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Electric Rather

Issue 04

August 2014

A Literary Magazine

Electric Rather is a fledgling literary magazine with a vibrant spirit. We publish original poetry, prose, art, and photography. We publish new and innovative writers that challenge the boundaries of what is considered “good art.” We seek raw, intense, and emotional pieces that give us hope for the future of art and literature. We’re passionate about this magazine and want to see it continue to grow. Our goal is to provide a publishing outlet for new and unknown authors and artists. This issue is divided into two separate poetry and prose sections. This issue features poetry by Emily Smith, Sean Schemelia, John Grey, Neila Mezynski, Duane Locke, Barbara Lightner, Walter Ruhlmann, Kathy Buckert, Nikki Rae, Elizabeth Theriot, Judith Skillman, and Felino A. Soriano; as well as artwork by Anne Bengard, Jack Savage, John Markowski, Laura Grant, Aaron Kaminsky, and Sean Schemelia. Please visit electricrather.tumblr.com for more information about our wonderful contributors. Submissions are always welcome. Please email them to electricrather@gmail.com. If you wish to contact us, you can also use this email. Visit our website at electricrather.tumblr.com or look us up on Duotrope.com. Thank you for reading!


Letter from the Editor

The poetry in this issue is very emotional and introspective. These poets naturally discuss childhood trauma with wisdom and grace. Other poets exercise intense creativity, emphasizing only specific words or phrases in order for readers to ascertain meanings. These poems detail the struggles and triumphs experienced throughout life. The art in this issue portrays realistic emotions like pain and fear in a cold, unique way. The artwork in this issue ranges from canvas art, digital art, photography, and water color paintings. The range of these designs compliment each poem uniquely. The passion these artists have is plainly obvious in their work. I love that I am able to publish such a variety of work in this magazine. As always, I am immensely proud to be able to publish so many talented writers and artists. I am still in awe that this magazine has become as successful as it has. I hope that readers are as elated as I am to see this issue published.

-Barbi Moroz


Table of Contents Poetry Emily Smith: “Home” ........................................................................................................... P. 2 Sean Schemelia: “two:two four//sleepless waiting for the witching hour” ..................... P. 3 and an Untitled Piece .............................................................................................. P. 35 John Grey: “Up Before Sunrise” and “Taking Stock” ................................................. P. 6, 34 Neila Mezynski: “Truthful Girl” and “Eyes”................................................................. P. 7, 20 Duane Locke: “Terrestrial Illumination No. 277” ........................................................... P. 10 Barbara Lightner: “Dancing in the Dark” ........................................................................ P. 13 Walter Ruhlmann: “I’m Still Alive - Concrete Stairs Revisited” .................................... P. 16 Kathy Buckert: “Missing Childhood” and “A Sonnet of Bipolar Woes” ................. P. 17, 21 Nikki Rae: “Bambi” .............................................................................................................P. 24 Elizabeth Theriot: “Visitation” and “Rattlebones” .....................................................P. 25, 30 Felino A. Soriano: “Depiction” ..........................................................................................P. 31 Judith Skillman: “The Holding Place” ............................................................................. P.. 38


Photography and Art Anne Bengard: “Toni’s Daughter,” “Serious Business,” and “Sweet Tooth” ........ P. 1, 14, 22 W. Jack Savage: “A Trick of the Light,” “Sentinels,” “House Pet,” ..........................P. 4, 11, 15 and “The Final Days” ...............................................................................................P. 33 Laura Grant: “Round and Round,” “Untitled,” and “Dream House” ...................P. 8, 19, 26 Aaron Kaminsky .......................................................................................P. 5, 9, 18, 23, 29, 32 John Markowski: “Moon Man” ..........................................................................................P. 27 Sean Schemelia ....................................................................................................................P. 36 Cover design by John Markowski. Graphic design and all other photography by Barbi Moroz.


