May 2013

Corinne Gaston

Dear Blue

Blue blue blue,
I’m growing out of you.
For years I was drawn
to your patient handsomeness and reserve, but to be frank,
you’re kind of boring.
Actually, it’s not you – say it with me now –
it’s me
That seven-year-itch, you know?
Green’s been whispering sultry things in my ear,
asking me to paint my room with him and such and such.
I’ve taken to wearing him knitted around my neck.
is a little too fucking chipper for my taste.
But Green, oh boy
Green’s got that je ne sais quoi
working his magic
with that Hunter, Harlequin, Myrtle
Mantis, Mint, and
Green just gets it, you know?
…Or maybe you don’t.
But don’t be so blue, blue
Like I said, it’s me, not you.
One day you’ll find your true compliment
Plenty of painters would just die to have you cozy up in their backgrounds.
They love how you…um, recede. Perfect for mountains and landscapes-
Me? I’ll be in the foreground with Green.
Maybe rubbing shoulders with Red, but Red’s always
giving Green the eye
Dancing some striptease soliloquy on all this soul-mate crap
–Practically Shakespearean.
But I don’t worry about her
Green makes sure
that Orange and Yellow always have their round butts
squeezed between him and Red.
He’s reliable like that.
I’m moving on up, blue
And Green just makes me look so damn good.

Olga Lexell

Olga_2 EditedWater

William Hagberg

Animal Man (Buddy Baker)

I’ve been told that my smile looks like many things:
Barbed wire wrapped around a chair leg, held by large man.
A triangle cut from a paper snowflake that was left in a classroom overnight.
One girl said I my smile was like a bottle cap folded over in half.
Another said it looked like watching a flower bloom then wilt.
I’ve heard “feet shuffling in the gap of light behind a door”
and “a whip, coiled in an attic somewhere, collecting dust.”
One of my favorites was that it looked like the sails of a pirate ship.
A man from Phoenix swore that he’d seen my smile
flashing through a dust devil during a cold sunset.
Somebody’s son told me it flickers on whenever he changes TV channels.
Even my mom claims she sees it when she straightens the creases
on the sheets of my childhood bed when company is about to visit.

Devorah Cutler-Rubenstein

Born in the Asylum

Couched in the most amazing lie,
she sat in a daze.
held in a shimmering kimono of deception
To the naked eye
she had been clothed in the most gorgeous,
even dazzling, display of ineptitude,
green scrubs, the color of her new forest.

She was anxiety personified,
Pushed to such an extreme that the lamp
that shone down on her from above her bed,
where she was tied with leather straps,
Revealed a mysterious beauty,
A fragility.
As she writhed under the gaze of the orderly.

His scrubs were white,
except where her blood had splattered.

She barfed on his shoe then turned,
as best as she could and barfed again
on the other shoe.
A communication from the darkness, but even her vomit had a lacey,
radiant quality, as if she never ate anything
except beautiful petals,
butterflies and fairy dust.

She was used to the dark.
Being alone with it,
the shackles they had put on her,
when they found her in the forest
did not frighten her.

She welcomed the boundaries,
She welcomed the attention.
She even welcomed the dark stranger’s embrace
as he unzipped his trousers,
and stuck something hard
inside of her.

Nine months to the day she would be dead.
And I would be born.

And all I had to go on were the hospital records of the Asylum,
Where she had been taken and where he had apparently hung himself on my birth.

Eric Weintraub


Corinne Gaston


Shall we, as they say, drop the pretense?
As you know, my name’s got a spin on it.
Tell me, what did I do to deserve the cast of that damning net?
Were you bothered when I wound myself around that dreamlike tree
And told her the fruit was ripe?
Well it was! – And she devoured it down to the fleshy pit
Then somewhere a light flickered on, and made her a creature of esprit!
But they call me names now: sly, sinful, pest
And curse me with their pious spit
All I did was rip the gossamer fabric that is
Paternal rule – if you ask me, the real serpent.

