New Forum | 2019 FalI Issue

The New Forum strives to create a vibrant, inviting space for UCI’s undergraduate writers. We invite writers of all backgrounds to share their work with us. This journal publishes a quarterly journal. We accept student-written poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and artwork. Our events throughout the quarter include a launch party for the newest issue, open mic nights, and poetry readings.

The New Forum strives to create a vibrant, inviting space for UCI’s undergraduate writers. We invite writers of all backgrounds to share their work with us. This journal publishes a quarterly journal. We accept student-written poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and artwork. Our events throughout the quarter include a launch party for the newest issue, open mic nights, and poetry readings.


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New Forum

Fall 2019

a literary journal

New Forum

UCI Undergraduate Literary Journal

Fall Issue 2019



Sarah Mayo

Associate Editor

Misha Ponnuraju

Financial Editor

Adam Timms

Design Editors

Yilan “Elanna” Tang

Karina Mercedes Martinez

Jasmine Huerta Lara

Social Media Editors

Analysa Vivanco

Zinnia Ramirez

Events Editors

Jordan McAuley

Anais Osipova

Jazmin Viayra

Special Thanks

Jayne Lewis, Professor, English, School of Humanities

Inez Tan, Academic Coordinator for the Emphasis in Creative Writing,

Lecturer, English, School of Humanities


The Pursuit of Maybe Someday by Melissa Marie Whitsel

*This publication does not represent the views and/or opinions of the University

of California, Irvine; the University of California, the Regents of University of

California, and/or its affiliates.


Aaron Curtis Finley The Problem with Space-Time

Reiko Rachel Inoue Out Fishing

Kristie Song Bao Bei (Darling) Sinking

Jonathan Barrett Cott PBJ

Josephina Theresa Valentina Brooks Green Josie

Amanda Angelina Hall Pray

Serena Storm Jamison Sawadee

Audrey Lopez-Valdez El Mercado

Victoria May Surace-Aguirre Nakano

Francesca Anne Nabong Querol Sincerely a Jungle Asian

Sophia Danielle Caruso I’m Off

Sandra Del Carmen Sandria Peeled

Cameron Frankling Harrison Decietful Oak

Hunter Cruz Lum The Insult (By a Mouth-Breather)

Bryan Angel A Poem For My Fathers

Ashley A. Lai youRx problem

Chloe Low Hardware

Vanessa Vi Le FLOW

Shakira Anays Noriega Turn Me Like Taffy

Yuna Jo Colors on the Sidewalk

Calliope Zehra Arkilic

Ode to Laundry and Clean Clothes in General

K Persinger Fever

John Walter Novak Back of House - Isaac #2

Sarah Mayo Interview with Professor Jayne Lewis New

Forum’s New Faculty Advisor

The Problem with Space-Time

fish in the ocean

cannot imagine the sea

from the shoreline view

Aaron is a returning adult student set to graduate in the spring with a degree in psychological

science, He recently married genetic counselor and genomic scientist Jenna

Guiltinan. They live in West Hollywood with their two dogs, a puggle named Samson

and a one-eyed blind and deaf pitbull named Jack. He also plays the guitar in a Little

Richard tribute band called Big Dick (a play on Little Richard’s name), and enjoys

making ceramic sculptures. He hopes to attend and survive grad school and become a

psychologist. This poem was written for Dr. J.B. Manchak’s logic and philosophy of

science class: What is space?

Aaron Curtis Finley

Out Fishing

Reiko Rachel Inoue

Bao Bei (Darling), Sinking

In and out. In and out.

She sucked in her stomach before puffing it out violently, repeating and

watching herself expand. Her fingertips grazed her chin, grabbing and

pinching at the soft skin that folded underneath. In the dim light of her

bathroom, she repeated the words she’d learned to tell herself every


Ugly. Disgusting. Useless.

With a half-smile, she threw on the oversized sweater that hid all she

despised—all the rolls, the scars, the curves—sucked in her stomach, and

turned off the light.

Wan Fan, Dinner

Luo Luo was eleven when she first discovered she was Ugly.

In the summer of 2009, she flew to her father’s hometown of Harbin—a

town known for its icy winter days, the thick Heilongjiang accent, and

the perpetual smoke from barbeque restaurants found on every corner.