Toni’s Daughter Anne Bengard


Home

Emily Smith your internal reader is a broken meter your clocks are set to times of reward and slouches of demise external forces wither newborn kindness when child laughter is love’s fortress the weather is bad so many go inside but what if the home lacks regular heating and central air? what if your family is gone and strangers keep leaving cryptic messages? passers by complain of the deteriorating paint job and how each time they walk through the lawn, the grass gives them ticks

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two:two four//sleepless waiting for the witching hour Sean Schemelia

with your yes yes, no are as none such touch known, see? feeds feed on Jesus and Mary (electricity : magnetism) like maddogs chasser la femme. all is wont to come to pass like mass atrophic masterpiece. where you were then, brother? Om? the vassal’s vessel was snuck but under yr feet. don’t look at me; look at primogeniture from the desk of Old Scratch! here he is, that enemy. Some One please to say to sleep on it. anyone? Here I Am.


A Trick of the Light W. Jack Savage

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Aaron Kaminsky


Up Before Sunrise John Grey

After its confession that it’s just another day, beauty of dawn perceives red eyes, blood, buckets of milk, burden of burned out farmers. But only the churches complain of life and it is mostly sin that flutters their calendars. For who dares to chatter when there are eggs to be gathered, water to be dragged up from the deep well, pigs to be near-drowned in slop. Beyond the ridge lies a graveyard of deserted farms, but here, the hard back of the dinosaur bends to the hour’s ardor, cheeks red-leathered, head vague and dream-less, in lieu of whiskers, a fine colorless dew on his chin.

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Truthful Girl Neila Mezynski

Hard to hide inside out. Can’t keep in a box, put. Longtime coming that truth, not ready for prime time truth. Hibernate a bit longer bare, ugly. See. You can awake the pretty in time, a second long. Easy. Look. Get to the bone of that before. Some only do. Worthwhile.


Round and Round Laura Grant

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Aaron Kaminsky


Terrestrial Illumination No. 277 Duane Locke

Strange how, this owner of a Bentley thought his banality was charm. He wore tight clothes. Spoke bad grammar to be fashionable, and slurred his sentence to the status of a mumble so what he said could only be guessed at, and never understood. His speech mannerisms made him very popular, and soon doctoral candidates were writing dissertations on this not being understood as a new sociological innovation, meme or more, that united communities to cohere by not communicating. He bragged how he taught his young nephew to seduce women. His nephew entered a monastery. His niece became a nun.

She was a school teacher, and had a tenth grade football player as a lover, a straight A student. His father is now in an insane asylum, and believes himself to be Casanova. But the Bentley owner’s most charming act was imitating a whirling dervish. He was invited to all parties. All the women who loved spinning men would constantly kiss him. He was raped five times, but he never stopped spinning. He became a candidate for the state legislature, and won by the largest majority in history. To celebrate his victory, to become a leader of the people, he divorced his blonde-wigged wife and her turquoise-tinted contact lens that covered her brown eyes, and hired a failed starlet as his secretary. She also wore a blonde wig, but had her contact lens tinted azure, and she was sixteen years old. He would let her drive his Bentley. They would spent Sundays together polishing its hood.

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Sentinels W. Jack Savage

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Dancing in the Dark Barbara Lightner

Come dance with me in the graveyard, Ravennna, pick the Word’s bones to clean; peck the Summoner of mausoleum maneuvers berserk among clowns at hump to a trampoline trumpet; this year of our corvine-complicit, accursed, fierce bestiary well-being cursed.


Serious Business Anne Bengard

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House Pet W. Jack Savage


I’m Still Alive - Concrete Stairs Revisited Walter Ruhlmann Smoking inside again, sitting on the red carpet flattening under my weight, thinking of dad again, the grey clouds covering the sky invading my sight, suffering the cold and damp weather in the mountain village, this jail I am burying myself into for the years to come. I watch the dust covering the room, the weeping eye opposite me, I hear the red-haired muse singing her wonderful chants like the ones I used to listen to sitting on a short stool in another bedroom, far-north, a cream bedroom that turned to grey for the dog pissed and weed, ruining the carpet, the cushions, I remember the shaggy boy too, the dark painter. These memories will be the end of me, the final step taken before I fall into madness, complete, total, absolute, inevitable. The first fall occurred some thirty-five years ago: a toddler was I, just ready to discover the world. I could have died the day I fell from the top to the bottom of these stairs; a bump as big as an egg growing on my forehead. This must have left me bad scars, bruises, incorrigible but imperceptible mental inabilities. Prior to that they had almost blinded me with forceps – malignancy they had dumped me on the bare bedroom floor – overtiredness they had left me in the sharp claws of a drunkard nanny – naivety they had almost smashed my head against the garage door – absent-mindedness their dog had nearly wolved me – jealousy. I have escaped physical harm many times but do not seem to be able to avoid being slime.

