FA L L 2 015
HARVEY is a student run and student produced zine sponsored by the Alpha Delta Phi Society.
This is the second edition of Harvey, and that’s a pretty great thing. We’ll miss the charming shortcomings of the first edition, including some arbitrary rules we created to make the process feel more stable (we now accept graduate work), a loving application of whiteout to every printed copy in order to cover a typo we’re still too embarrassed to admit to, and that font, but we’re glad to be growing. Thanks to the determined work of all the student judges in selecting the submissions, Professor Jaimee Wriston-Colbert and Professor Joe Weil for lending their beautiful perspective, and, obviously, the profound honesty of the authors, we have managed to fashion together another fragment of concentrated whatever-it-is that makes us people. We hope that you can make time for these selections in some of your best moments, and your worst ones, and that the internal dialogue that you have with them will tell you that these are not warped or distorted reflections of life, but the candid truth behind it. –Matt Contino and Ashley Lieberman, editors of Harvey
SPECIAL THANKS TO
Ariel Taub, Alisa VanSanford, Xiomara Damour, Sydney Heiden, Joe Weil, Jaimee Colbert, The Binghamton English Department, and the Alpha Delta Phi Society
Blake Lovisek and Dan McMonagle
Table of Contents Page 1
“Miss” By Janieba S. Chang
Page 4 Page 5 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 16 Page 19 Page 20
“The Thinker of Tender Thoughts” By Anna Szilagyi “Spring” By Anna Szilagyi “Thursday Night” By Wan Qi Kong “Love Shack” By Mike Rulli “Widow’s Moth” By Jane Chun
Page 2 Page 3
“Slouching Rose” By Janieba S. Chang “The Hard Stuff” By Bea Mantilla
“Untitled” By Jeremy D. Isabella “Hand Raise” By Ariel Taub “And The Waters Prevailed” By Edwin Reese “Humpback” By Michael Sugarman On Selecting the Winner By Professor Joe Weil On Selecting the Winner By Professor Jaimee Wriston Colbert
Janieba S. Chang
Tell me someting Miss bloodclat bombohole bomboclat, Wahever you wah name. How you fi never touch the glass and it bruk ? Who touch it? Me? No, is you. You is a real stupid pussyclat rassclat fucking ediat. Memba me tell you dat. When i went to school the next day, the religious education teacher with the shining forehead like a greased pan asked us what our pet names were at home. It was my turn to tell. Miss Bloodclat Bomboclat Pussyclat Rassclat Fucking Bombohole. i told the teacher it was the first time i ever told anyone what daddy calls me at home.
Janieba S. Chang
Having no company, under the shade of a tin roof. the sun wants to tongue its red lips but it sways bashfully, finding comfort in the wind.
The Hard Stuff
I’m better than sex. One time Johnny’s father took me. He wrung his hands and his face crumpled like a pug’s. His fists bled from punching the drywall. Oh! But it’s not drywall anymore. It’s Johnny. Open palms and closed fists strike the boy. Johnny has a gaunt face; his skin hugs the bones under his cheeks. It’s great how the dad’s feeding his son these blows because it’s been a good while since Johnny’s eaten. One time Monica took me So she can finally kiss Janet. But Janet’s uncle saw it, you know, the one that’s been fucking her. He took out the only plaything he liked more than Janet and cocked it on Monica’s temple. Metal pans bang on each other. That’s the sound of Monica’s bad decisions I’m so toxic, I’m almost human.
The Thinker of Tender Thoughts
A child’s scalp is a field of fertile soil for ideas. To bloom, it must be watered and warmed in the sun. When questions sprinkle like seeds across their lips, let them plant. Tend to the sprouts. The first grasses, tender and thin, will be the most beautiful landscape you’ve ever seen. When flowers burst through the fine hairs, do not comb through the petals. When handled too roughly, they will fall out one by one. Instead, let the buds unfurl into unruly beauty and tousle them softly. Treat each new blossom like a gift. Do not worry if you’ve never seen a garden like this. Their messy bed of flowers will tilt toward your light if you let it. When you ask why they are not neat or pretty or sweet like the others, they will start to wilt. Or worse, they will take landscaping into their own hands. Look–are you happy? They trimmed the weeds for you. Snipped each stem. Look how smooth and normal. Look at the field of cut grass.
