shuddered in the dread of this nightmare. A bird flew over her head. She hated birds -– always flying where they liked, defecating in the open air. Her fear and disgust of birds worsened after her mother’s husband made her watch Hitchcock the summer before. The bird flew overhead again, but closer. Isabel clasped her hands on her face to protect her eyes from their ugly beaks.
Jake was gone for what seemed like half the day. She called for her brother many times but the echo only reminded her of the emptiness.
“It’s too hot out here. Mom said not to get messy and my makeup is melting,” she sobbed to herself. The weight of her arms felt like iron, forcing her rubber knees to attempt giving way. Her eyes searched desperately for somewhere to sit. She stretched her fingers over the thick, dry grass and pressed the stems to the ground with her foot, careful not to step on the area she would be sitting. Slowly, she sat on her hip, gathering her skirt in her hand to protect it from the dirt. “Oh, dear!” she cried.
“Quit whining,” a voice said from behind her.
“Jake,” she said, startled and shaky.
“I thought you were gonna follow me,” he said, squatting next to her. “I
saw this awesome bird. I mean this thing was huge! It might have been a seagull…
actually, I think it was. Anyway, I followed him to the nest. Wanna see?”
“Why would I want to see a rat’s nest? Can we go back now?” She groaned.
“Go back? We just got out here. No, we’re not far from the lake. Let’s go
see if we can get some strong sticks. I got some string and hooks so we can go
fishing.” Jake jumped up from the flattened grass. “Wait ‘til you see it!”
“No! I’m not going with you,” she said, standing up and crossing her arms.
“I’m going back to the house right now.”
Her mother had demanded she stay with her brother at all times: “If
you get lost, I am not coming out to find you!” The adults needed time alone and
throwing Isabel outside with a strange boy was the only option. She tried crying,
screaming, begging, but her mother was adamant. Isabel looked at George, sitting
near, smoking his cigar. He merely frowned and looked away with indifference. Surely
they’d had more than enough time by now! She thought they might even be worried.
“You don’t even know where the house is. You’d get lost. And don’t
think you can just sit here,” Jake said. His eyes were cast toward the ground as
his shoe shuffled through the dirt. A few scrapes revealed the bottom of a small
mound. Tiny specks of red scrambled around his feet. “You know what fire ants
are? Probably not, huh? They’re these ants that attack anything not moving. They’re
vicious little beasts! I had a friend once named Stephen who lived just down the
road. You know what happened to him one day? Eaten! Attacked by fire ants,
sitting here just like you!”
Isabel cocked her head and squinted at this ridiculous story. “You’re lying!”
“I am not! And after he died, the vultures flew through the sky, carrying
his arms in their mouths,” he said as gravely as he could in his prepubescent voice.
“Now, can we go? I think we should move out of here fast.”
Isabel thought of the arms of a small child hanging from a bird’s ugly beak.
Then she heard her mother’s voice, “If you get lost, I am not coming out to find
you!” There was no argument. No tantrum. If she was too insistent, Jake might run
off and leave her alone again. So, she stood and followed her brother down the hill.
The children pushed through another mile of large hills thick with scratchy
grass and thorny bushes; a hike not without protests by the young lady being
dragged by Jake.
“My feet hurt,” she whined, limping as the grass tugged on the skirt of her
dress. “I’m telling you, I’m going to die!”
Jake hardly noticed the struggle.
“Grandpa takes me out here all the time,” he said, maintaining a good
pace. “After school, we go hunting in the woods or fishing in the lake for dinner. On
weekends, if he doesn’t have Bingo with his lady friends, we camp out by the river.”
Hunting, for Isabel’s mother, meant finding the perfect outfit for a social
dinner. She would sometimes shop for weeks just to find that special dress. After
that kill, there were shoes, jewelry, scarves and a coat needed to make a stunning
ensemble. Isabel couldn’t imagine hunting for her food. It was bizarre. Why hunt and spend all that time outside when they could just go to the store, where everything is already cut, cleaned, sealed and ready for them?
