Issue 2: Nostalgia
5x5 Strong, Clear Literature
5x5 is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and literary magazine that publishes poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and photography by established and emerging writers and photographers. We publish twice a year (winter and summer), and each issue is theme-based. Submissions are accepted year-round, and simultaneous submissions are welcome, though we do ask that you notify us/withdraw your work should it be accepted elsewhere. Please visit 5x5litmag.wordpress.com for further information on submission guidelines. ÂŠ 2014 in the names of the individual authors. Subsequent rights revert to the author upon publication with the provision that 5x5 receives publication credit. Designed by S.J. Dunning
Co-Editors-in-Chief Jory Mickelson & S.J. Dunning Poetry Editor Jory Mickelson Fiction Editor Kristen Blanton Nonfiction Editor S.J. Dunning Photography Editor Tyrah J. Dunning
Letter from the Editor S.J. Dunning
Fels-Naptha Mary Avidano
He stuck out his palm ready for Tobasco
Anna Bottrell The Creature Krystal Jo Howard
Letter to My Land Line
Kevin Murphy Against the Cold Jonathan Austin Peacock
* Simon Perchik
Story Time Daniel Clausen
Amy Ross Field Trip Monique Cuillerier
Pennies Wolfgang Wright
Everything Heather Beecher Hawk
After the Past Pops Up on a Facebook Message Sally Parrish
Nonfiction The Welder Larry Starzec
Victoria Love#2 Kat Moore
Divorce William Dameron
Souvenirs Susan Harlan
Beautiful Lonely Places Tyrah Dunning
Letter from the Editor
The cover of this issue and the backdrop of its table of contents feature photographs I took of a foreclosed home my father and I demolished in Kelso, Washington. I thought, at the time, I’d write a collection of poems called Road Songs about my and my father's journey through the field of foreclosure. That was when I started to feel as though everything I observed happening in the world around me existed within as well. My heart was the lonesome, midnight freeway where truckers sped beneath the stars. It held, as well, the train tracks where a local man told us too many people had died. There was something, too, about that tiny, white house my father and I razed. I wanted to wrap its wreckage up and take it with me—its shingles, its chimney, the panes a neighbor or squatters had busted out, the single box of buttons that fell from the attic (without spilling, miraculously), the handful of shotgun shells among them, even the possum husk curled beside an ancient blue jar I did carry away from the scene. I reveled in the collapse of the kitchen cupboards, the grace with which the excavator’s bucket nudged the debris, how gently my father swung the 7
machine round and dropped the mangled boards into a blue, banged-up container bound for a landfill we learned would be buried soon, closed, shut down, the debris from that house some of the last that particular patch of earth would ever swallow. I was going to call that poem "Kelso Blues." The backdrop you'll find on other pages of the issue, a photograph of wallpaper that features buckets and baskets full of flowers, and upon which two painted hands have been pressed (one large hand, a parent's, probably, and one small hand, her child's I imagine), likewise originates from a house my father and I visited in yet another depressed coastal town about which I have yet to write anything but this. Was it nostalgia those strangers were feeling as they colored their palms? Were they aware their time in that house was running short? That poem would have been "None Given." That's the name of the "owner" provided on a work order for a foreclosure when there is no name given. The hands were hands of ghosts. Like my heart was a freeway or a razed home, it was the wall those hands had touched. The term nostalgia combines Greek’s nostos (“return home”) and algia (“longing” or “pain” or “ache”). Per the dictionary’s definition, it is “a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a 8
former time in one’s life, to one’s home or homeland, or to one’s family or friends.” Put another way, nostalgia is “a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time.” To me, nostalgia is a ramshackle house that holds memories. It is a wall within that house upon which we press our hands (whether literally or figuratively), hoping to leave a mark, hoping to remember from whence we came, or, in our absence, to be remembered by those remaining. It is the shadows we cast as we stand before the stronghold, looking for a way back inside, or, perhaps, for a way out. It is, in a sense, an antidote to the notion of obliteration, and, as such, it is a driving force of artistic expression—the “ache,” if you will, that bids we create. Within the pages that follow, you'll meet a variety of characters and voices that yearn for former times or homes or people and/or that think critically about humankind's desire to cling, however hopelessly, to souvenirs of place and time, or to the ideas and emotions such relics evoke or embody. The metaphor is flawed, probably, but it is my hope, nonetheless, that this issue can be a kind of "house" for each of us, or, if not a house, then a space-in-time where we’ve congregated, if only for a moment: a wall (or a heart) upon which we can say I WAS HERE before 9
