FLAR Volume 3, Issue 1 Fall / Winter 2015

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Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1 Fall 2015


EDITOR in CHIEF A.E. Bayne CONTENT CONSULTANT Susan Carter Morgan SPONSOR Water Street Writing and Arts 915 A Sophia Street Fredericksburg, VA 22401 writingandarts@gmail.com



Mary Becelia KC Bosch Jenna Veazey

Courtenay Jones David Lovegrove

CONTACT flreditors@gmail.com

Fall 2015 Panel Members MARY BECELIA has lived and worked in the Fredericksburg area for over 20 years. She has written for The Front Porch, The Free-Lance Star, and currently for Fredericksburg Parent and Family Magazine. She is working on her first novel and fills her remaining time with family, friends, organic gardening and occasional travel. KC BOSCH is a photographer, woodworker, and poet living in Rappahannock County Virginia, his home and inspiration for the last two decades. He spends his time making new things and fixing old ones. His poetry can be found at Camel Saloon, Poetry Breakfast, Dead Mule, and vox poetica. His first book, Stealing Days, was made possible by a Claudia Mitchell Fund grant through the Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community, RAAC. COURTENAY JONES holds a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in Painting and Printmaking and has spent her adult life supporting and collecting art and inspiring her children’s creativity. She is currently working with mixed media and Polaroid film. DAVID LOVEGROVE is a member of Art First Gallery, Fredericksburg Center for Creative Arts (FCCA), National Art Education Association, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Smithsonian Institution. Lovegrove works by studying worn, broken, or deconstructed objects from the natural and human-made world and sketching or photgraphing them. His finished pieces become metaphors for universal ideas about the world, where he seeks to depict the formal and abstract qualities of objects and places, but also shows them representing something beyond the surface. He is influenced by Kurt Schwitters, Charles Sheeler, Gordon Matta-Clark, Claes Oldenburg, Richard Diebenkorn, Wayne Thiebaud, Cubists artists, architecture and photography. JENNA VILLFORTH VEAZEY has made her home in rural Virginia with her family, a stray cat, a mess of chickens, bees and three large dogs. She is a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and her poems for children have appeared in Baby Bug Magazine and Highlights Hello. You can find her on her blog stirringsandstories.wordpress.com.

Water Street Studio Artists A bird watcher for twenty years, ELIZABETH W. SEAVER began to recognize people she knew in the facial expressions of her favorite birds. When she went to paint them, she changed their portraits in an act of self preservation. LYNETTE L. REED is a fine & fiber artist by day and a closet writer at all other times. She finds inspiration in nature and in odd and unusual places. SUSAN CARTER MORGAN is a teacher, a poet, a letterpress printer, and an introvert. She wishes she could draw and paint, and she’s given up on yoga. She’s hoping meditation will stick.


Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1

Dear Lovers of a Luscious World, It’s been a joy to put this third edition of Frederickburg Literary and Art Review together for you through Water Street Studio. This is an exciting time for the magazine, as we are taking it forward with a new format and enhancing our online presence. We’ve also added art submissions and profile interviews. Fredericksburg is a jewel of a place, filled with art, music, and literary talent. Our goal with this new format is to showcase our local creatives, but also to bring fresh voices and faces from around Virginia to Fredericksburg. Let’s make connections. Take your time with this edition. Pick it up and ponder. Be transported. Let the colors, the brushstrokes, and the composition of the artistry wash over you. Consider the inspiration for these pieces. Get carried away. Above all, I hope it sparks an exploration into your own creativity. Are you ready? We’ll do it all again in Spring 2016.

Best always,

A.E. BAYNE is an educator, writer and visual artist living in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She writes for Fredericksburg Front Porch Magazine, Fredericksburg Parent and Family Magazine, and The Health Journal. Bayne’s photography has been featured in two shows, Plastic Fantastic (2013) and The Contemporary Henna Designs of Shirley Donahue with Photography by A.E. Bayne (2014). She is the Editor in Chief of Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review. Visit her online at aebayne.com, Facebook and Twitter.

Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1


Nikki Giovanni, In Conversation ........................ 13 Blacksburg, Virginia

The legendary writer and activist discusses honoring one’s past, the infinate possibilities of the future, and the absolute nature of love.

Kathleen Walsh, Portrait of a Painter .............. 25 Fredericksburg, Virginia

A Fredericksburg landscape artist reaches far beyond the city’s boarders for inspiration, awing us with a natural eye for compelling detail while modeling a disciplined approach to method and practice.

Robert Owens, Competitive Catharsis .............. 41 Richmond, Virginia

In the spirit of spoken word poetry, Robert Owens offers a safe space to reveal human truths in Fredericksburg, Virginia at Commonwealth Slam.

Charlotte Potter, Playing with Fire ................... 49 Norfolk, Virginia

This conceptual artist and designer from Chrysler Museum of Art discusses the influence of research and collaboration on artistry and use of glass.


Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1

Chris Jones, The Art and Business of Writing .... 57 Williamsburg, Virginia

Chris Jones makes mentoring his business with his new Podcast and book designed to help writers make a living while practicing their craft.

Wilson Hughes Gallery, Contemporary Art ........ 63 Roanoke, Virginia

A California couple relocates to bring contemporary fine arts and a spirit of community to Roanoke’s revitalized art district.

Barbara Kenny, A Transcendance of Place ........... 77 Frederick, Maryland

A former Fredericksburg resident continues her prolific practice from afar, finding transcendance in her oils and brushes.

Fredericksburg Literary and Art Submissions All artists and writers represented in this edition are listed alphabetically with their respective page numbers in the index on Page 135.

Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1


ELIZABETH SEAVER acrylic and printmaking 36 x 36

No, I am Not a Pigeon


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River Rising The river came out of its banks last week. When it settled back into a pattern of gentle swirls, it left behind the smell of mud and rotting things. It stirred a memory, close to the surface, like debris floating by in the current. Death in another river. In another time. No amount of washing takes away the smell. But life pushes the memory back down, under the water, into the mud, until the river rises again. ~ Lynette Reed

Escape She breathes in early dawn. There's a stillness when two people share space alone. No children scamper, no dogs pant or bark. She breathes again. The clock measures seconds until another hour reminds her to rise, move, participate in the day. But quiet seeps under door jams. She listens, waiting, lifting her polished toe against the cool sheet. Voices float through the open window, her eyelids flutter and close. She writes verse, line by line, breathing words in and out. Adrift in goodbyes, burned bread, that death. They are all words on her page. Rolling to the right, she tucks the pale blue pillow under her cheek. No, she will not participate in this day. ~ Susan Carter Morgan

Water Street Studio Artists


routine. That fall they both started preschool and we’d meet up at least one morning and grab a coffee while they learned, I don’t know, coloring and animals and socialization.



y Becel

By Mar

Evie was my best friend. We met seven years ago, at Moms and Tots library story hour. Total waste of time, except it got Madison and me out the door twice a month. Maddie was a handful back then, and she was a mess at the library. Didn’t want to sit still, didn’t want to look at the pictures, and definitely didn’t want to repeat the words to Jamberry, like the other kids. I spent most of every hour feeding her Goldfish to keep her on my lap. One day, after story time, Evie came up to me while I was trying to shove Maddie into her stroller. “Hey,” she said, “Do you want to walk around? It’s such a pretty day; I thought I’d take Sophie up and down Main Street a few times.” I got Maddie buckled in, handed her a sippy of apple juice cut with water and took a swig from my own water bottle. “Sure.” I said. I didn’t have any plans to get us from story hour to lunch time and it was still a good three hours til Maddie’s nap, if she even took one. Walking around, chatting with another mom; it sounded like a good way to kill the time. That was how we started. We walked until both girls fell asleep in their strollers, and it became a regular 3

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Evie was gorgeous. She looked like she’d never been pregnant, let alone had a baby. You know, like those models that are all tall and thin and have abs, even after popping out two kids. That was her. Meanwhile I had the same old saggy reminder of my C-section and mostly wore yoga pants, even though it’d been three years since I was pregnant with Maddie. I told myself that after I had the second baby I’d get in shape. You’d think maybe I would have hated Evie, with her being so perfect, but she was also really sweet. We celebrated birthdays (ours and the girls) and when Evie got pregnant with Meredith, I threw her baby shower. My second never came along. I got tested; it turns out my hormones were whacked. I was like a 45 year old in a 32 year-old-body. Nice, huh? Point is, there was Evie, with two amazing girls, and me with one not-so amazing daughter. I kept on waiting for one of her kids to hit a rough spot but it never happened. Sophie: plays violin, is in the gifted program at school, and an ace Girl Scout. Meredith: also in the gifted program, and a star soccer player on the U8 league. I’ve been to a few of her games. That kid can kick. As for rough spots, Maddie, or Madison as she now insists everyone call her, seems to have hit all of them. She already has acne: in fifth grade! She’s not in the gifted program. In fact, she’s neeed extra tutoring for math since first grade. And she hated Brownies. She never even got to Girl Scouts. I love her to death, don’t get me wrong, but she’s never been an easy child. So how could I stand Evie, with these amazing kids?

The thing is, she didn’t brag. She’d work in some mentions, sure, but then she’d downplay, like, “Sophie won a violin competition, but she sasses me when I tell her to practice!” (That’s hard to believe, but whatever). And Meredith, “She’s working on another short story. I wish she’d finish one instead of always coming up with new ideas.” (My prediction? That girl will grow up to be the next Dork Diaries millionaire). Even so, things were okay for a long time. Maddie and Sophie still liked to play, and I could take Evie in small doses. We did more drop off play dates as the girls got older, and once I started back to work our contact slowed down. But I still saw her updates on Facebook, with that same sort of fake modesty: Meredith was in a school play, or Sophie won a science fair ribbon. It started to irk me more. A lot more. Especially since things were going to shit on my end. Maddie doing worse in school; my motherin-law having major health problems and moving in with us. I basically lost contact with everyone for a while, aside from what I saw when I had a minute for Facebook. Like the pink ribbons that I finally noticed on Evie’s page. I scrolled back a few weeks. How had I missed it? She had breast cancer. Chemo coming up. She called a couple of times, left messages. I almost called her back. I meant to do it. Almost sent her a text. Almost dropped off a meal. But…you know… my mother-in-law was so much work with all her doctor appointments and now she’s in adult diapers. And Maddie started tutoring for reading on top of the math. I was exhausted. Still am exhausted.

Plein aire I tried to oil paint but don’t have the patience for this slow process of layering colors. A Naples yellow sun, reflecting rays off a cobalt blue sea. We sat watching only last summer. While glowing amber pine needles simmer beneath green umber trees and burnt sienna sand. Feeling very plain before my easel, staring into a lexicon of colors. Wanting to call, but there’s nothing to say. ~ KC Bosch

Evie’s latest profile picture shows her bald. It’s not a good look on her. But she’s still posting perky

updates about Sophie and Meredith. I saw her at

Safeway the other day; she was wearing a scarf and

leaning on her cart. I almost went over to say hi. But instead I turned and headed for the bread aisle.

Panel Writers and Artists


A.E. BAYNE Photography

Plastic Fantastic: Hearts Afire


Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1

A.E. BAYNE Photography

Plastic Fantastic: Cold Heart

Panel Writers and Artists


Monkey’s Breath I. What does monkey’s breath smell like? The answer occurred Belatedly, Eyes tear full. My heart stopped. My breath gone. Silence suspended me. Bananas. II. My small son Dropped From monkey bars Elbow first. His soccer-stopping shrieks filled the fields. In the ambulance his face blued from gasping pain. III. Reset. Resetting. Not brain surgery. Still I want to crawl onto the gurney with him. Stroke the blonde down of his arm, past the IV tape. But I stare at the wall TV instead, scared to scare him. “What if I don’t wake up?” The weight of his trust nearly drowns me. I cling to the puff and click of the blood pressure cuff. Before the mask goes on, he asks the anesthesiologist, “What will it smell like?” “Like monkey’s breath.”

I watch him leave like a prince on his palanquin. My heart disappears down the hall along with him, another IV. ~ Jenna Veazey


Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1

Slipping Stitches Fingers like bobbins slide yarn from point to point – slip, wrap, finger, draw through, repeat. Quicker than the eye her needles clack and scissor – knit, purl, knit, purl, drop a stitch and carry to the back. My hands on her hands, skin like iced tissue paper, yarn moves the blood. She moves my fingers, needling them – nudge the tip, hold it steady, wrap the yarn, pull through the loop. We’ve moved the world. Picking up speed: now a purse, some socks, mittens, silky scarves, a tam; and now booties and a blanket for my boy, a jumper for my boy, a sweater for my boy. Oh! The patterned textures that pass over two slender bodies, stitches lost, yanked clean out at times, then retrieved to rest with the others. Even after thin fingers grow still, after joints grow too stiff for needles, her hands are my hands and in my hands, her hands, always. ~ A.E. Bayne

Panel Writers and Artists


DAVID LOVEGROVE Photo transfer and caran d’ache

Lock and Key - Park Series III


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We’ve Done this Before You can’t see them from the top but all military brats know they are there. On the back or the bottom of every table, sideboard or chair. Small square tags of blue or green or orangish red. Each with a number and some code. Inventory tags I am told, so the movers don’t lose your furniture. I guess if they could talk, some pieces would be proud of all their stickers. Like stamps on a passport. Those numbers, the scratches, the inevitable dents. What you also can’t see are the marks on the kids who followed that furniture around.

~ KC Bosch

Panel Writers and Artists


On Giving By Ashley Carpenter


e were never reliant on advent calendars. In my family, you could tell that Christmas was approaching based upon the contents of a shopping cart at Giant Eagle. Canned pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, powdered sugar, flour, brown sugar, chocolate chips, vanilla, Hershey kisses and cinnamon filled the metal carts as we awaited the coming of the Christ child. We rarely said, “I love you.” Instead, our love was poured out onto my grandmother’s blue enamel countertop, rolled and cut with snowflake and Christmas tree shaped cookie cutters. It was baked, iced, sprinkled and arranged on a festive tray, then wrapped in red and green cellophane. My mother, my aunt, my grandmother, and myself assembled trays filled with lady locks, fruit cups, chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin bars, peanut butter blossoms, caramel cups, and my great grandmother’s prized cut out cookies. On a good year, we distributed no less than 50 to our closest friends, neighbors, and family. Even the mailman got his own Christmas treat.


The process of mixing, baking, decorating, and serving was in itself a catharsis. Giving away everything we made seemed to be the only way that we knew how to show that we loved others. Even now, my grandmother would rather make me Rice Krispie treats or a piece of toast instead of saying the words. I guess that the women in my family feel like you can’t say love without giving food. My mother and I rarely talk, except for when I need a new recipe. Earlier this week, I called and asked her how to make my grandmother’s apple cake. She described how much she loved it growing up, the sweet cinnamon of the apples, the moist cake. It was not unlike how someone else might describe a warm, tender hug. I can’t help but maintain this tradition. When I want to show someone that I care for them, I immediately bake something. A lemon pound cake, cookies, or even an apple pie allow me to show my affection without ever needing to say the words. Perhaps it’s because the words

Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1

are complex. They’re full of connotations and expectations. Maybe it’s just more effective to follow words up with something concrete, so as not to seem futile. Now that I’m twenty-something and living in another state I find myself trying to recreate the memories my family curated. It’s not uncommon for me to bake all weekend, and then distribute the goods at work on a Monday morning. My baked good of choice has become banana bread. When I see a pile of mushy brown-spotted bananas I see another opportunity to take care of someone; a non-vulnerable way to show them that I love them. If I don’t have time to bake that week, I shove the no-longer-yellow fruit into my freezer so that I might use them on another day. On any given afternoon if you were to look inside, you’d see at least six bananas waiting to be transformed into bread. Last night, after sharing a dinner with friends, I decided to pull some of the frozen bananas out of my freezer, combine them with vanilla, butter, milk, flour, egg, and baking powder.

A few days ago, former students wrote me

thank you notes describing how I helped them become better writers and sometimes even

better people. The cards with misused forms

of “your” and elaborately decorated stationary made me reach for a box of tissues as I sat in a student’s desk reading over the sweet

words. It reminded me of how crucial it is to

tell someone that you care for them. Whether

you write a note, make an elaborate candlelit

dinner, buy someone who is lactose intolerant a carton of almond milk, or actually use the words, it means so much. I wonder why we

would rather stay silent instead of allowing

ourselves to be vulnerable. It’s not like there’s a prize offered to the person with the greatest sense of self preservation.

Today, as I serve each of my students a slice

of banana bread, I hope that they know how

important they are. I hope that they know they are loved fiercely. Even more, as they prepare to venture out into the “real world,” I hope

that they learn how share their love with others so that they might not live in fear of vul-

nerability. I hope so many things for them and

My best friend, Jody once said that when you

give you can’t expect anything in return. If

instead of saying all the words, I’ll cut a loaf of bread and watch them eat.

you want something back, then you shouldn’t give anything in the first place. Her lesson

on generosity has shaped my understanding of loving on others. There are times that we

give love and it doesn’t come back in the way that we thought it might. Other times, we find it when we least expect it.

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N I K K I Reknowned poet, activist, and educator Nikki Giovanni has gained respect and recognition over the years as a powerful voice for women and for African Americans in contemporary times. In addition to numerous acknowledgements for the influence of her work, she has been awarded 27 honorary degrees from colleges and universities, has received seven NAACP Image Awards for her writing, has historical markers in Knoxville, Tennessee and Lincoln Heights, Ohio to commemorate her early life, and was named one of Oprah Winfrey’s 25 living legends. She resides in Blacksburg, Virginia where she writes and teaches at Virginia Tech University.


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I first met Nikki Giovanni in 1992 when I enrolled in her creative writing and poetry class during my sophomore year at Tech. I remember a slight, quick woman with close-cropped hair striding into the room and sitting easily against the edge of the deaks. She dove into sharing her love of words with us in a way I had never experienced to that point. Throughout the class, she gave us supportive suggestions and creative critique meant to encourage and strengthen our own voices. What did we want to say to the world? What did we think was important? Little did I realize then that hers would be a voice with a lasting influence on my own writing life. Twenty-three years later, it is my delight to chat with her, to thank her for her lasting example and to ask her how her own experiences as a writer have changed over the years. ~ A.E. Bayne

First, I want to thank you for your support of young writers. I know you were an influence in my life as a young student, and your voice is one that I have carried with me throughout my adult writing life, as well. One thing I have noticed about your voice is that in its spoken form, it is instantly recognizable. You have a very distinct speaking voice. I am wondering about your writing voice, though. Life changes us, and over a lifetime of experiences and age, the things you’ve gone through and seen, and the recognition you’ve gained through your writing and activism, do you still identify with that 20- or 30-something Nikki from back in the day?

Thank you. Oh, I think that many of my thoughts have changed, but I think that the idea of pursuing what I’m thinking and learning, and perhaps even what I’m knowing, is very important to me, and I say that to my students. You can’t be trapped by who you were when you were younger, but you also don’t want to be in a state of denial. You want to know what you said, but you want to keep growing. If I would read my own work,which I don’t do that

often, the one thing I would hope I would do is learn from it, because I think I’m a good writer and I think I approach subject matter differently from most. I think that should help me, as well as anyone else, to learn from what I have discovered. You would listen to that younger self and still learn something from her, you think?

I hope so; I really do. Is there something you tap into within yourself to help you retain your true voice? How do you remain true to yourself?

I think the main thing that any writer wants to do it to push the envelope, to kind of take you to the next level. That’s important. Writers are not athletes, for example, but one thing we learn from athletics is you always go out and play your best. If you do that - look at Roger Federic, or look at Serena Williams, who is 33 years old and is going for a calendar year grand slam; it’s wonderful. It says she plays well, but then she kept learning how to play better.

I remember sports being something you talked about in class. It’s a big part of your life then? Do a lot of your analogies, your metaphors for your own life, come from the sporting world? Is this how you see yourself, by identifying with athletes?

The two things I really love in life are sports and cooking. I really love food, and I’m a good cook. I like to pursue the question: if you have the ingredients, what can you make? So those are probably the two images you’re going to see throughout my writing, from the beginning to right now, and that’s fifty years or so. I’m always looking at how do you take it to the next level, as in sports, or what other ingredient can we add, as in cooking. I was reminded, while watching some of your interviews, of the literay argument between Richard Wright and James Baldwin over literature and protest. I wonder if you feel that way? Do you think literature should be an engine for some kind of social progress or change? Does it always have to exist to some kind of end?

I think it does – not just literature. I think the media has an impact. For the media to not admit that is unfair and unrealistic. I think when people say, “Oh, I just write because I wanted to see what the story is like,” that’s not true. We’re all a part of that learning process of how society moves forward. So, if everybody is writing murder mysteries, then people are going to start

Nikki Giovanni


thinking that’s the normal way to behave. You can’t have a constant diet of craziness and violence without having to pay the price for it. Especially for kids; that’s what the kids see, so they think that’s what they should be doing. It’s not a good idea. I think it’s really insane, speaking of how society runs. It’s easier to get a gun than to drive an automobile. It just doesn’t make sense. Has that sense of urgency over gun violence been heightened for you since the shootings at Virginia Tech (in 2007)?

I think our situation at Virginia Tech probably highlighted it, though nobody did anything about it. Everybody said, “Oh, goodness, how did that happen?” And nobody did anything. So you have police officers shooting unarmed teenagers and unarmed people. You have people saying, “How did that happen?” Then you have crazy people - Mr. Roof going into a church and shooting down nine people, and somebody else in Colorado going into a theater shooting people down, and nobody wants to do anything about it. Well, it’s way past time that we did something about it. It does seem like a kind of collective amnesia. It’s very strange.

It is very strange. So, somebody likes the fact that we’re shooting at each other. Somebody powerful. It brings me to an idea you touched on from of one of your speeches. You said at Governor’s State University in 2012 that people should join the NAACP because they need to create an opposition to hatred. I found that statement prophetic because that was 2012, and here we are 2015 and we are seeing hatred manifest every day. I wonder, how do you think 15

literature and poetry can play a role in opposition to hatred in today’s society? I know that they have in the past. Now that we’re in this age of digital and visual media, are literature and poetry going to play as crucial a role in the opposition to hatred as they did in the past?

