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S E P T E M B ER 2013

Nightlit by Peter Scacco, Wood Cut

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Stacia Fleegal Co-Founder, Managing Editor, & Poetry Co-Editor Teneice Durrant Delgado Co-Founder & Poetry Co-Editor John Steele Fiction Co-Editor Bethany Brownholtz Art Director, Co-Editor, & Graphic Designer Stephanie Crets Fiction Co-Editor Quinn Rennerfeldt Fairchild Poetry Co-Editor Omar Figueras Fiction Co-Editor Tiffany Grayson Fiction & Poetry Co-Editor Jessica Hume Poetry Co-Editor Dariel Suarez Fiction Co-Editor Barrett Warner Poetry & Reviews Co-Editor


About Blood Lotus is an online literary quarterly established in 2006. It is run by editors who refuse to believe everything has already been written and who want to promote your best writing as proof. Submission Guidelines Please carefully review the guidelines posted on bloodlotusjournal.com. Blood Lotus acquires first time North American rights upon publication as well as the right to archive your work online. Š 2013 No part of Blood Lotus may be reproduced in any form without prior written consent from the publisher. blo odlotusjour na l.com


In This Issue... Letter from the Editors

6

Donavon Davidson

Love Letter (deathbed edition)

7

Michael Collins

Apocalypse

10

Michael Collins

Advice for Sleepwalkers

11

Melissa Carl

Aristocracy

12

Portals by Peter Scacco 

13

Melissa Carl

A Short Biography of a Not-Yet Invented Word

14

Melissa Carl

Done

15

Anne DeVito

How to Get Over It

16

Katy Diana

Hand Placement

19

Courtney Hartnett

Inertia: Family History

20

Fanfare by Peter Scacco

21

Terry Wolverton

Bounce

22

Jude Christopher McPherson

Just Beneath, or a Blues for Trayvon

23

Danni Quintos

& SEEK

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Danni Quintos

Code Switching

26

Orbits by Peter Scacco

27

Lewis Beilman

Amigos

28

Potted Plant by Peter Scacco

36

Toni Gardner

37

A Visit Home, Christmas 2005 Ivan Young

39

Call Bispe Chris Siteman

Beggars

41

Stratum by Peter Scacco

45

SuzAnne C. Cole

46

The Raggedy Bear Dialogues Jessica Accorso

48

On Your Parents’ Anniversary Joseph James Cawein

Nightcap

50

Target Practice by Peter Scacco

53

#28 Contributors

54

Windows II by Peter Scacco

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blo o dlotusjour na l.com

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Letter from the Editors Find yourself in BL #28? Get lost in BL #28? This is the lost and found issue, so it could go either way. This latest harvest offers up a variety of observations on the spectrum of family. We meet wayward children, lost loves, and deceased parents through multiple strong voices who create a collaborative narrative of nostalgia and regret. Nuclear family units are dissected for their psychological trap-doors, and though we know some of the human subjects will never change within the context of the poems and stories, we are moved by them, perhaps enough to affect our own family dynamics on some level. Listen to audio of a “Blues for Trayvon” Martin. Check out three found poems produced during a National Poetry Month found verse initiative using only words from books that have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize in literature. Read a poem about a little boy you’ll want to wrap your arms around and never let go of—and his mother, whom you may simultaneously ache for and despise. And for good measure, we have a bit of apocalypse for you, too. On the website front, we hope you’ve noticed that we’re publishing more reviews and interviews, and just blogging a bit more in general. We invite all readers and lit types to engage with our content in any way you see fit—respectfully. As always, we accept completed reviews as regular submissions, though with both in-house and submitted reviews, we privilege the work of our authors. And if you are one of our authors, please tell us your good news so we can tell others. Tweet, comment, email, or send up an elaborate system of flares. Please visit our website often, and please enjoy our 28th issue. Sincerely,

The Editors

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Donavon Davidson

Love Letter (deathbed edition) My love sleeps naked.

constructs a diorama of the discovery

of electricity.

My love ties me a skeleton key

between bedpost and front door

in a dead knot to prove it only looks harmless

parenthetical.

My love has seen better days

developed an unhealthy obsession

with twenty years ago.

My love proves it when I’m on top of her

by showing me the Lichtenberg figures

the sight of myself keeping her clocks the same in winter and in spring in a church steeple without a bell

where she can stand the sound of her own name where the feeling’s mutual. No one could talk me out of it. My love couldn’t be talked down.

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My love was born in 1969. aimed her rifle at the unsuspecting.

Naturally, my love became an artist. expressed the theoretical existence of God in her own image. a brief psychotic episode.

My love started a small fire in her bed. a family.

My love left them at a gas station so she could start another family that didn’t look like her. a slightly bigger fire in her closet.

Denial Repetition became her patron saint, would always be there for her. when her heart erupts with silence.

My love became my muse. a playground I visited every night on the wrong side of the tracks. in the bodies of women. men who dug ditches no bigger than their own shadows.

In summer, grapes ripened

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Davidson


while vines clung to branches both living and dead. I wrote her name on my wrists.

Doctors said I lost too much weight would never walk again and committed me to memory tied me down with red balloons.

My love assisted the priest with the last rites baptism for the stillborn with a cord still wrapped around its neck. for the man who confused hunger with hanging.

My love leaned in as I whispered, moreover, something, somewhere, that is nothing by itself. My love thought she heard thunder. move over.

Davidson

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Michael Collins

Apocalypse

The odd thing is I never seem to die. No matter how many times my mind ends the world. Nor does it matter the manner of Eschaton: nuclear warfare, global warming, Ebola flowing over the map like spilled wine on a white altar, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, terrorist masterminds, hybrid diseases— still here. Even now, when we’ve destroyed the whole ozone layer and all is becoming desert, I’m just sitting here on what is becoming a mountain while, minute by minute, the ocean flees heat into haze. As if some silent part of me wants to see everything outside the tyranny of the present. The way I imagine this ocean bed, which has always lain hidden beneath waves and currents. How it seems to deepen as it dries.

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Michael Collins

Advice for Sleepwalkers If you appear to be walking backwards, it’s best to follow a rainbow-maned unicorn. They tend to know the way to Lollapalooza. If you appear to be going backwards on a donkey toward Jerusalem, go to Canada instead. They have gun control there, and no one litters. Let someone in the next dream hang on a tree for the sins of their world. You should go fit Cyclops for a monocle, race pterodactyls around Mount Doom, sleep with three strippers – there need to be three. There are rules here too. The rules are different; so is the math. You see, if there are three, that means you’re only sleeping with one third of each of them, so then you can round down, and it ends up that, in fact, you slept with three strippers zero times. See, you didn’t sleep with any strippers. You did not sing a duet with a giraffe. You might have played spades with three homeless guys on the subway platform, but it doesn’t matter if you won. You were only playing for canaries. Or were they larks? If you can’t remember, it didn’t happen. You’re just a tourist here. You’re lost. You’re cute. You don’t know to sing Ave Maria at the rodeo. You don’t know to keep singing when someone cuts off your head. Stupid foreigner, don’t look behind you, don’t eat the fruit, don’t go down on the tracks if the most hilarious rat you’ve ever met invites you to play hide and seek. Rats in the tunnels are not rats a few feet below you, rummaging filth and frightening tiny mice. Rats in the darkness are not the same rats kept tame by eyes and fluorescence. The rats here don’t give a damn if you’re asleep. They will take of what flesh is presented, and they will eat.