we travel elsewhere upon this giant stone we wander. I regret that, yet again, I’m late in delivering the poetry and prose for which you’ve all been waiting since winter, but I have faith the quality of the submissions Kristen and Jory and I have selected for this issue will prove worth the wait and that so, too, will the introduction of Tyrah Dunning, my sister, who, from here on out, will serve as 5x5’s photography editor. In addition to enjoying the poetry and prose that follows, please take a moment to enjoy the photographs Tyrah has shared with us, as well as her brief statement about her aesthetic, a piece of writing I’ve taken the liberty of titling “Beautiful Lonely Places,” one of her own turns of phrase (and a fitting one, per the spirit of this issue). I can’t think of a better issue in which Tyrah could have made her debut as the magazine's photography editor. Nostalgia is a tie that binds us in our sisterhood, a language we’ve always shared. But that is a whole other story, a story preserved in grainy home video footage in which we are children dancing in yet a different house that's been torn down. Sincerely, S.J. Dunning 10
Fels-Naptha Mary Avidano Grandma, in taking cleanliness for godliness, scrubbed whatever needed it. Never scrimp on soap, sheâ€™d say, frugal Grandma, watching her pennies, saving rainwater from off the roof to rinse her hair. On wash days when the last rag rug, like the bedsheets, had been rinsed, wrung, hung outdoors to dry, only then did Grandma sit out on the porch to have a glass of beer, just one. Here in my sunny laundry room while unfolding paper wrapping from a familiar Fels-Naptha, 12
I breathe its fragrance. And I can practically hear her say, First we do all our work, then rest.
He stuck out his palm ready for Tabasco Anna Bottrell He stuck out his palm ready for Tabasco and caught mono, but continued to sit at the dinner table for the entirety of the Captain’s fireside monologue with impeccable manners. His form came from legendary elementary school breeding, the type idealized in short stories. But I’m the novel sort of girl, and to be frank, I would hardly be an interesting ball of yarn, even if woven and given elaborate 1850’s lace trim. The font would remain Calibri and the characters would spend their summers milking dead-end sheep in a Comic Sans barn. Our dear mother is a Times New Roman newspaper clipping, and that very well explains him. I should say us. I should, but I won’t. But I should.
The Creature Krystal Jo Harris Shouldn’t it ache, this sweetbitter unmanageable creature who steals in, flecked with fuzz, torn by the doorjamb at the ear, its warm body pulsing at your touch? It hurts me to imagine it, the snap of the arm of the trap against its body, the tiny bones piercing through thin skin; you call them by name: lumbar, sacral, caudal—like plainsong— when I turn away, you show me on my body: iliac crest, thoracic, cervical, axis, atlas, mandible. You whisper the pain; this is how we know of bone, of skin, of the shape the body makes in pain and pleasure.
Letter to My Land Line Kevin Murphy Observing how each pair of hands I see is busy with idle things, I try remembering when I forgot how to leave home by myself. I’m just old enough to have experienced how it was when people went places to talk to each other and not to their own hands. And I’m just young enough for full participation in the tide that rearranged how we commune. I still know your sequence from my childhood and suspect it will be one of the last things to go because of how it brings a smile shaped by days when I kept aquarter in my jeans and everyone knew where to be and when; days when my mother would grammar check me for answering “this is him”; days when I had to screen telemarketers and remember to write down messages for those presently absent; when callers would face confusion brought on by my voice 16
matching my brother’s, matching our father’s. Seven digits that stood for all four of us, sharing us like we share you; a symbol for stability. I wonder who and how many you share now, if you’re ever dialed mistakenly in search of one of us, and how often you are used now that even pre-teens can be reached at the ends of their anywhere hands? Area codes can no longer be trusted like yours – 717 – which when dialed and received, the caller knew they were connected to someone in 717. Seeking your comfort I dial, and imagine between each ring a silhouette descending the gentle curving stairs, walking through the foyer past the display of carved wood ducks, the wall of photos that recite a couple’s tale of the country, and turning left into the red carpeted living room to the receiver beside the leather chair. But no one answers. And none of those items are there. I’m a stranger to the walls that gave home its only definition, to your sequence that could fold my any distance 17
back to you, through a simple rhythm of touch that disrupts the tone.
Against the Cold Jonathan Austin Peacock Zipping your jacket, you remind me of a pheasant I witnessed shot on its perch. Much of what I know about the tempo of winter I can learn from this moment. I would know the difference between buck-shot-ruffled pine needles and the scratch of your nylon sleeve. I could show you the rain just before the rain, relieve the tension building in your numbing hands. We die, child. So in this moment, you are becoming a name, a charity case. My youth. My disjointed knees in leg braces. The cold kiss of metal on hairless legs. I was young. I was wounded 19
and numb, fallen upon fallen leaves. And child, I gnaw, find the ,frustration still, for the jacketâ€™s zipper. For the frost. For the pheasant struggling to breathe. And while I watch you I am in that place. I am rolling in the wettest blooms and fallen blossoms, picked from my perch as you. I am hobbling against the cold, too, childâ€”but I can tell you when it rains.