Her family here was made up of Ye ye (grandpa), Er Da Ye (Second

Uncle), Er Da Niang (Second Aunt), as well as a number of cousins who

found her company much too childish. Regardless, everyone was expected

to come to dinner, which Er Da Ye and Er Da Niang would spend

hours in advance preparing heaps of dishes, soup, and rice for.

“Chi fan, chi fan!” (It’s time to eat!), they would call, setting the bowls

and plates on the table and fanning at the flies that eagerly hovered like

unwanted dinner guests.

The family would then gather around the stooped table, folding their legs

beneath them before digging into the hot scrumptious food.

On one of these nights, Luo Luo happily tucked into her bowl of family

favorites— favorites her Baba had always told her about—and she

smiled thinking of her father and how much he would have loved to

share this meal together.

“Your grandmother would always make this for me, bao bei (sweetheart)”.

Luo luo blinked away a few tears, gulping hard to avoid breaking down.

She set down her chopsticks, careful not to stick them into her rice like

Baba had taught her, because it’s bad luck in Chinese culture.

Kristie Song

“I-I think I’m done. Thank you for the meal, Uncle. Thank you, Auntie”.

Er Da Ye beckoned her to eat more, grabbing a few pieces of roast pork

and setting them gently into her bowl of half-eaten rice. Then, Er Da

Niang—in between large swallows of stir-fried vegetables and beef—

muttered and shook her head, her words garbled and twisted by her

vigorous chewing. It’s ok, she repeated again and again, her voice like a

disjointed crescendo, loud and high.

“Ta tai pang le!”

Luo Luo froze.

She looked down immediately, her gaze fixed at her pink animal socks.

The tears spilled over and dropped delicately on her thighs, streaking

her skin like a small river on a big terraneous map. The dinner table was

silent—the tinkering of chopsticks against bowls ceased and mouths halfopen

with bites of meat and vegetable lay agape. She felt Mama stiffen

beside her, but the woman remained silent.

“Ta tai pang le!”

The words echoed in her head. She’s too fat!

And like a resume button had been pressed, the sounds of chewing and

utensils continued and all Luo Luo could do was sit in silence and shame.

So she sat.

Zao Can, Breakfast

In high school, Luo Luo woke up every morning at 5:45 to prepare for

swim practice.

After squeezing into her tight swimsuit and large parka, she’d wander

into the car with her eyes still full of sleep. She’d jump into the pool—

jolted by its cold, unforgiving arms—and swim until she felt like she was

floating weightlessly beneath the dark sky that eventually gave way to

pink, purple, and blue.h

She liked this feeling, the emptiness.

She would have liked to lie like this forever, feeling the water envelop

her limbs as she stared into the overcast clouds. She’d think about Baba,

before closing her eyes and sinking down to the bottom.

At breakfast, her teammates happily gulped down hearty sandwiches

layered with crispy pieces of bacon, gooey globs of melted cheese, and

soft pillowy bites of scrambled egg.

Luo Luo would have nothing, smiling at them before skipping away.

Kristie Song

“I left breakfast in my locker! I’ll see you later!”

And as she turned away, her smile would fade. She would have nothing

that morning,

perhaps nothing that day. Her stomach growled, fighting her as she

pinched at it.

Tai pang le, tai pang le.

Wu Can, Lunch

Luo Luo cried and howled, trembling with nausea and exhaustion. She’d

done it again.

What the hell!

She bit down hard, and her face trembled as she began to bleed. She

threw her fists at the air, pummeling nothing until they fell at her sides.

What the fuck is wrong with you!

Through her blurred vision, she took in the chaos she’d created: the empty

jar of peanut butter, the empty bread bag, the empty and torn wrappers

of chocolate, the empty bowls (and bowls, and bowls) that she had

dumped oatmeal, cereal, milk, and repeat into, until her stomach bulged

with a painful “stop!”.

It started with just one, because she had been so ravenous.

And then it became a little more—just a little more—until all she could

do was cram everything into her mouth, first delighting at the tastes and

then continuing because she was unstoppable. She was numb. Her brain

screamed with pleasure, and she chewed, slurped, and swallowed without


Pang pang pang!

