What is a Bohemian?? “Bo•he•mian•ism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, involving musical, artistic or literary pursuits. Bohemians can be wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds.” Wikipedia.com The Bohemians at bohemia-journal.com report on the artistic scene in Waco, Texas. They showcase their work, highlight their personal interests, and share their life experiences.
Adopt a Bohemian::
Our Bohemians need sponsorships in order to pursue their Bohemian endeavors. A monthly sponsorship of 25 dollars or more will put your business on the website in ad space next to your favorite Bohemian’s blogs, and would in part ensure that your Bohemian is off the streets, well-fed, safe, and clothed for another month.
Are you Bohemian? We are looking for “Bohemian” writers for the blog. Bohemia’s goal is to support 15 - 20 gifted writers in the community. Ideally, we want our writers to be able to support themselves and their craft. We are looking for writers who are passionate, young or young-at-heart, adventurous, funny, artsy, and BOHEMIAN. Bohemians are tech savvy and can post family-friendly articles in “blog-style” language. Please submit to email@example.com an example of your work, a bio, and a short essay, “Why I Am a Bohemian.”
page 2 • bohemia • november 2011
The Woods Alive Beyond the Darkness” By Isis Lee
In the forest past the dark Beyond the lives that men do seek. Lives the hum and buzz of life On past all the shade of trees, There light is held to rest the shadows Of the secrets nightfall dreams,
Creatures thrive on mirth and magic And all the powers that can be Infused my darkness, held in secret To what is rare with purity Are the lives of what brings balance To the world of fantasy. With winged graced features And powers brooding The little helpers spread delight. They feed their will upon the forest And share their gift preserving life.
Like Nature’s little muses As they run along and play Their role lives in the woods and forest Exuding beauty everyday
And in the twinkle of night’s sky You hear them whisper in the breeze Spreading light and love amongst the dark And beyond what can be seen!
page 3 • bohemia • november 2011
Above: Artwork by Michael Shapcott Below: Artwork By Deena Richardson
Colleagues and Contributors Amanda Hixson Publisher & Editor-in-Chief
Jim McKeown Assistant Editor, subscriptions manager, blog
Eric Doyle: Managing editor Lisa Hathaway: Staff writer, photographer, illustrator, blog Whitney Van Laningham: Staff writer Dominik Young: Promoter, blog Michael Alan Gill: Staff writer, blog Kayla Hawk: Staff writer Mandy Bray: Blog Autumn Mercy Rapson: Blog
Art & Design Team
Penney Simpson: Design director Lindsey Parker: Lead photographer Noelle Argubright: Photographer, illustrator, staff writer Renny Quintero: Illustrator Cyndi Wheeler: Photographer Steven Ruud: Photographer Joshua Schnizer: Photographer, illustrator Kris Ann: Fashion editor Amy Cook: Stylist
Ad Sales Team
Rebecca Melton: Lead sales and manager
Into the Woods The Woods Alive Beyond the Darkness.................................. 3 Letter From The Editor........................................................... 6 Autumn Potpourri................................................................... 7 BoHo Digs: Jim and Teresa Rambo......................................10 Nature & Layers................................................................... 12 Tell Saint Peter at The Golden Gate...................................... 15 The Door.............................................................................. 18 True Love............................................................................ 20 As I Close My Eyes.............................................................. 21 The Hidden Treasure........................................................... 22 Emerging Poet: Sydeaka Poisson........................................ 24 Industrial Woman: Courtney Woodliff.................................... 26 Heather Sincavage at Croft Gallery...................................... 28
Lorrie Lee:Ad sales Cover credit: Jena Willard, photo by Steven Ruud Correction: October’s cover story “Queen of Scream” was written by Esmeralda Uvalle.
