SandScript 2022

Art & Literature Magazine

Art & Literature Magazine


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Technicolor Dreamskull<br />

Reed Coffey<br />

Oil on Canvas<br />

About<br />

<strong>SandScript</strong><br />

<strong>SandScript</strong> is the art and literature magazine of Pima Community College, Tucson, AZ,<br />

and is published annually at the end of the spring semester. All works of prose,<br />

poetry, and visual art that appear in <strong>SandScript</strong> are created by students attending<br />

Pima Community College. Students interested in participating on the editorial staff<br />

of <strong>SandScript</strong> take Literature Magazine Workshop (WRT 162) in the spring semester<br />

and apply for the various roles on the staff. This course is limited to twelve<br />

students and a student design editor is hired for the design work. These student<br />

editors, all of whom have interests in writing or art, learn through engaging in the<br />

editorial process with their peers.<br />

<strong>SandScript</strong> received the first place award in the national contest for collegiate<br />

magazines held by the Community College Humanities Association in 2015, 2016, 2017,<br />

2018, and 2019. (The contest has been on hold during pandemic years.)<br />

<strong>SandScript</strong> Art and Literature Magazine <strong>2022</strong> reflects the changing times by offering<br />

a historic release of the magazine in both print and digital forms. Despite the<br />

challenges of enticing submissions from a scattered and disrupted student body<br />

(not to mention the startling cost of paper), this year’s talented, thoughtful, and<br />

inventive staff worked diligently to select and coalesce work that would stand as<br />

testimony to the enduring brightness of creativity in the face of profound difficulty.<br />

Frankie Rollins<br />

Faculty Advisor<br />

Please follow us on:<br />

VR Gallerie on:<br />

@_sandscript<br />

@ Pima <strong>SandScript</strong><br />

“Technicolor Dreamskull” is the product of over a decade of<br />

experience and experiments with light, color, and oil paint.<br />

Pima Community College’s Michael Nolan has helped me<br />

harness and refine my technique, leading to the explosion of<br />

colors that speaks of a second chance at life and beauty, even after<br />

the subject’s time in the sun has passed. It seems fitting to me<br />

because Pima also represents a new direction in my life, and the<br />

chance to reinvent myself in a way that I hope helps me bring<br />

new light into the world.<br />

~Reed Coffey<br />

See <strong>SandScript</strong> on the Yumpu Platform for digital versions of 2020, 2021, and <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

Consider supporting student artists by making a donation to <strong>SandScript</strong>. For<br />

information about making a donation to <strong>SandScript</strong>, please send us an email at:<br />

sandscript@pima.edu<br />

(All donations will go towards student awards and are not used for production or printing. Donations can be tax-deductible.)<br />

2<br />


Editor's Letter:<br />

XXX<br />

edition<br />

, year three of the Coronavirus pandemic. After having lost so much<br />

<strong>2022</strong> we are finally starting to shift to some semblance of normalcy. It’s<br />

incredible to think of all the ways our lives have had to adapt: social isolation,<br />

face masks, career changes, financial instability. For some not much changed<br />

besides dealing with the mandates, and for others it altered their entire lives.<br />

Even <strong>SandScript</strong> faced a tragedy last year; we lost a beautiful young soul, Ocean<br />

Washington, one of our former poetry editors, who was only 21 years old, a<br />

dedicated student of the world, a doting father and a fierce friend. It was my<br />

pleasure to work with him on the 2021 edition and to be able to call him my<br />

friend. We mourn his passing, but he will forever be a part of <strong>SandScript</strong>’s history.<br />

I have been honored to be the Editor-in-Chief of <strong>SandScript</strong> for the past two<br />

years and to work with so many talented people. This has been the best part of<br />

the pandemic for me. This year's staff was small but we were determined to create<br />

something beautiful and powerful to show that art can stem from anywhere. It can be derived from any emotion,<br />

grief, love, hopelessness, or faith, and these incredible artists and authors have entrusted us with their work, a part of<br />

their soul, in hopes to convey those emotions in the best way they know how.<br />


Editor-In-Chief & Managing Editor<br />

Raiden Lopez<br />

This year’s edition is full of raw, powerful and expressive art. We received more written works this year than before.<br />

It’s fascinating that while last year we saw a lot more stories about grief and surviving the process of a pandemic, this<br />

year we see more hope for the future, self love, romantic partnerships and the importance of the bonds of friendship<br />

and family. We can see the shift from the overwhelming emotions of the past two years to finally accepting and<br />

adapting to what life can be. These talented artists and authors made me feel a myriad of ways while reviewing their<br />

pieces. I cried as I read about someone helping a recovering addict, since I have personally experienced this with<br />

my own brother. I have felt elated reading about someone who is passionate about their partner after leaving a toxic<br />

relationship. I felt transported to a gorgeous bridge and other mountain views that were an escape from city life, and<br />

so many other visions.<br />

Assistant Editor & Prose Editor<br />

Visual Arts Editor & Social Media Manager<br />

Editorial Designer & Graphics Designer<br />

Prose Editor & Unveiling Event Planner<br />

Poetry Editor & Industry Outreach Coordinator<br />

Lee Barker<br />

Isaac Zierenberg<br />

Brandon Robles<br />

Carol Spitler Korhonen<br />

Shane Veno<br />

I’m awestruck looking back at all that we have overcome, and it reminds me that we all persevere, to fight for the best lives<br />

for ourselves, our children, and our loved ones. Human beings are flawed but we are indomitable in our determination to<br />

rise in the midst of such uncertainty and grief. Life will never be the same after all that has transpired but we will endure<br />

just as we always have and that gives me hope for the future my son is going to grow up in.<br />

What we have accomplished this year is amazing and I am so proud to have worked with the editors, writers, and<br />

artists of <strong>SandScript</strong>. I feel so blessed to have been a part of this magazine and I never would have known about it<br />

if it had not been for my teacher, my mentor, Frankie Rollins. Thank you for inviting me to be a part of its history;<br />

these years working with you and the staff will be amongst my fondest academic memories. I want everyone to take<br />

a moment to appreciate what we have achieved and know that it is no easy feat to live life in these times but take<br />

every win no matter how small it may seem and I encourage you all to make your own art, no matter what form it<br />

takes because the world needs it.<br />

4<br />

Faculty Advisor<br />

Frankie Rollins<br />

5<br />

Raiden Lopez<br />

Editor-in-Chief - Raiden Lopez


Artist's Notes on the Cover<br />

About <strong>SandScript</strong><br />

Editorial Board<br />

Editor's Letter<br />

Featured Artists<br />

<strong>SandScript</strong> Staff<br />

Saint - Isabel Orozco<br />

Missed Turn - Reed Coffey<br />


The World Will Thank Me - Matthew Ball<br />

Mission Mannor Abandoned Swimming Pool - Isaac Frisby<br />

2<br />

3<br />

4<br />

5<br />

104<br />

112<br />

#<br />

12<br />

14<br />

15<br />

17<br />

Neen - Isaac Zierenberg<br />

Peacock Passion - Rosemarie Dominguez<br />

Extra Sauce - Ginger Green<br />

Best Friend - Ashley Deniz-Thompson<br />

We Fell in Dance - Brandon Robles<br />

Bat - Portia Cooper<br />

Study in Yellow - Rachel Franco<br />

Study in Violet - Rachel Franco<br />

Sim in Her Shop - Isaac Zierenberg<br />

51<br />

55<br />

57<br />

58<br />

60-61<br />

63<br />

66<br />

66<br />

71<br />

Study in Blue Violet - Rachel Franco<br />

Gates Pass - Isaac Frisby<br />

Woman in Pond - Evon Perez<br />

Wildflower - Evon Perez<br />

Crazy Jim - Mya Palacios<br />

West Clear Creek - Reed Coffey<br />

Astra - Max Miracolo<br />

Hare - Portia Cooper<br />

Cactopus - Natacha Vouilloz<br />

Dusk - Max Miracolo<br />

Izzy - Isabel Orozco<br />

Invisible Man - Evon Perez<br />

Parley's Canyon - Isaac Zierenberg<br />

19<br />

21<br />

22<br />

23<br />

25<br />

26<br />

28<br />

29<br />

30<br />

32<br />

35<br />

36<br />

39<br />

PROSE<br />

Handiwork of a Lazy Priest - Travis Cooper<br />

Los Metalicos - Victor Valdivia<br />

Arms of the Wind - Christian Anderson<br />

Planetary Extinction Club - Travis Cooper<br />

8-Ball Cannonball - Isaac Zierenberg<br />

Haunted - Aiden Schwarz<br />

Rough Ground - Carol Spitler Korhonen<br />

Differences - Leah Lancaster<br />

Porcelain - J Saldivar<br />

Endless Journey - Elizabeth Lowe<br />

What is COVID-19 Grandma? - Carol Spitler Korhonen<br />

#<br />

14-15<br />

18-19-20<br />

22-23<br />

27-28-29<br />

38-41<br />

44<br />

48-49-50<br />

54-55<br />

59<br />

62<br />

72<br />

Shell Sign - Isaac Zierenberg<br />

40<br />

Twisted - Portia Cooper<br />

45<br />

Triple Shot - Ginger Green<br />

6<br />

46<br />



#<br />

Los Metalicos [Full Version] - Victor Valdivia<br />

73~79<br />

Fear & Your Eyes Tell - Elizabeth Badowski<br />

80-81<br />

What Nothing Feels Like - Victor Valdivia<br />

82~91<br />

POETRY<br />

Soloho - Lisa Periale Martin<br />

Already Pre-empted by Their Echoes - Shane Veno<br />

Lag Time - Shane Veno<br />

#<br />

13<br />

16<br />

24<br />

Whisperings Wings of the Knowing - Rosemarie Dominguez<br />

One Example of the Hazy History of the United States' Drug Policy - Collin Bryant<br />

Pandemic's Collateral - Elizabeth Badowski<br />

Atomic Winds Whisper in the Land of Enchantment - Rosemarie Dominguez<br />

93~96<br />

97-98<br />

99-100<br />

101-102<br />

Alma Eterna en el Desierto - Natacha Vouilloz<br />

31<br />

Eternal Soul in the Desert - Natacha Vouilloz<br />

31<br />

Savory Devotion - Sharelle Johnson<br />

33<br />

Alianza Indigena - Angelique Matus<br />

34<br />

No Comment - Lisa Periale Martin<br />

37<br />

Out of Tune - Alex Bacani<br />

42<br />

To Be Forgotten by One's Own Mother - Lisa Periale Martin<br />

43<br />

Mother's Toolbox - Christeen Bates<br />

47<br />

Death Claptrap - Carol Spitler Korhonen<br />

52-53<br />

Generational Cycles - Alex Bacani<br />

56<br />

Los Cuatro Bailando Juntos - Fernanda Cueva<br />

60-61<br />

The Four Dancing Together - Fernanda Cueva<br />

60-61<br />

Gracias por Existir en Este Aqui y en Este Ahora - Fernanda Cueva<br />

64<br />

Thank You for Existing Right Here Right Now - Fernanda Cueva<br />

64<br />

Winter Doesn't Last Forever - Amaya Fimbres<br />

67<br />

The Ordinaries' Mindset - Eric S Cerda<br />

68-69<br />

Where Are You? - Rachel Baird<br />

70<br />

Award Winners<br />

Special Thanks<br />

10<br />

11<br />

8<br />


·<br />

·<br />

·<br />

2 0 2 2<br />

Award Winners<br />

We would like to give a special thank you to<br />

our wonderful judges for giving their time.<br />

Prose: Mariah Young<br />

Poetry: Gabriel Palacios<br />

Visual Art: Anh-Thuy Nguyen<br />

Special Thanks<br />

We would like to give special thanks and utmost gratitude to the following individuals:<br />

