Baby Lawn Literature Issue I

Page 1


Baby Lawn Literature is a free online literary magazine All rights are reserved for the writers, poets, and artists featured. We just ask they mention us when they are famous, and let us crash at their place when we’re evicted. All pictures are from the public domain, unless stated otherwise.


Issue 1


Editors Ashley Bach

Rakim Slaughter

Design Ashley Bach

“Our masters are gone and if they returned Who among us would hear them, who would know The bodily sound of heaven of the heavenly sound Of the body, endless and vanishing, that tuned Our days before the wheeling stars Were stripped of power? The answer is None of us here.� -- Mark Strand


Table of Contents

Poetry ● ● ● ● ●

Two Poems by Richard King Perkins II​ ……………………..………..………...…​ Page 6 Serial Drinker by Alan D Harris​ …………..…………………………………………...​ Page 9 A Married Man Laments by John Grey​ ……………………………..………..…..​ Page 10 They by Thomas Elson​ …………………………………………………………..….……​ .Page 11 On Having a Screenless Porch by Kat Bodrie​ …………………..……..…..…..​ Page 12

Prose ● The Apex Line by Ben Nardolilli​ ……………………………………..……………....​ Page 14

Submitted Artwork ● “Plume Bloom” by Heather Lisbon​ …………………………………..………………..​ Page 5 Contributors’ Notes​ …………………………………………………..................................Page 24


“Plume Bloom” by Heather Lisbon


Dalzell Blacktop Richard King Perkins II The people who I once thought were friends have abandoned me, leaving me with only their possessions. I think it says something that I’m mildly satisfied holding Joan’s potato peeler like an icon of lost theology. And this is Brian’s sportscar VHS rewinder. Its whir reminds me of speeding across the Dalzell blacktop, each of us feeling a modest invincibility. I try to imagine that five or six minutes of unplanned descent. It seems likely that Gail was nail-biting to the end. From the wreckage, I inherited her compact and a broken wristwatch, which speaks softly to me in occasional ticks.


Snuff Intaglio Richard King Perkins II Will you let me breathe? Your harsh grip of samite is crushing the air from my growing-lilac body. You, insensible sybarite, offer no just respite; my essence, my focus is being strangled from me, to linger, to dangle on the seed of your succulent plum— the dark fruition of utopia and fountainhead of all sought pleasures. The ictus of your small death, like ambergris, is still trickling through recent cursory impressions.



Serial Drinker Alan D Harris I am not an alcoholic nor am I a drunkard What I am is a serial drinker I love my beer like Jeffrey Dahmer loved his victims Cold without a head and stacked in the fridge

(“Serial Drinker� was originally published in Yellow Ham (2012) and reprinted with the permission of the writer)


A Married Man Laments John Grey Does leading an ordinary life disqualify me from romance? Can Don Juan co-exist with a vacuum cleaner scuffing up the dirt beneath my feet or the barrels of trash I roll out to the sidewalk? My wife is in the kitchen, baking. Her hair's tied back to keep the strands from falling in her face. But isn't that where strands belong? I can't comment for the moment. A tap is dripping. I sometimes go in fruitless search of the young man who drew hearts in dust on car windows, poked love notes under doors, strummed his guitar and serenaded. Does anybody serenade anymore? Does ProTools even have that as an option? Back then, it was all about the getting. And having got, what's Romeo to do? Candle-lit dinners celebrate anniversaries, they don't mask them. As the last drop of champagne is drained, the bill arrives and out comes the credit card. Paper and plastic are the real tryst here. I have to tell myself that we have something deeper than breathless kisses and passionate hugs. Let me add that to today's chores.



Thomas Elson He, the font of wisdom, nobody listened to. She, the moral compass without compassion. He, the center of attention, who was ignored. She, the honest person, who lied. They, who married without like or love. They, who married without name or adherence. They, who wanted no one different to marry. Surprised no one when they began to kill each other.


On Having a Screenless Porch Kat Bodrie I can’t imagine not being able to reach out and touch the bees.


Storyville Prostitute


The Apex Line Ben Nardolilli

Ollie has a habit of turning every conversation around until it is about him. I wonder if it is a deliberate choice on his part. Occasionally, I try to use it to my advantage. One afternoon, we decided to raise our spirits by going to the Beach Shack. It was hours away from any coastline and even if we were close enough to swim in the surf, it was starting to snow. The place was more than a shack as well. The thatched roof and corrugated metal on the walls only covered up the stable brick and mortar underneath. There was only one truly ramshackle quality about the place, they had no standard cups or silverware. All drinks came in a hodgepodge of glasses and the food had to be eaten using an assortment of knives and forks. I arrived first and found a table by the front window. While I waited for Ollie, I watched the snowflakes piling up on top of a surfboard hanging outside. The lime green surface was barely visible when I sat down and when Ollie arrived it was completely obscured. There were plenty of flakes still sticking to his navy blue coat. He brushed them off onto the floor before hanging the jacked on the back of his chair. We ordered a large basket of hush puppies and two beers. After the waiter left Ollie asked me about winter break. Would I be going to a real beach? "No. New York." "The city?" 14