The smell of first crocuses will hurt. It is the anniversary of the day you broke someone else to save yourself. The purple petal heads poking up from the dirt will have judging eyes. You two used to go hiking in weather like this. The kind of weather that makes you remember what warm wind feels like on the back of your neck. The first short sleeve, no jacket days. These days, you are alone. You are not guilty anymore for how liberating it feels. You are not supposed to feel relief when love leaves, but you did. It was spring. It felt like dropping your jacket in the grass that first warm day. Continued...
They say that winter is couple season. Singles envy those cuddling up in the cold. You did not envy them. Instead, you sat with yourself, hoping the steam from your hot drinks would cleanse you once and for all of your own thoughts: “You broke him” “You still have stress dreams about him” “It’s been eight months and he still loves you” But it is spring, now. It’s been a year since the last time the season of rebirth touched you. Last time, you reached through the dirt and bloomed alone. Now, drop your jacket, poke your head up through the soil. Leave the windows open. You are forgiven.
Wan Qi Kong
Tonight I am tired because it’s raining and there isn’t the sound of thunderstorm on my rooftop. Sometimes I miss summers in Kuala Lumpur, where it was sunshine or lightning, and sometimes it feels like a dream. I must have been in the womb. I don’t know what raindrops on silver shingles sound like anymore.
Love Shack Mike Rulli
My mother used to sing Love Shack. She’d sing about that little old place by the side of the road And she’d throw glitter on the front porch, Yeah she’d throw glitter on the highway. She loved thinking about her own Love Shack, Nestled somewhere in the Poconos. We never did Find out who put the red noses on the deer crossing signs. Owl lights dangled in the trees and my mother would sing Love Shack, and she’d dance with me. Or with Stefanie. Or Kristina, or Dad, or Aunt Jacqui, or Uncle Jimmy, and we’d Sit by the fire and we’d play with salamanders. I’d call for you to hold me and she’d howl for the wolves. Glitter would rain down from the Moon and she’d take a sip Of her Seagrams. A Chrysler, as big as a whale, would have its Headlights on so she’d have her spotlight. She never worried About the car battery dying. My mother used to sing Love Shack. About that little old place by the side of the road Where we’d get together and I’d feel loved. That little old place, where we’d get together And I’d feel loved.
Widow’s Moth Jane Chun
the dearest, most darling dusk i could see draped the tall steel jungle, hugging it with open arms and I want to be the dusk, I want to embrace the blackening of my lung, embrace the blackening, dulling of my senses I look at the crooked smile, the yellowing teeth, the crazy glint in your eye and amidst the trees, amidst the crayola colors, green and black and blue gold, orange, red, I inhale feel the small sandpaper smoke grow bigger, I get bolder, let it fill my insides a widow’s moth of smoke filling my lungs but seeking to spread its wings even further and my chest tries to stretch, make room to fly and of course, it’s in vain, the moth BASHES into the walls of my insides, bashes into my gasps for air and tries to BREAK away from my finite body I cough it up, wheezing, gasping, grateful for its metamorphosis, my metamorphosis Continued...
Widow’s Moth (cont.) the dusk is still embracing, the crayola green grass, the trees the blackening sky with one star burning, I am no longer the same.
Jeremy D. Isabella Walking into Subway with a boner on a Wednesday afternoon and they say, “How can I help you, sir?” Walking into my room on drugs and the walls slur, “I see you jack off at night.” I slyly reply, “No one can see me but myself ” and walk out of the room into a room full of people. They all humor me and stare while I’m having an anxiety attack walking backwards up spiral stairs in my underwear. “No one can see me but myself.” It’ll all be okay because I can always just go home and have conversations with the walls while feeling enthralled.