Er Da Niang’s voice cackled in her ears.

The tears streamed down her face this time, beating down on her thighs,

the same thighs she stared down at eight years ago at that dinner table.

You are pathetic.

Luo Luo couldn’t discern whose voice it was anymore.

The numbness swallowed her whole, and she began to sink again.

Tian Dian, Dessert

“Are you throwing up? Tell me the truth”.

Mama looked into her eyes, though they wandered and landed on anything


everything but her gaze.

“Tell me!”

Kristie Song

The woman had grown gray and weary since 2009—her arms ached with

exhaustion from toiling at the local insurance firm she worked at—and

she tried and tried and failed again and again to understand her daughter.

Luo Luo gritted her teeth before whispering a weak, “no”.

She knew her mother had grown suspicious at her frequent trips to the

bathroom after dinner, at the way she’d sneak packages of Oreos into

her bedroom, at how she’d pick at her food—shoving it back and forth

and back and forth with her chopsticks—before quietly putting her bowl

away and retreating to her room.

They never discussed it though.

“Please, just tell me what’s wrong! It’s school isn’t it?”

Luo Luo shook her head. Please understand me.

“Is someone hurting you?”


Like water droplets on a car window during a rainy day.

Luo Luo shook her head again. You don’t get it.

“Then tell me, bao bei!”

She choked on her sobs now, and remembered her Baba. She hadn’t

thought of him in some time, knowing how crushed he’d have been

knowing his bao bei was starving herself. Knowing that every time she

looked in the mirror, she recoiled at her reflection.

Knowing that when every time someone asked her if she was alright, that

she’d smile until her eyes disappeared into reassuring half-crescents and

nod until they left her alone.

Mama held her close, the first time since Luo Luo was a child, and they

both cried into one another.

Dui bu qi, bao bei.

I am so sorry, baby.

Kristie Song



Chubby, awkward, sinews soft

Nerves tangled like dusty November

Jumbled Christmas light set of synapses

Plugged and blinking in some garage box

While muscles in the next room are reading an RL Stine book

Oblivious to any signals


Could never move like they could

Other sons of other fathers girded for adventure

Waiting like a ticking clock in the summer front lawn

Voices blaring in with the bright beams of sun through

The front kitchen window

“C’mon, Chunk, let’s go!”

As artistry prevails over the artifice of any set schedule,


Stood with God knife making mountains

Civilized peanut butter flooded with Cataclysm jelly

Creator smashing Creation under a second plane of White Bread

Blared beams and boys through window drowned with art

Sustenance for adventure

“C’mon you fat fuck!”


Marvel at Creation and

Lick lips imagining tongue on grit and grain and

Sweet river exploding beneath destruction

Foreseeing a parched desert wanderer, mirage-leaning

Built a vending machine between two green palm trees.

Sustenance for adventure

Wisdom and voice and art can propel the spirit but

Physical too needs nourishment, coordination, talents

And a pbj can not undo disarray of muscles


Sons set off, beaming on bikes

Minds beset with excitement of escapade

You boasting of your sandwich

Jonathan Barrett Cott

Weaving and wandering already

Muddled mess of muscles pushing pedals, inarticulate

Still in the neighborhood

How the parked car does move!

Barrels toward the unassuming hungry braggart


Already eating the mirage between words

No amount of sons seeking some Girl in Garden Grove could intervene

Chubby, awkward, sinews soft

Crashed into the parked Buick by Billy’s Grandma’s home

“Are you okay Chunk?”

Tangled like dusty November Christmas lights in aluminum bike frame

Creator jumbled, the world went dark

But You:

Eyes opened, world alight again,

Saw Atlas’ Arm holding the world and art in his fingers

Cataclysm oozing out the sides

No amount of physical coordination could ever supersede

Art protected by its Creator and

The Creator’s Sacrifice for his art

Jonathan Barrett Cott

Green Josie

Josephina Theresa Valentina Brooks


as a child i

was told to fall to my knees,

and absolve the bitter sin

of my own wretched existence,

a bastard child with a

ghost of a father,

an island girl who prays

to a foreigner’s god

and i never found religion

in tear-stained pleas at night,

but the plump of her lips

stained red like the blood of christ,

intoxicating as the first taste of church wine

pressed against my teeth,

melting on my tongue like

the bread representing

our savior’s body

i light a candle for her altar

resting on our nightstand

and whisper her prayer

as she answers me,

drowning me in faith,

granting me heaven,

the blasphemous rituals

of pagan gods.