"Yeah. Not the state." "Can't do one without the other." "Technically, yes." "You going to see Riley?" "Yeah." "When's the last time you saw her?" "Couple of years ago." "You talk?" "Not a lot." "So not at all?" "I post things. She likes them." "Is this what the greatest love affair of our times has come to?" I knew he was half-joking. I reached over to the basket of hush puppies and bit into one. The insides were sweet and golden, and melted in my mouth. "You're not flying up there I take it?" "No. I'm taking the bus." "I was going to guess the train." Ollie took a hush puppy and popped it whole into his mouth. He struggled to swallow it due to its size and the heat of the crust. "I'm trying to save." "Don't tell me it's the Chinatown bus." "Is DC Chinatown really a Chinatown though?"


"Those buses are an abomination. I can't believe they're still in business. They probably still use the same buses since I stopped riding them." "Probably not. They have heated seats now." "Just another thing to burst into flames." "They're not that bad." "Not that bad? I mean compared to what? I'd rather ride the Hindenburg stapled to the Titanic." "When's the last time you were even on one? You haven't been on one in years." "Of course it's been years. Why would I put myself through that horror again? Last time I rode it was in college and I had no other choice. It was my first Thanksgiving Break. The bus was packed with people standing in the aisle. BO filled whatever space was left. The girl next to me had a guinea pig with her. She kept feeding it rotten lettuce. But that was not the worst part. There was a family with a toddler across the aisle. The father tickled its stomach and the little creature threw up. No. It isn't worth it. It's simply not." "You save." "You save money and lose sanity. You may have plenty of that to spare but I do not." He dipped a half-eaten hush puppy in a dish of butter and slid it into his mouth. "I need as much of my wits I can get when I go see Melody's parents." "They must be your age." "They're older than me. Okay?"


"She's what, 17?" "23, old enough to have her decisions respected." "Fine." "I'm taking the train to see them. As authentic as the bus might be." "Where do they live?" "Outside Philly, and no not in Chinatown." "Philly has one?" "It's the home of General Tso's Cheesesteak." “But not Melody.” “No.” “What do you think they’ll think of you?” “Who knows? Her parents don’t seem too involved with her life so I imagine it’s not an overly protective situation. In other words, I’m not stealing her from her father.” “What do they do?” “I don’t know. He’s a doctor of some kind?” “The mother?” “An accountant, or a dentist.” “Maybe both?” “You ever meet Riley’s parents?”


I did not answer right away. I was briefly introduced to them once at the hospital. That was it. They had no idea who I really was at the time. Just another concerned friend. “Once, I think. I was helping her move.”

A month later we saw each other again at the same place to share the same meal in hope of sharing how our lives had changed in the meantime. Ollie burnt his tongue on a hush puppy and ordered a beer to help cool it down. I had more restraint and patience, cracking open the ball of fried cornmeal and resting it on my plate to let the heat out. He drank half of his beer and asked me about my trip. Just how bad was the bus? “It was fine. It really was. Like I said, the things are different now. Plus it wasn’t crowded. It really makes all the difference.” “Of course it wasn’t. Why would they be anymore, people know what kind of ride they provide.” “It was fine, both ways.” “I enjoyed my train ride, in case you were wondering.” In fact, I was not wondering. I was too busy thinking of what to tell Ollie about what happened with Riley. Would I start chronologically? Or work backwards? Or would I start from the peak and slowly wind my way down the present? Was it necessary to mention the gun even if it was not hers? “Glad to hear the train is working well.”


“Yes. It was the best part of the trip.” “The meeting didn’t go so good?” “No. No it didn’t. It was an outright disaster.” “What happened?” “It’s over. Melody and I are finished.” “Oh no.” “I know it may not have seemed like we had what you and Riley had.” I stopped him. Not wanting to discuss the concert, the incident on the subway platform, or how I ripped Riley’s sweater I shifted the balance of the conversation back to Ollie. “You two seemed so close.” “Yes. We were. Unfortunately I found out some things and I could not continue dating her after what I learned.” “What?” “She’s too young for me. Twenty-four years old.” “Twenty-three?” “What does it matter? That point still stands. I need someone closer in age to me like Riley.” I thought about cigarette dangling in between her lips when she met me at the bus stop. “You seemed to be happy with her.” “Yes. That was no lie. It wasn’t her fault. No one can help the year they’re born in. It’s an unfortunate time.” “True.”