Noelle Argubright, Elyse Beggs, Daniel Cole, Amy Cook, Kris Davenport, Patrick Ishimwe, Jessie Nahorn, Renny Quintero, Billy Robinson, Serena Teakell, Whitney Van Laningham, Jena Willard Bohemia: Waco’s Art & Literary Journal (Waco, TX) Volume 1, Number 3 November, 2011 ISSN No. 2162-8653 Printed by Waco Printing Co.
page 4 • bohemia • november 2011
Photo by Deena Richardson
Into the Woods
Our Bohemia Story by Eric Doyle
BoHo Threads: Ghost Town................................................. 30 A Pleasant Ladies’ Game..................................................... 35 Magic in the Roses.............................................................. 37 Pushing Coal....................................................................... 39 The Scent of Ages Past....................................................... 42 Your Desk............................................................................ 43 Frank and Ellen................................................................... 44 Cuddaboutte Pass................................................................ 47 Bohemian Portraits: Steven Ruud......................................... 49 Art With a Pulse: John Garner.............................................. 50 Truck Driver Diaries............................................................. 52 List of Contributors............................................................... 56
We are believers and doubters, itinerants and natives, soccer moms and face-piercing misfits– bon vivants and motorcycle mechanics. Our Bohemia is founded in contradiction: populated with third grade teachers and rogue scholars, powertie businessmen and graffiti artists. We are gypsies with mortgages, poets in minivans. We’ll leave Waco as soon as we graduate; we’ll be buried here beside our parents. We’ve climbed Machu Picchu and played tour guide in Rome, accidentally stumbled into bordellos in Budapest. We’ve never left the state. We’ve collectively canceled out each other’s votes for years. We agree on very little except that
Waco can be lived more artfully. We are not Greenwich Village or old Montmartre. We will not ape the modes of LA and London: that affected disaffection, that anemic irony. We are Central Texas, and our Bohemia will be of our own design. We are likely to be provincial, unrefined, embarrassingly earnest. These are the risks of honesty. We are the anti-zeitgeist, the everyday poets; collage artists playing in the Louvre. We’ve no grand designs, no rebellious credo. Bohemia is only a way to make our lives more human.
page 5 • bohemia • november 2011
Photo by Deena Richardson
Bohemia Letter from the editor
McLennan Theatre Equivocation Nov. 17-19 Pippin Feb. 22-26 The Chicken Opera Mar. 30-31
n house-Hixso Amanda New ire na di Editor Extraor
Hamlet Apr. 19-22
Music Concerts Contemporary Christian Nov. 15 Chorale & Wind Ensemble Nov. 21 Guitar Nov. 28 Vocal Techniques Nov. 29 Spotlight Musical Theatre Dec. 1 Waco Jazz Orchestra Dec. 5 Waco Community Band Dec. 6
Visual Arts “Works on Paper” by Travis Looper through Nov. 30
See all MCC’s Visual & Performing Arts Events at www.mclennan.edu/calendar page 6 • bohemia • november 2011
Dear Autumn abounding and Winter setting in, The underlying theme of the November/ December issue of Bohemia is “Into the Woods” -- trees of change (hopefully and continually for the better). Out of the woods abound our exuberant bohemians, writing and creating little masterpieces, like elves. This issue bursts with so much creativity and spirit! Are the arts thriving in Waco and Central Texas? They are! Even through the harshness of recession, political unrest around the world, and the long, hot, dry summer. The mission of Bohemia as it was and as it always will be is to showcase the work of local talents such as Renny Quintero, Noelle Argubright, Michael Bracken, Autumn Shelley, Courtney Woodliff, Jim McKeown, Michael Alan Gill, Lisa Hathaway, Kayla Hawk, Cynthia Barrios, Bradley Turner, Deena Richardson, Autumn Mercy Rapson, John Garner, Sydeaka Poisson, Isis Lee, Josh Schnizer, Cyndi Wheeler, Robbi Rodrigurz, Nick Vigil, and Brittany Price. These Bohemians offer up their creations for your examination and approval. We also have some wonderful pieces from beyond Central Texas in order to begin to make connections outside our realm. We welcome them into Bohemia like guests in our hobbit hollow. Do you care for tea? Some bread? Some wine? The cover shot this month has gone to local talent Steven Ruud, and his work is featured throughout the magazine as well as in his gallery. Steven has his own distinctive quality
and artistry. We are thrilled to bring it to you. Bohemia has had the privilege to work with absolutely spectacular local photographers (as well as one photographer from The Netherlands) in our first three issues. Each issue pops with brilliance, and I thank these photographers and happily sing their talents. We tend to celebrate the writers as the photographers huddle in their corners behind their lenses. Another unsung hero is our lay-out designer, Penney Simpson. Bohemia is a little thicker this month, and as usual, Penney laid out the magazine with sophistication and a breezy style which is becoming our signature look—thanks to the talent of this graphic artist. Gracious lady, you are masterful. The adventure never stops. We are constantly meeting well-wishers and enthusiastic fans of the journal. We strive to offer fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, art, and beautiful photography for your enjoyment and approval. Our sponsors make this work of art possible. We are a struggling start-up business, and they believe in us. They believe in Waco. And they believe in the talent here. We are unique and individual—we think zombies and tattoos are high art; we clutter Facebook with banter; we drink beer at swimming pools while fact checking… but we love Poe and Gaiman and King and Collins and Faulkner and Joyce. We are cultured in our own way. And we christen our culture Bohemia.