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Editor’s note: In April 2013, Melissa Carl was one of 85 poets who participated in the Found Poetry Review’s Pulitzer Remix project for National Poetry Month. The poets used one Pulitzerwinning novel as the source text to create one found poem a day for the entire month. Co-editor Stacia M. Fleegal covered Carl’s participation in the project for The York Daily Record/Sunday News and YDR’s poetry blog, Versify. Following are three of Carl’s poems, “found” using only words from Michael Shaara’s “The Killer Angels.”

Melissa Carl

Aristocracy We sat on the porch with the rats, all drinking tea, tabulating the white-columned houses, trying to be courteous. The accents exhausted us. Friendly, but with reserve, the rats drank and nodded, said something softly well-mannered. We stayed off the mirthless question of the cockroach until there was no staying away from it. The rats would not apologize for their views, honestly held. Blinking, the bland tone of voice: you have to live among them, you simply don’t understand

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Portals by Peter Scacco


Melissa Carl

A Short Biography of a Not-Yet Invented Word It was the only vacancy in the red-veined morning, rare and true from any point of view. It had been detached, but was not detached any more, moving slowly through the contained, burned-church silence. It brooded like heat and Spanish moss, courtly manners and cold-eyed violence. It sat in a peach orchard tabulating the light, noting the condition of the trees. Everywhere, a sheen of hot-candy heat. It wanted ocean, a vast wingspread, the cupped shape of hands.  It had a crawly hesitation. It saw through smoke.  Read the ground and signs on doors. Thought of coffee and heart-stopping love.  Dreamed and swore. It understood seven languages, the flutter of accents, could balance a blade of grass in the iron dark, quote the Bible.  It became marshy with heavy rain. It knew the world—the stupidity and  poverty, the sour blood smell of the wound, red-stained and ugly. It was becoming strange and witchlike, and even the crows looked at it with empty faces.  And then, finally— it shook brutally with birth.  Took a deep breath. Moved across the porch with the unmistakable message of nightfall.

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Melissa Carl

Done

I was done with facts. Facts and thick, murmury trees, the field, the final red sun, the pulled sounds of guitar. With God. The cottony weather. The fireflies that accomplished nothing but silence. The staring off  into the dusk.  And drinking coffee. Neat, motionless flags. Fence posts. The road beginning to come apart.  Done with what was left.  The long, brutal advice. Unstoppable looks on face. Palms and gesture. Bewildered voice. Done with my wild mind, in which there had been a butchering. My vast and unmistakable fault.  All my wrecked sleep. The black flakes of my heartbroken words. The asking when. The holding out, the let me go, the husky sounds of the gone. The what if?  and what else?.  The same question forever. The last yes.  The waterfall of no.

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Anne DeVito

How to Get Over It Wine.  Buy it.  By the bottle, not the glass.  Malbecs, Retsinas, and Cotes du Rhones.  Buy it from exotic regions of the world you’ve never been.  Argentina, Athens, and Provence.  Promise to visit all these places one day, but until then you will buy their wine.  Buy their wine and drink it.               Drink it while listening to Hallelujah (Buckley’s version) in your tiny, untidy studio while fat flakes of snow fall outside your window.  Drink it after stripping your bed of the sheets that remind you of him.  His cologne: YSL L’Homme Nuit.  You bought him a bottle for Christmas.  Strip the bed and re-make it with brand new sheets.  1000 thread count Egyptian cotton.  Color: Elysian Fields.  What is this color?  Do you know?  No.  Do you like it?  Definitely no.  Do you care?  Fuck no.             Walk into a boutique you’ve never entered because there’s nothing in it that you can afford. Buy a dress that you can’t afford.  It is red.  Not fire engine red, but overripe cherry with a dash of paprika.  Spicy.  A color that leaves a tingle on your tongue.   The dress clings to all the parts of you that curve like a winding road.  It is cut low.  Low enough to suggest, but not low enough to reveal. Believe in the power of suggestion.  Dance in the mirror at the boutique, gesturing wildly as if you’d had too much Sicilian wine.  Remember that you have.  Chuckle softly to yourself.  When you go home, cut the tags off so there’s no chance you’ll return it.  They call it buyer’s remorse.  Diagnose yourself with lover’s remorse.  Drink more wine.             The ex.  Delete his number.  Un-friend him.  Stop following his Twitter.  Then – google him. Why?  Why not?  Google him.  Blame it on the 3 glasses of exceptional Sicilian wine.  Google him using ALL CAPS.  Read his bio on the company website and note that his photo has been heavily airbrushed, laugh lines erased, teeth whitened, youthfulness enhanced.  Find his published thesis from college, print it out, and highlight the seventeen grammatical errors in red ink.  Then set it on fire. Chuckle softly to yourself.  Drink more wine.               Also drink water.  It is important to stay hydrated in times of crisis.             Run.  (Once sober.)  Run along the long stretches of endless avenues, past the blinking traffic lights, past the construction, and past the construction workers who whistle at you but 16


don’t know your name.  Do not run into traffic.  Run with your arms outstretched, face raised to the sky, until your legs burn like the glowing embers of the last piece of firewood.  Run past the bridges whose names you don’t know.  Get lost.  Ask a stranger for directions home.  Run home.             Walk into the nearest salon with platinum blond curls to your waist.  Tell the closest hairdresser that you want to cut it off.  You want to cut it all off.  Let him finger one of the curls, straightening it like an uncoiled snake.  Such beautiful hair, he tells you.  You ready to say goodbye?  Tell him yes. You’re ready to say goodbye.   An hour later, walk out of the salon sans $300 and sans 6 inches of hair.  Feel remarkably lighter.  Revel in feeling lighter.  For the rest of your life, feel as though nothing will weigh you down again.             Flirt.  Unapologetically without good intentions.  Flirt with every man you see, every man who looks twice in your direction, every man that you imagine is drawn by your joie de vivre.  Hand out your business card to tall, dark, and dangerous strangers on the subway.  Express an uncanny interest in tomatoes to the vegetable man at the vegetable stand.  Ask the gardener watering flowers in front of Trump Towers about the proper care for pansies.  Debate about the healthier milk – Skim or 1%? – with the man in the striped tie in Aisle 5 at Whole Foods.  He doesn’t know.  You don’t care.  Stroke his arm as you realize he doesn’t know and you don’t care.  Try to make out with him.  Get kicked out of Whole Foods.               Be the first young, white female in the history of Manhattan to be kicked out of Whole Foods. Flirt with the policeman as he clamps your wrists with metal hand cuffs.  Ask him what his sign is.  Ask him if you can wear his hat.  Ask him if he drinks skim milk or 1%.  Tell him about osteoporosis.  You win.  Happily accept a warning from him and promise you’ll never flirtatiously assault a stranger in Whole Foods again.             When you return home from being almost arrested, decide to throw a party.  Invite everyone you dislike.  Everyone you are jealous of because you imagine they lead a more thrilling life than you. Everyone who carries packets of powder in their pockets and hands them out as ‘party favors.’  Who spend nights riding in limos with Greek heirs quoting Spinoza.  Who can manage three days without sleeping and still have glowing skin.  Invite a few people you do like, a few who like you, and a few who are jealous of the thrilling life they suspect you lead.                Before the party, buy too much Belgian beer and cans of assorted nuts.  Dangle strands of glass beads over the doorways.  Change all the light bulbs to low wattage.   Toss extra pillows DeVito

