Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Elicitor 2014, Volume 28

                                                             Cover image by Sydney Iwohn

Delirious Entanglement.
Kate Parisi

Beginnings are always harder than endings.   
In my experience, when there is an ending,
you just know it; it just feels right.
But knowing where to begin just seems foreign to me.
I’m stuck, which is strange since I’m given the world as inspiration.
I’m staring at the ‘S’ key and wondering why it’s tilted slightly to the left.
Sometimes it sticks when I type too.
I guess I hadn’t realised until the problem started
just how many words depend on that one letter.
Soft, sulk, silly, sing, slimy, snuggle.

This page has been blank for hours.
I’ve deleted these words so many times
because I just don’t know how to tell you about myself.
How can I explain what’s going on in my mind
when I’m not even sure myself?
Sometimes I think I’m crazy.
I should just drop myself off at the loony bin
and save my poor mother the trouble.
I could room with my great-uncle, he’s at a nut house too.
He has dementia, which is unfortunate,
but hey, just roll with the punches I guess.
Is it crazy to think…
I don’t know, maybe I just shouldn’t think.
We can revisit that thought later I suppose.

I remember one time when I was only
seven or eight or nine maybe,
I met my best friends for the first time.
We were supposed to stay together forever,
which for the most part is what happened.
But when she moved a few years ago
we just drifted apart a bit.
We get coffee on Tuesdays,
but it’s been three Tuesdays now since the last time we met.
Life just keeps getting in the way.
Are all relationships like that?
Are we just bound to separate from one another eventually?
I heard she has a boyfriend now.
Go figure.

Maybe it’s not the memories of people that we keep,
but rather the way we remember them that sticks with us.
I never listened to country music until my grandfather died,
and I never appreciated time with my grandmother as much as I do now.
I eat corn beef hash because it was his favorite.
I chew spearmint gum because that was always what was in his pocket.
I like the smell of black licorice; it reminds me of him as well.
My grandfather died the Christmas before last.
I remember because I was wrapping his present when I got the call.
I made him a wooden replica of his boat, which I painted as well.
It was really terrible, truly the ugliest thing you’d ever laid eyes on,
but I know he would’ve liked it.
Love is strange in that way.

Am I crazy?
Am I crazy to think that all of these connections
can really mean something significant?
Is it abnormal that I think they do?
Is it weird that I see the connections like a web through the air,
tangling the hallways of school, the streets of town.
The old man loves the store clerk
who is married to the doctor
who is treating a man who was hit by a car
driven by none other that the old man’s son.
Is it strange that I’m so intrigued by all these things,
these new meanings and reasons to believe that we’re all tied together?
Is it strange to want to be the one who makes a difference,
the one who finds these meanings?
Is it crazy to want to fit in and stand out?
I want to be the one that figures it out,
but I don’t at the same time.
I’m scared, terrified even, to imagine so many simultaneous impossibilities
in a way that’s so overwhelmingly exhilarating.
Perhaps I even get stuck in the web,
tangled and forgotten, left behind in the anarchy.
But that’s what’s so enticing, I suppose,
the thrill of getting caught up in everything
while still trying to sort it all out.
But then again, how can one simply figure out life?
It must be impossible to do, so why even try?
I guess that’s part of the risk though;
you have to be willing to take that chance.
Take the chance to notice, to become involved, tangled even.
To be the identifier or the puzzler.
To be the profiler or the detective.
It takes one to notice, and another to piece it together.
Then there are the people who do both.
Which one am I, do you suppose?
I hope it’s the latter.
But does anyone really know,
truly and honestly know for certain,
who they really are?

I’m not making much sense.
I must be crazy.


The Angel on Park Street.
Kacie Quinn

I knew he was an angel
From his glow.
It radiated from his body,
And illuminated his head,
And distracted from the
Foul, reeking garbage he was sleeping on.

He didn’t sing hymns,
But instead hummed to himself,
Tunes that make you miss home
And regret skipping church last Sunday.
He whistled through the gap
Where a tooth once was.
There was no harp in sight,
But he did make music
By shaking the few spare coins in
His red Solo Cup.