Illustration by Robbi Rodrigurz
Autumn Potpourri Poetry by Lois Lee
Autumn People If I designed a personality test, For the types of people who like autumn best; I’d focus on warm ones; the rest I’d dismiss, And create a profile that looks like this: Why do you choose autumn as your pick of the lot? What gives fall that something that others haven’t got? Is it Thanksgiving’s bounty, or Indian summer’s balm? Or the splendid burst of color in the realm of calm? It’s the hayrides in the country, romantics would say, With a glorious full moon lighting shocks of hay; It’s the smell of apple cider from the old wooden press, Or gathering nuts and getting a russet-leafed caress.
Photo by Cyndi Wheeler Photo by Cyndi Wheeler
While most would put their marks on all the above, Others add that football makes it a time to love; But, on one topic, surely, autumn folks will agree— What makes the season special is unparalleled beauty!
Autumn Nights Autumn nights Bring ambrosial delights; Where a bouquet of musk Is the essence of dusk. Autumn nights May bring transient delights; When autumn’s child declines To taste sweet autumn wine. Autumn nights Bring amaranthine delights; To those who know the truth Of autumn’s fountain of youth. page 7 • bohemia • november 2011
Photo by Deena Richardson
Hello, Autumn Hello, autumn, we welcome your return, Summer’s torpid strain caused our restive hearts to yearn; For mellifluent mornings, ambrosial afternoons, And long, enchanted evenings under ripe, tangerine moons.
Photo by Bradley Turner
When summer’s song begins to fade, I listen for autumn’s serenade; A melody of earth’s transition, Composed with masterful precision. I hear the call of the wild grey geese, Evoking tranquility, hope, and peace; When I hear the howl of October’s wind— I know in my heart, it’s the voice of a friend. The rustle of leaves creates a mode Of longing to follow the Gypsy’s road; Will autumn ears hear music more fine Than ripe pumpkins calling from the vine?
Photo by Charles Turner
Autumn Potpourri A treeful of bright oak leaves suffices, Combine with maple, syncamore, seet gum, for variety; Blend with love and pungent autumn spices, Treasure, enjoy, share this autumn potpourri!
Photo by Bradley Turner
page 8 • bohemia • november 2011
Autumn Angel Golden angel, essence of fall— A patron of harvest, mindful of all; The soul of the season, in homespun gown, With a spray of bittersweet in your crown. Autumn angel, bounteous, free, A gift from heaven, sent auspiciously; When harvest’s stern agenda is a taskmaster, An angel helpmeet makes the work go faster. Autumn angel, when I am sad, Your happy, rustling leaf song makes me glad; Alas! You’re gone; your mission realized, For an autumn angel’s wings are not winterized.
Photos by Cyndi Wheeler
page 9 • bohemia • november 2011
BohoDigs:: the Rambo House by Jim McKeown
fer from MCC, Teresa wanted to make sure MCC had someone who could work with fused glass. They didn’t, but the Rambos decided to come here anyway. Jim and Teresa began pottery – or “mud class” as those who labor at the wheel affectionately call it – under Trey South. Later, Teresa continued the class with Mike Maguire. Teresa studied pottery for several years but,unfortunately, she found out she had an allergy to the clay and the dust, and had to discontinue the class. So, she went back to her love of glass and began making fused glass jewelry.