 Olga Lexell


Kimmery Galindo


My mother was a catalog
Of stories

She sang to me in German
Each night
Had me repeat

As if my memorization
Would keep us alive

The way it kept grandmother
Long after she passed

 Morgann Ramirez

Final Report

Incident Report 501127

A 415 was reported at the Pacific Place Apartments, 5211 Pacific Concourse Drive, at 22:00. Officers arrived at the scene at 22:30. No response was given after the officers knocked on the door. Neighbors said that the disturbance ended ten minutes before the officers arrived. One neighbor reported seeing a man leave the apartment. Officers left the scene.


Incident Report 34872

A 911 call came in at 8:23 from a woman who said her sister was unresponsive. When emergency personnel arrived at Pacific Palace Apartments, 5211 Pacific Concourse Drive, the victim was unresponsive and proclaimed dead at the scene. Officers were dispatched due to the state of the scene and suspicious death. Preliminary reports suggest a homicide.


Statement of Lucy Cabot, sister of the deceased. Recorded.

“I can’t afford a safe daycare, so I always leave my son with my sister. I drop him off on my way to work. I was a little late because Alex spilled juice on his shirt and I had to change him. I tried to call to tell her that I was late, but she didn’t pick up. That’s when I knew that something was wrong. She always picks up the phone if it’s me. I thought she was just sick…oh god, I’m sorry. [Take a deep breath ma’am.] I left Alex in the car because I didn’t want him to catch what she had. I could always drop him off at our mother’s if I had too. Melissa gave me a key for emergencies and I used that to go inside. And there she was. All splayed out on the floor. My baby sister…I tried to wake her up. I screamed at her. That’s when the neighbor came. Uh, Mr.…Roberts. Melissa helps him with his computer. He stayed with her as I called 911 and went to my son.  He kept asking where Aunty Mel was.  I couldn’t let him see her like that.”


Autopsy Report from recording of Dr. Laura Padilla.

Victim is a white female. Twenty-three years old. 5’6 and three fourths. 150 pounds. Rigor mortis and liver temp suggests time of death between ten pm and twelve am. Lividity is set.
External inspection shows new red and purple contusions on the chest, arms, neck and face. A contusion on the chest along with petechial hemorrhaging on the surrounding skin suggests that a large weight was pressing on the victim’s chest for some time. No ligature marks. Contusions on the neck resemble hand prints. Sending photographs for closer analysis.
Abrasions on hands, knees, and elbows. Possible rug burns.
Older contusions, ranging from brown to yellow, were also found on the victim’s arms and back.
No signs of vaginal trauma.
Victim’s hands show signs of a struggle. Right middle fingernail is missing. Half of right ring fingernail is missing. Skin and blood found under nails of left hand and under remaining nails on right. Samples were sent to the lab for analysis.
Victim received a new black eye and split lip before she died.
Samples of hair and swabs from the mouth, rectum, and genitals were also sent to the lab.
Beginning the Internal inspection.
Used scalpel to remove scalp. Hairline fractures on the skull. After photographs were taken, used a hand saw and chisel to open the cranium. Excessive amount of blood in the cranial cavity. Removed the brain. 1359 grams. Used a brain knife to take samples to send to the lab.
T-shape incision made.  Deep bruising. Collar bone has evidence of recent break.  Sternum and two ribs on the right side are cracked.  Chest plate removed along with internal organs.

Heart: 9 ounces
Lungs: 234 grams
Liver: 1.4 kilograms

Samples of fluids and contents of stomach sent to lab for analysis.

Cause of death of victim named Melissa Cabot: brain hemorrhage.