10<br />

P<br />

A<br />

P<br />

A<br />

V<br />

A<br />

O<br />

W<br />

R<br />

W<br />

I<br />

W<br />

E<br />

S<br />

A<br />

O<br />

A<br />

T<br />

U<br />

A<br />

R<br />

S<br />

R<br />

R<br />

A<br />

R<br />

E<br />

Y<br />

D<br />

·<br />

D<br />

L<br />

·<br />

·<br />

D<br />

1 st N atacha V ouilloz Alma Eterna en el Desierto<br />

/ Eternal Soul in the Desert<br />

3 rd E von P erez<br />

Invisible Man<br />

2 nd<br />

3 rd<br />

1 st<br />

2 nd<br />

3 rd<br />

A ngelique M atus<br />

A lex B acani<br />

T ravis C ooper<br />

I saac Z ierenberg<br />

A iden S chwarz<br />

Alianza Indigena<br />

Generational Cycles<br />

Handiwork of a Lazy Priest<br />

8-Ball Cannonball<br />

Haunted<br />

1 st I saac Z ierenberg Neen<br />

2 nd G inger G reen<br />

Extra Sauce<br />

Lee Lambert<br />

Chancellor<br />

Dr. Dolores Durán-Cerda<br />

Provost and Executive Vice-Chancellor<br />

David Dore<br />

President of Campuses and Executive Vice-Chancellor<br />

Kenneth Chavez<br />

Dean of Communications Division<br />

Pima Community College Foundation<br />

Maggie Golston<br />

West Campus Department Head<br />

Dina L. Doolen<br />

Marketing & Communications<br />

Paul Schwalbach<br />

Director, Marketing & Communications<br />

Angela Moreno<br />

Communications at Downtown Campus<br />

Rachel Araiza<br />

Human Resources Specialist<br />

Josh Manis | Pima Post<br />

Pima Community College Faculty and Staff<br />

Pima Community College Board of Governors:<br />

Catherine Ripley<br />

Demion Clinco<br />

Maria D. Garcia<br />

Dr. Meredith Hay<br />

Luis L. Gonzalez<br />


Soloho<br />

Lisa Periale Martin<br />

we shared a birthday<br />

the ides of March<br />

60 years apart<br />

Hopi healer used<br />

his words, his weathered hands<br />

directing a great energy<br />

to move and balance<br />

me as a teen<br />

his trickster smile<br />

still warming my heart<br />

seasons upon sunbaked<br />

mesa seasons<br />

12<br />

Saint<br />

Isabel Orozco<br />

Oil on Canvas<br />


·<br />

·<br />

Missed Turn<br />

Reed Coffey<br />

Oil on Canvas<br />

Handiwork of a Lazy Priest<br />

Travis Cooper<br />

I watched my great-grandmother’s funeral on<br />

a YouTube live stream from my living room. I wore<br />

pajamas, and so did my dad. We did not travel to Texas<br />

for the service because only people 65 and older could<br />

get the COVID vaccine in Arizona. It was March 2021.<br />

The funeral was short and impersonal. The<br />

priest said Grandmamá was a mother, baptized, and old.<br />

Seriously, that is all he said about her.<br />

A lady wearing an enormous pink t-shirt and<br />

jeans helped the priest with the Mass. During the<br />

service, the lady sat to the right of the lectern. She kept<br />

looking at her watch, and she was not subtle about it.<br />

Dad said that the priest and his helper were<br />

probably tired because they had to bury a lot of people<br />

killed by COVID. Mom grumbled that she does her job<br />

when she is tired.<br />

--<br />

After the funeral, my family posted a short video<br />

about Grandmamá online. We had prepared it for the<br />

service, but the priest did not play it. The video included<br />

amazing stories about Grandmamá teaching a dog to talk,<br />

growing a jungle in the desert, raising wild animals as pets,<br />

and catching flies out of the air, like a ninja.<br />

I never saw Grandmamá do any of these things.<br />

She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease before I<br />

was born. She lived in a nursing home two states away,<br />

and I did not see her much. When I did, she never<br />

remembered me. I mean literally never—not even once.<br />

--<br />

Mom stayed angry at the priest for a long time<br />

after the funeral. “No one even said her name” became<br />

my mom’s mantra of mourning. Each time she said this,<br />

she followed it with “Patricia Esperanza Vasquez Urias.”<br />

Sometimes she whispered my grandmother’s name, but<br />

mostly she shouted it.<br />

Before Grandmamá died, I knew her first name<br />

was Pat and her last name was Urias. But I had never<br />

heard her full name. I only know it now because the<br />

priest did not say it. If he had, Mom would not have<br />

howled it for days, and it would not be burned into my<br />

14-year-old brain.<br />

Patricia Esperanza Vasquez Urias is a beautiful<br />

name, and I am proud to know it, say it, and write it. But<br />

this is not a sappy essay about how something bad was<br />

actually a blessing. I most definitely do not feel blessed<br />

by these events. And I wish that I could change how I<br />

learned Grandmamá’s name.<br />

I know that I would have discovered it before<br />

I became a father. All babies in my family have at least<br />

one name from a relative. Combing through the family<br />

tree, I would have paused with delight on Patricia<br />

Esperanza Vasquez Urias because it is such a big name<br />

for such a tiny person. I think that my future self would<br />

put Vasquez on the list of middle name contenders, and<br />

Esperanza would have gone straight to the top of the list<br />

of first names for a girl.<br />

That is how it should have happened. Of course,<br />

this scenario probably involves a 15- or 20-year wait.<br />

But the delay would not have bothered me. There was<br />

absolutely no hurry. After all, names were not important<br />

between Grandmamá and me. I was always a stranger<br />

to her. She could not remember my name—or even my<br />

existence. But she loved me anyway.<br />

During visits, Grandmamá asked who I was<br />

with excited anticipation. After Mom explained,<br />

Grandmamá cried and wrapped her small arms around<br />

me. She held me close and called me “mijo,” which<br />

means “my boy.”<br />

A few minutes later, it would happen all over<br />

again—same question, same hug, and same deep, palpable<br />

love. After two or three iterations, Mom sent me to the<br />

park with Dad, so that I did not wear out Grandmamá.<br />

14<br />

P<br />

A<br />

R<br />

W<br />

O<br />

A<br />

S<br />

R<br />

E<br />

D<br />

The last few times that I saw Grandmamá, she<br />

did not ask who I was, and she did not know my mom<br />

anymore. I missed our routine—the question, the hug,<br />

and the love.<br />

The World Will Thank Me<br />

Matthew Ball<br />

Paper Collage<br />


Already Pre-empted by Their Echoes<br />

Shane Veno<br />

I astral traveled<br />

back<br />

to a room in the Children’s<br />

Hospital of Philadelphia,<br />

where my worldly self was<br />

being told<br />

something<br />

(probably important)<br />

I astral traveled<br />

back<br />

to that room<br />

that I might listen<br />

this time<br />

(probably<br />

important)<br />

to what was being talked<br />

at that 14 year old boy.<br />

I astral traveled<br />

back<br />

I guess I wasted my time<br />

(probably important)<br />

See I, same as seven years ago<br />

got trapped in the play between<br />

Malformation and valsalva<br />

nervouse system and serve<br />

syncope and parasympathathetic<br />

Runescape and ruined<br />

fucking shit and Janet<br />

leave my class and bathysphere<br />

Mission Manor Abandoned Swimming Pool<br />

Isaac Frisby<br />

Cyanotype Process Print<br />

I astral da-da-da<br />

…<br />

fear and fear<br />

and fear<br />

16<br />


18<br />

Los Metalicos<br />

Victor Valdivia<br />

Excerpted from "Los Metalicos"<br />

“Timid loser kid.”<br />

Those were the words that Billy Mendoza had been<br />

labeled by a bully, way back as an adolescent, and the words<br />

had stuck with him even now, all these years later, as a college<br />

freshman. At Rollins College, the little liberal arts school<br />

in Orlando, Florida that he had decided to attend precisely<br />

because it was small and he wanted to get more personalized<br />

attention, he had hoped that he might finally have an easier<br />

time finding people to talk to. Unfortunately, he had a hard<br />

time making friends and an even harder time finding a place<br />

to be outside of classes. When Billy graduated high school<br />

in June of 1991, he had high hopes. Now, here it was late<br />

September, and nothing had changed.<br />

Loneliness was never far from Billy. He was an<br />

only child, whose rather authoritarian father had frequently<br />

stressed that Billy be modest, never stand out, and downplay<br />

his Hispanic heritage whenever possible, like insisting Billy<br />

never speak Spanish in public. Billy’s one solace was to blast<br />

heavy metal music, the music he loved most of all. At least<br />

when listening to the music, he could escape his loneliness<br />

and find glimmers of courage to push forward. It was the<br />

volume, the energy, the swagger that he loved. He found<br />

it simultaneously exhilarating and soothing. Whenever he<br />

could scrounge up some money, he would hit his favorite<br />

record stores in the area. He would look longingly at the<br />

other people there, wishing he had the courage to strike up<br />

a conversation with someone. Unfortunately, he was too shy<br />

and timid to do so, and often just left the store silently after<br />

paying for his purchase.<br />

Then, as he was walking through the student<br />

union building one Tuesday morning, he saw a flyer on a<br />

bulletin board. In big handwritten letters were the words<br />

“Latino Metal Night” and in smaller letters underneath<br />

an invitation:” Are you a Latino or Latina who likes heavy<br />

metal? Do you want to listen to real heavy metal and hang<br />

out with people who do as well? Come to the Pipe-Fitters<br />

and Plumbers Local Hall Saturday night at 9:00 PM<br />

until 2:00 AM and join DJ Big Dave as he spins some of<br />

the most brain-melting metal you will ever hear!” At the<br />

bottom, “$5 at the door! Beer available i/y 21 and older!”<br />

All week long, he thought about what it would be<br />

like. Finally, though, he somehow forced himself to take a<br />

chance and made his way into the show on Saturday night.<br />

The Pipe-Fitters and Plumbers Local Hall was a<br />

fairly large meeting hall with an open empty space in the<br />

front and a few small booths in the rear. At the very front,<br />

setting up a microphone, was Big Dave, the DJ. A better<br />

nickname could not have been chosen. At a hair short of<br />

seven feet tall, he was stocky and muscular and built like a<br />

linebacker. He had dark brown skin, jet-black hair as long as<br />

his lower back, and several tattoos decorating his arms, not to<br />

mention a metallic skull ring he wore on his right hand. They<br />

all combined to confirm that Big Dave was clearly not a man<br />

to trifle with.<br />

Billy sized up the crowd. It was surprisingly full.<br />

Apparently, there were far more Latino metal fans in the<br />

Orlando area than he realized. Some dark-skinned, some<br />

light-skinned, some clearly nursing the only halfway<br />

decent clothes they had, others clad in impeccable concert<br />

tees and neatly pressed jeans with expensive shoes. The<br />

one thing that he noticed is that no one noticed or cared<br />

about any of that. No one was better than anyone else. The<br />

only currency that mattered was how much you loved this<br />

music. In this room, that was pretty much everybody.<br />

Near the front was a big fellow, dark-skinned and<br />

chunky, with a pageboy haircut and an unfriendly look on<br />

his face. In his washed-out Iron Maiden shirt, shredded<br />

jeans, and dilapidated sneakers, he cut a mean figure.<br />

Before Billy could even say anything, the big fellow<br />

immediately ambled up to him and, almost yelling, greeted<br />

Billy with a brutal backslap and by saying, “Hey, you’re new<br />

here. What’s your name? I like your Metallica shirt.”<br />

“Thanks,” Billy replied, a bit warily. “I’m Billy.”<br />

“Cool. My name’s Tavo. I’ve been coming here<br />

since the beginning, ‘cause it’s fuckin’ awesome. What<br />

did you think of the Black Album?” he asked, referring to<br />

Metallica’s just released self-titled fifth album.<br />

“I thought it was OK. Some good songs on it.”<br />

“Nah, it fuckin’ sucks. Sellout mainstream bullshit.<br />

Fuck Metallica, they’re sellouts now. They used to be cool<br />

though. Anyways…” and then he wandered off to say hello<br />

to someone else.<br />

“Whew,” Billy sighed, as Tavo walked away. At<br />

least Tavo seemed OK with him. That should count for<br />

something, Billy thought.<br />

Then, the lights went down. Billy felt that instant<br />

rush when the lights went down at concerts. It was 9:00<br />

PM and Big Dave was ready to start.<br />

“Hey, hermanos y hermanas, welcome to Latino<br />

Metal Night! I’m Big Dave Gutierrez! Let’s rock! ‘Raining<br />

Blood’ by Slayer!”<br />

The brutal opening chords of “Raining Blood”<br />

rang out over the speakers and the crowd went crazy. There<br />

were spontaneous mosh pits, people slamming into each<br />

other and others just standing in place headbanging. Tavo<br />

was the craziest, running around screaming and diving into<br />

the mosh pit with reckless abandon.<br />

It was unlike anything Billy had ever seen. Here<br />

was where he wanted to be. This was a group of people<br />

who loved metal as much as he did and who only wanted<br />

to be with other people who were just like him. The noise<br />

was deafening. The party was rowdy and fun. He never<br />

wanted it to end.<br />

Most of all, Billy was in awe of Big Dave. Big<br />

Dave picked songs that rocked the crowd. Dave mixed<br />

them seamlessly, playing the mixing board like an<br />

instrument. Whenever someone threatened to get too<br />

unruly, Big Dave could say just the right words to defuse<br />

the situation. It was clear that everybody there didn’t just<br />

come for the music but because they respected him. Billy<br />

had never seen anyone like him. He wished he could be<br />

even half as cool and clever as Dave.<br />

“Hey, Dave,” Billy said, hoping Dave wouldn’t hear<br />

his stammering. “If I brought in a record, would you play it?”<br />

“Depends,” Dave said.<br />

Speaking quickly, Billy began explaining, the<br />

words almost tripping over each other. “It’s just that I<br />

found the import 12” single for Motorhead’s ‘Eat the Rich,’<br />

which has two B-sides that you can’t get anywhere else.”<br />

Dave thought for a moment. “Yeah, that’s cool.<br />

Bring it next week. I’ll play it for you. You like Motorhead?<br />

What’s your favorite album of theirs?”<br />

But before Billy could answer, Dave said, “Oh,<br />

hold on. This song’s almost over. Let me do this and I’ll<br />

get back to you.” Billy then watched as Dave faded down<br />

the turntable playing King Diamond’s “Burn” and faded up<br />

the CD player playing Venom’s “Lady Bathory.” Then he<br />

turned to Billy. “Anyways, what were you saying?”<br />

After that, Big Dave was more and more friendly<br />

to Billy. Billy would bring in records and Big Dave would<br />

19<br />

Study in Blue Violet<br />

Rachel Franco<br />

Magazine and Paper Collage<br />

play them. They bonded over music. Then, gradually, Billy<br />

and Big Dave just talked and not only about music. Big<br />

Dave, as it turns out, was a senior at Rollins, graduating<br />

in May with a business degree. His parents were divorced,<br />

and while his mother lived in Orlando, his father had<br />

moved to Sacramento and owned a successful landscaping<br />

company. The divorce had been brutal, and it was then that<br />

Dave, a teenager, became a metalhead. Billy, considering<br />

his own turbulent past, could relate.<br />

The school year progressed and Billy and Dave had<br />

become close friends. But it wasn’t until one night in mid-<br />

April that Billy realized just how close they had become.<br />

As Dave rifled through his LP crate, he sighed.<br />

“Just a few weeks more,” he said.<br />

“Oh, that’s right,” Billy said. “You’re graduating. So<br />

what’s next for you? You gonna keep doing this and look<br />

for a job?”<br />

“I already got a job,” said Dave. He stopped and<br />

looked Billy square in the eyes. “I’m working for<br />

my dad’s company.”<br />

“But-,” Billy gestured helplessly.<br />

“What about this?”<br />

“What about it?” asked Dave. “It’s over, Billy. I’m<br />


done. It was fun but I gotta move on.”<br />

“But you can’t move on, man. We need this. A lot of<br />

people need this.” I need this, Billy thought, but didn’t say.<br />

Dave sighed again. He put his hands on Billy’s<br />

shoulders. “That’s the thing, Billy. Why do you think I<br />

was happy to meet you? I knew I would have to give this<br />

up someday, but I had hoped that maybe I might meet<br />

someone who could take over after I leave. Who was I<br />

gonna pick, Tavo? I love the guy, but-no, God no.”<br />

“Are-are you sure, Dave? I-I’m…it means a lot<br />

that you think that, but really? Me?”<br />

“Yes, you. Why not? I think you could do it, and I<br />

know this better than anybody. But the one thing is that I<br />

need to see you do this at least once, without me. You need<br />

to prove you can do this by yourself.”<br />

Billy swallowed hard. Latino Metal Night, by<br />

himself? Was he ready for that?<br />

And yet, even as he trembled with nerves, he also<br />

felt something he had never felt before. It was a sure, steady<br />

feeling that he had been handed an opportunity that he had<br />

to seize. He actually felt that he had enough courage to try.<br />

That surprised him more than anything. He had never felt<br />

that before. Not with school, not with sports, and certainly<br />

not with girls. But he did with this.<br />

It was time, he thought. It was finally time.<br />

“Yes,” he said, the words surprising him as they came<br />

out of his mouth. “Yes, I want to try. Just tell me everything I<br />

need to know and I will do one night by myself.”<br />

Dave smiled. “Don’t worry, Billy. I’ll set you up.”<br />

*Full version on page 73*<br />

Gates Pass<br />

Isaac Frisby<br />

Van Dyke Process Print<br />

20<br />


Woman in Pond<br />

Evon Perez<br />

Ceramic<br />

It killed the silence. The unholy sound<br />

reverberated in her head like the howling wind. The shouts<br />

and cursing emanated from the house, breaking through<br />

the calm of the windy day, and shattering the peace like<br />

glass. Father’s temper was erupting again.<br />

She gently rocked back and forth on the swing<br />

set, the metal chains creaking and groaning in her ears. She<br />

liked to pretend that the squeaking chains were all that she<br />

could hear in the windswept backyard. Then maybe she<br />

could pretend to be safe.<br />

With unfocused eyes, she stared at the gently<br />

swaying scene moving before her. The muddled brown and<br />

grey of the yard’s surface painted a picture to compliment her<br />

22<br />

Arms of the Wind<br />

Christian Anderson<br />

miserable mood. Everything was dead. Even the rocks seemed<br />

lifeless as they huddled like a burial mound in corner.<br />

The wind whistled past her ears again, ruffling<br />

her hair, and causing it to whip around her head. She<br />

tried to block out the noise again but couldn’t escape the<br />

raging tirade that continued in the house. She turned<br />

her back on the sound and closed her eyes. She let her<br />

tear-stained checks grow numb as she faced the biting<br />

wind. It was cold and the girl had no coat to cling to.<br />

She had nothing to cling to.<br />

Still, the freezing wind was more welcoming<br />

than the wrath of her father’s temper. Few experiences<br />

had the sting of that unholy wrath. The weight of those<br />

scars often threatened to overwhelm her. She gripped<br />

the chain of the swing, her knuckles draining in color as<br />

she tried to forget it, but nothing truly took the agony<br />

away. The tighter she held, the more intensely the pain<br />

of the memories flooded her mind.<br />

As gloomy as it seemed, the backyard wasteland had once<br />

been her only friend, and her only source of solace in a<br />

tired and angry world. She had spent endless afternoons<br />

playing there, always trying to imagine a better world<br />

without the fear. In those days she had let her thoughts<br />

wander like ants over their hills, weaving their way through<br />

make-believe worlds she would escape into. She had<br />

imagined the windswept backyard as an exotic jungle that<br />

rested in the silence of knotted grass and tangled weeds.<br />

The rocks and dirt had been her companions and it had<br />

been blissfully quiet.<br />

But it was not quiet anymore. There was no longer<br />

any solace in the silence of the lonely backyard, and it had<br />

been some time since she had been able to escape there.<br />

He was distracted now, but eventually he would come for<br />

her no matter where she was, tracking her down to unleash<br />

his rage. If there was a place she could escape to, she would<br />

have already gone there long ago.<br />

These thoughts swept over her like waves,<br />

breaking upon her consciousness again and again in<br />

unrelentless force. Another gust of wind buffeted the<br />

swing, and the errant flurry caused the chains to rock back<br />

and forth more quickly. Her hair flapped like a waving<br />

flag in the wind and wild strands streamed across her eyes<br />

to brush against her cheeks. The hair twisted around the<br />

chains of the swing and floated on the turbulent breeze<br />

like silk scarves drifting through the sky. She thought there<br />

was something beautiful about the free-flowing strands<br />

and their chaotic rolling patterns.<br />

She wished the wind would continue to blow<br />

through her hair, a comforting distraction to wipe away<br />

her sorrow. As if in answer, another gust of wind knocked<br />

a stone loose from the dead pile of rocks, sending it<br />

clattering to the ground with a heavy sound. The falling<br />

stone caught her attention and she stared intently at the<br />

gnarled shape. The sight of something so heavy being<br />

scattered to the ground intrigued her, and she wondered<br />

what it would be like if the wind was strong enough to lift<br />

her from her perch. What if she was light enough to be<br />

carried on the breeze like her free-flowing hair?<br />

But there was no time for imagining. The shouts<br />

were growing unbearably loud, and she had to prepare<br />

herself for what was coming. She could feel his anger<br />

through the echoes of his ragged voice, and it made her<br />

tremble violently. In the face of that terror, she allowed<br />

herself one more hopeful thought. She closed her eyes<br />

again and imagined herself being taken up on the breeze.<br />

It was a beautiful thought, and she could almost feel the<br />

arms of the wind wrapping around her to embrace her<br />

in its strength. She wished she could stay there in that<br />

thought but it was not to be.<br />

The back door of the house burst open, and it<br />

cracked against the wall of the house like thunder, causing<br />

her to leap in fright. But instead of coming back down,<br />

she somehow stayed suspended in the air. A rushing sound<br />

filled her ears, and she began to drift to the side. She<br />

moved through the air as if being pulled by an invisible<br />

string and her eyes stayed shut for a moment in the shock.<br />

When she finally opened her eyes, they were greeted with<br />

the sight of the chains on the swing shrinking below her<br />

feet as she was carried on the whistling wind into the sky.<br />

Her father screamed and bellowed at her, but he<br />

could not touch her. He could only grasp at empty air<br />

and scramble across the ground in confusion. Like her<br />

silent dreams, the howling of the wind finally began to<br />

drown out the sound of her father’s rage. She no longer<br />

needed a place to hide from him because he couldn’t<br />

touch her anymore.<br />

She laughed through tears of joy as she felt the<br />

gentle breeze rise under her. It carried her aloft like she<br />

was a kite, the weightlessness lifting her into the sky and<br />

her hair streamed out behind her to glisten in the sun.<br />

With arms outstretched she embraced the wind like a<br />

long-lost friend. She was flying like a bird over the sea!<br />

The wind was at her command and the joy of the flight<br />

reverberated through the depths of her soul. She was never<br />

going back. She was finally free.<br />

23<br />

Wildflower<br />

Evon Perez<br />

Metal Sculpture

Lag time<br />

Shane Veno<br />

It was cold on the porch so late<br />

as Elizabeth and I sat opposite each other,<br />

trying to strongarm a few more hours out of night.<br />

The moon and the snow doing something<br />

to her eyes that brought me close enough to see,<br />

that whatever it was she was trying to transmit<br />

to me, to be kept safe in the cataracted eye<br />

embedded between my clavicles,<br />

had, in the cold filling the space dividing us<br />

refracted so<br />

that I couldn't at first feel its remnants’ warmth<br />

gently pulsating beneath my coat,<br />

as we stumble-sprinted across that underpass in Manchester<br />

to the Nouveau Brewery<br />

where we sat on casks trying to listen to the band,<br />

but that cataracted eye<br />

was focused too solidly on her signal.<br />

She avoided my eyes<br />

as she ordered and drank<br />

two glasses of white wine<br />

in quick succession,<br />

her transmission now returning to me<br />

all sorrow and shame.<br />

So we went out to the alley adjacent and<br />

huddled together against a fence.<br />

I passed her a hastily rolled cigarette<br />

and when I received it back,<br />

that eye inhaled the entirety of her aether and swelled<br />

until it could repeat back:<br />

What if there were a hidden pleasure<br />

in calling one thing<br />

by another’s name?<br />

24<br />

Crazy Jim<br />

Mya Palacios<br />

Black Ink Drawing<br />


Planetary Extinction Club<br />

Travis Cooper<br />

26<br />

West Clear Creek<br />

Reed Coffey<br />

Oil on Canvas<br />

Gograhm checked his Hyperscale and found a note from Fremsie. He hummed with excitement. Did she remember<br />

their two-week anniversary? Gograhm had purchased a glotspot for her this morning. He read Fremsie’s message:<br />

Hi, Sweetie Squiddoodle,<br />

Can you believe that we have been dating for two whole weeks? I got us tickets for Jyuratodus in the<br />

Recess. But my dad is still very mad about your bad grades.<br />

Kisses,<br />

Fremsie<br />

Gograhm wagged his tail for several seconds. But he stopped abruptly when he noticed an unwelcomed message from<br />

his school. There was an announcement that all students must complete at least one extracurricular activity this term.<br />

His past experiences with school clubs were terrible. Last year, Gograhm’s parents signed him up for the Primitive<br />

Combat Club. And his fifth appendage was severed on the first day. Gograhm was stuck in a hospital bed while his<br />

friends took a group vacation to Sincos and met the Deteri “Strong” Lemdon. He briefly considered dropping out<br />

of school to avoid being maimed again, but he rejected this idea because of Fremsie. Her father, Mallock was the<br />

principal of his school, and ending his enrollment would mean the conclusion of his courtship. Gograhm scanned the<br />

extracurricular catalog. To his surprise, some of the clubs did not look too bad. In fact, he thought a few could be fun.<br />

Three caught his eye:<br />

Young Entrepreneurs<br />

Learn to make bank! Students will enslave a Class 1 or 2 species and force them to harvest materials<br />

deemed useful by the Cool Valnuges. Passing grades will be awarded to students who bring in 1,000<br />

mega-volumes of material.<br />

Divinity Society<br />

Explore divinity and improve the lives of lesser beings. Students will introduce primitive technology to<br />

a developing world. Technology options are limited to infinite energy sources and innovations derived<br />

from brachydios slime. Passing grades will be awarded to students who complete the task without<br />

accidental species termination.<br />

Planetary Extinction Club<br />

Get your destructive juices flowing! Students will destroy a planet in the Development Belt. Bounties<br />

earned will be credited to the school to cover club expenses. Passing grades will be awarded to students<br />

who extinguish the ecosphere of their assigned planet. Extra credit of 700 gungdum points will be given<br />

for completing the task in 30 minutes.<br />

Personally, Gograhm thought that Young Entrepreneurs sounded like the most fun. One of his favorite video<br />

games, Galactic Triumph was basically a simulation of the club’s mission. However, Gograhm hoped to impress Mallock,<br />

so he needed the extra credit offered by the Planetary Extinction Club.<br />

Destroying a planet in under 30 minutes would be challenging. But Gograhm signed up and spent the<br />

afternoon daydreaming about how Mallock would be so pleased with his grades that he would agree to a betrothal. At<br />

last, he and Fremsie could start a family of their own.<br />

But the next morning, Gograhm received a terrible message:<br />

Gograhm, you are a bad boyfriend! You promised to bring your grades up. Liar! You failed the Låptese<br />

exam. My dad is super upset. He says that you only excel at mayhem and disaster. I am forbidden from<br />

having any contact with you until your grades improve.<br />

Goodbye (probably forever),<br />

Fremsie<br />

27<br />


p.s. I am going to see Jyuratodus in the Recess with my mom.<br />

Gograhm felt like rancid doozle droppings. He had fallen into a quezie rift on his way to school and missed the<br />

exam. He had hoped that his exam grade would be dropped, and Mallock would never hear about it.<br />

He would make it up to Fremsie. All he had to do was master the art of planetary destruction, earn the extra<br />

credit, and repair his GPA.<br />

On the first day of the Planetary Extinction Club, Gograhm entered the meeting room and was horrified to see<br />

Principal Mallock at the lectern. Gograhm took a seat in the back and slunk down. He noticed that most of the students<br />

in the club were also dating Mallock’s children.<br />

At the ring of the bell, Mallock growled, “Attention! Professor Smelg has resigned. And I am running this club now.”<br />

Gograhm was not surprised. Mallock was a tyrannical boss. And teachers did not last long at his school.<br />

Mallock rambled on for a while about the importance of pruning the universe from time to time. Then, he<br />

showed a video about careers in planetary demolition and recycling.<br />

“Here are your assigned planets,” Mallock grimaced and passed out a stack of tablets.<br />

“Now for those of you here for the extra credit—which appears to be everyone, there is no chance that any of<br />

you will level these planets in 30 minutes. You and your bad grades better stay away from my children.”<br />

Gograhm was undeterred. His love for Fremsie was worlds stronger than Mallock’s hostility. The planet assigned<br />

to Gograhm was populated with a diverse set of animal and plant species. Unfortunately, the atmosphere was too thick<br />

Hare<br />

Portia Cooper<br />

India Ink, Fineliner Pen, and White Pen on Bristol<br />

Astra<br />

Max Miracolo<br />

Silver Gelatin Prints<br />

28<br />

for shimmy incendiaries. The dominant lifeform possessed a primitive military infrastructure. He was considering<br />

warfare scenarios, when the perfect plan came to him. Gograhm knew what to do.<br />

As soon as Mallock dismissed the club, Gograhm raced to the school’s docking bay. He signed out a V389<br />

intergalactic tug ship with a titan-force tow cable.<br />

Gograhm uploaded his own algorithm and engaged the looping drive. He arrived at his designated planet two<br />

seconds before he left. He took a deep breath and initiated the ship’s activity log.<br />

“Thirty minutes, no problem,” Gograhm whispered to himself as he piloted the ship into orbit around the<br />

planet’s only moon. He shot the tow cable several miles into the rocky surface. Then, he sped toward the planet dragging<br />

the moon behind his ship. The moment he reached 20,000 miles from the planet, he disengaged the cable and activated<br />

the looping drive to clear the blast zone. The moon smashed into the planet like a cosmic wrecking ball, instantly<br />

reducing both bodies to rubble.<br />

“Goodbye Earth!” Gograhm cheered and wagged his tail intensely.<br />

He checked the timer on the activity log—29 minutes and 16 seconds. He had finished with time to spare.<br />

“Mallock is right about me. I do excel at mayhem and disaster.”<br />

Suddenly, Gograhm’s future was as bright as the rings of Rebela. There were thousands of condemned planets<br />

in the Development Belt with substantial bounties. In a single afternoon, he had repaired his GPA and stumbled upon a<br />

lucrative career. Gograhm leaned back in the command chair and began to plan his life as a married man.<br />


·<br />

·<br />

Cactopus<br />

Natacha Vouilloz<br />

Charcoal and Color Pencil<br />

P<br />

A<br />

O<br />

W<br />

E<br />

A<br />

T<br />

R<br />

R<br />

Y<br />

D<br />

Alma Eterna en el Desierto<br />

Natacha Vouilloz<br />

Agobiado por el calor infernal del Desierto del Sonora, paraste.<br />

A la sombra bendida de un mezquite, un momentito te acostaste.<br />

Ahora, en tu mirada fija, por última vez reluzcan, en la oscuridad nocturna, las prometadoras estrellas<br />

de tu peregrinación al Norte.<br />

A un pasado evanescente pertenecen el Camino de Diablo, la Bestia – el infamoso tren de los<br />

Desconocidos – y los Coyotes que, sin vergüenza ninguna, te desporajon.<br />

En esta noche fuliginosa, los Saguaros, últimos compañeros de tu infortuna, te velaron, impasibles,<br />

hasta que de tus labios resecos se esfumaron los pajaritos de tus sueños.<br />

Eternal Soul in the Desert<br />

Natacha Vouilloz<br />

Overwhelmed by the Desert’s infernal heat, you stopped and rested. In the blessed shade of<br />

a mesquite tree, for a brief instant, you lay down.<br />

In the dark skies of your gaze, now sparkle one more time the promising stars of your<br />

pilgrimage to the North.<br />

To the evanescence of the past belong the Devil’s Highway, the Beast – the infamous train of<br />

the Unknowns – and the Coyotes who, unashamed, robbed all your belongings.<br />

In that sooty night, the Saguaros, ultimate companions of your misfortune, were watching<br />

over you, impassive, until the birds of your dreams vanished from your parched lips.<br />

30<br />


Savory Devotion<br />

Sharelle Johnson<br />

… And like that<br />

My heart was extracted,<br />

braised to perfection,<br />

and served to the divine.<br />

Oh..<br />

to have a heart so deliciously prepared.<br />

I wouldn’t appreciate it…<br />

For my lips never tasted a single bit of the same savory devotion.<br />

Dusk<br />

Max Miracolo<br />

DSLR Photograph<br />

32<br />


·<br />

P<br />

A<br />

Y<br />

D<br />

·<br />

O<br />

E<br />

T<br />

R<br />

W<br />

A<br />

R<br />

I am more than the fry bread with<br />

drizzled honey and powdered sugar,<br />

and the comal that is used to cook tortillas on<br />

that stains our hair with the smell of firewood.<br />

Alianza Indigena<br />

Angelique Matus<br />

I more than the dark skin that<br />

I am not pigmented enough for.<br />

I am more than the long silk black hair,<br />

as you can see my hair dances in spirals.<br />

I am more than the money they think we have<br />

which we lack.<br />

Can you not tell?<br />

By our broken reservations<br />

where the dogs roam,<br />

where the dirt glitters by the<br />

reflections of broken beer bottles.<br />

The only rich good is the tribal casino, which<br />

only makes us servants to the privileged. I am<br />

more than what movies portray.<br />

I am more than the whispers<br />

that once echoed throughout school that<br />

“We're dirty and have lice.”<br />

I am not an historic artifact, or painting. I am<br />

more than the disbelief that we still exist yes,<br />

I am Native American.<br />

Izzy<br />

Isabel Orozco<br />

Charcoal on Paper<br />

34<br />


·<br />

·<br />

No Comment<br />

Lisa Periale Martin<br />

V<br />

A<br />

I<br />

W<br />

S<br />

U<br />

A<br />

R<br />

A<br />

L<br />

D<br />

Invisible Man<br />

Evon Perez<br />

Plaster Sculpture<br />

in this dream<br />

wandering<br />

a vast stretch<br />

of desert<br />

make my way along<br />

an arroyo, and scramble<br />

up a little rise—scrubby<br />

with creosote and ocotillo<br />

among other rocks<br />

feathers, shells,<br />

crystals, fetish offerings<br />

a roughly wrought grave<br />

the stone reads<br />

Edward Paul Abbey<br />

1927 - 1989<br />

no comment<br />

this triggers<br />

a measure of lucidity<br />

aware now I’m dreaming<br />

scrutinize my surroundings<br />

from my heavy canvas pack<br />

unearth a half full<br />

pint of Wild Turkey<br />

rich skin prickling aroma<br />

amber liquid<br />

heats all the way down<br />

several sips later<br />

pour the rest for him<br />

in homage, coyote howl<br />

from dreamscape shadows<br />

turkey vultures arrive<br />

riding thermals in eternal unrest<br />

36<br />


·<br />

·<br />

P<br />

R<br />

O<br />

S<br />

E<br />

A<br />

W<br />

A<br />

R<br />

D<br />

8-Ball Cannonball<br />

Isaac Zierenberg<br />

It always starts the same. Staring out the front window of my family home and feeling a little nauseated with life.<br />