Jim and Teresa Rambo recently celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary. The tapestry they have woven has many colorful threads, but the most interesting comes from their common love and practice of the arts. The house they have shared is on a quiet street in Waco near Valley Mills Drive. A spectacular cedar tree dominates the front lawn. To all outward appearances, this house represents a typical ranch house set on a neatly manicured lot with an array of ornamental shrubs, which accent, without overwhelming what realtors call “curb appeal.” But once inside, the visitor can easily see this is no ordinary home. The couple has assembled, over the years, quite a few pieces of art – pottery, prints, drawings, figurines, furniture, and plates. Many of these items are the work of Jim and Teresa. The house has a personality which matches that of the residents perfectly. Jim taught theater, speech, and English, at Weatherford College from 1976 to 1979. Then the couple moved to Western Texas College in Snyder, Texas, south of Lubbock, where Jim spent 13 years in a one-instructor page 10 • bohemia • november 2011
department teaching, directing, designing and recruiting theater students. He joined the theater department at MCC in 1992. This coming spring, Jim will direct his 100th production. As is the custom in the theater world, the show will be Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Teresa has always had an interest in visual arts. She took a painting class at Weatherford College. At Western Texas College, she began working with fused glass. This process involves cutting pieces of colored glass into strips or geometric shapes and arranging them in a pleasing pattern. “The hard part is the firing. The piece has to stay in the kiln long enough to fuse the glass and to allow the center of the glass to begin to ‘drop,’ which leaves a depression in the center. If it stays in even seconds too long, the whole piece is ruined.” this “dropped glass” medium remains one of Teresa’s favorites to this day. When considering the job of-
Teresa’s mother and father also have creative streaks. Her father had a talent for woodcraft. He made the shelves on which she displays some of the boxes she made during mud class and her mother is an amateur writer. Teresa found inspiration in her 4-H Club activities, and then encouragement from a home economics teacher, led to her discovery of a talent for sewing. She feels this is her primary interest in visual arts. She built and designed costumes for productions at Weatherford College and Western Texas College before moving to Waco. She costumed Pajama Game at MCC, filling in for Kathleen Landy who was on leave. Teresa says, “I love looking at clothing and examining how it was put together. I seem to have this ability to analyze it in my head, then reproduce it with a few custom improvements.” Jim and Teresa’s daughter, Erin, discovered her mother’s talent when she was
five. Teresa has been making clothes for the family ever since. “I still see clothes I like and then make them myself.” She can start a project from a photograph. “I can see the finished garment and watch it develop and grow from scattered pieces of cloth.” Teresa figured out this process by herself. “A little trial, some error, but a lot of effort.” Her greatest pleasure comes from making wedding gowns. Making a gown for her daughter’s best friend gave her a special sense of accomplishment. “Working on bridal gowns,” she says “especially when there is a tight deadline, can be stressful, but in the end I find sewing the most rewarding of anything I have done.” But the real reward comes at the end. “It is so exciting to show things I made, and they tell me it is exactly what they wanted.” Teresa has been enjoying this activity since the third grade. “Only later did I begin to try other forms of art, but I always go back to sewing.” Teresa also liked making costumes for her children’s parties. With a wide grin, Jim tells of one she made for their son, Josh, who dressed as the wind while in second grade.
for shows I work on to communicate with the designers,” Jim says, “but they were pretty rough. I wanted to improve those drawings.” Jim believes working in different media inspires him, but all of his interest in art stems from reading literature and writing. Jim’s initial discovery of visual and performing arts came from his experience playing trombone in a high school band. “When I got involved with theater and began directing, I found myself pursuing other forms of art.” In addition to the visual arts displayed in their home, Jim and Teresa have decorated the house together. They love finding things at yard sales, flea markets, and shops then transforming them into a pleasing addition to their décor. They refinished a mirror which belonged to Jim’s mom, and have repaired several pieces of furniture, mirrors and wall-hangings. With some work, second hand or inexpensive pieces become wonderful accents for their home.
Jim adds, “Teresa sees details and works on those – one at a time -- until each is resolved.” She has actually “redesigned” a designer gown to better fit the bride.
Teresa says, “It’s fun to do with little or no money. We copy and fix up all kinds of things to make them look new or antique, whatever the article calls for.” She also made the frames for her fused glass pieces.
The Rambos have passed this love of the arts to their children. Their daughter, Erin, who lives in Waco, has a degree in theater and currently directs church performance projects. She worked professionally in Houston as an actress and costume designer for six years and won recognition for her designs. Their son, Josh, who lives in Ojai, California, plays various musical instruments as well as being a landscaper and carpenter.