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everywhere to encourage intimate mingling.   Don’t forget the music.  For the first guests, play some Dylan.  When more arrive, switch to the Beatles.  When the apartment fills with twenty or so of your closest strangers, put on the Stones.  Find a beanbag in the corner and sit by yourself.  When someone you don’t know asks what the party is for, tell them the theme of it.  It’s the End of the World.  And it is true.  It is the end of your world.  The world as you know it.               Correction: the world as you knew it.  Start speaking of your former life in past tense.             Allow a full sixty seconds to drown in your own nostalgia.  What was your former life?  One part epic romance about an ill-fated ship on its maiden voyage, one part perfect white roses, and one part kama sutra.  It was escapes from the office for white wine afternoons and smoky jazz downtown and that August night on the rooftop and flaky pink macarons in bed.   A million tiny moments of self-constructed heaven.               Take his gifts: the Milan Kundera books, notes written on hotel stationary, the diamond pendant that spent the past year on your neck.  Take them all and tuck them away in a velvet pouch.  Put the velvet pouch in a gold box.  Keep the gold box in a place where you don’t see it every day but if the apartment caught on fire, you could save it.               You probably won’t save it.               It was all a part of your world that has now ended.  Your world ended when he said: this is over.  You’re not enough.  You will never be enough.  Think of his receding hairline when he said that.  Just.  Picture.  It.             Realize this: this is not the end of your world.  This is the start of your life.  Watch what a child does with a broken toy.  They look at the shattered bits and they piece it back together to make something entirely different.  Look at how this has changed you.  Your odd affinity for spicy coconut soup.  Your knowledge of several phrases in Sanskrit.  Your collection of black lingerie.  And realize –realize – that these are the pieces of your life.  These are the remnants.  What will you make with them?  Anything.  Everything.  This is not the end of your world. This is the start of your life.             After the Big Realization – take a shot of tequila.  There is no salt, no limes, so pop a maraschino cherry in your mouth.  Then head confidently, steadily, swiftly in the direction of the scruffy man playing your guitar in the corner of the room.  So cute, so dirty, so exactly what you need. Walk up to him, in your spicy red dress, your one heel (where is the other one?) and tell him you’re not wearing any underwear. This is how to get over it. 18

DeVito


Katy Diana

Hand Placement The doctor asks if I feel tingling and I want to say yes, it’s often snowing in my hands and when I bring them together it’s like holding them up to a fireplace I rest them on my knees, we’ve entered a temple held just far enough from my sternum an inch or two, clasped I can feel the place where I am not heard pressed at my root I am the magnolia I used to climb gray, sprawling, scarred from fire blushing and reaching all over.

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Courtney Hartnett

Inertia: Family History I was seven there was a telephone pole and metal like crumpled shining tissue paper

that blew by the backseat window and my dad said that it wasn’t the crash and the glass-shattering halt that killed you         but that you kept going brain into skull, skull into windshield, windshield into sharp-edged snow glittering over the asphalt long after the sirens and tow trucks had gone.

I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up and after that I kept thinking                going headlong past my father’s aneurysms and calcified valves,

my mother’s dust-bones, my cousin searching for reflections in pools of pinot noir, drinking them down, seeing nothing.

I imagined hurtling into rare and spectacular cancers— the one that wrapped around the spine like the snake on the staff spider-legged masses spinning vascularized webs that caught my mother midair

and I thought of that last inward breath—that momentary cradling of visceral peace                knowing it was there                         but that I’d built too much speed to stop.

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Fanfare by Peter Scacco

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Terry Wolverton

Bounce

My mother was a handful, coyote whose flirtation with universe was the basis of everything. She dissolved into sky. I came in on a whirling boat, stitching its way through sea. Our bodies, fur and dirt, melting rhythms but the eyes said little. We were marked, some trick of night, hips like water scented with cloves, two cats bouncing the ball of earth, moving music and breath. Perhaps we wanted a planetary lurch, or to leave an unpredictable thread in the pattern of day. Spinning and whirling, we are the same. Cloak, skirt, stars, the same. Sun, lips, cataclysm. Our eyelids the color of moon, stories sewn shut.

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Jude Christopher McPherson

Just Beneath, or a Blues for Trayvon My mother told me that not Wearing my hoodie was a danger To my health put something on your head Before you full of cold Somewhere Emmett Till Is whistling How do you eulogize Someone You have never met But have seen infinite times Different shades Shapes All young Alive This time It was a bag of candy A can of tea I remember once it was a wallet Many times It was nothing No story that be spun in the medias loom Will justify this hangmans action This time a legal Registered 9 millimeter

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I remember once it was death row Many times it was a rope In the end the results were the same Somebodys baby wasn’t coming home I recall hearing That winds of change blew unbridled Through the south land Bull Connor no longer has to bellow From a bullhorn Self defense without proof Is the new just cause Because the more things change... No civil rights act Will bring you back Make you one Remove the holes Reattach the limbs Soothe the bite of rope burns You are gone All that is left Are memories we play pallbearers to Of when you were full of life Walking to the store With your hoodie up Trying not to catch a cold In the rain

Listen to a recording of this poem here.

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McPherson


Danni Quintos

& SEEK

the little girl they lost found the best hiding spot. her body the size of a quilt she folded herself in a bean bag, unzipped its spine & climbed into the cloud of white pebble. and maybe she giggled at her own genius. what number did the seeker reach when tiny foam pearls filled nostrils? how many spots coat closet, cabinets, long curtains, under bed did they search? 

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Danni Quintos

Code Switching i. how many times have people in my presence spoken & thought i wouldn’t understand the gestures, the words right in front of me in spanish, in tagalog, in english. ii. when i’m 13, mima is in a hospital bed. feet propped, attached  with wires & tubes pumping.  this is the fault of her heart muscle. its ferocity no match for overstuffed arteries.  a woman in scrubs holds a clipboard walks into the room  where mima’s machines beep & my dad wears worry on his face.  hola, she starts. points to her chest, intérprete. the only quintoses in our family  are here in this room: me, shelli, dad & mima and we look at one another, confused before dad speaks up, we don’t speak spanish. 