Witness Statement: Evan Roberts (Neighbor)

“That Melissa was a good girl. Handy with a computer. That’s how she was able to afford this place. So good she didn’t even have to go into the office most days. Just sat there, typing away with that nephew of hers playing around. But the poor girl couldn’t find a decent guy. A string of bad apples, but this last one was the worse. I’d hear them screaming late into the night. Only problem I had with her. I’d tell her that she should dump that shitbag, if you’ll excuse the language officer. You wouldn’t have heard about him from her sister. Girl didn’t want her to know. Afraid that she wouldn’t approve or let the kid stay over anymore if she knew about him. I can give you a good description. I was always afraid that piece of crap would hurt her. If she wasn’t going to take precautions, I would. That’s what I told her…poor girl. They were fighting last night. Got so bad I called you guys. But you didn’t show up in time. He was already gone. I couldn’t hear that well, my ears aren’t what they used to be, but I swear that she yelled something about having enough. She must have finally got the guts to dump his sorry ass. Let me be real clear, officer…I liked that girl. She was sweet and smart, and that…scum…is responsible. If you don’t find him, I will.


Description of Suspect

6 to 6’2.
190 pounds.
Last seen wearing a black t-shirt with the word “SAMCRO” in white on the front, and dark jeans.
Scratches caused by nails on the left cheek and possible injuries on both hands.
Goes by Clint.
Officers advised to search nearby hospitals for patients with matching descriptions as victim might have caused damage to her attacker.


Transcript of 911 call from (213) 485-1929

D: Nine-one-one, what is your emergency?
C: I live on 458 Molino Avenue. Come quick.
D: Ma’am, please calm down and tell me the nature of your emergency?
C: It’s my brother. He’s the one who murdered Mel…Melissa Cabot. He’s here. He had a key, he snuck in a few days ago. He’s got a gun. Oh god, please help.
D: I’m sending officers to your location—
C: (Cathy! What did I say about using the phone!) He found me…oh, god.
D: Ma’am, the officers are coming. Listen to him. Keep him talking.
C: No! Leave me alone! (crashing sounds) (Get off the damn phone!) GET AWAY FROM MY BABIES!
D: Ma’am, are there children? Ma’am?
C: Hold still baby, everything is alright. (incoherent yelling, sounds of a fight, more crashing) (Gunshot) NOOOOOOOO! (Gunshot.)
D: Ma’am? Ma’am!
C: (Crunch)




CRIME: 3 Counts Murder, 2 Counts Assault with a deadly weapon, 1 Count Theft
NOTES ON MUGSHOT: Suspect had a black eye, scratches on his cheeks.
SUSPECTS CLOTHES AND PERSONAL PROPERTY: Suspect had stolen firearm in his possession.
WARRANTS: Theft and assault in Nevada.
HEALTH SCREENING: Suspect has a broken right hand as well as two broken ribs.


ER Triage Intake:

Patient Name: Manuel Sanchez
Age: 38
Date & Time: Nov 19, 1:46 pm
Description of Problem: Gunshot wound to the left leg.
Arrival Mode: EMS
Triage Code: Emergent
Vital Signs: BP: 84/53 Pulse: 101 Temp: 97.5
Mental Status: Responds to Pain, Awake/Confused
Physical Assessment: Color: Pink Skin: Warm
Social History: Married
EMS Pre-Hospital Care: Tourniquet on leg.
Action: Sent into surgery to stop bleeding out.


ER Triage Intake:

Patient Name: Louisa Sanchez
Age: 10
Date & Time: Nov 19, 1:46 pm
Description of Problem: Gunshot wounds to the left shoulder and arm.
Arrival Mode: EMS
Triage Code: Urgent
Vital Signs: BP: 100/70 Pulse: 86 Temp: 97.8
Mental Status: Awake/Confused
Physical Assessment: Color: Pink Skin: Warm
EMS Pre-Hospital Care: Bandaging and setting arm. Sedated.
Action: Sent to assessment. Possible broken shoulder and need for stitches.


Autopsy Report from recording of Dr. Laura Padilla.

