Issue# 001 April 1, 2011
Visual Art by Tony Flaco KC Hase Katie Hood Gousalya Siva
OFF THE ROAD BY MITCHELL WALDMAN
INTERVIEW WITH POET GARY JACKSON
Flash Ficon by Thomas Fox Averill and Teresa Huang
Poetry by Lisa Hase and Bryan T. Forsythe
Self-portrait Porsche by Katie Hood
Inside this issue:
Visual Artist: Tony Flaco
Lit in a Flash
Featured Story by Mitchell Waldman
Shred Dots 1 by Katie Hood
Welcome to Blue Ships Dear Reader and Art Enthusiast, Welcome aboard the Blue Ships Magazine. It was a long trek to get to this ﬁrst issue, but we ﬁnally made it. I appreciate everyone’s paence while I worked everything out. It’s funny. The reason it took so long for me to get this out is because I was waing and waing for enough submissions to come in. So, I’ve spent all of last year pu1ng out ﬂyers, handing out postcards all with li3le or no results. But as soon as I decided that I was red of waing and was going to publish regardless of what I did or didn’t have, I got an almost overwhelming response from people both known and unknown. The moral of this story? Give a man a year; you’ll get a week’s worth of work. Give a man a week; you’ll get a year’s worth of work. People clearly love deadlines. Therefore, I’ma start handing them out like they’re candy from a Pez dispenser. Blue Ships Mag version 1.1 is here. (YAAAAY!!!!!) And on April 1st no less. Now, I don’t know what the cosmic meaning of that fact is, but there you have it. Blue Ships Magazine was made for savoring. Lay back under the sun (unless, of course, you’re a burner. If you’re a burner, don’t do it) and enjoy the delicious visual and literary delicacies of the art world. Thank you again for joining us.
Nadiyah Abdul-Khaliq Editor
Visual Artists Tony Flaco
ANTHONY "TONYFLACO" ELROD is a resident of Topeka, KS. Born in Hawaii and raised in New York, as well as the state of Georgia and abroad in Europe for most of his years as a child. He grew to appreciate the arts and different cultures of the world. Among is love for photography, he is also a creative writer and song writer going by the stage name of "Adullessence". When asked how photography became a new passion, his reply was, "As a performer I found it hard dealing with photographers schedules so it only made sense to buy a camera and X out the middle man.â€? Yet this passion as held fast and became more than just a hobby. His first camera a Nikon D60, and now a Nikon D90 are hardly out of reach when you see him out and about these days. "My only hope is to capture a time, a mood, a moment in the lives we lead, and all the things in them...... I hope you enjoy my work."
Chicago Tribune downtown Chicago, Ill. It was very cold that night. Word to the wise, do not visit this place in the winter, haha. This is one of my most treasured photographs, I have it hanging on my wall. I've been asked to sell the proof more than a few mes, and I just may.
Downtown San Diego California: Shot from Coronado Island. This was my ďŹ rst me in San Diego and I just had to ride over the bridge Ron Burgundy got is dog punted from. Although I sll love this photo, (of the ďŹ rst I took in my recent travels from Kansas) it sll holds no candle to actually being there. I wanna shoot this one again the next me I visit.
Picket Fence Topeka Kansas: Si1ng on my porch at home, I wanted an abstract shot. And to be quite honest, I didn't even look thru the view ﬁnder. I just held the camera to the side and shot. Later while viewing was to cut and keep, this just stood out. Nice One!
Kansas State Capital building Topeka, KS: This was a shot of the ﬁrst ﬂoor west wing hall. If you have not visited the capital building lately do yourself a favor and do just that. They are renovang the building and doing an awesome job if I may say so myself. Even this simple hallway was amazing.
The Edge: Alma Art Gallery in Alma Kansas: The owner asked me to take some pictures, and if I may say, I truly believe this shot made this piece that much more dramac. Awesome photo.
Kansas City internaonal Airport Missouri: While I must admit planes ďŹ ll me with great anxiety, this was my chariot to the west on my second visit to California. While waing to board if I remember right, it had just pulled in. Looking out the window it just seemed like a great shot.
