The editorial team for issue eight consisted of Valarie Carrington, Yanelis Melendez, and Thomas Shaffer.
One ear into the other,
We work as a pair with each other.
We numb out the world,
Desensitize you to the noise.
We keep your aura raised,
So you don’t drop.
We are a tourniquet for the mind,
We keep you alive.
We are a pair, paired with you.
A Cat in my Head
There is a cat in my head.
Every time I try to get my work done, it spreads,
It mewls, it growls,
It scratches, it purrs.
There is a cat in my head.
What an annoying pet.
When I sit at the computer, it lies on the keyboard.
When I pick up a pen, it walks over paper.
When I take up a brush, it acts very bored,
When I sing a song, it licks its private parts.
There is a cat in my head.
Never get my work done.
Like a box, it is shaped, with its floppy ears,
Blocking my way with its exterior.
I give up: Writer’s Block.
Living in Lucidity
Andrew Scott White
Language is the material of which life is composed—
A combination of interpretation and explanation,
A transfer of the notion
That everything is completely objective.
Memory—the brushstrokes on a canvas—
Is the imperfect storage of a biased observation.
Just one event yields infinite variation
Proving life is a little subjective.
Thought is the tool of unconscious change—
Capable of both augmentation and destruction.
It is both the chisel and the bludgeon
When considered from another of perspective.
Literature is all and none of these—
The product of flawless collaboration.
I was in a rush. I didn’t quite have everything packed up and put into each of the corresponding pockets in my book bag, so I knew I was going to be digging for them when I finally got into class. Nothing more embarrassing than having to stand before a class of my peers and be completely unprepared. But this is student life. I would have to just do my best, even though the professor is a stickler for accuracy and perfection. “Not an ‘A’ kind of professor,” he rambled on about his class and how he handled his requirements through his syllabus. I just knew this was going to be bad. Loss of points for being late, even though the printer was jammed and I had to beg and plead with the folks in the business office to use theirs. That was like asking to allow me to run the whole college for a day. Sheesh.
I flung open the large oak doors to the stairwell and scrambled toward the classroom entrance. I noticed a mechanical pencil on the ground, feeling lucky as I looked over the exquisite, chrome pencil that someone had forgotten. Perhaps I will find the owner and he will give me a huge reward! Such a lovely pencil, though. I halted for a moment to try to pull it all together. I just needed to remember that everyone poops. We all do it. And even the President of the United States of America has had a bad chili dog. No one is better than anyone else. These were my peers; people who would be just as nervous as I was standing there.
I looked through the glass on the right of the door. Full class. Yep, this was going to suck something awful. I cracked open the door, took a deep breath, opened the door fully, then realized that, even though the room was quite full, as usual, the professor was not there yet! The professor was late. This was an omen. I headed straight for the podium, opened my bag, sorted the items I would need, and then neatly organized everything into one pile. And then he stepped into the class, quite disheveled, but ready to work. He took a seat in the back of the class, as if to capture the grand scope of it all, and then without a word pointed his opened-palm hand as if to say, “Begin.” The nerves shot straight through me as I felt my stomach cramp up.
All I wanted was an A.
I knew I would only have a few minutes to break free from the classroom, hurry down the halls like a madman, and get into my office to grade last week’s presentations before class began. I hate time crunches.
I ripped open the door to the classroom, bumping myself against the edge of the door. I felt as though something happened just then, like a spirit or demon had pushed me into the door on purpose. Something telling me that I wasn’t supposed to be there, rushing about. Down the hall a small commotion between several Asian students and several book bags falling to the floor. Quite a ruckus. I needed to avoid that. I had to get back to my office, one-third of the way across campus and on to the main complex. No time to lose!
The maintenance staff had just cut the grass surrounding the building, and the large mower was still roaring as it drove beside the path I would need to take. If I calculated this right, I would have just shy of four minutes to get to my office, sort the papers, start writing notes on them, get back to class, and keep them ready to hand out at a moment’s notice. Today was Jack’s presentation. So far the other presentations had been as mundane as they always were. No originality or passion. Just enough to get through the class with their skin intact. That always saddened me, especially for a specialty course of majors in the English field.
I tore through the path and even calculated that I would save six seconds by cutting through the loose bushes that would typically require me to circumnavigate them. WHOOSH! Right through I went, like a subway turnstile. I was going to make it!
In order to save even more time, I needed to avoid waiting on the elevator to get to the ground floor and just shot up the stairs instead. All this, which is ironic, because the moment I began up the steps I heard the elevator opening on the ground floor. Wonderful.
Keys, keys, keys—I had them. Opening the door was more pleasurable since the maintenance staff fixed the hinges. BAM! The door hit the bookshelf. Not caring. I can clean that up later. In too much of a hurry. I scrambled through the manila folders until I spotted what I need. I reached into my sweater pocket to retrieve my lovely, chrome-plated pencil—and nothing. Nothing is there. My God. That pencil was a gift from Kurt Vonnegut himself! I must find it!
Promptly I retraced my steps, folder in hand, mind on the mission. I would find that pencil even if it meant being late to class, which hasn’t happened since…well, ever. Glancing back and forth, on concrete and in grass, looking for that sharp reflection staring back up at me. It was a treasured heirloom of great worth to myself and perhaps collectors of the late Vonnegut’s estate. This was hopeless.
Defeated, I turned the corner to enter my classroom. I was out of breath, but I would show no weakness. I moved over to the rear tables, plunked down, sat the folders down, and shifted in my seat to get comfortable. Presentations were never comfortable. I chopped my hand toward Jack as if to begin this travesty of continuance. Jack began speaking. When he lifted his hands above the podium, that’s when I saw it. I was flabbergasted. That scoundrel had my pencil!