They came to a small plain in the meadow with large trees, many of which were torn and broken by turbulent weather. Jake stopped, declaring this the perfect spot to pick up some sturdy sticks for their fishing excursion, which he began collecting and putting in piles. Then, he proceeded to bend each one to check their durability. Isabel stood next to a mossy, wet log, debating if she should succumb to her tired limbs and lean on the large remnants of a dead tree or continue to endure the pain. She watched Jake, baffled at his excitement and contentment in his surroundings.
“What are you doing?” he asked. “Go get the sticks over by that tree.”
He pointed to an oak. The young girl walked around the large log, the log on which she was ready to sleep. The sharp grass pulled on her dress as she bent over to pick up the sticks. The brown blades stabbed through her white tights and the lace of her ruffles but in her fatigue, the girl didn’t notice. Isabel took her time, slowly bending for each stick. Jake was getting impatient. “Come on! We’re going to be here all night!”
The girl ran back towards her brother with an armful of sticks, a pile that forced her chin to turn up towards the sky. She came to the same log she wanted to lie on only minutes before. Her former wish was soon granted as she found herself doubled over the log. In shock, she laid there, head hanging and hands hidden in the grass, the pile of sticks strewn below her head. Her lovely feet were lodged under the fallen tree. In the process of falling, the girl broke a branch, the remnant of which was still protruding out of the log and pushing into her gut.
Isabel felt dizzy. Sick. Not only because of her stomach. She knew her dress was now ruined. She didn’t even want to think about her shoes. Jake’s voice was a hazy blur. Is he talking to me or the frog? A pair of hands grabbed her by the waist and pulled her off the log, tossing her on the muddy ground.
“Didn’t anybody ever tell you never to run with a bunch of sticks?”
The girl lay on the ground, arms folded over her stomach, rolling, crying. “Jake, I need to go back right now!”
“Just take a few minutes. Can you breathe okay?”
She remained on the ground, screaming. Jake merely stood there, looking at her face that was splotched with green fuzz and soaked with tears. She was dying, or appeared to be. He wasn’t sure what to do, or if this outburst was even real. He just waited, staring, until her breaths grew longer and steady. Finally, the tears stopped. Isabel looked at her brother and realized she was losing this battle.
“Can we go back now?” she asked as quietly and sweetly as she could. Her eager blue eyes glistened in the light.
“I found some good sticks,” he said.
They reached a small forest of large, thick reeds and grass that stretched past the children’s heads. It was like a barrier. Isabel looked from left to right. She couldn’t see an end to the wall of thick grass. Jake parted an opening in the mass of green terrain and forced his hands and legs through the tangled stocks.
“Here we are,” Jake declared with pride once he reached the other side.
“This is the best spot for fishing! Where are you?”
The girl stood outside, timidly calculating the coarse, overgrown grass.
“You’re not serious! There’s no way I’m going through there!”
Her brother was persistent in his encouragement, even pushing his way
back and forth to prove that it was perfectly safe to pass through the green.
He tried jumping from side to side, running, falling, and stomping in long strides.
This performance was very fun and entertaining for him but she only stood there,
looking at him blankly with her arms crossed. Finally, a little more convinced that
snakes wouldn’t devour her, and bored of being stubborn, she opened the green
doorway and stepped through.
Immediately her feet sank into the sloshing mud, which hugged her shoes
and seeped over their sides, soaking her white tights. With each step, she tugged
her legs out of the ground that was clutching her feet. In the city, Isabel had gotten
mud facials with her mother, but the beauticians assured them that the brown
glop had been properly sterilized. Who knows what animals decided to use this
enclosure as a bathroom? She approached the water close enough to see the tip of
the sparkling shore through the shafts of grass, but remained inside.
Jake strung up one of the sticks he’d collected on their hike and began
digging in the soft, rotten soil for worms with his hands. His companion refused to
approach the water. She stood plugging her nose, eyes cast down on her shoes.
