Evening

Visual art by Chelsea Gribble.

Sunlight piercing through eggshell eyelids, resting only momentarily on the fragile membrane before bursting through to expose the cerebral malfunction beneath.

Old cars, piled up on the side of the train tracks pleading “take me.” but no one comes,  leaving them to crumble, self destruct with pointless longing. Mouths agape, seeming always to plead “goodbye” such brutish words sloppy in this golden wash, an angelic sunset over some excuse for habitation.

It’s to easy to ignore what happens on the other side of the glass. I miss you, so I made tea and cookies, but the majestic clouds insist; its the other way around.
Day after tomorrow, tomorrow if the sun would only quicken in its pointless chase after the edge of the world. Lethargic, please slow down you, claustrophobic that sense of insecurity so crippling it knocks your knees out, unsatisfied. Reverberating all the way up and plucking the hairs right out of the top of your head. Hello again.

[box]Michelle McMillan is a junior Dance Major at the Idyllwild Arts Academy.  Her prose poem, Evening, was short-listed in the Parallax Non-Major Writing Contest. [/box] 

Larger Sizes

Visual art by Luke Sherman.

I draw from edges of the foreign, full of uncertain creatures teased by the mouth. Ten minutes ago he came back, abrupt and territorial. He only pays visit once a year. To wars, towards, in two words he whispers without saying a word those two words. A little closer he gets each time, and that’s what counts. He can count well, but it is different than the impersonal.

You could tell it in straight numbers, but I count it in cups of tea that have kept my hands warm and mountains I’ve passed, including the where I hide. It happened in the glance of approval at a successful pirouette. It happened when my hands were covered in black dust and the person on the other side of the counter doubted me the entire time as I said, “could you please give me ones in a larger size?”

I waved hello before it passed when I was deep under a thin shirt. It was inevitable that he would appear again. He caresses my ear in the way it would count when I was younger, but this time it is sensual. I’m teased by what it all should be and is. Happy birthday.[box]Maddie Marlow is a senior Dance Major at the Idyllwild Arts Academy. Her prose poem, Larger Sizes, won first prize in the Parallax Non-Major Writing Contest.[/box]

Army Crawling is Hard Enough

Army crawling is hard enough.
We army crawled through the old basement’s crawl space.
Don’t touch the pipes! Jostling them is hazardous.
We liked to use words like ‘jostling’ and ‘hazardous’.
They’re the house’s gas lines. We don’t want anything exploding.
Then we got to our destination,
where the floor dropped and distanced us from the pipes.
We had a weird little club.
It was hippie meets sci-fi,
kind of like that show “Avatar”.
A lot like “Avatar”.
I was sky and you were fire.
Then we switched.
Lizzie didn’t get an element.
She was just an annoying little sister,
but she army crawled with us anyway.
[box]Erin Breen is an Interdisciplinary Arts Major at the Idyllwild Arts Academy. Her poems, "I hated being little" and "Army Crawling is Hard Enough," were short-listed in the Parallax Non-Major Writing Contest.[/box]

I Hated Being Little

Visual art by Erin Einbender.
I.
I hated being little.
That’s So Raven and the Friends cast
seemed to have a lot more fun.
I couldn’t do anything.
II.
I hated school.
It was too hard
and it was too easy
and the people there scared me.
III.
I hated not knowing things.
Chaos.
It looks like chow-ous, but it’s pronounced kay-oss.
No Erin, they aren’t two different words.
IV.
I hated not understanding things.
I want one of those pretty swimsuits.
Erin, those aren’t swimsuits. They’re lingerie.
No, they’re pretty swimsuits. You’re lying.
V.
I hated not being believed.
Brandon and I could totally see microscopic organisms.
I definitely did not peel back the wallpaper.
Why would I carve my name into the window seat?
VI.
I hated that the driving age wasn’t ten.
I really wanted a red convertible
that I could drive my friends around in.
Convertibles were the coolest.
VII.
I hated losing things.
I would notice something’s absence really quickly
or it would take months
or even years, like with those purple boots.
VIII.
I hated being told to be careful.
What are you expecting me to do,
throw this baby chick on the ground, just because,
if you don’t give me a proper warning?
IX.
I hated when they were called “grownups”.
It sounded childish and it confused me.
When do they stop growing up, and become “grown”?
And what does that make old people? They shrink.
[box]Erin Breen is an Interdisciplinary Arts Major at the Idyllwild Arts Academy. Her poems, "I hated being little" and "Army Crawling is Hard Enough," were short-listed in the Parallax Non-Major Writing Contest.[/box]

Spring Oak Road

Visual art by Mai Matsubara.

I was walking upon a paved road with lots of cracks when a man approached me. He was dressed in a chartreuse suit with a large valentine tulip in his lapel. He asks me if I knew him.  I said I didn’t believe I did. He shook his head at me.  He told me he was my father. He was not my father. My father lived in a small house on a hill with a wood fire stove and rocking chair.  The man corrected me.  He said I had a sister by the name of Beatrice.  I told him I did not. He apologized, tipped his hat to me and kept walking. He walked up to the next girl and told him he was her father. I laughed out loud.