Lit In A Flash A collection of flash fiction and poetry
Tupm Thai fresh ﬂowers rest in simple vases upon each table even on cold october days
friendly marigolds, long-stemmed, bobbing cheerful orange – white and yellow daisies waEing fresh-scent green
away from shakers for pepper or salt, away from bo3les of soy – away from demure carnaon-pink and ladenrose-red
china white porcelain rimmed in gold concentric on linen
nestled with faith in the appreciaon of a stranger
-EndBy Lisa Hase
Blue Stem that which you call winter we embrace as a me for rest for our tendril souls lying deep beneath ďŹ‚int and protected by driEs of what you call snow
unlike you, planted we wait for spring and the perfect slant of sun to send our children into the world
-EndBy Lisa Hase
GIRL ON THE GO by Teresa Huang
She was a girl on the go, that was for sure. The first time he’d seen her, he was sitting in Starbucks with his laptop open on the tiny table, screen fixed on a blank page. The words were not coming, so he was busying himself by counting the mugs for sale along the wall. Then she appeared. Swinging the door open with a full body yank, she was at the door, then suddenly at the counter, swiping her card for a bottle of water. She was wearing what looked like a professional cycling suit, the black and hot pink spandex hugging her tight body, littered with logos and phrases. The white block letters across her ass read, “Allstate.” And just as soon as she was there, she was gone. The second time he saw her, he was trudging up the stairs from the 4th Street station, headed to Joe’s for a slice. And there she was again, running past him in a blur of brunette joy. She wasn’t jogging for exercise. It appeared more as if she was running to tell the man of her dreams that she’d left the stodgy boyfriend that had been in the way and they could finally be together. The spring in her step was undeniable and he felt as if he’d walked into a movie. One in which he was the guy who was meant to chase after her. But he didn’t. As the moment passed him and hung in the air, he began to feel foolish. He lived in reality, didn’t he? He had a crappy apartment in the worst part of Brooklyn, a part-time job at an accounting firm that sapped the energy out of his life, and a hole in the only winter jacket he owned. He was just another pseudo-artist attempting to write a script while really wasting a lot of time searching for inspiration. Yet, there was this woman. A lovely, though basically everyday pretty woman who breezed in and out of his field of vision like a fairy, light and swift. A woman on her own trajectory that had intersected twice, but likely wasn’t destined to align with his. He began to think about her, attempting to manifest another sighting. One more opportunity to see her, so he could ask her about herself. Who was she? What did she love? How did she seem so grounded in a city where everyone was a loose leaf in the wind? And where was she going? In another week, his wish came true. He was just stepping out of a deli carrying a white plastic bag with a gourmet sandwich he couldn’t really afford when she power-walked past him, long brown hair swishing behind her like a flag. He stopped, stunned as she disappeared into the sea of New York bodies moving along the sidewalk. He hesitated for the briefest (or longest) of moments and then started to run. His long legs stretching and breathing, despite their confinement in his cheap label jeans. The sandwich in its bag bouncing around noisily, the laptop case slung around his shoulders getting heavier and heavier. Still, he ran. Repeat encounters like this didn’t happen in New York. There must be a reason. Some destiny he was fulfilling by chasing after this girl. He didn’t think about what he was going to say. He just had to catch her. He dodged through the oncoming foot traffic, throat too dry to ask people to get out of his way. So he panted and waved his arms and turned his wiry frame to the side to slip through the cracks in the crowd. All the while, locking his sights on the girl that wasn’t going to get away this time. Finally, he found her standing at the corner, waiting to cross as soon as the light turned. This was his chance. This was the moment. He approached her carefully, trying to temper his breathing so he didn’t sound like a crazy person. Mouth and lips dry, he willed the saliva to come so he could speak. He circled around her until her soft profile filled his view. She turned to him instantly and smiled. “Hi,” she said. He stared at her, mind still processing the sound of her voice while also taking in her warm, open smile. She was looking at him in a way that made him confused and dumb. She was looking into him, through him, up into his brain, down through his organs. She could see him, he was sure of it. And he was seeing her. And it felt like home.
He stared, unable to speak. What could he possibly say at this moment? It felt so much bigger than his little life. A monumental connection in a city of disconnect. A life disconnected. He had nothing to say. Her smile widened as she stood there, feet on the ground, looking right at him. She reached out with her hand. “You have a hole in your jacket,” she said as she stuck her finger into the hole and brushed against his hot skin. Her fingertip was soft and smooth and cool as silk. He closed his eyes, drinking in the feeling. She was here. Touching him. He was complete. He heard a ding. The light had changed. He opened his eyes and she was still smiling at him. “Bye,” she said, and hopped off the curb and crossed the street. He watched her go, too tired to move, too overwhelmed to call after her, too…everything. She was a girl on the go, that was for sure. And he stayed just where he was. Stuck in New York, in his life, unable to go. He lived in reality. But he’d glimpsed the other side. And it was beautiful.