An inch of mud covered the deep scratches and ugly scuffs. Oh, my! What will
she say when she sees me? The young girl was unable to see the havoc the grass
had accomplished to the back and sides of her dress. Ruffles of lace hung off the
chiffon overlay and were falling off the skirt. The children had been outside well
past three hours and the sun’s rays were now weakening. Jake handed her a worm
through the reeds.
“I am not touching that,” she protested, drawing her hands straight back
and curling her little fingers. “Oh, that’s so gross!”
“Please,” Jake said, pulling the worm back. “It’s a whole lot of awesome,
that’s what it is.” He strung up the bait and threw it in the water. “I don’t know how
you can stand being shut up all day in a stupid apartment. I always hated it! Out
here, I feel like a man,” he grunted.
“You’re not even ten yet.” She looked in her mirror again.
“You’ll enjoy everything a lot more by the water. You probably can’t
see anything back there,” Jake said. He looked across the water with a long stare.
“Grandpa and I love this spot. Don’t you like it at all?”
“NO!” she screamed while stomping out of the grass. “I want to go back!
Now! I’ve seen enough!”
Jake looked down at his sister with an expression of surprise and
amusement. Isabel had walked right up to her brother and was now thigh-deep in
the murky lake. She saw the ruffles floating in the gooey water. Tears of anger and
frustration began to form rivers down her face.
“What will momma say?”
“Oh, she’ll be fine,” he said, focusing on his bait in the water. “Don’t worry.
Sure, she’ll be mad for a few minutes. But then, she’ll have a drink with George, she’ll go shopping for another frilly dress and everything will be okay. He has enough money anyway. You shouldn’t have to worry about that stuff. Just have fun!”
“You don’t understand!” All Isabel could think of was her mother’s disappointed face. The face Jake saw after their parents divorced. The face that said, “You’ll never change, will you?” The face she wore before she sent him to live with their grandpa in the middle of nowhere. Isabel was only four when it happened, but she still remembers.
Jake laughed. “I think you look better now than you did when we left the house.”
“Stop!” she screamed.
“Oh, come on. For once in your life, ignore the old grouch and have some fun—”
“Mom says he’s going to die really soon, maybe even today,” she burst triumphantly. “So, I guess your fun days with Grandpa are over!”
Jake just stood, gazing down at the water surrounding his legs. He pulled the frog from his sack and held it to his chest.
“I know,” he whispered. Without lifting his head, he drew his pole back and slowly waded to shore. He reached the tangled reeds and walked straight into the barrier of grass. Isabel stood in the water looking after him, trying to pull out the knife piercing through her conscience.
Isabel’s face lowered, forcing her to finally notice the greenish-brown water around her body. She tried to take a step forward, but nearly fell over trying to dislodge her foot from the sticky soil and seaweed. Once she was free, the girl couldn’t move her legs fast enough, trudging through the murk and algae. By the time Isabel reached the shore, her mind was consumed with worry, unsure of what to do, how to approach her mother, how to explain her appearance. She finally looked up to see Jake climbing a large willow tree near the shore. He ascended with great speed and ease, hardly stirring the leaves.
Isabel gazed at the tree. She had never seen anything so big that wasn’t man-made. In the city, there were small trees that were cut, pruned, and managed. Children climbed them in the parks when the security guards were occupied with cleaning up dog feces or rebuking casual bird feeders. When Isabel walked through the park with her nanny, she’d look up and occasionally see a face, finger over a smiling mouth. The children in the parks always looked at her wool jackets and lace dresses with pity and mockery – until she pulled out her smartphone. After this, the children were suddenly occupied with their trees again. Isabel always watched these strange bodies climb with their worn shoes and holey clothes that hung from their limbs. She wondered what it was like to float in the air with nothing to hold her up but a skinny stretch of wood.
“Hey,” Jake called from the tree. “Hey, Izzy come here! Izzy come here!” His figure was barely visible through the branches and leaves.
“I can’t climb a tree!” She said through clenched teeth.
“Oh, come on. Don’t be stupid,” he said. “It’s easy!”