Victim is a white female. Thirty-four years old. 5’8. 180 pounds. Rigor mortis and liver temp suggest time of death between 11 am and 12 pm.
External inspection shows new red and purple contusions on the face and arms. Victim has a broken nose.  Abrasions on the hands.
Older yellow contusions, roughly 3 days old, were also found on the victim’s arms and back.
Victim was shot three times in the torso. Once in the shoulder, two in the chest. Entrance wounds on the front. Powder stippling indicates close range. Samples of GSR taken and sent to lab. Tissue sections taken and sent to lab. Size of entrance wound may indicate small caliber pistol. Note: will send shells to ballistics.
No signs of vaginal trauma.
Samples of hair and swabs from the mouth, rectum, and genitals were also sent to the lab.
Beginning the Internal inspection.
T-shape incision made.  Shoulder fractured clavicle and lodged in the scapula. Sending bullet to ballistics. Sternum shows signs of coning of the bone and ribs on the right side are cracked.  Chest plate removed along with internal organs.

Heart: approximately 9.67 ounces (most of heart was destroyed by the bullet)
Lungs: approximately 309 grams (right lung punctured and destroyed by bullet)
Liver: 1.4 kilograms

Samples of fluids and contents of stomach sent to lab for analysis.

Cause of death of victim named Clara Sanchez: gunshot wound to the heart.


Autopsy Report from recording of Dr. Laura Padilla.

Victim is a Hispanic male. Four years old. 3’3. 40 pounds. Rigor mortis and liver temp suggest time of death between 11 am and 12 pm.
External inspection shows no contusions or abrasions. Single gunshot wound to the head. GSR stippling and burn marks around the entry wound suggest point-blank range.
Samples of hair and swabs from the mouth, rectum, and genitals were also sent to the lab.
Beginning the Internal inspection.
Used scalpel to remove scalp. Hairline fractures on the skull along with coning around the entry point. After photographs were taken, used a hand saw and chisel to open the cranium. Excessive amount of blood in the cranial cavity. Brain was heavily damaged. Removed remains of the brain. 350 grams. Used a brain knife to take samples to send to the lab.
T-shape incision made. Chest plate removed along with internal organs.

Heart: 5 ounces
Lungs: 167 grams
Liver: .5 kilograms

Samples of fluids and contents of stomach sent to lab for analysis.

Cause of death of victim named Julian Sanchez: Gunshot to the brain.


Verdict in Clint Thein Case

On the three counts of murder in the first degree, we the jury find the defendant, Clint Thein, guilty. On the two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, we find the defendant guilty. On the charge of theft, we find the defendant guilty.


In Loving Memory.

Melissa Ann Cabot

August 17, 1989- November 16, 2012
Beloved daughter, sister, and aunt. Cruelly taken away from us so young, she was born in San Jose, California to Stephanie and John Cabot.  The family moved to Los Angeles in 1994.  She graduated from Cal Poly in 2009 with top honors.
She is survived by her mother Stephanie, sister Lucy, and nephew Alex.
In lieu of flowers, please donate in Melissa’s name to the Good Shepherd Shelter.


Order Sheet for Sanchez Family

Stone Color: Blue Pearl
Flat Marker size: 28x16x4”
Granite Inlay: Flowers and a teddy bear
Engraved Epitaph:
Clara Sanchez Feb 12, 1978-Nov 19, 2012
Julian Sanchez May 27, 2008-Nov 19, 2012

As A Family We Are Never Apart Loving Memories Keep You Alive In Our Hearts

Veronica An

It Tastes Like the City

New York is
On my fingers
Powdered sugar
Doughnut dust
Sugar sprinkles, icing
Gritty sidewalk tiles

Olga Lexell


Olga Lexell


Olga Lexell

In My Dreams

in my dreams you cradle my teeth in your hands
you cradle my heart in your hands
you must wake up in the middle of the night every so often
a vague numb feeling in the back of your jaw

you told me over and over again that men are wolves
that you could never be loved
i took the challenge upon myself
even though i knew better

Alyra Lennox

You.  First named.

When I close my eyes I see you,
pixelated across the expanse of my
inner universe. beautifullike blood.

