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Writers

Director: Alex Karsten

Carolina Creates Writers is proud to present Should Does, a daily online literary and arts magazine. Because it is on the internet, Should Does will be able to present writing not traditionally found in a literary magazine, like produced audio pieces, video and other multimedia, as well as poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Should Does is not only a place writing and artwork to be found and experienced, but also a community where such projects can be fully realized. All of our staff of contriubtors not only create their own work but act as editors for each others'. Any submissions we plan to publish will receive the same attention. We will be hosting readings and other events at various locations throughout the year, so keep informed by following us on Twitter (@shoulddoes) and liking us on Facebook (facebook.com/shoulddoes).

Visit us at www.ShouldDoes.com!

Check out some of our recent Should Does publications below!


Come share your writing at one of Should Does' two readings this week! 

Reading #1: 6 pm in the Bull's Head Bookstore, UNC Student Stores

Reading #2: November 10, 2012 - 7 pm at Flyleaf Independent Booksellers


The Uncertain Hour: The Rally in Support of Chancellor Thorp

by Alex Karsten

After the Clef Hangers sing “Carolina in My Mind[1] to open the “Rally in Support of Chancellor Thorp” that took place on the steps of South Building, one of them wishes the chancellor all the best as he is moving forward. The first performance was barely over, and already I am already asking myself the question that will hang over the rest of the rally: “What are we here to do?” Four answers were offered.

The first and most obvious answer is that we are here to try to convince Chancellor Thorp to reconsider his resignation. The Facebook event for the rally, which shows that 1,618 virtually pledged to attend, states in the first paragraph of its description: “Together, we will request that Chancellor Thorp reconsider his decision to step down.” Some speakers do not have the same fatalism of the Clef Hangers: for them the resignation seems to be very much still in question. One of the student speakers, Leigh Fairley, even goes so far as to qualify her statements about the future of the University with, “If Chancellor Thorp decides to step down,” as if he hadn’t already announced his resignation. As Mayor Chilton of Carrboro says, in apostrophe to the absent Chancellor, “You’ve only made, in my eyes, one mistake as chancellor, and that’s deciding to step down.” There is a sense that those who are gathered on the quad hope that they are here to achieve something; like if enough of us show up, and if we cheer loud enough, maybe he will come out of South Building and promise us he will stay.

Mayor Chilton’s assertion also served as an example of the second answer to the question of purpose: we are here to celebrate his chancellorship. Joseph Terrell of local folk band Mipso celebrates Thorp as “a true American renaissance man;” James Holeman calls him “a great friend to the housekeeping department;” Dr. Jim Ketch, chair of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee, simply says, “God bless Chancellor Thorp.” Every person who gets up on stage has only positive things to say about the chancellor. When controversies are alluded to, it is only to show how well Thorp has handled the difficult hand he was dealt. With all these unabashedly positive remembrances and with the chancellor not present, the whole event is oddly reminiscent of a vigil, an event that this campus has become all too familiar with over the past few years. Jackie Overton, chairwoman of UNC’s Employee Forum, taps right into this sentiment in the first speech of the afternoon: “Usually when this campus comes together like this, it is when something tragic has happened.” I hate that this is true.

The sense of mourning combined with the stark sense of purpose makes for a strange atmosphere, but that atmosphere is made even stranger by the fact that this rally also serves as a demonstration of strength by the University community. Mayor Chilton indirectly refers to the rally as a demonstration when he compares it to student demonstrations of years past: “When I, as a student, marched and rallied on South Building, it was not in support of the Chancellor.”

The force being rallied against most obviously is athletics. One of the few signs being held up reads, “Big Time Sports: 1, UNC: 0.” David Brannigan, who works for grounds, is the most willing to speak about the influence that athletics has had on this University, saying, “We have to address the structural problems. We all know what they are.” He gets the second biggest reaction of the day when he goes a step further, warning the crowd of unsavory elements that are “using athletics as a Trojan Horse to attack this chancellor and this university.” A student in front of jumped up and down in excitement, the rest of the crowd is no less excited. It is at this point that I have the strongest sense that we are yelling not just for ourselves but for others to hear.

Brannigan’s is the most overt reference to the alleged influence of the right wing on Chancellor Thorp’s decision, but it was not the only one. There are multiple signs taped up (presumably not by the event’s organizers) to educate the crowd about Art Pope; speakers especially highlight the chancellor’s commitment to affordability and accessibility; and the name “University of the People” rings out for the entire hour. Jan Boxill, Faculty Chair, borrows heavily from protest vernacular for her speech: “We are all one together…It’s not just about him, it’s about protecting the University of North Carolina.”

But the rest of the rally quickly becomes inconsequential at 12:55pm. As Alexis Davis, president of the Black Student Movement, finishes her speech with the statement “I still believe in Chancellor Thorp,” the man himself triumphantly comes out of South Building, his family at his side, and makes his way towards the podium. The crowd instinctually rushes forward and gathers together so tightly I can no longer take notes, as if we all want to touch him and make sure we don’t miss a single word. It’s loud. It’s bright. It feels important. South Building looms over him like a temple. Polk Place is sacred ground. I wonder if we’re going to mob him, carry him around on our shoulders like a victorious coach. It was orchestrated, but in the moment it feel so spontaneous, like when a loved one finally comes out of the gate at the airport. It’s so sudden as to have emotional significance.