“It was all my fault. I was too curious you see.” “How?” “I met Melody at the train station and she drove me to her parents’ house. The first night went well. We went bowling together. Bowling! The shoes were nasty, as usual. Like wearing a Chinatown Bus on your feet.” “Ollie, please. No more about the bus.” “Oh, but the bus is the reason why.” “Why what?” “Why I had to break it off.” “I don’t follow.” “You see, after the bowling we went back to the house, slept, then woke up the next morning. The rest of the day we went sightseeing so I could see where Melody had grown up. It was an adorable little tour. The trouble happened at dinner.” “Did her mother cook?” “No, we went out to a steakhouse. It seemed to be a sort of local chain. As we talked, the subject of the Chinatown bus came up. I decried them and condemned them, but her parents defended the buses. They were the only way they could travel when they were in and out of school and raising a family. The destination was what mattered not how to get there. I disagreed and we got in a philosophical discussion about it.” “And it was heated?”


“Oh no, completely respectful. Not a voice was raised.” “Sounds like it was a good evening.” “It was at that point. Melody wanted to change the subject but I was stubborn and I wanted them to concede the buses were dirty and if one has money they ought to travel in better conditions. They admitted they took flights everywhere now, even to a close city like Boston, they fly. Not first class mind you, but still a lot better than the damn Chinatown Bus.” “Okay.” “That wasn’t enough for me. I don’t know what got into me but I started to argue the buses were actually bad for children and there was no reason to drag them on such unsanitary and dangerous vehicles. That was when Melody’s mother told me about the time they were taking the bus down to the District of Columbia and Melody vomited all over the place. I looked behind her as she told me this and I saw a picture of my girlfriend up on a ledge. It was Melody as a toddler and I realized she was the girl I saw back then on the bus.” “Who threw up?” “Yes. She had the same bowl cut, the same heavy eyebrows. It was her.” “So? I would’ve laughed it off.” “I tried. Believe me I tried. Melody was embarrassed of course when I pointed it all out. The parents laughed. Bless them for their sense of humor. I wish I could have done the same.” “What did you do?”


“I realized she was too young for me. If I could remember her vomiting as a kid, I had no business dating her. It felt, almost incestuous in way. Not like I was her father or uncle, more of an older cousin.” “I guess that’s the risk you run when dating younger people.” “Yes. Terrible. Poor Melody. It’s not her fault. It was all I could think about when I saw her. She was just this little kid. Even when I tried fucking her later that evening, I kept seeing that stupid bowl haircut.” “That’s creepy.” “I have to be honest. It was creepy. However I was creeped out by it as I should have been. Anyway, now we’re single.” I could not tell if he meant him and Melody or him and I. I did not ask him to clarify in case he asked for clarification about Riley and me. Ollie looked at the red plastic basket in between us. It was empty except for a piece of greasy paper clinging to the bottom. “And anyway, we’re out of hush puppies.” “But not beer.” When we finished the beer, Ollie decided it was time to go home. We hugged, shook hands, and went our separate ways. It was cold and I put my hood over my head. I guess it kept me from hearing my phone buzz. Shortly after we parted, Ollie sent me a text message. I read it after I got home.

I fogot you're trip. Wheel talk about it next thyme.



Contributors’ Notes Richard King Perkins II ​ is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. Alan D. Harris​ writes short stories, plays, and poetry based primarily upon the life-stories of friends, family and total strangers. Harris is the 2011 recipient of the Stephen H. Tudor Scholarship in Creative Writing and the 2014 John Clare Poetry Prize winner from Wayne State University. In addition he is the father of seven, grandfather of six, as well as a Pushcart Prize nominee in both 2013 and 2014. John Grey ​ is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Perceptions and Sanskrit with work upcoming in South Carolina Review, Gargoyle, Owen Wister Review and Louisiana Literature. Thomas Elson’s​ short stories have appeared in the C ​lackamas Literary Review and​ The Literary Commune​ . Kat Bodrie​ holds an MA in literature from UNC Wilmington. Her prose and poetry have been published or are forthcoming in Pilcrow & Dagger, Slim Volume, and Coraddi, in which she won first and third place in poetry. A freelance writer and editor, her articles have appeared in Winston-Salem Monthly, Forsyth Woman, and Forsyth Family. Visit her website,​​ ​ . Ben Nardolilli ​ currently lives in New York City. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, One Ghana One Voice, Caper Literary Journal, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, fwriction, Grey Sparrow Journal, Pear Noir, Rabbit Catastrophe Review, and THEMA. His chapbook Common Symptoms of an Enduring Chill Explained, has been published by Folded Word Press. He blogs at​ and is looking to publish a novel. Heather Lisbon ​ lives in North Dakota. She is looking to matriculate into an MFA program, but if that doesn’t pan out, she will work at Walmart, where he mind can safely wander as she works.


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