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.

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

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

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.

Putting the World into Things – Laurel Jones

My solar system is under the couch.
I put it there because the birds
wouldn’t stop complaining about
the change in gravity, the way
the wind has been singing. Tremulous
and low– it has been calmly breaking
the little people, their legs and arms,
the way killers do
in the movies and I can’t look at the
tendons, cartilage. How pain is
scattered around my house
like bright flowers: orchids or dandelions.
I thought about fishes and
golf clubs and little grains of sand.
I thought about what is underground,
and snow. About lemons and that
bright, bright beautiful hummingbird
I found dead under a bench when
the streets were just turning grey.
Little rat bones, no one will see you
rot. No one will sing and hear your name.

– Laurel Jones is a junior at UTC studying English.

Giant Steps – Matt Haines

The owl and I were mutually terrified.
In the midst of hunting we came upon us
My swelling ribcage and his swelling wings
The darkened pavement and his eyes
which I know now were speaking their
language of stillness to me
But to say I understood that ancient stare
is a giant step, like the escaping mouse
who thinks, the way that I move is disgusting.
I have these small feet that stick to pavement.
Nothing of my beauty is mentioned in poems.
I have never been loved the way that I love.

– Matt Haines is a senior at UTC.

The Elbow Tree – Megan Denton

I know now that little has changed about what comforts me. I was sitting on a leather couch in this room that looked like the forest. The hardwood floors, arrogant and shabby. I could try to explain it, but I think it’d be impossible to tell you how warm I felt. I expected I’d be cold, as always, and carried closely an oversized sweatshirt as I walked down a long hallway of cypress stripes and moss. I often use this sweatshirt to hide behind or hug or clench my fists under. Mostly to hide, though. To hide my body from my father. I wasn’t always like this.

***

I told Mr. Steen that I sincerely don’t know what a father and daughter do when they sit on the couch next to each other. He told me he has a four-year-old daughter, and when he sits next to her on the couch, he positions himself in a way so that she can lean into him. And then my heart mourned with the thought of it.

Continue reading

An Auctioneer’s Notes – Monika Groppe

Don’t start too high or too low. put the vanity
in the corner. illustrate-the light works. start
with the water colors of the lake, then move
to the black and white photographs. find
embroidered pillows. give them a history.
stack porcelain plates so no one will notice
the blue flowers peeling around the rim.
count the silver-backed chairs. 11. add value
to the grandfather clock. high pollen count
today—people will be sneezing, easily distracted.
break when 3/4ths of everything is gone. make sure
the woman in the purple scarf gets a deal. when they bid
get angry. make them think they are praying.
when the deal goes through, nod. when it’s over,
shrug. everything will go for less than it’s worth.

“November” – Kenneth Stewart

November
Kenneth Stewart

When branches crackle like puffed rice
during my sister’s wedding,
I’ll be thinking of the pony’s tail flapping
over the browning grass–as if it were basted
in butter, stuck onto the planal rungs of an oven,
and set to sit and simmer.
That grass is my sister’s future,
and she’s been cutting it ever since
I left the nest, leapt from the branch,
heard it crackle right before my wings gave out.
Now, as I roll around, covered in amniote, I see
egg shell paintings–someone’s taken the speckles
off of the egg my older brother jumped out of.
Now it’s neon blue and pastel pink and I’m confused.
Kids pick me up like my mother prying worms from the dirt
or caterpillar feelers, suckers, there’s just so much to choose
from, I can’t decide whether I’m a raptor or prey, hawk or bull.
Maybe I’m a peacock and Argos will inspire me to guard what I know everybody wants from inside me.
Maybe I’m an Annelid and everything good has been condensed down, flattened, and hardly multi-cellular. Maybe I’m an Arthropod, and there is just a barrier of hair keeping me from the intelligence of mammals. Maybe I’m a member of the Nuer, and I can’t see the man I have become because the tribal scars track my forehead, slivered off at the temples. Maybe I’m a rune, spoken and forgotten, murmured but not remembered, base of all to come.
Or maybe I’m a coral reef, damned to see generations come and go, slosh through me, give birth and take death, then end in cornflour -starched oblivion.

-Kenneth is a senior at UTC.

“A Spark in the Night” – Rick Mitchell

I remember seeing nothing at first, except for an oppressive darkness; a kind of binding absence that wrapped itself over me again and again, and I was alone. All sense of place and time were lost. There was only blackness. I couldn’t move either, just look ahead of myself, trying to make shapes out of the blank space before me until, in the very center of my vision, a light sprang into existence. I suppose I could say it was more like a spark than a light, as it danced like one tossed from a campfire, tumbling in the air until it went out. But just before the little spark extinguished, two more popped into existence, and now these two danced about until they went out, their passing met by more and so on, until finally those little sparks became a flame, and the flame turned to light. Its brightness shone until there was no darkness left.
Continue reading