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Orbits by Peter Scacco

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Lewis Beilman

Amigos

So I’m sitting here in County General Hospital, minding my own business, and some guy walks in and starts jawing at me in Spanish.  Whatever he says, it sounds like, “Discoopeh, señor,” followed by a lot of gibberish.  I’m not dense.  I get the señor part.  But this is America.  Learn the language.  He just stands there, waiting for me to answer.  I tell him to take his broom and make adios.  Really.  Who does he think I am?  Carlos Tuff?  He’s smart, though—for a Mexican.  He picks up his broom, grabs his dustpan, and leaves. My room doesn’t need much cleaning anyway.  No one’s here but me.  And they don’t let me keep any sheets or blankets because of what I might do with them.  And the floors—when they don’t let you keep anything other than magazines and a few pieces of clothing, how are the floors going to get dirty?  But I don’t expect them to have any common sense.  Like I say, they don’t let me keep my sheets even though I’m a carbon monoxide man.  Hanging yourself leaves you with dirty drawers, and I told the doc, “I came into this world with a clean ass and balls—I’ll go out of this world with a clean ass and balls.” So you’re probably wondering how this coot got such deluxe accommodations in these hallowed halls.  Maybe you think you already know.  Probably alcohol, you’re telling yourself.  Maybe drugs.  Maybe his father used to burn cigarettes out on his arms.  But you don’t know me.  And I’m not going to whine about having to mop up some sad-sop life.  No—my story is simple.  I loved a woman. She died.  And I don’t want to live without her. Suzie was my girl.  We met in high school.  And I knew she was the one from the first time I saw her.  I told my friend, Jim, “See that girl up against the far locker, the one with the ponytail and checkered skirt.  That girl’s going to be mine.”   And soon enough she was.  She’d wear my blue-and-gold varsity jacket every time we went out.  And the way the moonlight reflected in her blond hair and blue eyes, that jacket was made for her.  We got married as soon as we could.  Some guys told me I was a fool to marry so young, that it was a mistake.  But I never wanted another woman—Suzie was everything for me.  And she—she stuck by me through thick and thin.  When I got laid off from my job at the plant, she took up working at the local grocery store to help make ends meet.  When our son—thinking he was a teenage Evel Knievel—got into 28


a motorcycle accident some twenty years ago, she walked with him every night until his legs grew strong enough for him to walk again on his own.  And when I got prostate cancer a few years back, she was by my side the whole time, holding my hand during every treatment. So how do you think I feel now?  Suzie tells me a year-and-a-half ago that she has a lump in her right breast.  I tell her to get it checked out.  I’m concerned, but I don’t think much of it.  Her mom lived to be eighty-five.  And cancer doesn’t run in Suzie’s family.  But she goes to the doctor, and the doctor’s worried.  He orders tests done.  It turns out to be bad—Stage IV.  He says the cancer has spread to her bones and brain.  He tells us, in the best way he can, that she won’t last long.  And there I am—lost.  I become a blubbering fool.  And all the hand-holding I do for her means nothing.  No matter what I do—it means nothing.  And then, about a year ago, I’m watching her waste away.  She’s pale, and nothing but a thin layer of skin clings to her bones.  And I’m looking into those blue eyes for the last time.  And I realize I can’t do a damn thing to help her. I used to joke with her, tell her I’d go first.  I’d say, “Honey, I can’t live without you now.  How will I live without you 10 years from now?”  She’d laugh and tell me I’d do just fine, but she knew I didn’t believe her.  We’d spent all of our lives together.  I wasn’t going to be able to pick up and move on.  Deep down, when I used to think about it, I’d wish we’d go together.  Car crash, plane wreck, natural disaster—as long as it was fast and painless.  But it didn’t work out that way—just the opposite. For her, it was slow and painful.  And I had no choice but to stand by and watch. So, not long after Suzie’s gone, my son starts checking in on me.  He knows I’m in a bad way. I’m not eating.  I sit in front of the TV for hours and don’t even know what I’m watching.  Other times, I’m staring out the bay window into our front yard thinking I’m going to catch a glimpse of Suzie coming through the front door.  He even comes up to me one night and puts his finger in a frozen dinner I had heated to eat.  He shakes his head because the food’s cold and hasn’t been touched.  He tells me, “Pop, don’t do this to yourself.  I know how hard this is.  She was my mom—and I miss her every day—but we have to go on living.”  The kid’s a good kid but he doesn’t understand.  He’s not married.  And he doesn’t have a woman—at least not one like Suzie. Then, after one of his visits to the house a few days ago, he leaves.  I figure I’m safe.  I walk to the living room.  On the mantel there’s a picture of our wedding.  My hair’s a little darker in it, Beilman

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a little longer, and I’m wearing a brown suit, a few sizes smaller than I could fit into now.  But Suzie, thin as she was her whole life, is dressed in a simple white-satin dress.  With a finger, I trace the smile on her face.  I smile myself.  I pick up the picture and kiss her.  I take one more walk through the house.  I stop in the bedroom and lie in our bed a final time.  I remember how Suzie and I used to have coffee and read the paper there on Sunday mornings.  I’d brush the hair out of her eyes as she flipped through the circulars.  She’d pat me on the leg as I flipped through the sports section.  Leaving the memories in the room, I sigh, walk down the stairs through the living room—where I’ve been sleeping since Suzie died—and let myself into the garage.  I walk to the car, open the driver-side door, and sit behind the wheel. “See you soon, doll,” I say, turning the key in the ignition.  I close my eyes. But something doesn’t go right.  My son left something behind at the house—his wallet, he said later—and he lets himself back in.  When he calls for me and gets no answer, he comes looking for me. I guess he’s shouting, but I don’t hear him.  He checks the garage and there I am.  He rushes to the car door with his hand pressed against his mouth and nose, opens the driver-side door, and pulls me out of the car and into the house.  “Pop,” he says, laying me on the couch, “you need help.”  So he calls 9-1-1, the ambulance comes, and I end up here.  Now, instead of just my son visiting me, I got the doc and the Mexican—and group sessions haven’t even started yet.  I’m telling you, if you’re going to end it, make sure you do it right—or else you have this to look forward to. I know my son means well.  He came by a couple of hours ago.  He tells me, “Pop, I know you don’t want to hear this—and you know I loved Mom—but give it some time and you’ll feel better.  It’s only been a year.  Who knows?” he says.  “You might meet somebody else who makes you feel the same way Mom did.”  But what does he know?  He’s always been an optimist.  When he wrecked his motorcycle, his doc told him he may never walk again.  That son-of-a-bitch smiled and said, “That’s OK.  My dick still works and my arms aren’t broken.”  But he didn’t get that sunny-side-of-the-street disposition from me.  They say the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree, but that kid fell from one of Suzie’s branches, not mine. Now here comes that Mexican again.  He paces back and forth outside my room.  He’s probably waiting until I take a nap or something.  No such luck ahora, hombre.  I guess I turned him off earlier.  It’s not that I don’t like Mexicans.  Some of those wetbacks are pretty 30