Thorp speaks only briefly. Looking over the crowd, he says, “Carolina’s staff, faculty, and students are stronger than ever. I knew that; now everyone else does.” Then he announces that he will not go back on his decision. Everyone is silent. The crowd didn’t even know if he would show up, and then he did. There was so much hope for such a brief moment, but it leaves as abruptly as it came. Surprisingly, he continues to speak: “We will not waver in our commitment to higher education…Together we are the light on the hill. Let it shine.” The crowd begins chanting “We Support Chancellor Thorp,” and it doesn’t really matter that it is unclear what exactly we mean. We sing the Alma Mater, quietly but still proud, like after a lost game, and by “Go to hell Duke” it’s all over.

What were we there to do? We were there to ask Chancellor Thorp not to resign, though that was probably always a lost cause. We were there to celebrate Chancellor Thorp, though that will more appropriately happen in the spring. We were there to show our strength, though who was paying attention or will care is very much in doubt. By the time we started chanting, “We support Chancellor Thorp,” it seemed we were there as Jackie Overton said in the very first speech, “to show our remorse for not stepping up sooner,” and as Dr. Ketch urged us, “to create an environment where a leader can lead.”

Perhaps the atmosphere of the event was so strange not because of the mixture of hope, mourning, and bravado, but because of the even stronger presence of guilt. Will Leimenstoll, Student Body President, said: “I don’t think he’s tired because of serving the students and the faculty. I think he’s tired because he has borne the brunt of the storm facing this University. We need to swear that whoever our chancellor is in the future does not bear the brunt of this storm on his own.”

We will probably never know why Chancellor Thorp stepped down, but now we know for certain that he will. Among those who supported Chancellor Thorp, it will be difficult, but necessary, to look back and wonder if more could have been done. Among the entire University community, it is absolutely necessary to look forward to the difficult task ahead and ask ourselves: “What do we need to do?”

[1] UNC’s feel-good anthem, which just happens to be about imminent death. 


Ice cream eating other ice cream

An air-freshener.

by Reilly Finnegan


Method of Loci

by Angela Lin

Locus 1: The Kitchen

The mouse that hid 
under the kitchen sink 
must have enjoyed 
peering at our toes dance 
naked as we washed carrots 
and paper-thin teacups. 
My pocked feet, 
embarrassed by mosquito scars, 
played understudy 
to your elegant ones.

Locus 2: The Breakfast table

Three sticky-rice Buddha 
garbed in bamboo leaves and 
slashes of yarn 
loll indolently against 
the curve of a porcelain bowl. 
You pluck the one with 
rice oozing from its seams 
and snip open his robe. 
My chopsticks are poised 
to pry open his body 
and expose the tender meat 
hidden inside.

Locus 3: The Bed

It was too small 
but it forced us to find 
new ways to fit. 
Tangled, I admired 
the way your arm hairs 
glowed alive underneath 
the morning sun. 
Now I admire the hair 
of my own arms 
as I struggle to remember 
the timid sounds you made 
those hot summer nights.

Locus 4: The Shower

By the way 
your drawstring mouth 
tightens shut, 
I know you will not join. 
Instead, you watch me 
strip down raw. 
My soul prods against skin 
searching for a place to rest. 
Perhaps it will seep 
between my fingernails, 
brittle and broken, 
or live in the newly carved 
hollow of my chest. 
Instead, it mingles with steam 
and dissipates 
as an angry cry.

You listen on a footstool and 
hold my clothes, 
still warm.

Locus 5: The Kitchen, Revisited

If I came back, 
to our forgotten house 
and danced my solo, 
would the mouse that lives 
in the darkness 
recognize who the feet belong to?


The Slow-Moving River

by Kate Davis Jones

They tie the squirming trash bag tightly and drop it into the slow-moving river. They watch it until it sinks. Then they walk to the all-night diner ten blocks away because it’s the only one that doesn’t ask questions. Even with eyeliner neither looks older than fifteen.

They order coffee. Jan holds her coffee mug close to her face. “She just can’t deal with it,” she says.

Chelsea stares into her own coffee. The diner is heated and stuffy against the winter air outside. Her cheeks are red from the cold, and her thin hair, staticky from her wool hat, sticks to them. “What do you mean?” She does not want to ask, but she knows that Jan needs the question.

Jan's thick, dark hair is loose around her face, and it makes her look paler and gaunt. “I don't know,” she says, tightening her hands on the mug. “It's my mom. Whenever Roxy has another litter, Mom can’t deal with it. She doesn’t have the energy to take care of all of them, and no one wants to adopt puppies that young. And she doesn’t want to give them to the pound because she knows they won’t be adopted.”

“Yeah,” Chelsea says.

“But she loves them, you know? I put them all on her bed and they climb all over her. They lick her, it makes her laugh.” She sighs. “I told her someone at school would take them, whose parents were dog breeders or something.”

