Contributors

Andrew David Rufus Ballstaedt is doing a BFA in painting and also a BA in art education. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, and commutes to BYU. He hopes to go to grad school in painting.

Sara Blaisdell is a sophomore from Portland, Oregon, majoring in English. Two of her poems appeared in the last edition of Inscape. She can be contacted at colorofivood@juno.com

Dave Brown has studied art in East Africa, Poland, and Germany. He’s graduating with a BFA in sculpture from BYU this April after which he will go to Peru to study art and launch his ‘fame or bust’ campaign, though he’s not too worried about becoming rich.

Julie Deverich is a junior majoring in humanities and minoring in studio art. She spends most of her time contemplating the complexities of life and has come to the conclusion that contrary to the discoveries of Sir Higgy Boffo, the moon is indeed made out of limburger cheese.

Jenny Rebecca Griffin wishes she could drop out of school, move to London, bind handmade books, and sell them at a booth. Instead, she is majoring in English teaching at BYU and loves it.

Janelle Kemsley is a senior majoring in English. After graduating in April she’s moving to New York City to (hopefully) work in publishing.

Lindsay Larson, from Orange, California, is a senior majoring in history. She plans to attend law school in the fall of 2004 and become a civil rights advocate.

Jason Ludlow, regardless, after graduating with a degree in English, plans to move to Paris and live in squalor like any good artist.

Elizabeth Luker is a junior majoring in English. When she’s not writing, she enjoys dancing in the living room and singing very loudly. She wishes she had a secret identity as a crime fighter, but is usually too busy going back and forth on the bus, visiting her family in Salt Lake City.

Margaret H. Manchak is a junior majoring in English. She might as well be a philosophy major, too, since that’s her husband’s area of study. They are traveling to south-East Asia this summer, where she hopes to soak up culture and further material for writing. she likes chocolate, her trumpet, and, of course, reading.

A. E. Marlowe was born, will die, and is currently occupied in living.

David Nielsen lives in Salt Lake. He completed his undergraduate education at Westminster college. Currently he is a graduate student at BYU.

Audrianne Porter was born and raised in Mesa, Arizona, and has never really done anything exciting enough to include in a bio. One of her greatest accomplishment was deciding a major. She’s hoping to study in New Zealand next winter in the elementary ed program. She’s considering someday graduating from college.

Jessica Scoville is a senior majoring in English and minoring in micro-biology. she calls Littleton, Colorado, home. other people just call it Littleton, Colorado. When she isn’t reading books, she is writing books. And when she’s not reading or writing or playing in the mountains, she is usually asleep.

Erin Elaine Tuttle will graduate in April from Brigham Young University with a major in English and a creative writing emphasis. She is getting married on July 26th to the best man on the earth. She grew up in North Carolina and has written poetry for as long as she can remember but never submitted anything to be published. This year for a New year’s resolution she promised herself she would conquer that fear and it proved fruitful. Maybe it’s the beginning of success or maybe it’s her swan song but any and all things good from writing are forever dedicated to her dad, Lewis, her biggest fan.

Missy Ward is a senior studying psychology and international development. Her favorite things include foreign films, live indie rock music, green mango shakes, trick or treating for UNICEF, the coldness of the Baltic Sea, grilled cheese sandwiches, harmony, the Philippine island Boracay, volunteering, brain anatomy, Picasso’s blue period, springtime in Russia, Chopin’s Nocturne in E flat minor, museums with secret rooms, riding on small boats on the ocean at sunset, looking at maps, and listening to people who at first seem too different to be understood. Her least favorite things include saying goodbye. Impending post-graduation plans include a health internship in the Marshall Islands, a mission to Brazil, and ultimately marriage to Joe, who likes reading her poems.

Joshua Weed writes poetry when he’s not playing the violin his grandfather made for him or hanging out with his beautiful wife, Laurel. He’s also on the verge of allowing his friend Steve to convince him to buy a dirt bike and a gun so as to adopt more masculine Pastimes.

Aaron Welling married Natalie Marston (now Natalie Welling) two years ago. Aaron is a senior majoring in English.

Lonesome

By Missy Ward

as a long pale bed
glowing like moonlight
under a window that is being
pelted and smeared silver
by forlorn angry raindrops.
And the wind is heaving the trembling trees
while a tiny frightened star peeks out
of the cloud-ridden purple Bangkok sky
and cries

But child, you’ve never been to Bangkok

Shut up. This is not so much about
where I haven’t been as it is
about where I have been.

Regardless, you’ve never been there.

And neither have you. So
for all you know, I’m right
about the way leaves shaped like valentines
are thrust from their comfortable perches
by teardrops that echo like
deep rain in stone corridors.

