How it Happened – Case Duckworth

I was away on vacation when I heard–
someone sat at my desk while I was away.
They took my pen, while I was taking
surf lessons, and wrote the sun into the sky.
They pre-approved the earth and the waters,
and all of the living things, without even
having the decency to text me. It was not I
who was behind the phrase “creeping things.”
When I got back, of course I was pissed,
but it was already written into the policy.
I’m just saying: don’t blame me for Cain
killing Abel. That was a murder. I’m not a cop.
The Tower of Babel fell on its own. The ark
never saw a single drop of rain. I’m the drunk
sitting on the curb who just pissed his pants,
nothing more. I quit my job a while ago.

– Case Duckworth is a junior at UTC, studying creative writing. He plans to become a prophet.


Words for Women – Murō Saisei (trans. Jason Morgan)

Words for Women
by Murō Saisei
(「女人に対する言葉」 室生犀星)

Love us,
kiss us,
do all that you can for us,
grow to like cleaning,
keep the house tidy,
fix something good to eat,
overcome hardship,
keep your heart warm for us,
do it all gracefully;
be exceptionally, unmistakably, fundamentally womanly.
Don’t lose your cool.
Try to grow to good mothers;
let the neighbors’ kids come to you;
give alms to beggars
                                        a bit at a time.

Don’t skimp on prayers in the morning and evening,
don’t ever think that you’re better than others.
You’ll become great just by being yourself,
even if you yourself aren’t even trying to—
the world around you will take up the task for you.

Look on your husband as some kind of god.
Partake of your husband’s knowledge like pabulum.
Read some of your husband’s books on occasion.
Clean off the table,
light up the hibachi,
keep water heated in the iron kettle;
straighten the tea, the tea things and the cigarettes,
o, fill all these things to the brim with your warmth.
Do not hold grudges,
don’t show us your bitter tears.
Ahh, you must work hard, you must never rest.

If you do all of this, have you any idea
how happy a family you’ll stand at the center of;

can you guess by what measure you’ll make the world better?

All of the world goes dark when you’re not happy;
the first and the foremost of life all go dim.
Make it all bright,
                                        make it all really shine.

This is what I have been trying to say to you.
Read, then, and taste of it—
these are the words of the whole of humanity.
I send these words out to all of you now.

Tess and Jeremy – Karla Evans

We had made up our minds to never be afraid; like Scott and Zelda or Bonnie and Clyde. Jeremy thought we should run away now, to Spain or France. Become writers or actors, spend our evenings with artists on sidewalk cafés. I wanted to wait until graduation or until I got my driver’s license. We had to wait for passports, at least.

Jeremy stood on the outside of the swinging bridge, bouncing slightly like he was too bored to jump. His arms threaded through the ropes that made up the side of the bridge. Jeremy liked referring to his “washboard abs,” but his stomach was more like a soap dish, curving under his ribs. Because he was thin and gangly, he looked tall.

Continue reading “Tess and Jeremy – Karla Evans”

Toy Story 3: Political Allegory? – Virgilio Gozum

Perhaps I like to make things up. Nevertheless, I’ve seen Toy Story 3 three times now, and each successive viewing further convinces me that this Pixar film can be construed as an American political allegory. First to be discussed are the characters and their representations. Then, I will attempt to synthesize these representations.

Spoiler Alert! If you haven’t seen the movie and intend to see it, don’t read further. Continue reading “Toy Story 3: Political Allegory? – Virgilio Gozum”

Remain Silent – Katrina Clark

The last time I really talked to my grandma was three summers ago.  Since I was only nine years old, I had to stay at my grandparents’ house during the day while my mother went to work.  It was better than having to go to camp with a bunch of kids I didn’t know even if my grandparents’ house did always smell like cleaning supplies. I loved my Grandma B dearly.  We didn’t have much in common, except we liked to watch Chuck Norris kick ass on Walker, Texas Ranger.  My Grandma B could probably take on Chuck Norris, or at least she would have tried.  I liked to listen to her stories about the battles she won as a child.

Continue reading “Remain Silent – Katrina Clark”

Instructions for an Exorcism – Hattie Stubsten

1. Recognize that any illness results from evil shifting through your brain like silt through mesh. It enters the body through the nasal membrane or the porous flesh between your fingers. Physiologists will tell you this is paranoia. Don’t believe them. They’ll question your sanity, survey your feelings, ask you to check the relevant boxes. It always ends in lobotomy.