Wildﬁre by Gousalya Siva
Slave by Thomas Fox Averill
Thomas Jefferson was a gentle master. He believed in the human dignity of his slaves. Some, he paid for extra work with animals and in his gardens. Some were able to buy their freedom. But he did not believe in freedom for these Africans: were they all freed at the same time, the economy would collapse, they would compete for scarce resources, they would fall into conditions even worse than slavery. One of his slaves, known only as Hiram, son of Hiram, worked a patch of ground among the plots Jefferson set aside near the slave cabins that lined the ridge on which Monticello was built. Hiram could grow anything, and once Lewis and Clark returned from their years of traversing the Louisiana Purchase, Jefferson set Hiram with the task of tending the new seeds and plants the explorers brought with them. Hiram was illiterate, so Jefferson brought him each week to the sunny porch where he sat reading or writing. Hiram stood, hat in hand, for Jefferson’s questions. He might be asking about the Arikira beans, from the High Plains of Dakota. How long to germinate? How long from germination to flower? From flower to fruit? How many fruit for each plant? How many seeds in each slender bean? Had Hiram eaten the bean, boiled the seed? Could Hiram try for a second planting given the longer growing season of Virginia? Hiram was used to such questions, and he answered freely, sure of himself in his life in his garden. Jefferson wrote down Hiram’s answers as meticulously as he wrote down his impressions of the wines he drank, and the purchases and sales of all his goods, including slaves. When he finished with Hiram, Jefferson stood and nodded. Hiram started for the door. Jefferson cleared his throat. “Hiram,” he said, and the slave turned to his master. “I wish all the men had your skills. Your wit with plants. I wish they were all more like you.” Hiram nodded and hurried away. Outside, he shook his head. His master surely could not want all the men to hate him as Hiram did, to make up the details their master thought of as science, to know that his own heart could know animals well, could make things grow, while his master’s heart could only ask questions. Someday, Hiram knew, the man would have to answer for himself.
By Tony Flaco
As perfect as a summer aEernoon in June by the pool. You are ten
your only responsibility: take out the trash.
Summer stretches before you, Autumn - distant as adulthood.
Today you are free from teachers heavy textbooks
and shoes. Your spirit is buoyant as the blue inďŹ‚atable raE you ďŹ‚oat upon.
-EndBy Lisa Hase
Industry and Comics by KC Hase
Billboard Forest There is irresistible force, swaying trees, swirling leaves Cool comforting massage sounds to impatient ears Freeway music, groaning buses, screeching brakes in a haze of endless forest, city sounds fade as nature's lowest wriggling worm I feel it's weight, damp, primal one step away from the Armani on my back past red brick chimneys, black tar squares simmering tall conductors rustle wave thin fluttering fingers blue bird’s feathers turn gray, lose summers iridescent hue while high above me a thousand hard skinned chestnuts fall too loud, the incessant buzz buzzing of my cell comes screaming of inconsequence and legend, leading me here but a mile in I can only see another marathon mile thick green as a rich man’s envy, immediate, intense his mind’s eye suddenly enraptured by the newest metal box smiling long blonds, short brunettes coy in sheer black beckon sunlight glittering filters down breaking through hinting red fire trucks go screaming into the distance, sirens forgotten it's then for a moment past pristine perfect mountains I can see and a much quieter simpler soul I’ve once more become -ENDBy Bryan T. Forsythe
S S M OFF THE ROAD by Mitchell Waldman
The sign flashes red up ahead, an arrow pointing off the road through a hole in the darkness. He has been driving for twelve hours (he has been driving for five years), a drive intermingling feelings of gloom, dullness, and freedom (escape). Now he is tired. The beer and marijuana have taken their toll. The road has turned from godly green hills in the daylight to a treacherous sort of hell in the darkness. He turns off the road, following the arrow out of the darkness. His sense of freedom has been exhausted. His limitations have, once again, forced him to stop, somewhere between two points on a map. It seems heâ€™s been perpetually starting and stopping for the past five years. Itâ€™s just another motel, another white space to settle into, to surround himself with. No town is visible. Just the tiny peeps of light ahead, looking like stars on the roadside. He turns the engine off. She doesnâ€™t want to stop, bucking, bucking, shocked, angered by his sensibilities, his demands for rest. Finally she surrenders. Toby opens the door, lets it swing free. His body is stiff, his legs leaden as he steps out, a child reliving his first awkward steps. The door to the motel office opens with its cowbell clanging. He hears the sounds of a televisionâ€™s muffled mumbling, a newspaper rustling from the back room. In an instant a balding man in a rumpled white shirt and thick black glasses appears. His face is pale, his eyes dull, expressionless. He speaks through a walnut pipe that droops from his lower lip: â€œEvening.â€? â€œEvening.â€? The man gives Toby a registration card and he fills it out using a false name and address (he has no address.) He hands over the cash, which is grabbed quickly by the hands which lay his change and room key on the counter. He asks where he can get something to eat and drink. The manâ€™s voice is flat, sounds like a recording. â€œThereâ€™s some places down the highway a bit. A nice little diner down there, and a bar. Just down the road. Canâ€™t miss it.â€? He thanks the man, noticing a small cardboard picture of Jesus and Mary on the wall behind him. As he turns his back, reaching for the door, the manâ€™s voice drones again: â€œAnd check out time is ten A.M. no later or weâ€™re gonna have to charge you for another day.â€?