You tempt me to taste you through the flesh
of a fresh fig from Castroreale. You unfold around
my fingertips, dripping with sticky sweetness.

I absorb you like the Madder Plant:
my flowers and foliage do not give me
away, but my roots are saturated in

rouge. first named. first to disappear at dusk.
You are nothing to bees–but to birds, to butterflies,
to bulls…but to me, you, first named

You are the terror that splinters my skin
when I see that it was you scuttling across my hand.
Me: cleaning the tire swing. My toddler:  waiting.

You are the rancid smell of rotting beef and
my memory of wading in the mountain creek
harvesting garnets, pretending they were rubies.

You are the middle bead on a friendship pin I sold
with my friend, on a street corner, in Miami–You
are the color of fruit that doesn’t grow there

You. rosso. first to disappear at dusk.
You mean less than nothing to me. And you mean
everything: go. stop. (but don’t stop here).

The meat of the hibiscus flower bleeds onto
my plate. I watch you drip. drip. drip. then I suck
you from the creases in the side of my palm–

You are warm against my tongue like
an heirloom tomato picked from the vine
at noon in mid-July. cleanly sweet

like pomegranate seeds. You are a tease.

You leave me with the taste of metal in
my mouth. and with a heat in my fingertips.

John Rockwell

Flower Street Psychic

Amidst the clamor, shrieks and bleats,
One can hear their fortune read.
There are no flowers on Flower street.

All that grows is grey concrete,
Like bitter mold upon my bread
Amidst the clamor, shrieks and bleats.

It feeds upon my drops of sweat.
“You’ll rise above it all,” she said.
There are no flowers on Flower Street,

Only messy, ill-fitting sheets
And a rum-soaked pillow for my head
That cannot mute the shrieks and bleats

Of sirens in their rapid fleet
Bearing warnings in the psychics stead,
“There are no flowers on Flower Street.”

Her pirate gaze bears no deceit
As her toothy smile spreads,
And through the cacophony of car horn bleats

Their mantra rings harsh, stale, repeats
As slowly I am lead
Through the clamor shrieks and bleats,
“There are no flowers on Flower Street.”

Eric Weintraub & Sagar Ramachandra


Alyra Lennox

I See You, America

I see you, America,

getting off the DASH at
Donaldson with your tank
of oxygen attached
to your wheelchair. You are
clean shaven and shaggy haired
and you are not alone.
you smile at my two-year-old
son as he picks dandelions
that he tries to blow and jumps
from the curb all by himself,
laughing. Then you look at me and say:
What I wouldn’t give to feel
happy like that again…
And you roll down Echo
Park Avenue with your friend
walking beside you and
your backpack tells me that
you are Proud to be a
Vietnam Veteran.

I see you, America.

You are standing on the curb
somewhere on Figueroa
with your hand outstretched, hailing
the bus. Your beautiful face
wears frustration and relief
as if you have been waiting
too long in the cold night air
for this bus that came so late.
There is grace in the finger-
tips of your long outstretched hand.
Not the grace of a dancer,
the grace of a musician–
a guitarist or pianist–
or maybe the grace of a
surgeon, or a good father.
Standing on the curb waiting.
Somewhere on Figueroa.

I see you, America.

Your name is Brenda and you sit
next to me in Geology.
Your major is biology,
pre-med–you want to become a
neurosurgeon, is what I think
you said–but you don’t know when you’ll
transfer. You’re undocumented
which makes you ineligible
for financial aid, but you’re here
sitting next to me every
single day. Never even late.
Your hair is magenta-
red and you always offer me
whatever you have-
a candy, a cracker, a pencil.
I see you.


I believe I’ve seen you before-
dawdling down Dairyland Road
in Chapel Hill, North Carolina;
walking the mile
to Chuck’s Quick Stop, to get
a real-fruit-popsicle.
You were barefoot and your
smile showed off your newly
lost teeth and you had a piece
of lettuce protecting
your freshly skinned knee.


