VVP: Art 434 & Engl. 410
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Veronica Burris and Chelsea Almeter were both members of this class. The semester ended with their Senior Thesis exhibitions. Themes of both thesis projects informed much of their VV&P production. This was such a rich and rewarding way to bring our semester to a close. Congratulations!
Monday, May 23, 2011
MRI Daydreams of a 7-year-old
Upon exploding, he hoped to leave behind a finger for her to hold in her manicured hands. But eight and a half minutes passed smoothly by, and then there was nothing left to draw but black. The whole page turned black, leaving no room for greetings or goodbyes. When he finished, he hurled his letter towards the Earth and followed its clean white speck to the ocean.
Her face was in the sponges, her hands in every coral reef. One-way radio waves sang to him as he pried open oysters, collecting fat white pearls for a necklace that would catch on her ankle in the morning.
And when he surfaced on a sled, he could see her fur-lined neck and hot-chocolate hands to his left. They kept his body from crashing, from crumpling up in a pool of pink. But still, the small white lights whispered to him. Since he wasn’t sure which one to follow, he carved her name into the ice and rested.
Later, he was afraid his skull might swallow and send his brain sliding down the back of his neck. And as he wondered about the stillness of head nods, forgetting and being forgotten, her hands moved over him, smoothing all his white linen wrinkles.
- Anna Moreau
The balloon would lurch and set back down—rise and lower just like that—until Jemi and I were finally in the air. We moved higher and higher toward the Western sun, rapidly setting on our day’s labors. Or maybe I thought of this as our life’s labors—and mine in particular. The canopy of our balloon was stitched together from canvas with heavy threading and the seams were sealed with hide glue. The result was strong, and I thought that if we could manage to get North in this craft, we would be away from Fort Union. That would be enough. In my quieter moments I had made plans for us to leave this no-man’s land for Jemi’s sake.
Last week, I caught Jemi taking the lizards out of the washtubs we’d been putting them in. I quickly picked her up off the floor and she cried, but I held her tight in my arms and continued to carry her while I filled the remaining washtubs with dirt that I had put outside along the barn. She did not stop crying by the time I finished adding dirt to the bins. I carried her to the house.
We left a year after we first arrived—my contract with the U.S. government about run out. We were beginning to be run out ourselves by the pests that seemed like they followed us from Mississippi ‘cept here they are lizards instead of little rats and squirrels, and things. We tried to contain the lizards mostly in the barn but the more I found houses for them, the more they just kept coming asking for rooms. I guess I was not surprised when we moved here that the reptiles did appear, but there were few choices available to me about how to take my leave of them.
The plans for the balloon were simple and I was able to execute the design on my own. This was the only way I could see that I knew the lizards couldn’t follow. Jemi and I plucked the remaining ones that stuck to our basket as we lifted off the ground. It’ll be some other plague or infestation when we touch down who knows where next. But for now, Jemi is giggling a little and holding tight onto the basket frame—a little scared and a little happy to be where she is.
- Barak Wright
“You can't love anybody but yourself.”
Those words haunted him as he walked through the empty apartment that night. They'd haunted him every day since the last day he'd seen her, the day he'd moved into this apartment.
“I love people.” He said to himself, passing the mirrors he'd left covered when he hung them months ago. “I love people besides myself. Mom, dad, Matty, Kelsey, Cherish. . . I love them. I love my family.”
His restless steps brought him into the kitchen, where a pot of water stood on the stove, waiting to be boiled for his regular Thursday night pasta dinner.
“Only love myself. . .” He stopped in front of the stove, but didn't change anything. “That's not true.”
But he hadn't loved Esther, even though they'd dated for three years. She'd felt his boredom, his lack of attachment, and broke off the relationship. He'd felt bad, but there was nothing he could do. She'd wanted to be serious, and he hadn't. It wasn't that he hadn't liked her – she was great, and gorgeous, and sweet – she just – she just wasn't enough. He had to admit, she'd tried, tried to like philosophy and football and Italian food and those other things he enjoyed so much he seemed to have been born to enjoy them – those things that were part of him. Those things that were him. They were him, and she couldn't appreciate that like he did.
Maybe he was just supposed to be alone.
He leaned over the pot to see how much water he'd put in, and caught himself staring at his reflection.
