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Table of Contents Artwork Nannan Chin Peacock……………………………………………………………………… 4 Wonder of the Forest………………………………………………………… 21

Poetry Ye Dam Yi Your America…………………………………………………………………. 3 Devan Maddox The Fencing Bout…………………………………………………………….. 5 Patrick Ragland A Slow Winter Amble………………………………………………………… 7 Infinite Kinship……………………………………………………………… 16 Catherine Mathers Artemis Faces Orion………………………………………………………….. 8 Lisa Ellison Furious Houses………………………………………………………………. 15 Andrew Burgos A Willing Vessel……………………………………………………………. 17 Matthew Hyler Four Element Haikus………………………………………………………… 22

Short Fiction Devan Maddox Click…………………………………………………………………………… 9

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Ye Dam Yi Your America I would see you worship with your usual proud smile in front of hundreds of people watching with beaming eyes, clapping their hands. You used to bring your bustling friends home or more often, you would be at their homes, house to house, going to dance lessons, birthday parties, and dirty karaoke rooms. You know I would have asked you why when you came home right after school or when you brought no friends and spent most of your time on computer, in front of our fourteen inch television, or in your room, if only I had seen you walking on campus alone, eating in front of girls’ restroom, offering no excuse at the unjust accusation of being a retard. You know I would have shouted fuck off only in a more polite way for you. How was I supposed to guess the stained pillow and swallowed curses in your mother language when the stinking Chinese kids threw what they were eating at you? You know I had no better gesture to take when you poured your heart on the table but to sit still and watch you break. Tell me, what was I supposed to do?

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Devan Maddox The Fencing Bout Test fair. It starts with the one-two jab-stab tips tapping on silver lamÊs just a little too hard Bard’s holding the yellow cards Salute, mask, and en garde Beep as the scoreboard sweeps awakens from its electrical sleep The technical, ethical standard looks at you two opponents a-row with coats white as snow and dove-down gloves soft as cream Muscles coil like springs and blood glows in the throe of the victory dream Ready for the ballad of the referee, he has to say Allez It starts at the white line slim soft soles striding provocative stepping in time Hilt built into the fist, gripped Making a helmet-hidden list 5


of their stance, of their glance, of the fit of their pants Lunging like bungee cords snap back from the rapt attack while all around clacks the sound of the sword-smack the blade swinging cling-clanging ringing inside of the mask to the sweet beat of the parry-riposte But the most thumping adrenaline heart-pumping lump-in-the-throat bump arrives with a ring like a boast from the first-blood machine The fleche’s momentum propels them across the strip’s floor Corps-a-corps Bruises blossom once more in sweat-soaked soil purple medals of war crossing rivers of salt The desperate wondering, a blunder, their score was your fault— Halt.

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Patrick Ragland A Slow Winter Amble Then suddenly, the flicker of a bird in a bush, And on passing, the entire Earth on fire.

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Catherine Mathers Artemis Faces Orion Borrow control, I wear it as my reason. Empathy and sympathy leave me naked, For I don power only. And why should I fold? Is there any sense in jumping from buildings, Starting a fire, falling in love? None that I can see. We were Alkali. His conscious subservience met the façade Of my contentment In the midst of implosion, I saw through to our subliminal natures. Time warps; time lies. Tick-tick-tick I can’t tell anymore what the difference, A clock, a heart. They’re both machines to me. ‘Does fierce loneliness beget fierce independence?’ The only question I wanted to ask him, he couldn’t ever answer But his mouth moved to turn me cold. His tongue, quick thrusts, burst out, “I am Man! Death, and flame, and sex are all within me – I hold the passions of the ages!” Yes, he is Man, and will always be Man, but no lover of mine. Yes, he is Man, and will always be Man, And I – I shall forge ahead in solitude, And gladly mistake it for strength.

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Devan Maddox Click The grey Sunday rain slogged down from the sky, as murky and inconvenient as the water that was leaking from under Katie’s sink that morning. She piloted her old 1990 Buick submarine through the streets and contemplated the possibility of hydroplaning. She was sure it would happen. Katie had the Worst Damn Luck, as any of her friends would tell her. Melissa had been the most recent, when Katie had called her to ask what to do if her sink was drooling and her kitchen floor had an inch of standing water in it. Melissa laughed, condemned her with the Worst Damn Luck, and hung up with a mocking click. Katie could still hear the click, in between the unnerving whooshing and splashing of the puddles beneath her wheels. It was then that she noticed a tiny old woman standing by the bus stop in front of the bank. She wore a sensible tweed skirt, matching jacket, and a hat with a feather in it, all of which were so yellow that she seemed more like a bedraggled canary than anything else. Her grey hair fizzed out from beneath that wide-brimmed hat, rain-shined white grandma sneakers enveloped her feet, and one wrinkled, trembling hand was outstretched to the street as if trying to hail a cab. Poor thing, thought Katie. I bet she just missed her bus. For a moment she contemplated just submarining right by the little drenched canary‌but the longer she thought about it, the closer she got, the more she realized that she could help. She didn’t have anywhere important to be. She could certainly take a minute out of her day to help