What will she say? Isabel looked down at her dress, tights, shoes. She thought about the children in the city, freely climbing through the air. Mom did say she wanted me to stay with Jake. She hoped this justification was good enough.
Inwardly she was still unconvinced, but she wanted to be up with Jake.
Slowly, Isabel walked up to the tree with her strides confident and her chin
level. She didn’t want Jake to see her intimidated by a mere plant!
“Come on! Come on! We’re gonna lose daylight soon,” Jake said, lying
across the branch.
Isabel began to loosen one of the straps to her muddy shoes, then the
other. She carefully, slowly lowered herself down to the soil to pull them off but
did not sit. These were shoes her mother took great pains to find in the city, shoes
that matched her pink, ruffled dress exactly with lacy bows on the toes. One bow
had torn off. Blisters covering her feet and ankles were starting to bond with her
once-white tights. Blood seeped through the brown and green stained nylon. She
was very careful, inching the tights down and off her left leg, then the other, slowly
pulling the nylon out of the wounds in her ankles and feet.
“Come on, it’s getting dark!” Jake said.
Isabel stood before the gigantic tree, contemplating its large, rough
trunk. I’m really dead now! Glancing up at her brother, she knew there was no other
alternative. This was her last chance. Isabel stretched her whole body through her
toes to reach the first branch but only her fingertips could touch it.
“You have to jump.” Jake was getting annoyed. “Girls these days!”
Jake made no reply but continued to gaze towards the sky. Isabel jumped
for the branch but couldn’t make it. Again, she tried. Over and over, she made her
attempts but without being able to grip the wood limb. She couldn’t even jump
high enough to touch the branch with her palms. Frustrated, Isabel stomped her
feet in the mud and growled through her teeth.
“If you can’t hurry up, then maybe you should go back!” Jake hissed.
“No! I’m going to climb this tree!” she said with her fists clenched.
Jake sighed and suggested she start lower. Isabel bent her knees and
sprang off her feet. Her hands hooked around the branch. She couldn’t help but
giggle at this victory. But she was now hanging from the tree and her arms were
growing weak. What now? She stretched her legs towards the trunk but her wet
feet slipped down, jerking her hands. She inhaled. Her sweaty hands were losing
grip. Again, she stretched her legs out to the trunk, this time to first scrape the
mud from the bottom of her feet. Then, letting her toes curl into the rough bark,
she walked up the trunk and wrapped her legs around the limb.
“Now, grab that branch,” Jake said.
Isabel reached for the branch above her own, keeping her legs tightly
wrapped. “Got it!” she said with pride.
“Climb up to me.”
The girl pulled herself up, branch by branch, small logs compared to her
tiny hands. Finally, she reached her brother and settled on a branch next to his. Isabel
looked around her. From her seat, she could see the entire field. It looked so tiny and
just beyond it was the house. More cars were parked on the lawn. An ambulance
was now in the driveway. No lights.
Beyond the house, the trees, and the meadow, was the tip of the city
skyline. The black, steel buildings protruded through the trees. Once again, it reminded her of what was waiting: her mother’s disappointment, George’s constant yelling, the nude dry paint and red stick. For a moment, she wished she could stay in the tree with Jake and never go back. She looked at her brother who was contently and soberly gazing above. She knew his young life was ending too.
“Izzy, lay on your back,” Jake said. “Be very still.”
She obeyed and looked up. The drooping leaves swayed freely in the wind.
Even at Eighteen
By Nikki Roulo
I stop to watch three sandpipers
wading through floodwater,
ignoring waxy red hay string
cutting into my palms.
The weekend before when I left
for Ann Arbor, I thought that they would
leave before the late October rains,
but the mirror of the sky is broken
by ripples as they hurry and stop,
ignoring the horses following
the hay. As my muck boots squelch, they fly.
Looking at the water, I watch their path south
and how the fledgling is boosted up every
few strokes by its parents’ wings,
wishing for that at eighteen.