Hand Raise Ariel Taub
“Nevermind” I ask a question in class. Two words into the teacher’s answer and everyone can feel me retreating into myself, Taking it back, shaking my head, “Nevermind” We exist to other people. Right off the bat this is problematic interesting I want all of my tweets, everything I do, to last only the length of a snapchat. Sometimes less. I’m not the same person I was 5 minutes ago, how can I be who you remember? I’m a lobby for the lost, I like to spend an elevator ride’s amount of time with the happy Rebelling against yourself is especially hard when you are a middle class white girl whose life really isn’t bad I make lists of my interactions. I tell myself that my thoughts are not me. I bite my tongue, often, to keep from sounding like I’m whining, “I” invalidate my “I” and my right to have it But where do I put down this chain of “I”s that becomes “me”? My body is a woman’s body but sometimes I don’t want you to notice it I walk into a store to ask where the bathroom is and a man grins at me, I feel like I’m in middle school and was just called on “but my hand wasn’t raised!”
And The Waters Prevailed Edwin Reese
The water bubbled up from the deep, sprung forth from the Earth like an aboriginal God. But clouds had also moved in overnight and they hung heavy and low, and the people assumed that it had rained as they’d slept. Everyone went on about their usual business. Joggers leapt theatrically over the trickling gutter streams. Dog walkers squished through park grass, dampening their shoes and muddying the paws of their companions. Umbrellas were taken from the closet to the car to work and then returned home again without having ever been opened. For three days, nobody noticed. The sky stayed as gray as dishwater and the temperature cooled, and the water remained. But it was the season for such things, a part of the year in which dank, foggy mornings were the norm, when there always seemed to be a fine mist hanging in the cold autumn air, a fine sheen of moisture forming on any bared arms or legs. By the fourth day, there was some concern. The sewers had become choked with debris. The dribbling gutter streams had become little torrents. School was canceled. Neighbors walked onto porches that morning, vaguely dismayed, and stared up at the dark clouds. They held out their hand as if waiting for an offering, in the hopeful expectation of a few patters, or even just one single drop of rain, that would explain everything. On the fifth day, the anchor man sat behind his desk. He wore a black suit with a blue shirt and a striped tie. He spoke, in a deep and authoritative voice, over a video of men in orange vests staring into an open manhole. He showed another video of a man in a white lab coat. The man in the lab coat said the words “seismic” and “aquifer” and “aquitard.” Many viewers at home chuckled at the word “aquitard,” and some of them felt guilty about it. The newsman came back on screen and his silver hair was perfectly coiffed and his manner was confident and composed. His viewers were soothed. On the sixth day, the electricity went down. There were no sizzles or pops, no explosions or fires, no smell of burnt ozone in the air. One minute the lights were on, and then they were not. Crossing a street was not unlike fording a river. The grocery stores had become inaccessible before there was time for any sort of hysterical, last-minute rush. Basements had been entirely flooded and those in first floor apartments had begun seeking refuge with their upstairs neighbors. In the city, the tallest hotels were filled to capacity, people paying to sleep in dark hallways and windowless closets. Continued...
And The Waters Prevailed (cont.)
On the eighth day, a Christian survivalist militia calling themselves n.o.a.H. – or “no one above Him” – stormed a mixed-use high-rise. The first part of their plan: to gun down the security guards on the first floor in a holy and righteous hail of bullets. But the front desk was empty. All the guards had gone home. Disappointed but purposeful, the survivalists set about fortifying the building, sloshing about in hip-waders and blocking the large windows in the lobby with desks and overturned bookcases and other furniture salvaged from the offices on the lower floors. A small detail remained in the lobby, kneedeep in black water, as the rest made their way to the roof and unfurled a massive banner, a patchwork of plain white bedsheets sewn together by militia wives, which hung down and obscured a dozen rows of the uppermost windows. The spray-painted words read: “I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.” The people that lived in the next building over – who were really the only ones who could see it, what with there being no television or internet – scoffed at the message. “Oh c’mon,” they said, wrapped in blankets and scooping beans from aluminum cans, “It isn’t even raining.” On the evening of the fifteenth day, the city was dotted with small, bright campfires atop invisible buildings. They were the only lights. The stars and moon remained hidden behind the thick layer of clouds, and all away from the fires was a deafening blackness. One looking out over the dark water on the morning of the sixteenth day would see the boats: kayaks cleverly fished from storage during the first days of the flood, fishing boats with outboard motors belching oily smoke, and tugboats, unmoored and out of fuel, floating aimlessly and bumping softly against each other like toys in a bathtub. There was the occasional crack of gunfire as those on the rooftops took aim at whatever birds were foolish enough to attempt a landing. Only the tips of the tallest trees remained above the water, their odd, skeletal fingertips breaking the surface here and there.