* Simon Perchik Not yet feathers though you still breathe in the smoke trailing from some climbing turn hidden by clouds and weightless circling this tree allowed at last to shed its bark, warmed the way each leaf expects a better life somewhere, takes hold with its wings around the Earth carried up hillside over hillside spurting more and more blood from your eyes, your ears till their shadow flies from under you escapes this time, hovering overhead 21
as branches and evenings and further though their roots come by to remember why this sky ended its wandering and closed.
Daniel Clausen I’m in a classroom with the lights dimmed. My classmates and I sit Indian style watching Mr. Kent, our first-grade teacher, in anticipation. I feel warm and comfortable like somehow I've just been wrapped in the world's softest blanket. I can hear the other kids whispering quietly amongst themselves. And when I turn, I see my friend Nathan’s eyes fixated on Mr. Kent. Our teacher holds the book in his hand. “Are you ready?” he asks. My heart beats a little faster. He asks once more so we know that it’s not just a rhetorical question. “Are you ready?”
Amy Ross It happened one morning during a grey and misty recess that, after months of teasing, the preschool playground at last erupted into bloody violence. I watched in horror from the swings that day as the ruffians escalated their quotidian verbal abuse to a vicious assault, tiny fists and feet flung at Dana Meyer with wild, brutal abandon. Dana was an obvious, perhaps inevitable target. His name was vaguely effeminate, and anyone could see that he was dangerously prissy. In all the preschool, there was not one hand that could compare to Dana's fastidious manicure, delicate half-moons peeking coyly over the smooth horizon of his cuticles, serene white ridges capping his fingertips like far-off mountain peaks. Even the teacher's nails were thick with grit by the end of a day spent clawing through the sandbox for lost toys. As for the rest of us, we were what you would expect from a normal nursery school class: snotty and scabby and tousled and frayed, dressed as haphazardly as our parents would allow, gloriously unselfconscious in our filth. But Dana was always 25
perfectly, meticulously put together余 an oasis of clean and calm amid the messiness of common toddlerhood. Over the course of that year, while my classmates developed their aversion to Dana's compulsive sense of hygiene into open animosity, I cultivated an obsession. I gazed adoringly at his blond hair slicked neatly into place, at the crease ironed so precisely into his miniature khakis, at the candy-colored polo shirts that lay flat against his back, outlining delicately avian shoulder blades. But as the school year drew to a close, the class's longbrewing resentment and suspicion were finally transmuted into action: the children grabbed Dana's shirt and tugged at his hair, willing him to join the fray, to sink to their proletarian muddiness. When the bell rang, the posse scattered, and Dana hobbled back to class, his pale blue collared shirt torn to shreds, his nose trickling blood. The teacher gasped at his appearance, but he slipped quietly into his seat, pulled out a file, and went about cleaning his fingernails. After school that day, I ran up to Dana in the parking lot and threw my arms around his neck. I was so moved by his display of pint-sized bravery that I pressed my lips to his cheek, hoping desperately for some of his glory to rub off on me. 26
Dana only grasped his mother's hand and pushed me aside.
