Theme IV: Home, Introduction

At this point in the semester, you’ve probably been sick at least once. And without your old couch, your mother’s undivided attention, daytime soap operas and Maury — you’ve been left to fend for yourself on Seamless and in the medicine aisles of Duane Reade. Maybe more than once, you’ve wished people still had home answering machines so you could leave your dog a voicemail. Or maybe you don’t miss home at all: you’ve already changed your driver’s license to read New York and have a newfound calmness when crossing the street with one second left before the light turns green.

Your environment, whatever homesickness or home rejection you may feel, makes up who you are and who you’re becoming — and there’s always a good story in that.

Happy Reading!

Hannah Treasure, Under the Arch Editor


Jon, Monuments” by William Beaudoin

Welcome Home” by Laura Casado

Walking Home” by Sebastian Muriel

Balada Para Una Loco” by Nikolas Reda-Castelao

You’re Not Home” by Bobby Wagner

Not Here Please” by Olivia Roos

Fragments” by Riley Cardoza

Home Is Not A Museum” by Hannah Treasure

Theme IV: “Jon, Monuments”

By William Beaudoin

“In order to be what the world is always meant to be, a home for men during their life on earth, the human artifice must be a place . . . for activities not only entirely useless for the necessities of life but of an entirely different nature from the manifold activities of fabrication by which the world itself and all things in it are produced” – Hannah Arendt

On Saturday mornings I make a trip to Central Park.  It’s a new tradition, in its infantile but formative first few weeks, and I can already tell how much I need it.  I pass through the city as if carving against the grain of a particularly hard wood, a hickory or maple, arriving at the subway groggy, and this past Saturday, quite cold.  At Union Square the stop is recessed into the underside of a building, it’s entrance, exuding hot air, flanked by a grocery store and the homeless.  I flit past both and down the stairs, my feet slipping slightly from the rain and mud they’ve accrued in a few short blocks, and take off my jacket.  Time moves just a little quicker when you’re warm.  Soon I am subsumed in the warmth of the tunnels and standing, holding a rail, watch the stillness of my fellow passengers against the rock of the train car.  They create effigies of themselves, retreating behind headphones or downcast eyes in the crowd.  Their outline, their physical form, is not unlike the monuments of great men and women I will see emerging from the subway at 72nd, who are encased by trees and green instead of dirt and harsh florescent lighting.  Riding the subway, dutifully taking part in a commute that has revolved for a hundred years, these people are connected to history as well, but represent only their own individuality.  Their thoughts have not been reified or transfigured into bronze. Flowing and alive, intended not for use but “thought for thought’s sake” they constitute a home for the human artifice that a monument, despite it’s striving, can never reach.

I go to Central Park every week for the nature.  It’s the only place I know of in New York that can provide me with the same sheer amount of bark, water, leaves, and animals that Minnesota supplied so readily.  I often sit at the trunks of trees, staining the seat of my pants with dirt. Their presence is calming; trees grow organically with time and remind me that it is still there, moving as slowly as the leaves that fade to brown above me, or the trunk that thickens and pushes upwards imperceptibly against my shirt. I’ve fallen asleep like this, with the light and rain filtering through the canopy lazily like dust.

The monuments of Shakespeare or Morse, picked out from time and stubbornly resisting any degradation, stand out amidst the natural, like little declarations of morals lining the pavement. When walking on the paths I often try and think of how they got where they are, and invariably conjure up a long receipt of proposals, government meetings, and stiff, mechanical debates over appropriateness that underscore the intention behind monuments and their desire to be used.  When I look even closer at the material around me I begin to see that they are not even the people they claim but instead their simulacrum; they exist as their own entity, blown up, true to themselves rather than the person, an abstraction of what it is the names on their bases represent.  

We usually think of monuments as a way to respect the past and inform the present but this is only partly true.  Monuments attempt to step outside of history rather than represent it, and any exchange they have with the present is under the penumbra of didacticism. They abound in public space, an attempt to impress morals upon the people walking beneath them that will further society.  I look to a monument of some important man, to it’s clouded metaphors and symbols, it’s size and impenetrable surface, and it says to me, “You are living in the world I created”.  It may whisper to me about the beauty of its form, but the desire to be used and learned from always bears through.

Monuments, with their abstraction of history and morals that need to be used and learned from, can never truly last.  