Beilman


good.  I like that Ricardo Montalban guy—Suzie and I loved Fantasy Island.  And the guy who makes the coffee, Juan Valdez—that stuff he brews keeps hair on my chest.  Even Castro—that guy has some cojones, thumbing his nose at America all these years.  But people like this Mexican outside my room—they take good American jobs.  Look at my situation.  I spent years working at the plant training Mexicans like this muchachoto use the big machines.  My bosses even told me how good I was doing, improving my high-school Spanish and all so I could get them to understand better.  I thought I was on my way up.  But then the plant shut down and relocated to one of those countries down there—Ecuador, Guatemala, Tijuana—one of those places.  And I had to start all over.  I thought this was the country where, if you worked hard, good things happened to you.  But that isn’t always the case.  Sometimes you can just swim across the Rio Grande and get a free ride. But I can’t get too riled up about it.  The doc was in earlier today, just after my son left.  He tells me the pills he’ll give me will make me feel better in a couple of weeks, but that I probably won’t have to be in the hospital that long.  He carries a little notepad with him, and his gray eyes look empty behind his glasses.  He squints at me and takes notes when he talks.  I really don’t see the point.  I tell him what I think he wants to hear.  Nothing I say is noteworthy.  But he keeps scribbling.  Finally, he purses his lips and tells me that he doesn’t see why I can’t leave within a week if I behave myself and follow his orders.  All the while I’m thinking, the next time I try, I’ll make sure not to screw up.  I’ll wait until my son’s out of town or something. I look up now and the Mexican’s still lingering outside.  He hasn’t learned his lesson yet.  I figure I’ll have some fun with him.  “José,” I say, “get in here.”  Through the doorframe, I see him looking from side to side.  I take it his name’s not José.  It was worth a shot, though.  I had a fifty-fifty chance.  “You,” I say, pointing at him, “aquí.”  He creeps toward the door.  He wears scrubs, looks thin, and has a swarthy Mexican complexion.  I think he’s afraid of me.  I need help, I tell him. “Ayuda,” I say—and realize that the Spanish I learned for the plant is going to pay off after all.  He comes through the door. “What you need, señor?” he says, talking with a heavy accent.  I’m surprised.  I ask him how much English he speaks.  “Un poquito,” he says. I tell him the floor needs sweeping, and he looks a little confused.  I stand up and move my Beilman

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arms back and forth like I’m working a broom because I can’t remember how to say broom in Spanish.  He nods his head.  “Sí,” he says and heads out to the hallway.  My floor doesn’t really need sweeping, but I figure it’s about time he does some work.  He’s probably living off my tax dollars anyway.  I might as well get my money’s worth. He comes back toward my room with a bucket and a mop in one hand and a broom and dustpan in another.  He sets the bucket and mop down outside the room.  I kick off my hospital slippers— he can sweep around them—and place my feet up on the bed.  I lean back on my pillow with my hands behind my head.  “Nice sweeping, José,” I say.  Then, arcing my neck forward, I point to the area of the floor by the one window in the room.  “You missed a spot,” I tell him.  He seems to understand and sweeps the spot I was pointing at. While he’s doing this, he’s nodding his head up and down and mumbling under his breath, but I can’t make out what he’s saying.  He scoots to the door and comes back with the dustpan he had set by the doorframe.  As he bends over to sweep the dust pile onto the dustpan, a photograph falls facedown on the floor from the chest pocket of his shirt.  He doesn’t notice and empties the dustpan in the trash. When he turns around to go and get the mop, I pick up the photo.  He doesn’t see I have it, and I turn it over to see who’s in the picture.  There’s a woman in it, and she’s standing by a small streambed with a child next to her.  They’re dressed simply, in jeans and t-shirts, and the woman stares straight into the camera like she’s trying to see through it, trying to see through the person who’s taking the photo. Maybe she thinks she’ll be able to see out from the photo once it’s developed.  If so, her black eyes are looking right at Charlie Tuff now from beside that dried-up stream.  The kid’s just standing there, looking over the shoulder of whoever’s taking the photo— probably José.  I finger the photo for a minute, my eyes wandering beyond the woman and boy toward the mesquite and cactuses on a rocky mountainside behind them. I take my eyes off the photo and see the Mexican staring at me.  He’s holding the mop, but he hasn’t started on the floor with it.  He sets the mop back in the bucket.  I can tell the picture means something to him by the way his eyes squint and his mouth hangs slack.  “Who’s this?” I ask.  He doesn’t answer.  “¿La mujer es?” I say, pointing to the picture.  Still no answer.  He just stands there with a lost expression on his face.  “Pretty girl,” I say, returning my eyes to the woman in the photo, “bonita muchacha.”  She keeps staring at me, smiling disinterestedly, her straight black hair resting on her shoulders. 32

Beilman


The Mexican holds out his hand, palm up.  “Give me, please” he says.  “Por favor . . .” I ask him if the woman is his wife.  “Sí,” he says.  “Mi esposa.” I ask for her name.  He’s puzzled.  “¿Nombre?” I say, pointing again at the picture. “Maria,” he says, still holding out his hand.  “Please . . .  Tengo solamente that one foto.” I ask him if the kid in the picture is his.  He doesn’t understand.  So I say, “¿Hijo?”  He nods his head.  I ask him the kid’s name.  “¿Cómo se llama?” I say.  He tells me the kid’s name is Pablo.  I ask him where his wife and kid are.  He blinks his eyes at me.  “¿Dónde estan?” I say. “Perú,” he says.  I realize he’s not Mexican.  Maybe he didn’t jump the border to get here. I keep fingering the picture while I ask him his name.  “Mi nombre es Omar,” he says.  I know for sure now that his name’s not José.  “And you,” he says, “¿Se llama Charles?” I nod my head.  “Me llamo Charlie—Charlie Tuff.” Omar moves closer to me and lowers his outstretched hand back to his side.  He leans forward and his jaw relaxes.  He looks at me more gently now, without fear.  He asks me if I have a family.  I tell him I have a son who’s probably about as old as he is.  “I see him earlier,” he says.  I smile and tell him my son’s a good kid.  “El mío, también,” he says, “y usted?  You have esposa?” I shake my head from side to side a little, and he listens to me tell the story about Suzie, mostly in my choppy Spanish, but with a little English thrown in.  He tells me he understands now why I’m so sad.  “I miss mi esposa mucho,” he says.  I ask him how long it’s been since he’s seen her.  He tells me two years, and I feel sorry for him.  I don’t think Suzie and I had been separated for more than two days since we got together, and now that she’s gone I miss her every moment she’s away.  I couldn’t make two years without her, and I don’t plan to. I look Omar in the eyes and hold out the photo for him to take.  I get the feeling I shouldn’t be playing games anymore.  At least not with something like this.  He takes the picture and presses it to his chest.  He lifts it to his lips and kisses it gently.  I see the water in his eyes and remember how I kissed the picture of me and Suzie before I waited for the carbon monoxide to take me away.  Sometimes a picture is the only thing you have left of a person you love—other than memories.  I can’t begrudge him for wanting it back.  I’d want the same if I were Beilman