They also have an enviable talent for landscaping. Their back yard, dominated by a live oak tree – even more massive and impressive than the cedar on their front lawn – has an intricate brick work patio, and several spaces outlined with bricks.
Jim also likes working with wood. He and Teresa bartered work on costumes for an old library table. After a lot of work cleaning and refinishing, it has a prominent place in their family room/den. Jim says, “It came from the Waco High Library, and it was in bad shape. But I wanted to keep that rough, rustic look. It still has some names carved it.” With his dry humor, he adds, “But I did take off all the chewing gum.”
Teresa relates how she is sometimes “overwhelmed by some paintings and sculptures, intricate costumes, and wonderful plays.”
Earlier this summer, Jim and Teresa recreated their enjoyable experience at the pottery class by taking a drawing class together through MCC’s Continuing Education Department. “I frequently make sketches page 11 • bohemia • november 2011
Jim believes it takes “a concerted effort of scenic designers, lighting designers, sound designers, costume designers, makeup designers, dramaturgs and of course the actors to come up with an idea, then develop it into a marvelous
play. I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by a group of very talented people in all these areas” One form of art leads to another and another, he believes. “Art or reading or writing, opens up our minds to the world and allows us to see things differently. That is how we produce more art.” Jim finds his greatest joy in “Benevolence – the simplicity of helping others. That, and the “ah-ha” of art make it all worthwhile.” Jim and Teresa Rambo have created a wonderful tapestry of their lives. They seem to enjoy all the little things they do together. Their house is not like a museum, and it is far from pretentious, but it does have a quiet elegance about it. The colors, the décor, the furniture, and the arrangement of their art, all speak of a family in love with the beauty of the world around them. They are most anxious to share that joy and beauty with all who come into their home.
Photos by Noelle Argubright
Natures and Layers Photography by Lindsey Parker
Daniel Cole and Billy Robinson from Waco band Fonedead
No Sure Things
With over-confidence matching
By Anne McCrady
misplaced courage, exhilaration echoes.
Like spelunkers deep in the cave
Rationalizations tumble in a rock slide
of well-intentioned trespass,
from our pounding hearts:
enthusiasts scrambling over basalt boulders
there is no other choice
and slithering under calcium curtains,
how can we lose
novice explorers pulled by flashlights
everything depends on this
down dark spiral tunnels
But even as we splash
through slick limestone openings
our excitement like limey water,
to the next opal pool
we begin to hear the slow drip
in another magnificent cavern,
of too easy, smell the stale air
the route invisible as silt,
of too fast, too far.
escape, and the need for it, out of mind,
One by one, we realize that once in,
emboldened by past conquests,
we don’t have a clue how we got here
we have become enchanted
or which dimly lit passage
with a new raison d’entrer.
might be the way out.
page 12 • bohemia • november 2011
The sun shone through my window by Jesse Jefferis
The sun shone through my window this morning
the smell of grass in my nose.
Damn neighbor, mowing his grass in...
...what time is it? eleven : thirty-four.
Then, it all rushes back to me.
Last night you fed me Spaghetti
We had dinner on the lawn
You told me everything would be alright. I walked towards you, feeling the grass on my bare feet
grabbing the small of your back, pulling you near
as your muscles and delicate skin tense under my palm
with anticipation and excitement
My lips met yours
Luscious and vital
the universe is here
your breast pressed against my body
The stars above our heads are enthralled
My hand traces your back to your ass
I pull you into me closer Your tongue caresses my tongue and lips
we play this game and all of life is here in this moment
I have heaven
in my arms
Ten Obscure Facts About Lindsey Parker
brings the sensation to my lips
1. I have a fear of sloths.
my fingers remember your skin
2. I am a lover of words.
I feel the desire rising in me.
3. I’ve been called a walking Ipod.
Sleeping silently next to me
reaching your form under the sheets
I brush your hair aside.
I encircle your waist
and kiss your cheek
Thank you for loving me again today.
page 13 • bohemia • november 2011
4. I stood 20 ft away from the legendary Bob Dylan. 5. My favorite movie is Stand By Me. 6. Finding new music that isn’t main stream is a must.