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Missing Childhood Kathy Buckert

Always too young to see past the unbalanced mind to the intangible butterfly fluttering in the garden of normalcy.

Hidden in white robes of the separation of reality while tantrums fight to the surface clutching a lost security.

Anxiety uncovered by the blanket of a missing childhood so vulnerable to terrors made by the lies of night.

No tools will fix the broken child or restore the crayons in a box of tattered dreams coloring the pattern of loss.


Aaron Kaminsky

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Laura Grant


Eyes

Neila Mezynski Your eyes see but not me. Don’t they. Only vacant see no one home see. When did it start this no see bit, later before. They went in there and found no one home except that taking over thing. You. In. When I come back next time will you be there still or will you go to a far far better place. Where is that. I’ll be looking waiting for that, sweet. Smile with your cello beside you there. You see it.

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A Sonnet of Bipolar Woes Kathy Buckert

Painted by the stroke of a manic hand Delusions of grandeur fly through the mind Stolen stars from skies with spears made of sand Blue days prove pessimism isn’t blind Drugs dismantle the emotions adored Euphoric days of escalating bliss Weakness and depression often abhorred The antithesis of my happiness Thrills before the perilous winds of change Flashes of anger and simmering cries Assumed paranoia often thought strange Enlightens the spectrum of suicide Fighting a state of grand ferocity Followed by times of pure fluidity


Sweet Tooth Anne Bengard

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Aaron Kaminsky


Bambi Nikki Rae

It was the summer five years after the funeral, we played a game switching radio stations, trying to guess what would be next. You were always wrong

I never saw a gun before, but I’ve looked Death in the face, been closer than that animal. We picked the fur from your black bumper, fixed the dent good as new

And holding on to sixteen as tight as I could only left permanent marks in my skin

My head ached, my knees throbbed while John Mellencamp was singing about how life goes on.

You hit a baby deer, the cops came and before it could stand on shaking legs, shot it between the eyes It would have been fine

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Visitation Elizabeth Theriot

She told me it had all been the ghost’s fault— the spilled sugar, the tears, the aborted fetus. That the ghost had come to her in the night with cold, powerful hips. It wasn’t that she didn’t love David, she told me. But the ghost had shivered her spine from the inside, a thing not to be resisted. (Her hair lies in greying curls against her neck, her blouse is slippery looking and blue) She asks, have I ever seen a ghost? Once, I tell her, but we did not make love. What did you make? A way out, I said. (David forgave her eventually; after all, he was no longer a young man had thin hair and heavy eyes, A ghost of his former self they’d say)


Dream Home Laura Grant

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Moon Man John Markowski

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Aaron Kaminsky


Rattle Bones Elizabeth Theriot

In the dankly sweaty sweet darkness we hopped across bounded over notes that rattled like rib cages in a hurricane— sawdust noses and ears ringing, bells ringing bloody blisters bleeding through striped nylon hose and then poured ourselves like spilled beer out into the humidly sticky syrupy darkness hips made of smoke and rattlesnakes sliding down the sidewalk, the crooked teeth of the street.

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Depiction Felino A. Soriano

into this mirror a hand fades and finds wing and what waves and undulates within a smile’s alternating discovery— within this mirror, a hallucination respells reflectional clarity, the echo bounce voice recalls and resembles an earlier function of the body’s bending and interrelated frequent melodies— juxtaposed with this mirror a rhythm of pianos curl into the jazz exhale of improvised intuition, where these words leap, from where they encounter the listener’s version of elated circumference, the rounded wellness of noon’s reaching apex, double-handed, and you, with each of these aspects, find varied gradations of self, unobstructed


Aaron Kaminsky

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The Final Days W. Jack Savage


Taking Stock John Grey

Allow me, world, to chew on a stick, the oaken serpent, willow amaranth, architecture of forgotten forests, at the base, nothing but wood. And why can’t I play on the child’s swing, soar up to these lofty metal towers? My feet touching the sky roof, steel chain’s incessant squeak, raven’s black wings... why waste these days of light... why spend my blood on nothing but the coming dome of silence?