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in his spot.  He brings the picture back down to his chest and smiles.  “Gracias,” he says.  I pat the bed to the left side of me, motioning for Omar to sit down.  I take it he’s a good man, whether he’s stealing someone’s job or not.  He sits beside me.  “When I leave Perú, I promise Maria to bring her here,” he says.  “That’s why I work here—to make enough money to bring my family.  I think I can bring them very soon.”  I imagine Maria gazing from the photograph with those black eyes, catching a glimpse of Omar from hundreds of miles away.  I wonder if Suzie is gazing at me from somewhere beyond this world. I study Omar more closely.  He has bright brown eyes and a broad smile—a kind face.  He tells me in Spanish that he lives in un apartamento pequeño nearby.  He says he talks on the phone to Maria as often as possible and that it’s only a matter of time before she and Pablo join him.  I ask him what his dreams are.  He says to have his family with him.  I don’t think he dreams for much else.  I ask him if he dreams of them often.  “Todas las noches,” he says. “Todas las noches,” I repeat, thinking of how Suzie visits me in my dreams every night. Sometimes I long for sleep so I can hold and kiss her again.  But my dreams are of a ghost, whereas Omar’s are of flesh and blood.  I realize now that I very much want Omar to see his family again soon. Life’s not worth living without the ones you love. “Por favor, no se olvide de ellos,” I say.  “Please, don’t forget them.” “Nunca,” he says.  “Never.”  He uses a finger to trace the outline of Maria’s face in the picture and to tap Pablo on the nose.  He smiles, lost in the moment, probably journeying to the dry streambed to stand with them again.  I smile, too.  He presses the photo closer to his chest and sighs before returning it to his shirt pocket.  “Y usted,” he says, “nunca olvide a su esposa.” “Nunca . . . And I will see her soon,” I say, nodding my head.  “Voy a verla pronto.” He understands what I mean.  He closes his eyes, makes the sign of the cross, and rests his chin in his hands.  “Y a Maria y a Pablo,” he says, “Voy a verlos pronto.” I put my left arm across his shoulders.  “Usted es un buen hombre,” I say. He shakes his head and corrects me, inviting me to speak familiarly with him.  “A mi, dime, ‘Eres un buen hombre.’”

34

Beilman


“Sí,” I say.  “Eres un buen hombre.” “Y tú también,” he says.  “You are not as bad as you seem.” I smile, nod, and pat him on the shoulder.  “No, maybe not,” I say.  I hold out my right hand for him to take.  “¿Amigos?” He smiles and nods in return, putting his hand in mine.  “Amigos,” he says.

Beilman

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36

Potted Plant by Peter Scacco


Toni Gardner

A Visit Home, Christmas 2005 You stumbled into the den of our parents’ house carrying Jesus the turtle in your palm. You introduced us, Jesus and me. Mark introduced himself. You’d been dating him for over three years, but you’d just found Jesus under your tree that morning. Mom ushered us all into the living room to open our gifts, and I paced the doorway wishing I could just talk to you, but you left the room to pee every three minutes, staggering just a little more with each return until finally, the last time you came back you missed the piano bench and crashed ass to linoleum, just like Bubba the sucker fish when we were co-conspirators in another lifetime and our parents went away and their favorite plecostomus went kamikaze on the kitchen floor. I played with my memories like the kids with their new toys until I heard you shouting and followed your voice to the kitchen. You begged Mark for another drink; you said you couldn’t handle this without it, and I felt the twisting pain in my gut, knowing I was the “this” you couldn’t handle. You were pissed that someone had hid your vodka. I stood and watched the match; watched you lob slow-pitch insults wrapped in razor wire until Mom turned from her electric griddle, spatula in hand like a faded polaroid of an urban Betty Crocker and asked you to please have some French Toast before you do another shot of vodka, honey, and I wondered what fresh Hell I left Dallas behind for and what happened to my family. You cracked then, telling Mark he was right—maybe for the only time—begging him for coffee, and he told you that you were too far gone for coffee and what you needed was a sofa with a trash can by your head, and I wondered how many times he’d done this before since I’d left you behind. Instead you ricocheted down the hall and out the front door and I chased after you, watching as you crumbled in a heap of drunken despondency on the front porch. I fell to my knees in front

37


of you, and you yanked down the collar of your t-shirt, showing me where you took a knife to the empty space between your breasts. In my head I counted my own scars, including the one on my chest where you tore my heart, too, until I could only understand every other word you’d said and you collapsed in my lap and I forgot that you were the big sister and all I could do was sob over your heaving body and stroke your hair until you passed out in my arms as somewhere inside the house Jesus slowly crawled away.

38

Gardner


Ivan Young

Call Bispe Blinded by drunkeness, I see Call Bispe calligraphied above a urinal. I take the phrase, repeat it as mantra for days in the dark hours of evening. The holidays come and the girl at Sears wishes me a blessed day. Call Bispe, I say, not sure what I mean. Something obscene? My mother calls to give me a recipe. I listen as long as I can and in the first silence Call Bispe, I say, and set the phone back on the dock. She later told me she was shocked. Is that what Bispe does—another word for hate or love? I walk the dog and a couple on the road, carries in leather portfolios small pamphlets, cartoon-stenciled hell. I can’t tell if they’re serious when they ask about salvation. Bispe has no such reservations, I offer in reply. One sighs; she’s heard this all before. She knows I want more; I want more Bispe songs, products Bispe made, Bispe in the news, Bispe on parade. 39


One night on TV, I see an ad. The woman on the screen points to the sign Call Bispe. But what does it mean. I’m Bispe bereft, Bispe sunk low. Is it all a show, Bispe scrolling on a teleprompter. What do I do, call my doctor to inquire about Bispe? But I’m tired, I thought Bispe knew. Bispe here to tell me what to do, Bispe the one and all. Now who do I call?