2. Don’t be shy. Muscle’s just meat, and stains can be removed with a mixture of lime juice and calcium. Be sure to rinse eyes thoroughly if fluids are present. It is suggested to ingest the Holy Spirit so that molecules of all the saints can fuse with your blood by way of hemoglobin. Scientifically, this is the best defense.

3. Wash your hands.

4. Remember that Christians, unlike Buddhists, are inherently rectangular. They are framed in the light of creationist theories that promised a god younger than the discovery of corn in the Yucatan. Corn, of course, was domesticated before the dog and slightly after the push of vomit behind your teeth signals a convulsion to expel those demons.

– Hattie Stubsten is a senior at UTC.

The “No” List – Rebecca Cook

Please, please no poems about the moon. No luvey-duvey-moony-eyed, circling round the outside of the gym, looking for a way in. We know everyone hated you, so let’s have none of your poems about her limpid eyes, pools of blue water you thought you’d drown in. No poems about how much you loved your grandmother and no little girls’ ribbon bows, the ends of your poems as tidy as folded laundry, and we’d like to put a stop to your sloppy similes because life really isn’t like a lawnmower gone astray. Life isn’t like a puppy smashed on the road or how unsettled you were when she kissed you good night and there was a little rise in your britches. Who cares, really, at the end of a hard day, if your first kiss was in a game of truth or dare and Tammy Elliot only kissed you because she lost? Let’s have no poems about kissing or that tangle of backwash at the back of your throat. Who cares if you squeezed that kitten, just to see what’d happen? Who cares if you’re sorry, if your despair (don’t call it that!) leads you to write an I’m-so-sorry poem, which leads you naturally to the blood on the Kleenex after the fight and all your now-forbidden teenaged angst welling up in a poem about the meaning of the universe unveiling itself on a shadowy night, inky black, and weren’t you listening to the instructions? No black poems, no white poems, no cookie-cutter hearts or muffled moans of pleasure. No going gently into that good night and definitely no stopping by the woods on a snowy evening. Just keep it simple, keep it plain, and please, please, no poems about your dead mother, how the clods of red Georgia clay hit the top of her coffin, thuck, thuck, thuck. Just take it easy with the alliteration and please, for the love of all that’s holy, no onomatopoeia.

– Rebecca Cook is a professor of creative writing at UTC.

Being Quiet – Laurel Jones

Do you remember the day we were in the backyard, laying in the hammock together? You had just finished reading me a book and for some reason, it makes me think of apples. The sky was the clear blue color of water that day, and the heat sank into my skin. I remember the hammock seemed old even then, cream-colored and dirty, and I liked the way it left pale pink criss-crossing lines all over my arms and calves.

I was sleepy and had my head nuzzled into the crease of your underarm. You stroked my head and we stayed there together, quiet and still. I think that’s the reason it came. Because for once we were so quiet and still.

A butterfly.

It landed on your knee, all orange iridescence and soft, delicate feet. It was beautiful and had come just to the two of us, to join our small spot of holiness we had found in the backyard, under the big trees with silver bark and the single low wire that ran from the house to the barn.

I didn’t notice it at first, not until you spoke, saying,

“Laurel, look.”

It stayed for longer than it should have; maybe it thought we were flowers and it was trying to collect nectar from the pink birthmark that covers the underside of your leg. I just remember thinking it was beautiful and trying not to breathe.

Coming Home in Winter – David Ingram

They have made me bald and x-rayed me.
I am hollow.

They send me where my roots
Will stick me to the soil.
The sap will not come again.

How odd the highway rolls
Like some great grey serpent
Swimming through a freakish faded sea–
The square yellow patchwork countryside
Where the ridges rise humpbacked in the horizon,
Hazy from their blue vapors.

Black-and-white watercolor cattle
Graze the winter stubble.
The barbed wires buzz
Like icy telegraph lines,
Their posts stiff prisoners.
Pregnant barns and proud silos lie warm
Among the fallow frozen fields.

I am stricken
By the transparent brains of bare trees.

Of Blue Collars and Electrical Tape – Colleen Harris

It is a common enough American child’s memory of a father. He left the house before dawn, with coffee and a lunch packed by my mother, the rumblecrunch of his truck out of the driveway a vague sound crawling through my sleeping head, a reminder that the house was a little emptier. That same dry sound in reverse after five o’clock, preparing us for the arrival of a rough man weary after a wearing day, short of temper and long of criticism.

Continue reading “Of Blue Collars and Electrical Tape – Colleen Harris”