Amanda Angelina Hall

swạsdī kin kĥāw

siddhartha went to my mother’s catholic school

but that doesn’t mean he knows anything about the universe

even if he is made of star dark stone

and he watches over the house

there’s a lot lost in bangkok that i don’t know

in temples and in suicides

in maids that slit their wrists

and jumped over high walls

in one baby royal refugee

there’s a river, i know

that separates most of my family

and something about the vietnam war

something about bombs

and villages

and my grandfather who converted to christianity on his deathbed

because he wanted to know he was going to some sort of hell for it

but the grit in my name is scattered in break

like bad prose

mị̀ dī prose, ngò prose

mạn mị̀chı̀ khuṇ prose

and roses, roses, roses on vowels on caskets on everything

if i’m still growing then tell me why my roots look like this

Serena Storm Jamison is a queer poet from Los Angeles. They like playing Stardew

Valley with their girlfriend and long walks on the beach.

Serena Storm Jamison

El Mercado | The Marketplace

The sun beats down...literally

this heat suffocates and warms my skin so much it burns

the whole town is a sea of caramel, coffee, cinnamon colored skin

I no longer know

is it from genetics or the abusive sun?

The heat rises up through the terra cotta colored ground

and warms my sandals through the sole

next to me, bright green guayaba fruits lay smushed

the shiny peels reflecting light from the sun

always the sun

and further along I step on spit up pumpkin seeds

from the chapped lips of the old men and women

who spend their lives draped over plastic chairs on the side walk

Stepping into the market I wrinkle my nose in disgust

the smell of rotting produce and fresh raw meats mixes together

amplified by the heat that wafts in from the outside

always the goddamn sun

I squeeze my way in between the mass of people

weaving in and around and behind and through

the buzzing conversations

the sound of the flies

the shouts from young boys selling colorful fruits

fill my ears

Rumors and gossip in flittering whispers

seem to cause an occasional breeze

that flows through my hair and brushes past my ears

and connects me to neighbors and friends

the air moves through the short trees and rustles leaves

leaving as quickly as it came

condensation forms on the glass carts

where vendors sell sweet vanilla ice cream

or fresh fruit cups, the bright reds of juicy watermelons

intermixing with oranges and crisp jicama

finally, refuge.

Audrey Lopez-Valdez


is flat, straight, simple, and plain.

The streets are old and full of white lines and

alleyways where old men smoke

and young men smoke

and a woman with bleached-blonde hair

laughs “Are you lost?” in Japanese

or maybe in English, and smokes

outside the Family-Mart by the

indoor street. The air in Nakano

is hard to breathe.

The air everywhere is

hard to breathe.

Victoria Surace-Aguirre is a fourth year English major at UCI working toward an

Emphasis in Creative Writing. This is her first time having a poem featured in a journal,

so she’s very excited to be here to share it with you. Almost as excited as she is for the

free snacks.

Victoria May Surace-Aguirre

Sincerely, a Jungle Asian

all i have are questions:

first –

can you teach me how to hold the sun in my hands

even when it beats my back

in a constant reminder that I should be sweating more than others –

and speaking of sweat

do you think this fountain of humidity

will dampen my chances of a straight spine?

one that doesn’t wilt in the face of beauty or brilliance?

one that will make me believe – perhaps –

that I have those too?

and how about this ground?

the asphalt that chars my feet and leaves footprints

cascading down through the middle of the pews where

i kneel underneath a floating crucifix of my Papa Jesus

and ask Him whether sacrifice has a color –

and that if we weren’t painted that shade,

would it be called a tragedy instead?


my skin is the color of coffee stains and stale pages while yours

is a concoction of confectioner’s sugar, fresh cotton,

and the crisp walls of Santorini

your berry-kissed lips are my hideous crayon-dyed disaster

you are chiseled and porcelain,

delicate and enigmatic

i am crooked and squat, fragile and plain

when i crave, i taste

bowls of radish, carrots, bean sprouts

bathed in red paste, paired with savory brisket or pork or fish,

scarlet flakes, seaweed garnish, pillows of rice

Francesca Anne Nabong Querol


my favorite flavor is yours

my favorite song is yours

my favorite facade is yours

a language of bubbles, culture, music, and charm all come down to the

same thing

you are one race

i am another

how do i take pride in who i am, where i’m from, and what i stand for

if all i’ve only ever known is how turn away from my roots and appreciate

someone else’s?