Looking out into the snow-covered yard, decorated with children’s bikes and left-hand mittens, I estimate the time it will<br />

take me to get to Salt Lake and back. I fancy myself an amateur meteorologist and calculate the weather, deciding if it is<br />

safe to go through the mountains or if I should take the long way around, and wonder if anyone will notice I’m gone. This<br />

ritual takes place once a week, whenever I run out of powders and pills. I don’t have much of a choice in the matter. I have<br />

already stopped by the ATM to carve out a slice of my savings.<br />

I begin the first section of the journey from Heber, through Park City, to Kimbell Junction. I am sure it is<br />

a beautiful drive for tourists, snowy peaks and wildlife, but for me it has lost all appeal. I can usually quiet the little<br />

reservations I have about the journey through this stretch of the drive. Apart from little heart attacks when I pass<br />

highway patrolmen parked in the median, I can mitigate the tightness in my chest. I pass Jordanelle, a man-made<br />

reservoir that is now the resting place of the old highway and a small town. The ice-fishermen look cold next to their<br />

little tents and sleds. I ignore the reservoir’s snide comment on where I am going, and on what I am about to do.<br />

Jordanelle never dissuades me from driving on with fervor for an alcoholic death. At least I’m not an ice-fisherman.<br />

I drive past the hospital in Park City, which looks more like a ski lodge than a place to have knee surgery.<br />

My mother works as a labor and delivery nurse there, the first hired when the medical center was built. When I was<br />

younger, my siblings and I spent every Sunday afternoon in the cafeteria there, which had surprisingly good food,<br />

waiting for mom to get a break so she could eat with us. As I drive past, I hope that she isn’t looking out the window<br />

from the nurse’s station on the third floor.<br />

...<br />

After Kimball Junction, at the north end of Park City, the highway takes a sharp turn into the sky over Parley’s<br />

summit. The pass is crowned with a small suburb, build into the side of the mountain called Summit Park. I don’t know if<br />

the homes are occupied year-round, few homes in Park City are. The light of the Shell sign at the gas station illuminates<br />

the highway at night, casting a strange red glow across the road as if to say “STOP.”<br />

From the pass, the highway drops straight down through a canyon, also named Parley’s. What this section<br />

of highway lacks in policemen it makes up for in eighteen-wheelers and geriatrics drivers that haven’t been to the<br />

optometrist recently. Every week, a trucker who must get his shipment of hot tubs to Las Vegas before midnight,<br />

someone’s grandmother with selective memory regarding speed limits, and a desperate drug addict are crammed into<br />

a narrow canyon going freeway speeds. We careen around the corners of the canyon along the taxpayer’s rollercoaster.<br />

The descent is more chaotic when I have not yet run out of last week’s supply of cocaine. If anyone had the chance<br />

to look up, they may see the beauty of the canyon and the ice climbers on its walls, but we don’t. We all have<br />

somewhere to be.<br />

At the mouth of the canyon, I drive for my life to get to the Foothill exit and pull into a rundown gas station<br />

covered in tobacco adverts and questionable stains. American Gas is a place of comfort after the horrors of the canyon. It<br />

smells a strange mix of gasoline, glycerin, and kebab. It is also the only place that will sell me cigarettes. I limp inside to<br />

meet whatever wayward youth is running the counter. The conversation goes something like this.<br />

Parley's Canyon<br />

Isaac Zierenberg<br />

Digital Image<br />

38<br />

...<br />


40<br />

Shell Sign<br />

Isaac Zierenberg<br />

Digital Image<br />

“What’s good man?”<br />

“Nothing much just getting stoges”<br />

“Bett, whatchu want”<br />

“A pack of Newport shorts”<br />

“Bett, can I see your ID?”<br />

“I don’t have it, but I’m in here all the time”<br />

“Bett, that will be nine eighty-seven”<br />

“Thanks, have a good day man”<br />

“Bett”<br />

Of course, I always have my ID, and the guy or gal behind the counter knows I have it. Most of them are<br />

underage as well, and really too high to care. It is comforting to know I am not the only person in Utah that does<br />

not go to the temple every month. After a smoke, I am back on the road.<br />

My plug lives in West Valley, the only real “bad part” of Salt Lake. The highway west rolls through the<br />

industrial district passing warehouses and truck depots. The warehouses never see much use. It seems some spiteful<br />

city planner has spaced them too far apart to gossip with each other. They seem lonely. This whole stretch of road is<br />

lonely and every week it pleads with me to turn around, I don’t.<br />

I pull into West Valley and park the car in the public park. Every time I wait here feels like an eternity. I<br />

twiddle my thumbs to Mary-Louise Kelly and pray I can get what I think I need. This is the only reason I ever pray.<br />

I watch the kids on the playground and think about my siblings on the other side of the mountains, until the sight<br />

of a Nissan snaps me out of reality.<br />

The driver of this Nissan is a pudgy girl of Asian descent in her mid-twenties. Always accompanied by an<br />

anxious Yorkie. I know her as Brit, and she claims to be a figure skater (something I doubt) when she isn’t delivering illicit<br />

substances. She parks and signals me over. I hop in, and the small talk begins. This is an art that most drug dealers neglect<br />

to learn. Brit is a master. She asks me how things are going and how the weather is up in the mountains. Sometimes we<br />

talk for half an hour. I see she does this because she is terribly lonely as well. Eventually, we agree on an amount and a<br />

price. My usual, an Eightball, and two punishers for the weekend. About two hundred dollars depending on the state of<br />

the market. After paying up she offers me a bump for the road, and we cut up lines on the center console. It tastes like a<br />

high school chemistry lab and feels like autumn in Baja. This is the reason I was down here. We exchange the customary<br />

“stay safe out there” go on our way.<br />

If I wasn’t high on the way down, I am now. The trip home feels a little more comfortable knowing I<br />

accomplished the objective. On the way down, I was terrified of getting in an accident, not because I might get<br />

injured or worse, but because I would not be able to pick up. (Although I might get free Dilaudid at the hospital).<br />

On the way up at least I know if I die it won’t hurt as much. Mary-Louise talks faster now.<br />

This comfort lasts until the bump Brit had given me wore off, as I am passing Jordanelle. The<br />

incomprehensible demoralization we addicts often feel sets in. I can’t believe it happened again. Couldn’t I have<br />

found a better use for two hundred dollars and two hours of driving? The lights of the mega-million-dollar homes<br />

across the reservoir reflect off the water to my over dilated eyes, or maybe the sun is coming up, neither one is<br />

pleasant. I cry. Sometimes it seems Jordanelle cries with me. I cry not because of the immeasurable guilt I feel. And<br />

not because of the fear I have of my dwindling prospects for the future. I cry because I can’t understand why I do all<br />

this, and because I will have to do it all over again next week.<br />


Your fingers sit on top<br />

of black and white piano keys<br />

like how the still white chrysanthemum wilts<br />

under the fading light of a November sunset.<br />

Out of Tune<br />

Alex Bacani<br />

To Be Forgotten by One's Own Mother<br />

Lisa Periale Martin<br />

You start with a smooth legato.<br />

My mind becomes hazy with feverish harmonies.<br />

Sixteenth and eighteenth notes card through my hair,<br />

undoing weary knots like you’ve done before.<br />

Whole notes cup my face and fill my eyes<br />

with silvery mercury that falls down my face<br />

and leaves a haunting warning in its wake.<br />

The song marches into a thunderous crescendo.<br />

My brain scatters as a sharp staccato rhythm<br />

punctures my eyes over and over and over again.<br />

The silvery mercury turning into a toxic arsenic<br />

that makes my cheeks burn with a sickly scarlet red.<br />

It burns.<br />

It burns.<br />

It’s burning the space beside me,<br />

burning my beating organ chained to its cage,<br />

and threatens to leave only ashes dark as the veil of a widow.<br />

Then you play the dreaded decrescendo,<br />

and the notes dwindle away.<br />

Their sudden absence leaving me nothing<br />

but the diminished warmth in my palms<br />

and the augmented emptiness<br />

on top of the worn piano seat.<br />

The fading song draws out<br />

desperate begging from my tongue<br />

that seems to last for hours, days, weeks, months.<br />

But it doesn’t last,<br />

because the sun sets.<br />

Flowers wilt, wither, and die,<br />

leaving only their lifeless petals to be buried under the damp dirt.<br />

Your dead fingers closed the dusty piano long ago,<br />

and sealed themselves away along with it.<br />

Once again, I am reminded that<br />

December arrives, and I am left<br />

With a piano out of tune.<br />

42<br />

where do memories exist—<br />

just a synapse tickling a speck<br />

of grey matter?<br />

my mother remembers<br />

her sister, Ida, when I show<br />

her a photo—but not Ida’s<br />

hilarious husband Fred<br />

by her side<br />

is a bit fuzzy on my brother<br />

Andrew, her oldest,<br />

until I remind her<br />

but no idea who Bonnie, his wife is<br />

then I say her name with Andrew’s<br />

and she says, “yes, Andrew and Bonnie,”<br />

as if they have been one in her mind<br />

joining Bill and I for an anniversary breakfast<br />

at the Arizona Inn, a place she and dad<br />

have stayed at numerous times<br />

where we celebrated their 50th<br />

enjoyed countless meals<br />

in their elegant dining room<br />

she has no memory of any of this<br />

doesn’t remember living in so many<br />

places, their homes there,<br />

her friends and coworkers<br />

I’ll be gone from her memory banks soon<br />

43<br />

do we hold the memories for her<br />

the ones we share<br />

the ones we are privy to<br />

when she dies, and she’s free<br />

of that crippled brain<br />

will those memories, awarenesses<br />

recognition of dear ones<br />

come rushing back<br />

on the other side of the veil<br />

will it take time<br />

like recovering from<br />

a traumatic brain injury<br />

or will it all be there<br />

along with other incarnations,<br />

larger identities and forms<br />

past lives uploaded<br />

with all your photos and videos<br />

contacts and apps<br />

and yes, it’s all<br />

coming back to me now

·<br />

·<br />

P<br />

A<br />

R<br />

W<br />

O<br />

A<br />

S<br />

R<br />

E<br />

D<br />

Haunted<br />

Aiden Schwarz<br />

As my heart pounded in my chest, lungs<br />

gasped for air, and vision swirled from<br />

stage lights, I bowed. Instead of erupting into booming<br />

applause the auditorium sat blankly, with only empty<br />

seats to fill it. For the first time in my life performing<br />

on stage seemed underwhelming. The feeling of<br />

anxiety mixed with excitement was replaced with utter<br />

disappointment. I wasn’t sad. The knowledge of how<br />

hard my teachers had worked in order for me to be<br />

standing on stage in the first place kept me from feeling<br />

melancholy. However, I could not shake the pit of<br />

disappointment rotting in my stomach. I straightened<br />

my knees, lifted my head, and glanced to my right.<br />

Through the glimmering lights I could make out dark<br />

black wings and shadow-like silhouettes. Only a year<br />

before the sides of the box-shaped stage would have<br />

been filled to the brim with shuffling people, speaking<br />

in hushed tones, anxiously awaiting their turn on stage.<br />

This year there were only two vague silhouettes.<br />

Disappearing behind a voluminous black wing<br />

I let myself slouch. The cheap tulle of my costume<br />

crunched as I bent over. Breath beat against my<br />

bejeweled mask. Squinting, as my eyes adjusted to the<br />

lack of light I made out my two friends rushing over to<br />

congratulate me. Instead of congratulatory hugs they<br />

stopped several feet away from me and smiled from<br />

behind their masks. Squinting my eyes, I smiled back.<br />

Backstage felt hollow. Light from the bright stage<br />

glanced against the walls casting looming shadows<br />

and illuminating the empty room. I had never noticed<br />

how imposing the space was. Before when it had been<br />

filled with bustling people and large vibrant props the<br />

space had seemed thrilling and welcoming. Now the<br />

space opened up before me as a reminder of how much<br />

had changed. Overpowering music washed over me. I<br />

watched as one of my friends entered on to the stage to<br />

perform. My breath finally stopped beating against my<br />

mask. Knowing it would soon be my cue to enter back<br />

onto the glowing yet unexciting stage, I stood.<br />

Blinding lights hit my eyes and I plastered a<br />

fake smile onto my face. I let the blaring music wash<br />

over and carry me through my next steps. The stage<br />

seemed built for excitement. The lights glimmered and<br />

gleamed from every angle. The backdrop was filled with<br />

vibrant colors and shapes. The music came from speakers<br />

44<br />

placed all around. Our costumes were fun and bright.<br />

It could have been the perfect performance. However<br />

looking out into the still auditorium I felt numb. There<br />

were no familiar faces of family and friends. The cheap<br />

folding theater seats were unimpressive. The music<br />

ended. Inky black curtains slid their way across the<br />

stage and then the lights abruptly went out. I felt numb<br />

because no applause had filled the space of the finished<br />

music. No shuffling and whispering of a crowd of people<br />

could be heard and there was no sense of completion or<br />

accomplishment. I was left thinking, “was that really it?”<br />

The dressing room still smelled of feet, sweat,<br />

and cheap hairspray, although it was only filled with<br />

half the occupants it was intended for. Exhausted, I<br />

slumped into a cold metal folding chair that was placed<br />

in front of my mirror. My feet felt as if fire ants were in<br />

my shoes. It was a sort of pins and needles feeling that<br />

happens when you wear pointe shoes for long periods<br />

of time. Glancing around I made eye contact with some<br />

of my friends who smiled at me with their eyes. We<br />

packed our bags quietly and the room seemed to be filled<br />

with a sort of gravity. Disappointment still ran through<br />

me. I was so grateful for the opportunity I was given,<br />

however the room seemed to be haunted with memories<br />

of before. The room had been a part of my childhood but<br />

it had never seemed this cold. The room was filled with<br />

mirrors and lights.<br />

Lockers lined the two back walls and a dingy<br />

green couch sat in the corner. That green couch had been<br />

there as long as I could remember and was usually filled<br />

with people. This year it sat unused.<br />

As I left the theater all I could feel was<br />

disappointment. The heavy metal door swung closed<br />

behind me making a creaking sound. My legs felt heavy as I<br />

took one step after the other. Peeking over my shoulder the<br />

building seemed abandoned. There should have been red<br />

and green decorations and people standing outside holding<br />

flowers and gifts. However there was only the grey stone<br />

walls of the theatre and vacant glass windows that should<br />

have been filled with light. Before I would have taken for<br />

granted the people and the excitement, but now I knew<br />

better and knew to be grateful for all those past experiences.<br />

Although this year had been so different, I had learned not<br />

to take it for granted too.<br />

45<br />

Twisted<br />

Portia Cooper<br />

India Ink, Fineliner Pen, and White Pen on Bristol

Mother's Toolbox<br />

Christeen Bates<br />

You were given a box of tools.<br />

An odd assortment passed along to you<br />

from many generations of related fools.<br />

These tools, however, would just not do<br />

for the task of building a child.<br />

You did your best, of this, it’s true,<br />

with tools you were given, in your box compiled.<br />

Bent and broken and covered in rust,<br />

you used what you had in a manner more mild<br />

than the sharp edges that betrayed your trust.<br />

Still the tools were not right, you see,<br />

drilling nails into the dust.<br />

You passed that toolbox along to me,<br />

held together with not more than glue.<br />

I will rebuild it deliberately.<br />

And I will do my best, like you,<br />

but I will forge my tools anew.<br />

46<br />

Triple Shot<br />

Ginger Green<br />

Charcoal on Paper<br />


The warm season was always busy for Moore’s Dairy. Usually, Maryann liked being busy at work. The time<br />

went faster, and it felt good to see the money come in, but now she had the migrant worker project to keep her<br />

occupied, so she relished the slow days. She and Liz Healy were able to organize the purchase of four dozen shoes,<br />

at cost, paid for by individual donations, and boosted by larger donations from the two churches in town.<br />

Maryann, Liz and Liz’s husband John, the doctor in Marburg, got started on the project when Father<br />

Donnelly suggested it. He heard about it after another priest from Farmington spoke at a recent retreat about the<br />

situation with migrant workers. Five more minutes and Liz and John would be picking her up.<br />

Today they were headed to Timmerman’s Orchards. Maryann couldn’t help but worry a little about going<br />

out to Timmerman’s farm. The farmer was well known for his ugly attitude toward people in general, but especially<br />

towards the migrants. He called them “Mexican sewer rats” and constantly walked around carrying a loaded shotgun.<br />

Still, Timmerman paid the going rate and he also provided eight old house trailers set up to house the workers and<br />

their families.<br />

The local sheriff had warned Timmerman that pointing a loaded gun at someone could be considered<br />

assault, but the sheriff couldn’t stop him from carrying it around on his own property. Maryann was determined to<br />

power through her discomfort over Timmerman because she knew it was important to reach the people working at<br />

the orchard. She had the shoes to distribute, and John was treating an elderly woman, traveling with her family, for<br />

end-stage cancer.<br />

Dr. John and Liz pulled up just as Maryann was sealing up a cooler of vanilla and chocolate, packed with<br />

dry ice so it wouldn’t melt on the drive out to the Timmerman farm. She looked forward to handing out cones to<br />

the children although the shoes, in all different sizes, were probably the more important contribution. The three of<br />

them rode in John’s Ford truck for the trip out to the farm. Timmerman’s place was almost 20 miles away on dirt<br />

roads that hadn’t been graded since spring.<br />

It took them almost an hour just to get to the migrants’ trailers, but the timing turned out to be good. They<br />

got there just in time for the supper break. The workers were milling around a picnic table placed under the one<br />

makeshift ramada that stood in front of the semicircle of house trailers. Some folks were sitting on kitchen chairs<br />

brought from inside. There was music on a radio playing in one of the trailer houses and people seemed happy about<br />

the shoes. Maryann was handing a chocolate cone to a shyly smiling youngster when Timmerman’s shout almost<br />

made her drop it.<br />

48<br />

Rough Ground<br />

Carol Spitler Korhonen<br />

Excerpted from the novel "Small Town Murders"<br />

“Who in hell gave you permission to come on my land and bother my migrants!”<br />

Maryann hated the fact that Timmerman had managed to startle her, so she turned his direction with a big<br />

friendly smile and said, “Good evening Mr. Timmerman what can I get for you, chocolate or vanilla?”<br />

Timmerman responded by shifting his shotgun off his shoulder into a two-handed grip across his body, but<br />

at that moment John and Father Donnelly emerged from the first trailer house in the row and John began yelling.<br />

“Timmerman, I know the sheriff has already warned you about that damn gun! If you point it at my wife or<br />

Maryann or any of these folks, I promise you I will bring charges against you and that’s if I don’t take it away from<br />

you and shove it up your ass.”<br />

Father Donnelly caught up with John and put a restraining hand on his shoulder, but he spoke directly to Timmerman.<br />

“Paul, you know that your wife gave us permission to be here and to speak with your workers as long as<br />

we don’t interfere with their work, which we are not doing because this is supper break. Doctor John and Liz and<br />

Maryann are here doing God’s work and you should be supporting our efforts, not threatening people with that<br />

shotgun.”<br />

“You can keep your preaching to yourself, Donnelly. These Mexicans better be ready to get back to work in,”<br />

he stopped and looked at his watch, “in thirty-five minutes. I need to get these rats back in the field while we still<br />

have some light to work by.”<br />

“We are not interfering with your workers in any way Paul. It’s dangerous to be carrying that loaded gun<br />

around. There is a lot of rough ground out here. If you happen to step in a hole or stumble, it could end up in<br />

tragedy. I wish you’d leave it racked in your truck. There are a lot of kids out here.”<br />

“They should keep those kids inside and out of my way. I need to get these crops in while the weather holds.<br />

I could lose a lot of money if I don’t get my produce to market. I have contracts to fill. I’m not like you Donnelly,<br />

living off whatever you can beg people to throw in the collection plate. I work for a living.”<br />

Timmerman was walking away now. Maryann watched as Father Donnelly turned and urged Dr. John back<br />

inside. Maryann let out a breath she only now realized she was holding. The sooner Timmerman and his gun got<br />

away from these families the better off everyone was.<br />

Tom Ryan and Dorothy Feeney spent a lot of time together as they grew up. Everyone seemed to assume<br />

they belonged together. They were the same age. They lived almost next door to each other. Both their families<br />

were well off and they lived in town, not out on some dusty country road. The third member of the group was Bill<br />

O’Tool. Bill’s Dad owned the John Deere dealership in Marburg, selling heavy farming equipment, the only Deere<br />

dealership in Sanilac County. Tom bragged that Bill’s family was richer than the Ryans and Feeneys put together.<br />

Bill was a quiet, thoughtful boy, a good balance for me, thought Tom. Everybody told Tom that he never<br />

shut up. Tom loved looking at Bill’s squared-off handsome face and a trim build. Tom spent even more time with<br />

Bill than he did with Dorothy. Everyone in town assumed they were best friends, but Tom knew that they were<br />

much more than that to each other. Tom was careful to include Dorothy and other girls in their activities so that no<br />

one else would know how much he and Bill loved each other.<br />

†<br />

Saturday was finally here and right now, Tom and Dorothy, Bill and Bea Connaughton, plus two other<br />

Marburg High seniors, were bumping along the dusty dirt roads west of town picking up kids for the Golden<br />

Harvest Dance. So far there were six kids riding Ruthie Callahan’s big, blue Oldsmobile, but plenty of room for<br />

more if they squeezed in. Tom and Bill sat in the middle of the back seat with the girls taking the back window<br />

seats. Tom had gone over this arrangement with Bill before they picked up the girls. It allowed the boys to sit close<br />

to one another, touching from shoulder to knee without arousing suspicion. On the way to pick up the Miller twins,<br />

they passed the Timmerman farm and spotted a large field of watermelons.<br />

“Let’s get some melons,” said Tom. “It’s so hot tonight everyone will want some.”<br />

“Are you joking?” asked Bill. “Old man Timmerman is the meanest man in Sanilac County. We don’t want<br />

to get caught taking melons from his field.”<br />

“You’re right,” agreed Tom, flashing his hundred-watt grin. “Let’s definitely not get caught.”<br />

There were several big watermelon fields on the way to pick up the twins and Tom was determined to steal a<br />

couple of melons to take back to the dance. Everyone in the car, except Bill, was now in favor of a watermelon heist.<br />

The fields on both sides of the road were full of melons. Tom and Bill wrestled two big melons into the back and just<br />

as Tom slammed the trunk closed, the lights came on in the Timmermans’ yard.<br />