Why did he need anybody, anyway? He knew what he wanted out of his life, and he knew how to achieve that. He didn't need Esther, or Pietra, or Rosamund – he didn't need any of them. He didn't need anybody, just himself. He could take care of everything. Girlfriends just messed up his routine, anyway. Always wanted to be held, always wanted to watch their own stupid movies, always wanted to know how they looked, if blue or yellow looked better on them –
Just the thought of it made him cringe, and he shook his head. His reflection caught his eye again.
Maybe he was just supposed to be alone.
- Alysa Spolidoro
Us girls never back down,
like the Spanish color yellow:
boom-boom, bounce back,
catapult upward with fast-luck,
conditioned to roll with the punch.
Bend us arrows and tightly pull
so that we can fly and hit the bulls'
eye square in the mouth
to break his teeth.
One pound flesh-and-bone we mix
into shepherdess pie. 'Mid
genderized beef, the mashed
potatoes smother the deed
which we waited,
for so long,
- Katelynn Camp
Unexpected splendor yielded by inner-city excursions
manifests in sun burnt kids with bare feet, wandering
their gated yards, lying so close to the metro tracks
that their mothers cast a wary eye every time it passes.
The leathery old men walk the baked cement sidewalks
of humming Los Angeles, shuffling unconcerned amidst
rushing middle class crowds pouring out of offices
For the too-short lunch hour, heads down and feet forward.
They, the thick life-blood of the city, chugging through
its intravenous structures, keep the California conurbation
alive and kicking, however rebelliously, or eagerly, or what-have-you,
moving the city-scape along, the creaking cogs and lynch-pins
of the sprawling metropolis, faces so fantastically various
that one could never be bored, the trains and buses
offering up their carriage for impertinent observation
as long as the observer manages not to get caught.
History is the substructure of the city, culture bursts out
On the streets in so many forms, art blooming unexpected
Appearing in stations, on sidewalks, in vacant store windows
Giving the rushing throngs something to look up at, to think about.
These the invaluable treasures the city keeps
and displays to its visitors and residents, a constant show
now veiled, now glowing, fading in and out of the smog
to astonish when least expected with its majesty.
- Candace Arce-Lindsay
One day you'll come home and trample
the carpet, flinging yourself out of
your coat like splitting skin.
You'll wash my nude lipstick
off the side of one of my favorite
listening for the sound of my voice
whose gratitude invites you in
to the grandeur of my embrace,
and then enter fully into a moment
that can overwhelm, like a river
As the throat is tugged hard by the
rush of time, you calmly speak aloud,
in a current pounding past,
I won't remember much and I'll forget
the days which passed like single squares,
without a sound of carpet or coat.
- Delia Baltierra
You move through lost origins, not obvious,
Possible loop-holes of soft turquoise foam,
Or shove to fortress rocks above
Bold shadows of broken octagons-
Forget those for now; hot stones force
you down toward shore, freedom
Removed to move, to explore. Go now
To homes known only to moss-covered
Bones, or golden coins lost forever.
You drop below the gloss, tones of
Loss so frozen for moments, so open for
Movements. Silhouettes become gone so
Often, only to shoot out of coves
Once unnoticed. Above, before you drown.
Without rhetoric of topaz roars,
Orations of horizons pointing to
Other shores, onyx-mouthed oceans
Would lose voice, groaning only
Apologies of driftwood, driftwood.
- Jonny Mueller
Water in the river was always red
and before I thought it was just the dirt
but turns out the river is made of blood
and the blood is actually Jesus’ blood
who is a carpenter who made me. His
blood is in all the rivers, and if you
float your pain in one of them for long enough
it will all get washed away into a kingdom
that is under the river. You go there too.
- Megan Jackson
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
We're the wispy ones
that shudder at the light
under the covers, withholding our palms
but drawn to the flame, nonetheless.
Entrusted with reality
but unable to bear it, it remains
our craving, our necessity,
super-glued to our souls, a beloved parasite.
Nature has turned on itself,
a fissure of heart and mind,
so we must break the chains of death
and hallow the depths of hell.
- Kelsey Vandeventer
from "Watermelon Caves"
"Sweetie," she said. "Children don't know better. They are mean because they, they are self-conscious. They hurt others because they've been hurt." Of course, that was what everyone said.
He wiped his eyes with his sticky hands and began to gain composure.
"But why did they make fun of me?" he wailed. "Why do people have to say things like that?" Anger took hold of his being, reminding her of the man she once loved, and she became fearful. She blinked to hold back the tears.