Looking glass shows me the results... a model of dim nourishment unholy man, blank responses, chest thin and fluttering like barge flags. weak hands, sore feet, pathetic life, angered toothbrush, threatening hair-spray yellow teeth, chilly water, bone-dust eyes, wilting from within. But allow me, world, the strength to smash the mirror.

I ask you, salt of the seashore, are you drowning the body, preserving the soul for its grave? Why can’t I roll over in your foam, suck you up my nostrils, spit you from my lungs? Ah but mirror mirror...why do I put yourself here? And man, where the hell did he go? Man of fast foods, brief breath stirring of the air, that carbon bubble, dragging moon of flesh. Reflection, a toast my blunders, my body, ticketed for the void.

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Sean Schemelia

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The Holding Place Judith Skillman

They take the soul from its own images— each tiny fistful of grass, blades serrated like eyelashes. They take the soul and give it a torso, that one they decided on over a caucus. There galaxies thrust and gravitate toward one another in slow motion against the palette of deep space, gaseous clouds of color exhume dyes. They take the soul and its torso, add hinges for shoulder and pelvis, attach limbs. The perfect fingers claw fabric from which, shell-like, nails grow and fall into the void like freshwater pearls.

They put the newborn in a bird’s beak. It arrives marked by a bruise on the forehead. We open the door that says verboten and clutch one another in wonder. Is it a boy or a girl? Already the nursery is full of clothes for its special sex.

It will belong to us? It will be taken from us? Already the clutch has taken hold. We massage its cries of vulture hunger, listen to the dove-murmur at breast and bottle, tiptoe around its sleep like those statues left forever standing on the earth, bereft of desire.

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About the Contributors • Emily Smith: “Home” - Upper Township, NJ

• Felino A. Soriano: “Depiction” - Santa Maria, CA

• Sean Schemelia: “two:two four//sleepless waiting for the witching hour” and “It’s More than Likely” - Philadelphia, PA

• Anne Bengard: “Toni’s Daughter,” “Serious Business,” and “Sweet Tooth” - London, UK

• John Grey: “Up Before Sunrise” and “Taking Stock” - Johnston, RI

• W. Jack Savage: A Trick of the Light,” “Sentinels,” “House Pet,” and “The Final Days” - Monrovia, CA

• Neila Mezynski: “Truthful Girl” and “Eyes” • Laura Grant: “Round and Round,” “Untitled,” and “Dream House” - Campbell, CA - Gainseville, GA • Duane Locke: “Terrestrial Illumination • Aaron Kaminsky: Untitled Pieces No. 277” - Philadelphia, PA - Tampa, FL • Barbara Lightner: “Dancing in the Dark” - Milwaukee, WI

• John Markowski: “Moon Man” - Philadelphia, PA

• Walter Ruhlmann: “I’m Still Alive - Concrete Stairs Revisited” - Le Reposoir, France

• Nikki Rae: “Bambi” - Tuckerton, NJ

• Kathy Buckert: “Missing Childhood” and “A Sonnet of Bipolar Woes” - West Henrietta, NY • Judith Skillman: “The Holding Place” - New Castle, WA

• Elizabeth Theriot: “Visitation” and “Rattlebones” - New Orleans, LA


About the Editor Barbi Moroz was the recipient of the 2014 James Baldwin Fiction Award, as well as both the 2013 Joseph Courter Fiction Award and the 2013 Stephen Dunn Poetry Award, which are first place literary awards at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. Her poetry has been published in the online magazines Untitled Publications, Misfits’ Miscellany and Leaves of Ink. Her poetry has also been published in the print magazines Creepy Gnome Magazine and Stockpot, Stockton’s literary magazine, and Bank Heavy Press.

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Special Thanks Electric Rather would like to thank the talented writers and artists that contributed to this issue. We are very proud of the diversity of this issue and are honored to publish it. We received more than seventy submissions of fiction, poetry, and art. Sifting through these submissions was a labor of love and we can’t wait to start the process all over again. We would like to thank everyone that submitted to our magazine and our wonderful readers. Submissions are always welcome! We would like to cite two sources that created some of the textures and patterns used in this issue: cgtextures.com and subtlepatterns.com. For more information about our contributors, please visit our website: electricrather.tumblr.com.

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