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out someone old enough to be her grandmother, and her grandmother decked out for Sunday mass at that. She slowed the Buick fossil to a stop at the curb, cranked down the window, and called, “Ma’am! Do you need a ride anywhere?” “Oh, bless your heart,” a quavering voice returned. “That would be so wonderful! I don’t need to go far.” “Come on in!” Katie assumed the woman would climb into the passenger seat, but she tugged instead on the door to the backseat, so Katie had to awkwardly turn and unlock it. She waited until she heard the old lady’s seatbelt click before she began to drive away. “Where to?” she asked cheerfully, looking into the rear view mirror. Suddenly there was another click, different from that of the seatbelt or Melissa hanging up, and something cold was pressed against the back of her head. The rear view mirror told her it was a black revolver that the old lady had produced from her giant red handbag, but she didn’t believe it until the old lady answered, “St. Paul’s. Fast. And hand me your purse while you’re at it.” Numb, Katie slowly reached into the passenger seat and handed back the goods, afraid to take her eyes from the road. “Well…this was unexpected.” “Damn right,” said the old woman as she snatched the purse away and began to rifle through it.

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Thoughts bolted through Katie’s head faster than the dashed yellow lines whizzing by in the centre of the road. She turned on her right turn signal—click click click click—and made for the church. She wanted to ask why, to demand what was going on, to see if she could wheedle the gun away from the base of her skull. Instead she blurted, “Could you leave my license?” The old lady glanced up in the rear view mirror, surprised. “What?” “My driver’s license,” Katie repeated. “You can take the money, and I guess the credit card, I don’t really care, but if you take my license I have to go wait in the line at the DMV for a new one. The DMV sucks.” “Don’t use such language, young lady.” The old lady wrinkled her nose. “But yes, I suppose it does. I’ll leave the license with you.” “Uh, thanks.” Her throat felt dry. Oddly, light-heartedly desperate now, she thought she’d try for another favour: “And hey, do you think maybe you could put your gun back in your—” “No,” said Grandma flatly. “Okay,” said Katie. They drove in silence for a while. The old lady deposited the brown purse back into the passenger seat. Katie cleared her throat. The turn signal clicked and clicked again. The rain pattered against the windows less and less ferociously. Finally, the gun jabbed harder into her skin.

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“I said take me to the church!” the old woman screeched in her warbly voice. “You missed the turn!” “No, there’s another way up there,” Katie insisted, pointing. “You go down Primrose and come out at the end of Collingwood.” “That’s a lie! You teenagers are all the same with your EarPod headphones and your dagnabbed—” The old lady ranted and ranted, and Katie wasn’t sure what else to do but keep driving, so she did. She drove all the way down Collingwood and pulled up in front of St. Paul’s. As she idled there, the empty light of the gas tank clicked on. Typical, she thought to herself. Grandma Dynamite eyed her seriously through the mirror before she slid out of the car, keeping her revolver trained on Katie’s head the whole time. “Why?” Katie asked her once she was out of the car. The old woman looked at her for a while, rain dripping from the wide yellow brim of her hat. “You know,” she said finally, “just this morning I woke up and realized I’d never have enough money to go to Costa Rica. I’ve always wanted to go. But it looks like I’ll be working until I die instead. So I thought I could rob a bank--who would suspect a little old lady like me?—until I realized that taking from the poor box from the richest church in the parish was probably a little safer. And then you came along and made it that much easier.”