...<br />


·<br />

·<br />

“Let’s go” yelled Tom.<br />

Both boys scrambled to get back in the car. Bill climbed over Dorothy to regain his middle seat between<br />

the two girls, but Tom slid into the window seat, behind the driver and put his arm around Dorothy. Bill gave Tom<br />

a dirty look, but Tom just grinned back at him and then winked and pulled Dorothy close. Dorothy didn’t object.<br />

Instead, she smiled at Tom and decided to leave Bill to his date, Bea Connaughton, but Bill resolutely centered<br />

himself in the middle of the back seat with another glare in Tom’s direction. Ruthie took off like a rocket and they<br />

were past Timmerman’s gate in no time. The girls were cheering and the boys were laughing when the shotgun blast<br />

exploded through the back window of the car.<br />

The crack and shatter of the shotgun felt, to Tom, like it took forever, and the flying shards of glass and<br />

shotgun pellets seemed to move in slow motion. The air was full of flying rainbow glass and grey pellets, and then<br />

there was the smell of blood and then there was blood – all over the front window and the back of the front seat as<br />

well. Tom saw Bill slump forward and thought that maybe he was trying to hide on the floor, but that wasn’t it at all.<br />

†<br />

Paul Timmerman told the sheriff that he only wanted to scare the kids. He meant to spray a load of<br />

buckshot over the top of their car. Unfortunately, as Timmerman stepped into the rutted dirt road his foot hit a hole<br />

and he stumbled. While Timmerman tried to regain his footing, the shotgun, now pointed directly at the car’s back<br />

window, went off. Timmerman was only a couple yards behind the car when the gun discharged. The shotgun pellets<br />

went straight through the back window catching Bill in the back, severing and pulverizing a good-sized section of<br />

his spinal cord and killing him instantly. The other kids escaped with minor scratches.<br />

†<br />

Maryann Moore was pouring punch, standing behind the refreshment table at Feeny’s Mortuary and<br />

Funeral Home. The whole town seemed to have come for the viewing tonight. Tom was sitting with his parents and<br />

Father Donnelly. Dorothy had spoken to Tom when he first came in, but he didn’t answer or even acknowledge her.<br />

He seemed to look right through her. Now Dorothy was staying close to her mother. Maryann knew she would have<br />

to perform the hostess duties tonight because Jeanette Feeney had her hands full with Dorothy.<br />

Maryann was handing cups of punch to the Sheriff, Gene March, and his wife when she caught sight of<br />

Tom walking to the front of the room. He walked to the casket and touched Bill’s hand. Tom stood very still for a<br />

moment and then his head bowed and his shoulders began to shake. Maryann almost dropped her ladle and went to<br />

him, but Father Donnelly beat her to it. He ushered the boy outside, not back to his parents. Will Feeney came out<br />

with two large pitchers of punch to refill the bowl. Then Will turned to the sheriff.<br />

“I know you’re blaming yourself for this Gene, but you couldn’t have known.”<br />

“I know I couldn’t stop him Will,” said the sheriff, “but that doesn’t keep me from thinking I should have<br />

found some way to do just that.”<br />

Will Feeney pulled a flask out of his pocket and topped off Sheriff Gene’s punch.<br />

“There was nothing you could do Gene, nothing anyone could do.”<br />

50<br />

51<br />

V<br />

A<br />

I<br />

W<br />

S<br />

U<br />

A<br />

R<br />

A<br />

L<br />

D<br />

Neen<br />

Isaac Zierenberg<br />

Exposure on Color Film

Death and Claptrap<br />

Carol Spitler Korhonen<br />

“May the road rise up to meet you<br />

May the wind be always at your back”<br />

and other Irish claptrap hauled out for funerals, wakes<br />

memorial services, prayer cards, sermons and speeches<br />

but I’m too angry for that<br />

What should I do with this anger?<br />

What can I do with this anger?<br />

Yes, you confessed to a liver transplant,<br />

but not that it was failing<br />

You should have spent years with her<br />

not a thin packet of months<br />

And my daughter is crying again<br />

because your damn truck is in the driveway<br />

and I too forget and look for you<br />

until I remember<br />

Like your dog, Osa, who keeps running out to<br />

the end of the lane to find you<br />

and I slow when I pass that certain door<br />

and double take on some look-alike in the street<br />

I needed you to stay<br />

not be thinner and thinner and then go<br />

I needed you to stay and be the man that she deserves<br />

my sweet, still young daughter with all the bad luck<br />

Surely you could have tried harder to stay so I could<br />

watch her eyes shine at the sound of your voice on the phone<br />

watch her bask in wonder at your effortless attention<br />

watch her sleep curled in perfect peace against you<br />

My daughter lay beside you on the hospital cot<br />

trying to lend you her breath, and the push of her heart<br />

trying to wind her soul tight around yours<br />

so you couldn’t leave<br />

but you said “I’m sorry”<br />

and then you died<br />

Well . . . apology not accepted!<br />

you should have been more careful<br />

you should have gotten more sleep<br />

you should have stopped drinking<br />

you should have watched your diet<br />

you should have paced yourself<br />

you should have not worked so hard<br />

you should have tried harder<br />

you should have hung on longer<br />

And if it isn’t your own damn fault<br />

then what can I do with this anger?<br />

What should I do with this anger?<br />

but<br />

Dave, my friend<br />

(my friend)<br />

52<br />

May you be a week in heaven before the Devil knows you’re dead!<br />


Differences<br />

Leah Lancaster<br />

Being the outsider in any given situation is like drawing the worst luck: you watch yourself get dragged<br />

apart from the people around you no matter how much you want to fit in with them, completely<br />

helpless and alone. The feeling of isolation that comes with being different gnaws at you, so much so that you will<br />

start to try anything to get rid of how you’re an outlier socially, culturally, or physically. As a young Asian girl<br />

being surrounded by people who I could not relate to and who could not relate to me, I hated the feeling of being<br />

completely different and how that would show itself through the actions of others. In an attempt to be easier for<br />

people to get along with, I shut parts of myself away but I ultimately gave up on trying to hide who I was.<br />

When I was younger, all my peers in school were either Hispanic or White, something very common here<br />

in Tucson because of our geographical location. There was nothing wrong with this, but it could be disheartening at<br />

times, not having many other kids like me at my age. In preschool and kindergarten, I had one friend who was also<br />

Japanese and we have kept in touch even till now. In elementary school, there weren’t other Asian kids despite the<br />

600 students attending. Middle school and high school have been much the same but more tolerable because of how<br />

I have come to accept myself as different from those around me. Though much hasn’t changed in terms of those<br />

around me, the important thing is that I have.<br />

In elementary school, it was nearly a daily occurrence for the other kids to make fun of my looks, heritage, food,<br />

or something else of the same sort. It was hard for me to understand why they would treat me this way, especially my<br />

friends, and all I knew was that they were treating me differently. I would often be approached only for the other person<br />

to pull their eyes back and chant “Chinese, Japanese, American,” laugh, and keep doing this several times until I would<br />

start to laugh with them, too. When I would open my lunchbox, the other kids would mime gagging or openly comment<br />

on how they thought my food looked “disgusting.” To me, this was plain odd because their lunches (Lunchables, PB&J’s,<br />

random junk food) were just food that I would only ever bring if my mom hadn’t had enough energy or time to pack<br />

anything for me. My lunches were almost always leftovers from the previous night’s dinner and items that were more than<br />

normal to me, like oden, rice with umeboshi, tamago donburi, or, as all of my other peers have always called it, “sushi” (it<br />

was onigiri). Whenever I would try and offer my food for my friends to try, they would visibly recoil and retch at it. This<br />

was especially hurtful to me because I wanted to share my culture with them, only to be rudely turned down. Elementary<br />

school was more making fun of my looks and food as a way to differentiate me from the other students in my grade rather<br />

than direct comments on my ethnicity.<br />

Middle school was more of the same with the addition of people making fun of my language, stereotyping me, and<br />

objectifying me. One particular student in my math class will always be memorable to me for how determined he seemed to<br />

have been to make me as uncomfortable as possible. In my grade, he was one of the class clowns that everyone knew or was on<br />

good terms with, just another loud white kid who would always butt into other people’s business. He would constantly speak<br />

to me in gibberish, ask if I rode dragons around (still not completely sure by what he meant with that one), if I ate my pets, and<br />

questions about China even though he knew I wasn’t Chinese. I dreaded going to class because of him and would often ask to<br />

skip school so that I wouldn’t have to put up with his incessant pestering. I had told my mom about what was happening but she<br />

would give me the basic talk of “Just ignore him; it’ll get better!” and I knew that she had grown up in Japan, so she couldn’t<br />

really understand how I was feeling. Nevertheless, I would try to take her advice but it didn’t help at all and we eventually<br />

moved seats so I was able to get away from him. Outside of that one kid, some of the other people at school would call me an<br />

anime character or sometimes relate me to hentai, a more… lewd sort of animation, for lack of a better word, because my body<br />

type was starkly different than the stereotypical East Asian woman. These remarks left me feeling incredibly dehumanized and<br />

as if I existed only to entertain the people around me but I was never able to voice my concerns in a way that had my friends<br />

taking me seriously, so I would just let them slide. While the people around me made fun of me less, their remarks became more<br />

targeted which made it just as, if not more, hurtful than when I was younger.<br />

54<br />

While not an often occurrence, some of the other kids would also tease me for the way I spoke. At home,<br />

my mother would speak to my brother and me almost exclusively in Japanese so my monolingual English-speaking<br />

father, who was almost always gone on some sort of business trip, didn’t impact how I learned to pronounce words<br />

as much. At this point in my life, I understood that most people weren’t genuinely interested in learning about my<br />

culture, so I wouldn’t speak at all in Japanese but people would still find a way to make fun of the way I would<br />

pronounce certain words as a result of my upbringing and whenever I would correctly pronounce something that<br />

happened to be Japanese. For the most part, it wasn’t like times when my accent would show itself were a common<br />

occurrence, particularly because Japan was mostly associated with anime (something deemed “cringe” by the vast<br />

majority of my school), so I wasn’t mocked for the way I spoke that often. Still, I remember being made fun of for<br />

the way that I would say words like “monkey” or “vitamin” or just how I would slur my words in a particular way,<br />

though I’m still not sure what exactly that “particular way” was. This kind of teasing wasn’t too bad and it never<br />

went far, mostly just repeating the word, scrunching their face up a little in confusion, and simply laughing at me.<br />

Trying to hide myself was something that I could never quite go all-in with. I had been told almost outright to<br />

think that the parts of myself that made me different were shameful and disgusting, something that I would be better<br />

keeping out of sight from everyone else. I had been so used to being ridiculed for a part of myself that I couldn’t change<br />

that I would try and pretend that it wasn’t there. I would start to go along with people’s jokes, acting as if they weren’t<br />

slicing deeper every day, I would purposely mispronounce words and in doing so, whitewash myself, and I would start to<br />

pack more “acceptable” lunches even though eating heavier “American” food would often make me feel sick. This lasted<br />

for a couple of years until COVID hit, and we were forced into quarantine. Being forced to sit by myself with only the<br />

internet to connect myself with other people on social media with roughly the same experiences as me made me realize<br />

how foolish it was of me to live in a way that was only to make myself easier to digest for the people around me. This<br />

change wasn’t a sudden moment of clarity that I can write about but rather very gradual and mainly sparked from hearing<br />

others’ stories that were like mine. Though I have made leaps and bounds in terms of accepting myself, it is still a work in<br />

progress trying to unlearn years of conditioning.<br />

55<br />

Peacock Passion<br />

Rosemarie Dominguez<br />


·<br />

P<br />

A<br />

Y<br />

D<br />

·<br />

·<br />

·<br />

O<br />

E<br />

T<br />

R<br />

W<br />

A<br />

R<br />

Generational<br />

Cycles<br />

Alex Bacani<br />

My loveless mother once scratched my arm bloody.<br />

Look at the wounds like you would tree roots.<br />

The pain will make you strong, she said.<br />

But I wanted beauty, not strength.<br />

A generation has passed,<br />

and now I am a mother, a better mother.<br />

Yet that my efforts are disregarded<br />

by my ungrateful daughter.<br />

She screams abuse at me all day and night.<br />

She wails about how I couldn’t love her even if I tried.<br />

But that’s not true.<br />

My daughter already has my love.<br />

I’d just love her more if she was prettier.<br />

And so, what if I gripped her arm too tight, once.<br />

Someday she’ll see the bruises as violet petals.<br />

The pain will make her beautiful.<br />

I am a good mother; I give my daughter beauty.<br />

Truly, I am a better mother than my mother<br />

and my daughter will be a better mother<br />

for her daughter in the next cycle.<br />

56<br />

57<br />

V<br />

A<br />

I<br />

W<br />

S<br />

U<br />

A<br />

R<br />

A<br />

L<br />

D<br />

Extra Sauce<br />

Ginger Green<br />

Charcoal on Paper

58<br />

Best Friend<br />

Ashley Deniz-Thompson<br />

Oil painting<br />

Porcelain<br />

J Saldivar<br />

September 24th, 2016 I was reborn, well in a<br />

sense. It all started with the end of my shift at<br />

work in Tucson, Arizona. I just had a gut feeling something<br />

was wrong. I had been off my medication, and those who<br />

had been there know it’s like a rollercoaster ride. One day<br />

you’re manic high, and you think you can conquer the<br />

world. Next, you want to go into the fetal position in a<br />

dark room and isolate yourself. I knew that was next, so I<br />

needed a game plan. I rushed home in a panic. That was the<br />

longest 45 minutes to get home. I was full of panic, agony,<br />

questioning and second guessing myself and my mind, then<br />

finally I was home. Now that I was home and wanted to get<br />

into isolation, my chemical imbalance was so overwhelming<br />

it took control. My new game plan was to feel better by any<br />

means necessary. “What makes me feel better?” I thought.<br />

“MEDICATION!” I screamed. I sprinted to my cabinet<br />

drawer, got all the medication I could find, and put it into a<br />

bowl as if it were some sick Halloween. For one goddamn<br />

second, I knew this wouldn’t end well. I started to endlessly<br />

shovel this concoction of medication I made for myself. I<br />

finally gave up and called my friends for some help.<br />

After that it comes in waves:<br />

My friends arrived, picked me up, and drove me<br />

to the hospital. I started to hallucinate. My lips and fingers<br />

started to go numb, I could feel them go crisp, and I no<br />

longer felt like I was breathing. It was just not a thing<br />

anymore. I could no longer exhale or inhale, but I was<br />

still breathing. Anytime I moved my body, colorful dust<br />

followed me like magic, and I felt everything and nothing<br />

at the same time. On the way to the hospital, I saw a car<br />

accident on the side of the road. A single-family with a car<br />

in flames just glaring at me and holding each other tight.<br />

Then I saw a bicyclist on the side of the road with severe<br />

marks on his head. None of these were real.<br />

As we kept driving, I saw an older Native<br />

American man in the middle of the road. I kept telling my<br />

friend not to hit him, and they didn’t see him. She finally hit<br />

him. He dissolved into dust and appeared to me. He told<br />

me I was not welcome with the dead and disappeared. My<br />

friends were in hysterics when I was telling them what I felt<br />

and saw. They rushed faster to our destination.<br />

59<br />

After that, I couldn’t remember much. When<br />

I got to the hospital, the doctors kept asking me why I<br />

did this, but I couldn’t even produce a sentence with all<br />

of the hallucinations. After the doctor left, I remember<br />

an eight-legged demon that asked me if I wanted to live<br />

or die. I replied, “Live.” He then turned into my female<br />

friend from grade school and slowly turned into a corpse.<br />

After that, I couldn’t sleep for a couple of days. At this<br />

point, I had been hallucinating for over ten hours and<br />

was admitted into a psychiatric place for a week. On the<br />

way to the psychiatric hospital, I met the EMT who<br />

transferred me and a porcelain doll. For a moment in<br />

time, I felt as if I were drowning in my own delusions,<br />

choking on my hallucinations. My own eyes had<br />

deceived me for so long. What was real? I questioned.<br />

The porcelain doll continued in the glass where all<br />

the medication was. No matter where I looked, it would follow<br />

me. If I looked away from its direction, it would tap on the<br />

glass with the softest yet loudest tap. I finally broke down in<br />

tears and told the EMT what I saw, assuming he would think<br />

I’m crazy but wanted him to know what was going on. I told<br />

him about that son of a bitch doll and all the other unearthing<br />

things I had seen since being admitted. He took a deep breath<br />

in, exhaled, and held my hand. He asked if I could feel him,<br />

and I could. He told me that was real and to hang on to that.<br />

Our connection and skin on the skin were real, and my mind<br />

was purposely playing tricks on me. I held onto that warmth<br />

of his hand, to his words coming out of his mouth. I was so<br />

cold for so long; his hand on my hand warmed my body like a<br />

hug from your grandpa on Christmas day. I was drowning in a<br />

pit of delusions, and he was the only sanity left. He saved me.<br />

Only the EMT tried to let me know what was real and what<br />

was a figment of my imagination. The fine line of sanity and<br />

insanity. After my breakdown with the EMT, I was rebirthed.<br />

When I woke up, I was reborn. I wasn’t the<br />

same, and I am happy about that. I am grateful; I<br />

appreciate my life and the EMT who rescued me. I still<br />

don’t remember half of the time I was there, and I am<br />

glad I don’t. Just fragments. I look back, and sure there<br />

are hundreds of things I could’ve done differently, but I<br />

wouldn’t be the person I am today. I look back and learn<br />

from this, and it makes me a stronger person. I learn<br />

from my unwise choices. There is a fine line between<br />

sanity and insanity. I am happy I had someone to show<br />

me the ropes.

Los Cuatro Bailando Juntos<br />

Fernanda Cueva<br />

La tierra que palpita al caminar<br />

es la misma que nutre tus manos al bailar.<br />

Cada aliento inhalado y exhalado<br />

es abrazado por el viento y transformado en alimento<br />

para el cuerpo sagrado que llevas puesto.<br />

El fuego traducido en vida prende al corazón.<br />

Y el agua purifica y renueva el andar de cada canción.<br />

The Four Dancing Together<br />

Fernanda Cueva<br />

The land that throbs when walking<br />

is the same that nourishes your hands when dancing.<br />

Every breath inhaled and exhaled<br />

is embraced by the wind and transformed into food<br />

for the sacred body you’re wearing.<br />

The fire translated into life sets the heart on fire.<br />

And water purifies and renews the walk of every song.<br />

60<br />

We Fell in Dance<br />

Brandon Robles<br />

Digital Sketch Outline

The Endless Journey<br />

Elizabeth Lowe<br />

On a foggy day, the mist hangs thick in the air, and I see a house I had seen years ago. A young woman sat<br />

on the front porch, holding a tiny baby wrapped in a blanket. The baby coos softly as his mother sings to him. The<br />

sun comes out, and the mist begins to clear. I leave the house, continuing on my long journey, pulled on with time<br />

and motion, never noticed.<br />

Years later, resting on a tree, I see the same boy, older now, walking into school with another boy. When the bell<br />

rings, the boy comes out the doors with his friend, and I watch them play a game with other kids on the playground.<br />

Moments later, I slip down from the tree and continue on my way. I cannot see the boy anymore, and he did not<br />

notice me watching. To him, I am invisible. I am just a small thing in the world, taken for granted.<br />

The rain pours down on a cold day, and I move to a nearby bus stop. A car rolls slowly down the road. At the driver’s<br />

seat is the boy, a young man now learning to drive, his mother beside him. He is hesitant at first, then slowly gains<br />

confidence. As I slip away through the streets, I see a smile on his face. His journey, like mine, has many more years,<br />

and I hope to see him again.<br />

The day is hot a decade later. I am far away from the small house where the boy was born, on a beach now,<br />

swimming in the vast ocean. I come in with the waves, and the boy, now a man, is walking along the shore, a young<br />

woman by his side, holding his hand. As the sun sets, he gets on one knee. The woman says yes, and the tide begins<br />

to go out. I am happy for the man. I have watched him grow up, even if he has never noticed me.<br />

On a rainy day, I come by a park. The man is there with his wife, standing under a gazebo. As I pass by, I see a<br />

new baby in her arms. The man takes the child and smiles. I hit the ground and continue on my journey. I will see<br />

the man again, as he grows old with his wife, and I will watch his child grow, becoming a man and finding a wife.<br />