And although I looked,
I couldn’t make out his halo,
Which surely was hidden
Beneath his dusty hood,
Attached to his dusty jacket
With the frayed, damp sleeves
And broken zipper.

But, look beneath the soot,
The smudge,
The stench
The long, cracked fingernails.
The taint.
You’ll surely see an angel,
A messenger,
A saint.


Self Portrait At 18
Kirsten Salo

Recently I’ve been buying a lot
of scratch tickets, and I’m not sure
if it’s because I want to scratch off
some extra luck or that I like getting
annoying black remnants all over
the car.  

It’s not the latter.

I haven’t jumped for joy yet,
probably because the chance of contracting
a super rare disease is higher than winning
the amount of luck that I am hoping for.
But I keep getting these vivid dreams of
me, holding winning numbers in my hand,
screaming at the top of my lungs that “I

Around the age of five is when my brain
began to retain concrete memories, that
even now seem like completely strange
dreams.  Although according to my mother
I actually was on a playground that was shaped
like a whale: New Hampshire’s museum of

The more I think about the whale playground
the more I wonder about the connections
between dreams and memories, and
whether or not either one stays real
long enough to hold onto it completely.

Just the other day, one of my memories
was debunked to be a dream, although
it still seems too real to be imagined.  I
remember everything:

Meredith is standing next to the table
holding a check for one thousand dollars;
a graduation present.  For a minute I thought
it said ten thousand.

All wrong.
Not real.

Am I dreaming right now?
Or is this a memory in the

I’ll never know.
And each lottery ticket is a piece of a dream
that is supposed to become a memory of mine,
a memory to hold on to, a memory that is
real, but every time I lose, the dream fades away
more and more.

Until it isn't there at all.

Self portrait at 18.


“The same thing every day”
Patrick Doane

The same thing every day.
I wake up and take a shower.
Burn my toast.
and try to persuade my mother to let me stay home.
I show up here.
I'm late as usual.
wandering the halls figuring out the block.
only to be told that I have to walk back downstairs.
I walk in class the same time as the stoners.
this looks real good.
“she won’t expect anything”.
we were very wrong, she knows.
I didn’t read the chapters assigned last night.
In my opinion the book is terrible.
Your pop quiz rendered useless.
It’s only designed to lower my GPA.
Kid next to me, turn your music down.
I get it. You’re a free spirit.
Also, don’t rap the lyrics while you walk down the hall with your hat on.
I really don’t want to hear what you’re listening to.
Do I have to fit in a certain group in order to survive here?
it seems to be that way for everyone else.
in their cliques. Almost impossible to break into.
Everybody has their own gang.
You have to dress or act in a certain way to be a part of something.
Labeled. Everybody has a label.
They think they know fashion because they read an article in Vogue Magazine.
Whose idea was it to wear tribal printed pants?
What tribe do you belong to?
I think those people look terrible in that magazine but that’s my opinion.
When you finally break away, You’re different.
You’re a minority among the rest.
Colleges don’t want me.
Denying me because of a number.
They don’t know who I am or how hard I work.
They only pay attention to a number on a sheet of paper.
That sounds fair to me.
Life isn’t fair.
You learn this more and more as you grow older.
Everything depends on numbers and math was never my thing.
When you leave this place, you receive a piece of paper.
Four years for a sheet of paper.
Four more years follow that for another.
So here I am again.
Sitting at a desk doing work that I have no desire to do.
Nobody cares what you want here.
They follow what they have assigned.
If it’s nearly impossible for you, you only get farther behind.
I won’t do homework.
Just thought I’d let you know.
My life after this consists of me doing what I want.
I come here to do the work, when I leave I clear my mind.
I can only expect one thing.
I’ll do it all again come tomorrow.


Kirsten Salo

It cloaks the city in denseness
wrapping its tendrils around
the peaks of buildings, spooking
gulls at its presence.

The chill rattles every bone of the
city seeping deep into the marrow
of each structure that spirals up
into the grey sky.

The city is lost between the
low-lying clouds of morning,
wandering to work in a haze of
impenetrable mist.

The sun begins to peek its rays
into the opaque air, burning
the confusion away leaving only
the mystery to linger.