I believe I caught a glimpse
of you in Marietta, Georgia too.
I believe you drowned a cat.
As a three-boy-bodied-bully,
you surrounded the cat and hit
her with sticks, then pinned her
down in a puddle until she lay
still. Or maybe she was already
dead when you found her.
But the look on your three faces,
as you poked her lifeless body
with sticks, shouted:
We did it! We did it! Even
if you “didn’t.”


I believe it is Miami Beach- not
your-ami beach, or her-ami beach,
or everybody’s-ami beach. Not even
mommy’s-ami beach. Just Miami
Beach. I believe nobody has tried to
argue that point with me since my
little brothers found their “R’s”
swimming in the creek behind Marietta
Lodge (in Chapel Hill, North Carolina).

I believe that as soon as you figure out
“who you are,” who-you-are changes
and you have to start all over again.
Lila was happily married to Gray.
They had three daughters.
We used to go to their house to play.
Then, when Lila turned thirty-six
her memory drowned her in the viscous
rot of newly unrepressed paternal rape.
She came from an upper class family
of good standing.
Everyone was in on it.

I believe people don’t talk to each other
anymore. I believe I am tongue tied too.  I
believe in being honest, and sometimes that
means lying to convey the truth.
I believe I see you, America.

Eric Weintraub

Eric_1 Edited (1)


Veronica An, a freshman majoring in Narrative Studies, came all the way from the East Coast to enjoy the California sunshine. When she is not writing, reading, listening to music, or hanging out in the library, she loves to explore Los Angeles.

Devorah Cutler-Rubenstein is currently in the MPW Program in Creative Writing and an adjunct professor at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. A former studio exec, she began her career helping to supervise Roger Zelzany’s “Damnation Alley” for 20th Century Fox, and co-wrote the horror-thriller “Zombie Death House.” Recent credits include writer/producer/director on “Tattoo-U” for the FX Channel and co-writer/director “Peacock Blues” for Showtime’s Stories from The Edge.

Kimmery Galindo is an undergraduate student studying Creative Writing and Political Science. She plans to teach after graduation in a local Los Angeles high school.

Corinne Gaston is a junior currently working on her first novella and plans to go backpacking in New Zealand after graduating from USC. She is also one of the co-founders of The Interloper, USC’s alternative newspaper.

Billy Hagberg is a Creative Writing student from Pittsburgh, PA. He will graduate this May and plans on attending Columbia University to pursue his Master of Fine Arts.

Alyra Lennox is a full time mother and an undergraduate transfer student majoring in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing.  In a previous life, she lived in Milan, Italy and traveled the world as a professional salsa dancer.

Olga Lexell has lived in way too many places. She is a Cinematic Arts major with a minor in Consumer Behavior. Check out more of her work at

Originally from San Diego, Sagar Ramachandra will be attending the University of Washington in the fall for a Masters in Public Administration. In the future, he hopes to work in the Federal government.

Morgann Ramirez is a junior Narrative Studies/Theatre double major who watches more police procedurals than is healthy. She can be found mucking about on stage, writing for browser games, or blogging about books.

John Rockwell grew up in Topanga, CA, where he learned that it’s ok to end up living in a tent by a river.  He’s a Creative Writing major at USC, and if that doesn’t work out, he plans on living in a tent by a river.

Eric Weintraub is a senior Narratives Studies major at USC. He has worked as a photographer for Scribe Magazine and is currently writing a book of short stories about undocumented immigration.

The work represented here is the intellectual property of each individual author and is not subject to replication or use without permission.  © Veronica An 2013. © Devorah Cutler-Rubenstein 2013. © Kimmery Galindo 2013 . © Corinne Gaston 2013. ©  Billy Hagberg 2013. © Alyra Lennox 2013. © Olga Lexell 2013. © Sagar Ramachandra 2013. © Morgann Ramirez 2013. © John Rockwell 2013. © Eric Weintraub 2013.


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