40

Young


Chris Siteman

Beggars

It’s the oldest joke in the book: a chimp, an alpha, struts through the forest— His morning’s been good; defied a challenger, ate bananas, termites, chewed some leaves, took a shit, groomed, mated— He’s feeling good; things are on the up. He feels it springing like a song in his chest: birdsong in trees, sunshine, & he’s admiring how a distant cloud reminds— Just then steps on a peel discarded that morning, tumbles ass over coconut, breaks his neck— *** Better yet, it’s raining. Fog hangs in the canopy. Birdcaw wavers distant— Under palm frond umbrellas huddles 41


a community of chimps— A young female, newcomer, tries to get where it’s driest, but one alpha won’t have it. Baring teeth, hooting, he turns the newbie out to the edge where she sits beneath trickling water— Along comes another chimp, tries making her way in, but the first bites her shoulder until she retreats. The others are rocking, slapping their knees— Laughter echoes through the forest— *** Somehow it goes on & on until under the sign, If you lived here, you’d be home now: “Love is pain, pain in the light, pain in the night,” a mother whispers in a darkening room. The girl, sun blisters neck to ankles; shivering, teeth chattering— She rocks on knees, face to mattress, arms to chest. Tears run to her hair. “Lay still,” her mother snaps, & she tries her best to obey, to be good even now.

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Siteman


“When someone has a hurt offer to fix their pain—” She lifts the girl’s nightshirt, & with cotton balls dabs rubbing alcohol— Passes needle through a lighterflame, & rips blisters open: “Make sure to give them something worth crying about—” *** Outside, an armless, legless, beggar sits on a cardboard mat— Beside him sits his armless, legless, son— The street’s empty. Son says to the father, “I wish we had food. My stomach hurts.” The father turns his head: “Shit in one hand. Now, wish in the other. Tell me— Which piles up faster?” *** There’s another beggar in the street rattling a cup, holding a sign: A little food, a little mercy, a little light— Person after person walks past without a word; Siteman

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the beggar continues rattling his cup for a little change— A man & his son come along. The father stops before the beggar: “Get a job, you fucking bum— Remember,” he says to the boy as they walk away, “if you can’t say something nice about someone, say something bad— Nothing’s worse than being ignored.”

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Siteman


Stratum by Peter Scacco

45


SuzAnne C. Cole

The Raggedy Bear Dialogues It’s hard to say how it started— her husband away on extended business, no near neighbors, no community of aunts or sisters or grandmothers to claim, just the boy, age four, questioning all day, What is that bird doing? Why? If I lie on the ground and you put dirt on me, will I become a flower? Why does bacon cooking smell like popcorn? Even in her sleep, the echoing interrogatory until one morning she snapped— That’s it. No more answers. No more talking. To him at first a game, Mommy, aren’t you going to talk to me again? Not ever? Okay, I’ll talk to my toys. And he chattered away to toy cars, a bulldozer, his faded dog and raggedy bear. At lunch she silently served milk and a sandwich. Mommy, do I have to have a nap today? Nodding, she quietly led him to bed. No books? Just one book, please, just one? The door closed; in the hush he wept himself to sleep. Woke up, called, Mommy, I’m ready to get up. I dreamed about a witch and I beat her up. Surely there would be conversation now, an end to muteness, but she took his hand, walked him to table set with snack—sliced apples and cheese. Eating, he asked, Mommy, what can we do when I’m done? She stood mute, back turned, washing dishes. Shall I go play in my room? A nod. Quietly he left, and quietly played away the hours. A cheerless supper, a somber bath. But still he hoped as pajama-clad, he lay in bed, Mommy, I’ve been good today, haven’t I? 46


Can’t you talk now? Tell me one tiny story? He couldn’t believe her noiseless exit, screamed until he had no more breath. The father returned to a river of silence, unbroken by burbling of words, his wife reading in the living room, his son tranced in front of the refrigerator humming in rhythm with its mechanics, hugging his raggedy bear. Did not look up, would not call out.

Cole

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Jessica Accorso

On Your Parents’ Anniversary I replace your mother with me and your father with you. We hold the knife that they held, your hand on my waist. Your grandfather takes a picture. The cake is giant. We cut it with a rusty saw. Your parents, younger, mimic us like shiny steel mirrors. We all wear white pajamas, pull our lips apart with fanatic smiles, try to replicate the earnest one on your father’s face twenty-five years ago in Denmark. We cut the cake using two crystal-hilted swords with ceremonial tassels. I wear a dress of white fox tails and black bear fur, that you shot and I sewed with bone needle and dried ligaments of deer. You wear meat between your teeth and red under your finger nails. Your parents mimic our ritual, two frowns and two plastic swords. They do not want to be like this.

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You take your father’s face, replace it with your own. I take your mother’s face. We wear crowns made of ice and rubies. You hold a heavy metal gun by the trigger. I carry its cold nose. My slippers made of gold. Your black leather boots. The cake is taller than both of us. We cut it with machine gun spray. Your parents hide under a table. They lick shrapnel from each other’s fingertips and eyelids. They look just like us.

Accorso

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Joseph James Cawein

Nightcap

Zofran. 8 mg. Take one every twelve hours as needed for nausea. Sober since the accident. Six days. I put four under my tongue. Wait a few minutes. Four more. Thirty Mucinex. Half a bottle of cough syrup. Fuck. What else? Nothing else. Minutes pass. I’m high. More time passes. I’m very high. I’m on the couch. I’m not on the couch. Who knew nausea medication had such a goddamn kick?

I stand. I fall back down. I stand again. I dance. I lay down and rub my cheek on the

couch. I dance some more. I lay on my back and glare at the ceiling. It glares back.

It occurs to me I’ve overdosed. I stumble to my room and open my laptop. I smile. I

write. If I perish I would like it to be known that my overdose was a pleasant experience. I close my laptop. It occurs to me that I’m marginally clever. I think. I smile. I leave my bedroom, dancing as I go.

What constitutes dancing? What constitutes an overdose? Death? What constitutes

constitution? I think to myself that guns are bad. Drugs are good. Drugs are better than guns. It is better to hurt yourself than to hurt others. The ceiling nods its head in approval. It occurs to me that the ceiling and I have have an intimate friendship. The couch is incredulous. I provide it with a good, swift kick. I wait a moment. I apologize. I am not sincere.

I feel as though I should write a poem. I do not write a poem. It occurs to me that being

high is itself a poem. A poem that is not for posterity. Posterity can write their own poems. Posterity can get high and not write poems for posterity.

I close my eyes. I think of death. I think of the accident. I feel the scrapes on my

forehead. I lay on the couch. I smile. I see a man’s face in my eyelids. I open my eyes. I close my eyes and scold the man. I open my eyes and the man scolds me.

The clock politely interjects. Three hours have passed. I speculate. I wonder if I will

sleep. I wonder if I will be sober come morning. I close my eyes. The couch embraces me in spite of itself. I try to sleep. I do not sleep. My heart beats through my chest.

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I stand. I turn on the light. I sit. I turn on the television. I adhere to Newton’s third law

of thermodynamics. I approach absolute zero. I smile.

The television engages me in philosophic debate. I turn off the television. It occurs to

me that philosophy is nothing but a construct of the philosophic. I worry for a moment. I stop worrying and try to sleep. I do not sleep.