And The Waters Prevailed (cont.)
On the evening of the twenty-second day, a campfire on the summit of a skyscraper spread out of control and for one last night, the concrete colossus lit up the inky sky as it had in the old days. The small tribes on neighboring roofs huddled and stared, their dirty faces flickering orange in the black night. Some remembered how, during the holidays, certain windows would stay illuminated in the evenings, forming a seasonally appropriate shape: a stocking, or a Star of David. Once they had even formed the outline of a reindeer, complete with a red-tinted window for the nose. These last people watched as the building became engulfed, felt the blistering heat briefly returning some sensation to their freezing cheeks, noses, and earlobes, and stared in silence as it collapsed into the water – piece by piece, and then suddenly all at once – hissing like an army of snakes as the fire was extinguished. The smoke and soot lingered well into the morning of the twenty-third day and rendered the sky even darker than before. At dawn on the fortieth day, the clouds began to break apart. By afternoon, they had dissipated completely and once again the sun shone upon the face of the waters. There were no more drifting boats, no jutting steeples or rusty antennae, no craggy mountaintops defiantly peaking above the swells. There were no swooping birds. There may or may not have been fish. The endless sea had regained its cold, true color, and it would have been difficult, had anyone been there, to discern where the water ceded and the sky began.
She breezed into the apartment, closing the door behind her with a deft flick of a giant-handbag-laden arm. The Gucci went onto the table and the Prada over the back of a chair. Her almost comically large heels clacked across the wooden floor, subtly ignoring the flashing light of the answering machine. Most of her friends didn’t even have landlines anymore, but she was a trendsetter, or so she told herself. In her mind she was a culture queen, and Gilt her kingdom. And if she could believe it in her mind, then it didn’t really matter whether it was true or not. She had gotten the call an hour ago, while crossing 74th and Lex. As she paused in the middle of the street, a grey SUV screeching to a halt at the intersection blared out its shrill tones at her. She started to raise her hand to form an obscene gesture, but thought better of it. As soon as she hung up, she hurried to the nearest subway station, stopping on the way only to get a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. By the time she got off the train, the PSL was mostly gone, though partly because she had spilled some on the floor when the train jerked forward suddenly and then pretended it was someone else. It wasn’t far from the train to her house, but it had already started to get cold, so she pulled the silk closer around her neck. In her apartment, she drained the last remaining drops of sweet pumpkin from the corners of the cup and set it down on the counter next to the sink. It was 4 o’clock. She had 3 hours to get ready and get there by 7 – two and a half if she wanted to get there early. They hadn’t seen each other in a while, and she didn’t want to disappoint him. She had to look perfect, better than the last time she had seen him. Fun, but mature, so he would see that she was still exciting and vibrant, but had also grown up somewhat. Their time apart had done her good, more than he had ever done for her. The phone call had been unexpected, but agreeable for the most part. After the usual pleasantries were exchanged, he asked her if she was free for dinner that night. She said she might just be able to squeeze him in. Continued...