I think the arts are incredibly important to help people, especially younger people, to look at the world differently. The world we live in, the world we are now living in, is not the world we will continue to live in. The world will change. The question is, are we going to change for the good, or for worse. How are we going to change? Because that’s the reality. When you were born… I was laughing this morning because something came up with the kids. I said you came out of a woman, one way or the other, doesn’t matter which; once you got out, either by Cesarean or natural, that little cord gets cut. What they usually do is they hit you on your behind, and because you don’t like being hit you cry, so they whack you on your behind and you cry, and that cry is what brings air into your lungs, and therefore you are going to live. This is very important. You have learned, though you can’t articulate it, that you don’t like to be hit; that’s the one thing that you’ve learned. Two, you’ve learned that somebody is going to take care of you. Whether it’s your birth mother or another person, somebody will mother you, or you will be dead. Somebody has taken care of you. Mother is not a noun; it’s a verb. Someone has mothered you. That means someone has loved you. So the one thing that we who write literature need remind people of is that you are loved. You’re already loved. No-

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loved more than you, and nobody is loved less than you, because love is absolute. That makes me think of young people today, particularly the Millennials, the 20-somethings you have contact with at the college. I’ve interviewed a number of Millennials over the years, and something I admire about them is their philosophy of collaboration. They are really not scared to put their work out there and allow people to take it and change it or share it. I get caught up in copyright and a sense of ownership, but part of me thinks that this more collaborative approach is a very enlightened way to look at the world. To say I’m going to make something and put it out there and let others add to it seems bold. What do you think about these ideas of ownership and sharing? Have you seen that with your writing students in recent years?

I don’t do much with social media, so I don’t know Twitter and other things that come along. I think it’s wonderful when people share. I’m a Black American, so one of the things we’ve done forever is we share songs. We’ve always put our songs out there. We don’t share our poetry or our novels as much, but it seems like that sharing, wanting people to hear what you’re doing, and then letting them make the changes to make it work for them, I think this is a good thing. I do too, especially hearing people from the Millennial generation talking about it; it really makes a lot of sense.

Good for them. I think it takes a certain bravery to put your work out there to let people embrace it,

and then make changes they need to make and then to go on. I think that’s very brave of this generation. You said in one of your interviews that at your age, you’ve “done what you should do, and that the rest of your life is open to the way you want to live it.” Do you still feel that way today? Is there more you want to do with your voice?

I’m still learning. Look at you. I’ve been here at Virginia Tech for 27 years or so, and having watched a generation grow, I’m very proud of that. I’m still learning. If I remember, what I was saying was in reference to my obligation to my family, my son, my dog, etc. I’ve done the things I’ve been obligated to do. I think it’s nice now that I can have a lot of fun. I don’t have to worry about saving because I have a kid who’s going to college; he’s been to college. I don’t have to worry about putting something away; the house is paid for, and we’ve lived there forever. That allows you to look at your life very differently. If I say to myself, gosh, it’s cold today, I think I’ll go to Aruba. I can do that. You own yourself in a way that’s different, because you’ve done what you should do, you’ve done what you had to do for the people you loved and the people you created, so your life belongs to you. I’m 72 years old, so I don’t have to answer to anybody for the choices that I make. I can make choices about my life and people can like it or not. I’m not running for office; I’m just enjoying the life I’m living and seeing what I’m learning. So do you see that changing your writing at all? Is you writing different than when you had those responsibilities toward other people?

No, my writing is not going to be any different, because the only thing I have ever had to offer is the honesty of my voice, which was an

honest voice, which is why I think people can still read me and say, “Oh, yeah, that makes sense.” Sometimes, I’m actually outdated because the equipment. When I started writing people were still using typewriters, and then computers came in, so some of the equipment and some of the ways we look at the world are different. Take airplanes: I was laughing about that recently. There was a time that you just couldn’t hop on a plane and go

anyplace, and now airplanes are ev It’s really an interesting thing to live in this world. My contribution to this world and to myself is the honesty of my voice, so my voice has remained honest, but I now don’t have to worry about taking care of things. I think that’s nice. You know it’s like if I want to I can eat chocolate for breakfast every morning, I don’t have to fix a balanced meal.

Nikki Giovanni


Has the physical act of writing changed for you over the years?

No, and I think that is because I’m a poet. I’m a night writer, so in the afternoon, if I wouldn’t be talking to you right now, more or less, I’d probably be taking a nap. In the daytime, especially if we had more sun...there’s nothing like sitting in your chair when the sun is coming through and you’re just getting warm. But I’m a night writer, and so I remain. I think that the nighttime is the right time, like Ray Charles said. That is a habit that I probably won’t break because it’s a part of my routine. I don’t write every night. I don’t say, “Oh my goodness, it’s midnight, time to write.” Does poetry allow people to pursue the happiness that’s so unique to American philosophy.

I want to thank you for your time and also for sharing your true voice all these years. Are you currently working on anything new you would like to share?

are going wrong you need something that says you’re doing okay. I’m looking at that because I think there’s a story there that needs to be told.

I’m working on two things. Number one, I’ve been interested in Aesop. I did a book that I love called The Grasshopper’s Song where the ants were very cruel to the grasshopper, so I had the grasshopper sue the ants, because the grasshopper’s an American and Americans sue. I’ve also wondered why the rabbit (in Aesop) did not outrun the turtle. Aesop said because he was being arrogant. I’m not so sure, because it isn’t always about coming in first. Maybe they’re friends, and maybe the turtle had lost one of his kids or something, or maybe people ran over his wife or something; we all know when things

Second, I’m looking at why it is that women don’t cry. I don’t think that women cry, even though you see those stories from the 1920s where all the women are crying. I don’t know anybody that cries. I know that it has to be an important part of your health. Why is it that women don’t cry, as I think we should? When you cry, the first thing people say is, “Oh, it’ll be okay, don’t cry.” But I don’t think that’s a good response to tears, because tears are a good idea, and I think we need to find a way to deal with that.

~September 2015

I think music has allowed people this, when you talk about the pursuit of happiness, the American creed is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Of course, in my generation the men used to say life, liberty and happiness of pursuit, and we had to laugh. I think happiness is important, and I think the Black experience in America has really honed that, because somehow or another, despite what could look like a terrible situation from the outside, Black Americans created dance, music, a style of dress, a cuisine, we found ways to say, no matter what, we’re going to be happy with the life that we have. I think that that’s a part of the Black American contribution to the American situation.

All photos used with permission of Nikki Giovanni. 17

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Into the Woods

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Travel Plans Another seasonal change. Each year it gets colder. We are running out of fuel. The hunting is poor, so there will be no meat, fat, fur, to keep us warm. Some say we should leave, go south, where it is warm. But vicious tribes dwell there who do not live in peace, who’ll kill us for intruding on their hunting grounds. My clan will stay one more winter. If we survive perhaps we will go south next year.

~ Gary Beck

Herd of Wild Horses in the British West Indies Though calcified, even bone looks like velvet through skin. Furred like moss or spider limbs, the science of its structure—even now simultaneously accumulating and being melted away— delicate and arching, a mouth saying “hard to comprehend.” The mouth is mine. Male spiders understand music. Their boneless legs pluck rhythms on webs. The ribs of wild horses undulate, crescent-shaped as they move through thick brush. Beneath a mare’s heavy belly, hairs tremble in the light, silken and fine.

~ Maria Mills


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Frontal Attack

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A Night with the Homeless


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My Time in the Village

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Mitch’s Motorcycle Salvage and Rebuild By Jonathan Travelstead I push my Suzuki by the fading red­-and­-white-­striped pole and jangle through the front door of the repurposed barber shop, where, in place of combs pickled in jars of green sterilant and leather strops, and slender razors that unfold from pearled black handles I see instead the butt­-filled piston heads of old dirt bikes like hollowed­-out ends of leg bones. I see a long, mirrored wall oiled with posters of angry women whose impossible tits prevent my finding the choppers hidden behind them. The Formica counter, too, is peppered with crushed Busch Light cans. Beneath the veneer of beer and shop grease, a memory. Tonic and shaving cream. High­-and-­tights from my mother because she preferred her men squared away. I see her now in parts, scattered through the rooms of my life as I move through them. In a dusty half-­shell helmet butted in the corner triggering the plastic dome she kneed, iced tea between her legs. Together we waited on the back steps for my father’s return from his ten-­hour shift at UPS before taking the Honda, me clasped around her, around Ray Fosse Park. No wonder such love, or need for two wheels and lesser­-known roads has passed to me. An antique Norton lies sprawled around my feet— its history skittered across the floor’s black and white linoleum bringing me back to her dying. Emblem scabbed onto the dented, cherry tank. Forks dismembered to calcified seals and springs. The removed seat, too, exposes a wiring harness like nerves along the spinal cord. All the screws, all the parts are here­even the smallest pieces of the assemblies. Only a month has passed since the Goldwingers and the entire Shawnee chapter of Women on Wheels attended her funeral. Mitch emerges from the back, sweeping aside a blue beach towel nailed at the doorway’s mantel like freezer flaps. He has a gleaming tray of ratchets, screwdrivers, and stainless medical tools bought at auction before the city tore the hospital down. White apron, clean, antiseptic of grease. He knows me, and he knows why I varnished the jets, revving the needle to redline,


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dumping fuel in the oilcase. Shows me the operating table mounted on the pneumatic barber’s stand, how the foot pumps it. Tips my bike onto the burnished surface and I’m by her side again reading the Velveteen Rabbit and tracing her forehead’s blue lines while she talks her little girl talk the three years doctors and drugs finished parting her out until release from her body’s pieces. But Mitch knows also distraction’s mercy— the salving effect of passing the tray. He describes for me the tools’ shape and function as he calls for them. Pries the cover of the oilcase as if trepanning an eggshell. Shaves with a scalpel’s infinite precision bits of hardened gasket. I look outside to a dog huffing steam into the window like cigarette smoke screening my face. It’s difficult to breathe. No steady hands could remove the black fluid from her lung’s lobes, and mine never tried. I can’t breathe, knowing the moment before she died was another moment I throttled from death’s yeasty odor lingering there at her bedroom’s crystal doorknob, screaming at ninety and downshifting the last second before cresting Norman Hill where anything above sixty launches you ass­-over­-teakettle into a cow pasture dotted with bales of hay. I blink and something comes loose inside, falls away like a plastic piece which has come off in a broken toy. Only now the toy works. The screen clears and I see he has reassembled the carburetor’s jets and floats back into a chamber of fire and air. With a hiss the table is lowered. He adds gas and oil, the manna of machinery. Mitch says I’ll get him later, claps my back as I wheel it into sunlight, the street outside. Someone waves, yells “Johnny boy!” and, rising into the light I am learning to see is there, I thumb the ignition for every time she and I fired up together. For everything in that moment’s combustion of sound, everything whispered in exhaust.

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Kathleen Walsh Portrait of a Painter

How does one become an artist? Is it innate, or is it influenced by one’s life? Fredericksburg, Virginia artist Kathleen Walsh has known two full careers prior to devoting herself to painting. She traveled for many years with her husband in Africa and Europe, working as a nurse and aid worker in developing nations. She then returned to the Washington, D.C. area to pursue a career as a psychotherapist and worked overseas doing that for many years thereafter. It has only been over the past ten years that Walsh has committed to a career as an artist. I sat down with her at Hyperion Espresso one evening to get her take on beginning a career as an artist later in her life, about the role of art in modern society, and about living a life with awareness of the artistic eye.


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Were you always involved with art? Did it play a role in your life while you were working overseas?

Painting is my third career. My father had seven daughters, and he sent us all to nursing school. He was horrified that we would become unemployed. I worked in nursing for a long time. It served me well, because I spent those years in the developing world in Africa and in old communist Europe before the wall fell. Then things changed; terrorism became an issue. My husband and I were living overseas. I knew how to patch people up physically, but I was lost as to how to speak to people who had been targets of terrorism, so I came back to the states and studied psychotherapy and practiced that for some years, largely overseas. By the time I came back to the states, the medical community had moved into technology, and I was still working in the third world. For the psychotherapy community, my resume was just too bizarre. I tried working in Washington for a while, but dreaded that commute. I had been captivated by art and artists of all genres throughout my travels and decided to begin studying art. I wanted to make a big change, and I wanted to move in the direction of beauty, having lived so long in other places. It worked! I work very hard at my art. I’m totally focused. Once a year I try to study with a master artist. It’s full time work for me, so it’s been very fun. I’m fortunate to live in this area where there’s so much beautiful landscape to be near. This morning I went for a run down by the river. Just fantastic!

Such a varied experience must influence you in many ways. You note in your bio that when painting you try to capture a moment of time in a landscape, or the feeling of that moment.

Yes, it’s a quote from Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk and Frenchman. He became a monk at the Abbey at Gethsemani in Kentucky and was a prolific writer. He called it the still point the point around which all things turn, perhaps unnoticed to a passerby. That’s what I look for when I paint, this timeless place. Unless you look very long and are aware, you might miss it. Some things you note in the writing on your webpage resonate with things I’ve seen recently. You say art offers time for a painter to step out of the rush of the day. It made me think of an article I saw recently pondering whether people have certain expectations from art due to the fast pace of entertainment. They equate viewing art to what should be a form of entertainment. They seem to be seeking out an instant thrill any time they go a museum. Do people take time to view art today? Do they know how?

We have a different world today, and America is different than many parts of the world in that we are very technologically advanced. I was just one year ago in Zambia for a few months working, and I spoke to a group of people who were interested in libraries for children. The point was to take back screen time. Cellular devices came long before land lines to some places, and cellular devices are now by solar power available

in places where there never were any landlines. It just transformed with wonderful benefits many rural lives. But there’s also this issue with the idea of language and literacy, the flow of the words, the syntax, one’s own indigenous language, which is being lost to the influx of the Western tradition of words, and perhaps even as a second language. So, I thought it was interesting in a place where there are often not even paved roads, that there was a concerted effort to take back screen time for literacy. I don’t see it here, but certainly our library is packed every day and everyone loves a good book. I’ve seen some rumbling about that here in our American schools. I’ve worked in education for 14 years. Yes there’s a push for technology because you want to equalize the playing field, but I think educators are coming to realize that it shouldn’t always be about getting on a device and that there are other ways to access information or ways to think about things.

I used to talk to Dan Finnegan about the students. He thought people came to bring home one of his mugs because every single bit of it is handcrafted with attention, from the time that it’s a little lump of clay to the time when he turns it into a mug and it’s glazed and fired. It takes hours of work to make one little coffee mug. It’s almost a comfort, like bringing home a stone from the beach. You can hold it in your hand and know that some other human being was connected to this piece. It’s quite lovely. That reminds me of process. When you are painting, mostly your landscapes, do you have a certain process?

Kathleen Walsh


Yes, I do. I have a process, which has evolved over many failures, but Rainer Maria Relke, the German poet, wrote that one must look at a thing until it begins to look back at one. This stuck in my mind so that I remember it when I walk amidst places that rather speak to me, like the river, quite obviously, or the hills, the landscapes. I set up camp for a while and visit a spot until something begins to invite me to notice it a little more. From there, I make sketches. I try to figure out what it is I’m really seeing. I go through all the pieces of the pie that make a painting. Where is the sun? Where is the shadow? Where is the light? Where will it be in a few hours? I make light sketches to determine where the light’s going to be in that particular painting, because where I begin will have changed and all the shadows will have moved by the time I am done. I must determine that before I begin to paint or it will become confused and no longer crisp. Through the sketches and black ink pen - value sketches and detail sketches they are called - I being to make the sketches on my canvass and block the painting in a precise way, which is to say, I like to paint the dark and translucent combination of colors, then let that dry so it will shine through the more opaque colors that I lay on later. It gives a little dimension to the art. This was taught to me by an artist name Makoto Fujimura, a great Japanese American artist. His work is all done with original pigments, stones that he hand crushes, and they are suspended in animal hide glue just as one


did in ancient times. It is the ancient technical Japanese method, but he uses modern imagery of his own creation. The tiny crystals of the stone are suspended and light reflects around them so there’s a little glow to his work. It’s quite spectacular. Just knowing that, I’m encouraged to paint that translucent background to get that little light reflection through my paintings.

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I recall reading about your studies with some master painters. Fujimura is one of them. Who are some of the others? Do you have to travel to work with them?

Yes, I go wherever they are teaching. Jill Carver, she’s a fantastic British landscape painter. I just love painting with her. She’s filled with energy. I studied with Lori


30x40 oil on canvas

Putnam, another fantastic landscape painter. Sara Linda Poly, she’s right in Easton, Maryland. She’s a brilliant painter. I’ve done work with different figure painters. Jackie Saunders does the human figure, which came quite handy to me when I went to the Sahara Desert in Mauritania thinking I would paint landscapes, and then I discovered there were no land

scapes. That’s when figure became my landscape. Many of my African paintings are of figures – women and children – which links for me because that’s what I do my work in when I’m working with various NGOs; it’s always maternal and infant care issues. How do you choose who you will study with? Is it simply people you admire?

Yes, I look for the artists whose work I most admire. There’s something in that work that I need to know more about; then I call, put my name on a waiting list, wait and go. I try to go once a year. So you’ve been painting for about ten years, a third career for you. You have a space at LibertyTown here in Fredericksburg. Do you show other places?

Kathleen Walsh


Jan Williams’ Umbrella 12x12 oil on linen


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I love my space at LibertyTown, and I’m glad to have it. I’m represented by two other galleries permanently. One is the gallery Flux in Ashland, VA - a fantastic, beautiful gallery. They have most of my major pieces. Another is JarrettThor Fine Arts in Colonial Beach, which is a wacky little town on the edge. Joyce and Carl do a fantastic job promoting art in that little corner. Other times I exhibit as I can if there’s a call for artists. A couple of years ago I exhibited my art with the Alexandria Symphony to accompany their music, which was quite fun. I’m a member of the Art in Embassies Program; they have a file of artists and have invited me to show in many places. I have paintings hanging in embassies in different countries that stay there for two or three years and then rotate back to me. A few just came back from Reykjavik in Iceland; a few just came back from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; there’re a few in Nouakchott, Mauritania; a few Kampala, Uganda; Quito, Ecuador; and Manila, The Philippines. I just try to keep track of them. I would imagine with your life experience filled with travel and interacting with different people and cultures that you have developed a philosophy behind your art. It may be a bit of a broad question, but do you feel you have a philosophy of painting?

It’s a good question, and I think about it quite often. Having lived as we have, my husband and I often say we’ve had the most extraordinary life. I mean, it’s been extremely difficult living in communist Europe where we were the capitalists or imperialists, or when living in very very dire straits, or living where there was hardship in Africa; it’s all been a gift. It’s been gift after gift in the

kindness of strangers. I never could have made my way without these random acts of kindness as they’re called. Now it seems that it is only reasonable that we might make sense of these gifts and present them as we can. This is what we both try to do; we speak about some of these wonderful times and places in a way that someone else might understand and become engaged, because there’s so much work to do in our world it’s such an exciting place. We’d hope that everyone would not mind packing everything into a backpack and rumbling off into the middle of nowhere to make their way. That’s pretty exceptional though. Really, I don’t think there are a lot of people who would do it. You probably met a lot of people who were doing it in your travels. But the general population probably doesn’t move or look very far from where they live.

Well it’s amazing once you get there. I think we lived about 25 years overseas in different places, and it’s filled with people who are just so excited and excellent at their work, and so filled with energy, especially young people who are brilliant in their fields. They have tons of energy, they’re fluent in different languages, and every single obstacle for them is a great challenge to tackle that day. They are so exciting to work with. I love working overseas with young people. It’s so much fun. Do you feel that with your art you’re at least sharing with people who might not get out there. They might be infused in some way by that excitement you’ve had over time?

It’s my hope. Even here in Fredericksburg, we have the most gorgeous river ever here: the Rappahannock; it makes our town. It’s the light of our town. So, I paint the river often, and when people see my river paintings I hope they say that’s a great river and what can I do to make sure it stays a beautiful place? Things like our forests - you read about climate change, does it exist, doesn’t it? What about water? Water usage, water rights? What about California? Aquifers? Globally, all of these are huge issues for generations to come, but to see a landscape and say now that is a beautiful peaceful place and realize it might be perhaps in jeopardy, maybe someone would begin to think about participating in maintaining the stability of these beautiful spots. With your love for the Rapphannock, I wonder if you are active with Friends of the Rappahannock?

I donate a painting to them every year for Riverfest, and we’ve just been talking about it for this year. It’s very fun. I’m a great fan of Bill Micks; he’s one of my heroes. You’ve mentioned your influences and some favorite artists with whom you’ve enjoyed studying. Do you have other artists that you couldn’t study with, but are favorites for other reasons?

Oh, yes; it’s called the Small Works Gallery at the National Gallery, in the East Building (New York). Also, the French Impressionists, and the Spanish Impressionists of the same time, are fall over dead to die for. If I ever travel through Paris, I go right through the museum doors and sit there to soak it up. It’s like talking to old friends, just a fantastic sense of place and time, very exciting, looking at the brushstrokes, just…

Kathleen Walsh


The way you describe these paintings, it makes me wonder how you find yourself viewing a painting? Because you paint, do you have a certain way you approach a painting when you view it?

No, it’s as if you were going to buy a painting. Suddenly something is attracting you to it, and you think what is it about this piece that makes it so exciting? For me, it’s a couple things. It’s the composition. Artists study the photographers, because without strong composition in your painting you just have a mash of stuff, but the photographers are brilliant in their composition. The FreeLance Star photographers are fantastic, by the way. So, composition; how is the painting laid out? How are the values laid on the painting? The lightest lights and the darkest darks and the inbetweens. Where are they and how do they relate to each other in the painting? The use of the brushstroke: are they fine; are they thick; is there an under painting? The more you look at paintings, the more you’ll see that there are similar kinds of structure throughout all the ages that make a great painting. If you paint a great big mountain, and then you paint a tree that looks like a lollipop, you can’t even see the mountain anymore because the tree is misshapen. If you have all of this visual imagery, how do you get your eye to flow through the painting? These are wonderful things to know and notice. Whether it’s a small painting like 8x8, or a massive thing, it still has to work.


How long do you find yourself drawn into a painting when you view? How long will you view a painting if it really grabs you?

Oh, I can be there for quite a while, so I hope there is a chair so I can stay there and view it. I would probably make some notes about that painting, then walk around and look at it again and try to determine what it is about that painting that so intrigues me. If I’m fortunate enough that it’s around here, I can visit it and it becomes an old friend. Can you recall a painting that knocks you off your feet when you see it?

Every time, some of Degas’ work is just fantastic to me, because he has layers of paint in there, layers and layers and layers. There was recently an exhibit of Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas in the National Gallery, and they actually colluded. Her lines are horizontal, meaning she has horizontal plane that goes through her work, and his are diagonal. There was one particular painting, Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, where you could see where he helped her redesign the painting. He put in a diagonal, where hers had been horizontal. He moved the little dog to a different position. He changed the attitude of the child reclining on the sofa. They’re just fantastic extraordinary structures, and then you can see these layers of painting that go through. They’re just tremendous. There are so many that I’d have to sit and think about them for a while. Makoto Fujimora’s works are just brilliant; every one of them I find to be spectacular.