Christina Sargent

We grew up like sisters,
Separated at birth,
But she was a fairy,
Some sprite with an air of mischievous elegance.
Her laughter sounded like sunshine.
Mine resembled uncut grass.

She would attempt to mentor me,
In a way.
Being two months older
Gave her a thousand more hours of wisdom,
As I saw it.
She taught me funny jokes.
She did my hair,
And showed me how to be cool,
Although we were never quite
In the same league
When it came to that sort of thing.

As we grew older,
Her kindness and interest
In my uneventful life
Surprised me.
She told me stories of her days
Spent at home, in the clouds,
With her angelic companions,
Who were as graceful and well-liked as she.
And I realized that if she had not been a part of my life
Since the day I was born,
Friends predestined by the bonds of blood,
This nymph would not have descended
From her woven throne
To spend time with me.

So for a while when I spoke with her
I was cautious, calculated,
Afraid of startling this creature
And sending her fluttering back
To that secret meadow from which she came.
But slowly, as the grass grows,
I have come to understand
That she will always return to this world
With the same pleasant curiosity
As when she left it last.

We have responsibilities now,
Hers divine and mine demure,
But necessary.
So it has become more difficult,
As the years progress,
To meet as we used to,
On Saturday afternoons
Where the shifting sky
Brushes the steady hills,
And the willows dip gently
Into the chattering brook.

When our paths do cross,
She greets me with the same charm,
As though she were frozen in time,
And my presence is what brings her back to life.
Nothing can change between us in the interim.
I am the same girl,
And she is the same goddess now
That we were eighteen years ago.

I haven’t seen her face in ages,
Though I sometimes hear that melodic voice
Caught in the wind.
It still feels like a warm summer breeze.

If you see her,
Please tell her I miss her.
I will not tread lightly
For fear of crushing her wings anymore.
I know now that she is strong.
We are strong.
If she still wants to share
Those enchanted stories,
I can be found in the garden

Awaiting her arrival.


College Poem
Alex MacDonald

While talking about college
We should really acknowledge
What certain schools represent

The Gators, Rams, Cowboys, and Cyclones
Have certain statistics that should be well known
Listen carefully because my facts are well shown

We’ll start with the University of Florida
It’s not all just classrooms and corridors
Some say the tuition is horrible

21,000 a year
Might sound sincere
But it’s not that great because that’s just in-state

Out of state is forty-three thousand
With 50,000 students enrolled, that might seemed crowded
But that’s not the money that is really counted
And Gainesville is the city where the school was founded

The endowment of UF is 1.359 bil
To some that number will give them chills
Some are in college just for the thrills
But in the end they will be stuck paying off bills

But some are in college with shoes to fulfill
Learn skills, and reach the top of the hill
Get a job and make a mil

UF is just your average large public university that a lot of kids attend
Not caring about the money that they’ll spend
Going to the school is really a trend
But we should really ascend to the west end

In Oklahoma
To get into here you’ll need more than a diploma
Stats like these will put you in a coma

Mr. Oklahoma State President
Is probably living rather pleasant

He makes about four hundred and thirty thou a year
And Pistol Pete is the mascot firing shots in the air

The school is about half women, and half men
And their basketball team just barely made the top ten

This school and Florida are rather comparable
Both their endowments are terrible yet tolerable
But a school like Iowa St. is more bearable

It’s endowment and tuition are lower which is a big difference
It’s because of its position

The schools location will drive you insane
Located in Ames
Such a boring place
This school disgraced and misplaced because it is landlocked
It will never be overstocked
Because it is locked in the middle of the country

Most of their students are in state
But you’ll see that is the usual case

Most students chose a state school
So they don’t have to throw all their money in the pool

Iowa St. is definitely a good choice
The only reason it has low attendance is because of it’s location and low voice

Last but not least is VCU
Located in a city that’s huge!
Richmond, Virginia with a population of more than two-hundred thou
With such a large endowment it will make you say wow

And just as the others go, there are less men than women
And the main ethnicities are white, black and Asian.

