Literary Magazine

In Memory of the Old Chicago Store

By Yaydelinne Leal


By Morgan Clark

I am angry in monsoons,
here out of nowhere and gone just as quickly.
My forgiveness is the crisp, clean scent of creosote,
once the storm finally breaks.
I grow cactus spines,
to keep people at a distance.
My despair beats down like the sun,
evaporating the precious drops of hope-like-dew I have left,
in the desert soil of my soul.
But my joy is the countering breeze,
bringing sweet relief from the crushing heat.
I smile in thousands of little yellow blossoms,
bursting into life on palo verde trees.
I am the ocotillo,
reaching always for the sky.
I relax in the coils of a rattlesnake,
bathing in the warm sunlight.
I love strong and permanent like mountains
in my Santa Rita-Tucson-Catalina-Rincon heart.

I look,
and see Tucson in the mirror.

I love Tucson and I wanted to find some way to show how growing up here has impacted me, so I wrote this poem to show how much Tucson is a permanent and irreplaceable part of who I am.

Unclear Forecast

By Chloe Vance

I painted this because I had to paint something. Quarantine makes it really easy to do nothing. If I don’t do something creative or physical for enough time it feels like my heads going to crack open. All my thoughts and passions turn against each other and I’m left feeling conflicted about nothing in particular. This painting clashes. Lines slant into curves with poorly defined boarders. There’s light with no source in a not-so-dark darkness. There’s a lot happening and yet it still feels like there is unused space. 

The weather man is all out of predictions.  

The Magnolia Vase

By Maya Herron

The design of this painting is a design from The Magnolia Vase by Tiffany & Co. My Great Great Grandfather was the one who actually made the vase for Tiffany and Co. The vase is currently in display at the MET in New York so the painting is just a way to have it here in Tucson.

The Encounter

By Holland Sterling

I cannot think of a more shocking encounter than when I saw my father in Minnesota for the first time in eighteen years. I was in Minnesota to visit a friend of mine that I’d made at a summer camp years earlier.
This day, we decided to divide and conquer Duluth. I’d get groceries and she’d get the pet food and gas.
She dropped me off on the corner of the street and I began my walk to the supermarket. I’ve always appreciated walking on days like these. It was around 78 degrees and not a single cloud was in the sky. It was bright out and everyone seemed so happy. I looked ahead to see a man walking towards me. He felt so familiar. When I realized, I almost fell over. He was unmistakably my father. No one could deny it. Of course, the hair on his head was beginning to fade from black to gray and he’d gained a little more weight than when I’d last saw him but it was my father plain and simple. Walking right towards me on a crowded sidewalk in Duluth, Minnesota.
I walked right on towards him too. I began imagining what I would say to him or what he’d say to me. I definitely wasn’t going to throw my arms around him and forgive him for everything he’s ever done but I was somewhat excited to talk after so many years. It gave me a slight rush.
We would say quite surprised hello’s and have small talk; “What are you up to these days?”, “Where do you live?”, “What do you do?”
I’d tell him about college and about my studies and about how Colorado is far nicer than Tucson. I’d tell him about my writing and he’d remember seeing an article I wrote online. I talk to him about my mom and my sister and how I have my own cat in my own off-campus apartment. He’d tell me about working at University of Washington in Seattle and that he does a fair amount of writing himself but it’s all science writing. He’d tell me how old his kids are, probably starting high school and that his wife is the same as ever. We would walk and find common interests like hiking or cooking or writing or photography. Then I’d show him pictures I’d taken and stories I’d written.
I’d invite him to meet my friend and he’d gladly come to dinner with me and her family. We’d have a conversation at dinner about him and his life and career and I’d swiftly veer the conversation away from any awkward topics–especially about why he left. After, he’d say goodnight and have to go back to his hotel room and prepare for his symposium tomorrow at University of Minnesota Duluth. He’d invite me to sit in on it and listen and after, my friend and I would take him for a hike or go “mocking”, as my friend calls it. We’d set up our hammocks and listen to the river and maybe read. Then we would hike back and have lunch at my friend’s favorite deli and my dad would agree with me that mustard is far superior to ketchup. We’d also agree that turkey is better than ham and then all three of us would feel bad about eating meat and joke about going vegetarian even though none of us could give up salami. My dad could show us around the UMD campus and I would dream of graduate school here. My friend and I would tell him about the first time we went to Duluth together along with our camp counselor. We visited
Tettegouche State Park and I had the most beautiful experience of my life. We’d enjoy the view of the lake and when it got dark we’d go get ice cream and sit on the deck of some restaurant. Then we’d have to go because my dad’s plane had to leave the next morning back to Seattle. It was a short work trip, made better by seeing his first daughter. Then I’d say goodbye. I can’t know whether I’d hug him goodbye or just wave. It’s hard to say. Of course, talking to him for the first time in many years would be awkward but we’d be curious about each other and so the awkwardness would pass as quickly as it came.
My dad was almost right in front of me and I mentally prepared myself for this far delayed meeting. Just say hi. He looked up and saw me, and I looked at him. I didn’t smile, I just let him know I saw him. Hey, it’s me, your daughter. He was right in front of me. I opened my mouth to say something. And then he was past me. He continued walking down the street without a word.
He did not even recognize me.