Sand Screamer

Visual art by Han Byel Kang.
In the barn: 	bare-chested, teeth clenched,
shaved scalp opens to the sky-
	Brain falls out, unraveling yarn
	across the scattered hay.
If I may bother you for a light,
	this dry and dead grass		will become
		the nature of	my chapped body.
										I dig:
	Tearing open my abdomen like a stuffed animal.
Sand pours out of me, tears
of unpolished glass for all the cuts,
		abrasions of delicate songs. Cavalier
			who breathes but has no lungs.
pig blood on the knuckles,
nail varnish for the senseless.
doves of the dirt,
ecstasy for the hurt.
It keeps coming:
		fire-white crystalized		infections
				tampered with by disintegrating words.
	mounds turn to mountains of sand.
	Pucker the whites of my eyes.

Where I’m from:

Visual art by Yuli Kuan.

I come from funnies on the kitchen floor
And haircuts where my feet don’t touch the ground
Freshly shorn bobs
I come from swear words and electric guitar
The days where my mother’s hair was not the same as before
Soft touchable shocking blue and ghostly white
I come from little gold chains with little gold stars
Long drives into a valley soaked in smoggy heat
And diving into brightly wrapped present mountains
I come from Twin Beds
Dungeons and Dragons
20 sided die bouncing off our wooden table
I come from hot pots and butcher blocks
Bowls of steaming soups from cans, I made myself
Chocolate birthday cake with oozing marshmallow fluff
I come from twice the madness as a normal person
I guess that would explain me now.

The Lost Child

Visual art by Alison Yates.

A cry, a weep, a plead for help
I all but jump at the opportunity
To assist a young girl in need.
I find her in a room of straw
Just a spinning wheel beside her.
“Good evening, mistress miller,
Why are you crying so?”
She answers that the straw
Must be gold by morning
Else she’ll die.
Of course, I take pity on the child
And offer to use my magic for her,
In exchange for that pretty red necklace.
That night at my home,
I think, “How good I am.”
Looking at the pretty red necklace,
I realize that it was not
Very much pay at all,
For I had spun a room full of straw into gold!
Early next morning I hear
Another cry, another weep, another plead for help.
There sits the girl, that same girl,
In a larger room
Full of more straw than before.
I offer once again to spin it for her
And take the silver ring from her pale finger.
By the time I arrive at my little house,
I realize once again that this ring,
This little ring,
Is not much in exchange for golden straw.
Early next morning I hear
Another cry, another weep, another plead for help.
There sits the girl, that same girl,
In a larger room
Full of more straw than before.
And she says to me,
“I have nothing left that I could give,”
So I answer, having felt rather lonesome lately,
“Then promise me, if you should become queen,
To give me your first child.”
To my surprise,
She agrees.
And I hastily spin the straw into gold.
I hear tell of a wedding
After just a week,
And think to myself,
“Wow. That was fast.”
Each week I grow more lonely,
And I crave the child
That the queen is due to bear
In just a month.
It shall be a boy, I hope.
For boys are more useful
Around the house.
“Now give me what you promised,”
I said.
She wept.
She offered me gold.
She offered me riches.
“Something alive is dearer to me than all the treasures in the world,”
I reply.
She wept more and more.
I felt sorry.
I gave her three days to
Think of my name,
And if she should,
Her baby boy would be safe with her.
The names she thunk up,
Creative indeed,
However none were as creative
As my real name.
Foolishly, though,
I sing to the world,
That I am so happy for the child,
And I sing to the world my name.
The queen asks
“Is your name Conrad?”
“No.”
“Is your name Harry?”
“No.”
“Perhaps your name is...
Rumpelstiltskin!”
“The devil has told you that!”
I wail, and she just looks smug.
That wench! I pitied her!
I saved her life!
I took but a necklace and ring in return.
I gave her golden straw!
I gave her marriage!
I gave her that child!
Now she will not give him back
In return!
That wench! I saved her life.
“The devil has told you that!”
I cry and wail and beg for the boy,
But she has guessed my name,
And I, Rumpelstiltskin,
Never break
A promise,
However miserable I may be.

Industry Takes Root

A boy stands dutifully at his work,
Flutt’ring fingers dance through the needles there,
and takes a breath. His Watcher whips the boy’s
back, the fact’ry stops to listen. Taken
Control, has this horrid new Industry.
A rushed touch, a floating hand to see far
beyond the sparse brush set up below the
quiv’ring landscape, now fearing a harsh jar
to the nape of its defenseless, re-run
of a preconceived needle track – so fast.
So fast it jumps, leaps, from its vile perch
to insert talons, cuffing unblessed arms
to slav’ry, and its needle track. It hurts,
punct’ring bulging resistant veins, like yarn
they twist-twine around torn wrists, and so vast.
So vast, these floating hands, use quills sprouting
gangrene lies, with oil and sweat as ink,
dip nibs in pockets of those unhearing;
Five hundred milligrams of bitter pink;
Those questions vanished fast, it truly works!
		but – it leaves, Blank.
	Too much grime and blood leaves windows smokèd,
like brown-stone factories, shattered fingers,
Left in weaving, crossing needles, pinning yarn
to crossed flesh. Nail bed bit out by thread.
Pre-bleached cloth hung by consumption, floating
needle-track, scar-raising quills. Star-gazing
Thinkers feel the deep-rooted bore, and the
watchers of them stand flat and still, ripping
men and women to shreds by insertion.