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These are just very fun things. Then, for instance, in the country of Burkina Faso, which is near the West Coast of Africa, when you ask about the arts they will say there are none. Then you see the most magnificent water jugs. It’s not considered an art; it’s considered utilitarian; however, it’s extraordinarily handsome craftwork on the jugs. Your insight is making me want to go view some art. What’s coming up for you this year?

I just opened a rather large exhibit at Gallery Flux this summer in Ashland, and that will remain as part of their permanent collection. It takes me about a year to prepare. I’m just beginning to think of what I’m going to do for next year. Some of it will depend on whether I travel from one place or another long enough to comprise or create a body of work. For the moment, I’m painting landscapes in town at the river and in the fields, and then in the winter I repaint my smaller pieces into large gallery pieces in the studio. That’s how I spend my time, so it’s very exciting. I always wonder myself what’s going to evolve. Do you have any final words of advice to people who might enjoy creating or viewing art?

I encourage people to look at art, to think about art, to talk to artists, and to try to understand what are they doing and why. Even if you’re commuting, you can make time for art. Some of my more interesting paintings came from commuting in the middle of the night on the train up to D.C. When the sun just comes up over the creeks, it’s spectacular stuff. Just be aware. Why not pay attention?

~September 2015

About the Cover Image

Kathleen Walsh’s watercolor was chosen as our cover image for the fall edition of Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review. It represents her work with figures during her time in Africa. Sketch done on the the road Ouagadougou 8x10 Watercolor on paper

Thinking of Florence N. Picking the shrapnel out of his back she remembered her mother's best china shattered in their Persian carpet. "Be careful, so careful", was the warning in her head then, fingers moving in grooves as scalpel-precise. The colors of this soldier's textures erupts more vividly with his flesh aromatic as char. Suffering for suffrage, they forced her to drink some similar sludge once, not caring if the tube found a lung or punctured her spirit while stomach's fire regurgitated ash. She'd have to be stronger to win freedom but a World War exploded amid those protests for votes. Schooled in stoic usefulness, unsexed at last, the front's casualties tallied her talent at cost----piecemeal, each amputation, this leg, that arm. Her current boy is out of the trench-broth and re-patched like a vase in the kiln of her hands. Her mouth still tastes cinders though for every creation the Great Potter lost. ~Stephen Mead

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Time Passes Like Oil

from Kafka’s letter to Max Brod, “Are we once more to play the game of the unhappy childhood?” Franz Kafka, Letters to Friends, Family, & Editors, p. 81-83.

Another vacation away from Prague, the ball games and card games and sitting around and lying in the garden, he writes to Max. To date only fragments of the ill-formed oeuvre. There is no title, no circling back. The mystery of the hour, the days away from home dissipate in grass and flowers spun from the sun, which also looks straight ahead even as it sets above a faraway sea. He holds the delicate stem of a glass of liqueur. Sips crème de menthe, places another bad hand face down. When will the aces come to light? What of the diamond, redder than Mars, on no one’s finger? How penetrate melancholy other than by listening to the bird who comes to splash water from the bath in an ornate dance of cleansing? He can only keep the unmanageable at bay by holding the boundary between silence and mimicry. On the manicured lawn no woman walks into his trap, no girl young enough to overlook his adolescent flirtation, to go along with a plot that ends in letters. He has dissected and analyzed the past, written in a hand as fine as the spider’s net, its artful up and down and back and forth. Anchor, pivot, trap, set. Another day given order by a conclusion shared with his audience of one. For him the past provides not so much refrain as script, pages of secrets thick with memory, fear, innuendo. Two weeks away from home with little to show for it, even at his best time— after 8 in the evening when he greases the old, unhappy childhood. ~ Judith Skillman 33

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Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1


The Deer in the Headlights

Two by Tom C onway

I spent my days in a dreamlike haze, Staring out the window, a boy in a maze With no more idea where I should be headed Than a needle knows its purpose before being threaded. They told me the future was lurking out there, In the heart of that maze, hiding somewhere That it would attack me if I didn’t take care But I didn’t listen. I didn’t dare. It was better to believe there was no future there. Then it came and it got me, and I was so unprepared That the future ran over me. No one was spared. Not one of the people who were there as I grew Avoided the monster. The warnings were true! A few, they escaped for a time and stood ready To deal with a future that was always unsteady But one by one all of them later did fall The future was ruthless; it devoured them all. And now I stand before you, withered and gray Knowing that I’m seeing the end of my days, And the future has used me and tossed me aside, And is honed in on you. It’s too late to hide.

Yet Another Goodbye It’s hard to think it’s temporary Life is odd that way, But everything comes and stays awhile And then it goes away. “Time won’t go by fast enough,” My students all complain But soon the day is over And as the buses pull away I think of all I should have said And what I should have done And I worry what will come of them, Each and every one. For me, I cannot stomach time The hours and days fly by And everyone who touches me At some point says goodbye. I do my best to stand in place, To keep the ground beneath my toes But the waves wash in and the tide goes out And in the end I stand here All alone. It’s hard to think it’s temporary Life is odd that way, But everything comes and stays awhile, And then it goes away.


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History Lessons I cross to avoid hearing more of your troubles, how this world persecutes with biting indifference, ignoring your many medications for stiff joints and rashes. You rail on, molten lava from under heavy eyelids through a rasping wheeze, a bird’s caw and cackle, your words forming inescapable circles. This hospital’s soundtrack is pleasantly unnerving, sweet tunes hiding horrors. I sit bedside and ponder old couples and friends; what you say shocks me into silence. I cannot predict your mood swings, the acrimony of your tone. Words as weapons plunder and raze as afternoon light dims. It would not surprise me to see you howling at the full moon. ~ Gary Glauber

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No Season for the Old

Jeffer’s Hawk

This is no season for the old or even the old at heart. Better they should stay shut up in winter, covered by an afghan, gazing through the window at the grey slate sky. Better they should be spared the brilliant blues, the first greens, the tulip tree catching fire, the April rains dousing the flames, the petals crushed underfoot like limp desires.

there he is, flying coldly aloof high over his range, narrow white surf against the cliffs, coast road empty this early, he hunts soaring on drafts far above wooden barns, stone houses, ignores the horses, deer; small rabbits creep furtively under the chaparral, alert, the mice too, seldom seen he notices them a thousand feet up, claws ready, wings perfect to drop silently, pierce flesh and rise, his mode a mystery to the youths watching in the stony fields, the world beyond his sea an alien land, whispers of climate change, air warming, Great Basin pikas dying at the tops of their peaks— all those heedless warnings, unlike a squirrel's dying cry below

They’ve viewed this film so many times they know the scenes by heart. The Japanese beetles, ignoring the bags you’ve hung, devour the blossoms. The fruit falls too early and is consumed by jays. A pileated woodpecker bores holes in the bark and ants rush in. A fungus covers the leaves with brown spots. The August sun broils them to a crisp. Acorns rain upon the roof like volleys of hail. What is not dead by autumn is barely hanging on. What is the use, they sigh to themselves, of beginning all over again, only to experience the same disappointments? Leave that to the young. They have more heart for it.

~ Art Heifetz


~ Emily Strauss

In My Garden Bleeding hearts of crimson dangle from a silk thread of magenta A tear of milky white streaked with dandelion yellow hangs from each heart Bearing witness that long endured pain of winter has been broken Time fades bleeding hearts into pale fuchsia white turns gray; crusty pollen dulls to cream Hearts remain suspended in a row, sharing the same delicate strands ~ Teresa Mohme

Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1


Sou’Memphis 3



R.A. A

peek around


my window shade dude layin

out in the street

Had I Known

I tell 911

theys 3 shots

While driving home

fired in my

last night


I realized your

911 say a car


on the way

little smile

I say don’t

had wanted me to stay.

be comin

to my house—

I’ve never stayed.

I’m anonymous.

But it’s obvious

I can’t stay away. One of us

Too Clever by 1/3

is exploiting my needs!

As the offspring of

a Napa Valley vintner

I therefore

we were dash personified,

previous nights

dispatch all

and an NFL cheerleader,

to the pluperfect

high and wide enough to


command thrice our share of elbow room amidst the

throngs in Grand Army Plaza.

Like glossy chunks

or at least Windsor-knotted,

we’ll feed

of anthracite,

Slicked-back and bow-tied,

coming nights

we held several honorary

into the furnace

degrees. We were surefooted

of our volcanic

in wingèd Louboutin high-tops


and were blind certain that the crosswalk signal would

obey our telekinetic command.

Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1


Last Name of Sullivan Some think it means I hold my liquor well, kept neat, contained within my freckled skin. My sisters say it means two full glasses of wine will make our kin fall fast asleep. My parents passed us all these traits at birth: There’s pound cake in our thighs and in our hips, small hairs we have to pluck out from our chins and on our heads, brunette locks that turn the silver that our mother combs each day. Our hands tell stories with dramatic pause-They know how many whisks go round the bowl. Our sturdy arms know how to rototill, know how to feed and when to rock and hold our ten pound babes we push and birth and name. ~Haley Hendershot


Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1

The First Week

Social Security

The old white house with the unmown lawn,

On West Cary Street in Richmond,

the side of the bed with the green pillow, West Seminary Avenue,

there is a graveyard for names with white floor tiles like markers,

my permanent place has become.

engraved in scuffs of boots

I get ready for another day of living

and dented with high heels. Whimpering

two hours before his clock’s buzz.

babies are mourning my loss as

My permanent place has become

their mothers collect unemployment.

in front of the bottom left burner.

I call my father for his social before

Each night we cook, and dirty dishes collect. Bananas rot in the bowl.

I bury his legacy in pages of paperwork.

Sunday night I take out the trash,

My new husband and I wait to see my number,

then I lay my head on the green pillow.

R26, show up on the blue TV screen. My birth certificate is thin and

My permanent place has become

flimsy in my hands and I wonder how

the bedside without a night stand. My early alarm wakes him daily

many times they sounded out each syllable

and everything old becomes new.

on the day I was born and if they tasted the L’s on roof of their mouths.

The steps creak on my tiptoe journey to the closet and bathroom as I dress. The side of the bed with the green pillow, My permanent place has become.

There was no oath or vow at the clerk’s desk-just the clack of keystrokes and a laser printer. As we walked to the car, he clutched my hand. My quiet tears looked out the window. He grinned the whole way home at who I was willing to become.

Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1


Want to Attend CommonWealth Slam?

When: First Wednesdays Time: 7:00 p.m. Workshop / 8:00 p.m. Show Where: Central Rappahannock Regional Library 1201 Caroline St. Fredericksburg, VA 22401 (540) 372-1144 Fee: Generally free; occasional fees apply when visiting poets are running workshops or performing. More information available at: www.commonwealthslam.com and on Facebook at CommonWealth Slam. Robert Owens might be the person who is most surprised by his development as a poet. Making his way through Fairfax County schools, he’d thought of poetry as dry and academic, structured and somehow designed to make the reader feel less intelligent than the poet. He felt no connection. It wasn’t until he was 22 years-old that he began to consider himself a writer. The advent of Def Jam Poetry changed his outlook. Finally, he heard something that sounded like his writing.


be assisting me to help me keep going.”

Owens says, “Before Def Jam, I was writing for myself; eventually I went to Slam Richmond, and the slam venue changed my life. The first night I was there I was just lucky to hear some very talented people. It was at an art gallery downtown Richmond. I might have written 25 poems over a couple of years span, but since that night at Slam Richmond I’ve probably written 200. It was very inspiring.”

While his own practice was evolving and his confidence was bolstered by acceptance and positive feedback, Owens wanted to create a space where other poets could feel the same; however, he didn’t want to create further competition for his friends in Richmond who ran the slam circuit there. He says, “There were so many places in Richmond at that time, which isn’t as true right now, and that makes me a little sad. I just wanted to change people like I was changed, to go have a place where you could listen and belong. That’s what I want to create, and that’s a theme of my poetry, too. Coming into places like Fredericksburg and doing poems about equality and ending racism and trying to reach people through poetry, I know I’m able to change things.”

Owens says slam gave him a way to an unlimited way to express himself, but self-doubt would slip in from time to time. Even when he would enter slams or go up as featured artist, he didn’t think he was doing it right. He was encouraged to keep going: “Every time there was something wrong, some doubt, something in the outer world seemed to

Fredericksburg was a logical choice to Owens to start CommonWealth Slam for a number of reasons. The city is halfway between the capital of the country and the capital of the state, making it a convenient place for the touring artists to stop between the larger cities. Owens says that’s crucial in

Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1

a business that pays $50 to $150 per performance, noting, “Some venues try to market the events as free; we never do free, because it’s a hard enough business without expecting people to come through and perform for free. It’s tough, but it’s really worthwhile.” Owens says the most difficult thing about slam poetry is probably the thing most people would imagine. He elaborates, “I know a lot of poets, myself included, who feel like they read terribly. It’s a learned skill, just like writing. It can be tough.” He suggests listening to other slam poets on sites like iTunes and SoundCloud for inspiration. Owens also suggests that poets wishing to break into the slam scene analyze their goals for what they want to get out of being a slam poet. He says, “Do you really just want to take your work for the competition aspect? Do you want to tour different places so you can see different styles of writing? Do you want to be a writer? Then consider that there are different places with different styles. At CommonWealth Slam, we’re going to have a workshop every week. We’re going to work on the writing; we believe in the writing.

There are places that don’t have workshops that are strictly per formance, places that only slam, places that compete nationally, places that only go locally and do workshops with schools. Then realize that, in the end, there’s no such thing as a slam poet; there’s just a poet who shares out loud.” The workshops at CommonWealth Slam usually follow some structure, including some prompt writing or work on techinique, such as rhyme. If a featured performer is coming through town, they will lead the workshop before doing a 30-minute set. Owens describes the group’s dynamic as diverse, with both younger and older poets attending. Of slam poetry in general, Owens says, “It’s a youth game nationwide. There are youth competitions all over. The Brave New Voices Festival is huge, with fifty or so cities and teams of four or five poets each. Button Poetry out of Minnesota filmed a lot of the poets you can view online, and they were

there for CUPSI (College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational). I got to meet all sorts of people. It’s a great scene.” Owens describes the best slams as diverse, offering a wide variety of backgrounds from poets with different stories to tell. He describes the poems as heavy, but with an upbeat atmosphere: “You have to keep it light, but the more serious the subject matter, the better it is for the person sharing it. Sometimes you get into a trap because you’re just comparing scars for a score, which is tough and your eally can’t do it. I mean, there’s no real way to score art, so the best type of poetry slam is one where people compete, but they don’t compete to win; they compete to be free, to have less burden. Winning’s nice; we’ll definitely take it. We’ll take all the wins we can get, but the ideal slam, as they say at nationals, is when the point is not the points in poetry. Now, when you’re at nationals that’s hard to believe because it’s

a huge competition with people from other countries; however, that truly does make the best slam.” The poets who attend CommonWealth Slam’s workshop seem to get different things from the experience. Owens believes they enjoy the writing, but also the freedom of the space. He says, “I’ve found that the freedom to speak here in Fredericksburg with this group is its most critical aspect. Our participants are actually excited to write their experiences and not be worried about sharing whatever it is they’ve had on their mind. I think that is just helpful in life. It’s a way to knock everything else behind you, a way to get over. This group, everyone who comes back is pretty clear minded at that point.” Owens thinks that people leave the workshops feeling what they are doing is important. He says, “You have to believe what you are writing down. Everything else falls into place.”

Photos by Alex Alexander Photography, Washington, D.C.

Robert Owens/CommonWealth Slam


Having Floated Down on Wings What was thought junk DNA has been found To be differently encoded treasure. Some strands are yellowing letters Addrsses from past lives, Aged correspondence in living history books. We do not yet know which section of our cells Tucked away our wings when cast out of heaven. Some believe Adam and Eve had extra chromosomes So first cousins split genes instead of genetic disease. Does that mean an extra splice puts man closer to divinity? Are those born with Down Syndrome nearer the source Of which we are graven image? My aunt is a being with a kitten heart; She is eternal child And children have the fewest years Since their souls occupied Throne Room. This nearness to purity and inherent innocence Shows in the smile she, And others with Down Syndrome, Tend to flash. This grin is one that is hard to attain In a world which requires resounding cynicism. People who bear fanged sarcasm and hold their own burden silent Are referred to as “strong,” as “steel.” Those whom fail to do so are eventually forgiven As we all know that not everyone holds the same strength. So why is it, that when a person we realize is capable Makes a mistake, we do not embrace their error As a requirement of humanity Instead delivering a backhand To the humane treatement of those around us Calling the mistake maker “retarded”? Ironically, ridicule is something that brings people together... Just always at the expense of the few. Of the weak. But who is weak?


Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1

My Aunt is named Valarie But her cross is called Valor. She has been fighting twice as hard To make it halfway To the life expectancy of the average person. My Aunt Valarie writes in tongues or maybe Aramaic. This creative writing system uses notebooks as letterhead To reach actors from mid-seventies television shows For she maintains an infinite appreciation of imagination. Glowing, she reads you her tomes in an effort To show you how the two of you are equal. And you are. The checklist of shared accomplishments is long: Employed? Check. Imagination? Check. Love? Check. Kindness? Check. Smile? Check. Her nearness to holiness is not held over your head. Your motor skills do not raise you above her. Thought different in nature, we are all equal in life. My Aunt Valarie has a simple life The kind many of us long for. One where we can be honost and caring. One where we can be like children: Amazed at the simplest things; Happy when near family; Never insulting others out of hatred. Of course, with hatred isn’t the only way to insult someone. Indirectly, people degrade and address others with a harmful phrase that means slow Because they lack an additional piece of humanity, Because they know nothing of my Aunt’s wings.

~Robert Owens

Robert Owens/CommonWealth Slam



Juanita winced as she reached into her pocket.

Her knuckles were bruised and scraped raw, and her wrist felt sprained. Her other hand was wrapped up

in an old shirt, light red already bleeding through the white. How deep did the cut go? If she went to the

hospital, would they make her report how she got it?

chimney looked whole. Except for the bricks missing

from the base. And the weeds growing out of the middle. And the top listing to the side.

A cat without a tail stumbled out of the bushes

Maybe not. She hadn’t been shot. She fished out the

with a meow and plopped itself down in the middle of

time it happened. 219 Woodson. Michael’s place.

old. Mottled fur. Sticks for legs. It set about trying to

address she’d scrawled on a sticky note after the last

The street he lived on was tucked away in a quiet

corner of the city, a few blocks from Kenmore Park.

The canal ran behind the house, slow and still in the

late August night. A mosquito buzzed next to her ear as if to remind her of it and she slapped it away. The moon was full, bathing everything in a clean, white

glow. Most of the houses were in fairly good shape, but just as many were falling apart. Michael’s was

the worst. Blue paint peeled on nearly every surface.

Gutters hung at odd angles. A whole section of siding on the bottom level was bare plywood, and the


plywood had a thin coat of mold on it. At least the

the street. It looked like it was about a thousand years clean itself but kept on falling over. After a while it

gave up and lay down on its side, and Juanita thought it might have died right before her eyes. Then it meowed again, short and pitiful. Juanita felt the bruise under her eye. Her cheek bone felt like it was cracking beneath her fingers.

“I know how you feel, gatito,” she said. “Gatito?” She spun around, scared, but it was only Michael, standing in his door. He had a beer in one hand, and his knuckles were bleeding.

Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1

“That there is Old Man. He’s been here longer than me.” Juanita didn’t reply. Michael fiddled with the screen door handle and it opened with a crack and a whine. “Got any bags?” “Just the clothes on my back. And five bucks.”

“Sure. Okay.” He put the beer down on the counter and pointed at her face. “How about some ice for that?” “No, its okay.”

“Five bucks?”

“Doesn’t look okay to me,” he said. He took a cup from the drying rack and filled it from the faucet.

“It was all I could hide.” Michael stuck his head out and glanced up and down the street. Juanita bit back her panic. He knew the deal. What was he waiting for?

“I’m fine.”

“Okay,” he said. “Well, come on in, I guess.”

“Thanks.” She took a sip. “He just needs some time to cool down. Sleep it off.”

“You call the police?” he asked, but didn’t even wait for her to reply. “Of course you didn’t.

She expected it to be better inside. Paintings on the walls. Michael’s pottery decorating every surface. Carefully staged rooms. She was sorely disappointed. In fact, the inside of the house was in as much disrepair as the outside. The hardwood floors creaked. The fireplace was blackened with old soot. The plaster walls were yellow with age. Michael kicked broken picture frame out of the way as he led her through the house. It was Michael and Daniel’s wedding photograph. She could see Michael’s face on the left, but Daniel’s was obscured by spiderwebbed cracks. “Watch out for that,” Michael said, finishing his beer.

“How many times have I heard that before?” “Michael.” “Five years. He’s had five years to ‘sleep it off.’ He’s the most well-rested hombre in the city.” “That’s not funny.” “You’re right. It isn’t funny.” He stared at her. She stared at the dingy tile. “I know the last thing you need right now is another angry man in your life, but I’m just sick of it, Nita. Aren’t you? When’s the last time you painted anything?”

The kitchen was tiny and white. White cabinets, white sink, white tiles. The appliances hadn’t been upgraded in at least thirty years, and the refrigerator rattled and chugged like a dying jalopy. Michael slapped it on the side and the chugging stopped. He chucked the empty bottle in the recycling and opened the fridge.

The question shocked her. Paint? Who could think about painting? The question shocked her. Paint? Who could think about painting? She didn’t even knowwhere her brushes were, her oils. Michael read her expression perfectly.

“Gotta show these appliances who’s boss,” he said. Then he burped. He pulled out another bottle, twisted the top off with a hiss, and took a swig.

“Okay. I’m sorry. I’m just so mad. Why won’t you get as mad as I am?”

“Beer?” “No thanks. How about some water?” “Suit yourself.”

“That’s what I thought.” “Please stop.”

