By Mamie Watt
By Mamie Watt
god’s messenger, the catalyst, a storm chaser you always
observed the disaster, took note from the outside
(this you scribble into your journal: category four hurricane /
velocity of 140 miles per hour southwest / catastrophic
damage, 1 injured.) but you could never be hurt by the
cataclysm that you watched from afar. saw the roofs of
homes torn apart, the debris soaring a hundred feet high.
always from behind a glass window tinted with reason,
rationality, detachment, denial.
so when i became a storm, you didn’t know what to do.
an erupting volcano, an unpredicted hurricane, a chernobyl
disaster. and maybe you were too close to make an accurate
(or maybe you thought you would never become collateral
damage.) and i’m sorry a million times over that i never gave
you a well-deserved warning or any time to flee the scene.
(this i scribble into my journal: category five storm of a girl /
twelve inches of rain / catastrophic damage, 1 injured.) it was
a silent sunday morning when the world ended.
the earth whispers her goodbyes and plants a kiss onto our
cheeks, hugs us so gently, so tenderly, our empty hands turn
(it’s something worth holding on to.) she tells us to go home
–it isn’t here anymore
This was written purely on my imagination and loosely based on character archetypes of the zodiac that I come up with. Sometimes you can feel to emotionally overbearing towards someone, or maybe the opposite extreme. Either way, it can end in damage on both ends, something I’ve experienced first hand.
By Quinn Mark
I live in a world built by a cardboard man that likes to walk in the rain
A universe that’s poked but never tamed
Surrounded by ghosts of former me’s swirling down the drain
I live in a skeletal structure built by holographic beams
I swim in a pool of unknown dreams
I walk on an earth of blank papers, no words to be seen
I’ve found one constant that all people seem to decree
That i should just be the best me
Putting me in a guessing game of what that means
So i combat the man who made the universe using an umbrella
I say the universe is my own cinderella
I make the old me’s into chewed gum ball that i hope is a good fella
It’s made my world a war between a butterfly and a bee
A bee, how it began, a butterfly, what i wish to see
Neither wins, Neither lose, Neither will ever flee
But both pour their blood into those holographic bones
The butterfly throws me into the pool of dreams and makes me feel whole
And the bee takes those blank sheets of papers to write a story more interesting to know
By Serena Huaraque
No one thought of Tucson as a great city. There was nothing awful about it, it just wasn’t great. The hot air, gentrification, and large senior population was off-putting to most people. I love Tucson. Sure, it isn’t comparable to New York City, San Francisco, or Paris for God’s sake, but I sure do think that there’s something special about it. There is one afternoon in particular that I like to think of to describe my time in the Greatest City of the Southwest. (Despite the fact it isn’t all that great.)
I can remember the weather that day well. The weather in Tucson was never anything to gawk over, it was always too hot―other than the month of winter that came once a year, of course. However, the weather that day could only be described with the word flawless. I was comfortable in the hoodie I wore, but it wasn’t cold to the point that there was any need for a sweater.
That day, I rode the bus from my high school in central Tucson to the Ronstadt Downtown Transit Center. The transit center was one of the most unique places in the city. Tucson wasn’t a great city and it didn’t have great public transportation. No one who took the bus had pride in their eco-friendly choice. But then again, most people who took the bus didn’t do so by choice. I was one of the few who did. My mother fought my independent decision of riding public transit for months. That is, until she realized how sensible of a decision it was.
I got off the bus and walked alongside my friend, Nina, and her friend, who’s name I can never seem to remember, for about a block or so. They were on their way to grab a slice of pizza. The two of them talked on and on about their adventures at coffee trips and lunch dates. They were the type of friends who would go get coffee just for the hell of it. It could have been the middle of the night and I bet that if they had called each other up to go get coffee, they would do it!
At the intersection of Congress street and 6th ave., we parted. Although the weather was nice, I swear it must have been the driest day of the year. So, I decided to go buy myself a sweet cup of tea at the Scented Leaf. I had walked from that street corner to the tea shop countless times before. Knowing my way along these streets gave me the opportunity to enjoy myself to enjoy myself and observe the world around me. Congress street was my absolute favorite. My route began with a smoke shop with dark windows. Then, I passed by an older couple who was window shopping at this small boutique who’s name always cracked me up. The tan shop had a blue sign hanging overhead that read, “Got All Your Marbles” I suppose they ought to sell some sort of marble jewelry. As the store fronts began to change from worn and old to rustic and vintage, I knew I was approaching my destination. The tea store seemed so nostalgic, as if I had not paid it a visit in ages, although, I’m sure only a month or two had passed.
I entered the scented leaf. The walls were all white. This didn’t bother me, that’s how all the new shops were these days. All four walls are painted white as you make your way to the white counter to order your drink and then pay on the white touch screen tablet. The whole room makes you feel as if you’re in a goddamn insane asylum.