Field Trip Monique Cuillerier Those kids took forever to get ready. It wasn't even winter, with jackets and boots and wooly things. “Come on!” The annoyance came through. This was supposed to be fun. She went to the car, turned on the radio. Anything other than standing and tapping her foot, being the type of person she didn't want to be. She had not chosen this. If she had not married again, things might have been different. But at that point the kids were only with them half the time. Then her ex disappeared. No note, nothing missing. Initially, she was irritated, over time it morphed to uncertainty. The children were confused. What, exactly, could she tell them? Suddenly, the kids were with them all the time. She could forgive some of what they did, but she had her limits. Regardless of what they had been through, they were not pleasant. The door slammed and they spilled out of the house. “Lock the door, please,” she called. “I don’t have my key.” 28
She turned off the car and went to lock it herself. “Where are we going?” It sounded abrupt and unpleasant instead of inquisitive. “I thought we’d go for a hike." Twin sighs came from the back seat. She decided to ignore them. It did not take long to get out of the city. She stopped at a trailhead parking lot. “We’re here.” “It looks steep.” “Too windy.” “It is lovely,” she said firmly. They started up the trail, almost vertical at the beginning. She knew it levelled out soon and she was grateful, as the grumbling increased as they climbed. She decided not to say a thing. A half hour later they reached the first lookout. “Isn’t this beautiful?” “My feet hurt.” “When are we going home?” “Can we go back to the car?” 29
She sighed. “I wanted to go to the next lookout.” “I’m too tired.” “Why don’t you go and then come back for us?” The suggestion came as a gift, but she hesitated. “It’s not very far, I suppose. Are you sure?” “Yeah.” “Whatever.” They were not paying attention as she left. She moved quickly on her own and soon reached the next lookout. She sat down, absorbing the quiet, the stillness. She rose and instinctively turned the way she had come. The trail was a loop and if she kept going, she would return to the car without passing the kids. Maybe it would teach them a lesson, getting out of the woods on their own. Teach them some reliance. They weren’t far from the road. She stood, trapped between the two directions. Back or forward. They had bread. They'd be fine, although it was a shame they hadn’t left a trail of crumbs. Forward she went. 30
Pennies Wolfgang Wright When the boy began collecting pennies in order to build a statue of his departed mother, Penny, his father did not object. When the father decided to join him, adding pennies from his collection, his friends implored him to see a psychiatrist. When the friends brought over glue to hold the statue together, they told their wives that they were going to watch the game. And when, together, they finished the statue and it came to life, sounding and behaving just like the mother, wife, and friend who was dead, they all knew that what they had done was good.
Everything Heather Beecher Hawk We played strip everything. Strip Spin the Bottle. Strip Truth or Dare? Strip Capture the Flag. We had all summer, every day, and we did everything together. Two boys and a girl lived two houses down from my brother Lowell and sister Lauren and me. Alex was the leader, a middle kid, not the oldest but the fastest. Second to Alex was his younger sister Susie, scored the day she chose Dare and drank a tall cup of toilet water. That same day I'd chosen Dare and taken my shirt off but she trumped me. I had six-year-old buds like a boy, and until I found the empty house and porn, I had nothing to prove myself. Size matters. Bravery matters. But sometimes, as I came to find out, luck can win the runt top spot. I found the empty house in the lot behind ours. Stormy had gotten loose and was sniffing around its backside. I told the gang and the next day we climbed a back tree, broke in through an unlocked upstairs window and cleaned up the bedroom that became our fort. Our parents worked and the older kids were supposed to take care of the younger ones but we were on our own. Alex and his 32
sibs smuggled food and soda from their house and we took care of the cardboard, all from Kroger where my parents worked. We each had our own land, a slab of cardboard arranged in order of status. Alex in top spot by the window, his sister beside him and me at the end of the line. The oldest boy Jonathan, quiet and somber, seemed not to mind being next to last. He crafted his place like a bed with a side stand and lamp, all with cardboard and black marker. Lowell got status over Jonathan with a can of Michelob and a few stolen Camels from our stepdad. Lauren, my older sister and higher than Lowell and Jonathan, was the organizerâ€”she put food stashes, two flashlights, lighter, and the first-aid and sewing kits in old coffee cans in the corner. The house was a lucky find but everything changed outside the Burger King on Bell. I stopped to rummage in a garbage can and spied a stack of porn under soda cans and french fry cartons. The gang came running when I waved a Hustler high in the air. They gathered the magazines I tossed out, making sure equal numbers were distributed around the circle. A man walked by, saw what we had and told us to leave it alone. 33
â€œThey're ours, you perv,â€? I shouted. We clutched the treasures to our chests and took off running. Back to our house, up the tree and inside our fort. For the rest of the summer we sat looking through our magazines. I got Alex's old spot, my own piece of land by the window.
After the Past Pops Up via Facebook Message Sally Parrish He says he wants to write me a letter, I say, on the kind of paper I could hold in my hands. I say, he says he wants nothing from me, wants only to make amends. Isn’t that wanting something? I’d have to give an address. You say, why not? Because, I say, I fell for his emotions, how he had more than anyone I knew, a whole zoo of them exquisite and mostly wild. Because I can’t imagine the kind of person who wants uncageable legs, tongues, and tails spilling out beside them, but I did. You say, I’m losing you. You say, why not exchange numbers? Sounds like a nice guy, trying to do the right thing, going through his steps. No, I say. You say, I know you want to just forget him, but who can do that? Why not throw him a bone? I say, are you listening? It’s been years so why should I wait for the mail, sit here waiting? Because already I’m waiting, I say. But he can’t be that bad, you say, even if you remember it that way. But, I say, I don’t. That’s what I’m saying.