Juanita didn’t know what to say. She wanted to try to explain it. She wanted to make him understand, but she was too tired, and everything hurt, and the only thing she could think of was Old Man laying on his side in the middle of the street. Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1


TIM SNYDER Photography

Lauren 47

Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1

Sue Hyon Bae

Cities & Microcosms A generation ago, the city of Honran gave up enforcing zoning laws. Now its citizens take a perverse pleasure in creating confused neighborhoods, buildings of all trades. In the old financial district, kindergartners on the fourteenth floor dare each other to brave the glass walls. With palms pressed against glass, they can look into the opposite building: In one window, a caterer uses a three-liter blender to make squash purée, which is delivered by elevator to the nursing home, next door to the plastic surgery clinic specializing in jawlines. Hopeful lovers, on their way to visit the mute patients with jawbones newly shaven, stop at the old fishmarket to buy bouquets of polyester flowers. When the children are gone for the day, the kindergarten teachers take the stairs to the bar on the fifteenth floor. Gathered in a booth against the glass wall, they drink German beer, eat complimentary squid, and watch the building across the street. In a ramen bar, the servers stand in a semicircle for the daily motivational song; a pharmacist who has spent all day pulverizing tablets for infants cleans her sticky face with wet wipes; art students sketch a plaster bust of Paracelsus.

The Pet Snail The lettuce was too organic—along with dirt she washed out a snail, a spotted shell the size of a pinky nail, almost translucent body. She tossed it down the drain and later thoughtlessly poured down boiling pasta water, but the next day the snail had struggled back up the drain and was nodding along the stainless steel. She put it in an open plastic container and made space for it on a bookshelf to the mild disgust of her husband. When the television was off, she could hear its microscopic mouth crunch lettuce. This was as satisfying as seeing a dog or cat or child run across the yard toward her for dinner. It grew so big its droppings started being noticeable. She fed it the fattest, crispiest leaves instead of wilted leftovers. She thought its tentacles followed the movement of her fingers. Once it went missing; she found it under the bookcase, dried out to half its size. When dropped back into its home with extra water, it squirmed back to life. As the weather grew colder, she worried: would the house's heating be enough? Should she buy a heating lamp or would that be too hot? Where did snails go in the winter? The snail kindly solved her dilemma—its body dissolved, leaving an empty shell in a damp box.

Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1



Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1

Charlotte Potter is Playing with Fire Charlotte Potter is a conceptual artist and designer originally from Vermont. Traditionally trained as a glassblower, Potter has traveled extensively, working in glass studios nationwide including Pilchuck Glass School, Haystack Mountain School of crafts, Penland School of Crafts and Wheaton Arts. In 2008, she co-founded the Cirque de Verre, a performance glass troupe that has performed at numerous studios and museums including the Toldeo Museum of Art and the Corning Museum of Glass. Potter has been an artist in residence at Pilchuck Glass School, the art making Machine Studios, the Creative Glass Center of America, and the University of Sydney and has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work has been shown internationally and is in the permanent collection of the American Museum of Glass and the Henry j. Neils Frank Lloyd Wright house. Currently she is the Programming Director and Glass Studio Manager at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia. I spoke with her in September about collaboration, inspiration, and research during the creative process. Weight of Lost Friendship, 2012.

One of the first and most dynamic

In your performance, a lot of the

Materials: hand engraved glass, images courtesy of Facebook, sterling Silver, metal & wax.

site is your interaction with the public at Chrysler Museum of Art

broken down and used again.

“This series of hand engraved glass cameos features those individuals that I am not currently friends with on Facebook. Some defriended, others leaving the social network entirely, and some simply lost. I collected this detailed list over the years and then created wearable works that feature and honor this passing. The cameos are set in sterling silver and linked through collected chains; some gifted antiques, others store bought and mass-produced. I am pairing the ancient with the modern, my old dear friends with the mere acquaintances.”

examples one sees on your web-

through a kind of glassblowing theatrical experience you offer. What prompted you to begin performing with glass?

Glass is definitely one of those interesting mediums that you don’t do by yourself, specifically glass blowing, which is the process that I initially sort of fell for. It’s very physical, and you work with another person. There’s sort of an intrinsic dance that is part of it. Initially, I was less interested in the final product. Honestly, I didn’t even like a lot of the objects getting made, but the sheer process of being around the heat and playing with this molten material was what enraptured me. Performance for me is a way of prolonging that experience and that sort of magical relationship that you have with it. It also allows the public to see the thing the reason that a lot of us fall in love with the material.

pieces the group is creating get

The way I try to structure the public’s experience with glass here at the Chrysler, which is in line with my thesis and things I was thinking about back in grad school, is that glass is an experience that with practice can become an object. It’s truly an experience the way that music is an experience that can become a CD, or a ballet is a performance that can become a video. So, we attempt a monumental shift in public thinking about art and glass here at the Chrysler, and for that reason it’s very much about the process rather than the object. It was surprising to me and so

different than what many people

consider when they think of glass art.

Glass seems static, some-

thing to be displayed or hung. Your performance reminds me of

the philosophy behind mandala making.

Charlotte Potter



Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1

Charlotte Potter


Yes, exactly. It’s about this pursuit and it’s about the journey. Not to sound trite, but it’s about the process and the way you give attention to that, the time and care. Over time, I’ve learned to really appreciate the objects, and it’s really interesting how your aesthetic changes. Initially, I didn’t like most of glass I was studying, but the more you get to be a nerd about things and research them… I started to love all kinds of weird forms of glassmaking that initially I don’t think I would have been attracted to, but because of the process itself I’ve become enamored with what comes out of it. For me, it’s always been about the process. When you’re going through the process, how many people are you working with?

Specifically, for glassblowing, you work with at least one other person; people can work in teams of up to five or six depending on how ambitious the object is that you are making. I usually work with two other people. However, the majority of the work that I’m most recognized for is not hot glass at all; it’s the Cameo series. The cameo work is not hot shop; it’s all cold working. That’s a great example of a process. Because I fell in love with the process, now I love cameo glass, too. If you had asked me about cameos ten years ago I would have said it was kind of old-fashioned. So you love this hot shop process, but you also have these largescale installations involving cold technique. What is the difference between the two processes for you? Obviously, you enjoy doing both.

Well, I think it leads me to these two different conclusions. It’s very 53

much about research. There’s material research when you are in the hot shop that leads to things like performance art, but conceptual research where you’re reading and you’re looking at other artists that leads to some of the other work. All of my work, and that would apply to my performance work too, is very much about trying to articulate these relationships and the space between self and other and in such a basic way. For example, you work with a partner in the hot shop, and there are so many misunderstandings that can happen. There’s a lot of nonverbal information that happens, a lot of cues that people have to be aware to pick up. I think that relationship was the first impetus for me to do this whole conceptual query about the way that we relate to each other and the world. So, bridging from that, which started with material research and just playing in the hot shop, now I’m always looking for historical reasons and references for using glass. Why are you using this glass? You can’t just use it because you think it’s cool; there’s got to be an actual reason. I’ll often look to other industries that have come before me, like the medical or scientific fields that have used glass for a long time, to help shape my concepts behind using glass. That’s what got me to the cameo work. Cameo glass has been around for a long time. I was thinking about the way we relate to one another and the world, and I started to recognize that Facebook was this modern day prosthesis for connection, so that’s what led me to cameo design using Facebook profile pictures – specifically with the notion about wanting to connect to people. And if I really want to get philosophical here, all the information that goes around the world right now is going through glass cables. So once again we’re getting connected through these social networks that are relying on glass.

Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1

How do you integrate glass art into the community there in Norfolk? Since a portion of your belief about art stems from public interaction, are there projects in the works to encourage the public to become involved?

I’m part of a huge effort to create a NEON Festival. Chrysler Art Museum is located in the middle of an arts district called the NEON (New Energy with Norfolk). I’m the co-founder of this art festival that ran on October 15th and 16th of this year. During the festival, we revealed a $60,000 public arts project that I’m doing with a couple of other talented artists here at the Chrysler. It’s sort of off-piece for the rest of my artistic practice, but very in line with research. While developing the idea, we tried to respond to the space. There were concrete trucks in the district pouring foundation for new buildings - a lot of hustle and bustle - but it’s not very arty yet. What we decided to do is recreate a large-scale cement mixer out of metal to scale, then we’re installing a huge kaleidoscope inside which is about two feet long and can rotate. People put their head in one side and the arts district outside is jumbled into this kaleidoscopic view. So this becomes a project where the public becomes a collaborator in the process.

Right. What I really want to be able to do with conceptual art is make it accessible to the public; that’s my whole goal. I try really hard to deal with things that everyone understands and present it from the very personal in the hopes that it becomes universal in understanding.

Pending, 2014. Dimensions: 13’ x 30’ x 8’ Materials: hand engraved glass cameo, metal, images courtesy of Facebook “I am interested in various levels of friendship, familiarity and intimacy that develop with online personas and associations. In Pending I collected the profile pictures of each of my pending friend requests on Facebook. I then hand engraved a small glass cameo portrait of each individual, meticulously cataloguing these online acquaintances. These personal pendants are arranged geographically to where the person lives, and protrudes from the wall in direct proportion to how many mutual friends we share. This work is challenging the audience to re-conceptualize relationships in the digital age and consider the different thresholds of friendship in our lives.”

Family Tree , 2014 Dimensions: 62” x 3” x 35 1/2” Materials: Hand engraved glass cameos, brass, maple tree taps, flameworked glass “In considering the classic cameo portrait of a loved one, my research brought me to family trees and examining my own lineage. This work depicts my family; our direct bloodlines and chosen families. The maple taps act as a metaphor both to the sticky sweet infusion that is family and the place that will always be my anchor to home. The kinfolk are connected via small chains binding us and creating our inescapable web.”

Charlotte Potter


Memory of a Boy By Sharanna Brown They burned down the 7 Eleven next to the graffitied gas station on Foss Avenue. A girl was caught with her mouth full behind the dumpster before two boys got killed there, and the kids wouldn’t stop stealing the Slurpee’s and throwing the empty cups in the parking lot. The school around the corner, on Laview Street, shut down and the ice cream shop on the corner never turns the closed sign around. The old-lady shop owner sits in the front window, watching the kids play and sometimes she sells penny cones, but most times she gives them for free. That is how I’d describe you, like the corner of Laview and Foss: free and costly, everything and nothing. You remind me of Beechraid stadium, without adequate seating, minus the concession stands and with plenty more field space, full and empty, vast and suffocating. I can’t even look at the abandoned cups, half scalded, half vibrant, littered in the parking lot. I keep trying to forget the way words got strangled in my throat, when you said—without actually saying—that you were leaving me. I remember the ancientness in your eyes. The sound of the rap song on the radio that told you—without actually telling you—that I was sacrificial. I was in love with you. The way little girls love absentee fathers and on-layaway promises: faultlessly, dangerously and without restraint. But if I could make Forget Me Nots grow on the corner of Laview and Foss— that is how you would look to me.


Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1


To Those Who Sauntered in Late for Service for Katherine Clark

My throat, today, is sore, Congregation, and thus, the words I seduce from God, for you, will not be delivered to most of you, only the few will recognize the words. The weepers in the back may need to turn inward to find their provocations, or read. You, in the front, with the cleanest shoes can, as usual, just close your eyes. If my borrowed voice does not sustain, then I will yield control of the nave and sanctuary space. The rest of you will fill my absence with a holy melody. No matter how the words arrive to you, the collection plate should not leave empty.

~ Tom Holmes

Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1


www.chrisjonesink.com Also on iTunes 001: Kinja Dixon on How Entrepreneurs Can Build Expert Platforms by Writing Books 002: Christa Hines on Using Writing Communities and Crowdsourcing Ideas to Write and Promote Books 003: Tasha Fuller on How to Think and Act Like a Book Publisher to Promote Your Books 004: Melody Robinette on Rejections, Reviews & Writing YA Fiction 005: Stacia D. Kelly on Research, Reaching #1 on Amazon, and Why You Need Beta Readers 006: Ray J. Pope on How to Pitch Radio Hosts 007: Efrem Graham on How to Be a Great Journalist 008: Linda Clevenger Gets You Organized 009: Shawn Radcliffe on How to Succeed at Freelance Writing 010: Sonja Wise on Branding Basics 011: Steph Heinatz on Storytelling & How to Choose a PR Firm 012: Katie Humphrey on the Power of Fables 013: Kayla Thomas on Using Public Readings to Sell More Books 014: Foundr Magazine’s Nathan Chan on How to Start an Online Magazine 015: JV Crum III on Mindset, Focus & Being Consistent 016: Kate Erickson on Fearlessly Building Your Brand 017: NYT Bestselling Author John David Mann on What It Takes to Get Published


Writer, editor, and entrepreneur: Chris Jones has done it all.

With a formal background in graphic arts and a yen for writing, Jones first sharpened his pencils in sports reporting at the Culpepper Star Explorer, where his stories quickly gained attention. The guy had voice! Jones joined the Fauqier Democrat and then returned to graphic design for a few years, running his own freelance studio. A proposal to develop, write, and produce a little league baseball newspaper nudged him back into writing professionally. Today, he is Editor-at-Large for Fredericksburg Parent and Family Magazine, and Editor in Chief for The Health Journal out of Hampton, Virginia. He is host of The Art and Business of Writing Podcast and has just published a book of the same name. Jones has watched content writing change over the course of his career, noting a shift to fit the time constraints and content overload that modern readers face on a daily basis. He notes, “Writing has taken on so many different forms over the years, but right now we’re in a content phase of story telling. People want to hear stories again, which is fantastic, but in digestible chunks. People want to be told stories fast due to having little time. Media content has gone from long, 3000 word features to 600-700 word features. Some magazines even give you the synopsis before the story. What media is doing is trying to hit every type of reader. They’re trying to grab the one who wants to read but only has time to read the short version, and they also want to reach the avid reader who will spend time with whole story.” Jones is actively involved with the integration of print and visual media, relishing the challenge of creating compelling content ripe for contemporary readers to consume. He acknowledges the role of planning and writing under the surface of audio and visual storytelling, saying, “I love how writing, audio, and video stories are being merged digitally today. It’s something we take advantage of at The Health Journal. We find a high interst story; then we’ll do a video companion piece to enrich the written content. It serves a dual purpose, too; if you don’t have time to read the story, you can watch the video. Conversely, the video often engages the audience so much that they make time to read the story.”

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My goal for the Podcast and book is for them to be a helpful tools for people who want to live a writing life. Outside of being excellent, my goal is to use them as platforms for helping other writers, because that’s a gap I noticed. Photo by Allan Harvie

I’ve been part of a couple of different writing groups, and one of the biggest gaps I noticed is that writers can write, but that’s all they can do. I can write, but I can also brand, market, and do PR. Being able to bridge this gap is crucial knowledge. In the short time that the Podcast has been running, I’ve had people contact me for additional coaching, which is something I really want to do. Being an editor, I naturally want to help people to write. Being able to help people one-on-one with their writing is why I do Podcasts. The book is a companion to the Podcast. It’s an expert platform piece to show people how the process works. They can also use the book, which takes them step-by-step into the writing life. It answers some big questions. How do you make the time to write and develop your writing? How do you take yourself seriously as a writer? How can you develop affirmations? How do you coach all the negative thoughts out of your head so you can appreciate yourself as a writer ? It starts with that, and then it proceeds to more technical aspects of writing. The book also covers the PR side of publishing. How do you write a press release if you’re launching a book? Where do you send it? How do you write a query letter if you want to be a freelance writer? Where do you send that? In it I share everything I’ve learned over the years to develop a writing lifestyle.

The book discusses ways to develop an online presence. Do you need social media? What do you need for your website? What type of website should you have? How do you get hosting? Which type of hosting should you buy? Which premiums are best? It gets into all the aspects that most people neglect.

Chris Jones/The Art and Business of Writing



T A Y L O R P A L A C I N O Photography

Floating in the Forrest

e n o h p e s r Pe to n e d i a M r Spea Geri

Lipschultz 59

other, the spear you gave me, I turned it into the first flower. It was like ice in my hands, Mother. Cold as the last kiss I placed upon your lips. The handle stuck like glaze to the palms of my hands, my fingers digging into the iron ridge, grooves there, still wedged in my fingertips now, many months later. Tried to hurl it high, tried to throw it up, but in the end I buried it, and the ground took it in deep, cutting part of my dress on the way down, that undercoating of tulle and crinoline the color of goldenrod, the netting slashed, a bloody yellow fraying, because, Mother, the spear took a small part of my flesh. I wrenched myself free, and I walked away, limping, bloodspotting my trail back. Daily, I returned, the path of the womanchild-made stream, a map for the daughter in mourning.

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book upon a round white table. Gliding from my mind to the table, the light held itself suspended above the book, and I picked up letters, put them together, as pictures formed in motion behind my eyes. Your image was formed, your hair in its plaits, your fingers slender and smooth around my waist. Your garment like a rainbow, spilled ink, draping in folds, like those of the saints. All that vanished with the sun. Never will I forget you, Mother, but in the winter, when the snows forbade it, there were times in the morning when my mind let go of the spear. I dressed my wound, as always, and I lit candles and I found the paints and covered the walls with renderings of flowers I hoped to see, along with renderings of you, what my lips and fingers remembered of your face, what my eyes retained of your wardrobe, and what had come to me in dreams. When the snows melted, I watched the silver turned to grey. From grey to that color of green that is indistinguishable from grey.

Because the sun pitied me, because my blood nourished it, a sunflower would rise up. A covenant made, between you and me, unspoken, a covenant in earthen terms, in terms of the age of bronze. My petticoat was bronze, the sun was bronze, the flower would be bronze, but Mother, your spear silvered as the days grew short. I walked upon the hardening ground. I watched the trees unburden themselves, and for a time, I trod through the snow. I followed my map, counting the steps between the darkening trunks, until flummoxed by the snowblanket, I lost sight of your spear. During the night, a visitation came to me, unearthly. A blinking light positioned itself within a shaft, then settled like a scope behind my eyes, blinking shades of violet, then crimson, then blue. The light came accompanied by a house with a moving library within, an opened

How the earth cried! Such agony, I could hardly bear it. You, my dear Mother, would have eyes only for the blood, because it was unmistakably mine, once yours. I knew you were softening. I knew you could see that the bright color was slowly darkening, that I was healing. You pleaded with the earth. I heard you in my dreams. I kept bleeding until the bud was poised to blossom. I remember that day. That day I crawled to the flower, my knees scraping against the beloved earth, the pull of soil begging for more. That day the flower called out to me. “Where are you?” spoken in my language, the old tongue you taught me, before the clashing of spears. It had not yet given up the spear, Mother. I was still bleeding. You were there, I know it, in that hushed mesh of languages, of the raining sky and the besmirched earth. There you were, unseen, as always, but pressed against my fingertips, my very lips shivering with the memory of ice.

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The Archer I'm not sure of the steadiness of the archer's hand, who let me fly. The trajectory of my life seems circuitous, with no target in sight. If sin is to miss the mark, have I then sinned if I don't know the mark I was targeted for? Can I be blamed for having moved sinuously? Or must I simply trust the archer's aim? Perhaps an arrow's purpose can simply be flight. Perhaps the mark is what lies beyond this life, returning home, and this whole beautiful existence is simply the flight, with no bull's-eye intended along the way. How freeing would it be to know that the target is not here among my days on Earth, but in returning home? This life then, a flight through the physical, with the goal being to stay aloft, to ride the winds without being blown far off course, to hold on to as many of the feathers that make your flight true as you are able, to keep your head and eyes lifted in order to maintain the arc of your flight. Let fly my life, let fly my light.


End Measured Mile Three words on a sign I had passed dozens of times, but never seen before. End measured mile. Not only words, not a statement, a command, one that my whole being felt. In that moment a shift. Just like that. One moment everything was the same, then three words seen in passing, and nothing was the same. Every cell rearranged. End. Measured. Mile. Every single mile I had measured to that point, every comparison made, every place where I told myself I fell short of the mark, every one, fell away. End. Begin. What a relief, life without an odometer. Nothing but open road. A journey not to be measured, but walked, run, danced, lived with sorrow and joy immeasurable. With each step unique, what then to compare it to? Unknowable distances yet to cover, this one, alone in the woods, the only one that matters. Until the next. To end again where I began, the only measure. Two by Lynda Allen

TIM SNYDER Photography

People of Nashville #13

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Graffiti / Street Art Wilson Huges Gallery Roanoke, Virginia

John Wilson and Suzun Hughes left California eight years ago to find a property in a art-centric mid-Atlantic city. Roanoke, Virginia beckoned.


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On opening Wilson Hughes Gallery… JOHN SAYS: We moved to Roanoke in 2007, with the express purpose of finding a property in a commercial strip in a small mid-Atlantic city. We found this property with a retail space, so we created a gallery there. Roanoke was in the sweet spot of our property search. What really convinced us to move to Roanoke, besides the property, was the new art museum. I saw that it was going to be a very innovative structure in a place I didn’t expect it to happen. Roanoke has undergone a transformation in the past three years. We have many younger people living downtown. These are the people who are going to buy art, as older clients tend to have their collections established. Sixty to seventy percent of the work in the gallery is our own, but we are constantly looking for international artists we can bring to Roanoke. So far, we’ve had artists from France, Slovakia, and Mexico show here. They have been people we’ve made contact with at some point in our lives, but we’re a small gallery and don’t have the budget to bring people over. Ours is a great starting-off point for a tour, though, and we can supply them with a place to stay and gallery space while they are here.

On what makes Wilson Hughes Gallery unique… JOHN SAYS: We’re really the only contemporary art gallery in Roanoke. We have a curated art wall on the side of the building that shows contemporary and graffiti or street artists’ work.

Wilson Hughes Gallery / Contemporary Art




On opening your own gallery… JOHN SAYS: You want to make a million dollars? Start with two million and open a gallery. There are some gallerists who make money. Saatchi probably makes money. People who are in the higher end of the market and can afford to deal with really expensive art might. I don’t know of gallarists who don’t sell the $7000 to $10000 range who really make money. I’m sure they’re there, but I don’t know who they are. It’s going to take more. If you’re opening a gallery there’re three words you need to know: location, location, loca-


tion. We opened a gallery because that’s what we wanted to do, not to simply make money. I would give that advice to anyone. I came into this knowing we probably wouldn’t make much money at it. We basically pay our utility bills on our gallery, that’s about it.

On marketing a gallery to the public… SUZUN SAYS: There’s the Art by Night; it’s good marketing because it has the website, the brochures, and a Facebook presence. Every time we have a show we try to get newspaper coverage. It’s becoming increasingly difficult, probably

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because they have the resporters spread so thin in covering such a large geographic area. In the beginnng, I paid for a lot of publicity, which is not productive. Getting as much free marketing as possible is the way to go. Smaller galleries like us don’t have a budget for anything. It’s all seat of the pants as far as getting the word out.