Toby steps outside, peering back through the glass. The man has disappeared, leaving only the empty counter and the blue light that glows from the room behind it. He pulls the car in front of his room. She stops, gives up easy now. He grabs his bag and the remaining cans of beer, opens the door, flopping onto the bed, past the cheap room furnishings, past the bible carefully placed next to the lamp on a plain white table. He opens one of the beers, watching it foam up, spill over the bed onto the brown shag carpet. Propping his head against the head board, he sips the warm beer and thinks: What am I? A stranger, drifter, loner, a man who’s never lived or loved, running scared? He sips his beer a little more, shakes his head, squinting at the taste, and sets it on the table beside him. What would his mother think? That he was a drunk, a disgrace to the family and her friends. Why couldn’t he be happy, settle down like the rest, like his brother and sister had? Why couldn’t he go straight, accept responsibility? What was he so damned angry about? He closes his eyes, sees his mother’s face, and drifts into an almost instant state of sleep. Sketches of the absurd pass on a park bench in the city, watching the
It starts to rain, ﬁrst lightly, then in a connual steady ﬂow. The droplets soak through his clothes, drip down his cheeks.
aged, stony-faced woman who is silently
through his head. He is sitting pigeons. On each bench sits an picking handfuls of seed from
a bag, feeding the birds. They wear flowered dresses, these women, worn by the many seasons they’ve seen, babushkas wrapped around their heads. Their faces are heavily lined leather their eyes birdlike, sunk deep into the flesh, their noses bent, crooked, sharp. The benches are symmetrically arranged around a small fountain that sets on a circular patch of grass in the center of the park. Hordes of pigeons, it seems an identical number, flock to each bench, each handful of seed. Toby has nothing. One pigeon sits before him. Hunger in its eyes, it limps toward him on a fractured leg. Toby lifts his fist, opens and closes it, throwing an imaginary elixir to the bird. Miraculously it eats. There is nothing but it eats and smiles like a man, growing fat before Toby’s eyes, nourished on handfuls of nothing. Soon the birds circle from all angles, chasing after the invisible food, leaving the old women behind. The birds crowd around Toby’s bench, stepping, stamping on the bird with the broken leg. The women grow angry, stand together and approach Toby’s bench, coming only so far, within twenty feet, before a single woman steps from their corps. As she comes toward him her appearance changes: she is striking, young, with long flowing brown hair, and a neat, petite figure. “Toby, darling,” she says, but Toby doesn’t know her. “You mean you don’t remember me? I’ve been trying to find you for years and years, ever since high school. I was madly in love with you then, but you never noticed. And now I’ve finally found you!” Before he can say anything she has her arms wrapped around him, he is pulling her closer, her chest pressed against his, her tongue flicking, wild and warm. He closes his eyes and stops suddenly. Something is different. Her tongue has grown fuzzy, slower. There is an odor, an unpleasant scent in the air. He pulls away. She is an old woman again, gray-faced, dull-eyed,
smiling. He draws back in disgust, but is suddenly clutched, held by arms, smelling a perfume of stale alcohol and dust. There is laughing, groaning, coughing and cussing as he squirms, trying to break free. The old woman comes toward him, a rusty knife pulled from out of her rags. She points the blade at Toby’s chest, reels and pushes the blade into him, again and again, stabbing with vicious, urgent strokes. Shouting as she strikes: “Why did you leave me, why did you run? I loved you, always loved you! Why?” She spits, curses under her breath. Toby feels nothing, laughs nervously. The woman finally stops and turns away. The arms drag him, lay him beside the dead pigeon. The other pigeons are nowhere in sight. A man with a brass cane walks into view, looks down upon him: “That was wonderful, a splendid performance!” Toby surveys the blood, the shreds of his shirt, the mess his guts have made, spilling out on to the sidewalk. He closes his eyes and hears laughter, the old woman’s cackling. Soon the voices of younger women join in. Then he hears: “Toby, you were great, you can get up now, it’s all over. You can get up now.” He opens his eyes. The faces are young, but they don’t look at him now. A pile of rags lies at his feet. The women start to turn and walk away, one by one. Toby tries to yell at them, but nothing comes out. He can’t move, can’t twitch a muscle, as they walk away and he’s frantically shouting in his head: “But I can’t get up, I can’t!” Then there’s no one. The park grows dark, Toby’s left alone screaming: “I can’t, I can’t!” He awakens, his heart racing. Grunts out loud to test his voice. Reaches over, chugging from the beer, emptying it of its contents. Looks at his watch. Finds he’s been lying there for less than five minutes. He walks into the bathroom, looks in the mirror. His face is unshaven, his hair a mess. A single wisp of hair threads down his forehead and hands between his eyes, which seem bloody shells, cracked, with jagged lines of red. He bends down to the sink, splashes water on to his face, to bring himself back to life. He looks into the mirror again as beads of water drip down his chest, falling toward his belt. He is still the same. He runs a comb through his hair and puts on a fresh shirt. Then, grabbing his keys off the dresser, he heads out to the car. Once again he is out in the dark, directed only by the knife blade of his headlights. He passes a flashing sign which reads: GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! He drives a little farther and comes upon a small roadside café. The place is empty, except for a middle-aged couple who sit by the windows and two large men dressed in their work grays. Toby seats himself at the counter, a stool left empty between him and the two men, who slurp coffee, pack food into their mouths and speak in low tones to one another. The only words he can hear refer to cities – Albuquerque, when we get to San Antone. . . .