My name is Francesca and I am a fourth year, public health Filipino-American student

who enjoys writing and the writing community. Contact me through Facebook if you ever

want a reader/writing buddy please! Thank you New Forum for existing as a space for us

to share and discuss words!

Francesca Anne Nabong Querol

I’m Off

Sophia Danielle Caruso


I left a chunk of myself in a citrus orchard this past summer.

There, among oranges and

foliage, lies a piece of me still. Perhaps, one day when it’s citrus season

again I will return to pick up my remains, as well as a tangerine or two,

but for now I am in no hurry.

I didn’t actually pick any fruit that summer day though the idea

had buzzed in my mind. July is my birthday month but it’s also the

month that I sat beneath an orange tree next to the first boy I fell in love

with. I can’t remember for the life of me what had brought us there that

day, but I do remember that the ground we sat on was jagged and rocky.

The sunlight was hitting the surrounding orange trees in a way that was

warm to look at, and I realized quickly that it was the same warmth I had

tried to emulate at home when I had hastily painted my room yellow.

Everything in the orchard buzzed with heat that day, so it really made no

sense that the hand I held was cold. I turned my gaze away from oranges

and the lemons and tangerines in favor of the floor. Seconds passed with

a throbbing ache, but there was nothing I could do. He had driven us.


I turned my head and suddenly he had hold of both my hand and

my gaze. Two years prior, the eyes looking back at me had left me constantly

overwhelmed. They were permanently wide and clear, and when

he spoke they burned with sincerity. When someone with eyes like

those whispers that they love you into your neck on your first date, it’s

easy for the words to tumble out in return whether or not you want them


Those eyes were as wide as ever that day in the citrus orchard,

but any attempts to read them left me feeling illiterate. He wore his silent

composure like armor, and I couldn’t understand why. I couldn’t hurt him

if I wanted to. He knew that.

A few weeks in the future I would sit on my hands and hope that

this would be the year he would get me something for my birthday. In the

present moment, under the orange tree, I would hold my breath and pray

he would be kind. False hope filled the cracks between us so perfectly

that I often forgot they were there at all. Would he tell me he loved me

today? That I was beautiful? That he thought these fruit trees were lovely

too and that maybe we would grow our own someday? Would he offer to

Sandra Del Carmen Sandria

take me home?

“You should suck my dick,” he said.

I looked back at the floor, disappointment burning in the back of

my throat. This is the part where I leave, I thought. I wanted to, but immediately,

my mind conjured up images of the lunch he bought me that

day. Guilt weighed heavily in my chest as I remembered the promises I

had made years ago to love him forever. At some point he had gotten

underneath my skin and latched on. We had exchanged the word “over

dependent” a few times, but lately we exchanged

hardly any words at all.

“Really? Here? In front of the lemons?” I replied. It was too

difficult to pretend to laugh.

Suddenly, I was so tired. Had I been strong once? I couldn’t remember.

He stayed serious and grew silent, and I briefly feared that he

could hear the blood pounding in my head. When he withdrew his hand

from mine, I was certain he could. The orchard would have felt less lonely

if it had just been me and the orange trees.

“I’m sorry. We can do what you want. I was just joking,” I said

quickly. I went back to staring at the glowy colors of the orange trees.

Wouldn’t it be nice if he had gotten up and picked me an orange? Perhaps

he could have peeled it for me. I thought that in return I could give

him half of my slices and was immediately disappointed in myself. Every

fantasy my mind conjured up was always fatally flawed. He hated fruit

because it was too sweet.

He stared at me for a while and I wondered if I was really shrinking

before his eyes or if it just felt like it.