Table of Contents
The Concentricity of Orbits
By Grace Carey
You shed a light
So I could see the words,
But I only half read them.
Your light was dim
And my eyes bad
So I lingered there,
Somewhere in that half-lit world
And pretended to understand.
This was not the universe,
Not the center by far –
I thought that I was astral
As I watched our shadows dance and play
Across uncommon grounds.
That light was your center,
Your place among the stars.
But now, perchance we’ve forgotten
That we once shared this place.
That we two once revolved
Around the sun, the center.
Neither can revolve
When standing still.
I shed a light
So you could see the words,
But you only half read them.
My light was dim
And your eyes bad
So we lingered there,
Somewhere in that half-lit world
And pretended to understand.
Table of Contents
by Cathy Amboy
Train whistles three times
Four five six seven racing
Across the hot empty night.
Bat and mosquito ballet.
Impenetrable, billowing, blinding
Geese gather in
Golden gone light
Saying a farewell prayer
To the waning
Darkness swallows day
Silent as death
Five twinkling evergreens.
Dad, I’m Gay
So a racist, a xenophobe, a homophobe, and a religious bigot all walk into a bar. What do these guys have in common? They’re each my father. Out of these Four Horsemen, my father’s rider of choice is the one laden in Where Was My Vote apparel, accompanied by an unattractive ensemble of flannel and denim. Mind-blowingly ignorant and terrifyingly curious, he is probably the most flamboyantly homophobic man I have ever met; a lifestyle choice that he forces upon America.
So one can only imagine his reaction when I told him I was gay. Now here’s a guy who rented Brokeback Mountain somehow thinking it would be a good western. God bless the poor man; he was so confused when Donnie Darko and the Joker got funky in the warm confines of their tent in the Wyoming wild.
“What are they doing?” he cried in a strange mix of fascination and disgusted confusion.
“They’re hugging, Dad!”
By the way, I think it’s important for me to address at this point in the story that I’m not really homosexual. It was towards the end of my sophomore year in high school when I found myself in a consensual sexual relationship with a college freshman that I had met at the community theater. Her name isn’t important. In truth the age gap wasn’t nearly as wide as one would think: I was sixteen and she was nineteen. My father, however, lacking in the vast mathematical capacity it takes to count those great many numbers between six and nine, was unable to see our relationship as anything less than straight-up pedophilia.
I suppose in retrospect I have myself to blame for him finding out in the first place; I was sloppy in my sexual escapades. The thin-stripped ‘tear here’ part of a condom wrapper, left clinging to the cerulean carpet like a fallen rose petal, is likely what gave me away. After numerous shockingly conspicuous signs that I was sexually active, my father had “the talk” with me.
“I want you to be honest with me, Preston,” he said in a raspy, bibulous mumble. “And don’t worry ‘cause you ain’t in trouble. But are you havin’ sex with that girl?” Blinded by familial trust in which I no longer have faith, I told my father yes.
“Well, then,” he said. “I’m gonna call the cops—”
“You can’t prove anything!” I interjected.
“Oh yeah,” he sneered. “Well, they got these forensic tests where they take this blade-like Q-tip to your penis and…”
For the next several moments my father and I bickered back and forth about whether or not I would be legally required to surrender my phallus for evidentiary purposes. Scripture, Bill Cosby’s self-help rhetoric, and forty-something years of Papa Bear’s own sexual ambiguity worsened the situation. Frustrated and infuriated, I gave little thought to the lie that spewed out of my lips.
“Ok Dad, the truth is…I’m gay.”
“I don’t understand. What are you saying?” he stammered. “Are you saying that she was a cover-up?”
“Yes Dad, that’s what I’m saying.”
Bound to the fortified chains of holy writ and his bewildering conservative antilogy, my father rose to his feet howling that age old cliché, “You’re no son of mine.” He then proceeded to run to the back of the trailer, stumbling as he struggled to find a relevant bible verse.
“Right here!” he said, waving the good leather-bound book around in true Old Testament flare. “It says you’re going to hell.”