"Jeff," she said, "The world is a place of awful things. People do things they shouldn't. All we can do is our best and forgive those who hurt us. If we don't--" She trailed off and stared at her left hand. It was barren, adorned with scars instead of rings.
- Daniel Austell
Friday, April 15, 2011
The door was cracked for him; he let himself in. She was sitting in the kitchen. She looked sick. Her cheeks were wet.
"What is it," Russell asked.
"I need to show you something," she said.
"Ok," she said. "Don't freak out."
She walked him into the bathroom. "My stomach started cramping out of nowhere," she said. "I was too scared to call an ambulance."
On the sink was a baby's leg. From heel to thigh it was the size of an eggplant, and of a similar bruised shade.
He look at her. She covered her mouth with her hands.
"Where's the rest," he asked.
She shrugged, started shaking her head, and started crying again all at once.
"What does that mean," he asked.
"There wasn't any."
He looked back at the leg. The top of the thigh, where it would normally attach, was covered by smooth skin. It looked like it grew as an independent unit. Fully intent on becoming only what it was.
"I need you to take it," she said.
She looked at him.
"What the hell."
"I don't know!" she cried.
He looked back at the leg.
"I just--" She was trembling. "I can't."
Russell's mouth opened, but he hesitated. She was sniffling. He asked her, "Is it mine?"
"Yes," she said. "It's ours." He looked at her. "But, Russell," she said, "I'm sorry," she said. "I can't."
"Ok," he said. "Ok."
- Christian Koons
The icon of the Virgin Mary holds a small,
grown man we believe is Jesus. A full, whole man,
proportional to ten
times less than his mother. Her halo and his cross
are at odds and there is no quick-smile-loving
embrace between them.
He has outgrown his hand-holding mother, her
holy gilded-glow sparkles in the daylight and
he, full God and full man,
cannot sleep in a house with her permeating
body-light and she weeps, weeps, weeps at his bloodshot
eyes but not his bloodied
prayers. Still, to the incarnate God, to Jesus the
Nazarite, his mother, who would not leave him
to his Father's work, who
is surely not the woman-judge of Israel,
has not driven a tent-peg through the temple of
a breathing man, and is not
even the one who hides bits of apple in her
pocket for hungry children, is the woman who
grew her Creator and
birthed, from her fleshy-imperfect womb, our savior.
And now she has no body (but a brand-new soul)
and is dead, blind, rotting
in her stone-rolled-close tomb. But he is the body
and the bread, the good that died young. Happy are
those whom you love, Lord, Lord, Lord.
- Maegan Taylor
Here’s to the Blues and Greens
When the housemaids scrub the floors they get the spaces in between. I appreciate that about them—it’s hard to get good help these days, to find people who give a damn about doing the small things. Their names all blend into each other though; so do their faces, the dark Spanish features running together until I can’t tell one from another. I also have a guy who does the garden, tending the flowers and things. I don’t recall what exactly is in there, or the guy’s name either.
The house is empty tonight. It often is these days, since the kids moved out, taking their groups of friends and their oppressively cheerful music with them. They were all popular in high school. I wasn’t popular in high school, and neither was their mom—the gene must be recessive or something. I got the family male-pattern baldness instead, and they say that skips a generation too. Once, not long after my wife left, I came home from a business trip to find a full-on rager going on at the house, the red-cup kind that I thought existed primarily on movie screens. I remember standing on the front lawn, looking at the way the multi-faceted window in the front door diffused the light from inside the house, like a stained-glass window in a cathedral. I remember hearing the bass notes pound out from inside, as if in my absence the house had gotten a heartbeat and an adrenaline shot. I remember hearing the voices from inside the house, voices of strangers, a crowd taking up a space reserved for individuals.
- Richard Gaffin
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
The morning after, she wasn't there~
Thank God I washed my pillowcase finally
The morning after, she wasn't there
Let me try sleeping in the drawer under the bed tonight
The morning after, she wasn't there
Jammed and packed and crowded, nowhere to move
The morning after, she wasn't there.
High walls give me and my father anxiety
The ceiling would make just anything echo
High walls give me and my father anxiety
The earth must look lovely from the sky, like clockwork
High walls give me and my father anxiety
If I was big enough, I'd sleep here, on top of the trees
High walls give me and my father anxiety.