“Want to go sit in my car for a while then?” he suggested.

What I really wanted was to sit in the orchard for longer. I wanted

to sit and talk and laugh, and I wanted him to say I’m sorry I hurt you

all of the time. I wanted him to ask how my mom was, and I wanted him

to pick me a fucking orange. I wanted to cry and cry but most of all

I wanted him to leave so I could sit and watch lizards sunbathe on the

same kinds of rocks we had forced ourselves to sit on. I wanted to paint

the orchard. I loved it there.

“Okay,” I heard myself say. What I wanted no longer mattered.

Sandra Del Carmen Sandria

Not even to myself.

I stood up and brushed off the seat of my pants, and it was then

that a part of me fell away and stayed in the patchy grass under that orange


In about half an hour, I would be in the backseat of my first

love’s car, and I would be begging him to please not fuck me. I would tell

him that I didn’t have enough money to buy the morning after pill again

and that we hadn’t been back together for very long and that I didn’t

trust him yet and that he had promised we could take it slow. It was there

pressed against the back of his front seat that I would be ignored in a

way I had never been ignored before. I would close my eyes and think of

men in dark alleyways that grabbed women and took what they wanted.

I would think of movies and the way women screamed and thrashed and

punched with all they had. I would think about the stillness of my own

body and the silence that filled the car. My own narrative grew to feel

alien as the boy who took me to my senior prom breathed heavily

onto the back of my neck and convinced himself that this was normal.

When he was done he would spoon feed me “I love you’s” and then force

feed me “don’t be childish.” For dessert he served me, “Don’t go telling

people I raped you or something.” I would swallow it all, put my pants

on and call him my boyfriend for six more months.

But for that last moment in the orchard, the sky was ridiculously

blue. A butterfly landed not far from where I stood, and I thought that

perhaps the silent boy beside me would hold me for a while in his car

and then take me home. Among the sunset colors of the orchard there

was still hope. It would be the last time in a long time that the world

would feel safe, and it would be the last time in a long time that I would

feel whole. Though in the future, vulnerability and intimacy would prove

themselves difficult, the piece of me left by the oranges is peeled, raw,

and still believes love could never possibly hurt. She thinks only of the

sun on her skin and of her curfew.

Sandra Sandria is a third year transfer student and is still figuring out how to resist the

urge to buy a Jamba Juice smoothie every day. She’s a biological sciences major and

recently adopted a succulent from Home Depot (the succulent has been named Papaya).

Writing has always been a hobby for her and she plans on doing it forever!

Sandra Del Carmen Sandria

Deceitful Oak

Cameron Franklin Harrison

The Insult (By a Mouth Breather)

Nobody cares says the desk

Punctuated with a hastily made, asymmetrical smiling face.

Is this hate in a tunnel

Lobotomy by overencumbered minecart

Does it ever fly off the tracks?

Do you have trouble crying?

Did you ever have a mother

She would stick her finger in between the shattered blades

And tell you to sit up straight.

What rainbows have you seen

That made your father call to your loving sister and brother and dog

Begging them to come look, they might miss it.

Why did that song, so many times repeated

Those nights caressed by the whispers of twilight

the enchanting, satisfied choir of crickets and oak

What kept it from being sung

a hum by mum and off pitch by dad.

How many miles was the dinner table?

Riposte says the shard of mirror

Blunt and sloppily dipped in tar

Stabbing blindly in the dark.

Is it desperate for rainbows it’s never seen

Songs it’s never heard

It hungers for the truth

So the reflection says

I take everything that I struggle to avoid telling myself

And I will use them to insult you

That is why it works so well.

Hunter is a Santa Barbara filmmaker and transfer student.

Hunter Cruz Lum

A Poem For My Fathers

“Why does a man cry? He wondered.

Not like a woman; not for that. Not

For sentiment. A man cries over the

The loss of something, something alive.”

- Phillip K. Dick ‘Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said.’

I doubt women cry as much as we do.

We sucking down oxygen as if beached next

To an ocean. The proof is Plath, her head in the oven as in mediation

& not exile.

Onassis in the back seat piecing together decapitation when

she could’ve been ducking for cover preventing her own.

We inherited this river through our fathers channeled in part by

Our mothers. Their bodies already a sea.