7. I jump EVERYTIME something pops out of a toaster, but horror movies don’t scare me. 8. I love the moment you say a word over and over and it ceases to have meaning. 9. My addiction is concerts. 10. I try to capture those moments that go unnoticed. It’s like a game I have with life. And if I capture it, I win.
page 14 â€˘ bohemia â€˘ november 2011
Photo by Steven Ruud
Tell Saint Peter at the Golden Gate By Michael Alan Gill It seemed easy enough at first. I’d seen all the guys that I admired doing it. Leonardo DiCaprio, John Wayne, Steve Buscemi—all very different in their own respects, yet the same in this: they all did what I was trying so hard to do. The flame whipped around in front of my face. I spun the flint on my lighter, dangling my first cigarette closer and closer to the flame with each second. I stopped before it was lit. It seemed easy enough at first, but it wasn’t—taking that first drag on my American Spirit was a difficult task. I’ve always been a smoker. I love a good pipe smoke after a meal, with a glass of gin if possible, and I’ll smoke a cigar anywhere; but this—this was different. I’ve never inhaled tobacco smoke purposefully. But here I was, sitting in the living room of my one bedroom apartment—an apartment that was specifically a “non-smoking” apartpage 15 • bohemia • november 2011
ment—stressing out about whether or not I was going to be able to do this. I was like an unpopular child, desperately trying to be accepted and very concerned about the level of appeal he has to the world. “I’m just going to do it,” I told myself. “I’ll light it, cough, and get it over with. I don’t have to smoke more than one tonight, and I’ll get the hang of it in time.” Again, I flicked the flint on my lighter, again I dangled my loosely clinched American Spirit in front of the flame, and again I stopped before it was lit. It seemed easy enough at first, but it wasn’t—mustering up the stones to inhale the smoke produced from flaming tobacco leaves. I had just finished watching a Stanley Kubrick film called “Full Metal Jacket.” After just one watch, it shot up to the number one spot on my top five favorite movies of all time— a spot that used to be held by the romantic comedy (500) Days of Summer. Nobody in
the movie smoked, that I remember. But I do remember a bunch of guys running around, grabbing their crotches, and chanting, “This is my rifle, this is my gun. This is for fighting, this is for fun.” What a weird bunch of guys. I was distracting myself from the task at hand—by the end of the night, I was supposed to be a smoker, and here I am thinking about a fictional depiction of Marine Boot camp. And to think, it seemed so easy at first. I could really go for a beer. I’ve got one bottle left—a Belhaven Scottish Ale, sitting comfortably in my refrigerator, chilled to perfection and just dying to be drunk. But I’m busy—I’m trying to force myself to light up a cigarette and smoke. It was kind of funny. There was no one around egging me on, telling me to do it. No one was yelling, “What’s the matter, LaRoux? Ya Scared? You a chicken?” No one, that is, except for myself. “Damn it,” I thought. “When I fi-
Photos by Steve Ruud page 16 • bohemia • november 2011
nally finish doing this, I’ll probably have a good story for Bohemia. I’m sure those artsy pricks will love reading about how I forced myself into a tobacco addiction in a matter of seconds.” Artsy Pricks—how dare I call the fine readers of the journal that. Hell, I’m the same kind of person. I love reading about how people get flung into addictions and things—it’s very entertaining. I was out of line to think that anyone was a prick. What I was really doing was trying to distract myself from the task at hand. Holden Caulfield was very winded. He was young, but he was always out of breath. By the time he’d finished telling his story to the guy at the psych-ward, he’d started smoking all the time. Holden Caulfield is one of my favorite literary characters. He’s the main protagonist—if you can call him that—of the book “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger. Just because I like this book doesn’t mean I’m going to assassinate the president or anything. I just liked reading about how this crazy son of a bitch spent his time in New York City. He sure was a cool guy, Holden Caulfield. But thinking about him— even thinking about why he was winded—is just another distraction. “I’m done. I’m not going to play around anymore,” I told myself. “I’m just going to light this damn thing and smoke it. It’s that easy. Puff puff, cough cough, and I’m done. I can go back to watching Kick-Ass on Netflix.” I opened a Word document on my computer. “Maybe writing about what I haven’t done yet will help.” I began to type. “It seemed easy enough at first.” I kept typing and typing, mashing away at the