Across the room, the woman babbles continuously, interrupting herself only for raucous burst of laughter. Her husband sits staring solemnly at his coffee cup. A large waitress with pancaked makeup comes over, stands before Toby. She wears a white, stained dress, seems about forty, has a frayed look about her. He orders a piece of apple pie and coffee. The woman does not smile. She snaps her gum, writes down his order, and is gone. Toby stares at the smooth white counter. He thinks of the periodic dinners he’d had with his parents in the past, in his infrequent treks home. He thinks of the silence, the horrible sounds of the chewing. How unreal, how terrible it all seems now. And the cold, the cold…. The waitress places the coffee before him and quickly returns with the pie. He doesn’t know why he ordered it. He isn’t really hungry. He picks at the crust with his fork and doesn’t look up. The babbling woman is still babbling, the men are still droning in their faraway, incomprehensible voices, stopping only to flirt with the waitress. The sound of sizzling grease hits the air. Toby puts his fork down and works on the coffee. He has been traveling too long. Going and coming, coming and going. From town to town, point to point. Getting nowhere. He looks over at the truckers. They chew grossly, making eyes at the waitress as they do. Big, brawny, dull-witted, he thinks. From across the room the laughter floats. Toby wonders if she’ll ever stop. The waitress pours more coffee. Her eyes sparkle through all the make up. “Just passing through, cowboy?” “Yeah.” “Where you from?” “All over.” “Oh, a world traveler, huh? You’re kinda cute, anyone ever tell you that?” “Yeah, my mother.” She laughs. It’s a small birdy laugh from a big woman. “What y’all do?” He wants to put an end to her questions. He looks at her very seriously and smiles: “I just escaped from the nuthouse. Want to see my membership card?” She sneers at him and turns away. End of conversation. Toby doesn’t wait for her to return. He puts a five on the counter and walks out.
He drives back down the highway to the GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! There are a few trucks in the lot and a handful of cars. Toby walks in, conscious of the stares. It’s dark and smoky. He steps to the V-shaped counter that runs in front of the tiny raised stage. He sits between two thin, waxen figures. A waitress comes up to him in a sparkly outfit, cut to show plenty of leg and back. Her breasts are barely concealed beneath the thin fabric of her costume. He sees nothing of her face but the teeth. He orders a beer. Then another and another. He thinks of all the bars, places like this, the motel rooms, naked apartments he’s stayed in. The faces of strangers he’s passed, the walls he’s stared at. It was all like an endless mural. He’d stay in a town a few months, then get nervous and hit the road. Get out before they closed in, got too close. Before they found it out: he was afraid, afraid. A couple more beers downed and the show begins. On each side of Toby there is yelling, clapping, the slurping, spilling of drinks. He stares at the faces on each side of him. Both skinny, pimply, one with a think track of mustache. Young, eyes too large, exaggerated, they look like bad caricatures of each other. The music is loud, the record scratching out an old show tune. High heels and legs appear on stage at eye level, strutting to cat calls and cries. Spotlights focus on the legs, make them seem one-dimensional, white, ghostlike. Toby looks around, behind him in the dim light. He sees open mouths, tongues gleaming, grizzled chins, red eyes. The faces fat, thin, young, old, carved in a gallery of wax. Cigarette smoke fills the air and rises in a cloud back to the stage, back to the thighs which swivel, move closer toward Toby, then turn in a pirouette, moving to the other side of the V where a green bill is wrapped around the G-string she is now down to. The dollars keep coming, the shouts, the calls, the legs keep on getting closer, moving nearer, then farther away, making his head reel as he gulps at the beer. Finally she circles in for the kill, weaving right before him, swiveling her hips to the music, pumping her pelvis, close, closer to his face. There is laughter, smoke all around as she bends forward, inches away -- he holds his breath -- and she runs her cool fingers slowly through his hair, and he feels the chill as she moves closer, around and around, sliding like a cobra, her tired voice scratching as she stares into his eyes: “Come on, Baby, come on.” Toby loses control, leaps forward at the voice, at the panties, tearing loose the black strap, the garment. The dollars go flying as he stops, just about to touch, frozen and he is snapped from behind, pulled back by the neck, left choking for breath. He sees the woman on stage, clutching a corner of the curtain, crumpled and crying like a little girl, but for a flash looking old, shrunken like his mother and he is banging against cement, being kicked at and cursed at. He feels as if he’s outside himself watching the scene, listening to them say: “You better get your ass up and the hell out of here, cowboy, before we do some real damage! And don’t think we won’t you loser.” Then he is somehow up and moving toward his car. He gets in. Pulls out.