Parched because water could not go back into them as

much as it went out; Worried some of them may

have married the wrong women.


My mother told me of my father, shortly after I was born,

took a hit of LSD, locked himself in a room of smoke &

Never fully came out of it, suppose the crying

Never stopped. She, however, walked backwards into silence

As if we had an understanding. It had not been since

Mentioned. Though, I can’t stop picturing my father duct taping

The door shut, foam at his mouth, the music of it all

Funeralistic or at least he heard it this way. That’s when his

Love, all men’s love, of willows began, how they’re

Always draping over a sea, so cautious of the water they’ve

Evolved around. If he or his father before him ever

Came wondering out of that sea, how much closer they

Would be to drowning, more drowned if they

Ever learned to move their arms when the water would hit

Them this way.

Though I’ve heard, when inhaling water, it’s not about the

Bottomless distance of seabed to sunrise, the

Inches from open water to land’s end but if

Someone is watching.

Like how we all watch a building when it burns & do

Nothing of it, crying not for the men who

Built it but for collapse, sweet infrastructure.

Bryan Angel lives in a music box, he revolves around a circular object in melody, his

steel teeth are plucked and are sometimes bright.

The melody is Miss You by Trentemoller. The music will eventually stop.

Bryan Angel

youRx problem

Ashley A. Lai


The poster with the cat hanging on a tree branch with it’s two front paws

gives the advice to take care of my mental health. But what about my

metal health? Metal lasts only if you take care of it and I don’t want

to rust. Does silver get shined? Or polished? Is that an actual thing? Is

cutlery even made out of silver in this economy? The knives and bread

knives and forks and dessert forks and spoons and teaspoons will be

stacked and clean and lemon smelling. I won’t mind the dents on my water

bottle anymore. I won’t wince at the sound when I drop it. I’ll figure

out what cast iron is made of, learn how to maintain my shape in the fire,

practice choosing to stay when everything surrounding is in ashes. This

door knob is brass and squeaks from lack of use. It will only go silent if

my smile is a welcome mat, my hands a doorbell, myself a door.

Chloe Low is a first year English and Literary Journalism major. She lives in Sacramento

County and enjoys origami and pointing out the moon to people.

Chloe Low


Vanessa Vi Le

Turn Me Like Taffy

I take from the angst and turn it like taffy,

Your hands hook me by my middle and stretch me thin.

All I want is to be sweet for you, something you spend your last nickel


Plop me in your kisser, I want to feel your mouth water,

No light can find me- not when I’m with you.

They call my name but, sweetie, nothing exists in here but you,

They try to call me back from you but my mind runs fuzzy from the

sugar I gave-

All to you: a child in a candy store.

I’m but one of the many sweets you suck and hold between your teeth;

I’m but one cavity on the sweet tooth of a selfish child.

Shakira Anays Noriega

Colors on the Sidewalk

Yuna Jo

Ode to Laundry and Clean Clothes in General

I hate that you use such a generic laundry detergent,


Your scent is the number one leading brand of America.

It lives on in washing machines around the country,

Stuck in my nose when I visit the laundromat-

A perfect metaphor for our love,

That goes round and round,

Only to get sopping wet and shriveled,

And to be dry by yet another cycle,

Coming out hot and with one less sock.

But in the end,

I’ll always scrounge up more quarters to return,


Even though I hate smelling you,

The scent soothes me on my Sunday visits to the laundromat-

My poor man’s church.

Calliope Zehra Arkilic


i. baby i’m feelin’ thinned skinned again / i forgot my shoes again /

someone broke a bottle on the sidewalk & left the pieces / and i am

walking across the concrete at noon in this summer heat / and my feet are

blistering & bleeding again. // all this is to say i am lonely & reminding

myself you are not again.

ii. of course the devil lives in california. / don’t you remember? / two

years ago i saw him dancin’ down the street in berkeley / & i was overcome

with fear. // joseph got his seven years of feasting before the lean

times; what did i get?

iii. my home is you. / was you. / i do not have a home anymore / have

never had a home, i suppose / and what does that say that i am better off

for it?