I don't eat red meat
I think of human muscle when I look at raw meat
I don't eat red meat
It might be meat, it might be chocolate cake. Enjoy it
I don't eat red meat
In some cultures, meat headgear is a sign of the priesthood
I don't eat red meat.
Alabama, As Seen by God~
I ain't got legs
But my mom makes a mean ham sandwich
I never had good lunches as a kid
I always wanted something sweeter
My mom wants me to be jealous
When I grow up
A finely groomed bed-chamber
Looks cold out of focus
Smoke & mirrors
to make it look bigger
I used to love
Now I smell the formaldehyde
That used to be blood
In its veins
And you're just laughing
The gentiles were told not to strangle meat
Because it would separate them
From the pagans
Why are you so dark?
You smell your worst
when you wake up in the morning,
like a sexy, Indian man
eating a cheese sandwich
and afterwards wanting to vomit.
In your celebrity bedroom
on a mattress spaceship
you realize you belong with
potatoes and gravy.
But, it's peanut butter & jelly time again.
Let's have a picnic!
Crustacean innards. Right now!
My mom made fruit salads
but mostly I like blood.
Eat it or die.
But make it yourself--it'll be cheaper
with a meat dagger.
What the hell is this?
Though it looks packed full,
the farm is gilded
under studio lighting.
Ugly, we destroy what is so orderly.
Cut open like a dried-up orange, no juices:
the murder of a fake home.
Calming room, congested tune, closed,
too clean to live in.
Would I rather be eating hair at lunch?
Why did the cool kids use paper bags?
I am home, past Chicago
sleeping in, alone,
reminded of how
I cut his heart out with a dull knife,
bloody freedom, consumption.
Whatever is in the middle
visits the sun
like an evergreen forest,
Different Shades of White~
Only looking at the
American Northeast as far
as the eye can see.
Tendrils, but that was just my first
thought, the representation
is half eaten.
Pig-nosed boy, asleep in the style of
viking landscape art or
fruit that is neither ripe nor rotten,
smelling like anemone, feels
like home--too much space--
Are we selling a beauty
people and things which
are too neat and
organized to be ugly in appearance.
Why do you eat on a board
little lunchtime child?
Strange spots of orange, volcanic
in a way. Gooey South America:
no ice, but it looks cold.
You were once an animal Ricky
There are mints that come from this
Well, That Slaughterhouse Was Nice
I live in red velvet cake. Why I do declare, I must have found the right wardrobe door to step through. Oh he has no legs, but "I can fly!" Almost like my favorite blanket to picnic over. Fresh meat, PB & J make for a great, stale banqueting table. In the meadow, I must have found perfect, sterile fluorescent lighting. Is that supposed to be fresh air? In cluttered stillness a door got bigger. Except it was too well decorated. No one lives here. Now can we eat?
Monday, April 11, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
A Girl & No Jazz
A girl & no jazz is like static at midnight:
go shopping, pack a bag, feed the dog, book a flight;
be a man, have a plan, Afghanistan, be polite.
Invite darkness, like a dentist drill, harsh screaming,
beaming, beaming--as if darkness doesn't exist
and if with a sip of Coke the world fades away in a mist.
But as with any magic, illusions are just lights on a list
like boats on a mist.
And then we kissed (again).
I Woke Up Naked
I woke up naked and stubbed my toe.
A curse almost rolled off my tongue, it was low.
The clock went slower, slowest now, slow
As I drank and drank--How much? I don't know.
Refractions through the glass--drink deep, drink low
Down to the last of the night, in the sunrise glow
And drown. The morning's always the first to go,
Followed by afternoon's sickening glow.
You end up discovering more than you should know.
The cuss I am, you know.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Mary Ellen Long's relationship to book is unique in the way it expresses her relationship between earth and spirit in a very physical way. She displays three books that were without covers and damaged to the point where they were all unreadable and held together by three cords of wrapped wire. The books had been left to the elements and as a result their appearance was decayed, fragile, almost romantically beautiful. These books had been part of an installation, a performance work and now are presented as sculpture. By removing the binding, and replacing it with wire, she was able to seal and bury the book and let natural corrosion take place. The installation portion of this work reads as a sort of funeral. She releases the book (along with its original content) to nature and in turn nature acts on it. It (nature) both acts on the text and well as reads the book. One finds one self asking if the original content was still there in the physical aspect of the book or did it leave the book along with the ability to read it? Samantha Leaden, Chelsea Almeter
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