He, like his father, will never notice me or recognize me, for I come in different forms. Water never leaves; it only<br />

changes appearance. Next year I may be a flake of snow, a drink for a tree. I might be in the ocean for years, or<br />

underground, or in an iceberg, but I will never leave. I will cross paths with the man and his family again one day,<br />

but for now, my endless journey takes me elsewhere.<br />

62<br />

Bat<br />

Portia Cooper<br />

India Ink, Fineliner Pen, and White Pen on Bristol<br />


Gracias por Existir en Este Aquí y en Este Ahora<br />

Fernanda Cueva<br />

Que bonito el poder decir que somos humanos,<br />

que podemos sentir el sol besar nuestra piel,<br />

entrelazar manos creadoras,<br />

el frío y el calor abrazando al cuerpo,<br />

sentir lo que nos hace estar aquí,<br />

y cada remolino que nos viene hacer bailar.<br />

Que bonito compartir el andar a pies descalzos por aquí<br />

y poder decir te quiero en esta frecuencia y vibración.<br />

Que bonito es ser humana junto a ti.<br />

Thank You For Existing Right Here Right Now<br />

Fernanda Cueva<br />

How beautiful it is to say we’re human,<br />

that we can feel the sun kissing our skin,<br />

interlacing creative hands,<br />

cold and heat embracing the body,<br />

feeling what allows us to be here,<br />

and every whirl that comes making us dance.<br />

How beautiful to share barefoot walking around here,<br />

and to be able to say I love you in this frequency and vibration.<br />

How beautiful it is to be human next to you.<br />

October 3, 2018<br />

Eric S Cerda<br />

I got the call today<br />

The tone, the message<br />

even my response<br />

is how I pictured it<br />

I’ve waited, I’ve anticipated<br />

for I knew it would come<br />

I had seen the corrosion in your skin<br />

and I turned my head away<br />

I remember sitting in your warm kitchen on weekday’s afternoon<br />

Sun-soaked table with slices of tiramisu and coffees<br />

I took mine then with milk and sugar, it’s liquid candy<br />

You asked me how I’ve been and what’s new in this tepid life<br />

I repeated once again “fine and nothing,” and nothing more<br />

I wished to tell you stories of ceremonious glories and fatal heartbreaks<br />

but how could I lie to you<br />

I watched wrinkled hands of hard-fought life stir gentle circles<br />

Your serene eyes stared with sweet sympathy in silence<br />

and when coffees were drunk and cake gobbled, I said “later”<br />

My selfishness, my guilt<br />

I didn’t want to come around<br />

Shut my eyes, don’t breathe the air<br />

In the bedroom of ghastly despair<br />

Oh how I hated that you were you<br />

You the bones that couldn’t hold skin<br />

Probed with rubber tubes that smelled<br />

of nauseating chemicals for disease<br />

and a skull that can only show<br />

the distortion and the anguish<br />

You couldn’t recognize me<br />

and I didn’t want to<br />

Why couldn’t you have been you?<br />

I wanted a result<br />

To move forward. Free<br />

But oh, how I wished<br />

that I never got the call<br />

and to be able to say “later”<br />

but instead, I must say<br />

Goodbye<br />

64<br />


Study in Yellow<br />

Rachel Franco<br />

Magazine and Paper Collage<br />

Winter Doesn't Last<br />

Forever<br />

Amaya Fimbres<br />

falling for you was the easiest thing I’ve ever done<br />

because for the first time in my life, I jumped<br />

and still haven’t hit rock bottom. I’m just scared<br />

to think I can, I might, I will.<br />

you look at me like I’m glass, like you just woke<br />

from a dream about angels, and I can’t meet your eyes<br />

because I am terrified that I’m still dreaming too.<br />

I couldn’t tell you even if I knew how<br />

that I only have so many heartstrings left.<br />

and yet,<br />

you are every good thing I never thought<br />

I would deserve.<br />

every patient touch, every healing scar.<br />

the words are petals filling up my throat<br />

but I am always thinking about the way<br />

you pull me into existence<br />

with your laughter, about how nothing<br />

feels more like home than being between your arms, how<br />

you’re a shard of heaven I’m trying so hard to stay on earth for.<br />

thank you for becoming my tomorrows.<br />

thank you for, despite everything,<br />

looking at me and seeing something worth loving.<br />

you saw me dirty, empty, breaking,<br />

and you did not turn away. thank you.<br />

daydreamer,<br />

my heart is lingering under the snow<br />

but it’s yours.<br />

Study in Violet<br />

Rachel Franco<br />

Magazine and Paper Collage<br />

66<br />


Mary<br />

68<br />

The Ordinaries' Mindset<br />

Eric S Cerda<br />

Breakfast’s ready: dog food all is fed<br />

Colorful fruity kibble in still-good milk, and stale bread<br />

Scruffy mate and housebreaking pups lap it up<br />

Mine is instant coffee in a chipped souvenir cup<br />

Jean<br />

Steel toes<br />

Tied tight weights down<br />

Dried cracked feet bleeding out<br />

Bent back brakes, a patch is the fix<br />

No comp<br />

Juan<br />

The bell it rings “It’s five, the hive, it’s five<br />

Gather your things, you are now trespassing<br />

Come back tomorrow if you’re still alive<br />

Do not speak to others while they’re passing”<br />

Shuffle out slow beaten dead to the car<br />

On roads cars are still, never do they roam<br />

All dreaming of places that are too far<br />

For none are wanting truly to go home<br />

Do not take the next exit, keep on straight<br />

It matters not where we are going to be<br />

Change names and head to undiscovered state<br />

Drive till we’re out of gas, for we are free<br />

No bell to ring “It’s eight, it’s hate, it’s eight<br />

Corporal punishment for those who are late”<br />

Maria<br />

I pull up in the driveway leaving the engine running to listen to one final song, “Homesick” by the Cure,<br />

my mind drifts recalling the days of yore, regaling when three drinks wasn’t too much, taking a drag from<br />

a secret cigarette though it’s now been forbidden, but I’ll do anything to shorten this lifelong wait, and<br />

when the song ends so does this paradise, the engine is turned off, and I go out of the car, there’s ten steps<br />

left, farewell smile, walk through the door, hello everybody<br />

John<br />

Beaks flap yapping quick in a rage<br />

Hatchlings fly loose in this birdcage<br />

Repeating three words in a bore<br />

“I want more, more, more, I want more”<br />

Regurgitating two weeks catch<br />

Giving it all up to the hatch<br />

Whole body is aching and sore<br />

“I want more, more, more, I want more”<br />

Jonny<br />

Still, they chirp chirp chirping along<br />

Nothing good to watch<br />

They just only know that one song<br />

All repeats, it’s shit TV<br />

Bottle up temper deep in core<br />

Commercials come on<br />

“I want more more more, I want more “<br />

False advertisement; perfect<br />

When not obtaining desire<br />

Escape from reality<br />

They screech out as if on fire<br />

Marie<br />

They’re the reason for drinking more<br />

Lay down in married bed with former love<br />

“I want more more more, I want more “<br />

We keep the distance between the thick sheets<br />

Stare into the void the darkness above<br />

Regret: I didn’t listen to cold feet<br />

We were innocent then like captured doves<br />

Veiled in our conceit that birth our deceit<br />

In sorrow, sun rise repeating the day<br />

So close my eyes perchance to dream away<br />


Where Are You?<br />

Rachel Baird<br />

If there was a row of houses<br />

for all the people I have been,<br />

you would find a different person<br />

at every door.<br />

“Where are you?”<br />

Where am I?<br />

I am at the street corner,<br />

trying to find the courage to knock<br />

on the door.<br />

Ask any passing figure,<br />

Any wondering pedestrian,<br />

Anyone, who may have the faintest idea,<br />

or the smallest clue<br />

Of where you are?<br />

I stare at my shoes,<br />

tattered and old, “you need to get new ones”<br />

But I like these,<br />

they’re the only identifying item tying me together<br />

with all the wondering faces,<br />

All the strangers I do not know.<br />

Some old friends,<br />

some more reminiscent of an old foe,<br />

Enemies to friends, to enemies again.<br />

Where are you?<br />

I feel a quiet tug at my stitch,<br />

gentle as if not with intent to startle.<br />

Glancing down,<br />

it is me, but younger.<br />

A gentler pull and sheepish grin.<br />

Where am I?<br />

She grabs me and pulls me away<br />

from wondering face,<br />

and all the passing strangers.<br />

Where are we going?<br />

She leads me away from the suburban streets<br />

the dim glow of the light above me<br />

Home.<br />

The faces fade into figures,<br />

figures into shapes,<br />

shapes into nothing at all.<br />

I walk home,<br />

Alone in the dark.<br />

70<br />

71<br />

Sim in Her Shop<br />

Isaac Zierenberg<br />

Exposure on Color Film

Los Metalicos<br />

Victor Valdivia<br />

My grandchildren were in the back seat of my car on their way to get their Covid 19 vaccinations. David<br />

aged ten and Joy aged eight, were working hard to look happy about getting vaccinated. In truth, like all kids, they<br />

hated getting shots. To distract them I decided to tell my story about the vaccine I got when I was even younger<br />

than they are now, and it’s a true story.<br />

I was part of the gigantic trial that involved thousands of school children designed to test the Sauk vaccine<br />

for Polio. It was named after Jonas Sauk, the man who invented it. I remembered the time when every countertop<br />

in every store in the country had a “March of Dimes” poster with a canister where you could drop in your coins to<br />

help the research to defeat Polio, but my story was about the trial.<br />

I was in first or second grade, and my parents, like most parents, signed the permission slip for me to be in<br />

the trial. I remember when the class lined up for our march to the multipurpose room where a nurse was giving everyone<br />

injections. The Salk vaccine was a three-shot regimen so the march to the multipurpose room occurred three<br />

times.<br />

The results of the trial are history now. It proved that the vaccine was safe and effective against Polio, but the<br />

bad news for me was that I was assigned to the control group and received the placebo, not the actual vaccine. I had<br />

to get another three shots. I remember feeling quite bitter about it at the time.<br />

Happily, I did not contract Polio before I was able to receive the real vaccine. I described to David and Joy<br />

how ticked off seven-year-old me felt about getting six shots instead of three, and how relieved and excited everyone<br />

else was now that Polio had been defeated by Dr. Salk. Everyone scrambled to get their vaccine ASAP. Kids were<br />

thrilled! Now they could beg mom and dad to go to the beach, the circus, or a Saturday morning kids’ movie, without<br />

getting the ultimate unarguable response of “No way kids! Crowds like that are how Polio is spread.”<br />

I went on to assure David and Joy that they were getting real vaccines for Covid 19, not placebos. Both kids<br />

had listened politely during my story. When I finished, I glanced in my mirror. I watched them look at each other,<br />

whisper something, and shrug.<br />

72<br />

What's COVID-19<br />

Grandma?<br />

Carol Spitler Korhonen<br />

Then I heard David’s voice. “Just one question. What’s Polio, Grandma?”<br />

“Timid loser kid.”<br />

Those were the words that Billy Mendoza had been labeled by a bully, way back as an adolescent, and the<br />

words had stuck with him even now, all these years later, as a college freshman. At Rollins College, the little liberal<br />

arts school in Orlando, Florida that he had decided to attend precisely because it was small and he wanted to<br />

get more personalized attention, he had hoped that he might finally have an easier time finding people to talk to.<br />

Unfortunately, he had a hard time making friends and an even harder time finding a place to be outside of classes.<br />

Even in his dorm room he was always alone because his ostensible roommate was never around, choosing to rush<br />

fraternities almost as soon as school started. When Billy graduated high school in June of 1991, he had high hopes.<br />

Now, here it was late September, and nothing had changed.<br />

Loneliness was never far from Billy. He was an only child, whose rather authoritarian father had frequently<br />

stressed that Billy be modest, never stand out, and downplay his Hispanic heritage whenever possible, like insisting Billy<br />

never speak Spanish in public. His father had claimed that this was so that Billy would not be discriminated against for<br />

his ethnicity, but the result had been to make him withdrawn and awkward. Billy’s one solace was to blast heavy metal<br />

music, the music he loved most of all, in his Sony Walkman. At least when listening to the music, he could escape his<br />

loneliness and find glimmers of courage to push forward. It was the volume, the energy, the swagger that he loved. He<br />

found it simultaneously exhilarating and soothing. Whenever he could scrounge up some money, he would hit his favorite<br />

record stores in the area, Wax Tree and Rock N’ Roll Heaven. There he would take pleasure in browsing through the racks<br />

and picking out the one or two metal records he could afford on his meager budget. He would look longingly at the other<br />

people there, wishing he had the courage to strike up a conversation with someone. Unfortunately, he was too shy and<br />

timid to do so, and often just left the store silently after paying for his purchase.<br />

A few weeks after the semester started, he was already feeling tired, frustrated, and even at times, a little<br />

desperate. Then, as he was walking through the student union building one Tuesday morning, he saw a flyer on a<br />

bulletin board. He didn’t know why, but something made him stop and look at the flyer.<br />

It was obviously cut and pasted with band logos and handwritten slogans and then photocopied in black<br />

and white. So it wasn’t a professional job by any means but he was still captivated by it. That was because the logos<br />

were of some of the most beloved and uncompromising heavy metal bands that Billy loved: Iron Maiden, Judas<br />

Priest, Motorhead, Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth, and a few others tucked away near the bottom. In big handwritten<br />

letters were the words “Latino Metal Night” and in smaller letters underneath an invitation:” Are you a Latino or<br />

Latina who likes heavy metal? Do you want to listen to real heavy metal and hang out with people who do as well?<br />

Come to the Pipe-Fitters and Plumbers Local Hall Saturday night from 9:00 PM until 2:00 AM and join DJ Big<br />

Dave as he spins some of the most brain-melting metal you will ever hear!” At the bottom, “$5 at the door! Beer<br />

available i/y 21 and older!”<br />

For Billy, this was a revelation. Latino Metal Night? How had he not heard about this before? What did it<br />

mean? What was it like? His mind was on fire.<br />

Billy tried to piece it all together. It would be nice to be around other people who loved metal as much as he<br />

did. Maybe he might meet someone who could be a friend. He had to admit, though, it was always difficult for him<br />

to find the courage even to go to record stores by himself, let alone a party.<br />

All week long, he thought about what it would be like. Who would he see? Would he be laughed at if he talked<br />

to someone? Even worse, would he be just ignored? Anxiety and excitement gripped him for the next few days. Finally,<br />

though, he somehow forced himself to take a chance and made his way into the show on Saturday night.<br />


The Pipe-Fitters and Plumbers Local Hall was a fairly large meeting hall with an open empty space in<br />

the front and a few small booths in the rear. At the very front there were a couple of beat-up banquet tables with<br />

chipped Formica and peeling paint. On top of the tables, there was a simple wooden cabinet that spanned both<br />

tables. On each side, the cabinet held a turntable with enough room to put on and take off records. On top of each<br />

turntable, a CD player rested on shelves above the turntables. In the middle, there was a simple mixing board, which<br />

was about the size of a shoebox and only had six faders and a main fader that controlled volume. A cassette deck<br />

rested on a shelf above the mixing board. A maze of wires went from each component to the mixing board. The hall<br />

had some ancient large wooden speakers that were used during regular union meetings, and someone had jerryrigged<br />

a connector to plug the mixing board to them. Under the tables were three crates of vinyl LPs and another<br />

crate full of CDs and cassette tapes.<br />

There, behind the table, setting up a microphone, was Big Dave, the DJ. A better nickname could not have been<br />

chosen. At a hair short of seven feet tall, he was stocky and muscular and built like a linebacker. He had dark brown skin,<br />

jet-black hair as long as his lower back, and several tattoos decorating his arms, not to mention a metallic skull ring he<br />

wore on his right hand. They all combined to confirm that Big Dave was clearly not a man to trifle with.<br />

Billy sized up the crowd. It was surprisingly full. Apparently, there were far more Latino metal fans in the<br />

Orlando area than he realized. Some dark-skinned, some light-skinned, some clearly nursing the only halfway<br />

decent clothes they had, others clad in impeccable concert tees and neatly pressed jeans with expensive shoes. They<br />

were the sons (and daughters-there were a few women there, though not more than half a dozen) of Florida’s varied<br />

Latino community. Some came from the migrant workers who picked Florida’s crops. Some came from the wealthy<br />

Cubans who were able to escape Castro’s regime. Some were just immigrants who moved to Florida to enjoy the<br />

state’s beauty and warm weather. The one thing that he noticed is that no one noticed or cared about any of that.<br />

All they talked about was heavy metal music and their families, since Latinos are always talking about their families,<br />

frequently in Spanish. No one was better than anyone else. The only currency that mattered was how much you<br />

loved this music. In this room, that was pretty much everybody.<br />

Near the front was a big fellow, dark-skinned and chunky, with a pageboy haircut and an unfriendly look on his<br />

face. In his washed-out Iron Maiden shirt, shredded jeans, and dilapidated sneakers, he cut a mean figure.<br />

Before Billy could even say anything, the big fellow immediately ambled up to him and, almost yelling, greeted Billy<br />

with a brutal backslap and by saying, “Hey, you’re new here. What’s your name? I like your Metallica shirt.”<br />

74<br />

“Thanks,” Billy replied, a bit warily. “I’m Billy.”<br />

“Cool. My name’s Tavo. I’ve been coming here since the beginning, ‘cause it’s fuckin’ awesome. What did<br />

you think of the Black Album?” he asked, referring to Metallica’s just released self-titled fifth album.<br />

“I thought it was OK. Some good songs on it.”<br />

“Nah, it fuckin’ sucks. Sellout mainstream bullshit. Fuck Metallica, they’re sellouts now. They used to be cool<br />

though. Anyways…” and then he wandered off to say hello to someone else.<br />

“Whew,” Billy sighed, as Tavo walked away. At least Tavo seemed OK with him. That should count for<br />

something, Billy thought.<br />

Then, the lights went down. Billy felt that instant rush when the lights went down at concerts. He also felt<br />

relieved to not have to worry about what anyone else thought of him for a while. It was 9:00 PM and Big Dave was<br />

ready to start.<br />

“Hey, hermanos y hermanas, welcome to Latino Metal Night! I’m Big Dave Gutierrez! Let’s rock! ‘Raining<br />

Blood’ by Slayer!”<br />

The brutal opening chords of “Raining Blood” rang out over the speakers and the crowd went crazy. There<br />

were spontaneous mosh pits, people slamming into each other and others just standing in place headbanging. Tavo<br />

was the craziest, running around screaming and diving into the mosh pit with reckless abandon.<br />

It was unlike anything Billy had ever seen. Here was where he wanted to be. This was a group of people who<br />

loved metal as much as he did and who only wanted to be with other people who were just like him. The noise was<br />

deafening. The party was rowdy and fun. He never wanted it to end.<br />

Most of all, Billy was in awe of Big Dave. Big Dave picked songs that rocked the crowd. There were classics<br />

like “Metal Gods” by Judas Priest and obscurities by bands like Prong. Dave mixed them seamlessly, playing the<br />

mixing board like an instrument. Whenever someone threatened to get too unruly, Big Dave could say just the<br />

right words to defuse the situation. It was clear that everybody there didn’t just come for the music but because they<br />

respected him. Billy had never seen anyone like him. He wished he could be even half as cool and clever as Dave.<br />

For the first time in his life, Billy felt he was in the right place at the right time. By the time 2:00 AM rolled<br />

around, it was too soon. He was too excited and thrilled to sleep.<br />

From that point on, Billy was there every week, without fail. At first, he was too shy to do much other than<br />

show up, enjoy the music, and then leave without speaking to anyone much. Gradually, however, he did slowly start<br />

to talk to a few of the regulars, even if they weren’t conversations that went much deeper than discussions about<br />

music. Nonetheless, it took him a couple of weeks to muster up the strength to even say “Hi” to Big Dave, who<br />

always muttered a gruff “Hey” back without even looking at him.<br />

After a couple of more weeks, Billy finally decided to attempt to strike up a conversation with him.<br />

“Hey, Dave,” Billy said, hoping Dave wouldn’t hear his stammering. “If I brought in a record, would you play it?”<br />

“Depends,” Dave said, again not looking at him but rifling through his crates.<br />

Speaking quickly, Billy began explaining, the words almost tripping over each other. “It’s just that I found<br />

the import 12” single for Motorhead’s ‘Eat the Rich,’ which has two B-sides that you can’t get anywhere else.”<br />

Big Dave stopped and looked at Billy. He had never looked at Billy before. “Really? You have that?”<br />

Billy, pleased that he had finally managed to get Big Dave’s full attention, relaxed a little. “Yeah, I found it at<br />

Wax Tree. It wasn’t cheap, but I really like it. I could bring it so you play the B-sides if you like.”<br />

Dave thought for a moment. “Yeah, that’s cool. Bring it next week. I’ll play it for you. You like Motorhead?<br />

What’s your favorite album of theirs?”<br />

Billy, taken aback, wasn’t expecting this. Hoping his answer wouldn’t piss Big Dave off, he thought for<br />

a moment and said, “Well, probably the first one, which really has a lot of my favorite songs. But I like the No<br />

Remorse collection too. It’s really well-chosen.”<br />

Big Dave considered this. Then, to Billy’s astonishment, he grinned. “Yeah, that’s a good choice, I like those<br />

records too. What other bands do you like?” But before Billy could answer, Dave said, “Oh, hold on. This song’s<br />

almost over. Let me do this and I’ll get back to you.”<br />

Billy then watched as Dave faded down the turntable playing King Diamond’s “Burn” and faded up the CD<br />

player playing Venom’s “Lady Bathory.” Then he turned to Billy, and it seemed to Billy that Dave actually saw him<br />

for the first time since they had met. “Anyways, what were you saying?”<br />

After that, Big Dave was more and more friendly to Billy. Billy would bring in records and Big Dave would<br />

play them.They bonded over music. Dave introduced him to the Florida death metal scene and bands like Death<br />

and Obituary. Billy got Dave to reassess Black Sabbath’s late-‘80s albums. “They’re not as bad as I remember them,”<br />

Dave grudgingly conceded, which was a remarkable acknowledgment from him.<br />

Then, gradually, Billy and Big Dave just talked and not only about music. Big Dave, as it turns out, was<br />


a senior at Rollins, graduating in May with a business degree. He had begun doing the show as a freshman just<br />

because he thought somebody should. His parents were divorced, and while his mother lived in Orlando, his father<br />

had moved to Sacramento and owned a successful landscaping company. The divorce had been brutal, and it was<br />

then that Dave, a teenager, became a metalhead. Billy, considering his own turbulent past, could relate.<br />

76<br />

One time they discussed what bands Dave would and wouldn’t play.<br />

“What about some more mainstream bands, like G N’ R or Van Halen or Def Leppard?” Billy asked.<br />

“I don’t play that shit,” Big Dave gruffly answered. “Well, maybe early Van Halen, but otherwise, fuck that.”<br />

“But wouldn’t it bring in more girls? They like that music.”<br />

“Why would I want more girls here?” Big Dave asked. “This is a place to rock, not to get laid. If you want to<br />

pick up chicks, go to some dance club. We’re here for the music.”<br />

Billy said nothing. As he considered this, however, he wondered if, maybe, he might see things a bit<br />

differently from Dave. He thought the show might be a bit more varied and still keep true to what Dave intended. It<br />

marked the first time Billy stopped exalting Dave and brought him back down to earth. Dave was just another guy<br />

with opinions, like himself.<br />

The school year progressed and Billy and Dave had become close friends. They began to speak on the phone<br />

regularly, almost daily. They would meet for meals at the cafeteria. But it wasn’t until one night in mid-April that<br />

Billy realized just how close they had become.<br />

As Dave rifled through his LP crate, he sighed. “Just a few weeks more,” he said. He was, of course, referring to graduation.<br />

“Oh, that’s right,” Billy said. “You’re graduating. So what’s next for you? You gonna keep doing this and look for a job?”<br />

“I already got a job,” said Dave. He stopped and looked Billy square in the eyes. “I’m working for my dad’s company.”<br />

Billy stared at him. Dave’s dad in Sacramento? That didn’t make sense.<br />

“Huh? How’s that gonna work?”<br />

“What do you mean? I’m going to California after I graduate. I’m gonna help my dad run his company.”<br />

“You mean you’re leaving? When, in the fall or something?”<br />

“Nope. Just a few days after I graduate.”<br />

“But-,” Billy gestured helplessly. “What about this?”<br />

“What about it?” asked Dave. “It’s over, Billy. I’m done. It was fun but I gotta move on.”<br />

“But you can’t move on, man. We need this. A lot of people need this.” I need this, Billy thought, but didn’t say.<br />

Dave sighed again. He put his hands on Billy’s shoulders. “That’s the thing, Billy. Why do you think I<br />

was happy to meet you? I knew I would have to give this up someday, but I had hoped that maybe I might meet someone<br />

who could take over after I leave. Who was I gonna pick, Tavo? I love the guy, but-no, God no. I could turn it over to you<br />

if you want it. You’re the only one who’s smart enough, together enough, and loves the music enough to do it.”<br />

None of this was real, Billy thought. This can’t be happening.<br />

“Are-are you sure, Dave? I-I’m…it means a lot that you think that, but really? Me?”<br />

“Yes, you. Why not? I think you could do it, and I know this better than anybody. And you’re a<br />

freshman. You could do this for three more years. At least,” he added, grinning.<br />

“Wow, Dave, just…wow. I mean, yeah, it would be really cool to do this at some point. But how am<br />

I gonna pay for all this?” Billy asked, pointing at Dave’s music and equipment.<br />

“You can do DJ jobs over the summer for cash. It’s quick, easy money. And you can use that to pay<br />

me back. But the one thing is that, either next week or the week after that, I need to see you do this at least once,<br />

without me. You need to prove you can do this by yourself.”<br />

Billy swallowed hard. Latino Metal Night, by himself? Was he ready for that?<br />

And yet, even as he trembled with nerves, he also felt something he had never felt before. It was a<br />

sure, steady feeling that he had been handed an opportunity that he had to seize. He actually felt that he had enough<br />

courage to try. That surprised him more than anything. He had never felt that before. Not with school, not with<br />

sports, and certainly not with girls. But he did with this.<br />

It was time, he thought. It was finally time.<br />

“Yes,” he said, the words surprising him as they came out of his mouth. “Yes, I want to try. Just tell<br />

me everything I need to know and I will do one night by myself.”<br />

Dave smiled. “Don’t worry, Billy. I’ll set you up.”<br />

For the next week, every afternoon after classes, Billy would go to Big Dave’s apartment and Dave<br />

would teach him everything he could. How to cue up songs on the turntables, CD players, and even cassette deck.<br />