At about noon I left Central Park and headed back to the subway. The rain had begun to fall with urgency and I moved between trees like towering umbrellas, pausing by their trunks to look longingly at what I would visit again next week. In the train home I sat with my knees pressed together, attempting to not take up any extra space as the seats around me filled with old women and children shaking off water, men in suits, teenagers by themselves or with friends, the destitute and the kind. I looked at their faces.  All were silent and still, creaking through a tunnel and thinking for themselves.


Theme IV: Home, “Welcome Home”

By Laura Casado


I slumped into the room where it seemed everything was always on the floor, broken jumbled pieces that I walked on day after day. Taunting manifestos that chaos reigned supreme because there was never time. Things were a mess and they stayed a mess because moving on and doing better starting now didn’t work. It just added clean piles atop the rubbish.

Polished layers on a withering foundation.

I wanted to go back and fix what was damaged underneath. On the carpet the light pink nail polish splotch from Kirstin rushing when we were late Friday night, on the dresser Dannah’s Disney-lettered “D” necklace that I had taken off when she started puking. Dirty clothes hiding shoved under pillows, crumpled in shame. Fake eyelashes batted glitter and dusty glue, forgotten on the window sill.

I dumped my bag in the barely vacant square foot of doorway and stepped across the room. I lifted my foot away from the piles of papers and papers of lists of things to do and so many so many things to do.

I tucked my knees up onto the bed, squeezing tightly into myself, away from the rest.

Her voice yelled brashly from downstairs, “You had better clean up that room before you leave, young lady, I’ve had it with your leaving it looking like a pig sty, you will obey our rules, this is our house. Not yours.”

I left that night to rehearsal, wiping my boots on the entryway rug.

Welcome Home.


Theme IV: Home, “Walking Home”

By Sebastian Muriel


A middle-aged man, Blanc, walked home from work on a cold evening. His messenger bag hung around his shoulder, containing his laptop, documents, and books. He wore a modest white collar shirt with a skinny black tie. Blanc worked as a journalist for a local newspaper. He was married to a woman, Blanca, and had a son, Blanquito, with her. Everyday, Blanc walked down the same street on his way home. There was nothing particularly extraordinary about Blanc, for he had a life that was as same as the horizon one gazes upon each day. The sad thing about Blanc was that he had no identity worthy of discussingeverything he identified as was contingent upon the perceptions of those around him: father, writer, husband, commuterhe was merely an indistinguishable image from the masses. Until he got a Facebook.

Blanc loved Facebook. He was able to build a self-image that finally allowed him some form of independence over his identity. It wasnt enough, though. His conception of self was too externalized. His Facebook page was an escape mechanism, yes, but as soon as he stepped away from his screen he resigned to the gentle indifference of the world that surrounded him. He was once again indistinct, and he knew that this condition would plague him for the rest of his life.

Blanc always browsed Facebook on his phone during his walk home from work, but on that particular cold evening, his phone died. He walked with no form of distraction, quietly submitting to the entertainment his environment had to offer. As he was walking, he heard someone shouting. It sounded like a man. He turned around. It was a policeman. Hey you! You!the policeman shouted. Blanc immediately began to think upon what he could have possibly done to break the law or agitate this officer. He felt an immense wave of guilt come over him. The policeman got closer. Blanc felt an unfamiliar yearning within his gut to rebel. To run. To flee from the tyrannical force of law. He had never felt this way before, but he had no time to ruminate on its newness. He impulsively bolted in a sprint down the street, looking behind him to see where the policeman was. Blanc turned a corner and was able to escape. Pride swept over him. At first, he felt disgust towards himself, for he had no reason to be proud of what he had just done. But the pride was too delicious. Too lubricated with a sense of rightness. He could not resist. He was proud of his accomplishment. A sudden storm of hunger brewed within him. He wanted more.

An elderly nun walked passed Blanc as he was contemplating how he could break the law. The nun stopped in front of him, and said, May God bless your heart.Blanc felt something beautiful come over hima drape of love, purpose, and grace. He felt holy. Nothing could amount to his holiness, for he was an ordained minister. He buttoned his white collar shirt to the very top button and walked with a religious righteousness, offering blessings for anyone who passed him. Blanc felt utterly right in his placehe was beyond convinced that this was his purpose.