The Welder Larry Starzec It is my father in the black and white photograph, his face hidden by the oversized welder’s hood. A black pane of glass protects his eyes from the splatter of white light erupting at the joint of steel where he angles the pencil thin electrode conductor. At work at the Harvester Plant, he welds pieces of metal that will become parts of the Bulldozers, Backhoes and Pay Loaders that build America’s highways. Though he wears a thick canvas apron, overalls, and heavy gloves to shield him from the spatter, I know he is my father, the slightly bow-legged posture unmistakably his. I found this picture in a box of photos that for some reason did not make it into the family albums that chronicle holidays, celebrations and vacations. Now a decade since his death, the snapshot itself some fifty years old, I’m brought back to earlier, harder times. I am reminded of how he’d come home from work, carrying a black metal lunch box, his t-shirt dotted with a constellation of pin-sized spots where sparks had landed. I only now understand how strenuous his work—putting hard 37
things together, building machines that towered over the roads, their cabs so tall that the drivers had to climb ladder stairs in order to reach them. I imagine what a relief it must have been to pull off the heavy gloves, slide the helmet back, untie the apron and let it fall away, then put it all on the shelf at his work station and call it a day. Returning home he’d shower off the sweat that soured his clothes, wash the grease and oil from his hands and hair. It must have felt good to be clean, to sit in his easy chair next to an open window in just his shorts and t-shirt, a fan’s breeze whispering itself over his tired body—any air more soothing and cool than that within the building where he’d toiled the better part of the day. Working in that sweltering factory left him with a short fuse and a want for peace. And sometimes he’d shout at his children to settle down, his gravel voice calling for us to be quiet for just a few minutes. Back then, when my mother tried to steer us clear of the living room, I thought him an angry man. I’ve tacked the picture to the bulletin board above my desk in an office my father could not have imagined as a place of work. And when I look up I see the weight of his protective attire, the intensity of the flame from his welding torch, realize how hard it 38
must have been to breathe under that helmet. The heat must have been incredible.
Victoria Love #2 Kat Moore We left the moving pictures of the mental hospital, a community project started by a former patient to bring the so called sane together with the so called broken in the glow of celluloid. 25 cent popcorn and soda shimmied on our breaths. The liquor store was across the street, and so we loaded up as much as we could with the little money we had. We weaved our way through the streets of Victoria, passed the basketball courts of Fernwood, where punk rockers pretend to be athletes. The sky hung like a bruise as we wound our way through alleys, passed The Empress, and chased crows on the lawn of Parliament. My hair flapped in the breeze from the buzz of black wings that lifted around us and then swooped to the sky like a swirl of smoke above the emerald grass. Buskers played Irish lullabies. A young man strummed a ukulele and a young woman called out with the flute. The Georgia Strait blew youth over our bodies, misted our skin. Memphis was far away with boredom and the wrong kind of filth. Iâ€™d escaped a dirty city of guns, and ghettos, of live fast and die, without feeling the whiskey hands of a poet, or any of the fantasies from books that 40
filled my head. I had met Johnny at a party underneath a fire escape. The hipster girls whispered warnings my direction. Johnny was local, an art school dropout living on the dole. He painted my dancing silhouette on brick buildings, colored red to garages, pressed my movements to back entrances of rooming houses. The sun wouldnâ€™t go down until 10. We stole a bottle of La Fin Du Monde, and raced back to my house, over cracked pavement, up rickety stairs to my room. He kissed me on an egg-crate, atop wooden boards. He told me he was going to Italy with the Vietnamese man heâ€™d met on the streets of San Francisco. I smashed the bottle we were sipping from, shattered lamps. He howled and cracked mirrors. The house creaked and swayed. We slept that night on a bed our destruction had made, our limbs stuck together by blood our cuts let run. He mumbled in his sleep, warning me of the red ants marching through his dreams. In the morning, he drew our three week history of broken glass, colored it, and folded it into his suitcase. I tore our pictures and burned his drawings. He went to Italy and caught rubella. 41
I lingered in front of the ink heâ€™d left on light posts, slept with our cracked bottles. I swayed with liquor until the next one came along, the one whose legs were nimble on pop rock and beer, the one like Johnny, but not Johnny, who would rush toward nowhere with me and whisper his hands across my body. I was a long way from Memphis with no desire to go home.