iv. i owe you nothing. / but i made a vow to you once that i was okay if

we were okay / and i broke it even as i made it & i am sorry for that. /

after all this time, / i have never stopped being angry. // not once.

v. you’ve seen me smile, fang-toothed & feral / i am in no mood for

parties or for funerals today / it is like this: the sadness fills my lungs & i

cannot move / and then the rage creeps in & i am on fire, rabid again // i

am always on the edge of madness / even if the teeth are just for show

K Persinger is a southern californian poet and an undergraduate student double majoring

in Comparative Literature and Anthropology, and double minoring in Archaeology

and Gender & Sexuality Studies. Their work has previously been published in The Wall,

Neon Anteater Renaissance, New Forum, Rising Phoenix Review, L’Éphémère Review,

and Werkloos Mag, as well as on their blog https://ashandabstraction.tumblr.com.

K Persinger

Back of House - Isaac #2

John Walter Novak

Interview with Professor Jayne Lewis

New Forum’s New Faculty Advisor by Sarah Mayo

What has been your relationship to creative writing?

When I was a young girl, I wanted to be a novelist and I really thought that

would be my life. I wrote stories and poems endlessly. And somehow I

drifted away from that into academic writing and literary criticism, in lots

of ways because it seemed safer and because there were rules there that

weren’t necessarily there before. But I always kept that other side of myself

alive, and over time I came to see them as very much part of the same

process and the whole experience of being in the world and using language

to inhabit the world. I realized that when I’m doing critical writing, the

times when I feel like that’s going really smoothly are the times when I’m

also writing creatively — there’s just a wonderful flow between the two. It

also plays out in terms of reading; I always make sure I’m reading a novel,

every day, even if it’s just 15 pages…. I feel like you can’t be a good

writer unless you love reading, whether it’s fiction or academic writing.

The interweaving of those two processes has been really important for me.

What area of literary criticism is your focus?

My official field is the Restoration in the 18th century, which I love because

it’s such a transitional time in literary history – it’s where you get the

rise of the novel, you get Romantic poetry bursting out of Neoclassicism,

and you have some fascinating experimentalism. In many ways it’s like

all bets are off, even though at that time they also loved order and discipline

…That’s my historical field. I also have a lot of research interests,

such as religion in literature, Gothicism in literature, the supernatural, and

medical humanities – that’s the one that my work is currently revolving

around. Most recently I was working with a friend in the medical school

on an article about Frankenstein, seeing the novel as a metaphor for doctor-patient

relationships and where can they go wrong. It was wonderful

to be collaborating, especially since writing can be such a lonely thing.

You’re also working on a novel right now?

Yes – well, theoretically! A couple of years ago I got really interested

in mysticism, and in what happened to Jewish and Catholic forms of

mysticism with the emergence of Protestantism. I’m also working with

Sarah Mayo

the idea of sleep right now, and what happens

to the soul during sleep. I definitely think that

as I move away from my teaching career I’ll

be moving more into the creative side of things.

Do you have any words of wisdom for

younger writers who are still finding what

they want to write about?

Writing is something you have to do by yourself,

particularly creative writing. There’s so much

self-confrontation, and so much of it is an act of

faith — it’s so easy to back away from that. But I think the most important

thing about writing is to always be doing it, even when you think

you’re not doing it, to just show up, consistently and persistently. Even

if you’re writing stuff that you know will never see the light of day, the

act of it is what’s important, to stay in touch with it even at times when

you feel disheartened. It’s writ-ing, it’s an action, not something that you

produce. Even if it’s pure stream-of-consciousness, it’s about the physical

process. And the other thing is to take yourself seriously as a writer. You

really have to think in terms of form, to be aware of the genres and forms

that our society has made available to us. Particularly for poetry, but for

fiction too – every story is formally ordered if it’s a good story. I feel as

if, to realize yourself as a writer — and I do feel that writers make themselves

— you have to understand and respect language, and to always

be reading. It can kill a creative spirit to be analyzing all the time, so it

doesn’t necessarily have to be that, only reading. Writing so lonely, and the

reading is the thing that allows us to surmount that loneliness, because it’s

what puts you in the community of other writers and other minds. Always

be reading, always be thinking about it. Test it and be in it and love it.

Sarah Mayo

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