A few blocks down the street, Blanc stopped in front of a gay strip club. He could not tolerate the sin that was taking place in that God-forsaken hell-hole. It was imponderable. He felt a deep grief for those who were lost in the darkness. He began to pray over the strip club when a gay stripper approached him and fondled his neck while sensually whispering into his ear. Blanc felt a sexual stirring within him, and he could not fathom what was taking place within him. The gay stripper suddenly looked appetizinghandsome, even. Blanc felt drawn to the stripper and was about to embrace him, but he was distracted by a distant laughter of children down the street at the park. With an air of conviction, Blanc started towards the source of the laughter, leaving the gay stripper on the sidewalk. A moribund desire to be father was resurrected within him by the presence of children. He felt compelled to go and partake in this childish joy.  When Blanc stepped into the park, a small child tugged on his pants. Excuse me, mister. Please play with methe child asked, looking up with a charm so endearing Blanc could not resist but to kneel down to his height and look him in the eyes. Blanc offered himself to play, and the child squealed with joy. The child produced two skateboards and signaled Blanc to ride one with him, but Blanc wasnt coordinated and didnt want to mount the skateboard. The child was amused by Blancs inept skating ability, and began laughing at his cowardice because he was a grown man that was supposed to be unafraid of anything. Hahaha! Chicken! Youre a chicken, mister!Blancs arms suddenly assumed the position of a chickens wings, and he positioned his body as a chicken, making chicken noises and pecking at the air. The child roared in laughter, and a spectating crowd of children formed around Blanc.

After several blocks of walking like a chicken, he arrived home. His front door reminded him of his fundamental identitya father and a husband. His understanding of the front door caused a disorienting tornado to brew within him. His knees gave out and he fell onto the front door, barely able to keep himself upright. He felt an incongruous mixture of identities within him. This confusing mixture began to leak into his psyche, then his body, and finally his overarching self-image. With a sudden awoken vitality, Blanc rose up from the ground. He broke the door in while shouting in a seductive tone, May the wrath of God come down upon you!Walking like an angry chicken, Blanc went into the kitchen and got a knife. He treaded upstairs and went into his bedroom. His wife, Blanca, was convulsing on their bed. She saw Blanc at the door and rose to her feet. She looked at him seductively and gracefully walked towards him, slowly unbuttoning her blouse. Face to face with him, she whispered in his ear, Are you going to cat-call me? Tell me how nice my body is? How much better I would look without my clothes on? Ill be the girl you want me to be.Blanc felt repelled by her body. He was craving something elsesomething more masculine.

Blancs son, Blanquito, walks in, dragging his blanket. He looks at Blanc with a deep sorrow and says, Daddy, Im not a good boy. Im worthless. I should go die in a hole, right?Blanc gazes upon his son, and feels a distant, quiet yearning within him. He feels drawn towards Blanquito. Blancs chicken posture is suspended, and he kneels down to his sons height and lovingly looks at him. Nothing could amount to this feeling. The feeling of being a father. He unbuttoned his top button, dropped his knife, and assumed a masculine tone of voice. He was a father once again. Blanca witnessed this demonstration of love, and she impulsively put her hair up, adjusted her clothes to be more modest, and kneeled down to Blanc and her son. She was a mother once again. Blanc and Blanca’s profound love for one another was revitalized when they caught each other’s eye. The two of them embraced Blanquito and the family united in a collective embrace, gently holding each other in a reassuring union of familial love.

In the distance, down the stairs in an unknown room, a noise is heard. Blanc and Blanquito did not notice it, but Blanca instinctively looks up. She hears the familiar cry of her phone. The tri-tone of a marimba. It’s a Facebook notification.

Theme IV: Home, “Balada Para Una Loco”

By Nikolas Reda-Castelao


Gabe stood inside the balcony of his grandfather’s apartment, watching the stroll of people through heaving wires , 21 stories above. It was a blue-skied Sunday on Corrientes Ave., this world of his, this single avenue in Buenos Aires, which extended over to the horizon before it became an obscurity only identifiable on the metro line. He was spectator to a performance of his countrymen and women acting in the directions of his foggy childhood memories and parent’s shadows. Those wires, holding in his body, were new. He once watched, down below, a great religious protest, a marvelous indignation of pots and pans and trash lids doing a cantata in praise of Democracy, and he smelled the charcoal fires burn steak politics into the sky blue of their flag. He watched it clearly and he was consumed in the spirit of it all and the pots and pans sang such a beautiful hymnal in him. Now it was quiet, and he was caged.