Plagued by the naivety of quick love and desperate longing, I tried my best to make sure my father wouldn’t prosecute my girlfriend. Unfortunately, she broke up with me later that week for reasons I still don’t know. I briefly convinced myself that I no longer cared what happened to her and decided to continue the ruse out of twisted pleasure and assholedome. So he kicked me out.
For the next few months I drifted from place to place, staying with friends, and my mom whenever I could, until after a night of sleeping under a bridge — this is no exaggeration — I was momentarily welcomed back into my father’s house. My uncle, who is a relatively open-minded minister, must have convinced my father not to abandon me, because I’m honestly not sure why he asked me to come back.
“Now, I don’t want you to think that I like gay people,” he said plainly. “Because I don’t. I think they should be shot.” As though our original sex talk wasn’t awkward enough, my father then proceeded to give me the Christian Daddy’s Guide to Dealing with a Queer Son. “If you get a desire I would rather you whip out that little peepee snake and whack away than to stick it in some guy’s hiney-hole…”
I tried my best to focus my mind on anything but the great many anatomical impossibilities that my father gratuitously described. Working at the same car dealership proved to be an especially interesting set of circumstances that summer. Driving through downtown Mt. Pleasant, my father would awkwardly whistle out the window at all of the hunky shirtless jogging CMU students.
“There you go, Preston. There’s a man for you! Yeah, yeah he’s hot!”
Although my father’s attempts to forgive and connect with me were humorous, our heart-to-hearts were not. Waking up to find my father frantically sifting through my backpack for cooking recipes was always a joy. I reminded him a thousand times that just because I was gay it didn’t necessarily mean I could throw together splendiferous pastries. Even though I was adamant in emphasizing this point, it rarely assuaged the sweet tooth expectations of his rumbling gut. I can’t be sure, but I’m fairly certain that at one point I heard him say, “But you must know how to make a chocolate soufflé,” under his breath.
Incidents like that caused the days of Dad to drift on like a long night after a bad taco. On top of having to deal with the wacky, albeit offensive, antics of my father and the rantings of my holy rolling kin, I was still reeling from the heartache of being dumped. Looking back on it now, we were only together for six months. But that short period of my life was spent and lived in a way that few people get to experience. It wasn’t just one of those googly-eyed puppy dog bullshit encounters that Nicholas Sparks capitalizes on; it was genuine. So juggling the pain of this warrantless loss in addition to the weight of a homosexual facade began to take its toll. When I think about that stage of my life and the many paths that lead me there, I often wonder why I kept it up. After my girlfriend and I broke up, I could have just as easily told my father that I was straight and likely gain his love, respect, and affection. But a force of sorts—a type of magnetism I wager subsists within and around all of us—would not allow me to speak up. Was I teaching him a lesson? Was I just screwing with him? To this day I can’t be sure.
After a bout of depression and sybaritic longings — likely brought on by my excessive use of alcohol and prescription drug abuse — I finally settled into some semblance of happiness when I found myself in the arms of another woman. Her name isn’t important. At this point I was seventeen years old and more than likely old enough to “get a piece” in the eyes of the law and my father. With this in mind, I finally felt comfortable enough to do something that I had practiced in front of the mirror a dozen times: tell my father I was straight.
I’m not sure if it was because the revelation was a long time coming or because I had forgotten to mention to my then-girlfriend that my father thought I was gay, but I remember the day I told him the truth like a bad case of the clap. We entered the front doorway of my trailer which extended to the gloomy living room where my shirtless father sat giggling in the absence of light.
“Does she know?” he said immediately.
“Know what?” we simultaneously replied.
My dad laughed. “That you’re gay…”
“Actually dad, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”
After spending what must have been over two hours explaining the situation to my father, I soon realized that I wasn’t getting anywhere in the way of his comprehension. He just simply couldn’t understand that I wasn’t actually gay and that my girlfriend wasn’t a cover-up. A couple of days later I awoke to find my dad standing over me scratching his head.
“So what, you’re not gay anymore?” Relieved that he was finally starting to improve in his abilities to come to simple conclusions I decided to just go with it.