On the role of galleries in society… JOHN SAYS: I really think that a gallery is a place where people can actually put their hands, so to speak, on the art and decide if it’s what they like. There’s a lot of places you can

JOHN WILSON Public Art / Sculpture


buy art online. Even I’m in a couple of online galleries, but for someone to walk in and experience real art as it exists, they have to go to a gallery. It’s the retail establishment of visual arts. In a gallery, there is someone who knows about the art. It’s an educational tool. People can sit back and contemplate the line detail, the brush stroking, how the artist has taken a certain idea and brought it to the forefront. That’s something you can’t necessarily see online. SUZUN SAYS: We get people calling up and asking if there’s an admission to the gallery. I think a lot of people don’t understand what a gallery is, and they’re a little bit afraid of it. That’s why I think something like Art by Night is important, because it allows people to come into galleries under the umbrella of a larger event so it’s not so intimidating. I think that galleries definitely serve as an opportunity for people to see work that they don’t usuall see. The number of people who have art in their houses is really small. People have these big expensive houses, but they don’t have art on the walls. Visit Wilson Hughes Gallery online for schedule of events and more information. wilsonhughesgallery.com

Wilson Hughes Gallery / Contemporary Art


Suzun Hughes Suzun Hughes primarily works in acrylics and photography. Her technique varies for both, and she feels her art has been heavily influenced by travel she has done throughout her life. In her photography, Hughes shoots straight and uses tools such as Photoshop for slight color enhancement. She prefers using Hahnem端le paper for its dark profile and color it produces. She allows the project to dictate the effects. For instance, in her Totem series, she created a kaleidoscopic representation by layering and miming singular images. Then she created two five-foot panels that sit atop each other to resemble a totem pole. In her acrylic work, she is currently researching Wabi-Sabi with the intention of finding inspiration for her latest endeavor. Practically, Hughes uses a variety of techniques, such as scratching, scraping, and sand, in order to create a textural color landscape that has meaning to her and hopefully to other people as well. Clockwise:

Seeker/ Acrylic on Panel / 36 x 72 inches Cascade / Acryilic on Panel / 4 x 36 inches Umami / Acrylic on Panel / 30 x 70 inches 67

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Wilson Hughes Gallery / Contemporary Art


John Wilson John Wilson’s varied approach to art crosses genres, but remains contemporary in its scope. Wilson built houses for wealthy clients while living in California, but he says he could sense a change in his focus. Art was a logical extension of the architectural elements of the building work he was doing, including elements of good design, craftsmanship and artistry in general. He enjoys talking with people about technique. He draws inspiration from the wide field of Pop Art and Duchamp’s ready-mades. Wilson’s modern furniture is inspired by Jean Pouve. He currently has the materials and is planning a large-scale piece that requires him to move to a larger studio. Above:




Mixed Media Metal Assemblage 30.5 x 36.5 inches


Welded Assemblage Sculpture 72 x 32 x 24 inches

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Wilson Hughes Gallery / Contemporary Art


STARFISH IN AACHEN Known for playing Bach and Captain Beefheart, often back to back. The bar the length of a small runway, complete with tiny strobe lights. Velvet covering on the stools. Photos of celebrities, old and new, plastered everywhere, including taped to the bar’s mirror: Mickey Mouse along side Dietrich Bonhoeffer who’s smiling because it was summer and life was good, martyrdom still hiding in the shadows. “Beer is necessary for the soul” written on the bathroom door— Dietrich, taken out into the bright sun, would have blessed the notion and the one who wrote it.

LEAVING THE STADIUM AFTER THE HOME TEAM LOSES Being good citizens my friend and I deposit our hot dog wrappers and beer bottles in one of the designated blue trash bins. Were we able to we’d deposit the entire team now nursing a nine game losing streak. Someone yells for the manager to be fired— or worse, and everyone within earshot yells their assent. We climb the ramp leading to the subway, the stadium rather prison-like in its dimming lights made worse by the fog of a relentless drizzle. My friend and I who believe sports is a type of magic watch the reflections from the train window— apartment houses, bodegas, and the miles of cemeteries where in this lost season no Lazarus will rise.

Two by Tim Suermondt


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BASS DRUM PEDAL Think of the blues the bass drummer got when he was replaced one day by a simple metal pedal. He shows up, and his bass drum’s on the floor, and another man’s playing his drum with his foot. – James Keller That drummer’s hands each like one man. The foot, too. Congo Square, French Quarter bass drummer lost his job to a pedal swung by a simple little metal spring.

BAND WAGON The guys in blue jeans jumped into the back of the rusty pick-up truck. Inside were cases that held trumpets, trombones. They said, “Come on,” and I hopped in, and they pulled away, chugging dust and gravel, then took to grass and pulled down the hill to the big football field, where, above us, I saw glints of silver up high, cutting clouds; I’d never seen batons, the young women reaching up with white gloves and plucking metal from sky. Try-outs had happened. They had a band. But they put a pair of shiny cymbals in my hands, had me hold out my arms, fly. I held, and they said, “You’ll do,” and we took to marching up and down white lines. All around, the air rumbled: low brass like thunder, flutes like bird call, trumpets like lightning, drums like a buffalo stampede. What I was in moved like a vast animal, centipede, a many-footed thing, and when we moved, the ground— the grass—felt us, came up, held, and fell away, like the sand does to the sea.

Two by Kevan Rabas

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From This Point On Atop Brush Mountain, a weather-beaten wooden sign denotes the spot near Blacksburg where watersheds divide. Spill half a bottle of water and it will trickle eastward, join the James River, rush through Virginia to Chesapeake Bay. Pour the other half over the crest, it will wend westward to the Mississippi, splashing over deltas till it swims into Mexico’s Gulf. Lie down on this divide, feel the weight of consequence, each decision flowing like individual droplets of water hurtling toward fate, every choice from this point on affecting only the timetable, not the destination. ~ Bill Glose


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A Peach from the Icebox An itch for a peach that drips down the chin the forearm how sweet a lick a bite to the stone.

~Daniel Barbare


Celestial Doorway

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The Adolescent Hunger Artist Takes My Order When I stopped for a soda on my way to Chicago, the first thing he said to me was, “Boy, I’m feeling hungry.” He lunged right into how he’d not eaten since 4 o’clock the afternoon before. Daylight had nearly disappeared, at this point. I had not yet managed to place my order, but I admit his over-sharing made me curious. “Are you fasting?” I asked, and he said, No, nothing like that. “Maybe you will want to have been fasting,” I responded, “because you can take credit for it now for all this time.” Sometimes he just doesn’t eat, he told me, like, for a week. That seemed feasible, as I observed him while we chatted. This kid behind the counter was as skinny as a rail, and I could almost hear his belt breathing heavily, working overtime from being cinched so tightly. “What’s your reason,” I asked, “your goal? The perishing flourish of the artist?” He answered that it was nothing like that, just that sometimes he gets so busy that he can’t spend a minute to eat. Commiserating, I confirmed that finals were this week. But what I was really thinking was this: what in the world can make you so massively busy in Gibson City, Illinois, where this McDonald’s is the lone sign of life? I imagined him replying to my discourtesy with a knowing smile one smiles when exhibiting pity toward the ignorant: “Here, there are so very many things.” ~Brett Foster


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An Evolutionary Figure for the Poet Even average great spotted woodpeckers drum their heads into a tree at fifteen miles per hour, repeatedly at blurring speeds, and yet the head’s not wrecked. How does this Unremarkable absorb the shock? High-speed video, microscopic scans, and 3-D models help us understand the built-in shapes that hold off brokenness: the spongy spots that insulate the skull, or tissues of varying size that make the beak more formidable— designs for helmets, other gear. Resilient, (self) absorbent, it’s the métier for every poet, whether dynamo or dull. We peck and peck and peck and then we speak. ~Brett Foster


On Friday nights, Pop used to carry us all, four kids clinging to his neck and hips and back, and he’d shout and buck and growl, trampling through the house. He would strip down to his white undershirt and maneuver around the plaid chairs like a tank gunner, no, a bombardier of a B52, he’d call out as he swerved past the bathroom and down the short hall returning into the slip of our living room against the front window and its frayed gold curtains. He could never be a tank gunner we learned later: Claustrophobia kept him from crawlspaces and elevators and bear hugs. He wasn’t a man easily boxed in. He had no wife, and we had no mother. He’d tear around the kitchen table, his freckled skin fired up, his sweat viscid. Eventually, he’d roar to a stop, jostling us off. Abandoned on the strip of carpet, we’d scramble to his side, afraid he’d leave us too, afraid of our fear. But he took charge. Ordered that it was time to clean up the mess we had made— the overturned chairs, the pulled-down curtains, the dust like ashes raised.

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BARBARA KeNNy A Transcendence of Place

Kenny paints in the moment and is guided by instinct. She says that inspiration can come from anywhere, from splashes of light on the leaves in the forest, to sprays of color in a field of flowers: “For instance, the other day a woman we know at our church had posted on Facebook a snapshot of all the things she purchased at the local farmer’s market. She had fruits and vegetables with a few sunflowers, and I was totally struck by that. It’s the kind of thing I would have gone right into it. Suddenly just, ‘Oh, look at that. I want to paint that in a semi-abstract sort of way to utilize these colors and shapes.’ It’s that instantaneous.” When asked what drives her work, Kenny says she doesn’t really have a name for it. Inspiration? Muse? Voices from outer space? Whatever its name, she says, “It always seems that something outside myself is telling me what to do. I’ve heard this many times over the years from different artists. They don’t know what to call it. I do know that if I try to override it, my painting inevitably doesn’t turn out the way I want it. It’s very specific and a strong feeling from both within and outside myself.” Kenny prefers working in oils and describes her relationship with them akin to a close friendship. “It’s a wonderful relationship. I am there in that painting. I’m walking in that forest. I’m at that seashore; in that sky. Whatever it is, it’s like we’ve become one. It’s funny because once I’m done painting, and Tibby and I come back together for dinner in the evening, she’ll ask me about my day. It’s very hard to describe. I’ve been off in another place where I can’t take her at all. There’s no way that she or anyone else can see it. It’s just a wonderful place to be.” In a world that is consistently faster paced each day, Kenny says the act of viewing art can be a catharsis. She explains, “I’ve had people say that viewing art becomes a peaceful place to be, perhaps some of the same sensation as I have when I’m painting. For those who can stop to look at the paintings - when everything is so instant and so fast and so plastic - it takes them back to a simpler time. People who have purchased my paintings have told me they are an important part of their day – sort of an anti-technology, anti-rat race place to be. A man bought two paintings at my last show and said, ‘It’s like you’re capturing something that is going away, something we’re not going to continue to see,’ and I agree with him.” Origninally printed in Front Porch Magazine, October 2015


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Barbara Kenny



Sentinal Ridge

Into the Woods

Barbara Kenny



Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1

The Great Southwest

Barbara Kenny


Gershon Jonathan Hunger


t was a sweltering August day in Annapolis and I was headed to the dock to gaze out at the Bay and contemplate my life. I was hoping to have some dessert to make my thinking exercise more enjoyable, but the threescoop mint chocolate chip ice cream I had just bought was quickly turning to soup, spilling off the cone, and making my hands a sticky mess. And, I had forgotten napkins.

My apartment looked like a Sunday morning college dorm room, but without empty beer bottles on the floor and posters on the walls. Actually, without anything on the walls. A friend of mine suggested I tear pages out of the phonebook and tape them up just to have some sort of decoration. One day when Gershon was repairing the sink in my bathroom, I mentioned this idea to him and he looked at me like I was insane.

I hurried down Main Street trying to eat the ice cream as fast as I could while weaving in between tourists on the sidewalk. As I scurried along I felt weirdly like a little kid rushing home late for dinner. I bumped into more than one person on the street as I made my way, and could tell from their looks of irritation that I was leaving pools of ice cream on the sidewalk for them to sidestep.

“So, what brings you to the docks, Mr. Teacher?” Gershon asked me. “You should actually address me as `Mr. Unemployed Teacher.’ But I’m here pondering life. What about you? Do you own that boat?” “Yeah.”

I made it to the dock with little left but the cone. Disgusted, I tossed it away and thought about dipping my hands into the murky water below to cleanse them, but figured I’d just end up much grosser. I sat down on the edge of the pier with my legs hanging over the water, and looked out on the Chesapeake Bay.

Gershon got paid under the table by my landlords to “fix up” their already very, very nice house. One time I watched in awe as his two young assistants struggled to remove a dow from its frame. He kept hectoring them to “just get the window out already,” but they stood there indecisively, unsure of how to remove the window without damaging it. Finally, fed up, Gershon came over with a sledge hammer and bashed the thing out, leaving shards of glass and wood everywhere.

“Hey, teacher-man!” I heard someone say. I turned my head and saw standing on the deck of a sailboat parked along the dock a broad-shouldered, well-tanned balding man with a mustache. The man was sporting a short-sleeve t-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops; he was in town where I was renting a basement apartment for the summer.


“Even if it’s wrong, just do something,” he admonished them. I thought I saw his point. “Why?”

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The two teenagers just gawked at him, apparently in shock from the damage done. As I looked out at his sailboat I was aghast by its condition. It wasn’t clear to me how such a vessel could be considered seaworthy by any standard.

“Now that you’re done refurbishing the house, what’s your next move?” I asked him.

“Do you like the boat?” Gershon asked, apparently noticing the look on my face. “It’s…neat. I never realized you were a man of the sea.” “I was in the Coast Guard in the ‘70s.” “You were?” “Yeah. One time they had us out in the ocean doing research in the middle of a hurricane.” “Why?” “I don’t know,” he said, shaking his head. The look on his face was some combination of a grimace and smile.

“Want to come along?” he said, ignoring my questions. “You’re kidding, right? Are you doing rum-smuggling between Cuba and Key West along the way? And maybe some deep sea marlin-fishing?” “Only if you want to.”

“Headed to Guatemala by way of New Orleans.” “Really?” I said, surprised. “Why? What are you doing there?”

“Are you going back to school soon?” he asked. “You make it sound like I’m one of the students,” I said. In truth it sometimes felt that, since I went straight from college back to working in a high school, I never really left. “But, yeah, school is starting up soon. I’ll only be a sub for right now. After I quit working at that private school a few months ago, the job pickings have been slim. And I can’t figure out if I even want to stay a teacher at all.” Gershon sat down in a lawn-chair he had placed on the deck. The boat bobbed up and down gently in the harbor and the man seemed at peace as he drank the remains of some indeterminate drink from a mug. He put his flipflopped feet up on the gunwale of the boat.

I couldn’t tell if he was serious. “I’m a vegetarian, so I’ll skip the fishing.” He took another sip of his mystery drink. “So do you want a job on the boat? I need a four man crew and we’re one short.” I stood there speechless, and looked down at my ice cream-covered hands. “Yes,” I said. “I’ll come along.” Gershon smiled. “That’s good,” he said. “I like a quick decision.” “Even if it’s wrong, just do something,” I said to him. “I look forward to being wrong.”

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In the Middle of Nowhere By Morgan O’Connor

Jay Duret

85 Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1

I am back out in the middle of nowhere which is okay cause I was born in the middle of nowhere, actually I was born on a plane, or so I tell people, which crosses the middle of nowhere but really this middle of nowhere is tropical and the dunes are more powerful and the wind is always brutal and they still wash things by hand and don’t bother with math or news or kilometers per liter of the new wheels they slave away to buy and becoming a grandparent at forty is old or normal. My middle of nowhere was, still is I imagine, between a reservation and a provincial park with no coconuts or caju or citrus but pines and spruce and the odd maple dripping sap and heating is a critical issue so stockpiling is important there is no falling down dead drunk in the middle of nowhere all alone in the middle of a sandbank like I see here too much

cause you would be in a snowbank and really dead if you were drunk enough, I know I tried or even charge you with anything maybe and a buddy called Fish shook me and helped me into a kitchen where we drank boiled peppermint schnapps mixed with chocolate milk and here they just let you lie like sleeping dogs they don’t even laugh or shake their head or call the cops who wouldn’t laugh take your bottle or money if there was anything left but I am not complaining the sea never freezes here and you never need pants only a shirt for church if you go and things are much cheaper but so are the wages although there is little to buy or even want to buy and if you never studied geography why would you care to travel cause tourists come here too

and how they act makes you think it is better here in the middle of nowhere probably best just to stay alone here on the edge of the middle of nowhere counting your chickens even if they don’t hatch or procreate and occasionally play a game or two with a neighbor if you get along and if you don’t just ignore them like the tourists do and stay away from falling down dead drunk too much cause waking up covered in sand instead of dead in ice and bug bites is a young man’s game and not so fun once you have done it a few times an easy way to piss off the neighbors or at least lose their respect which is the worst case scenario in the middle of nowhere especially self-respect in the middle of nowhere cause no one is going to come around and give you any they might in the middle of somewhere but in the middle of nowhere you have to keep what you need to survive.

Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1


“In our MFA program, student writers participate in Writing Workshops, in the great traditions of those at Harvard and Iowa. The Workshop is a sensitive and supportive environment where students learn to improve their craft under the guidance of Master Teachers, who are also published authors.”

—Well, who wants to start? Comments anybody? Or did everyone get stoned at the break? —I’ll start. I really didn’t get involved until page seventeen, when he meets the girl. Then I liked it, but there needs to be more… more feeling, somehow. —Yeah. I’ll just read you what I have written here on my copy. This character is a drip. This is a boring character who doesn’t want any confrontation. I’m bored. —I mean the question, is “Do we feel it?” —I just wanted more from this character somehow. Like, well, like in Greg’s story, we could see how the character was. I mean... it was amazing. We could feel the vomit, and... I guess I just wanted more feeling. I was just, well I don’t know, it wasn’t stupid or anything. I was just bored. —Generally I don’t say anything while my work is discussed, but when I see that the comments are going off track, occasionally I’ll mention my point of view, as I will now. My conception of the work is the following, and perhaps this might not be completely evident in the context of a single chapter, removed from the larger work. What I’m trying to portray is discrete states of awareness in the character. To show a certain attitude, a certain mode of perception, and as the book progresses, to show 87

how that mode changes, step by-step, and frankly at very low ebb, so that admittedly, a majority of the readers might say there isn’t “emotion” in the way they desire... —But don’t you think-—Please let me just finish this thought, and I’ll be happy to answer your question. —What I do think exists are arcs of perception, from chapter to chapter. Changes in modes of observation, which might--One, not be noticeable from a single chapter read out of context; or Two, might not be enjoyed by the average reader. A lot of the book is observations often without significant emotion attached, because these represent the character’s analyses and modes of awareness... Thank you for waiting, Greg. Please pose your question. —I mean I’ve read a lot of books, right? I read a book about a guy walking around Paris just thinking, right? But this, this… I’m not interested in this. I mean I either like it or I don’t, right? —Quite so, and thank you for your phraseology. Indeed you either like it or you don’t. You may be bored by this kind of writing, even if given the whole book. —Well, I wouldn’t read a book like this.

Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1

By R. Sebastian Bennett

—Perhaps not, but it comes down to a stylistic preference. I appreciate that point of view. But really it doesn’t affect my conception of the work. —Overall, I just couldn’t relate. It was like I wanted some ee-motion, or I don’t know...


—You’re right. I’m not ready to throw it out the window. And I think that in your analysis, you-—IT’S NOT AN ANALYSIS!

—Perhaps you wanted more sex in the story? —I made certain decisions before writing this piece. Obviously there are tonal and stylistic decisions. But there are also decisions about the audience--whom one is writing for... I decided to endow my audience with the following characteristics: One, more intelligent than I am; Two, more critical than I am; Three, more interested in Mexico than I am. Now granted this necessarily limits me to a very small audience, but that doesn’t matter. —So what you’re saying is you think you’re more intelligent than we are… —No, I’m certainly not saying that. I’m saying there is the possibility that you don’t have all of the basic characteristics of the audience I imagined. For example, you might not be more interested in Mexico than I am... But again, these are just basic audience considerations. —No one’s on trial here. No one’s arguing with your conception of the story, they’re just saying it’s not working... —I can appreciate that as individual opinion. I happen to disagree, and to explain my point of view, but understand the others. —You’re not listening to how they feel.

—Well, in whatever emotional occurred at that end of the table, I think you need to appreciate a situation where the author is devoted enough to his conception of the work— namely he feels it from his heart—such that he’s not at all willing to throw his writing out the window, even in the face of misinterpretation. —But listen to you. Misinterpretation… It’s either there or it’s not, man. —That entire conception is a form of interpretation. One way of interpreting the validity of writing is that it hits you at gut level, and-—I disagree with this whole idea of “interpretation.” —Okay. One way of assessing writing is to decide that it has to hit you at gut level, without interpretation. Another way is to decide that the text should be critically analyzed. My conception of the work is really to do neither of these, but to allow the reader to observe the developing process and modes of awareness in the main character. —It’s either there or it’s not, man... —Look, he’s saying you gotta feel it from your heart. I mean, it’s either there or it’s not. —Thank you for an interesting discussion.

—I am listening. But really, given that I don’t happen to agree, what attitude would you like me to display in this situation that you don’t think I’m displaying now?

—I need a drink, man. —Gimme a big joint.

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3 by Cam Kurer Ice Storm it is no longer time to pick corn in wayne A sour-faced wind has turned the last cob to ice and the shellers are frozen in their furrowed track even the cold stare of the moon is twisted under the skeletons of broken elm from over hanging eaves innocent eyed children break off icicles while grownups stack cords of firewood for the long thaw

Marsh Geese from a haze of cattails a line of black smoke rises drifts off with the wind twisting and turning like rope unraveling the falling ash settles on a stubble field of smoldering corn a flash of fire erupts in the early dawn the line of smoke rises again. searching where it can rest.

To Museum

(in search of natural history) i swing my appaloosa over black paraffin rivers leaves of dead years eagle feathers and deerskin drums prairies of bluestem whistling iron plows breaking autumn dusk laying furrows of gray clouds.. at old central college a sioux brave in beaten mustang looks to passing fowl a steady eye of sharpening vision reminiscing wild heritage

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Tibet in Flames

Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1


Jefferson High was holding auditions for Romeo and Juliet and because I thought myself an actor at the age of sixteen I tried out for whatever I could get. A week later the cast list was posted on the auditorium door and I had to content myself with Friar Lawrence, while Kevin Clements was crowned with the role of Mercutio. Nobody seemed to know why he got the role in the first place.