I resign myself to certitude. I have to piss. I walk to the bathroom. I stand in front of the

toilet. I do not piss. I ask my penis what is wrong. It issues no reply. I return to the couch. Time passes. I return to the bathroom. I do not piss. I scold my penis. I leave the bathroom. I slap my face. I cannot feel it. I return to the couch.

I contemplate the banality of my existence. Suburban honkey gets drunk, plows through

telephone pole, crashes into tree. Receives many lectures and half a concussion. Otherwise unharmed. Pledges sobriety to parents. Inevitably breaks promise, feels no remorse. Feels remorse for feeling no remorse. Resents the clichĂŠ.

I imagine taking a knife and plunging it into my wrist. I shudder. I smile. I would never

do such a thing. Dead men tell no tales, take no drink, do no drugs. Brain filled with chemical, closet full of bones. It occurs to me to clean my closet. I do not clean my closet.

I grow tired of short, terse sentences. I close my eyes and await death. I open my eyes.

Day light creeps in. My id cries out in revulsion and inexorable delight.

Cawein

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53 Target Practice by Peter Scacco


#28 Contributors Jessica Accorso studied English and Art at Randolph College in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She currently lives and writes in upstate New York. Lewis J. Beilman lives in New Haven, Connecticut, with his two cats, Elvis and Rico.  He writes short stories and poetry in his spare time.  Recently, his stories have appeared in Gravel Magazine, Straylight Online, Red Fez, and Larks Fiction Magazine.  In 2009, he won first prize in the Fred R. Shaw Poetry Contest. Multiple Pushcart Nominee Melissa Carl has published in a variety of magazines, journals, e-zines and anthologies, including Bigger Than They Appear, Cellpoems, CircleShow, Halfway Down the Stairs, In Posse Review, Third Wednesday, and Toad the Journal.  She teaches Honors history courses and runs the gifted program at the West York Area High School. She resides in York, PA, and Oak Island, NC, with her husband, son, and dingo. SuzAnne C. Cole, former college English instructor, enjoys being a wife, mother, and grandmother; traveling and hiking the world; exploring her consciousness; and writing from a studio in the Texas Hill Country.  She’s been both a juried and featured poet at the Houston Poetry Fest and once won a haiku contest in Japan.  Her poetry and short fiction have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes.     Michael Collins is a graduate of Kalamazoo College, the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers, and Drew University, where he completed an MA in British and American Literatures. He teaches creative and expository writing in the Paul McGhee Division of the School for Continuing and Professional Studies, a liberal arts college within New York University. His work has appeared recently in Glasschord Art and Culture Magazine, Danse Macabre, BlazeVOX, Eunoia Review, and Dressing Room Poetry Journal. It will also be included in upcoming issues of Brevity Poetry Review, Inclement Poetry Magazine, Constellations: A Journal of Poetry and Fiction, The Subterranean Quarterly, Ginosko Literary Journal, Subliminal Interiors, Red Savina Review, Grist: The Journal for Writers, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Kenning Journal, [PANK], and SOFTBLOW. He lives in Mamaroneck, New York, with his wife, Carol. Donavon Davidson’s work was recently short listed for the erbacce-prize from erbacce-press. His poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in InDigest, Moria, Bone Parade, Black Heart, Dressing Room, Dead Snakes, Identity Theory, ditch, FRiGG, Thirteen Myna Birds, Spork, Softblow, Juked, Pedestal, MiPOesias, Anti-, Stirring, and many others. Anne Marie DeVito is currently pursuing her Masters from New York University Gallatin in Fiction Writing She holds a BA in journalism from Fordham University Lincoln Center. Her work has appeared in The Zodiac Review, Splash of Red, and Bumble Jacket Miscellany. She will be reading at Printed Matter Gallery in New York City in September 2013. She is currently working on a short fiction collection. Katy Diana is a poet and project manager living in Philadelphia. Her work has been published in Philadelphia Stories, Apiary, Northern Liberties Review, Broadkill Review, Mastodon Dentist, and the Lantern. She is working on a book of poems entitled Suspicious of this Pinot Noir. Katy has received the Dolman Prize for Creative Writing from Ursinus College and the Lantern Poetry Prize. 54


Toni Gardner lives in Southern California with her wife and their three spoiled dogs. Her poetry has been published in 4 and 20 poetry, Shot Glass Journal, and Amaze: The Cinquain Journal. Courtney Hartnett earned a BA in Interdisciplinary Writing from the University of Virginia and is currently an MFA candidate at UNC Greensboro. She raises chickens and frequently draws inspiration from abandoned buildings. joseph james cawein is a young poet from pennsylvania with a keen disinterest in sharing. Jude Christopher McPherson wants to do it all. He writes. He is a sailor. He is an electrician. He is a b-boy. Check him out at www.judemcpherson.weebly.com to learn more. Danni Quintos is a Lexington, Kentucky native and a new member of the Affrilachian Poets. She received her BA from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Her poems have recently appeared in PLUCK! and Toe Good Poetry. She is an MFA candidate at Indiana University. Peter L. Scacco is a woodcut artist and poet whose works have appeared in numerous print and electronic publications and books. Mr. Scacco is the illustrator of “A Few Good Greek Myths” by Michael O’Brien (2008), and he is the author of the illustrated poetry chapbooks “Chiaroscuro” (2010), “A Quiet Place” (2012), and “Along a Path” (2013). He has lived and worked in Paris, Tokyo, Brussels and cities throughout the USA.  Since 1995 Mr. Scacco has resided in Austin, Texas.  A selection of his art can be seen at www.scaccowoodcuts.com. Born in Boston, Chris Siteman grew up in a blue collar, predominantly Irish-Catholic, family. He’s traveled widely in the US and Europe, and worked extensively in the trades. Chris received his MFA from Emerson College, and his JD from Suffolk Law. He has taught in Boston University’s Undergraduate Writing Program, Lesley University’s Humanities Department, and currently teaches in Suffolk University’s English Department. His work is forthcoming, or has recently appeared, in The Worcester Review, Connotation Press, Poetry Ireland Review and The Potomac. Terry Wolverton is the author of 10 books of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction, most recently Wounded World: Lyric Essays about Our Spiritual Disquiet. She lives in Los Angeles and is Affiliate Faculty in the MFA Writing Program at Antioch University Los Angeles. http://terrywolverton.com Ivan Young is the author of the chapbook A Shape in the Waves and the 2013 winner of the Norton Girault Literary Prize. His manuscript Smell of Salt, Ghost of Rain was runner-up for the 2013 NFSPS Stevens Contest and a semifinalist for the 2013 Philip Levine Prize. His most recent publications are in The Cortland Review, Barely South, Fourteen Hills, Zone 3, and The Crab Orchard Review.

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56 Windows II by Peter Scacco

Bl28 final  

Issue #28 of Blood Lotus, and online literary journal

Bl28 final  

Issue #28 of Blood Lotus, and online literary journal

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