This schools attendance is a lot higher because of its alignment
That is the main influence on all the schools in my assignment

The bigger the city, the larger the school
And the lower the cost if it is a state school

So by majority rule
That is how these colleges speak for college in general
So if you get the chance
copy this all down with a pencil
Because it is sentimental and could be essential to help you get you credentials to succeed

That is all
To the Parents of (Insert Name Here)
Kate Parisi

Today your son
or daughter
will be coming home
with a failing grade.

I’m so sorry
that your son
our daughter
cannot comprehend
our rigorous curriculum.

As the Dean of Students
I recommend that your son
or daughter
enroll himself
or herself
in the tutoring program
graciously offered by
the successful students of
Gloucester High School’s
National Honors Society.

This will take place in the library
on the second floor
after school
at precisely 2:10.

In closing,
on behalf of the entire faculty,
we send your family our regards
during this time,
as well as our deepest apologies
regarding your son
or daughter's
inability to achieve
the grades necessary
to receive a passing grade.

All my sincerity,

Mr. D. E. Ceptive
Dean of Students


The Turning of the Hands
Kacie Quinn

It’s an important job, though not everyone sees it that way. A twenty-four hour job, no pay, no benefits, no nothing really, besides for the systematic ticking of the long minute hand and then, every hour, the click of the hour hand.
You start off small, as it should be. As I said, it’s an important job, so you have to prove yourself before you get onto the big stuff. You’ve got to work your way to the top.
For myself,  I began inside of a child’s watch. I was in charge of the mouse’s arms, and had to control it along with the time.  The boy got it at a theme park. I was new to the job and, if I do say so myself, was very good at it. I worked flawlessly, tirelessly, day after day, even after the boy lost me in the back of his mother’s car.
Doesn’t it get boring? you might ask. And you wouldn’t be all that wrong. There is a sense of tedium to it, I suppose. Second by second, minute by minute, and hour by hour, the days repeat. And repeat. And repeat…
But let’s not forget about potential promotions! As I said, I began in a child’s wristwatch, and while I don’t mean to boast about my accomplishments (of which there are many), I probably should inform you that I now reside in a rather nice-looking, foot-long in diameter clock hung up in the front of a college classroom. I’m an important asset to the class. At any given moment, you’d be sure to see an exhausted student, gazing up at me, hoping that I’ll show a time that is close to the end of the class. Without fail, I give them the exact right time, down to the second. I do believe that another promotion is due soon. I’ve done my job here for exactly 5 years, 301 days, 6 hours, 22 minutes, and 15 seconds... 16 seconds… 17… 18… 19…20…
I haven’t slipped up once.
There’s a danger, you know, to making a mistake. If you ever hear a person exclaim, “Where has the time gone?” and you look up to see that, indeed, it has appeared to have passed rather quickly, you can be sure that this is the fault of some overzealous newcomer recently put into that particular clock. There are also times when it seems to be treading through mud. It happens often, if a worker is becoming bored with his situation. This usually lasts only for a few hours before the worker remembers how important his job is. Sometimes, though, the worker never clicks out of it, and he stops for extended periods of time. This is a problem.
There was a time, long ago, of one particular worker. He was quite the role model for the rest of us. Started in a measly pocket watch and, within a decade, resided in the clock at Big Ben Tower. He was good at his job, great even, until the day that he decided to stop.
The city went into mayhem. Time itself froze. It remained that moment—three seconds past midnight—for five weeks. Crops no longer grew, families starved, people were in a panic. This is event is not documented because it was too dark to write. So, while it might not be in your history books, it is nevertheless true.
       Then, suddenly, after over a month of this madness, the clock started again. The people—the few that were left, anyway--rejoiced. There was no explanation as to why it had stopped in the first place. All that we knew was that, when it started again, there was a new worker who resided in the clock.