How to use the mixing board. How to speak into the microphone. How to handle rowdies. Billy asked Dave every<br />

question he could think of and Dave answered. Still, Dave made it clear in no uncertain terms that much of the<br />

time, Billy would just have to wing it and deal with things as they occurred. There was only so much planning and<br />

preparation he could do.<br />

Finally, Saturday night arrived. Billy was so nervous he hadn’t eaten more than a few bites all day and<br />

brought some plastic water bottles to sip from in an attempt to ease his nerves. He and Dave arrived at the hall at 8:00<br />

PM and started setting up. As they did, people slowly but surely started streaming in. Finally, everything was ready.<br />

“Okay, Billy, I’m gonna leave you here. I’ll step out for a minute and then I’ll come back in, but<br />

you won’t see me. I’ll be in the back somewhere in the darkness. If you screw up really bad, I’ll stop the show and<br />

finish up for you, but that’s only if you have a massive, spectacular disaster. It would have to be like a Kiss show, with<br />

flames and blood, only for real. Otherwise, I’ll just let you keep going until you pussy out. Got it?”<br />

Billy nodded. “Pussy out. Got it.”<br />

Dave grinned. “Don’t worry. You’ll do fine. Now get up there and get ready. It’s almost time to start.”<br />

Dave left and Billy set up his headphones and cued up four songs. Then he checked his watch. It was 8:59 PM.<br />

Billy looked out at the faces. They were staring at him, waiting expectantly for some music. He<br />

swallowed hard, took a deep breath, and forced his face into a smile.<br />

“How you doin’, tonight?” he exclaimed into the microphone. “Are you ready to rock?”<br />

“Hell, yeah!” the crowd roared.<br />

“All right, then let’s do it! My name is Billy and this is Latino Metal Night! And we’re gonna start<br />

with a classic! It’s Judas Priest with ‘Take on the World!’ Let’s go!” And he immediately started the turntable and<br />

pulled up the fader, as the song’s opening chords blasted from the speakers.<br />

Then he watched, his heart bursting with pride, as the crowd went just as crazy as they had for any<br />

of Big Dave’s shows. Tavo was the craziest of all, and he seemed to be leading everyone else in slam-dancing and<br />

jumping around.<br />


For the rest of the night, he kept playing music, carefully using the mixing board like Dave had<br />

taught him. He had picked a list of heavy hitters, artists and songs that were real crowd-pleasers, but he was careful<br />

to intersperse a few songs that he liked that Big Dave might not have picked. So, for instance, in between Ozzy<br />

Osbourne’s “Flyin’ High Again” and Megadeth’s “In My Darkest Hour” he slipped in “Runnin’ With the Devil.” It<br />

was a way to demonstrate that while he respected Big Dave’s judgment, he would also try to make the show his own.<br />

That he had the self-confidence to do so surprised him, and yet he realized he wasn’t afraid anymore. He had found<br />

one place where he had no self-doubt or self-consciousness.<br />

Of course, he knew he had to keep on his toes. He had been apprehensive that he would bump<br />

one of the turntables, or make the CD player skip, or pull up the wrong fader. He had been especially worried that<br />

he would say something awkward or stupid, which was a perpetual fear he had that kept him restrained. But as the<br />

night went on, he felt more assured. This could actually work.<br />

About halfway through the show, he felt something else. He felt a newfound pride. Here he was in a<br />

roomful of Latinos, just like himself. They didn’t seem to feel ashamed of who they were, and he realized he didn’t either.<br />

Who was going to discriminate against him here? So he actually started doing his announcements partly in Spanish, like<br />

calling the crowd “hermanos y hermanas.” Speaking Spanish in public might not have seemed rebellious to others, but for<br />

Billy it was a giant step. He was who he was and he no longer felt any inhibitions about that.<br />

The night went on and on. He fumbled his words a few times on the microphone, and yet the crowd<br />

didn’t laugh at him. Instead they were warm and encouraging. Some of his transitions were a little rougher than he<br />

wanted and yet no one seemed to notice. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the music and having a good time. He<br />

could not have asked for a better night.<br />

When he finally checked his watch again, he was shocked that it was already 2 AM. Time had flown by, and<br />

Big Dave had not come up. So he announced the last song, which was “Antisocial” by Anthrax and told the audience<br />

goodnight. He then couldn’t resist adding, “So this was my first night filling in for Big Dave. Que tal, amigos?” The<br />

resulting roars and cheers gave him a feeling unlike any he had ever felt in his life. The elation and warmth were<br />

something he would never forget.<br />

Finally, Billy sat back, relieved. It was over. He had done it. He had actually done it by himself. He<br />

had found the courage to take a chance and he had won.<br />

78<br />

He was not the timid loser kid anymore. He didn’t imagine he would ever be again.<br />

Tavo came up to him and slapped him hard on the back. “That was fuckin’ awesome, Billy! You<br />

gonna do the show now?”<br />

Billy couldn’t help smiling. “Thanks, Tavo. And yeah, I’m gonna do some more shows from now on.”<br />

Tavo slapped him hard on the back again. “That’s fuckin’ great Billy! I’ll see you next week!” As he walked<br />

away, he let out a loud bellow that nearly shattered Billy’s eardrums. But Billy was so elated that he didn’t even mind.<br />

As he started packing up the gear, he heard Dave’s voice coming over the murmur of the departing<br />

crowd. He looked up to see Dave approaching him, grinning.<br />

“So, you did great. Congratulations, I knew you could do it.”<br />

Billy was thrilled. “You didn’t even come up to correct me once. You stayed at the back of the hall the whole time.”<br />

“Yep. And I’m glad I did. You didn’t need me at all. I knew you wouldn’t. It’s all yours if you want it, Billy.<br />

Billy felt as calm and eerily relaxed as he had ever felt in his life. “I do want it, Dave. And thank<br />

you.” He stuck out his hand to shake Dave’s.<br />

Dave looked at Billy’s hand. Then he reached over and hugged Billy, slapping him on the back.<br />

“Tu eres mi hermano,” he said quietly. Then he walked away.<br />

Billy couldn’t believe the night was over. He put his headphones down and packed up all of Dave’s<br />

gear, slipping the records back into crates, carefully sorting the CDs and unplugging the components from the board<br />

and locking them in Dave’s hard-shelled carrying cases. Finally, after a lot of work, he was done. Exhausted, he<br />

stepped outside, holding his water bottle.<br />

He took a sip from the bottle. As he did, he looked up at the sky. It was that strange mixture of gray,<br />

blue, and black that makes up the early hours of morning. The sun wasn’t up yet, but it was coming. After an intense<br />

night of noise and craziness, Billy savored the relative tranquility. He sat on the steps of the doorway and watched<br />

the early morning pass by. It was a new day, and Billy felt young. He had a whole world in front of him and the rest<br />

of life to be who he always wanted to be.<br />


Fear<br />

Elizabeth Badowski<br />

Your Eyes Tell<br />

Elizabeth Badowski<br />

I know fear<br />

I've felt it before<br />

Not just what you feel when you see a spider<br />

But the feeling that your world is collapsing<br />

When your entire life feels naught and everything that matters is in this moment,<br />

That's two sides of the same coin<br />

But one side is often overlooked<br />

It's forgotten about<br />

It's purposely pushed from our minds<br />

Something we don't want to think about because maybe if we don't, it'll go away<br />

Maybe it won't hurt us anymore<br />

I don’t know what it is<br />

But my mind knows the pain<br />

What is it?<br />

What is it?<br />

I think in vain<br />

Your eyes were blue in the daytime<br />

Like ice<br />

Bright and sharp<br />

But never cold<br />

Beautiful<br />

Pastel and crystalline<br />

In a little less light they were stormy gray<br />

Like rain clouds on the horizon<br />

Threatening and mysterious<br />

But still soft gentle clouds<br />

At night you're eyes were dark<br />

Reflecting the night sky<br />

Inky but never without a drop of light<br />

Where did that light come from?<br />

If it was not the streetlight that shown, it was the moon, If not the moon, then it must have been the<br />

80<br />


This 1 .<br />

What Nothing<br />

Feels Like<br />

Victor Valdivia<br />

82<br />

1 In 2002, after a disastrous attempt at being a computer programmer and an equally disastrous attempt to start a<br />

romance with someone who wasn’t interested in me, the depression that had been eating at me for several years finally won. I<br />

turned into a walking zombie. I moved back home with my mom and alcoholic father and essentially lived in my room for the<br />

next eight years. I wrote CD and DVD reviews for different websites but that was the extent of contact I had with the outside<br />

world during that time. I spoke to no other human beings except my family and any clerks at stores I could occasionally<br />

be bothered to go to once or twice a month if that. It was an existence singularly defined by my inability to communicate in<br />

person with almost any other human beings. I could write entirely on the computer but could barely open my mouth to people<br />

and chose to simply live in my room most of the time, sleeping and eating whenever I needed to, though never for pleasure.<br />

My mental health issues had left me utterly incapable of functioning in any way, shape, or form as an adult.<br />


This every day 2 .<br />

Day after day 3 .<br />

2 Every day was gray. It did not matter how sunny it was, or how pleasant, or what happened in the outside world. My<br />

only memories of that period are endless grays, a dull colorless haze hanging over the same four walls I looked at every day, or<br />

even the rare times I would go outside. Food had no flavor. I had no ability to feel pleasure. I could not even fantasize about<br />

anything or anyone. I was a piece of furniture.<br />

84<br />

3 When I mention that I got no pleasure out of anything, this is what I mean. For some reason, the only meal I can<br />

remember from this entire period is a plate of spaghetti with tomato sauce. Yet I cannot remember what it tasted like, or if<br />

it smelled good, or even how it felt in my mouth. Instead, in my mind, I can only recall it as a two-dimensional picture, like<br />

something I saw in a magazine. I can still remember juicy cactus fruits I ate as a child in Mexico, before I even emigrated to<br />

the U.S. I can remember delicious steaks I ate with my family on outings during summer vacations in high school. Yet from<br />

these eight years of my adult life, I can only remember one meal, and I can’t even remember the flavor, the smell, or the texture.<br />

It exists in my mind only as a flat, artificial image. That’s indicative of how little emotional or physical connection I have to<br />

such a sizable period of my life.<br />


Nothing is real 4 .<br />

Empty 5 .<br />

4 Writing CD and DVD reviews was a good way of seeing and hearing the outside world without actually having to<br />

participate in it. I had no strength to live in the world . I would submit lists of what CDs and DVDs I wanted to review, receive<br />

them through the mail, then submit my reviews online, all without ever speaking to another person. Those reviews would<br />

then vanish from my memory, almost as soon as I had finished writing them. (Indeed, to this day, whenever I read them, they<br />

seem as if they were written by someone else.) The CDs and DVDs were my only window into what real human beings were<br />

living through. The people in those discs were alive and experiencing life, love, pleasure, happiness, pain, renewal, and hope. I<br />

felt none of those things. They were meant for other people. I could feel nothing else, but that void I felt in my bones.<br />

86<br />

5 I knew, on some level, that I couldn’t stand to live like this. Yet I also thought I had no choice, because I had no emotional<br />

strength to figure out how to break free. The only time my emotions would awaken would be when my father would erupt into one<br />

of his abusive drinking jags and attack my mom or me verbally. Then after consoling my mom, it would take all of my strength just<br />

to get back to my numbness. That was the most I could expect. I didn’t even want to die then. I felt like dying would take effort, and I<br />

had no energy to spare at that time.<br />


Never changing 6 .<br />

No feelings 7 .<br />

6 I knew just how isolated I had become when I received a jury summons in 2005. I had already served on a jury<br />

several years before, so I knew what to expect. When I saw the summons letter, I had a panic attack. I hyperventilated and felt<br />

terrified. The thought of talking to another human being was torture enough, but a room full of eleven other people? I couldn’t<br />

imagine a greater horror. I went to the courthouse, screaming inside as I sat in a room full of a hundred strangers and tried<br />

desperately to not draw attention in any way. I was not chosen or called for any jury and got home as fast as possible. I went<br />

back to my room and was even more convinced that I was unfit to be around other people.<br />

88<br />

7 I wish I could say that the birth of my niece in 2006 made things better, but sadly in some ways it made them worse.<br />

I became even more ashamed. I would look down at her tiny, helpless little self in her crib and think, “God, I hope I don’t<br />

infect you with my poison.” I loved her (still do) and tried to help out with her but could not help feeling that I was even more<br />

useless. My sister was having a child and I couldn’t even get myself together enough to get out of my room. Clearly, I was<br />

wrong and a loser who just needed to get over myself. Certainly, the prevailing opinion of much of my family (not my mom,<br />

but especially my father) was that I was just a lazy leech.<br />


Nothing is forever 8 .<br />

Nothing ends 9 .<br />

8 How did it end? Early in 2010, I was reviewing a DVD with a storyline about unrequited love. For reasons I will<br />

never understand, it unleashed a flood of memories, which then unlocked all of the emotions I had not been feeling for most<br />

of the decade. That process consisted of me becoming increasingly more emotionally erratic for a couple of weeks, which<br />

meant laughing, crying, and becoming angry with no provocation whatsoever, until at the end I finally exploded into screaming<br />

and weeping. I then sank to the bottom of the ocean and wanted to drown. I planned out my suicide and began a pattern<br />

of self-harming, like cutting my chest with a knife and smashing my skull against a cement floor repeatedly, because I hated<br />

myself for existing and wanted to shut off the unbearable anguish I felt. That lasted for most of the year, and then, gradually, I<br />

became a different person. The person I was finally died, and I sloughed him off like a snake sheds its skin. I was not better or<br />

worse, but different. I awoke from a deep sleep, and needed to start over, learning how to be around other people, all the way<br />

from the beginning again. It felt like I had a long, long way to go.<br />

90<br />

9 I remember the first day I finally decided to rejoin the world. In October 2010, I was waiting outside a neighborhood<br />

center in South Tucson, where I would volunteer with at-risk elementary school children. The sun seemed painfully bright.<br />

Everything seemed loud and unnatural. Yet something in me insisted that I be there, and to my surprise, I found I enjoyed<br />

helping the kids. It couldn’t entirely fill the hole the depression left inside of me, but at least it soothed my newfound hunger<br />

for connection. Now I was working with children, when before I couldn’t even be around other humans. By the end of 2011,<br />

I was living in my own apartment and earning my rent and food money by going out to work every day. I did not become the<br />

person I always wanted to be, because even now I am not him. But at least I wasn’t there, living in nothing, anymore. More<br />

pain and horror would await me, but I did not know that then. Even when the horrors came, I did not go back there. I don’t<br />

ever want to go back there.<br />

Now I am here.<br />


Whispering Wings<br />

of the Knowing<br />

Rosemarie Dominguez<br />

Digital Edition<br />


ESSAYS<br />

In Joy Harjo’s memoir Crazy Brave, Harjo describes her journey from pre-birth to surviving various layers of<br />

abuse, including child abuse, domestic abuse, racism, and alcoholism. Harjo overcomes these tragic life circumstances<br />

and eventually becomes a successful poet, writer, musician, and educator. Along the path, there were many people and<br />

forces in Harjo’s life that subdued and almost silenced her spirituality and creativity. However, one invisible force in<br />

Harjo’s life sought to guide, protect, and keep the inner flames of her creativity and spirituality alive. Analyzing this<br />

highly influential force, Harjo refers to as the knowing, offers insight into her life and Art.<br />

In order to begin to understand the knowing, it is essential to consider Harjo’s earliest life memories.<br />

As a very young child, Harjo was riding in the back seat of her father’s Cadillac when the jazz music playing<br />

on the radio appeared to put her into a type of trance as she felt “suspended in whirling stars” (Harjo 17).<br />

The music seems to serve as a bridge to the spiritual realm of Harjo’s past lives and those of her ancestors.<br />

According to Scalici, music can act as a bridge between the visible world of humans and the invisible world of<br />

the spirits and emotions (Scalici 150). Similarly, Harjo accessed the invisible, spiritual realm, shared ancient<br />

memories, and also revealed that she had a special purpose when she wrote, “I was entrusted with carrying<br />

voices, songs, and stories to grow and release into the world, to be of assistance and inspiration. These were my<br />

responsibility. I am not special. It is this way for everyone” (Harjo 20).<br />

Harjo appears to be gifted and skilled with a high level of intuition that allows her to tap into the<br />

spiritual realms, yet she claims not to be special. I believe that she is right, that it is “this way for everyone.” I<br />

think we’re all born with an innate spiritual connection, the knowing. Still, many of us lose touch with it and<br />

forget, as the following discussion about Harjo’s childhood connection to Nature illustrates.<br />

When Harjo was a young child, she was very in tune with Nature and the plants and creatures around her<br />

home and would even “go outside early in the morning to talk with the sun” (Harjo 83). As Harjo wrote, “In those<br />

early years I lived in a world of animal powers. Most children do. In those years we are still close to the door of<br />

knowing” (Harjo 39). She still had an innocent faith and connection to the harmony and balance of Nature. Harjo<br />

enjoyed catching bees and telling them stories as she held them in her hands. The bees humored her and allowed<br />

Harjo to move them about as though they were actors in her play. Until one day, a neighbor startled Harjo and<br />

warned her the bees would sting her. She listened to the neighbor and got stung (Harjo 40). Her absolute trust in the<br />

natural world was broken, and she stopped playing with the bees. Sadly most adults do not believe children’s stories<br />

of special friends or travels. As children listen to skeptical adults, many stop sharing their stories and eventually lose<br />

that magical connection to Nature and the spiritual realms. Fortunately, like Harjo, some children continue to nurture<br />

their connection to the spiritual realms and their innate knowing by creative means such as drawing, writing, music,<br />

or communing with Nature.<br />

Harjo first discovered her love for poetry when she was eight years old. Her mother gave her a book of poetry<br />

for her birthday, and she wrote, “I loved poetry. It was singing on paper. And to open that book was to disappear<br />

into many dream worlds” (Harjo 50). Through poetry, Harjo begins a lifelong journey that allows her to nurture her<br />

connection to the spiritual realms.<br />

92<br />

Not long after her introduction to poetry, Harjo’s mother divorced her alcoholic and womanizing husband.<br />

Many men soon court her beautiful mother. A white man seventeen years older than her mother charms them all,<br />

and Harjo’s mother marries him. He soon uproots the family and moves them to a home on Independence Street.<br />


Harjo finds that street name ironic because “in that house, I had nightmares and premonitions of evil” (Harjo 57). Her<br />

intuition proves to be true as after the first night, he whips her five-year-old sister with a belt and eventually abuses all<br />

of them physically and emotionally. Harjo begs her mother to leave him. “My mother confided that there was no way<br />

we could leave. He said he would kill her and her children if she divorced him” (Harjo 59). It’s unfortunate that there<br />

was little help for abused women and children during that era, particularly Native Americans.<br />

Her stepfather’s unpredictable physical and emotional abuse forced Harjo to hibernate into herself. As Harjo<br />

withdrew, her inner light was doused by a heavy load of mandatory household duties. School became her refuge, and<br />

to help cope with her difficult home life, she studied and made good grades. During this time, Harjo was dispirited<br />

and wrote, “ I imagine this place in the story as a long silence. It is an eternity of gray skies. It runs the length of late<br />

elementary school through adolescence” (Harjo 63). It appeared that Harjo’s knowing had also become dormant as she<br />

no longer nurtured her spirituality.<br />

However, one of her pet goldfish flipped itself out of its bowl one day, and she accidentally stepped on it. The<br />

fish was flattened, oozed blood, and when she put it back in its bowl, it lay on its side as though dead. Harjo then “went<br />

into deep prayer for the life of this fish. I felt my heart open and the heart of the fish open. I felt at peace” (Harjo 64).<br />

Harjo then continued her chores, and when she returned, the fish was swimming in the bowl. “In that small moment,<br />

I felt the presence of the sacred, a force as real and apparent as anything else in the world, present and alive, as if it<br />

were breathing. I wanted to catch hold, to remember utterly, and never forget. But the current of hard reality reasserted<br />

itself. I had to have the house cleaned just right, or my stepfather would punish me. So I continued on my path of<br />

forgetfulness” (Harjo 64). This incident is significant because I believe her knowing tried to make its presence known.<br />

When Harjo felt her heart open, it was as though her heart held the key to a source of power that unlocked inner<br />

wisdom, healing, and peace. Even though she may not have understood the message, her knowing had not abandoned<br />

Harjo; her inner flame was still ablaze within.<br />

The first time Harjo actually writes about the knowing is when she is walking home from a theatre meeting,<br />

sees her stepfather’s car in the driveway, and feels a warning in her gut. Harjo wrote, “The knowing was a powerful<br />

warning system that stepped forth when I was in danger. Still, I often disregarded it” (Harjo 74). Even though her<br />

mother had given her permission to attend the meeting, her stepfather disapproved. Harjo described the way he smiled<br />

at her as he yanked her into the house, beat her for a long time with his belt, and forbade her from trying out for the<br />

play (Harjo 75).<br />

After this incident, Harjo stopped caring about what happened to her. She lied to her mother to attend a party<br />

and argued at the knowing, who warned her not to attend. Sadly, Harjo did not listen to the knowing and suffered the<br />

consequences. Harjo described going to a party by the lake with a classmate who later abandoned her. Harjo panicked<br />

because she didn’t know how she would get home before her curfew. As she wrote, “If I were to show up late and<br />

drunk, I feared I could be beaten to death. I found a ride and paid for it without money. I had nothing else, and I was<br />

desperate and out-of-my-mind drunk. I left part of myself behind” (Harjo 76). It is deeply troubling that she felt she<br />

had no other option, and rather than suffer another abusive beating by her stepfather, she let strangers use her body<br />

and take a part of her self-esteem in order to find a way home.<br />

After that party, Harjo continued to drink, and her stepfather wanted to get rid of her and send her to a<br />

Christian school. He also entered her room after her mother left for work and inappropriately rubbed her back as she<br />

pretended to sleep. Harjo felt desperate to get away and considered hitchhiking to San Francisco, where she would<br />

prostitute herself. To Harjo selling her body would be preferable to her stepfather using it for his pleasure or being sent<br />

away and imprisoned in a Christian school. Fortunately, the knowing saves Harjo from making a dangerous decision,<br />

and the following passage exquisitely acknowledges Harjo’s faith and trust in the knowing:<br />

94<br />

“Though I was blurred with fear, I could still hear and feel the knowing. The knowing was my rudder, a<br />

shimmer of intelligent light, unerring in the midst of this destructive, terrible, and beautiful life. It is a strand<br />

of the divine, a pathway for the ancestors and teachers who love us. My knowing told me that if I ran away,<br />

my life would turn even more chaotic. I saw my potential path as it ran from Tulsa to San Francisco. My<br />

lifeline was frayed and cut short. . . The knowing told me there was another way. The knowing always spoke<br />

softly, wisely” (Harjo 81-82).<br />

After the knowing whispered wise words of advice, Harjo learns about an opportunity to go to the Institute of<br />