Between Us

By Missy Ward

Between us was a frozen street,
shining in the dawnlight
like a dark solemn river.
From across the span of eternity,
I watched the bent limping man
scatter seventeen scavenging crows
and dip his battered bucket deep
into the belly of a dumpster.
I saw it come up empty.
I saw him turn around.
And as I walked down the street,
I imagined him fording the
slippery river, more alone
than the first time he crossed it.

Under the Covers

By A. E. Marlowe

I close my eyes under the covers and see this:
Two million seraphim in Speedos, on God-errand
Freestyling through the ether. Their jaws
Slice further with every stroke, them
Gasping for divinity on alternate hands.
Some three million-odd others are butterflying
—Because they can—to unurgent callings.
I wonder if also God tolerates
Fat stupid cherubim blowing bubbles in the deep end.

Prayer at Church

By David C. Nielsen

Close your eyes and don’t peek-but I peeked.
I expected angels,
smiling down,

slapping high fives,
reeling in the words
like rainbow trout.

Instead, it was like swimming underwater:
I could stare where I wanted, make faces,
wiggle my tongue.

The woman next to me
whispered amens. I thought about
kissing her,

laying a wet smack on her lips
and watching her wake
like snow white.

A girl my size swung her legs
on the back row, looked around like this
was a baseball game—

an easy afternoon,
warm, breezy.
I wanted her

to see me, to reach out
across the deaf sea of people
and mouth hello.

On Tenille and Nat as I Watched from the Bathroom Mirror

By Jenny Rebecca Griffin

They laugh together,
just two of them—they laugh like they
are mad-crazy
at something I know if I asked, it
wouldn’t be funny because it is between
him and her.

In the mirror my stomach
bulges pregnantly
as I watch; it increases in size
and in resemblance to all the cakes
I must have eaten in my life.
I turn sideways to assess.

She sits in his lap and curls
her fingers into his malleable hair,
gently holds, massages his arms
as if to say nothing has ever fit
more perfectly in her hands.
One arm and then the other.

I brush my teeth
to a dismal pulse, incessant
stresses of tedium,
ignoring the toothpaste
dribbling down my chin.

He sings bluntly into the serene
night. She nestles
next to him, close enough
that her heart’s cadence
becomes his metronome,
her breath now feeding his music.

I think there is more to me
than this face and body.

I pant as I reach my tongue
out as long as it will go,
try to see past the mirror’s
fabricated copy of my face,
into the blackness of
my throat.

An Incident of Blindness

By Joshua Weed

My talisman eyeball nests in
Its grainy socket. It’s my rotten jewel.
Light pervades with such fluidity
And soggy flesh shrouds it
Like baby kangaroo in maternal pouch.
Why, it represents so much of me!
Grass-green iris lacerated so to pluck
Out the nepheloid innards with more ease;
Dear, poisoned grape, slowly baking
Into raisin by and by with sun.

“They don’t leave bleeding people
To die in the streets even here,”
She says as I come to. I only
Remember a hazy vision:

Empty streets
Four lanes

Small friend, young boy, aside, aside.
And the one defining forward step

Past me as we crossed
The highway. And my eye!

I heard the motor, but could not see. I instinctively
Stopped. I was frightened by traffic for weeks,

Every timid pace reminiscent of
What might have been his last.

The motorcycle breathed bird-like
Life into his raily body.

What disturbing physics! That
Sickening collision, the horrible flailing.

That drastic, metallic rag doll-
Puppeteer inflicted such sad abuse!

Foul ill of gut emerged in me
As vision of his mouth and nose

Entered my good eye. They jettisoned
Sticky, red blood and his eyes spewed their

Saline waters. What faucets his
Face appeared to have,

Opened by brief contact with scorched
Pavement. My puke wouldn’t come.

I was somehow paralyzed and ambulant.
Parked cars, moving traffic, green trees

General blur. How was I walking?
It all unglued itself from itself and spun.

I was favored with a full spectrum of
Shining stars before came my momentary night.

“Are you with me? Look at my face.”
Grave heads hover above me like silly balloons.
“Hey, why is one eye dilated and the other normal?”

Panic, panic—
Head hit floor.
Don’t worry.
Don’t worry. I’m fine. I’m perfectly fine.

That eye is blind.

Ophelia

By Sara Blaisdell

You look so pleased with yourself
And now you think you deserve to be painted,
Lying there, drowned, or crowding library shelves.
Your silly suicide cost me 6.95
At an art sale. I get jealous of you each morning
On the wall, resting there below the ferns.
Your arms are open to something, foolishly,
That prick prince isn’t coming back.
They never do once you’re dead. They never do anyway.
Still, everyone should have your painting,
A print for every room of the house.
For the bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen,
For the garage where they get the rope or leave
The motor running—to prove
You keep floating, shining in bright pastels,
Thoughtful flotsam till the resurrection—
A sort of conquest.
I try mirrors and shoe stores
And can’t equal your confidence.
I can’t throw myself in the river, you know.
Something must be done. A haircut, perhaps,
A few hours of sleep, a prayer.