He wipes his hand across his jaw and feels the blood. But he can’t feel the pain. He turns slowly, broken, down an unmarked road. Does he hear or imagine, just imagine the sounds of a distant train whistle? He follows the road, confused, driving through the shadows of hills. He drives, wild, weaving, skimming across both sides of the road. His body aches with a dull numbness. The whistle is nearer. Calling to him. He goes across railroad tracks. He stops. Opens the door, stumbles off the road, down a slope, into the trees, following the tracks. The whistle recedes in his head, gives way to the rustling trees, the singing crickets, the empty tracks. The world. The world’s absurd, gone crazy. Why shouldn’t he? He says it out loud, screaming to the trees: “Why shouldn’t I?” He stretches out between the rails, the steel cold against his bare arms, the ties biting into his back. He closes his eyes, imagining the train’s approach in a silent movie, imagining himself lying there silent, brave, determined. A man. He would finally make life real in this final act of death. Would he feel? The trees grow still, the crickets continue to creak. Minutes seem like hours. He thinks of himself as a young boy, locked in his room, staring at his white walls, staring out the window at the park behind his house, awaiting another of those endless dinners. He hears the sounds of the children filtering through his window screen. His mother’s dishes are scraping downstairs. Dinner at 5:30 on the dot. He wonders: Will she feel it as the wheels cut through him? He thinks of the school lunches taken alone, the anonymous walks down narrow hallways that always lead back to that room, that window. So many hours spent in the cold numbness of that room, staring from above, hidden from the laughter. And the day he’d gone, thinking he could leave that room behind, that he could leave her behind. He lies there, thinking and thinking, winding his thoughts into a ball, a noose, his mind filling with self-pity and doubt, clouding over. It’s the right thing now, the right thing -- he repeats it over and over to himself.
Franky by KC Hase It starts to rain, first lightly, then in a continual steady flow. The droplets soak through his clothes, drip down his cheeks. He sees her face up close: she’d be angry, crying as she heard the news. Crying: “Why must you always hurt me? What have I done to deserve this? What have I done that was so wrong?” He thinks of her life, the stage for his tragedy, the woman crumpling on stage, the old woman in the park jabbing with her knife... Would she feel it, would she feel? He lies silent a moment, shivering as the trees rustle louder, caught by the wind -- they could be the tides rushing toward him in the darkness. But there’s no sound of a train anywhere in the night. He pulls himself up. Stands. Feels the bruise on his chin which has hardened, calloused over. He walks along the tracks, a child watching each foot fall until, back on the road, he stamps his shoes, watching the mud drop, gets back into his car and drives back toward the highway, back toward his white motel walls.
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THOMAS FOX AVERILL is Writer-in-residence at Washburn University, where he teaches Fiction writing. An O. Henry winner, he has published three story collections and two novels. His third novel, Rode, will be out this summer from University of New Mexico Press.
BRYAN T. FORSYTHE is a 42 year old male currently working as a cog in one more machine, grinding with other similarly shaped oddies towards some eventual hopefully meaningful, mutually sasfying conclusion. He currently lives in perpetually sunny San Diego with his wife and their pet menagerie which consists of two cats and a dog. One day he hopes to grow up and do something meaningful with himself. Till then he is content to write poetry featuring sparse lines and frequent social commentary.
KC Hase by Katie Hood
CASEY “KC” HASE was brought up in Kansas on a small farm. Artistic creativity was an essential factor for her upbringing. Her family exposed her to the arts wherever available and remained supportive through the years. Now living in Oregon, she spends her time working on a variety of projects such as photography, painting, writing and illustration.
LISA HASE holds a Master's Degree in English with an emphasis in Poetry from Kansas State University. Recently returned from South Korea, where she taught English as a Second Language at Chung Dahm Institute, Lisa currently teaches English Reading & Composition at Blue River College, Independence, Missouri and tutors Korean students for University Travel Over Seas, Inc. in Liberty, Missouri. She hopes to have her first full-length book of poetry published by the end of the year.
KATIE HOOD was born and raised in Palo Alto, California, but moved to Southern Oregon in 2009. She has loved art since before she could remember. Sculpture, pencil, pen and ink, jewelry, and airbrushing are my favorite types of art. She can’t wait to continue in school and get an art degree.