I ordered my regular, the “Fruity Thai”, and a cup of water. I’m not kidding when I say it must’ve been the driest day of the year. I knew that I had to get out of the store or else I may really go mad. So, I stepped out onto their patio. I situated myself at a table facing the Congress Hotel. That Hotel was at least a century-old at the time.
The Congress Hotel was home to some of my best memories. There were Saturday morning brunches with my parents and Gene, my lovely white maltese-poodle. Every time, I would order the Cast-Iron Baked Eggs with a side of fruit for myself and side of bacon for Gene. We would eat breakfast as my parents spoke of politics and the live jazz trio played in the courtyard.
I checked the time and noticed that I had around 15 minutes before I had to meet my father. He worked just shy of three blocks away from my bus stop. His job at the city courts was one of the most convenient things that had ever happened. The fact that he worked near and clocked out at 4:30 every day allowed me to roam free for half an hour or so after school. (That is, depending on whether the bus had arrived late or not. Tucson wasn’t a great city and did not have great public transportation.)
Some days, I would go study, read, or just browse at the Main Library. Other days, I would treat myself to a caesar salad or a tuna sandwich at Maynard’s Kitchen. They had the best potato chips in town. Today, I was enjoying a cold sweet milky iced tea.
As I read a few pages from one of Salinger’s short stories, my stomach rudely interrupted to remind me that I had foolishly skipped both lunch and breakfast that day. I gathered my things and headed back down the historic Congress street towards Johnny Gibson’s grocery. I passed the trendy cafés and stores. I passed a yoga studio. I passed the transit center. I passed the marble store. I passed the smoke shop. Finally, I arrived at Gibson’s. I walked up and down the aisles waiting for something to catch my eye. The aisles were narrow and the shelves were filled with everything from toilet paper to protein bars. I left empty-handed, having not found anything to satisfy my hunger. I began to stroll over to the city courts.
I wasn’t in a rush, but, out of curiosity, I opened my phone to check the time. I had received a text message from my dad, Jason. “Meet me at your sister’s house.” My sister, a computer and electrical engineering undergrad at the University of Arizona, lived in the cutest little studio apartment. Her building was on the same block as my bus stop. Her balcony overlooked an empty lot filled with gravel. Along with the lot, she could see the train station, Maynard’s Kitchen, a local hair salon, and the northern half of Hotel Congress. If you ask me, the gravel-filled lot was the most underrated. I appreciated it’s simplicity. There was a single concrete bench and an elevator entrance to an underground garage.
By the time I arrived at my sister’s apartment building, I checked the time again. My dad still had five minutes until he could clock out. I walked over to the concrete bench.
I opened my book to the dog-ear fold that I had left and attempted to read, but the thing is, I couldn’t just sit there and read. My surroundings were too entertaining to not distract me. A man walked from behind one building to behind another. Later, I saw him return. This time, he was pushing a cobalt blue shopping cart. You couldn’t help but wonder where he had come from or where he had gone. Next, I looked over at the building on the side of the lot that was opposite to my sister’s apartment. I had never noticed how appealing this building was to look at. But then again, most of the downtown buildings shared that same charm. There were four palm trees of varying heights. The walls were all painted a light peach color. The window trims were coral-colored. However, the most intriguing part was the shadows that were cast upon the side of the building. The shadows of a lamppost and three balconies had never looked so perfect before. I couldn’t pull my eyes away.
My view then focused on a girl. She leaned against the building, posed for a photographer while her mother apathetically stood nearby. I’m sure the photo shoot was for nothing more than a post on her blog. The thought of that depressed me, so, I moved my attention back to the shadows. In that moment, I noticed my father’s figure walk in my direction. I gathered my bookbag, lunchbox, book, and Fruity Thai. We walked into the elevator side-by-side and as we made our way into the parking garage, I began to tell him about my extraordinary ordinary day in Tucson.
Downtown Tucson is one of the places where I feel the most comfortable. I spend my afternoons there observing every person, every building, and every event that occurs. I wrote this piece to show how interesting such a small amount of time in this diverse and exciting place can be. Until this year, I have not shown a great interest in writing. However, now I am ecstatic to begin my journey in the literary arts.
By Grayson Agrella
These are the moments,
filled with anger and cologne,
that make me wish I was a scrapbooker.
I want to print out pictures of everything you said while you were drunk,
glue them next to dried flowers and stickers of clouds with faces,
and laugh at them when you’re sober.
I want to take snapshots of moments,
of the days of green tea and feeling healthy,
baking when there’s no tension to cut between us,
and the look on your face when I tell you about who I used to be.
I have no photographs of those times.
I have nothing but a yearbook of people I was not attached to.
I did not save the dropping petals
to press dry between the pages of our memories.
I am trying to catalog
everything going right
because someday soon,
I will try to replicate this feeling
and forget just where I was standing
when everything falls into place.
I started this poem the same way I start many of my poems, from a note I took in my phone after something I thought I could contort into being poetic. My best friend’s brother climbed into the car, fuming and wafting cologne. I was immediately struck by the family dynamic and how privileged I felt to be included in even the tensest momemts.