Three Witnesses

By Erin Tuttle

In the very middle of a field of dirt
Three palm trees stood abreast in Honduras
And I from a bus window,
Two afternoons a week,
Passed them on the cracked road home.

In that distance between us,
The aching heat made illusions of their forms—
Softening and stretching them
To brown and green memories of dreams
While I watched,
My eyelids falling in indiscernible blinks, exhausted,
The same way darkness does in the late afternoon,
Unable to be blue or gray but hovering under nighttime’s black
Until vision and reality are subjective and
Solid ground exists only directly under foot.

Two years removed now,
The past comes in threes
In the short blue-gray blinks between asleep and awake;
Me and them and the sky
Or God and them and me
Or just them,
Or just God—

Their anamolous stance,
Half illusion, half parental,
Swaying there in the middle of nothing,
Calls me to the place where I walked
On a line under their gaze,

Between the cracked dirt of a road and a mind
So remote, a cool breeze could not find it.

Haggling in Addis

By Margaret H. Manchak

We played on a red dirt court. Every morning some unseen worker must have come into the tennis arena and meticulously brushed out our footprints from the day before, because it always looked brand new when my PE class arrived. I had only played on cement courts in the States, but they used dirt in Ethiopia. It was the best court in the city because it was housed in the International Community School.

Like the tennis courts back home, these had tall chain link fences surrounding them. Right outside the fence were tall eucalyptus trees, sardined together to block visibility to the world beyond. This American school worked hard to cocoon us in a make-believe world. But Addis Ababa was dry and the trees were sparse enough that small street children could squeeze between the low branches to watch us. Their little dark faces and thin bodies were hidden in the shadows, but their teeth and eyes glinted their presence in the sunlight, silently watching us play.

Tigist squatted down a little, holding her racket out in front of her in a ready stance that showed her tennis training. She wore matching Adidas shorts and shirt, and her dark hair was plaited into a crown on her head. I theatrically wiped my brow in the hot sun and threw the ball up in the air, trying to perform a serve like Ato Terrefe, the eighth-grade PE teacher, had just demonstrated. The ball made it over the net, but it was a lazy volley and my Ethiopian friend decided to take advantage of the easy bounce by trying to spike it back at me. Once I saw what she was going to do I wrapped my arms around my head, hoping not to get pegged. She hit it so hard that I could hear the ping of the ball against the chain-link fence before I even turned to see. Instead of bouncing back, the yellow ball was perfectly lodged in one of the chinks.

“Nice,” I said, and we shared a laugh.

As I went to retrieve it, there was a face on the outside of the fence peering in at me. Little dark fingers reached through the wire and started violently working the ball so that it would pop out on his side. He was a small boy with no shirt to speak of and ragged pants, maybe six years old, maybe seven. I remember his eyes, wide and coffee-colored; they were glued on me as his hands continued to work, pulling back and forth. I stopped walking towards him and we watched each other. He rapidly pulled the ball out on the other side, and for the first time he broke our gaze to look for an escape route. He scooted backwards under the tree and then ran wildly to the street, jumping and shouting to his friends with the ball in the air. It seemed so vibrant compared to the landscape he carried it into.

I looked back to Tigist. She sighed as she dropped her racket on the court and sauntered off to get us a new ball. Despite our different backgrounds she and I got along well. I was at ICS by the grace of the U.S. government—she was there because her father owned Phillips Electronics. All the wealthiest Ethiopians sent their children to ICS since it was the best and most expensive school in Addis, which actually didn’t say much. The rest of the students were Americans, black and white, and Europeans whose parents worked in the city. We walked out of class together as a fat rain started to fall.

“Do you want a ride home?” she asked Britishly.

“Why not?” I said. I lived only about a block from school, but I was lazy. We strolled into the school parking lot, where her driver was waiting with the family Mercedes Benz. It was identical to the other fifteen Mercedes Benz’s; the rest of the cars were typically Toyota Land Cruisers. The ride was painfully slow, but nonetheless jarring, because the city pavement consisted of dirt, rock, and ditch. Anyone who cared about their car didn’t go over seven miles per hour, slow enough for kids in the street to race along side the car, whipping their heads back and forth between looking at their course and looking into the windows of the car. I tried not to watch, but I always did.

The driver spun his back wheels hard to get over a particularly stubborn rock and as I looked back, a gray-bearded old man, holding his grass-loaded donkey aside, bent his body down to the rut the tire had just created and put his lips to the rain that was collecting there. I quickly turned back in my seat.