Mercutio By Patrick Clark


went back to Ellis County for a funeral last summer. It was the middle of the week and the old Baptist church off the Decatur Road was filled with men in white dress shirts and dark ties done up in half-windsors. Clusters of women and grandmothers were in purple and gray, sitting with hands softly folded on their laps. The only ones my age were in the first three rows of the wooden sanctuary, with the brothers, cousins, and friends of the young man in the casket. I took my seat in the back next to a lady with a gray lace hat. Either way I would be sitting with strangers. I didn’t know Kevin Clements too well. Maybe I regretted that since I wouldn’t have any chance to in the immediate future. I hadn’t ever made a real effort to talk to him since we were in school together, and even then, we just vaguely knew each other because of a spring play. 91

Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1

Kevin was almost nineteen and still in public school. He stood over six foot, a mop of curly brown hair that nearly covered his eyes and wound down his neck, with a black fishhook shaped piercing lodged in his ear. Every afternoon he’d enter the theater with the faint smell of pot on his jacket and an old Braves cap on his head. He was by no means an idiot but he wasn’t exactly a wit. We started rehearsing in the musty school theater under the direction of Mrs. Foster, Jefferson’s sharptongued, chain-smoking, drama teacher for the past decade or so. She was the captain of a cast of two-dozen teenagers most of whom, Kevin and myself included, had never seen a Shakespearian play. I was told that because Shakespeare was dead that you could do whatever you wanted with the words he left behind. Naturally Romeo and Juliet could be a parable for whatever modern conflict or situation you wanted. With this in mind, Foster decided to cut over half the dialogue, rearrange what was left, insert original speeches about poverty and schoolyard fights, create interpretative dances for the balcony scene, dress the cast in all black, and add original music performed live on electric bass and African tribal drum. All this time I tried to learn my mangled lines. After a month of rehearsals, I knew the ship was sinking and there weren’t enough lifeboats. Most of what was going on baffled me, especially Foster’s attitude. If anyone messed up one of their big speeches the director would come down on them like a hammer, “Well why don’t you know it then?” she’d demand, nearly spilling her growler of 7-Eleven coffee, “Were you playing grab ass in the dressing room or something?”

But whenever Kevin would forget, or simply make up, whole sections of Mercutio’s dialogue the tune would change.

There was an opening street scene, a fight done in slow motion for no apparent reason, and the plot struggled along to the Capulet’s ball. I passed Mercutio backstage. I could smell the weed.

“Now Kevin, let’s try it again from the fee simple.” From time to time I’d see them smoking cigarettes in the school loading dock, the battered script open on a folding chair. Once I ran into him at the gas station on the Decatur Road. I was stopping for gas and he was toting a case of Bud Light to his car. He knew the people that ran the place. “Hey man,” he said in a mellow voice. I said hello and we went on about rehearsals. “Foster’s crazy. I shoulda quit two months ago,” I said. The whole process was grating on me. Five hours a day had become eight hours leading up to opening night. The director had been having daily shouting fits and the cast was barely hanging on.

But something happened that night. I watched from the wings as Mercutio and company entered for his first scene. The sophomore kid playing Romeo blandly rattled off his lines, then Mercutio began. “O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you!” He killed the thing. Absolutely killed it. There was a charm and agony in his voice and purpose in his words. He never let up, even when the rest of us seemed aimless and confused, he just kept rolling through. Then came Tybalt, a sulking mess. Mercutio held nothing back. “O calm, dishonourable, vile submission! Tybalt, you

rat-catcher, will you walk?” Kevin lit a smoke and shrugged his shoulders. None of this bothered him.

“What wouldst thou have with me?” replied the nasal girl playing Tybalt.

“And there’s a dress rehearsal tomorrow,” I went on fearfully. “I’ll see ya tomorrow then,” he said getting into his car. I can’t remember the dress rehearsal I had dreaded so much, everything was lost in a blur of caffeine and exhaustion. But opening night is still as clear as anything. Everyone was hot as the curtain went up. We had provided our own costumes. I was in a black suit from last year’s dance that didn’t fit. The Chorus took the spotlight dressed like Cagney in a dark trench coat. “Now the two hours’ traffic of our stage,” he recited to the audience of family and school friends. It would be more than two hours, but we grudgingly played along.

“Good king of cats, nothing but one of you nine lives!” There were no swords in this show, just plastic switchblades wrapped in electrical tape. But the fight was as real as anything Shakespeare could’ve cooked up. Then he fell, slumping into Benvolio’s arms. “A plague o’ both your houses! They have made worms’ meat of me.” He was perfect. I felt a pain in my gut seeing him limp offstage. The pallbearers carried Mercutio out of the church, his friends from up the Decatur Road falling in behind. I got that pang in my gut again. Damn shame he got drunk and wrecked his car.

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93 Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1


The Heart is an Odd-Shaped Shore

The fog proliferates, and what remains From the smudged dimensions of the trees And shallows are the strokes of consciousness Edging off to sleep, The stones in the brains circuits Finally softening to a kind of clay, Statuaries of dream stoked In the body’s easing apparatus. And then the fire, gorgeous inner flame, Rose up from who knows what spirit, What chemical or god, blooming new worlds, New trees impervious to fog, New enigmas for the chimeric brain To loosen and dissolve.

Banana palms, and the light Like old bedrock stripping the dark. In this place where the river Takes your name, Where the soul chirps and buoys, The ferryman is treading his way. He is building a pattern For our hearts to follow, For the one in us who knows The cardinal ricochet, The leewarding drift Towards home. In the missing quadrants, In the map’s unmarked edges, There is a bird rising Like a song-filled fist, A ship full of secret wagers. If we can unspool our glittering nets And catch a single reddened streak In the darkened waters, Then even the iron-girdled weight Of all our longing Will suddenly burst Like wild fruit.

Widow Maker Inside the bronze barometers, The heart’s war-torn paths, This thing I keep feeling Is lifting its barely-humming wings Against the bone. And as I pass down along The lavender windfall, The red, detrital light, I am growing more and more Unhinged, More convinced of the world’s Passing beauty, More amazed how even The breath of a sudden wind Can undo my dreaming.

Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1


TIM SNYDER Photography

95 Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1

Postcards from Nowhere

E E R TH by o

ch y e P

Full moon and nothing else The light travels faster than you can utter Darkness Leafage and brown logs splitting back into molecules into midnight’s unhidden veil Out there ocean’s murky blue face freezes and I move forward.

v e n Ka

The Villain

Passed Eternity

Someone goes inside the heart of someone else quietly without making any noise maybe except this one which sounds like a matchstick lit inside a fresh grave

I’m lying in bed all day, watching the flies on the ceiling walking as the light outside turns cloudy, ashen like some ancient papyrus and I look at the clock on the wall measuring only itself then I throw my pen in the sink full of dirty dishwater where the waves break and slide away with no time

down upside

Someone goes inside someone’s heart and stays there as long as he have to He does not go out to drink water or breathe and just stays in there until the other one says Game over


Then he comes out of his heart quietly without making any noise maybe except this one which sounds like a pair of lips separating suddenly after a long kiss

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White Hot Honky Tonk

She wears the mark of her Father, of bourbon and ash, gathered gradually from long walks on Lower Broadway, stopping to hear the sounds of centuries whenever possible. She wears the mark of a far flung destroyer, music always in her ears. Away from humid land. Away from the smell of cut grass and the NASCAR dreams of weekends spent in yards with beer bottles and shirtless children running wild like puppies.

See the city as it should be seen teeth bared tribal fires blood trails on the sidewalks. Wandering the corner of 7th and Broad she moves with a swing that makes cars stop, that draws offers, incantations,the whiskey and smoke soaking her to the bone. Tumescent dreams too much for one head rend the heart, human sacrifice as she tries to give them birth these ideas, these betrayals.

The city can adjust you, can pour the whisky and smoke down your throat.


It just happens.

Dogs forgive. Mothers forgive.

Forgiveness is a word, a comfort word.

She wears the mark of her Father.

~ Clint Brewer

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Angel of the Pelvic Sensation By Guinotte Wise

“The thing you should ask about someone’s work, sculpture in particular, is not ‘por qué?’” He paused, steepled his fingers in front of his face, closing his eyes. He looked gastrically pained. “Never, ‘why’ did you do this particular thing, when you could have done another particular thing.” “No, nunca, nunca, nunca ‘why.’ But, ‘why not?’ You see? Why the fuck not? That’s what I ask myself a hundred times a day.” He turned and walked away from the couple. A pretty American girl in a short skirt and cowboy boots with a colorful red and green pepper motif approached him, offered her hand. He took it in both of his and bowed. His expression could have been a leer or just a welcoming smile. They stood near a pedestal displaying a polished bone pelvis, probably a cow’s. The sculptor had embellished it with chrome feathered wings and a plaque from an appliance that said, “Caliente. Fria.” An Art Deco switching box completed the work, which was labeled Angel de la Sensación Pélvica. The sculptor had not let go of the attractive girl’s hand.

“Why ‘Hot and Cold?’” she asked, nodding toward the piece.

The light shifted from dusk outside the large windows, and as he opened his mouth to answer her, the light changed again to a saturated pre-storm green, a virulent swamp of color. The explosion caved in the front of the gallery and broke windows up and down the street. A car containing the explosives had lifted in front of the gallery and tumbled across the street into a small restaurant with a sidewalk cafe. The couple the sculptor had walked away from had gone to the back of the gallery to get a drink at the open bar. The man had been standing against a pillar, an iron beam with exposed bolts, the woman to his right. She was no longer there and he looked around for her. In the rubble he saw her blouse and he started to set his drink down but couldn’t find a flat place. Then some of his sensibilities began to return and he dropped the drink and reached for his wife’s blouse. It was a bar towel. His hearing was gone and he could feel the blood from his ears on the sides of his face. He shook his head and popped his jaws but no hearing returned. He felt movement behind him and saw shapes in uniforms, firemen, a policeman with an automatic weapon, some people from the street. A man led him away from the bar, and he tried to explain about his wife. The man seemed to understand but kept tugging him toward the street where lights flashed from police vehicles, ambulances, fire equipment. The building’s facade was entirely gone, the second story was open, and people were moving about up there. He saw one of the attractive girl’s cowboy boots on the sidewalk. Nunca nunca nunca, ran through his mind.

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Hugh Mercer Goes to War Apothecary Mercer locked the door. Inside his shop stood bottles row on row Containing herbs and simples, powders, pills For every malady that’s known to man But one, the man-made scourge of tyranny. He’d emptied out the leeches, swept the floors, Including the adjoining empty room Where Washington the surveyor once stored His papers, lines and sextants, peacetime tools. He drew in clean air from old Fredericksburg, This last breath as an ordinary man. From now on he would deal with history And order rows of soldiers to the charge, Knowing that his simples could not cure The death that certainly awaited them. – The cruel old alchemy of generals. Till he in turn was torn by cannon shell At Princeton in New Jersey, far away From peaceful gardens in the shade of elms Where silent simples keep his memory. ~ James F. Gaines


Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1

JOHN M. WILLS Photography

Hazelwild Barn

Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1


TWENTY FLOORS DOWN IN LOS ANGELES Twenty floors down in Los Angeles, I tore out the pages of your notes, tumbling, grainy with my suspension. Your words, dark ink fractured on white papers, scraped the finger that’s still wedded to a gold wedding band-One squint and two shivering away, your magnificent strokes of the Hollywood sign above our bed chased into walls of azure sky, where the red eyes of long neck summers and sunset canapés strapped inside two decades, embroidered between Bordeaux wine and candlelight-After disrobing, I fell into the bed, dried lips tasted your woolly scarf and fingers reached for those familiar traces on the headboard. You had often said I prefer living with old things, funny, new things always come with extra weight of details, traveling on a frenzied speed to which I feel nothing for-Wood blinds stayed close, barring the world with language you had rewritten into speech, and new emotions you felt to be your new shelter. At that narrow instance, I could hear no longer your feet tiptoed across the carpet, a care as you set to dazzle me from my half-sleep to wake-I woke to find that everything I’d lost was still lost. ~ Lana Bella

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A Million Tiles There’s a million tiles on the roof of the opera house They are self-cleaning, and only one percent of them have needed replacing since their installation decades ago Nearby, guards stand on the Harbor Bridge looking bored Commuters hurry over it towards downtown jobs Ferries glide over the water like water bugs— wait, those are water bugs— I ‘m looking into a corner of the quay where they congregate and I’ve taken a mind-expanding drug like Dr. Oliver Saks did in his early years before he met the man who mistook his wife for a hat Not really so odd—we mistake our spouses for all manner of things We mistake everyone we meet for something other than they are Freud had a term for that— it will come to me in a minute Where do all the opera house roof tiles go that have been replaced? I didn’t see any in the opera house gift shop I’d like to have one I’d like not to mistake my wife for a hat but if I did I think I’d like her to be a classy fedora like my grandfather wore in the Bronx and when he took the subway to his job in the garment district a hat that could mislead others into thinking that he was someone when he was just a presser in the garment industry His kids mistook him for a tyrant and hated him I mistook him for a mystery, because he couldn’t speak English and just about all he ever said to me was Nu? (Yiddish for So? ) How does a five-year-old respond to a question as open-ended as that? After all, he was not a psychotherapist and I was not his patient

~ Mitchell Grabois

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Petals We found a small plant growing in the rift of a split stone. There seemed so little space for anything to hold: how could those roots find passages to reach the fertile clay? We could not trace their paths. And yet, long shoots lifted themselves above the cracked rockface, encouraged by warmth and sunlight. Where they curled tendrils into the air, ringlets unfurled, revealing in their motions delicate red buds, whose calyxes, in sequence, fell onto the flashing stone. The tendrils’ sway seems almost like a dance: the small buds swell, their changing hues describing intricate transfigurations: metamorphosis of green into a prism’s synthesis of every kind of light, collecting here, almost for us, all colors into one, as if those blossoms’ beauty could convey something eternal, even as they spun their petals open, welcoming the clear pure sunlight, as one welcomes a great gift.

TWO by

W.F. L


Courtship I stood there in the batter’s box near dusk, my hands already talced, my cap just slant, all limbering and loose, waved my turned bat across the plate a couple times. I dug my left foot way inside, my right foot braced almost outside the line, and then looked up. She nodded, wound, and let the first one go straight down the middle. I took my best swing and found only the empty air: Strike one. I saw her fingers spinning on the next and, liking curves, angled my swing towards right but missed completely. Two. I saw her smirk. The third came hot. Low and inside. I whiffed, and stood there, shocked. I watched her wind again. Ok, I said, why not? And this time swung for center, deep. Her change up fooled my eye. And so it went, past sunset, as she threw and I kept missing while the darkness fell.


Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1

The Associate By Peg Alford Pursell Her husband told her he was going out of the country the second week of the month, just after her birthday. A strange sensation crept over her skin and she felt such as when the person you are trying to reach is sitting with his phone, unanswering. That evening they had dinner at the apartment of his associate who had invited them, he explained, because she, being new to the city, was lonely. She wanted them to feel comfortable with her. She needed friends. Her place smelled of curries and something vaguely like decaying sunflowers. The woman’s face reminded her of a finely cracked mirror but not one so broken that you would discard it. Possibly, the associate was not her husband’s lover after all. The woman showed them into the living room where they were to wait the ten or fifteen minutes until dinner, the wine they brought left unopened on the table. They were alone in the small room and quiet, some unseen threads connecting them to the earlier conversation. You are supposed to talk, she said, because she needed to learn his secret. He placed his finger to his mouth and shook his head. The meal was dry, and a large cockatiel squawked in its cage at they ate, rustling its dusty feathers, powdery motes flailing in the fading sunlight. After, they waited in the hall for the elevator, white light illuminating the number of their floor, then disappearing, and the doors never sliding open. They descended the three flights of stairs to the street and began the long walk back across the bridge. Birds hunted underneath, sending up a cacophony of muted noises. He stopped to look out over the river low against its banks. He always liked to look at water, no matter its qualities, and true to his nature, he seemed to see the river as it might have been once, a rush of water over the huge rocks, alive, pushing to the sea. He took her arm, placing his hand between her armpit and breast, and she said nothing, thinking of a time when their bodies seemed so uncomplicated, so vital, so known.

Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1


Waiting with Someone The call came Monday morning, just a week after we’d returned from visiting with my mother and sister Connie at Inverness, their retirement village in Tulsa. Karen, the clinic nurse, was in Mom’s apartment with two EMT’s. Karen had found Mom semi-conscious and having great difficulty breathing. She put Mom on the phone, and I heard, “I’m dying, but I’m not going to the hospital. Hospitals kill people. Tell the family to come.” An EMT got on the phone and said, “Ma’am, your mother has pulmonary edema and congestive heart failure which is reversible if we get her to the hospital in time.” Weeping, I replied, “But you don’t understand. She’s 90 years old, her husband died ten months ago, and she doesn’t want to live. I have her medical power of attorney, she has a DNR on record, and both duty and love require me to honor her wishes. You cannot take her to the hospital.” Then I hung up and agonized. As my husband and I began preparations to fly to Tulsa, I continued to brood until Karen called to say she’d arranged for hospice to take over Mom’s care. Mom was on oxygen and had been given Ativan, which had calmed her down. I’d e-mailed our sons; Brad, who lives in Wichita, said he’d pack up his family and see us at Inverness Tuesday morning. The youngest son, Mike, was in Chicago and would arrive in Tulsa that evening. The middle son Wes was keeping in touch by phone and e-mail. By 10:30 that evening, Doy, Mike and I were at Inverness, visiting briefly with Mom. She was coherent, pleased to see us, and breathing easily. The next day was a blur of people and activity as hospice settled Mom (and took her off the critical list), and Brad, Holly, Ripley (4) and Louise (3) came. I wandered from her apartment to skilled nursing with supplies and clothing I thought Mom might need. Con, who lives in skilled nursing, two doors down from the room Mom now occupied, managed to ask each of us except the children if we would become her caregiver if Mom died. Con, a 62-year old paranoid schizophrenic, wears a colostomy bag, is mostly bedridden and incontinent. We told her the truth—we will see that she is cared for, but not by any of us. The children brought joy with every bouncing entrance into the sick room; Mom liked the company and the attention, and especially seemed to enjoy telling everyone that she was dying. We ended the day with a family dinner, then Brad and his family returned to Wichita, and the rest of us fell into bed.


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Who is Waiting to Die By SuzAnne C. Cole Doy and I were sleeping deeply when Mike called from Mom’s room. She had phoned him in the apartment to say she didn’t want to die alone. Pulling clothes over our pajamas, we hurried to her room. She had removed her oxygen tubes because “they make me nervous,” and her breathing was shallow and rapid. Having never experienced waiting with someone dying, I could only offer what I thought I’d like. We held her hands and shared stories about her travel, marriage, work, and family. At midnight a nurse restored the oxygen, and said the hospice doctor would be there soon. Mike and I went back to our beds while Doy stayed through the doctor’s visit. The doctor gave Mom a thorough physical and said she could easily live five more years with drugs to help her heart and the edema. The immediate crisis was over. The next few days were a hard slog of waiting and working. I cleaned Mom’s apartment to make it safer if she returns there, Doy worked on finances, and got Mom’s and Con’s financial power of attorney. We also spent many hours sitting with Mom who couldn’t decide if she wanted to stay in skilled nursing (for the attention and the regular meals) or go back to the apartment because “there are too many rules here.” She particularly did not like being unable to self-medicate. At her request, I’d retrieved bottles of Tylenol PM and meclazine from the apartment, but when the nurse saw them, she confiscated them. The night Mom called Mike, she asked him to bring her bottle of sleeping pills. Daily, she winked slyly at me as she patted the pocket of her robe and said, “This is where the sleeping pills are and this is where they’ll stay—that damned nurse is not going to find them here.” And, as far as I know, they are still there. Is this irresponsible? Is there part of me that wishes she’d just take a handful and sleep forever? I don’t know. I just know I didn’t take them from her nor did I tell the nurse she had them. By the sixth day of our stay, we were tired of waiting and of each other. When Mom began to rant against one of our daughters-in-law, I’d had enough. I left the room, returning only to give her a quick kiss on the cheek before we departed for the airport. We live now with one ear for the phone, hoping for, and fearing, the latest news.

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TIM SNYDER Photography

Boner Train Gap Ollie


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Aquarium Rather than a queen

Bathed in my own tears While worshipped Before glass walls I would be

A tiny shrimp

At the bottom

Of the food chain Even to be

Eaten alive While swimming Freely

~ Yaun Changming

Clarendon Grill Trying to find an altar in Clarendon, The cubicle was no help,

As soon as I cleared the desk for the sacrifice

More papers and deadlines fell in hapless piles In the subway I retreated to old booths Where phones once hung,

Too late for a confession, I stood

Looking at the glowing backs of well-lit maps Bar after bar, I compiled a tabernacle, Put hands on waxy wood,

Then tried to fashion the wine into a key

To open doors towards any of the nearby flesh

~Ben Nardolilli

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What Is Justice Anyway? I am 80. If ever there was a time for answers to life’s persistent questions it is now. Except that I don’t know the answers. I didn’t then and I still don’t now. Sometimes I dream about the Mekong Delta, although I have never been there. The jungle contains no answers only repeats the questions. Fifty years ago, Peter, a very lax student, entered my office. With his large brown eyes and his hesitant manner, he asked if he could ask for a favor. The Vietnam War was in full fury and students who were called for the draft could get a deferment if a C or better average was maintained. Peter had received a D in my class, which I considered to be very generous considering the quality of his attention and grade scores. Peter, however, saw things differently. He begged for a C, citing the dangers of war and his recent induction letter from the Army. Being a new academic still impressed with the rigors and responsibilities of educational standards, as well as the sister of a West Point graduate and the wife of an Army Medical Officer, I declined. Six months later, Peter was killed on the Mekong River. I would visit the Vietnam Memorial and look for him but I cannot remember his last name, just his begging, brown eyes. ~ Ruth Ann Allaire


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Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1


A Night in New

“What the hell!?” I mumbled, sitting up on my elbows, the sudden, sharp noises out of place in the quiet coastal retreat.

My wife stirred. “What was that?” she said, groggily, asleep before she heard my answer. “I have no idea...” I mumbled to myself, looking at the dim light of the night through the open door of the cabin. There was no movement outside of the small cottage, the whisper of the box fan sucking the cool ocean air into the small room the only sound. I lay back, straining to listen for anything out of place. Were those gun shots?! The darkness deepened around me. I lay there, suddenly awake, holding my breath, trying to fit the sound into the normally peaceful atmosphere. We were staying for the week in a small cluster of cabins on the coast, many of them empty, for a long needed vacation. Repeated staccato cracks once again rang out in the night. Three this time, irregular, while the first had been two in rapid succession. I sat up again. That really sounded like gunshots! Was that closer than before? I got up, tip-toed to the sliding door and peered out past the screened openings on the small porch. The night air was crisp and 111

upon the yard that stretched nearly to the rocky embankment that framed the coastline. The faint twinkles of a green light on a buoy in the harbor lit dimly on the horizon, the ocean tide crashing faintly against the rocks. I crept to the kitchen at the back of the cabin. Light from a streetlight streamed into the open window over the sink, but I could see nothing in it’s orange glow. I turned to the other window on the opposite wall, overlooking the cabin behind mine, but there was no sign of life there. I had seen a family there earlier today, but now it was black and impenetrable. I stared at the small screened porch, trying to pierce the gloom and see into the shadows that lay thick upon the interior, to no avail. What was that?! I spun around, fear crawling down my back, the scuffling sound faint, like a shoe fall upon gravel. I took a cautious glanced out of the window, trying to stay out of sight, shielding my eyes from the glare of the streetlight. Nothing. I leaned against the wall, barely breathing, waiting, listening. Who would be shooting something at this time of night? My mind filled with images, a man holding a

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Hampshire gun, face emotionless, eyes wild, the rapid staccato bursts as he fires into the bodies of his cabin mates, blood spraying everywhere, looking around, startled at the loud sounds of the gunshots in the night, wondering who may have heard. Anyone who may be awake. Despite my heavily beating heart my eyelids started closing over my tired eyes. I must stay awake! But my eyelids would have none of that, drifting lower and lower.