TERESA HUANG is an MIT graduate turned actor, writer, and producer. She currently resides in Los Angeles, where she writes as much as possible to compensate for years wasted on an engineering career. After completing her first position as staff writer on NBCâ€™s Knight Rider remake, Teresa continues to develop television pilots and short fiction while chronicling her experiences as an artist on her blog Teresapalooza!! (teresapalooza.com) As an actor, Teresa has made numerous television appearances, including Grey's Anatomy, The United States of Tara, LOST, and a recurring role on The Riches opposite Eddie Izzard. Stage credits include A Chorus Line (Seacoast Repertory), Putting It Together (Speakeasy Stage), Asian Pacific Tales (East West Players), multiple touring productions with the hereandnow theatre company, and several shows at the Disneyland Resort. She has also studied improv at Second City and performed her one-woman show The Yellow Dress all over the country.
GOUSALYA SIVA is a self taught artist who loves to dabble with paint. Colors fascinate her and she loves the endless things and ideas that can churn out through art. Enjoy them as much as she enjoyed making them. Check out more of her work at: http://www.avayra.com.
MITCHELL WALDMAN'S fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in many publication, including, most recently, The Houston Literary Review, The Legendary, The Greensilk Journal, Milk Sugar, The Piker Press, The Legendary, trans lit, The Midwest Literary Magazine, The Battered Suitcase, The Fine Line, eFiction Magazine, Connotation Press, Wilderness House Literary Review, New Aesthetic, Fiction Collective, Red Fez, and worldwide hippies, He is also the author of the novel, A FACE IN THE MOON, as well as the forthcoming story collection, due out later this year, PETTY OFFENSES AND CRIMES OF THE HEART (Wind Publications). Waldman was also co-editor (with Diana May Waldman) of the anthology WOUNDS OF WAR: POETS FOR PEACE and the upcoming anthology HIP POETRY 2012 (Wind Publications), and is the Fiction Editor of Blue Lake Review. (For more info, see his website at http:// mitchwaldman.homestead.com).
EDITOR’S CORNER Gary Jackson and the Lost Interview On 3/2/11 I did an interview with good friend and poet Gary Jackson to talk about his new book, “Missing You, Metropolis,” as well as his other current and past endeavors. AEer an hour and a half of an interview that was as much friendly conversaon as it was a formal inquiry, I came away with some interesng facts about my dear friend that even I didn’t know (mostly because I had never thought to ask unl then). For example I didn’t know that he got really into poetry (as opposed to prose or script) because he found that he could accomplish more with poetry while at work than he could with prose. Such a simple reason and yet so brilliant. At this point, you may be asking yourself, “If the interview was so great, why is it ‘lost’?” And here’s your answer. Knowing that I would be doing a phone interview with a future Pulitzer winner, I downloaded an app to my phone to help record the conversaon. AEer mulple tests with said app, I decided that it wasn’t great, but it would suit my purpose for now. I did noce an issue with the sound (which I will explain in a moment), but it wasn’t that bad. Okay, it was, but I could at least hear it. Long story short, I go to playback the recording and found it had an even bigger ﬂaw than it did before. An enre half of the conversaon is missing. And it happens to be Gary’s half. I can hear myself talking and asking quesons, but I can’t hear his response even with the speakers as high as they will go. I tried to ﬁnd something that would allow me to isolate his voice so that I could enhance it, but that search turned out to be fule. There is, however, a silver lining. While he and I were talking, I took notes as fast as I could with the hope that the audio recording would backup anything that I missed. Then I typed those notes and sent the interview to him to make sure everything was alright…it turned out to be all wrong. So, Gary ended up typing his responses to the quesons, which, go3a say, was a brilliant idea. Here it is, my interview with Gary Jackson…kind of.
Gary Jackson Interview (3/2/11)
Nadiyah AK: You were at AWP in DC in February. How was that experience? Gary Jackson: It was great! I went to AWP early February of this year and it was pre1y amazing. I got to share the stage with Rita Dove, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Natasha Trethewey (who are all Pulitzer-Prize winning poets), and my book sold out. Got to check out some new great books, catch up with some old friends and meet new folks. NAK: How was DC? Tell me it was beauful and everything I hoped for. GJ: Unfortunately, I had li1le me to sight-see around the city, but I plan on going back someday to do just that. There was a pre1y cool comic shop down the street from my hotel – I don’t know how, but I just naturally run into those types of places when I’m out. Oh, and D.C. was beauful and was everything you could hope for.
NAK: What are some things that you have to have in order to write (i.e. music, food, quite, etc.)? GJ: The most important thing I need to do, when it comes to wring, is to get out of my house. I shouldn’t say I can’t write at home (because I do somemes), but I’m much more producve when I’m at a café or somewhere out of the house with access to coﬀee. I just have too many distracons at home, and television – as much as I love it – is my nemesis. Coﬀee is another necessity for me, but it’s always a good thing when my coﬀee gets cold, cause it means I’m absorbed with whatever I’m wring. I’m at my best when I work in the morning, but recently I’ve had a few creave surges
at night, lying in bed, right before sleeping. I consider myself something of a morning person, so I’ve been a li1le surprised at my evening bursts of creavity.