“Sure,” Chelsea says. She sips her coffee. It’s black, like Jan takes hers, and too bitter. The waitress comes by and pours more coffee into their mugs. Jan orders a plate of hash browns. Chelsea watches her eat them.

“Are you okay?”

Jan swallows a bite of hash browns. “Yeah,” she says. “Mom's getting better.”

“Good,” Chelsea says.

 

Roxy has more puppies, and so the slow-moving river does too. Her pregnancies seem constant; each puppy's eyes are pure and opened and something possible. The girls go to the diner, and then take the metro to Jan’s apartment. Chelsea spends the night. They crawl into Jan’s bed and Jan falls asleep quickly. Across the hall, a machine beeps rhythmically, following the beats of Jan's mother's heart.

Roxy is sniffing around in her crate. Chelsea blinks into the darkness until she can see the shape of the dog, her nose inside a towel-lined cardboard box.

She climbs out of Jan’s bed and walks carefully to the bathroom. She splashes water on her face. Her reflection looks at her blankly and there are large bags under her eyes. She looks like she has not slept since the first puppy drowned.

The next morning, Chelsea sits on the edge of the bed and ties her shoes. She pulls the lace tight around her finger until it turns white and numb.

“It’s so nice of Chelsea’s family to take in those pups,” Jan’s mother says, her voice scratchy. “Is she here? I want to make her breakfast.”

“She left already, Mom,” Jan says quietly.

Chelsea hears the bedroom door shut. Jan looks in her room and motions with her head towards the door. They walk carefully and the floor barely creaks at all. Jan walks her to the metro station.

 

A month later, Chelsea is lying in her bed staring at her math textbook when the phone rings.

“Roxy’s pregnant again,” Jan says.

Chelsea closes her eyes. She hasn’t been sleeping. She dreams of trash bags washing up on the river shore, their contents wet and wiggling and betrayed and alone. She dreams of the diner-- of the waitress pouring puppies into her coffee; she tries to drink from the mug and a fuzzy body gets trapped in her throat, and stays there, whining and scratching, until her dream-self falls.

“Again? Dogs can't usually, uh, do that, I don't think,” she says.

“Me neither,” Jan says. “But it keeps happening. Like the dog thinks that maybe, next time, she'll get to keep them-- maybe there are other dogs getting in-- it's like Roxy's willing them into existence, or maybe Mom, Mom likes the puppies, I don't know--”

“Sometimes they don't even look like Roxy,” Chelsea says.

On the other end, Jan is silent.

Chelsea rolls onto her side, her back to her textbook. “Do you wanna go see a movie tomorrow or something?”

“Can you come over tomorrow?”

Chelsea presses her face into her pillow for a moment, then inhales. “Okay,” she says. “But I can’t do it anymore after that.”

“I know,” Jan says.

“Seriously though,” Chelsea says. “Bye.”

The line goes dead. She thinks of her mother, sitting in the living room, a novel open in her lap and the news quiet on the TV. Tomorrow Chelsea will say she is staying at Jan's eyes to study for a test, and Chelsea's mother will say okay, have a good time.

 

Roxy licks Jan’s face as Jan carries her outside.

“I can’t do this,” Jan says, standing on the sidewalk with her dog cradled in her arms. Roxy's tongue lolls out of her mouth as she pants, her mouth open like she's grinning. It’s late and the streets are vacant. “I need you to do it, please, I can’t do it.”

Roxy licks Jan’s jaw and squirms in her arms. Jan holds the dog tightly, her mother’s car keys clutched in one hand.

“It’s the only way Mom won’t worry,” Jan continues. Her voice becomes desperate. “Because it’ll be an accident, so she’ll be sad for a while, but then she’ll realize it’s for the best, and we’ll go to the pound together and get another dog, a boy dog, my Mom will have a new dog and be happy, please, Chels.”

Chelsea takes the keys out of Jan’s hands. She’s only driven her own mother’s car two times.

“Thank you,” Jan says as Chelsea walks to the car. “Thank you, thank you.”

Jan sets Roxy down in the street and strokes her hand over her ears. “Stay,” she says.

Roxy’s tail is wagging, and she looks at Jan. Her belly is swollen with puppies, always heavy with puppies. On the sidewalk, Jan crosses her arms over her chest and watches. Chelsea tries to think of how many trash bags they tossed into the slow-moving river.

Chelsea starts the car. She hits the dog, and then she hits Jan. The dog's body twitches rhythmically then slower, slower, like an ignored heart monitor. She leaves the car running in the street and walks to the metro station alone.

The Uncertain Hour: The Rally in Support of Chancellor Thorp

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The Uncertain Hour: The Rally in Support of Chancellor Thorp

by Alex Karsten

After the Clef Hangers sing “Carolina in My Mind”[1] to open the “Rally in Support of Chancellor Thorp” that took place on the steps of South Building, one of them wishes the chancellor all the best as he is moving forward. The first performance was barely over, and already I am already asking myself the question that will hang over the rest of the rally: “What are we here to do?” Four answers were offered.