In A Summer, by Natalie

Tags

,

You let the record needle
fall and so the matilija
poppies bloom everywhere they look
like giant fried eggs and
I walk past the Blue
Motel and feel like I
am about to do something
really awful it is true
I am and I remember
you, nose and lip bleeding
from a dog bite and
I remember your father, palm
filled with a Van Morrison cd.
You play one song on
stereo then switch to the
Powerball radio stream and I
get my eyes dilated and
the optometrist shows me what
my retina looks like and
says “the more colorful the
retina the worse the eyesight”
“what colors can the retina
be?” “orange and red and black
and yellow” “and so it
makes you sad to see
a beautiful retina?” “yes” and
we spoon Cholula into tortilla
soup and you say “I
can play Satisfaction on my
dad’s guitar” and then pull
randomly at strings and I
know that I am being
selfish but that is just
how it is and our
clothes are so heavy by
now and my knees go
yellow and blue and the
police shine flashlights into your
black car and I am
very calm because I do
not care what they do
to me or us now.

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First Response, by Eva

Tags

,

the streets are walked empty tonight,
room made for cold noises to roam.

outside, an ambulance tilts its horn
like so much static: a white noise

slighted into yellow. indoors, we spill into electricity
like all the lights flooding in,

a whirlpool of tightened strings. mouth shut like torn rubber. hands seeping into rooms with no more soft

to give way. the boots down the hallway and dirt spell protection,
so I tell them my name in the way tearing

off rose petals sounds like a freeing. the first step after invasion is healing. the password is the year and a weather

of cold. in the stretchers we’ll fall back into becoming,
and remember how in reconstruction,

we stitched needles into empty pieces.

 

Sweetland, by Brittany

In seconds it was colossal. She could do nothing but stare in horror and fatal curiosity. Like a possessed body it whipped and cracked and stretched farther over her garden, clumps of leaves forming a stupendous shadow that enveloped sunlight entirely. Its branches flailed and threw soil that dripped with a dark red substance, uprooted vines heaving as they clung to its branches like threatened by a great fear of heights. The sycamore tree was relentless, tearing its limbs from the dirt and unearthing fat centipedes and the blackest of worms and snapping insects that soared through the air and slapped the fence with such force that it compelled its wooden beams to their sides, the carcasses of beetles and spiders splayed like abstract. The bark of the plant peeled back in a sickly manner and high above and between the foliage exposed a grey, skin-like membrane that throbbed within the trunk, a heaving creature expanding outward until it stopped and the birds hummed and screeched as their nests flitted down towards the ungodly mess of dirt, blood, and flowers and it was silent for a moment.

A great whistle rustled from above and shattered the air as the thing shot its roots down like stems of some overgrown vermin, as if to snatch the young girl’s body and shoot her off far into the sky. Instead its fat veins plowed into the garden before her, groaning and churning under the soil until it had conceived a gargantuan curvature of entwined roots. There stood before her a brooding entryway, for which between muddy walls laid a bizarre road. Impossibly far beyond the dark, a neon sign twinkled: SWEETLAND.

Search History #6: Google Translate: Goodbye

“…everything proceeds from losing our place.” – Leslie Jamison, The Empathy Exams

What I have next is unsearchable.

What I mean is that I cannot google what I need, now.

The internet, I think, is primarily a place to ask questions and hope to have them answered. At least search engines are. It strikes me as sort of strange that the things worth searching for the most are the things that you can’t really find on Google. You can’t know where to go once you’ve graduated and your world shifts again. You can’t know love by Googling it. The limits of asking only go so far.

Last year my boyfriend, a philosophy major, spent a lot of time wondering, talking, and thinking about the question “What if we’re in a simulation?” It’s a question worth wondering about, I think, but he came down to this:

Consciousness can’t be simulated because it isn’t only intelligence. Yeah, okay, you might be able to simulate a brain and thinking, and then maybe you could simulate a nervous system and a motor system. But what we know is not just a function of having a brain, but also of having a body. You’d have to program a body with a nervous system and all the senses that are not only as fine-honed as ours, but are as exactly as limited as ours. You can be as intelligent as you want, but how do you explain why something should feel sad about something, or that gut feeling in your stomach, and what that means? It may well be that it’s all the result of neurons in the brain firing, but it just doesn’t feel possible that you could put that into computer code.

Before I started at NYU, I could’ve never asked Google “What will college be like for me?”,
or “How much will I change in the next four years,”
or “How many times will I cry in public” (though if I did, it would’ve said, “A lot”)
or “What is it like to be a copy editor, to get your writing published, to read your work in front of other people, to write a column, all for the first time.”

Going forward, maybe I will Google “How to fake my own death to get out of student debt,”
or “Doctors in NYC that take my strangely Ohio-specific insurance,” now that I won’t have NYU’s health center,
or “What to use as a public bathroom when I go on long walks through the city and can no longer get into NYU buildings,”
or “Remote Italian towns that will pay you to live there,” when I’m done with grad school and done with New York.

Either way, I will search, and I will make meaning out of what I search for, and I will write about it.

Search History #5: ThoughtWebMd Symptom List

I’m the most melodramatic person

in the entire world.

 

I talk a lot

about how much I make my own

fingers bleed so regularly

but really it’s all I ever think

about because have you done it?

it hurts. I can’t even wear white

anymore. I think it might be

genetic because my mom

does it too and she doesn’t stop either

no matter how many times I tell her she

should.

 

I used to be such a terrible

black and white thinker

but now I’m absolutely

not at all.

 

I’m definitely

fine, I think

I might be making this up.

10 days left to apply to our e-board

Are you curious about magazine editing? Passionate about semicolons? Do you enjoy workshop? Join the 2018-2019 e-board of West 10th! Positions are available in our poetry, art, prose, web, and copy boards. No prior editing experience necessary, but we do encourage some workshop knowledge. Apply by Friday, May 18, 2018, 5pm to be considered.

Email west10th.submissions@gmail.com with your application.

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Q&A with West 10th Editors

Q&A w: West 10th Editors

Are you curious about what it’s like to be an editor at West 10th? Come to our Q&A session on Friday, April 27 and hear our current editorial board answer questions about their experience at the publication. The even will take place in Kimmel 906 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM, food and drinks included. We hope to see you there!

RSVP here.