“Haha alright great. Joe’s at 7?” “Wow uh- Yeah, sure, that sounds fine.” “So what have you been up to? Where are you working?” “Well, you know, with the job market what it is, and the economy hasn’t been great, and unemployment is back up-” “Are you saying you’re unemployed? Are you living on the street? I know you wanted to do something different, but this is ridiculous. What are you even trying to prove?” “Oh my God, stop. I’m not living on the streets, you’re being crazy. Can we please just talk about this at dinner instead?” “Ok, ok. Fine.” They both paused uncomfortably, neither of them actually having anything to say. “So I’ll see you tonight?” “See you then.” It had been abrupt and volatile, but then they always were. As she left the house in a grey bandage dress and her hair in what she assumed to be a classy bun, she only then began to feel nervous. She thought of cancelling and feigning illness, but no. She knew this was something she had to do, something she had only an hour ago so wanted to do. She arrived at 6:45; of course, he was already there waiting, his car parked further up the block. They met in an awkward embrace. “Hi Dad,” her voice muffled by his coat. He held the door for her and they went inside and sat down at a table in the back. She had been to this restaurant a few times in the past, only ever with him. She didn’t especially love the food, nor the atmosphere, but other people seemed to. It just all felt like too much, too forced; it seemed the perfect place for this dinner, maybe for that very reason. The waiter brought them menus and flitted back and forth aimlessly, trying to find something to do. The place was mostly empty, just the two of them and a few other tables. He ordered the baked ziti and she the eggplant parmesan. After the initial formalities and niceties, they sat in silence for some time, each wrapped in their own abstract thoughts, until she voiced hers. “Did you know that the humpback whale population is on the rise?” “What?” Continued...
“Stop. Stop with this fucking bullshit mixed with random words you happen to remember from your high school chemistry class. Just stop. This is the real world. Don’t you understand that? You don’t know shit. When will you learn that and grow the fuck up?” She was silent. Not because of the way he had spoken to her, nor because she was surprised, but because there was nothing else to say. She had tried to have a simple conversation with him, but of course even that wasn’t feasible. She might as well have been insane for trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results. They finished the meal in relative silence. When the check came, she paid in cash and they got up to leave. He hadn’t even seemed to notice her dress. They walked out of the restaurant into the brisk air. He insisted he give her a ride home, and she accepted. She was too tired and cold to walk to the train anyway. “Look, I’m sorry for what happened in there. You know I just want what’s best for you. I didn’t mean it to be-”“Dad, it’s fine. Really, don’t worry about it… You can just drop me at that subway stop there.” “What are you talking about? It’s late, I’ll drive you home.” “No, really it’s fine.” “Nonsense, I have nowhere to be. Where do you live?” “Stop. Open the door, I’m getting out-” “I insist. Just tell me where you live, I’ll drive you-” “Just open the fucking door and let me out!” He finally unlocked it and she scrambled out. She stood looking at him. “Goodbye, Dad.” She gave him a slight smile. He could never tell the truth behind affection, anyway. With that, she ran down the subway steps and was gone. She might have cried on the train; she doesn’t remember and it doesn’t really matter either way. She unlocked the triple lock on her door, and closed it quietly behind her. She changed into pajamas and put the dress back in her sparse closet, mostly full of work clothes for her temp job. She went to the sink and washed the Starbucks cup out to reuse, avoiding the answering machine full of debt collectors and worry. Her bare feet made little noise on the cheap parquet floor. The moonlight from the small window over the sink illuminated the fake tags of faux luxury goods strewn about her tiny living space. She collapsed into bed, wishing against hope that she might wake up as someone else, maybe a humpback whale.
On Selecting the Poetry Winner
“Spring is what you’d call (if you were in Brit lit) a ‘Conversational lyric.’ Although it takes a familiar and often overly familiar trope (the return to life in Spring) it does so with freshness and with new moves and it’s compassion as well as genuine sense of loss is well done. The poem seems emotionally honest and reminds me of the song “February.” by the terrific song writer, Dar Williams. I fluctuated between this poem and a few others including Love Shack and Slouching Rose. This wasn’t easy. Harvey has a very strong issue, here.” –Joe Weil
Professor of Creative Writing
On Selecting the Short Story Winner
“I know when I’m in the presence of powerful fiction when I get chills as I read. “And the Waters Prevailed” is a stunning gem of a story about an apocalyptic flood, told in lyrical, sure prose, with such precise, heart-wrenching details I had to look out my window to make sure the ground was still dry. From the “skeletal fingertips” of drowned trees to the sad, collective memory of holiday lights illuminating windows in a world gone cold and dark, this story is the work of a fresh, original writer that I have a hunch we will see much more from in the future. Congratulations to Harvey for publishing this excellent story.” –Jaimee Wriston Colbert
Professor of Creative Writing