We're On Each Other's Team
Ethan Lally

The other night I heard somebody call Lorde ‘arrogant’. Now this person probably thinks this for one of two reasons: he is misinformed, or sexist. Let’s take a look at Lorde and why one might think she is ‘arrogant’. Lorde is a 16 year-old singer from New Zealand who looks, sings, and talks like she’s 25. As well as being an unreal singer and amazing writer, she is very outspoken. Recently, she has called out other female artists, most famously Selena Gomez, for not sharing her feminist values and sending a wrong message to young women. Now some might say that calling someone out for not sharing the same values is a little pretentious. But with that argument you’d have to say that Martin Luther King shouldn’t have stood up for civil rights because he shouldn’t have challenged someone else’s beliefs. Likewise, Lorde has every right to stand up for what she believes in. She’s also got to have a hell of a lot of courage to call out such high profile artists being as young and as new as she is. It’s not like she’s just nonsensically trashing them either, she makes very valid points and speaks with better diction than most people twice her age.
The other interesting thing about Lorde is that there’s never really been an artist quite like her. Her music is simplistic and melodic. Her message is clear. Her demeanor is calm, but confident. And I must reiterate she’s one of the smartest 16 year olds I’ve ever seen, especially compared to the normal pop artist stereotypes.  
    So, what makes her ‘arrogant’?
    First, let’s take a look at the definition of arrogant:

1. having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one's own importance or abilities.
"he's arrogant and opinionated"

synonyms: haughty, conceited, self-important, egotistic, full of oneself, superior;

Now, as I have said before Lorde is definitely quite an outspoken individual. But not once have I ever heard her talk about how great or successful she was in an interview. That’s actually something else that separates her from the rest as well, she is incredibly humble. She never talks about how great she is or how much money she’s made from her huge success. In fact she sometimes seems overwhelmed by it all. Nor does she claim to be better than anyone. The things she is calling people out for is not their talent, it’s their message, which is standing up for what you believe in. So, based off the correct definition of the word ‘arrogant’, Lorde does not fall into that category.
    So, why does this person think Lorde is ‘arrogant’?
My initial hypothesis was that this person is either misinformed or sexist. However now that I’ve written on, I think the answer is that the person who holds this opinion is both. He clearly does not know the proper meaning of arrogant, and thus thinks that Lorde is arrogant for her outspoken nature. So, that makes him misinformed. He is sexist because not only is Lorde outspoken, she is speaking out for women’s rights. Plenty of famous artists speak out about things, and I rarely hear them being called arrogant. Then this beautiful young woman comes along preaching feminism and boom, she’s an arrogant, outspoken bitch who needs to know her place. Opinions like these are the reason there is feminism. A woman cannot defend herself or her rights without being looked down upon. And this has always been the case. African Americans, who were considered property in the United States for hundreds of years, were granted the right to vote nationally in the United States before women. The only other reason women were granted the right to vote in a state pre-19th Amendment, which was done in Wyoming in 1890, was because it was advantageous for the state of Wyoming: with women voting they had enough voters to be considered a state in the United States of America. They didn't actually care about women's rights. Even today, women are often put down for speaking their mind. So, by calling Lorde arrogant for standing up for what she believes in, this person is buying into the culture that has oppressed women, opposed feminism, and dominated American culture throughout it’s entire existence.