Divorce William Dameron They say when you remodel an old home it disturbs the sleeping ghosts. At night, I wander from room to room, taking stock of the things no longer mine. There, on the dining room table, is the blue metal pitcher we found in an antique shop in New Hampshire. This painting: my twentieth wedding anniversary gift to her. Here is an oversized, damask upholstered sofa where weâ€™d lay side by side, a black and tan dog snoring at our feet. The refinished wooden floors creak as I pass. When I reach the top of the stairs, she stands motionless in the dark hall. "Can I sleep with you this one last night?" I ask. "Don't wake me in the morning," she replies. She removes her nightgown. I take off my shirt. That is her side of the bed, and this used to be mine. Here is the blue comforter where we cradled our newborn babies. These are our flattened pillows, stained with perspiration, with age. I lie on my back. She rests her hand on my neck. I turn to my right side, and she turns to her left. We twist through the night, grazing 43
elbows and knees, limbs remembering, minds forgetting. In the grainy morning light, I close the bedroom door and tiptoe to their rooms. This is my oldest daughter’s bedroom. Those are the boxes filled with her dolls. I tuck her dark hair behind her ear, and kiss her warm cheek. That is my youngest daughter’s bedroom. Here are her glasses. I pick them up and clean them with the tail of my shirt. "I'm just going to work," I mutter, a half-truth in the half-light. This is the closet behind me and these are the unknown rooms that lie ahead. Here is what I am leaving behind: , an empty chair at the dining room table, the scent of my skin on the bedroom sheets, an old painting, a sleeping dog, a blue pitcher, the shadow of a father on the front steps, a wife’s whisper of a man.
Souvenirs Susan Harlan 1. New York Snow Globe When I tip it over in my hand, I see half a price tag. I remember picking at the bar code as I walked through Times Square, on my way to the library. I had seen the globe in the window of a shop and thought, Why not? I donâ€™t live here anymore. When I tip it over in my hand, the amalgamated skyline points to the ground, and then it flips back up, and then the snow falls and settles between the Stock Exchange and the Empire State Building and the Staten Island ferry. The snow always falls too quickly. It is never quite right.
2. The Eiffel Towers One is a glass bottle, etched by a machine. It has a golden cap I canâ€™t take off, and the base is lined with the brown film of old perfume. Avon Rapture Cologne, New York, New York 10020, 3 45
fl. oz. It’s the same height as two of the copper-colored towers in my collection. One is rusted, as if it was left outside. This is the heaviest one, the oldest, too—not flimsy modern junk. Dust has settled in its grooves. Two of them have marble bases that fit on my palm. And one has a smaller copper-colored base that reads Tour-Eiffel, a reminder. The Eiffel Tower does not exist. The Eiffel Tower is a souvenir, a name. One is the bright gold of ugly jewelry. I bought this one at a souvenir shop many years ago, and I carried it around Paris all afternoon. When I set it on a cafe table, next to the salt and pepper, it looked like a little landscape. The tallest one is a green bottle, opaque like seaglass. A bottle of booze, probably, its cork stopper broken. Now it’s empty, and lighter than you’d expect. 46
One has a thermometer that runs from the second tier to the top. The mercury gathers in a dollop at the bottom of the glass tube. The thermometer reads 0–1–2–3–4. I have no idea what this means, but I can just fit my thumb in the base and up to the second tier. Empty space. One is a keychain, just about an inch and a half tall. When I pick up my keys, it swings back and forth. I know the chain will break soon, and the tower will fall off and be lost. One is a tri-color tower with PARIS written in silver letters on the blue section. Red for the first tier, white for the second, then blue. I got this one on my last trip, in one of the stands along the river stocked with old books in clear plastic bags and small oil paintings of the city. It was winter, and the tower was cold to the touch. Four of them are a tarnished brass, or a cheap metal that looks like brass. This color looks a bit like iron, and so they are closest to the original. The original. All of these towers are lined up on my windowsill, a monumental 47
parade of nothingness.
3. New York, New York, Las Vegas There is New York in the desert. There is the Statue of Liberty, shrunken. And over there, the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. Silver like Liberaceâ€™s suits. New York is a pasteboard panorama, an invented place. When I said I wanted to drive through the desert, people said that the desert is nothing. There is nothing there, they said. There is nothing to see. But this is not true. It is like going to sea, and when you come back from being at sea, you bring things with you. New York is an enormous souvenir. A magnet to make me remember. All the buildings there together, side by side. New York, New York is a song, a place. Two places. 48
New York looks best at night, behind the lighted palm trees. Lady Liberty a lurid green. The lights of Vegas are the lights of memory, cast up from nothing. Many years ago, my sister and I walked along the Strip. The July heat melted her shoes. This place melts things into other things.