NAK: What’s your markeng strategy? How do you go about ge1ng your name out there? What is “out there” for you? Do you do anything beyond book tours? GJ: I’m lucky to be with Graywolf Press, they’re a great press and have a very organized group of people that help their authors with book sales, markeng, publicity, and they’re just a fucking wonderful bunch of people. With that said, it’s not really their responsibility to book me reading gigs, though they have hooked me up with a lot of a1enon through interviews, reviews, and talks; and from those interviews I’ve received a few oﬀers to come out and read and talk at places. The real bread-and-bu1er in poetry stems from the readings – at least in my experience – and that only comes from being a good reader and trusng that word of mouth will spread your worth. A good example is when I was at AWP in D.C. and aDerwards I got a few tentave oﬀers to come out and read and some solicitaons to send work. Despite everything, I’m just happy to be wring and geEng paid for it. It’s pre1y amazing.
NAK: Do you have an agent? GJ: Nope. I have to be WAY more famous and widely published before that ever becomes an opon.
NAK: Who are your inspiraons and mentors? GJ: It’s hard for me to answer quesons like this, since it always changes for me, and I have a terrible memory – there are enre books that I’ve forgo1en. With that said, I’m currently digging Thomas Sayers Ellis’ Skin, Inc., Esther Lee’s Spit, Dana Levin’s Sky Burial, and Tracy K. Smith’s Duende. Just about any poet I read inspires me to some degree, so it’s hard to ﬁgure out what I should a1ribute to each poet that I consider an inspiraon. Everyone from Bryan Dietrich to Ai to Lynda Hull have inﬂuenced my work to some degree – primarily because I enjoy them so goddamn much. The people I directly worked with while wring the poems for this manuscript are a li1le easier to keep track of. I owe a huge amount of thanks to Amy Fleury and Lisa D. Chavez who teach poetry at McNeese State University and University of New Mexico respecvely – I worked extensively with them while wring the poems that comprise the book. In fact, without them, I’m not sure I’d even have the book.
NAK: What’s next for you? GJ: I’m currently working on two projects simultaneously. Immediately aDer graduang with my MFA, I began working on a series of poems that explored an America populated by my own superheroes. I wanted to create my own characters simply because you can’t get away with making Superman a pedophile – there are some things that just don’t feel right when playing with established characters. But there are no rules when you make your own world. At ﬁrst it started as fun, but then the poems starng geEng picked up and I though “ah shit, now this is a serious project.” It’s been fun. As some people know, I recently spent a year in South Korea and that trip triggered feelings I had about my own family. Even though Missing You, Metropolis does touch on my family, I’ve always been interested in my family dynamic – especially my mother who was born in Seoul, South Korea and is the child of a Korean woman and a black G.I.. When I was in South Korea, it struck me how much of an outsider I felt, yet at the same me, this surreal connecon I had to the land. It’s a strained connecon, at best, yet it certainly reminded me of how the Korean and Black sides of my family treat each other and how my mother seems to be the center of this amalgam of cultures. None of what I just said probably makes sense, but that’s the other project I’m working on – Wring poems about that clash of culture, both as an outsider and insider.
NAK: Alright, Mr. Jackson, that’s the end of the interview. Thank you so much for your me. GJ: Thanks for making me feel special and interviewing me! Looking forward to seeing you on April 4th at my reading at Washburn.
GARY JACKSON is the winner of the 2009 Cave Canem Poetry Prize for his ﬁrst book, Missing You, Metropolis, selected by Yusef Komunyakaa. He was born and raised in Topeka, Kansas, and received his MFA in poetry from the University of New Mexico in 2008. His poems have appeared in The Laurel Review, Blue Mesa Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Literary Bohemian, Inscape, Magma, and he has been nominated for a 2010 Pushcart Prize. He has been a ﬁerce lover of comics for nearly twenty years. Contact him at: email@example.com
NADIYAH ABDUL-KHALIQ was born in 1981 in Kansas City, Mo. She earned her BA in English/Creative Writing from Washburn University in Topeka, KS. Since graduating, Nadiyah has authored 500 5-Minute Writing Exercises, Color in the Dark: A Collection Of Poems and Short Stories, and The Demon Cleaner Book One: Demons of The Guilded. She is also editor of the creative arts online magazine, Blue Ships Magazine. Nadiyah was recently accepted in the MA Creative Writing and The Creative Economy program at Kingston University in London, England
Gary’s 2011 Calendar (so far):
April 4th, Reading at Washburn University in Topeka, KS at 4pm April 28th, Texas Tech in Lubock, TX
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Art 6 by Gousalya Siva
Published on Apr 1, 2011