Walking Away
Kirsten Salo

    His name is Max.
    Max is currently a lot of things, things such as a college drop-out, single, and a mailroom employee at the big law firm his dad used to work at.
    Six months ago Max wasn’t any of those things.  Well, he was still single, but he was single and loving it.
    Six months ago is when Max’s father Dean passed away from heart troubles the doctor said were caused by twenty-five years of heavy smoking.  It broke his mother’s heart, but it completely ripped Max’s heart out of his chest and shredded it to pieces.
    Suddenly school wasn’t for him, and his days spent sulking in his dorm room faded to days spent sulking in the mailroom.  He was given the job partly because his mother spent hours on the phone begging them, and partly because the company felt bad for him; his dad was a big wig around there, the sharpest lawyer they had.  
    He supposed it was the familiarity that the smell smoking had that made him pick up the habit.  His dad was perfumed with the smell of tar from the Marlboro’s he smoked, which happened to be one of the distinct things Max could remember about him.  
    After lunch Max stood outside on the sidewalk and pulled out a cigarette.  A woman was leaning against a light post, inhaling her bad habit.  She looked up at Max, “Want a light?” she thrusted a lighter in Max’s direction.  
    “Thanks,” he said grabbing it.
    Max breathed in and quickly exploded into a fit of coughs.  He felt like there were hammers pounding against his lungs and chest, fire searing his throat.  “You okay?” her face was coated with concern, worry lines forming near her eyes.
    “Yeah,” he sputtered out through coughs.
    “You know, you look so familiar, kid.”
    “Nah,” Max waved her off dismissively.
    “Yeah, I know I know you from somewhere,” she didn’t look familiar at all to Max.  Her coarse brown hair was tied up in a vibrant orange scrunchie that looked like it was from the eighties, and her business suit was worn on the elbows.  “What’s your name?”
    “Max Andrews,” his cigarette was dangling in between his fingers.
    “Wait a minute,” her eyes seemed to light up.  “You’re Dean’s son.”  Her eyes looked Max up and down.  “You are, aren’t you?”
    Max nodded.
    “I’m Eleanor,” she said.  “An old pal of your dad’s.”
    Confusion grew on Max’s brow.  “An old pal, really?”
    “Dean and I used to do what we are doing right now, every day.  Hands down, rain or shine, here we would be across from each other, smoking.  Though its a shame what happened to him, I’m sorry for your loss.”
    Max accepted the sympathy lightly.  It never helped him when people said sorry.  Yeah, sorry your dad died, sorry that happened.  Like it was their fault or something.  The only people that should be apologizing are the tobacco companies.  
    “I know this might be kind of personal, but why are you smoking?”
    It seemed stupid to say that it reminded him of his dad, because now all it seemed to emulate was his death.  “No reason,” he kicked the ground at his feet.
    “Look, Max, this is a really nasty habit.  You don’t need it.  I know your dad is saying that you don’t need it either.”
    Max slumped against the building to his back.  He looked at his watch, deciding it was time to go back to work.  “Hey, I got to go.”  Max left without another word, turning the corner back to the main entrance of the building, smushing the cigarette hard into the cement sidewalk as he went.


“The room was dark…”
Patrick Doane

The room was dark. Flooded with the sounds of people talking and glasses clinking. The smell of beer and cigarettes overpowered any other scents. Outside, the next band was unloading their instruments and equipment. The rain was falling down and gathering underneath the streetlights. A younger man and an older man stood next to each other, waiting for the next band to go on stage.
    “ These guys are great. They know exactly how to put on a show,” The younger man said.
    “If you call turning your volume up and screaming your lyrics good, then you know nothing.”
    The band finally came out on stage. They began to set up. They seemed to be nervous by the way they handled their instruments and fumbled their chords. The singer's voice seemed a little bit shaky as he introduced the band. His knuckles were white due to clenching the microphone so hard. It was clear that this was their first gig.
    “It isn’t the way the lyrics are sung, it’s the lyrics all together. They get the message across,” The younger man added in.
    “Doesn’t sound like a message to me. Sounds like someone's made up problems. I can bet you that this kid has never faced an actual problem in his life. He’s a fraud.”
    “So what about you? You were up there earlier. Most of your lyrics were about the hardships that you’ve faced. How can I know if they were real or not?”
    “Son, I can assure you that those were real problems. I’ve been around a hell of a lot longer than you have. I’ve dealt with more things and had to work my way past them”
    The younger man realized that the older man was serious. He could tell by the look on the man’s face that nothing he said was made up. He seemed to put his head down in almost a state of embarrassment.
    “You gonna head up there tonight?” Asked the older man.
    “No, I have nothing to say. No message to get across to the people.”
    “Music isn’t just about the bad times boy. It’s about what a man’s got on the inside. Lyrics don’t matter. Hell, the sounds all together don’t matter. Long as you can get up there, and put some heart in it, nothing else matters.”
    The band on stage was playing. The multi-colored beams from the lights were on them.The younger man listened closely. He blocked out the sounds of the other instruments and focused solely on the lyrics. At first, it sounded like it was coming from the heart. He didn't notice much of a difference. Listening more and more, he realized that the problems being rattled off were just generic. ¨I hate my job, I have no money, she broke my heart.¨  He soon realized that the older man was right.
    The show was over. Everyone piled out front and began talking and smoking. The rain had stopped now, leaving behind a shimmer underneath the streetlights. It was warm now. The breeze went by the trees softly. The younger man finally came outside, looking for the older man he was next to earlier. After looking around through the crowd for a while, he stopped. Though the younger man never saw the older man again, his message stayed with him.