“Having money isn’t a bad thing by itself, Mindy,” my dad had once observed, “it’s just a bad thing when some people have it and others don’t have enough. That’s a big problem here.” If I had understood him correctly, our having money was a bad thing. After puzzling over this paradox for a few minutes, my thirteen-year-old-mind would move on to easier, more pleasant ideas, like boys or basketball.

*   *  *

As long as we were careful not to contract malaria, we could take weekend trips as a family into the countryside and beyond. These excursions were food for my soul because the city was such a grim place. The breadbasket of Africa was starving and had been for years. The tourism industry and expatriate community, however, were thriving. From where I now stand, it seems to me like I had stepped into an old National Geographic, where bare-breasted women were acceptable, even intriguing, because they were brown. Only in Africa could a city such as Addis Ababa be called
exotic. For Victorian England it was called the worst age of history on Earth, but I guess Ethiopians don’t have a Charles Dickens to say it so people will listen.

In the country the people seemed untouched, unaffected by the world at large. They had oxen, donkeys, farms, and little green thatched tukuls. They made art-baskets and beautiful jewelry; things to make a tennis ball look about as exciting as a napkin. The people outside the city had stories.

They let me make pots with them, or, I should say, they let me try. And after I had been sufficiently examined, my hair handled and my skin pinched, I could play sock-soccer in the street with the kids. They didn’t call me “white” in Amharic-they called me “clear.” And that was probably a better description. Even my friends at school noticed my particular whiteness. Ahmed, a boy who grew up in Colorado but was actually a
Muslim from Yemen, sang to me one day, “M-i-i-i-ndy, the friendly ghost,” snorting at his own witticism. When I told him I was offended he said, “No, ho, no! You can just sing back-‘Aa-a-hmed, the burnt-up toast!’-see?” I wasn’t sure that I saw.

Still, I felt better about that than I did about some of the things my Black American classmates would say. They were always busy letting me know that “black is beautiful” and “the difference between us is we got soul and y’all whites don’t.” But they seemed basically apathetic about Ethiopian culture—if we ever went out to eat, they picked the one KFC in the city, but I would put money on the claim that it was not real chicken.
And I always went bowling if I hung out with them. Even at the bowling alley though, it was Ethiopian. After each bowl, a small man in a dirty jumpsuit would cautiously peak out from behind the pins and reset them by hand.

*   *  *

Saturday morning was my mom’s appointed time for downtown Ventures and our favorite spots were complete dives. Literal holes in the wall were stuffed with boxes full of artifacts worthy of the British Library and selling for less than a stick of gum. As one of the earliest Christian nations, Ethiopians have ancient scriptures, hand written and illustrated on leather pages, bound with wood worn from a century of use. Silver jewelry is also a big industry for the shopkeepers—that and Italian war vestiges. My
mom once bought a bracelet that was made entirely of bullet shells melded together in a row and shaped to fit a wrist.

We also took interest in the Saturday bazaar at the Mercato in a field downtown. My sister, Erin, came to visit from college in Boston for a couple weeks and she loved a hard bargain. One time as we made our way through a Saturday market, she almost traded me away. An older man, with crusted eyebrows and eyelashes had spread out a blanket in the dirt, on which he displayed beautiful woodcarvings. She asked the artist how much they were. He gave these two blonde American girls a toothless grin.

“I will take your sistah!” he enthusiastically told Erin.

“I can’t give you my sister.” We smiled.

“She will live nice, my wife, in the desert. I give you beautiful camels!”

“No thank you,” Erin said, and she maneuvered me by the elbow away from his blanket.

He shouted with a big gravelly laugh as we walked away, “I like her hair!”

The natives were always having a party as they set out garish blankets with Coptic crosses, painted icons, silk, and silver. There was always food—big injera makers frying up the fermented bread—and music, mostly Bob Marley, blaring on little boom boxes set in the grass. The foreigners bustled around, looking for which wares would look good on a living room wall.

If you could take an aerial view of the field it would have looked like a crazy quilt with little ants marching over the top. What a place, what a place, in the horn of Africa; the breadbasket, thirteen months of sunshine, the bird-watching capital of the world.

On our next visit Erin found a gorgeous bugle made from a ram’s horn that she wanted to bring back to her trombonist-fiancé. She bartered with our sunglasses, a calculator, and a little money in coins—he could pick, she said. Personally, I was irritated that she was risking our calculator. It helped us to make quick computations into American dollars. The vendor seemed skeptical but he did gingerly pick up one pair of shades and as he put them on he struggled to explain in English:

“My son, his head . . . hurt, he has headache. This might help?” He looked up toward the sun with them on and moved them up and down a few times by the earpieces, absorbed in the possibility. Erin’s eyes widened and her face immediately flushed red. Blinking quickly, she pushed the money, the other pair of sunglasses, and the calculator across his table to him. The man pulled off the shades and stared perplexed as she pressed my shoulder to leave. I don’t even think she took the bugle, though I can’t remember.