American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM. She applied, submitted her original Art to be considered, and was accepted.<br />

After arriving in Santa Fe, Harjo wrote, “I was fresh from escaping the emotional winter of my childhood. I had been<br />

set free” (Harjo 84). Harjo felt the strength and inspiration she had last experienced in her early childhood years and<br />

knew that she was on the right path where her spirit could find a place to heal and where her creativity could thrive.<br />

At the school, Harjo discovers a luminous connection to theater, where she can tap deep within her subconscious<br />

and “ . . . enter the dreaming realm” (Harjo 114 ). Theatre was where she truly felt herself, and she went on a tour which<br />

was a highlight of her life. Unfortunately, after the tour ends, the glowing embers of her creativity and spirituality<br />

descend into darkness, and Harjo has to face the consequences of poor choices. She is secretly pregnant by her older<br />

boyfriend and returns to her stepfather’s house. With no plans for the future, Harjo eventually leaves Tulsa to join her<br />

irresponsible boyfriend. At the young age of 18, Harjo gives birth to their son in a depressing Indian hospital. The<br />

doctor who delivered her baby touched her mechanically and treated her as just another statistic. Harjo wrote that<br />

the following day, “When I finally got to hold my boy, the nurse stood guard as if I would hurt him. I was young and<br />

Indian and therefore ignorant” (Harjo 124 ). How deplorable that the racist doctors and nurses barely recognized her<br />

humanity.<br />

During this period of Harjo’s life, she seemed lost in the darkness of a dreary existence as she wrote, “My<br />

days were consumed with the drudgery of survival” (Harjo 135). Harjo, her beer-drinking husband, and their children<br />

struggled to survive on low-paying, meaningless jobs.<br />

Eventually, the knowing, who had gone dormant, appeared to awaken as Harjo wrote, “I could hear my<br />

abandoned dreams making a racket in my soul” (Harjo 135). Harjo and her husband are both unhappy that they<br />

abandoned their artistic dreams and returned to Santa Fe with the children. Harjo soon discovers that her husband is<br />

cheating on her with the babysitter and leaves him. Harjo was able to get money from her tribe and studied Art at the<br />

University of New Mexico. After her divorce was finalized, Harjo met and fell in love with a Pueblo man who recited<br />

poetry to her. “His poetry opened one of the doors in my heart that had been closed since childhood” (Harjo 141).<br />

Unfortunately, he turned out to be an alcoholic who physically and emotionally abused her. Despite the abuse, they<br />

loved each other, had a daughter together and tried to make things work. Harjo immersed herself in her university<br />

studies and Art while managing debilitating panic attacks and nightmares.<br />

One night when her husband was away, she watched a television show about a healing shaman who chanted,<br />

sang, and danced. As she watched the show, she felt like the shaman “became the poem he was singing… He became<br />

a transmitter of healing energy, with poetry, music, and dance” (Harjo 154). This shaman is a revelation for Harjo, who<br />

correspondingly perceives that her life purpose is to “become the poem, the music, and the dancer” (Harjo 154). And<br />

after this epiphany, Harjo begins to write poetry.<br />

Harjo continued her studies but became increasingly more aware of the unhealthy and dangerous effect her<br />

husband had on her as he often turned into a violent alcoholic. After a week-long drinking binge, he kicked in their<br />

house’s door and back window and threatened to kill Harjo. She did not take him back that time, and Harjo eventually<br />

divorced him.<br />

After he left, Harjo partied on weekends and eventually into the weekday. The knowing showed her the path<br />

of the never-ending party she was on. Harjo seemed to want to change and would tell herself, “Today will be the day,<br />

and then I would open up another beer to deaden my knowing” (Harjo 159). Despite attempts to ignore and drown<br />

the knowing in beer, Harjo eventually listens to the knowing and takes the other, healthier path.<br />

Harjo continued on as a student earning scholarships, making excellent grades, and publishing poems in the<br />

University magazine. She appeared to have it all together on the surface, but she continued to struggle with panic<br />

and nightmares. Then, one night amid an anxiety-filled dream with a monster chasing her, Harjo’s knowing reminded<br />

her that she knew how to fly. Harjo thought about the word fly, and in her dream, she was able to fly away from the<br />

monster, and she felt free (Harjo 161). After this dream, Harjo’s inner light seemed to merge with the spirit of poetry<br />

as she beautifully wrote:<br />

...<br />


One Example of the Hazy History of<br />

the United States’ Drug Policy<br />

Collin Bryant<br />

96<br />

“It was the spirit of poetry who reached out and found me as I stood there at the doorway between panic and love” . . .<br />

“To imagine the spirit of poetry is much like imagining the shape and size of the knowing. It is a kind of resurrection<br />

light; it is the tall ancestor spirit who has been with me since the beginning, or a bear or a hummingbird”. … “ I will<br />

teach you. I followed poetry” (Harjo 163-64).<br />

Poetry seems to give Harjo’s life meaning, direction, and a sense of reawakening. In addition, poetry also<br />

serves as a savior for Harjo, as Root corroborated when he wrote that “Harjo has consistently identified poetry as a<br />

literal method of survival” (Root). In Root’s article, Harjo is quoted as saying, “I don’t believe I would be alive today, if<br />

it hadn’t been for writing” (Root).<br />

Through poetry, Harjo seemed to connect to her inner spirit, where her heart is opened to her innate wisdom<br />

and healer within. These precious inner treasures were instrumental in transforming her creativity and spirituality into<br />

poetry, painting, and music. From Harjo’s earliest childhood memories, she recognized that she had a special purpose<br />

and her knowing helped guide Harjo on her life journey. With the help of Harjo’s knowing, the spirit of poetry seemed<br />

to chase the darkness from her life and allowed the golden rays of the sun to harvest the beauty of her inner light. As a<br />

result, as an artist, Harjo is free to spread her wings, soar like a hummingbird, and enjoy the sweetness and spirit of life.<br />

~Works Cited~<br />

Harjo, Joy. Crazy Brave, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2012.<br />

Root, William Pitt. “About Joy Harjo.” Ploughshares, Issue 95, Winter 2004-05.<br />

www.pshares.org/issue/95/about-joy-harjo.<br />

Scalici, Giorgio. “Music and the invisible world: Music as a bridge between different realms.” Approaches: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Music Therapy,<br />

Special Issue 11 (1), November 2019, p. 150.<br />

www.approaches.gr/issue/11/music-invisible-world.<br />

Last semester, I wrote an essay about the unjust and oppressive history of the United States’ drug policy.<br />

The essay touched on history from the very beginning of the war on drugs, with opium laws being used to target<br />

Asian American immigrants during the early 20 th century, to more contemporary policies such as the crack versus<br />

powder sentencing disparity which targeted black crack cocaine users. There is a fair amount of scholarly literature<br />

surrounding these topics, so I felt confident that they supported my claim—that the United States has used their<br />

drug policy not to protect people, but rather to oppress them—quite well. However, in the essay, I cited an obscure<br />

piece of drug policy that doesn’t have as much scholarly literature and criticism surrounding it, the Marihuana Tax<br />

Act of 1937. I cited this act as one which targeted Mexican American immigrants in the southwest who, like Asian<br />

Americans with opium, brought over and spread the use of cannabis. Although this obscure piece of drug policy<br />

history was only mentioned in passing in my essay, it still bothered me that it was not concrete or empirical evidence<br />

that supported the main claim. Now, since the Intercultural Perspectives class has been studying Mexican American<br />

history, it is a good time to answer a question I’ve had for a while: Was the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 meant to<br />

oppress Mexican Americans in the Southwest? To answer this question, first the act itself must be defined, explored,<br />

and laid out. Then, the factors that contributed to the passage of this act must be looked at. Finally, historical trends<br />

in drug use should be examined and subsequently, how the drugs became available should be looked at as well.<br />

Technically a revenue raising act, The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 did not make cannabis illegal. Instead,<br />

it imposed taxes on growers, medical professionals, and importers. Importers had a particularly extreme tax (Padwa<br />

and Cunningham 569). Additionally, by federal law, anyone who grew, transported, prescribed, or sold the drug<br />

needed to register their product to pay the tax. But, since many state governments made cannabis illegal prior to<br />

1937, doing so would be an act of self-incrimination. Overall, even though the act did not make cannabis illegal,<br />

it did place regulations so tight that effectively nobody could use it legally. Oddly enough, the Federal Bureau of<br />

Narcotics, or FBN for short (the predecessor agency of the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA), did not<br />

seem to give much mind to cannabis use at first. In fact, according to the article “Marihuana Tax Act,” the FBN “at<br />

first doubted the constitutionality of proposed federal laws for marijuana control, and feared that marijuana laws<br />

would be difficult to enforce” due to how easily the plant could be grown on American soil in comparison to opium<br />

and coca plants (Padwa and Cunningham 569). However, in the mid-1930s, pressure from local police forces in<br />

the southwestern U.S. and pleas from state-level officials led to an all-out anti-marijuana campaign led by Henry J.<br />

Anslinger, the head of the FBN at the time (Kinder, Douglas C. and Walker III, William O. 909). In October 1937,<br />

the act passed despite resistance from medical professionals who believed the control of cannabis was unjust and<br />

unnecessary.<br />

During the 1910s and 1920s, there was a somewhat common association of cannabis with Mexicans in<br />

the United States. During the 1930s, this trend became more popular (Griffin III, O.Hayde., et al 772). Mexican<br />

immigrants were willing to work for extremely low wages compared to their Anglo counterparts, which led to a<br />

dramatic increase in the competition for jobs. Cannabis use was not widely accepted, even by Mexican Americans,<br />

but their association with the drug was already stereotypical—due in part to the all-out anti-marijuana campaign<br />

waged by the FBN some years earlier. Cannabis use, whether real or imagined, was seen as a justification by<br />

employers to favor white workers over Mexican laborers when it came to employment during the Great Depression.<br />

It was used as a scapegoat—protection against employers so they wouldn’t come off as explicitly racist. Because<br />

Mexican people themselves were stigmatized and “feared as a source of crime and deviant social behavior,” in turn<br />

cannabis was viewed this way too (Campos 10). Also adding to the public fear of cannabis was the propaganda film<br />

Reefer Madness, a public health and safety video alarming people of the dangers of “marihuana addiction.” Despite<br />

its own admittedly fictional content, the film had a great impact on the public perception of cannabis nationwide.<br />

It’s a matter of debate whether or not Mexicans immigrating to the United States popularized cannabis.<br />

Mexico was regulating cannabis well over a decade before the United States passed The Marihuana Tax Act. In<br />

1920, Mexico banned the sale, production, and recreational use of cannabis and in 1927 banned its export as well.<br />

Perhaps this contributed to the migration of Mexicans northwards, where there weren’t any prohibitionist laws<br />

surrounding the plant. However, a recent scholarly article analyzing Mexican immigrants’ role in the passage<br />

97<br />


The Pandemic's Collateral<br />

Elizabeth Badowski<br />

of The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 strongly suggests that cannabis use in Mexico was not as common as many<br />

people, especially scholars, have been led to believe (Campos 16). The common scholarly narrative concerning the<br />

popularization of cannabis in the United States is that it was the masses of Mexican immigrants—habitual cannabis<br />

smokers—who came to the U.S. looking for jobs during the economic boom of the industrial revolution who turned<br />

out to be the ones to spread the use of cannabis. This makes sense, because cannabis was introduced to Mexico by<br />

Spain in the 16 th century, who encouraged them to grow hemp and use the fiber to make ropes and other goods.<br />

That being said, there is hardly any evidence that cannabis was consumed in Mexico for its psychoactive effects other<br />

than by soldiers and prisoners (Campos 5). It’s an idea that’s quite far off of the accepted scholarly narrative—one<br />

that proposes that cannabis was to Mexico as alcohol is to America. Furthermore, prior to The Marihuana Tax Act<br />

of 1937, cannabis was pharmaceutically distributed by many big-name companies in the United States (Campos 22).<br />

Either the drug truly never gained popularity in the U.S. until Mexican immigrants arrived, or possibly the drug’s<br />

popularity was understated by those who used it to avoid an associated drug stigmatism.<br />

The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 is without a doubt a piece of an unjust and oppressive drug policy.<br />

However, the problem I wanted to answer was whether or not it was used to directly oppress Mexican Americans.<br />

There is conflicting and contradictory evidence for both sides. On one hand, yes, there was a common association<br />

of Mexicans with marijuana during the early 20 th century. However, the associations and stereotypes may or may<br />

not have been entirely accurate—Mexicans did use marijuana, but not to the extent that is commonly proposed and<br />

accepted. On the other hand, regardless of whether or not the associations and stereotypes connecting Mexicans<br />

to marijuana were entirely true, they were common, accepted, and not questioned by the public. Public opinion<br />

does have an effect on the laws and policies passed in the United States. Now, could the white population have<br />

held a grudge towards Mexicans who were giving them strong competition for labor? I believe that is pretty wellestablished<br />

as true. Since Mexicans were proven laborers willing to work at extraordinarily low wages, how could<br />

they be replaced? Was the only way to force them out and invalidate their work ethic by means of a federal drug<br />

law? Sure, it would make a great contribution to the narrative that the United States’ drug policy has its roots deep<br />

in racism and oppression, irrefutably validating a call for a fundamental reform, but everything I now know being<br />

considered, I still can’t say in a definite manner. I do think any law created during the early 20 th century has some<br />

component of racism to it, however, there’s seemingly plausible deniability built into these laws and policies. Where<br />

anything could be refuted and debated endlessly, this is especially true for The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.<br />

98<br />

~Works Cited~<br />

Campos, Isaac. “Mexicans and the Origins of Marijuana Prohibition in the United States: A Reassessment.” Social History of Alcohol and Drugs, Volume 32,<br />

University of Chicago Press, 2018, pp. 6-37. www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/pdf/10.1086/SHAD320100. Accessed 25 March 2021.<br />

Kinder, Douglas C. and Walker III, William O. “Stable Force in a Storm: Harry J. Anslinger and United States Narcotic Foreign Policy, 1930-1962.” The<br />

Journal of American History, vol. 72, no. 4, Mar. 1986, pp. 908–927. EBSCOhost, doi:10.2307/1908896.<br />

Griffin III, O.Hayde., et al. “Sifting through the Hyperbole: One Hundred Years of Marijuana Coverage in The New York Times.” Deviant Behavior, vol. 34,<br />

no. 10, Oct. 2013, pp. 767–781. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/01639625.2013.766548.<br />

Padwa, Howard, and Jacob A. Cunningham. “Marihuana Tax Act (1937).” Drugs in American Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture, and<br />

the Law, edited by Nancy E. Marion and Willard M. Oliver, vol. 2, ABC-CLIO, 2015, pp. 568-570. Gale eBooks, link.gale.com/apps/doc/<br />

CX6199400271/GVRL?u=pima_main&sid=GVRL&xid=a30b64d5. Accessed 23 March 2021.<br />

The Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community has experienced racism and xenophobia since the<br />

creation of the United States. Labeled as “model minorities” the racist acts against the AAPI community have been<br />

largely overlooked until the pandemic, but the silver lining of this surge of violence is it brings awareness and allows<br />

more opportunities for bystanders to be educated about what they can do to stop these racist acts. The United States<br />

is no stranger to racism, but frequently overlooked is the racism the AAPI people face. It usually takes the form of<br />

microaggressions with snide remarks about their cultural foods and customs or negative stereotypes such as squinted<br />

eyes or fetishization. But recent events have turned these microaggressions into a much more serious problem. Some<br />

believe that Asain people have brought it upon themselves for “starting the virus,” but even such a reason cannot be<br />

used to explain the vile acts of hatred and violence used against them.<br />

Since the late 1700’s, the AAPI community has been degraded due to their “unusual” taste in food, cultural<br />

practices, physical appearances, and many other factors. Even with these traits that set them apart, they became<br />

known as model minorities. Joseph Dewey defined this term as a “Model minority is a pop sociology term used<br />

to describe a ethnic, racial, or religious minority group that, overcoming discrimination and economic hardship,<br />

has achieved measurable socioeconomic success in the process of assimilating into the dominant culture” (Dewey).<br />

This term however, is extremely flawed in that it over simplifies the process of assimilation into another culture and<br />

country as Dewey describes later in the text. The ones who coined the term claimed that Asians were successful<br />

because they were submissive. The historical context in this claim was to diminish the African American civil<br />

rights movement by setting Asians as the standard for minorities. Due in part to its purpose of pushing a political<br />

agenda it had no basis in truth. Largely due to this claim and others similar, Asians were subjected to a whole slew<br />

of stereotypes including ones such as Asians are” smart” or “good at math.” Since then, the belief of a supposed<br />

inherent socioeconomic success in AAPI, the racism directed toward them has been overlooked since Asians were<br />

“successful.”<br />

There aren't just stereotypes about Asians being successful though. Some stereotypes are more minor<br />

like “Asians can’t drive” but others are a lot more harmful. One stereotype is the fetishization of Asian females.<br />

Women, who are already weary of predators, must take extra precautions if they are of Asian descent because of this<br />

objectifying stereotype. Unfortunately, there has been a recent example of the predation on Asian women for this<br />

reason, and it is commonly known as The Atlanta Shooting. On March 16, 2021, 8 people were killed in a shooting<br />

spree in Atlanta, Georgia, 6 of which were Asian women. The perpetrator’s excuse for killing them was that they<br />

were “a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate,” referencing his fetish for Asian women (qtd in Chappell).<br />

Societies' means of devaluing this incident was the reporting sheriff speaking about the perpetrator “Capt. Jay Baker,<br />

said Wednesday that Long was ‘pretty much fed up and kind of at the end of his rope. Yesterday was a really bad day<br />

for him and this is what he did’”(Chappell). The sheriff states this as if having a “really bad day” excuses murder in<br />

cold blood. This atrocity was disregarded by the reporting officer and likely many others, but luckily, in this case with<br />

the many witnesses to this incident and other news sources, civilians have been able to advocate for the friends and<br />

family who lost their loved ones that day.<br />

The Atlanta Shooting was able to gain a lot of coverage by the media but other cases are not so fortunate<br />

and have less resources devoted to them. From 2019 to 2020, the same time the world was plunged into a pandemic,<br />

AAPI hate crimes have increased over 150%. Due to the fact that the virus originated in Wuhan, China, much<br />

of the blame for the emergence of the virus was placed on Asian people. Derogatory terms such as “kung flu”<br />

and “China virus” are being normalized and even endorsed by public figures. One recent instance of this was in<br />

Queens, New York in march of 2021; “An Asian American woman was spit on three times and called “Chinese<br />

virus” while out with her baby”(Samson). According to the news report from NextShark News the incident is<br />

“under investigation as a possible hate crime,” but is there really any question this is a hate crime(Samson)? A young<br />

...<br />


woman walking with a baby nuzzled in her arms. They did nothing to provoke the man that assaulted them, the man<br />

who blatantly disrespected them by spitting not once but three times at them, and the man who shouted at them<br />

“Chinese virus!” Which is a known derogatory and racist term to Asian people. She was targeted because of what<br />

she looked like and her story of assault is not the only one like it.<br />

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic there are those who believed the pandemic was a result of an Asian<br />

eating a bat. Asian countries such as China have been blamed before for diseases due to their ‘unusua’ cultural foods,<br />

“In separate interviews with reporters on March 18, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said China has been the source<br />

of multiple recent contagions breaking out because of what he called a culture of eating some animals such as bats,<br />

snakes and dogs.” (Mekelburg). Senator John Cornyn blames specifically China for the outbreak of this disease due<br />

to the foods they eat. However, the practice of eating such foods has been a cultural normality and for years has<br />

never been proven to create such widespread disease among the nation or its surrounding region. Blaming China for<br />

the world’s problems with Covid-19 created a target on all AAPI’s and created the spike in hate crimes in America<br />

against them. Have you ever been in a situation where someone has made an awkward comment and you felt it was<br />

rude but didn’t know what to do about it so you just kept your head down and waited for it to pass? Or in a more<br />

extreme case, have you ever witnessed blatant bullying or violence and all you could do was hope somebody would<br />

come help? We’ve all felt this before to some degree but are rarely taught what we can do to help deal with it. A<br />

program known as Hollaback devised the 5 D’s as methods of combating racism (Hollaback). The 5 D’s are distract,<br />

delegate, document, delay, and direct. The distracting method is an indirect approach that distracts the aggressor. This<br />

can be done by asking them a question or loudly dropping an item. To delegate is to get help from somebody else.<br />

This can include finding someone of authority like a store employee, bus driver, or calling the police if the situation<br />

requires it. Documentation is taking a video or pictures. Often people will mellow their actions or words after they<br />

realize there is evidence that could harm them later, or they may not see that their actions and words are being<br />

documented and these documentations could then be useful to the police for making a case. Delay is used after the<br />

harassment has taken place. It can be a knowing glance or asking the victim how they are or if they need any help.<br />

Lastly, direct is to speak up against the attacker. This can be done by naming and addressing their comments or<br />

actions as rude and/or racist. You can name an observation such as “they seem to be uncomfortable, you should leave<br />

them alone” or you can ask them to explain their racist comment. Asking them a question often puts them in a tight<br />

corner, especially if they are being very passive aggressive. For example, “what did you mean by the ‘chinese virus?”<br />

They cannot explain themselves without exposing their intentions.<br />

The racism the AAPI community faces started as snide remarks and stereotypes but with the outbreak<br />

of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Asain community being blamed for its start and global impact, the racism<br />

has evolved into violence and destruction. Understanding and acknowledging this racism is the first step in order<br />

to combat the spread of this deep seated racism. But these efforts can not stop at simply acknowledging it and<br />

there are other strategies such as the 5 D’s that can be used to more effectively combat this racism. Tolerance and<br />

understanding will also go a long way in ensuring the racism the AAPI struggles with will one day end.<br />

100<br />

~Works Cited~<br />

Chappell, Bill, et al. “Official Who Said Atlanta Shooting Suspect Was Having A ‘Bad Day’ Faces Criticism: What We Know About Atlanta-Area<br />

Spa Killings: Suspect Charged: NPR.” Chinese American Forum, vol. 36, no. 4, Apr. 2021, pp. 23–27. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.<br />

aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=150050996&authtype=shib &site=eds-live&scope=site.<br />

Dewey, Joseph, PhD. “Model Minority.” Salem Press Encyclopedia, 2019. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.<br />

aspx?direct=true&db=ers&AN=89550609&authtype=shib&s ite=eds-live&scope=site.<br />

“Hollaback! Together We Have the Power to End Harassment.” Hollaback! Together We Have the Power to End Harassment, 13 Aug. 2021, www.ihollaback.<br />

org/.<br />

Mekelburg, Madlin. “Fact-Check: Is Chinese Culture to Blame for the Coronavirus?” Statesman, Austin American-Statesman, 26 Mar. 2020,<br />

https://www.statesman.com/news/20200326/fact-check-is-chinese-culture-to-blame-for-cor onavirus.<br />

Samson, Carl. “'Chinese Virus!': Asian Mom Gets Spit on 3 Times While Holding Her Baby in Queens.” NextShark, 12 Mar. 2021, nextshark.com/queenschinese-virus-mother-spat-on/.<br />

Atomic Winds Whisper in<br />

the Land of Enchantment<br />

Rosemarie Dominguez<br />

The novel, Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolpho Anaya is more than a story of a young boy growing up in<br />