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At first Katie wanted to say “Glad I could help”, her trained response since childhood. She caught herself just in time. The old lady lowered her gun. “I’d also like to pray a little bit,” she said. “That’s ridiculous,” said Katie, finally laughing. The old woman slammed the car door shut. Katie watched her go, until the little yellow glow of her disappeared behind screens of rain and heavy wooden doors. Her empty light was still on, and her car was starting to jostle and whine as it always did when it was low on gas, but she couldn’t make herself drive away. What about all the people in the church? What about the poor? Suddenly the wooden doors of St. Paul’s creaked open again, and a black figure prowled toward her car. She saw his kindly round glasses and his starched white collar just before he tapped on the back door of her car. She craned around and opened it for him, and he ducked his head beneath the roof to avoid the rain. “My daughter,” he softly beseeched, “Would you be so kind as to take me somewhere? The strangest act of devilry just happened—” “Did an old woman steal from the poor box?” Katie asked. The priest stared at her. “How…?” “Get in, I’ll tell you after I’ll tell Melissa.”

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As he confusedly fumbled into the back seat, Katie reached into her purse to find that although her wallet was gone, her license and cell phone were still there. She dialled Melissa, who answered groggily: “You ruined my nap. What’s wrong this time?” Click. Cold pressure at the back of her head. “You know what?” said Katie. “Never mind.” And she hung up. “We’re going to the bank,” the priest growled at her. The rear view mirror showed her that she had another gun to deal with. “The poor box will be filled one way or another.” “Oh. Okay.” Katie shifted into drive and blankly left the parking lot. “But I’m stopping for gas first.”

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Lisa Ellison Furious Houses Our lives began to tumble though we held tight to the hammer; rebuilding what clung to chaos even though we weren't given nails. We pounded wood until it splintered, fused with what lay underneath; stacked bricks with no mortar, higher and higher, grotesque versions of normal looming above suburban dreams while brick dust scratched out our eyes. And when the termites ate the wood, wind blew down the walls, and our fingers were bleeding-we kept building anyway.

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Patrick Ragland Infinite Kinship Have you the kindness to let a spider in? Have you the calm, sweet patience to watch it search in spurts for a place to settle? And have you the reverence to lay in your bed as it spins and suspends so low that it almost touches your head? And if it does, will you feel threatened? Or will you allow its legs to anoint you with the bond of existence?

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Andrew Burgos A Willing Vessel

i.

if you goan keep knockin down my doors darlin let me advise you this: i aint one for maudlin acts, and to sympathy i’m amiss. but you goan come round my place and piss and moan and bitch? they a hellhound on my trail and i got a grave to pitch.

and if you goan crack my windows in twain honey i hope you do it quick: i been tryin for nigh five years and all you been is sick. i been splittin rails and drivin nails and all these posh white folk, and still i came no closer to what i already know.

but dont break your nails rippin up my porch baby cuz it aint all i got to give: i stole myself an inkpen hon but poetry aint but a lover’s purgative.

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so i grew for you a mustache and wore for you a beret. o i learned that velvet french but i couldnt put no words to page.

ii.

my bridal dress:

wet from and all the

waistdown

cashmere

hearts of it purled with passion and pain now

followed the river.

and the river followed its course elsewhere.

i drowned:

your raw hands pressed against the subtle bends of a neck you once said was that of a

mallard

duck.

i drowned:

you spoke and signed in numbers and yourself

thought a machine.

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preprogrammed.

ill-

equipped.

you motioned to me

like

one would a ghost or a

dog

or a slave. walked me thru an escher maze of metaphor and clichĂŠ.

iii. i have nothing more to say to you i havent yet said.

i can

conduct a waltz and did. havent i composed brimstone fugues mercy or compassion

and idler

barcarolles committed in name.

of

your

looking askance

from a proscenium in the throes of conduction,

wild

each note

an ode to you and each

passing

over your swan’s neck long since bent mallard by the grinding drag of lassitude. whose serenades

for

you crested the long scales of your abalone back but mine alone? now in the wake of a requiem played curtains close and in these 19

quiet


corridors like a crescendo it pealed: in your name everything

began

and ended with a troubled clef.

iv.

motherfucker i been sick for centuries and what you done for me?

you been robbin pens and talkin french and hittin jails and cities.

so i’ll break your house and deconstruct my hands and draw your panes in quarters,

all until you sit with me and genuflect:

we need spontaneity.

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Matthew Hyler Four Element Haikus

Water, going threw Bending shaping and forming Giving life to us

Earth, strong and sturdy Provides support and structure A second Mother

Fire, a burning flame Our inner soul our bright light Guiding us at night

Air, a moving wind Holding wings up in the sky Leaves us when we die

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Blooming in the Noise is an online publication by the Furious Flower Poetry Center and Word is Born Writers’ Society at James Madison University.

To learn more about Furious Flower and Word is Born, please visit our website: www.jmu.edu/furiousflower

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Blooming in the Noise Winter 2012 Edition  

The winter edition of Blooming in the Noise

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