By R.S. Chevalley

Sitting on the side of the bed I stared out into the night, past the front door for quite a while, fearing sleep, but fearing wakefulness as well. Is it better to die, aware the end is near, or to have it come upon you unawares? I lay back on the bed, muscles tense with fear, staring at the door. The curtain flailed about in the moving air, I strained to keep my eyes open, looking for any movement, knowing I was powerless to stop what may happen. I must stay awake...

I started from a doze, leaning against the wall. I considered waking my wife, her snores still echoing around the cabin. She would never believe me, and perhaps the noise of her talking would draw the gunman our way! No, I could not! I continued looking out each window in turn, straining to see movement, looking for a figure creeping through the night, the shadows taking shape in the dimness as fatigue muddled my senses.

My head relaxed upon the pillow. As sleep descended upon my weary consciousness my half open eyes drifted to the door... Was that a shadow I just saw cross the doorway? A footfall...

My eyes closed.


Finally, after an age of waiting, watching for anything, I walked back to the bed, quietly, staying away from the windows.

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Roomie If pants were an option, Two you would always opt out, and you did. You, my whimsical friend, are the trumpet of random noises by and the sliding of pigeon-toed feet echoing down the hallway. Mich You are candy-colored underwear, e Sand lle a sports bra, ers a kitchen table, a giant canvas, a paintbrush, and turquoise acrylic. You are French toast at midnight, and clean floors, burned butter and fire alarms, Christmas lights and a year-round holiday-tree, kittens, and kitchens, a bunny phone, a waxed eyebrow, thoughtful cards, personal artYou, dear Rooms, love with your whole heart. You are unabashedly yourself. You are sunflowers, butternut squash, matches, coconut cake, resilience, Rain Prayers II and light.

There is nothing quite so hopeful as a warm evening rain. Pounding on the roof, the sudden rush sounding through the windows draws me to my balcony. This kind of air lifts me, fills my cheeks like balloons, stretches my sleepy ribs. This precipitation, with its pings against rooftops and gutters, demands me to pause and be grateful, each drop a proof of possible life, a call to witness, then join in everything it has to offer. This kind of night asks me to dance, and I want, so badly, to be the woman who always says yes to this joy.


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Down the Orinoco I wanted to run to cascades of falling rain under the cloak of Amazon leaves and peel mangoes with our teeth down the Orinoco. I wanted to present your face to the Inca Sun so when your name was sung by the long-beak toucan we could fly south with the sparrows and take refuge under the bells in La Plaza de San MartĂ­n. And if a thunder rolled over the Andes roaring your name again

we could follow Venus and sleep on a condor’s wing until we landed on the silent feet of the Moais.

We would offer a dance to the head stones, honor their gaze to the East and you, my sweet child, would sing over the volcanoes of Rapa Nui riding on waves with sunrise in your eyes. If only I had not missed that call, the voice of another mother warning. But you were already taken.

Already gone.

~ Maria Elena B. Mahler

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Not Nearly Near Enough to Save -- After AirAsia Flight 8501

A glimpse of ruin— I dream a teacup spills, refills in somersaults of sorrow, settling among black coral & featherstars found fast asleep at the bottom of the Java Sea. Striking— choir of coral stirs— so many mouths gasp on impulse of wave and sound and sway, sinking in the humility of losing one teacup’s light. Palm down, a slender hand searches the dark shelf, wanting to recover the cup’s fortune swallowed by an indifferent sea. . . . Here, nothing truly expires.

How Much Did Brahms Know About Pulling Strings? Is it safe to sit in the intimacy of chamber music, when your spirits sink in the thoughts of what’s waiting for you? Your hands are empty. No longer safe, gripping a pen’s fine point, writing glossy notes to those who will never listen to your advisement, but rush to the inked grade that awaits them. Judgment, you think, is negligible. You listen to the violin’s insistent question to the cello’s constant measure & wonder if it’s unimportant— who’s listening really? Like Brahms, what you love has made a fool of you.

Two by M.J. Iuppa


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TIM SNYDER Photography

Puddle World

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The Walking Man There he is, on the shoulder of the two­lane road out of town. Warm overcast day just after 9 in the morning. A resolute walk, not rapid but strong. Backpack. I pass him, then drive on. Rearview mirror shows a few seconds of short white beard, lean face. Jeans flap against long shins. Nothing ahead for him but a long walk to the next town past new­planted corn. Now light rain dots my windshield. I should stop. But I’m a woman alone. I drive on. A dip in the road and he’s gone. Later on, my business done, I’m halfway home on the same road. It’s almost noon. There he is, the same walk, and there’s the backpack. I should stop, turn around. Wouldn’t take long, just back to town. But then, rain’s ended. Lunch is waiting. I drive on. Since then, every time I drive that road again I look for him, to make amends.

TAKING SIDES The old brown dog. The old curly haired brown dog. The old curly haired brown dog Chases squirrels for no good reason. The old curly haired brown dog Never catches a squirrel; But from our back window We root for him, sense something In his need to remember better times, Closer chases, where perhaps even Once or twice the squirrel was caught. The old curly haired brown dog Does not even finish the chase, Each time turning back To the soft and cool depression He has made in the comfortable dirt Behind an indifferent hedge. If ever he caught a squirrel We would root for the squirrel. The once agile gray squirrel. The once agile limp gray squirrel. The once agile limp gray squirrel Twisted into an upside-down U In the old curly haired brown dog’s Mouth, the red leaking out of him And the spigots of his running Turned shut. Our eyes Accustomed to the chase but not the catch, Our contrasting hearts might wonder where Now does this quickness go?

~ Ken Poyner

~ Marydale Stewart


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40 and me So I’m sitting there, just minding my business, when this number comes sidling all loose-jowled, yellow teeth, hairline receding, in a polyester suit with unbuttoned shirt revealing chest hair nestling gold chains gleaming and says, “How ya doin’ sweetheart?” “Just fine till you came along,” I reply. He chuckle-cackles, says, “Tell me how ya feelin,’ gettin’ closer to the other side.” “Don’t remind me,” I say. He puts up his hands like surrender. “Hey sweetheart, take it easy. I ain’t here to take your last confession, know what I’m sayin’?” I nod, curious. “I’m just here to give you a heads-up is all. Time waits for no man, and all that. So whachagonnadobout it, sister?” he says, grabbing his lapels, making a check-out-the-merchandise face. “Cuz I’ll be back. And next time I won’t be this handsome, but I won’t be leavin’ alone.” Ugh. I turn to the bartender, “another drink, please?” and when I turn back he’s gone, leaving just this number scrawled on a cocktail napkin.

~ Kim Baer

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Gallows With fingers knotted in a noose the old man’s hand strangled the neck of the paper bag, bottle shaped, beside him on the bench. No draught could swing a man so high as the visions he could find inside or dangle him so precipitously over the edge of his life. Running a shaking left finger inside the deteriorating collar of another day’s shirt he attempted to loosen the impending knot. Slipping his hand inside the bag he ran reverent fingers over the sweating sides of the waiting sanctuary and touched the blessed moisture to his lips. Then shaking his head jerkily to scatter the final fragments of his mind he lifted his own right arm and sought the salvation sliding down his throat.

~ Ruth Ann Allaire

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House of Cards By Kyle Hemmings

Crouching like little children in a game of hide & seek, we entered the old house, slowly. There was a muffled voice coming from upstairs, the light slap of feet. We took the stairs with caution, our KK-Caligulas drawn. Our gas masks gave off the impression of black pigs mismatched to thick human trunks. Most of us were only golly-grunts on first tour of haze-duty. Sometimes we couldn't recognize each other. At the end of the far bedroom, an old man lay on the floor, coiled into himself. We didn't check for signs of radioactive burn. Then the singing from the bathroom. We knocked, yelled out, "People's Army of the Free Roulette, Friend or Foe?" No answer. We kicked down the door, pointed our Caligulas at the old woman taking a sponge bath. She wore a joker's mask, the kind one might see in old Neo-realist films-- costume balls, lavish parties for the rich, the existentially dead. She crossed her arms, covering her breasts. "If you'll excuse me, gentlemen, I'd like to dry off & get dressed. Then, we can all go downstairs & have tea. I'm sure this can all be sorted out without the need for further intrusion." We obliged & closed the door. A few seconds later, the bathroom exploded, sending some of us careening against the walls & our best Scopes-sniper hurling out of a half-closed French window. We gathered ourselves & rose from the floor. Giddy at being alive, we felt light as ghosts, playful as pigs. Downstairs, we pretended to drink tea from empty cups, pinkies up.

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Ce’sar Franck His

2 by h Josep er l h e u B


“Symphony In D Minor�: you are lost, scurrying about in a strange (dark?) forest for two full movements, until finally escaping in the third, bursting out into joyous sunlight! No other art form can accomplish this: weird, wild and finally liberating; you must wait for it, wait for it to finally gloriously detonate more than once in this marvelous and wonderful third.

they missed their they missed their time they missed their time for entry into a flat black fast moving sun and they missed fog and heavy brown sand and a cold blowing wind from the north with a high tide and a longed for shore they missed their time of recall they missed the slow soundless circling of a dark speckled hawk they missed the sound of a much traveled wave as it slapped hard against the cold cement of a jutting pier they missed all of these possibilities until the last one finally appeared before them and then they missed that one also

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Ag Museum It was the pork chop barbecue that tipped the scale for me. Otherwise I’d have stayed home—too hot and dry to be outside this August Sunday. We went in three cars, rendezvous’d in the white dust of the gravel behind the pre­fab metal building. Plenty of people there, too, ranged along the picnic tables shaded under canvas, breeze­cooled. One by one we finished lunch: chop in a bun, mound of potato salad, helping of sweet brown baked beans, best I’d had in a long time. In the cavernous museum, a perspiring man in a nineteenth century shirt, vest, and frock coat told us he was John Deere, told us how he’d made the first steel mold­board plow and how he kept the business going through its Grand Detour days and then for the generations in Illinois and finally the world. We all knew the story but it was good to hear it again, a pleasant reminder of where we’d been.

After that, I walked around, inspected history arranged, dusted, described on white cards alongside mannequins resting after hard lives. In alcoves were quilts, furnishings, stone crocks and churns. Then the tools: walking plows, a grain drill, a corn sheller. Then tractors: a brilliant green John Deere, a restored Fordson, a rusted but dignified Oliver. Last, in a room apart were the uniforms and guns, the other side of this kind and hopeful past. Faded tunics, belts, caps, insignia of command and courage, sat stiffly upright on mute forms, shadowed and still. From the quiet core of life, from the center of these farmlands, from the cradle of the land itself, the young men went to war. With new sets of tools and new seasons to understand, they learned to kill.

~ Marydale Stewart


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Prayer of the Motorcycle “I tell you,” he replied, “If the disciples keep

quiet, the stones will cry out” —Luke 19:40

Lord, cover my machined skeleton with soft muscle rippling beneath skin. Trade me an irregular beat for the perfect timing in my finned chambers. Powder­coated steel. Ninety­two octane. I too am a collection of precious dirts plucked, fashioned from the earth’s heartbox. I need sweet air, fluids. Spark. A master. Give me hunger beyond the bite into a curve’s pavement. Lord, give me sight where I have a filament. If I am their creation, I am yours, so give me the freedom of a misfiring voice and the tiny loping engines of cells whose fuel is bread, meat. Then let me ascend your highway with the sputter of wings. ~ Jonathan Travelstead

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Edison Street Excavation They couldn’t leave the farm behind when they moved to our block the whole unruly lot of them— aunts uncles cousins coming and going coupling and uncoupling and always clinging to them the memory of the plow It was a post-war suburb square faceless brick perfunctory lawns but on an extra lot they grew corn and beans and grapes and built a shed one side for chickens the other for a mule The youngest girl and I played forts and fantasies in the brambles by the tracks that traced their plot a daily train clattering by at 5 o’clock rousing the dogs telling us day was running down Still the hint of fields hovers somehow in the air the almost smell of dry straw faint scratch of chickens bramble’s prickle on a child’s remembered shin ~ Sally Zakariya


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do not ask me how many stars don’t ask me to count stars in the heavens: when I look up at night, I see a muddy void and a dozen of the brighter points, dimmed with tears. this is a small town, but big enough; big enough to veil infinity, big enough to be a beacon that turns dark and light alike to shadow. I hear there are places, far from home, where the eve is not charcoal, but glitter, not smoke but afire. so I hear, but hearsay is inadmissible. night is tar- it’s hard and it’s dry; night is ink gone grey with decay. night is a beast that creeps and that trickles, spreads slow round the day, nibbling and scribbling and swallowing it whole. night is like winter, like death and like cold. who’d wonder that we close our doors to dusk, set our false suns to burning, and hide from falser darkness?

who’d wonder we fear and mistake what we so long have tarnished?

~Madison Seaver

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On the Fringes I do not pretend to be white, and there are those who would quickly disabuse me of such a pretense. I do not pretend to be black, my ancestral skin long ago lightened to more acceptable hues. But, my world view was formed by the neighborhood children throwing rocks at my grandfather, by their white parents boycotting all of us for welcoming dark-skinned guests, by the black girls who beat me up at camp because of my heritage. My life’s journey takes me from one state to another, never staying long enough to plant roots. While I may sometimes find myself welcome for a bit among an organization or small group, at best I fit in awkwardly. I’ve never belonged anywhere, and I probably never will. ~ F.I. Goldhaber

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Family Traits By Scott Decker

Tallness has always challenged Deckers. Johannes DeDecker, government administrator for New Amsterdam; descendant Isaac Decker of Staten Island—oyster boat captain on the Jersey side, plying the Fresh Kills; his son Richard Tyson Decker joining the Eleventh New Jersey Volunteers, guest of a Union hospital after Gettysburg; finally Bob Decker—my father—first born to the streets of Elizabeth, then a teenager finishing high school while farming alone in west Jersey, finally drafted for Korea. Each man standing five foot five—although frequently claiming five six. War enveloped Europe—Nazis destroying mankind and our nation stood up. Uncle Johnny Decker joined the fight, leaving the city of Elizabeth, New Jersey, finding his place among the Eighth Air Force and the crew of The Wild Hare, a B-17 flying fortress carrying out missions across Holland, France, Poland and Germany, bombing factories, air bases, and refineries; flying during D-Day and in the Battle of the Bulge. Thirteen machine gun placements—the ball turret gun the smallest—defended The Hare. Nicknamed “Suicide Seat,” the ball turret descended from the huge ship’s belly, tiny in size for air drag reduction, requiring the smallest and toughest of the crew to man it—my Uncle, Sargent John H. Decker.

Throughout 1943, after taking off from the safety of Suffolk England, six miles above the earth, Uncle John would rotate the pexiglass sphere until twin machine guns pointed straight down and then squeeze inside. He placed his feet on steel rests—one for rotation, the second for radio control with the crew. He crouched into a fetal position and buckled the safety belt tight before turning two locking hatch bolts overhead. Air supplied by tubes from oxygen bottles, frost-bite a constant companion, he sat with back and head against the rear wall of his plastic bubble, hips at the bottom, legs in mid-air. His eyes leveled with the fifty-caliber barrels spanning the turret’s width, nearing either side of his neck. Cocking the guns by pulling wire cables, reaching around ammo boxes stacked above, careful not to disturb belts of brass bullets lying at his elbows, he focused on the gun sight hanging from above and descending between his feet as he scanned the air for thin, light Messerschmitts and newer, heavier Focke-Wulfs. November came and with its eleventh day, mission number thirty-three.

This time, a substitute. Uncle Johnny would sit out for a needed rest, a newer gunner taking his seat. Over Munster, Germany, The Wild Hare released her eight bombs and turned for England as Major Schnoor, the rising Luftwaffe Ace, powered his Focke-Wulf upward. Flak hit The Hare’s third engine, then three more strikes. She dropped from the protection of her squadron and into the path of Major Schnoor. Twenty-millimeter cannons punched holes through her aluminum skin as fires ignited explosions and parachutes opened above Nazis in Holland. Uncle Johnny returned to Elizabeth in 1945, surviving thrice weekly missions over German-held Europe. As he aged, he often seemed lost in thought, silent and preoccupied, never able to stay warm—remembering the numbness of cramped and frozen joints as he crouched in the bubble, eight to ten hours a stretch, wind blowing through, ice clogging oxygen masks, temperatures reaching forty, even sixty below, metal for a seat—wondering at his luck escaping Major Schnoor’s cannon-fire, unaware his feet pedaled silently back and forth as he spun the turret and radioed his crew.

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By Timothy O’Leary

Adolph blinked awake in confusion. For a moment he assumed he’d gone blind, then realized he was in pitch black. The air, fetid, almost too thick to breathe, with an odor so foul with decay it made his stomach burn. He wheezed deeply, nostrils coated sticky. He attempted to raise an arm but was unable to move, his body somehow bound, which explained the deep ache that pulsated his spine. Shaking his head, he discovered a heavy chain encircling his neck, tethering him to something in the darkness. This was not good.

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His last memory was the bunker. Eva had easily succumbed to the cyanide capsule he’d placed between her lips after kissing her goodbye, her complexion now the ivory hue of the dead. Still, Adolph thought she looked beautiful, like a Gabriele Münter painting, her tiny form compressed into the green velvet couch he’d transported to their underground hideaway from The Berghof. He was more distressed about his beloved dog Blondi and her two pups, their corpses carelessly shoved into a corner in the next room after his aide had tested the suicide pills on the animals a day earlier. It seemed a cruel end for such fine canines, but

the last thing Adoph wanted was to be writhing in pain or shitting his pants from too low a dosage when the Russians broke through. He knew what the barbarians would do if he was discovered alive. He remembered popping his capsule, chasing it with a swallow of brandy, then placing the Walther into his mouth and pulling the trigger for good measure. And then…..this. It occurred to him that he might be buried alive. Perhaps the gun had misfired, and he’d collapsed into a coma from the cyanide, only to awaken six feet under in a pine box. Or did this indicate something more glorious? Could he be rising from the dead, somehow beating mankind’s most inevitable foe? Of course, he’d sometimes pondered his own immortality, given the god-like powers he possessed. He recalled standing on the terrace at the Reich Chancellery, two hundred thousand Germans below, arms raised in salute while chanting his name in adoration. A man that elicited such a response from the masses could have unlimited potential.

His tongue, leathery and swollen, was caked with what tasted like sour milk, but he was unable to spit away the foulness. An hour or two passed, and suddenly the darkness was broken by the sound of a heavy door sliding, a column of light stretching in front of him. He was thrilled to discover he wasn’t underground, but in a barn surrounded by small cattle stuffed into tiny chutes, their heads chained to posts. He squirmed hard, but because of the chain around his neck he couldn’t lower his gaze to see how we was restrained. What kind of mad jail is this? “Don’t struggle, Mein Führer, it just makes it worse.” Adolph traced the voice, but all he could see was the cow facing him across the aisle. The animal’s lips were vibrating a faint bray, but somehow he could hear words from the beast. “Did you speak?” What kind of world possessed talking cows? “Ah, Mein Führer, you’ve once again lost your memory, haven’t you,” the bovine said sadly. “It’s me, Himmler.” “Heinrich? Heinrich Himmler? How could this be?” Adolph stared at the nodding animal. “Yes, Mein Führer. As I have often explained to you, the two of us seem to be on a perpetual journey together. This is one of many stops we have made, and I suspect we will make many more.” Adolph gasped. “But you…..you’re a cow?” “Yes, this time we are cows. Or to be more precise, veal.” Himmler’s sad cow-eyes blinked. “Soon the man that entered the barn

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will be feeding us a particularly unappetizing milk.” “Veal?” Adolph jerked his head while raising an arm. No, not an arm, a hooved leg. “I think this is our third or fourth time returning as veal. I can’t keep track, and you seem to completely lose memory from life-to-life,” the cow said. “This is not one of my favorites, but far preferable to some of the other’s we’ve lived. For me the worst is reincarnating as a goose, force fed to make foie gras. I detest the stuff.” “I don’t understand,” Adolph said in panic. “We reincarnate?” “Yes, and we unfortunately rank very low on the karmic scale. We’ve returned as pack mules, factory chickens, occasionally sewer rats—that’s really foul—sometimes foxes or rabbits to be hunted. Often we’re small animals trapped in laboratories where they do the most dreadful things to us. And oh, I almost forgot about the insects. Terrible to wake up as a spider or grub, only to be eaten by a bird. The only compensation is that it’s a very short life. Probably best you don’t remember.

“Adolph,” the cow said in exasperation. “How often must we have this discussion? Every time you wake up it’s the same question. Why? Why? I don’t know. Who can understand such things? My biggest fear is that our new lives might be just the beginning or our own thousand year Reich.” Adolph shook his head. “But Heinrich, It’s….” He was cut short as a man shoved a bucket of milk into his snoot, strapping the container snugly behind his ears. “Drink up buddy,”

he said cheerfully, “All you can eat. Get nice and fat, my pretty little twenty-buck-a-pound veal.” ~ Fin ~

Always animals? Never as humans?” “Once, many lives ago, we were babies somewhere in Africa. But we quickly starved to death, blanketed with flies in a muddy hut. Just dreadful. All in all, the animal lives are preferable.” “Heinrich, I don’t understand. You and I….. we’re extraordinary. Leaders of the master race. How could this happen?”