New Mexico during the 1940s. It is an abstract journey in which Anaya leads us through various layers of social,<br />

moral, and environmental issues. The wisdom embedded throughout the story seems to speak to each individual<br />

personally. What resonates most to me is the importance of living in harmony with nature. Additionally, there is the<br />

contrasting disharmony the ecosystem experiences from the destructive effects of nuclear testing. The human and<br />

environmental damage is a reality I know all too well as I am a survivor of atomic testing and radiation fallout from<br />

the 1960s. Although “atomic bombs” are mentioned by Anaya only four times in the novel, when viewed through<br />

historical events, an ecocritical lens, and my personal experience with radiation fallout, those moments help us better<br />

understand Anaya’s presentation of the balance and imbalance in nature.<br />

At the beginning of the novel, Antonio reflects on the peaceful, pastoral life that he appreciates, as represented<br />

by the following passage: “And I was happy with Ultima. We walked together in the llano and along the river banks to<br />

gather herbs and roots for her medicines. She taught me the names of plants and flowers, of trees and bushes, of birds and<br />

animals; but most important, I learned from her that there was a beauty in the time of day and in the time of night, and<br />

that there was peace in the river and in the hills” (Anaya 16). This quote is meaningful because it illustrates a cherished<br />

relationship with the land that Antonio develops when nature is in a state of harmony.<br />

However, later in the novel, an ominous change in the weather precedes the end of World War II. The<br />

following passage is the first of several references to unnatural and disruptive weather, which I believe have been caused<br />

by the detonation of the first atomic bomb. “In the summer, the dust devils of the llano are numerous. They come from<br />

nowhere, made by the heat of hell, they carry with them the evil spirit of a devil, they lift sand and papers in their<br />

path” (Anaya 58). This quote seems to reference the tremendous amount of scattered sand and debris, which is part of<br />

nuclear fallout in addition to radiation. It is uncharacteristic of the harmonious llano Antonio previously enjoyed.<br />

Many people are unaware that the world’s first atomic bomb was not dropped on Japan but rather on the<br />

beautiful State of New Mexico, whose motto is “The Land of Enchantment.” This first nuclear bomb was detonated<br />

on July 16, 1945, in the central desert of New Mexico. The explosion created a tremendous force, the equivalent<br />

of 20,000 tons of TNT, that lit up the sky. Additionally, thousands of tons of sand were sucked up by the blast and<br />

formed a fiery mushroom cloud that rose 40,000 feet and was visible hundreds of miles away (Lenihan).<br />

This description of the world’s first nuclear test ties in with Antonio’s thoughts when several months after<br />

World War II ends, Antonio is reflecting on “The spring dust storms of the llano” and hears “many grown-ups blame<br />

the harsh winter and the sandstorms of spring on the new bomb that had been made to end the war. ‘The atomic<br />

bomb,’ they whispered, ‘a ball of white heat beyond the imagination, beyond hell—’ And they pointed south, beyond<br />

the green valley of El Puerto” (Anaya 200). This passage is significant because it is the first time Anaya directly<br />

mentions the “atomic bomb” and, in so doing, is making a condemning statement about a historical event that<br />

changes the balance of nature in the world forever. The devastation from the atomic bomb is not an act of nature<br />

but an act of man that threatens their way of life.<br />

Since that initial atomic bomb in July of 1945, the US went on to test almost one thousand more nuclear<br />

weapons in the US. Those tests released much radiation fallout into the ecosystem, resulting in devastating environmental<br />

and health consequences. One of the atomic tests of 1962 affected me personally. At that time, local cows grazed on grass,<br />

and their milk was locally distributed. A neighborhood “milkman” would deliver glass bottles filled with fresh, local milk<br />

to residences. Although not recognized at the time, many children became sick from the radiation the cows ingested. I<br />

remember the intense nausea I experienced from drinking the local milk. Afterward, I refused to drink milk and, to this<br />


day, do not drink milk. Sadly, many children were diagnosed with leukemia or, later on, were diagnosed with various types<br />

of cancer. I was diagnosed with early-stage colon cancer. My father was not as fortunate. He was diagnosed with aggressive<br />

cancer and died ten days after his cancer diagnosis. Living in what was indeed America’s first “ground zero,” I imagine that<br />

Anaya personally knew others who also experienced the devastating effects of nuclear fallout.<br />

What was not clearly understood at that time was how important the ecosystem is and how<br />

negatively it is impacted by nuclear fallout. In the novel, we learn the importance of the annual fall harvest, where<br />

Antonio’s family gathers fruit and vegetables for the upcoming year. The people of New Mexico rely on their<br />

crops and livestock to feed their families. They also rely on water from springs and rivers for their personal use<br />

and to water their crops and livestock. Even Ultima taught Antonio the importance of treating nature with respect<br />

so that the river and the land, in turn, would be good to them. However, after the first atomic bomb detonated,<br />

the wind blew the radiation fallout all over, and the earth became poisoned. The cursed Tellez ranch that Antonio<br />

visited with Ultima was perhaps a metaphor for some of the effects of radiation fallout. At the ranch, Antonio<br />

describes unusual winds, dark clouds, and stones falling on the roof. He also notices the unpleasant taste of the water<br />

and that there are no animals around the ranch. This is all unnatural and an example of nature being out of balance.<br />

Another quote from the novel that perhaps represents Anaya’s cynicism of the scientists is, “Man was not made<br />

to know so much,’ the old ladies cried in hushed, hoarse voices. ‘They compete with God, they disturb the seasons, they<br />

seek to know more than God Himself. In the end, that knowledge they seek will destroy us all—’ And with bent backs<br />

they pulled black shawls around their humped shoulders and walked into the howling winds” (Anaya 200-01). In<br />

this passage, Anaya seems to reference the scientists who created the first nuclear bomb. This might even be aimed at<br />

Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, Scientific Director, later known as the Father of the Atomic Bomb. Oppenheimer, ironically,<br />

even named the atomic test site in New Mexico the Trinity. Could this be a religious reference to the Trinity of the<br />

Father, the Son, and the holy ghost? My research into answering this question yielded inconclusive results. According<br />

to an article in the Smithsonian magazine, when Oppenheimer was asked by General Groves why he chose the name<br />

the Trinity, Oppenheimer responded, “why I chose the name is not clear, but I know what thoughts were in my mind”<br />

(Rhodes). Oppenheimer may not have wanted to reveal himself to General Groves. He later recalled it came from a<br />

John Donne poem called, “Holy Sonnets: Batter my heart, three-person'd God” (Rhodes). Perhaps the true meaning<br />

behind naming the test site the Trinity will never be known. However, it seems as though Anaya felt Oppenheimer<br />

and other scientists believed themselves to be all-knowing and perhaps as powerful as God. That is my interpretation of<br />

the previous passage above as well as the following in which Anaya writes, “God knows everything. Man tries to know,<br />

and his knowledge will kill us all” (Anaya 201). I believe Anaya viewed the “atomic bomb” as an evil act of man and<br />

wanted to create awareness to warn humankind about the destructive effects of nuclear testing.<br />

Anaya’s presentation of how the balance of nature is affected by nuclear testing, as well as my personal<br />

experience with radiation fallout, illuminate the negative consequences and life-altering effects of testing nuclear<br />

weapons. As Ultima is dying, she wants Antonio to understand that to “interfere with the destiny of any man [will]<br />

create a disharmony that in the end reaches out and destroys life” (Anaya 275). Likewise, we cannot interfere with<br />

nature and allow nuclear weapons to destroy humankind. We as a society have to understand the importance of a<br />

healthy ecosystem. Every plant and animal, as well as the weather and the physical earth, all depend on each other to<br />

live in harmony and balance with nature. We are blessed to all be connected in the precious circle of life.<br />

~Works Cited~<br />

Anaya, Rudolfo A. Bless Me, Ultima. Berkeley: TQS Publications, 1972.<br />

Lenihan, Daniel J. “Ground Zero Revisited.” Natural History, vol. V104, no. n7, July 1995, p. 43. EBSCOhost,search.ebscohost.com/login.<br />

aspx?direct=true&db=edsgac&AN=edsgac.A17327862&authtype=shib&site=eds-live&scope=site&custid=s8337083<br />

Rhodes, Richard. “War and Piece: A Lowly Chunk of Earth Is a Telltale Trace of the Devastating Weapon That Would Change the World<br />

Forever.” Smithsonian, vol. 50, no. 5, Sept. 2019, p.22. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgsc&AN=edsgcl.599053311&authty<br />

pe=shib&site=eds-live&scope=site&custid=s8337083.<br />

102<br />


Aiden Schwarz<br />

Is a homeschooled high school senior currently enrolled in dual enrollment through Pima Community<br />

College. Throughout her life she has loved ballet, reading, and writing. She is studying to become a nurse and<br />

hopes to be able to continue writing as well.<br />



2 0 2 2<br />

Alex Bacani<br />

Is currently attending Pima Community College with hopes of transferring to a university to further her<br />

education. Ever since she was a child, she loved reading and writing about mostly everything. When she is not<br />

writing she can be seen studying, hanging out with friends, or lounging on the couch and enjoying the day.<br />

104<br />


Angelique Matus<br />

Carol Spitler Korhonen<br />

Angelique Matus is Native American, from the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. A poet. Born in Tucson, Arizona. She has<br />

won many poetry awards, along with being published in Eber and Wein, Where The Mind Dwells book. Most<br />

of her poetry inspiration comes from her pain throughout her lifetime. She writes what may have been an ugly<br />

experience for her, into something beautiful for others to read.<br />

Contact email: angelique.matus@yahoo.com<br />

Carol comes from Michigan, but after one too many encounters with icy highways, moved to Tucson. After 20<br />

years working as a lawyer, she is now desperately trying to make up for lost time. Her first attempts at writing<br />

stories demonstrated her dire need for help and she has been taking writing classes at Pima College ever since.<br />

Carol hopes that being part of a great literary magazine like <strong>SandScript</strong> indicates she is making progress. Carol<br />

thanks all the writing teachers at Pima as well as John-her husband, Mochi-the cat, and especially her children<br />

and grandchildren for all their help and support.<br />

Ashley Deniz-Thompson<br />

Christeen Bates<br />

Ashley is currently pursuing a Visual Art degree at Pima Community College, and hopes to continue her<br />

education by working towards a BFA.<br />

Christeen grew up in Tucson and lives here with her husband, two children, dog and cat. She is majoring in English<br />

at Pima. She has been writing poetry for many years, and hopes to someday publish a collection of poems.<br />

Her inspiration for the painting "Best Friend" was her cherished pet cat, Pip.<br />

106<br />


Christian Anderson<br />

Elizabeth Lowe<br />

A writer, poet, and performer, Christian Anderson has a passion for connecting to others through the art of<br />

storytelling. Captivated by exploring abstract concepts and life experiences through the written word, he often<br />

experiments with genre and tone.<br />

Elizabeth is a Liberal Arts major at Pima Community College. She plans to transfer to the University of Arizona in<br />

2023, where she will study for her bachelor’s degree in Linguistics. Before going to PCC, Elizabeth was homeschooled<br />

for her whole life. She was born and raised in Tucson and still lives here with her family. Elizabeth has been writing small<br />

stories since she was about seven years old but started seriously writing when she was around thirteen, though she had no<br />

plans for publication. In <strong>2022</strong>, she took her first short-story writing class, and her professor encouraged her to submit to<br />

<strong>SandScript</strong>. She wasn’t sure she was going to but decided to send in an email on the last day before the deadline.<br />

Elizabeth Badowski<br />

Eric S Cerda<br />

Elizabeth is a 17 year old asian american aspiring author. Aside from writing, she has the range of a renaissance woman<br />

with hobbies of cooking, competitive swimming, circus arts, and many more. After a difficult relationship with her<br />

biological mother and the usual trials of life, she likes to put her emotions and thoughts on the page as a sort of journaling<br />

practice. Though these are her first published works she hopes to write more in the future so stay tuned!<br />

Eric was raised in Arizona. He is inspired by the modernist and the existentialist of the<br />

early 20th century.<br />

108<br />


Evon Perez<br />

Isabel Orozco<br />

Graduated from a contemporary visual art school :'Hamidrasha le'omanut' in Israel. She loved her art school; it was<br />

very conceptual & experimental. Later on she wanted to enrich her art studies further by attending art classes at Pima<br />

Community College. She draws her inspiration for her art from social justice topics and her own life story. She finds<br />

working in 3D- sculpture & ceramic to be very intriguing & challenging. In the future she would like to experiment more<br />

with installation art. The sculptor Louis Bourgeois; in her honest and courageous way of expressing her inner world in her<br />

art, was a great inspiration for her.<br />

Isabel is currently a student at Pima Community College and is a Tucson based artist. Her love of oil painting and<br />

figurative work has led her to pursue a degree in Fine Art at the University of Arizona. In the future she hopes to be an<br />

accomplished artist and work as an art conservator to restore and preserve pieces important to the history of art.<br />

Isaac Zierenberg<br />

J Saldivar<br />

Isaac is an aspiring documentary photographer from small-town Utah. He also writes but does not subscribe to the idea<br />

that he is any good at it. His work centers mostly on addiction and recovery.<br />

I am a Mexican Hispanic American non-binary human who tries to write their stories to help others. Love and light.<br />

110<br />


Lisa Periale Martin<br />

Max Miracolo<br />

Is a poet, writer, librarian, mariachi aficionado, and former farmworker. Her writing is steeped in the essence and wonder of the<br />

Sonoran Southwest. Tiny Seed, Claw and Blossom, and Harpy Hybrid have published her work. Plants & Poetry Journal will<br />

publish one of her poems in April <strong>2022</strong>. Two recent poems are featured in a Chax Press chapbook, POG 2021.<br />

"Hello, my name is Max Miracolo. I am a queer, transgender artist born and raised in Tucson, AZ. I am currently finishing<br />

a Visual Arts degree at Pima and work primarily in photography. I strive to capture the human experience from a different<br />

angle through my lens."<br />

Matthew Ball<br />

Natacha Vouilloz<br />

Tucson-based fine arts student, Matthew Ball, has been sharpening his skills in multiple disciplines for the past few years.<br />

Matthew spent most of his youth focused on illustration and collage, until entering college in his late 20s, where he began<br />

to explore other mediums. In his early 30s, Matthew has found a new passion for sculpture. Now a declared 3D fine arts<br />

major at PCC, he is on track to graduate next year, after which he is hoping to continue his education at Arizona State<br />

University as an interior design major.<br />

Is an international student from Switzerland who came to Tucson in search of her Muse. Passionate about literature,<br />

languages, and the arts, she finds the desert emotionally uplifting. She feels concerned about contemporary issues. Science<br />

and ethics, cultural heritage, political decisions, or the environment are all sources of inspiration to her work. She likes<br />

intertwining whimsicality with metaphorical aestheticism. Her art is a mirror of her heart.<br />

112<br />


Portia Cooper<br />

Rachel Franco<br />

Portia is a dual-enrollment student studying computer science and mathematics. She works in many art mediums, but<br />

prefers pen and ink. Her work is often inspired by folktales and myths<br />

Began her artistic journey five years ago at PCC and has explored pencil, charcoal, ink, oil paint, gouache, acrylic, and collage<br />

work. Over the last year, color and collage have been front and center in her work. Her focus has been on recontextualizing<br />

found print materials and giving them a new vibrant and abstract life. When not immersed in collage work, Rachel is<br />

reading science fiction, designing interactive learning experiences, or completing her Master of Public Health degree at the<br />

U of A.<br />

Rachel Baird<br />

Reed Coffey<br />

Is currently a graphic design major and has been writing poetry since she was 12 years old. She is currently working on<br />

illustrations for what will be her first poetry collection "Pocket Candy", which she plans to self-publish by the conclusion of<br />

this year. She would like to thank the many voices of independent writers that came before. It was their style of prose that<br />

lead to the creation of her own poetry.<br />

Their main passions are art and ecology, and the space where the two meet is where they find the most enjoyment. As a<br />

queer, trans artist, they find special joy in the spaces in-between; the ones that are often overlooked. They strive to bring<br />

peoples’ attention to the natural world and the special kind of joy that comes from the balance between personal discoveries<br />

and shared experiences. Coffey recently transferred to UA and splits their time between their studies and trying to keep cat<br />

hair out of their paintings.<br />

114<br />


Rosemarie Dominguez<br />

Sharelle Johnson<br />

Is an Arizona native who took up photography as a rehabilitative tool to help heal from a traumatic brain injury. Her<br />

photos reflect the strength of the human spirit to heal and create more positivity, passion, and beauty in the world.<br />

Is a writer and poet. She resides in Tucson, AZ with her three little monsters and some fur-babies. Sharelle works as a Medical<br />

Assistant Care Coordinator with El Rio Community Health. In her free time, Sharelle is currently working on a book of<br />

collected poems she has written. She has also obtained a small fan base on Instagram for her written work.<br />

(@Sharellewrites_Stuff) She loves coffee, cats, and spooky things. She tends to lean towards romantic and horror poetry. She is a<br />

admirer of Edgar Allen Poe & Charles Bukowski’s written work.<br />

Shane Veno<br />

Victor Valdivia<br />

Is a poet who (often) writes about illness and addiction with a soft, tongue in cheek flair. Their work has been published in<br />

Cathexis Northwest Press, Sinkhole Quarterly, and elsewhere."<br />

Was born in Mexico City in 1972 and emigrated to the U.S. when he was five years old. He started writing professionally<br />

as a music critic in 2001. His music and film criticism has appeared on such websites as All Music Guide, PopMatters, and<br />

DVD Verdict. He is currently working on his first novel. He lives in Tucson, AZ.<br />

116<br />


Ginger Green<br />

Fernanda Cueva<br />

Is a Tucson based artist who loves using both 2D and 3D mediums. Currently she is focusing on using the human form to create<br />

visual narratives that are both funny and disturbing. She loves translating movement and action into a stationary form.<br />

Fernanda Cueva is a student at Pima Community College<br />

Collin Bryant<br />

Collin Bryant is a Chemistry major graduating from Pima Community College and transferring to Northern Arizona<br />

University this summer. During his time at PCC, he has served as the Board of Governors Student Representative<br />

through the Pima Aztec Student Senate (P.A.S.S.) as well as a campus liaison for Phi Theta Kappa. Many of the classes<br />

he has taken, such as Intercultural Perspectives with Dr. Sandra Shattuck and Understanding Terrorism with Peter<br />

Becskehazy—Mr. B, for short—have presented him with opportunities to explore his passion for writing about US drug<br />

policy. Collin's interests in chemistry have led him towards pursuing a research career in medicinal chemistry, and he<br />

hopes one day he can become a prominent advocate for science-backed drug policy reform. Outside of school, he enjoys<br />

snowboarding in Colorado, taking his car on road trips, and hanging out with his family, friends, and two cats.<br />

Amaya Fimbres<br />

Amaya Fimbres is a student at Pima Community College<br />

Travis Cooper<br />

Isaac Frisby<br />

Travis is a dual-enrollment high school student who has lived in Tucson all of his life. He hopes to become a computer<br />

scientist, and he writes science fiction stories in his free time.<br />

Isaac Frisby is a student at Pima Community College.<br />

118<br />


Leah Lancaster<br />

I was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona where I currently attend school. I am graduating high school this May, <strong>2022</strong> and<br />

plan on attending college at the University of Arizona in the fall. I would visit my family in Japan nearly every summer<br />

growing up and this allowed me to have a personal connection to my culture which I deeply appreciate. My hobbies<br />

include drawing, baking, and reading.<br />

Mya Palacios<br />

Hello, I am Mya and I will be sharing a quote because introducing myself is all I can think of for my Bio. “My work is<br />

utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance.” by: Bill Watterson<br />

120<br />


<strong>SandScript</strong><br />

STAFF<br />

Frankie Rollins<br />

Faculty Advisor<br />

Is a better person for working with this sensitive,<br />

thoughtful, and talented <strong>SandScript</strong> staff. Frankie teaches<br />

English, Creative Writing, and Honors at Pima Community<br />

College. Along with teaching, Frankie is devoted to writing.<br />

She has published a flash fiction collection, The Grief Manuscript<br />

(Finishing Line Press, 2020), a novella, Doctor Porchiat’s Dream,<br />

in Running Wild Press Anthology 3 (Running Wild Press, 2019)<br />

and a collection of short fiction,The Sin Eater & Other Stories<br />

(Queen’s Ferry Press, 2013).<br />

Raiden Lopez<br />

Editor-In-Chief & Managing Editor<br />

Is an English Literature major at Pima College,<br />

with plans to pursue her Creative Writing passions at the<br />

University of Arizona. She is a proud single mother to an<br />

amazing son, she is a writer, a singer, an editor, and student<br />

who hopes to inspire her son and others to always follow<br />

their passions in life.<br />

Carol Spitler Korhonen<br />

Prose Editor & Unveiling Event Planner<br />

Comes from Michigan, but after one too many encounters<br />

with icy highways, moved to Tucson. After 20 years working as<br />

a lawyer, she is now desperately trying to make up for lost time.<br />

Her first attempts at writing stories demonstrated her dire need<br />

for help and she has been taking writing classes at Pima College<br />

ever since. Carol loves being on the <strong>SandScript</strong> Editorial Board<br />

because she can relax and let other students do all the work while<br />

she gets to take at least partial credit for a great literary magazine.<br />

Carol thanks all the writing teachers at Pima as well as Johnher<br />

husband, Mochi-the cat, and especially her children and<br />

grandchildren for all their help and support.<br />

122<br />


Shane Veno<br />

Poetry Editor & Industry Outreach Coordinator<br />

Isaac Zierenberg<br />

Visual Arts Editor & Social Media Manager<br />

Is a human who writes lots of poetry and dances<br />

aggressively whenever they are alone. They spend much of<br />

their time playing the harp for their imaginary cats; they aren’t<br />

responsible enough to have real cats yet. When they get older they<br />

will live in a sustainable community with everyone they love<br />

(and even some people they don’t).<br />

Is an aspiring documentary photographer and writer<br />

from small-town Utah. He doesn’t really know how he ended<br />

up in Tucson. His work focuses on intimate stories often about<br />

addiction and recovery. He is currently still trying to “find<br />

himself ” and hasn’t picked a major. Because of this, he will most<br />

likely become a career barista.<br />

Lee Barker<br />

Assistant Editor & Prose Editor<br />

Brandon Robles<br />

Editorial Designer & Graphics Designer<br />

Desires to learn many more trades before setting a strict<br />

path for herself. She wants to travel the world, produce music,<br />

make art, and maybe even hold a desk job just for the sake of it.<br />

She wants to have new and amazing experiences with even more<br />

amazing people, and she couldn’t have asked for a better team to<br />

make this magazine. <strong>SandScript</strong> is just the beginning of her very<br />

long journey in creativity.<br />

Is an International Student from Mexico currently about<br />

to graduate from the Digital Arts program at Pima Community<br />

College hoping to create art that will interest people, and in the<br />

process collaborate with artists whose goals are kindred to his.<br />

He hopes to travel and learn more about life through experiences<br />

and hopefully be full of good ones. Very thankful to the whole<br />

<strong>SandScript</strong> team for being the wonderful creative partners they<br />

were and entrusting me with the look of this year's issue.<br />

124<br />


XXX<br />

edition<br />



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