Beautiful Lonely Places A Note from 5x5's new Editor :
I chose the following selection of photos to portray a theme of environmental nostalgia. The fragility of nature is not merely an obvious concern, but one that illuminates the transcendental quality of nostalgia. Black and white photography and the double exposure are key examples of nostalgia. All three prints were made on fiber paper. I chose the salmon because of its journey home to spawn. The clearcut silhouette is actually a logger sculpture. I write from Paradise Valley, south of Livingston, Montana. How I ended up here is a whole different synchronistic story, but the initial inspiration was to follow the trail of writer Richard Brautigan. Brautigan was part of a group of writers, sometimes known as The Montana Gang, who resided in Paradise Valley during the early to mid-1970s. The most obvious starting point for stalking Brautigan's Trail would have to be The Pine Creek Lodge. Vanessa and I were seated in the Pine Creek Cafe. I propped up a copy of The Hawkline Monster on the table. Drinking beer, we perused the menu. In commemoration of Brautigan's most wellknown novel, Trout Fishing in America, the trout seemed like the 51
most honorable thing to order. Vanessa giggled and ordered the Wine Lovers Quesadilla. I imagined the trout would come whole—head and all, with mouth agape, and vacant eyes. Instead, it was decapitated and filleted, much like the ambiance of the Neo Pine Creek Cafe. All of the old cabins were gone, including cabin #2, which had housed Brautigan while he wrote The Hawkline Monster. Cabin #2 was actually lost in The Pine Creek Fire in 2012. The former owners had planned to resurrect cabin #2 as close to its original beauty as possible. However, in place of the old guest cabins, sat freshly planted, brightly colored shipping containers. I wanted bullet holes in the wall, not flawless sage green paint. Vanessa and I discussed the transcendental elements of nostalgia, and it seemed as though we had arrived at a point of acceptance—like a good looking man with no personality, old cabins or not, perhaps The Pine Creek Lodge and Cafe would have never fulfilled our romantic expectations. Vanessa asked for the check, and I hoped it would be handwritten on an old form. Our server brought a computerized receipt tucked inside a black plastic book. I asked him if he was an owner. He said he ran the place. I told him we were there because of Brautigan. The manager told us the cabins were “dilapidated” 52
and “a health hazard.” I asked him if there happened to be any piles of old wood from the cabins left lying around anywhere. He tried to sell us on the uniqueness of Shipping Container Lodging in America, but we were not buying it as a possible replacement for Trout Fishing in America. The manager fellow told us where Brautigan’s home was, just across Pine Creek. Gesturing to a couple sitting at a table next to The Pine Creek Store, the manager said the woman sitting at the table was a previous owner of Brautigan’s former home. I stopped the woman on her way back from the bathroom, and told her we were following The Brautigan Trail, and the server had mentioned she had once owned the home. “No, I am a neighbor,” she said. She gave directions to the homes location, and talked about the Pine Creek Fire. Our photo shoot in front of Brautigan's old barn (which housed his writing room on the top floor) was witnessed solely by a man vigorously mowing the lawn at a neighboring home. We felt elated, then stupid, then elated. It took a while to penetrate the anxious bubble of embarrassingly consumptive fandom, but eventually we got the proper shots. Then we drove to Livingston to 53
enjoy some local music. Vanessa got into a conversation with a local at the bar, with a man from the valley: “You see that peak up there?” he said. “I was born in those mountains right over there. Nothing's like that anymore—nothing is like it was.” I have struggled with my love for photography, because of its role in advertising, and of instantly assimilating counterculture and beautiful lonely places into the mainstream, especially with social media, etc. Fragile environments become consumer destinations, up for sale to the highest bidder, and spaces of freedom seem to be more highly regulated due to concern for the environment and safety. I am partial to the alchemy that occurs while using film and darkroom printing, but it's not exactly an environmentally friendly process. The role of nostalgia in sharing cell phone photos and videos while still partaking in an event disturbs me, but I still do it. Today, as I head towards Yellowstone Park and the Tetons, Jennifer K. Ladino's book Reclaiming Nostalgia—Longing for Nature in American Literature has me thinking deeply about the human/nature dichotomy, patriotism, and economy. The introduction and first chapter, critique the popular dialogue of the founding of Yellowstone, and reveals important details which have brought to my mind how the photography of Ansel Adams and Edward 54
Curtis have contributed to this sort of cultural imperialism and imperialist nostalgia—a framing of the untamed—“nature” and “the savage” into cute little boxes. A discussion on photography during last night's solstice celebration brings me some solace: “Photos are like a port—Take a picture, and then you can step into that picture again someday.” So please submit your portals to me, especially those which reinforce the notion that the world is not becoming a monoculture, both culturally and biologically. Sincerely, Tyrah J. Dunning 5x5 Photography Editor
"Double Exposure" Tyrah Dunning
"Clearcut Logger Art" Tyrah Dunning
"Salmon Decay" Tyrah Dunning
5x5 Contributor Bios Mary Avidano of Elgin, Nebraska is a United Church of Christ pastor. Her poems have appeared in Nebraska Life Magazine and in a few literary journals, including Harp-Strings Poetry Journal. Mary has a degree in English from Loyola University of Chicago. Her first collection, The Zebraâ€™s Friend & Other Poems, was published in 2008. A memoir of her early life, In the House of I Am, will be released soon. Anna Bottrell eats gluten free, and that encompasses the majority of her personality. What time isn't taken up by the food allergy lifestyle is consumed by laundry, soothing deep breaths, and predictably, boredom. Daniel Clausen has wanted to be a writer since elementary school. His work has been published in Slipstream Magazine, Spindrift, Leading Edge, and Zygote in my Coffee, among other websites and journals. His website is https:/www.goodreads.com/author/show/1254945.Daniel_Clausen.