I can’t help but be a little curious of what I would do if this actually happened. It’s a tough subject for me so that’s why I like to write about it. I like pulling from my own personal experiences and turning them into art. It doesn’t mean I am healed from experiences nor does it mean I am forever hurting but it means that I am at peace with what has happened in my life and that I have moved on and become stronger from it.

Don’t Think, Just Do

By Lola Martinez

Twangy guitar breeds memories that aren’t mine
But I pretend that they are

A lonely thought
Does nothing
Until you paint it

I suppose it’s just easy to call this thought “you”
Even though it’s
Really nobody

Not even me

Level headedness forbids equivalence between thought

And feeling.

But really
What the hell is the difference?

Songwriting and poetry are my mediums toward understanding myself and the world around me. I throw up on a page and whatever I read back is what I’m meant to know, and to me, that’s magic. I have a YouTube channel (Lola Sings) that I post my original songs on, and I was really excited to bring this poem to the table because my poetry isn’t something that many see, unlike my music. This is a poem I wrote about art.

the clown

By Justin Sims

05/01/19, 12.33
i am bobo the clown.
my words are meticulously chosen,
never naturally occuring
for fear of the consequences of speaking the truth.

i am bobo the clown.
every semblance of what i am, what i have grown to be,
all stem from the deeply rooted trauma of my past.
i have been drained, my personality nothing but a happy-go-lucky facade,
tested and perfected after years and years
of preventing my deepest and darkest feelings from ever manifesting on my tongue.

i am bobo the clown.
the me that i choose to show the world
is a far cry from the me within,
the one that desperately fights for a voice,
the one that whimpers and begs to be heard;
the one that gets crushed oh so easily
by my ever present fear of being a social nuisance.

i am bobo the clown.
the phony smile, the fictitious sound of laughter,
those six words, “no, i’m okay, i’m just tired”,
decree the laws of the land
like some tyrant monarch,
while the peasants that are my true feelings
suffer the consequences of starvation,
understimulation, being forced to uphold
the will of the king.

i am bobo the clown.
my true feelings cease to retain any meaning,
for the emotions of others are held to a much higher standard than my own.
so long as they don’t see me cry,
so long as they don’t emit the dreaded, “are you okay?”,
so long as i am not pressed into confronting the true me,
i can go on living forever
as the comic relief,
the bumbling idiot,
the clown.


by Eden Squires


By Maggie Mirto

Realized is the final piece of my series that explores the beauty of non-traditional gender expression, especially as it relates to male femininity and fashion as a means of empowerment. I detailed a journey from shy experimentation to bold, seductive style to tranquil acceptance. Although this subject’s dress is not particularly flashy, his pose exudes a feminine grace as he gestures towards the sky. He has reached complete understanding of himself and triumphantly carries himself into the future.


By Mamie Watt

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