Photo by A.E. Bayne

Fredericksburg Literary & Art Review Volume 3, Issue 1


Index of Artists WILLIAM C. CRAWFORD is a photographer, writer, and social worker living in Winston-Salem, NC. He got his start in photography as a combat photo journalist in Vietnam. His experiences there made him decidedly anti-war and skeptical of US military & foreign policy. His photos from the Texas/New Mexico outback are examples of his favorite photographic technique: forensic foraging. BARBARA DEAL is a mixed media artist who participates in the tradition of Colonial Wymmin’s Textile Art. She is interested in the meditation practices of Quakers, Buddhists and neuropsychologists. JAY DURET is a San Francisco writer and illustrator. His work has appeared in dozens of print and online journals. His first novel, Nine Digits, was published in 2014. Jay blogs at www.jayduret.com. JAMES F. GAINES currently serves as president of Riverside Writers, the Fredericksburg chapter of the Virginia Writers Club. His poetry has recently appeared in El Portal, Virginia Literary Journal, and Voices on the Wind. With his son John, he also writes science fiction and offers the blog gainesscifi@blogspot.com. CONNIE SNYDER LESTER began painting in 2007 while living in Fredericksburg, VA. She is primarily self-taught and has attended classes by Bill Harris (oils) and Eleanor Cox (watercolor). She works in acrylic, oil, and watercolor. Lester lives in Ashland, VA with her husband Craig. TAYLOR PALICINO is currently finishing up her undergrad degree at the College of William and Mary with a major in Biology and a minor in Art and Art History. Her areas of study are very different from each other, but she feel equally passionate about both and tries to devote time to each. Whether its painting, photography, or lab work, she tries to put her utmost effort and love into these diverse interests to ensure that they flourish. W. JACK SAVAGE is a retired broadcaster, educator and author of seven books, including Imagination: The Art of W. Jack Savage. To date, more than fifty of Savage’s short stories and over four hundred of his paintings and drawings have been published worldwide. Jack and his wife, Kathy, live in Monrovia, California. TIM SNYDER’s photography cannot be limited to just one genre. His photo archives contain everything from professional skateboarders to real estate photos to images that could only exist in the imagination. Tim’s work can be found around Fredericksburg at places like FOODE, Amy’s Cafe, 2530 Espresso and in the homes of many Fredericksburg locals. Tim strives to go the extra mile for angles and views not seen by the everyday eye. Traveling and exploring keeps things fresh for him. He plans on taking life day by day and building his portfolio as a professional real estate, portrait, wedding and event photographer. Check out Tim’s work at www.TimSnyderPhoto.com Contact at timsnyder13@yahoo.com JOHN M. WILLS is a retired FBI agent turned writer. He’s written ten books and more than 150 articles. He’s also an amateur photographer who loves capturing family and nature with my lens. Most importantly, he’s a husband, father, and grandfather. His latest novel, Healer, is available through Amazon.com .

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Index of Writers RUTH ANN ALLAIRE, Ph.D. is a retired college biology professor, who lives in Fredericksburg, VA. She is active in writing, genealogy research and studying various healing modalities. Married to an Egyptian, she is interested in studying cultural differences. She volunteers for Virginia Master Naturalists. LYNDA ALLEN is in her joy when she is writing, sharing her stories and poems, spending time with her loved ones, sitting beside the river with the birds, and following her creative inspiration. Lynda’s two published collections of poetry, Illumine and Rest in the Knowing, share the insights and highs and lows of her spiritual journey. Her latest book, The Rules of Creation, is nonfiction and is the culmination of eight years of personal practice, deep listening and allowing the words to flow freely through her heart to the page. therulesofcreation.com/ R.A. ALLEN’s poetry has appeared in the New York Quarterly, Night Train, The William & Mary Review, RHINO, Gargoyle, Euphony, and elsewhere. He has one Pushcart nomination. He lives in Memphis. More at poets.nyq.org/poet/raallen SUE HYON BAE is an MFA candidate at Arizona State University and International Editor at Hayden’s Ferry Review. Her work appears in Four Chambers Press, Minetta Review, Please Hold Magazine, and elsewhere. KIM BAER is former news reporter and current freelance writer living in Fredericksburg with her husband and two children. DANNY P. BARBARE resides in the Carolinas. His poetry has recently appeared in the Antarctica Journal, London Journal of Fiction, as well as other online and print journals. He attended Greenville Technical College. His poetry has won The Jim Gitting’s Award. He has a Kindle e-book available through Amazon titled Christmas Poems. GARY BECK has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 11 published chapbooks. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press), Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways (Winter Goose Publishing), Perceptions, Displays, Fault Lines and Tremors will be published by Winter Goose Publishing, and Conditioned Response (Nazar Look). His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press) Acts of Defiance (Artema Press). Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing). His short story collection, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City. LANA BELLA has a diverse work of poetry and fiction anthologized, published and forthcoming with over one hundred journals, including a chapbook with Crisis Chronicles Press (Spring 2016), Aurorean Poetry, Chiron Review, Literary Orphans, Poetry Salzburg Review, elsewhere, and Featured Artist with Quail Bell Magazine, among others. She divides her time between the US and the coastal town of Nha Trang, Vietnam, where she is a wife of a talking-wonder novelist, and a mom of two far-too-clever-frolicsome imps. www.facebook.com/niaallanpoe

Index of Writers


Index of Writers R. SEBASTIAN BENNETT has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes. His work has appeared in In-

diana Review, Fiction International, Texas Review, George Washington Review, New World Writing, Los Angeles Review, The Southwestern Review, Connecticut Review, and American Book Review, among others. He was the founding editor of The Southern Anthology. Presently, he teaches writing at Broward College in Florida.

CAROLINE BOCK is the author of two critically acclaimed young adult novels:LIE (St. Martin’s Press, 2011) and BEFORE MY EYES (St. Martin’s Press, 2014).Her flash fiction and poetry have been published or are forthcoming in Akashic Press, Gargoyle Magazine and its Defying Gravity Anthology, Fiction Southeast, 100 Word Story, Ploughshares, Prometheus, Vestal Review, and Zero Dark-Thirty. She is also a contributor to The Washington Independent Review of Books and a freelance bookseller for the independent bookstore Politics & Prose. CLINT BREWER is a writer and communications professional living in a 108-year-old farmhouse in Gladeville, Tennessee with his wife, three children and two dogs. As a journalist he covered politics and government for 15 years, including two executions and one presidential race. His reporting and opinions pieces have appeared in USA Today, The Tennessean, The Nashville Scene and the Atlanta Jour-

nal Constitution.

SHARANNA BROWN, who prefers to go by Rain, is a graduate of Alabama State University with a Masters in Creative Writing from The University of Alabama at Birmingham. The Flint, Michigan native is a newlywed and works as an adjunct English Instructor at her Alma mater. JOSEPH BUEHLER has published poetry in such journals as The Tower Journal, The Write Room,

Theodate, Common Ground Review, Two Cities Review, Indiana Voice Journal, Turk’s Head Review, Bumble Jacket Miscellany, Unbroken and elsewhere. He lives with his wife Trish near a small town between Atlanta and Athens Georgia.

YUAN CHANGMING is an eight-time Pushcart nominee and author of five chapbooks, and she is the most widely published poetry author who speaks Mandarin but in writes English. Since mid-2005, he has had poetry appearing in Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Threepenny Review and 1069 others across 36 countries. With a PhD in English, Yuan currently edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan in Vancouver. ASHLEY CARPENTER was, until recently, a high school English teacher living in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She moved back to her home state of Pennsylvania to begin a freelancing career. She graduated in May 2015 with an MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University. R.S. CHEVALLEY has been a creative writer since he was a teenager growing up in Houston, Texas and Metairie, Louisiana. He is a network administrator for a cyber-security training company here in Fredericksburg where he lives with his wife, Ellen, and his eight cats and two dogs. PATRICK MICHAEL CLARK is a writer and dramatist based in Richmond, Virginia. He is a peddler of strange tales, affairs of honor, ghost stories, family curses, agony, ecstasy and general heartbreak. 135 Index of Writers

Index of Writers SUZANNE C. COLE is a a retired college instructor who enjoys being a wife, mother, and grandmother; traveling and hiking the world; and writing from a studio in the Texas Hill Country. She’s had essays published in Newsweek, the Houston Chronicle, the San Antonio Express-News, the Baltimore Sun, Personal Journaling, and Front Porch Review , as well as many anthologies. TOM CONWAY works as a 7th grade English teacher in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. He spends a lot of time encouraging students to take their writing seriously and to look for an audience, while he carries around a flash drive containing thousands of pages of journals, stories, poems, and other bits of flotsam that he has never been published. He thought it time to get started. SCOTT DECKER recently retired from the federal government and is working on a book which will describe the forensics used during the eight-year investigation of the 2001 anthrax murders. Earlier this year, he and his wife Terry, along with their rescued beagle mix, Bart, relocated from Stafford, Virginia to Las Vegas. He enjoys history and the role his family has played in it over the years. BRETT FOSTER is the author of two poetry collections, The Garbage Eater (Triquarterly Books/North western UP, 2011) and Fall Run Road, which was awarded the Open Chapbook Prize. My writing has appeared in AGNI, Boston Review, IMAGE, Kenyon Review, Pleiades, Poetry Daily, Raritan, Seattle Review, Southwest Review, and Yale Review. JAMES F. GAINES currently serves as president of Riverside Writers, the Fredericksburg chapter of the Virginia Writers Club. His poetry has recently appeared in El Portal, Virginia Literary Journal, and Voices on the Wind. With his son John, he also writes science fiction and offers the blog gainesscifi@blogspot. com. GARY GLAUBER is a poet, fiction writer, and teacher. His first collection, Small Consolations (Aldrich Press) is now available on Amazon.com. A chapbook, Memory Marries Desire, will be available from Finishing Line Press in early 2016. BILL GLOSE is a former paratrooper, Gulf War veteran, and author of the poetry collections Half a Man (FutureCycle Press, 2013) and The Human Touch (San Francisco Bay Press, 2007). In 2011, he was named the Daily Press Poet Laureate. His poems have appeared in numerous publications, including Narrative Magazine, Poet Lore, and Southern California Review. F.I. GOLDHABER’s poems, short stories, novelettes, essays, and reviews appear in paper, electronic, and audio magazines, ezines, newspapers, calendars, and anthologies. In addition to paper, electronic, and audio publications, F.I. shares her words at events in Portland, Seattle, Salem, Keizer and on the radio. She appeared at venues such as Wordstock, Oregon Literary Review, galleries, coffee shops, bars, bookstores, libraries, and community colleges. www.goldhaber.net/ MITCHELL GRABOIS has had over nine hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the

U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for work published in 2012, 2013, and 2014. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. He lives in Denver.

Index of Writers


Index of Writers

ART HEIFETZ teaches ESL to refugees in Richmond, Va. He has had over 200 poems published in 13 countries. See polishedbrasspoems.com for more of his work. KYLE HEMMINGS lives and works in New Jersey. He has been published in Your Impossible Voice, Night Train, Toad, Matchbox and elsewhere. His latest ebook is Father Dunne’s School for Wayward Boys at amazon.com. He blogs at upatberggasse19.blogspot.com/ HALEY HENDERSHOT is a Fredericksburg native now living in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, John. She received her MFA in poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts and currently teaches high school English. TOM HOLMES is the founding editor of Redactions: Poetry & Poetics, and in July 2014, he also co-founded RomComPom: A Journal of Romantic Comedy Poetry. He is also author of seven collections of poetry, most recently The Cave, which won The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013 and was released in 2014. His writings about wine, poetry book reviews, and poetry can be found at his blog, The Line Break: http://thelinebreak.wordpress.com/. JONATHAN HUNGER is a middle school Special Education teacher in Montgomery County, Maryland, where he lives with his family. His work has appeared in the Politics & Prose District Lines Anthology collection. He lives in Maryland with his family. M.J. IUPPA lives on Red Rooster Farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Most recent poems, lyric essays and fictions have appeared in the following journals: Poppy Road Review Black Poppy Review,Digging to the Roots, 2015 Calendar, Ealain, Poetry Pacific Review, Grey Sparrow Press: Snow Jewel Anthology, 100 Word Story, Avocet, Eunoia Review, Festival Writer, Silver Birch Press: Where I Live Anthology,Turtle Island Quarterly, Wild Quarterly, Boyne Berries Magazine (Ireland), The Lake, (U.K.), Punchnel’s, Camroc Review, Tar River Poetry, Corvus Review, Clementine Poetry, Postcard Poetry & Prose, among others. She is the Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program at St. John Fisher College. You can follow her musings on art, writing and sustainability on mjiuppa.blogspot.com. SETH JANI resides in Seattle, WA and is the founder of Seven Circle Press (www.sevencirclepress.com). His own work has appeared throughout the small press in such places as The Foundling Review, The Hamilton Stone Review, Hawai`i Pacific Review, Gingerbread House and Gravel. More about him and his work can be found at www.sethjani.com. PEYCHO KANEV is the author of four poetry collections and two chapbooks, published in USA and Bulgaria. He has won several European awards for his poetry and he’s nominated for the Pushcart Award and Best of the Net. His poems have appeared in many literary magazines, such as: Poetry Quarterly, Evergreen Review, Front Porch Review, Hawaii Review, Sheepshead Review, Off the Coast, The Adirondack Review, Sierra Nevada Review, The Cleveland Review and many others. CAM KURER lives on a small farm in southeastern Wisconsin. He earned his undergraduate degree in biology and English from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. His poems have appeared lately in the Northern Cardinal Review, Ancient Paths, Whirlwind Review, and others. He considers himself an emerging writer.

137 Index of Writers

Index of Writers

W.F. LANTRY’s poetry collections are The Structure of Desire (Little Red Tree 2012), winner of a 2013 Nautilus Award in Poetry, The Language of Birds (Finishing Line 2011), and a forthcoming collection The Book of Maps. A native of San Diego, he received his Maîtrise from L’Université de Nice, and PhD in Creative Writing from University of Houston. Honors include the National Hackney Literary Award in Poetry, CutBank Patricia Goedicke Prize, Crucible Editors’ Poetry Prize, Lindberg Foundation International Poetry for Peace Prize (Israel), and the Potomac Review and LaNelle Daniel Prizes. His work has appeared in Atlanta Review, Gulf Coast and Valparaiso Poetry Review, among others. He currently works in Washington, DC and is an associate fiction editor at JMWW. GERI LIPSHULTZ has an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, as well as Ph.D. from Ohio University. She currently has writing in The Toast, NonBinary Review, and in Helen Literary Journal, and she has had work published in the New York Times, College English, Kalliope, Up, Do (Spider Road Press, ed. Patricia Flaherty Pagan) and Black Warrior Review. Lipshultz has been anthologized in Cheryl and Eric Olsen’s Best Books By the Be, Spuyten Duyvil’s The Wreckage of Reason II, and in Pearson’s Literature: Introduction to Reading and Writing. She was awarded a Creative Artists in Public Service (CAPS) grant from New York State, she won the fiction 2012 award from So to Speak: a feminist journal of language and art. Her one-woman show was produced in New York City by Woodie King, Jr. Read her blogs online at wewantedtobewriters.com . MARIA ELENA B. MAHLER’s work has been published in English and Spanish in Badlands, Solstice, Saint Julian Press, Under the Radar (UK), the anthology Beyond the Lyric Moment (Tebot Bach 2014), and others. Her first bilingual poetry collection, Sweeping Fossils (Glass Lyre Press), will be released in 2016. She was a finalist for the 2011 San Francisco-based Primer Concurso de Poesía Latinoamericana en Español and a finalist in the BorderSenses poetry competition in 2015. Recently, her work was selected for four Spanish anthologies, published by El Centro de Estudios Poéticos in Madrid, Spain. Maria Elena also co-authored the non-fiction book The Heart of Health (Truth Publishing Co. 2011). She is the editor of the poetry anthology Woman in Metaphor (NHH Press 2013), a collection of 27 poets from around the world inspired by the paintings of Stephen Linsteadt. Maria Elena was raised in the South of Chile. After graduating with a degree in Communications, she lived and worked in Mexico and Canada, and currently resides in the Sonoran Desert of Southern California. STEPHEN MEAD A resident of New York, Stephen Mead is a published artist, writer, maker of short-collage films and sound-collage downloads. If you are at all interested and get the time, Google Stephen Mead and the genres of either writing, art, or both, for links to his multi-media work. MARIA MILLS lives in Seattle, where she is a MFA candidate in poetry writing at the University of Washington. Her background in biology lends a scientific persuasion to her work, as does the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Maria’s writing has been published in Gonzaga Magazine and The Journal of Experimental Zoology. TERESA MOHME is a retired navy veteran currently residing in the Fredericksburg area. She is the self-published author of Nature Speaks Volumes To Those Who... a collection of poems, and A Daughter’s Reflection on the Suicide of her Father, a collection of poems, writings, and narratives; both available for the Kindle on Amazon, and in paperback through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million websites. BEN NARDOLILLI is a native of Virginia currently lives in New York City. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, Danse Macabre, The 22 Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, fwriction, THEMA, Pear Noir, The Minetta Review, and Yes Poetry. He blogs at mirrorsponge.blogspot.com and is looking to publish a novel.

Index of Writers


Index of Writers JAMES NOLL is a certified bi-pedal locomocutionist. When he’s not doing that, he teaches High School English, which mostly consists of telling students to turn off their cell-phones. He’s published three books, A Knife in the Back, You Will Be Safe Here, and Burn All the Bodies. You can read his work at www.jamesnoll.net

DAVID MORGAN O’CONNOR lives and writes and teaches in Albuquerque, where he is a first year MFA student in fiction at UNM. He tries to write like everyday is his last. TIMOTHY O’LEARY A refugee from the advertising world, Timothy O’Leary was a finalist for the Mississippi Review Prize and Washington Square Review fiction awards, and the Mark Twain Royal Nonesuch Humor Award. His stories and essays have been published or are forthcoming in Lost River Review, Talking River, Heater, Fabula Argentea, Mulberry Fork Review, Gravel, the anthologies And All Our Yesterdays (Darkhouse Books), Theatre B, and many others. His non-fiction book, Warriors, Workers, Whiners, & Weasels (Xephor Press) was published in 2006. He received his MFA from Pacific University, and resides near Portland, OR. More information is available at www.timothyolearylit.com. KEN POYNER has lately been seen in Analog, Cafe Irreal, The Journal of Microliteratuer, Blue Collar Review, and many wonderful places. His latest book of bizarre short fiction, Constant Animals, is available from his website, www.kpoyner.com, and from www.amazon.com. He is married to Karen Poyner, one of the world’s premier power lifters, and holder of more than a dozen current world power lifting records. They are the parents of four rescue cats and two senseless fish. PEG ALFORD PURSELL is the author of the forthcoming book of flash stories, SHOW HER A FLOWER, A BIRD, A SHADOW (ELJ Publications). Her work has been published in or is forthcoming from Permafrost, the Journal of Compressed Arts, RHINO, the Los Angeles Review, among others, and shortlisted for the Flannery O’Connor Award. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and curate Why There Are Words in Sausalito, a well-regarded literary reading series I founded five years ago. www.pegalfordpursell.com KEVIN RABAS co-directs the creative writing program at Emporia State and co-edits Flint Hills Review. He has six books: Bird’s Horn; Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano, a Kansas Notable Book and Nelson Poetry Book Award winner; Sonny Kenner’s Red Guitar, also a Nelson Poetry Book Award winner; Green Bike; Eliot’s Violin; and Spider Face: stories. MICHELLE SANDERS is a middle school English and Theatre Arts teacher who lives and works in Spotsylvania County. She has a BA in Theatre and English from the University of Mary Washington, with a concentration in creative writing. She enjoys joking with her students, baking muffins, and dancing around her apartment. MADISON SEAVER is a recent graduate of the University of Mary Washington, and a longtime resident of Fredericksburg. She has written the same poem about nighttime several times and is still not quite satisfied. JUDITH SKILLMAN’s most recent book is House of Burnt Offerings, (Pleasure Boat Studio). Her work has appeared in J Journal, The Southern Review, Tampa Review, Prairie Schooner, FIELD, The Iowa Review, Poetry, and elsewhere. Her awards include a Eric Mathieu King Fund grant from the Academy of American Poets. Currently she works on manuscript review: www.judithskillman.com 139 Index of Writers

Index of Writers MARYDALE STEWART is a retired English teacher and librarian. She received her Ph.D. at Northern Illinois University and taught at NIU and community colleges. She has a chapbook, Inheritance (Puddin’head Press, 2008), and a poetry collection, Let the Thunder In (Boxing Day Books, 2014). She has poems in a number of literary magazines. EMILY STRAUSS has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry, which she has written since college. Over 300 of her poems appear in a wide variety of online venues and in anthologies in the U.S. and abroad. The natural world is generally her framework; she also considers the stories of people and places around her and personal histories. She is a semi-retired teacher living in California. TIM SUERMONDT is the author of two full-length collections of poems: TRYING TO HELP THE ELEPHANT MAN DANCE (The Backwaters Press, 2007) and JUST BEAUTIFUL (New York Quarterly Books, 2010.) His third collection ELECTION NIGHT AND THE FIVE SATINS will be published early in 2016 by Glass Lyre Press. He has poems published and forthcoming in Poetry, The Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, Blackbird, Bellevue Literary Review, PANK, North Dakota Quarterly, december magazine, Plume Poetry Journal and StandMagazine (U.K.) among others. He lives in Cambridge (MA) with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong. JONATHAN TRAVELSTEAD served in the Air Force National Guard for six years as a firefighter and currently works as a full-time firefighter for the city of Murphysboro. Having finished his MFA at Southern Illinois University of Carbondale, he now works on an old dirt-bike he hopes will one day get him to the salt flats of Bolivia. He has published work in The Iowa Review, on Poetrydaily.com, and has work forthcoming in The Crab Orchard Review, among others. His first collection How We Bury Our Dead (Cobalt/Thumbnail Press) was released in March, 2015. GUINOTTE WISE wrote a book at his farm in Resume Speed, KS where he welds and writes. It won, got published to not much acclaim. It’s on Amazon. He got the soffits fixed with the money. His publisher says his next book, a thriller (Ruined Days) is coming in December 2015. A collection of short stories, Resume Speed, is in edits and slated for 2016. His stories have appeared in numerous literary reviews including Atticus, The MacGuffin, Prick of the Spindle and Best New Writers Anthology 2015. His wife has an honest job in the city and drives 100 miles a day to keep it. Some work can be seen at www.wisesculpture.com/blog/

SALLY ZAKARIYA’s poems have appeared in Apeiron, Broadkill Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Emerge, Third Wednesday, Evening Street Review, and elsewhere. She has won prizes from Poetry Virginia and Virginia Writers Club. She is the author of Insectomania (2013) and Arithmetic and other verses (2011) and editor of Joys of the Table, an anthology of poems about food. Zakariya blogs at www.ButDoesItRhyme.com.

Index of Writers


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