middlesex art/litmag

Letters and Numbers

45 on the road, 16 off it,
20 in the library, coffee
and textbooks in hand.
15 in the dorm, jesting,
fooling around. Maybe 6.
80 in the shower, long, hot
ones especially. But 40
in the morning. Eyes
bleary, unseeing, as I wait
for the fruits of my labor
To drip down in letters
And numbers. To be
Judged, forever and ever,
By bar lines strangling the soul.
– Anonymous, April 2014

The Winter Walk

My great grandfather used to say,

“The trenches were terrible, son,

All sorts of creepy crawlers running

‘round and round, scuffling over

Frostbitten wretches like it was their

Playground. Trenchfoot, trenchmouth,

All the nasty stuff you can ever imagine:

There it was, on the front lines,

Facing millions of Kaiser Wilhelm’s brutes.

And when you went over the top,

You felt a moment of life and death, suspended

In two worlds, bullets chasing your soul,

‘Till you came back to your senses

and started marching. One foot at a time.”

And so I walked, across no-man’s land

Across hundreds of feet of snow and dust,

Salt in my shoe and water in my socks.

Walking to the other side, where I thought

Home must be. So easily reachable

Yet so disgustingly repulsive.

-Anonymous, April 2014


    Emma Boyd drawing 2 for iris


    Drawing By: Emma Boyd 

A Lover Alone at Sea

Hello, my darling, how are you, my darling? The sun has risen, and it sparkles on the cerulean waves, the ocean as vast, deep, and wild as my thoughts. You are the small whirlpool in the center of the blue, slowly drawing every thought toward you, slowly growing bigger and stronger and more demanding.


Hello, my darling, how are you, dearheart? I try to find you in the world around me. The sand is the hair on your arms in the sunlight, but I can’t quite decide which is your eyes: the sky, the shallow waters of the shoreline, or the infinite depths of the deep ocean that swim with fish and beauteous creatures yet undiscovered by men.


Hello, my darling, do you miss me, my darling? The seagulls’ cries echo the pining sobs of my heart. Waking up is not the same, not when I cannot see your face in the light of the morning. I wonder if you miss me like I miss you; my imagination creates scenarios as plentiful and insubstantial as the white clouds that drift across my sky.


Hello, my darling, do you remember, my darling? The waves shush along the shore, and I remember your laugh, quiet but still there, an insistent chuckle that wraps around my skin. The salt coats my lips, and I think of the sweat that would rivulet down your temple. The sun beats down on me, and its slow burn reminds me of the feeling of brushing against your skin, a touch ever so subtle and transient but still there, still meaning so much. I squint against the bright light, and I recall the crinkle of your eyes when you smile, the sharp pull of your lips over your crooked teeth.

Hello, my darling, I love you, my darling. Don’t let the riptide of time carry you away from me.


-Mari Herrema, May 2014 


    View's Photo for Iris


    Photo By: View Kuphirun 

Inside a Nutshell

Oceans of carpet

My boat-a large white pillow

Horizon of stars


Sunlight filters in

Golden rectangles of sun

Paint the whitewashed walls


My desert back yard

Never ending in my mind

And of course, blue sky


Magenta flowers

Hang off the neighbor’s cream wall

Delicate beauty


Beautiful sunsets

Streaks of orange splash of pink

Cherry red sun sinks

-Julia Yee, May 2014


When all things fail,

Turn to dust in the grindstone of Fate When all souls die,

Relegated to the cold, still oblivion

When all love dies,

Lost in the suffocating haze of lust

And when all men lose,

Lose their dignity, their honor, their pride,

There is only you, dearest.

You whom the Greeks admired most,

You to whom timeless songs are spun

Only you, brightest and dimmest,

Strongest and weakest, greatest and smallest,

You, who despite all odds and circumstances,

Despite the wintry gales of despair,

And the cruel darkness of desolation,

Exist, and by existence brighten this

cruel world.


-Jack Yoon, November 2013


    Emma Boyd Drawing for Iris

    Drawing By: Emma Boyd

I Am Lucy’s Regret

I’m in a white tunnel. Is this reall-

I am Lucy’s regret

The beeping starts as she loses the ability to breathe
I stop dead. The tunnel is getting dark; there is an entity
No one is in the room with her

I can feel her shallow breathing. I gain substance

Why is there a creature there? I was supposed to be saved
After 30 years of waiting, she finally gave up

I am a bull with ooze pumping through me

Breathing gets harder and my knees tremble. Is this what I get?
Doctors crowd around her, but the will to save her weakens

I am stronger. I know my mission

I fall and I can see something getting nearer
Time slows down. It is the witching hour
Why am I seeing him die again?

Pain is good

I scream I close my eyes I want to go home
Lucy convulses

The tunnel is smaller I am nearer


I exhale and I am only inches away from her


The tunnel is now a cavern

Lucy loses color

I reach out and touch her

I feel… scream… I want… home…
Lucy dies
The heat of the cavern is calming. I walk down stairs

I am Lucy’s damnation



By: Anonymous

Drawing By: Anonymous