“No, Dad…I’m not gay anymore.” My father shook his head and exited the room slowly. He glanced back at me in a sort of scolding manner. Something stained across his countenance gave me the abdominal feeling that he was mildly disappointed.
These incidents occurred over four years ago and my dad had never mentioned them. Recently, however, my father walked up to me in the yard and sat on the steps. He appeared deep in thought.
“What’s on your mind, Dad?” I asked.
“Do you remember that time you were gay?”
He seemed to be half joking and slightly bitter but I didn’t respond and he didn’t reiterate. Consumed by the quiet of the calming night, I looked up at my father expectantly as he looked back down. He wanted to say something, but never did. I would like to tell you that my father has accepted that we live in an age where God saw it fit to dip us in a deep bucket of vast diversity. I would like to tell you that this was the moment my father had an epiphany, the moment we embraced, the long-awaited moment that we finally came to terms through truth. That would have been a nice ending. If this were a work of fiction, that may have been how I ended this tale. Unfortunately, this is where the true story really ends: two silent souls sitting on the steps of their home staring out at the stars while a quiet tension floats about the atmosphere.
Table of Contents
CATHY AMBOY was born in Flint, Michigan in 1956. She holds a MA degree from UM-Flint with a major in English. She teaches writing at Mott Community College. Amboy wrote “1980 December” while attending the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival. Her poem “Oxford” was published in ExMedio 2011.
AMY ANDERSON knows that you, like her, have made boobish breakfast choices based simply on what’s sitting out on the counter. Whenever she eats yellow cake for breakfast, she feels doomed for the day. You too?
SARAH AUSTIN is from Flint, Michigan. She will be graduating in May with her BFA in Visual Communications and Photography. Along side being a mother of two she enjoys creating new images, and is currently working on a new media short film. In the Fall, Sarah will be pursing her MFA at one of the several graduate school programs she’s been accepted into. You can look at more of her work at http://www.SarahAnnAustin.com
It was a school punishment from a teacher that made JADE BELL initially start writing poetry. It was that same teacher’s encouragement that made her want to continue, and is the only punishment that she is truly grateful for. Her favorite quote, at least for today, is, “How did I get here?”- Jill Scott
HERB BURSCH is a graduate student in the English MA program. He is a former banker, who substitute teaches while keeping one eye, half-open, looking for a permanent teaching job. “Commanding, questioning, recounting, chatting, are as much a part of our natural history as walking, eating, drinking, playing.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein
GRACE ANNE CAREY is an Anthropology student and a writer attending the University of Michigan-Flint. She regularly publishes on Yahoo! Voices and is currently finishing her first book of poetry entitled “When The Earth Was Ours To Hold”. She is also working on a collaborative collection of Repressionist poetry with authors Jeffrey L. Carey Jr., William S. Tribell, and Tina Twito. “You can never truly know everything about anything, especially something you love.” – Julia Child
LAUREN CHOPSKI is a senior majoring in Graphic Design and Dance at The
University of Michigan Flint. When she’s in a creative slump, she finds a great deal
of inspiration from Pinterest. She is passionate and not afraid to speak her mind.
She tells stories in an animated and entertaining fashion, and although those stories
contrast with her clean designs, they make her an even stonger artist.
ZACHARIA CHOUIKH is an English major super senior in desperate need of a nap.
He also likes soup. “As soon as we start putting our thoughts into words and
sentences, everything gets distorted. Language is just no damn good—I use it
because I have to, but I don’t put any trust in it.” — Marcel Duchamp
NIC CUSTER is a poet, playwright and performer from Flint. He is finishing a sixth
chapbook, All Power to the Peepholes. Custer is a 2011 UM-Flint graduate. Visit
niccuster.com for more information.
PAULY M. EVERETT, born in Flint, Michigan, has been involved in the arts since
the early years of his childhood. Gaining a solid artistic foundation in his primary
and secondary education, he has worked and studied a diverse variety of mixed
mediums. Heavily influenced by street art, the underground community, popular
culture, music and travel, he has developed his own contemporary and abstract
style, mixing vibrant color and unique mediums through his painting.