From when she first picked up a pencil as a child, Monique Cuillerier has been writingâ€”fiction, poetry, essays and articles. She has a strong
affection for Golden Age mysteries, but will read (almost) anything. Otherwise, she enjoys running, knitting, and following Canadian political scandals on Twitter. Her website is http://www.notwhereilive.ca .
William Dameron lives and writes in Boston, Massachusetts and works in Harvard Square as an IT Director. His work has appeared in The Saranac Review, The Boston Globe and Solidus. He is a regular contributor to “The Huffington Post” and “The Good Men Project.” He has been awarded Blogher’s Voice of The Year in 2013 and 2014. He writes regularly at The Authentic Life, which can be found at http://www.living-authentically.com. He is currently working on his memoir, Walking in a Straight Line. Susan Harlan is an English professor at Wake Forest University, where she specializes in Shakespeare and Renaissance literature. Her non-academic writing focuses on the intersections between place, objects, and memory. Her essays have appeared in Nowhere, Skirt!, Public Books, Literary Mothers, Artvehicle, Cocktailians, Smoke: A London Peculiar, Airplane Reading, and Open Letters Monthly. Her online travel diary Born on a Train, which narrates a longhaul Amtrak trip she undertook in full 1950s dress, is about old-school train travel (www.bornonatrain.com), and she has a monthly column for Nowhere magazine entitled “The Nostalgic Traveler.”
Heather Beecher Hawk is founder of The Understory arts collective and past columnist for Northwest Women's Journal She lives in the Midwest where she writes, creates visual and performance art, and practices Reiki. .
Krystal Jo Howard is a PhD candidate in Literature at Western Michigan University and also holds an MFA in Poetry. She has served as poetry editor for Third Coast and currently serves as production editor for Comparative Drama. Her work has been published in Barn Owl Review, American Poetry Journal, Quarterly West, Superstition Review, Weave Magazine, Prism Review, and PANK. Kat Mooreâ€™s stories and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming from Yemassee Journal and The U of M Magazine. She recently wrote her first screenplay based on one of her short stories and it has been opted for film. She is a second year MFA student at The University of Memphis and the Senior Creative Nonfiction Editor for the Pinch Journal. Originally from Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, Kevin Murphy received his BA in English from the University of Alabama and his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Idaho. His work has appeared in Heron Tree and Gravel Magazine. He currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina with
his person named Shannon and their cat named Stache. Sally Parrish currently lives and writes in Oregon's Willamette Valley. She holds a BA from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and an MFA in Creative Writing from Oregon State University. During the 2013-2014 school year, she served as Fishtrap's Writer in Residence and worked with creative writers, ages six through adult. Jonathan Austin Peacock received his MFA in Poetry from Oregon State University. He currently resides in Rosenberg, TX and teaches English and Reading at a junior high school in the Houston area. His poems have previously appeared in Decomposition Magazine, Ruminate, and Mason's Road. His independently published chapbook, The October Slump, is currently available in print. His website is about.me/johnpeacock .
Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Poetry, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013). For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled â€œMagic, Illusion and Other Realitiesâ€? please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.
Amy Danziger Ross has an MFA from the University of Idaho and a Bachelor's in Critical Theory and Anthropology from Brown University. Her work has appeared in The Millions, Carbon Copy Magazine, The Journal of Microliterature, 5x5, DIY Magazine, Hatch Magazine, and Providence Monthly. She has lived all over, in upstate New York, Providence, Paris, Chicago, Copenhagen, Kyoto and lately splits her time between Idaho and Taiwan. Larry Starzec’s essays fiction and poetry have appeared in dozens of magazines including: Arkansas Review, Cottonwood Magazine, The Cream City Review, and Kansas Quarterly among others. His essay “In this Neighborhood, of this Earth,” was listed as a notable selection in Best American Essays, 2005. He holds an M.F.A. from Warren Wilson College and teaches at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, IL. ,
Wolfgang Wright leads a dangerously humble life in North Dakota.
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