Luke, his American friend, shouted from behind, “Gabe, let’s go get some grub.”

Gabe turned back into the apartment, leaving the balcony, out of the theater of his memory, and into a gallery of mementos draped over with tarp. When his grandfather died, his estate went to his daughter, Gabe’s aunt. She made the decision to empty most of it and remodel the apartment with her wealthy husband’s American money.  Gabe drudged over the weakly creaking floors and into the dining room, where the table was no longer and the small Panasonic TV in the corner had been scrapped. At the armoire to his right, there is a taxidermy piranha he remembers, glass eyes haunting atop diseased jagged teeth. His eyes went to meet its, but it was gone. Hands in pocket, Gabe stood alongside Luke and they both sauntered down the hallway, feeding into the three bedrooms and kitchen, and shut the light of the last door.

Gabe looked down at Luke fumble with his phone, typing contrition love letters. They agreed to eat at this bistro at the corner.  They approached it, taking the fresh breeze against them and the casual flitter of filth on the street, and Gabe looked up to the name “San Miguel”. He could have sworn he felt a tear roll reach out his left eye. They entered and something alienated Gabe, something stretched his heart like bandoneon bellows until the instrument stretched and tore up.  The restaurant was closed and then remodeled in the last four years. He did not know. They brought him his childhood gastro-hearth, the Milanese napolitana, and it was burned.

“This isn’t really that good. We should go to McDonald’s,” Luke said. He smirked at Gabe as he said so.

Luke demanded Gabe to ask for the wi-fi so that he may compose more angry apologies. Gabe observed and the table was quiet and everything was alien.

Luke sighed, gazing into his phone.

That night, somewhere in Alto Palermo, in this youthful, erratic, gentry bubble, Gabe and Luke waited at the 55 Bus line. With them was the quivering of their esteem and four younger women. They were friends of Gabe’s second cousin, to whom he felt a strange attraction to; strange mostly because he never knew he had a family member near age and attraction only in the sense that she was indeed attractive. The other three hovered around 19, save the thinnest one in the least clothing. He already forgot her name and age as they got onto the bus. Gabe and Luke sat and watched them babble in Spanish about their recent trips and gossip and other topics Gabe couldn’t find himself following. Luke stared, mesmerized by the exotic.  He couldn’t text his lover on this bus, and so he couldn’t feel the burn of her electronic glare.

He couldn’t feel her glare at the rooftop bar, where the soft night breeze drifted him and the youngest girl together, that lifted the embers of his kindling heart. Well, it would poetic to say that, and it would suggest that Gabe eventually found in himself the peace he desired here. But he wafted through crowds, back and forth, until he found himself at a corner. He merely watched the erotic dance of a memory clad in false ego and false sexiness. He watched one of the girls tell Luke again and again to make out with her younger sister; she said that she wants to. She called him a pussy at least four times, that he ought be a man; he said he wants to.

Despite being the only one who could explain to them that Luke was very faithful to his girlfriend, Gabe grew a bemused grin and watched. He watched a lover’s quarrel of a different kind, of a reluctant love, of dousing the hearth that  set Luke aflame for years. He watched Luke pretend that none of this bothered him, this joker grin on his giddily cherry face. In slurs, he pleaded to Gabe to have them leave him be. Gabe looked at Luke and his awkward attempt to talk to this young girl. Luke, he had glass eyes above lie-ridden rotten teeth.  Gabe said nothing and smiled in the inebriating lie of belonging. From the center, through a portal of lonely heads, he watched these two happenstance lovers engulf themselves into a stupid moment of insane, broken tongue swapping.

Luke would later tell Gabe that he tried to reach his fingers to a place they shouldn’t have been. Gabe was glad he didn’t.

At the airport, Luke said, “I don’t want to go home.”
“Just break up with her and quit your job.”

“It’s not as easy as that.”

Gabe paused and then bobbed his head in agreement.

Two days later,  Gabe returned to the apartment, the mausoleum of a home caught in passing on. He entered the room where he used to stay in his youth. He looked out at the midnight hustle of people through the open window. He heard a milonga of cars and lively Spanish, from 21 stories above, and it lulled him onto the bare mattress. He was alone with the city, with this place and its sounds and smells, and it all rocked him to sleep in the blanket of an Argentinean summer.