GIL GOODROW is a senior graduating in May 2013 with a BFA in Visual Communications
with a concentration in Photography. His life revolves around family (pets included),
photography, music and school. Visit his website at: http://www.gilgoodrow.com.
As a graduate, PRESTON HAGERMAN is a Certified Palliative Care Provider, a
Certified Human Resources Representative, and has his advanced Certification in
Youth Services. He is also an ordained minister and is currently working on his
Exorcism and Deliverance licenses. He does not like to be tied down to anything.
JUNE HUDSON is graduating in May 2013 with a BFA in Visual Communications. Her inspiration comes from photographers such as Walker Evans, Garry Winogrand, and Vivian Maier. Her work can be found at http://www.junehudsonphotography.com.
JENNIFER JUSTICE is a senior majoring in English with a Specialization in Writing, minoring in Art History. She spends most of her time procrastinating, reading, and watching Doctor Who. She’s not really sure where she’s going, or how things are going to end up, but she’s hopeful to the uncertain future.
MICHAEL J. KAMINSKI is impatient, vulgar, hypercritical, arrogant, callous, and consistently disappointed in humanity. His misanthropy is bordering unprecedented levels, which is essential for his roles as teacher, poet, and self-actualized human being. “I don’t hate people; I just feel better when they aren’t around.” -– Chucky Bukowski
NATHAN KARIYAN enjoys capturing egoless beauty wherever he sees fit. Reality without labels, concepts, or symbols is what inspires him. In his spare time he participates in underground Ping-Pong death-matches in the basement.
SARA KENDALL is a Studio Arts major who knows how that sounds. At eleven she buckled down with childish stubbornness to become the youngest novelist alive, and while that fizzled out after about four-hundred pages (and an ever-increasing font size), she has now thrown herself with that same willful naivety into the art world. She was uncertain whether she was meant to speak in third-person here and encourages the reader to attribute her persistence in this, as in other things, to perseverance and not idiocy.
TERRA LOCKHART, also known as Walking Graffiti, is an artist of many mediums from the Flint area, and is majoring in fine arts. She spends most of her time between art, music, and collecting antique trinkets. walkinggraffitidesigns.tumblr.com
HELEN LUND is a sophomore majoring in Graphic Design. She enjoys photography, creative writing, classic literature, and a good cup of coffee. “When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice.” – Robert Frank
HANNAH MITCHELL is currently a student at Mott Community College and is
studying graphic design. She enjoys drawing or reading in her spare time. Hannah
also loves to learn about history, mostly the time period of the nineteen-thirties
through the nineteen-fifties America.
JAMES O’DEA is a senior studying Philosophy and Creative Writing. His main inspirations:
friends, family, and Flint. “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so
absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” – Albert Camus
ROGER A. TURKOWSKI is a History-TCP undergrad who enjoys reading nonfiction
and watching Turner Classic Movies. He is a friend of Jesus, an enthusiastic
learner and a self-taught artist. Atop his favorite activities is spending time with his
NIKKI ROULO is a senior at the University of Michigan-Flint, majoring in English. Her
inspiration comes from seeing the world differently. She enjoys writing, reading,
and riding horses. Her favorite quote is, “For some must watch, while some must
sleep:/So runs the world away,” which is from William Shakespeare’s play, The
Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.
ALISHA WELLIVER is a senior at the University of Michigan – Flint, majoring in
English with a Specialization in Writing. Her minors are in International and Global
Studies and in History. Along with writing, Alisha’s hobbies include biking, kayaking,
reading and playing her violin.
AMANDA WORLEY has been writing since kindergarten, where she first learned
to spell her name. When she’s not reading Sherlock Holmes or drinking coffee, she
works as a piano instructor and part-time freelance writer. One of her dreams is to
travel to Italy and the Middle East and spend Christmas in Vienna.