sticky keys on my keyboard, in hopes that this inspirational event would trigger a great story, and that this great story would trigger the courage— if you can call it that—to light up a cigarette. It didn’t. 853 words in, I was ready to stop writing. I paused—I should say, I am pausing. Now, I’m picking up my green tinted, ten-cent lighter from the gas station down the road. I twist the flint dial on the lighter twice; on the third time it lights up with an opaque yellowish flame. I grasp the cigarette in my right hand, between my index and middle fingers and force my face closer and closer to the lighter. Finally it’s lit. My first American Spirit. I inhale the tobacco into my lungs, sure that I’m going to begin coughing. The cough never comes. I guess I’ve accidentally inhaled enough tobacco from cigars and pipes that the smoke doesn’t affect me anymore. Still, I feel this strange page 17 • bohemia • november 2011
burning sensation in my lungs. “Lung cancer,” I think. “That’s the first sign that I’ve forever screwed up my lungs.” I kept dragging–taking slower and slower breaths, hoping that I could continue typing while concentrating on this strange lightheaded feeling that accompanied me. “Am I dizzy? Man, I could sleep really well after a few of these. I should probably give the journal at least 1500 words though, so I’ll keep writing.” It’s not as bad as I’ve heard it would be, smoking. In fact, I think it actually helps me write. I continued typing, only this time, not using my index finger—it was incapacitated, trying to grasp my American Spirit. After a few slow, long drags on the cigarette, I was hooked. I’d fallen in love with another vice—just what I need. I won’t say that I didn’t cough the entire time that I was smoking. I didn’t cough a lot, but I did cough. I started blowing smoke through my nose, admiring the beauty of it in my glowing computer screen. It seemed easy enough at first, but it wasn’t. Lighting up that first cigarette was incredibly difficult. Lighting up the second one won’t be so difficult. “Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette.” When I was a kid, me and my best friend, would ride around on our bikes with a small CD player, listening to old country music. This friend—Nicholas Johnston was his name—was obsessed with old country, while I was into bluegrass and rock ‘n’ roll from the 70s. But, I’d tolerate old country. It was good. The song that we’d always sing along to had those words in it—“Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette.” He and I chanted those words like a drunken choir up and down Oakdale Street, Winnsboro, Louisiana. “Nick,” I said, “do you think you’ll ever smoke?” “I don’t know,” he responded, staring at the street with a contemplative look on his face. “What about you?” “I don’t know, Nick. I’ve always thought it was pretty cool to look at, but I’ve heard it hurts.”
“That’s what I’ve heard, too,” Nicholas responded. The song continued, “Smoke, smoke, smoke and if you smoke yourself to death, tell Saint Peter at the Golden Gate that you hates to make him wait, but you’ve just got to have another cigarette.” He and I screamed those words up and down our street, never fully grasping how different we’d end up. That memory just went through my mind while writing this. I’m not sure if it helps the story or not, but I couldn’t help but share it. “Tell saint Peter at the Golden Gate that you hates to make him wait but you’ve just got to have another cigarette.” While writing my essay about smoking my first American Spirit, my cigarette went out. There are only so many drags you can take on a cigarette before it goes out. “Damn it,” I thought. “Now I’ve got to light up another one. I wonder if it’s going to be as pleasurable. I wonder if I’m going to have to think about it for a long time before I do it. I guess I’ll have to find out.” I pulled my second American Spirit out of the packet, lit the lighter, and stared, ominously into the flame. It seemed easy enough at first, but it wasn’t.
Illustration by Joshua Schnizer.
The Door by Autumn Shelley
Doors are curious things, Clarence mused. An open door invites in your friends but also allows the thief to enter. A closed door protects a man from the storm but just as likely traps him in his own hell. It all comes down to what’s on the other side. Sitting in the shadows of his front porch on Ethel Avenue, he watched a car cruise by, the bass reverberating off the houses in the neighborhood. Angry young men slouched in the seat, heads nodding in time to the bass. A tired mother herded three dirty children down the broken sidewalk to the market on 25th. Gripping his cane in hands gnarled with arthritis, Clarence considered his door. He returned from Korea in the spring of 1953. His gal, Sabetha, waited for him and they married within a week. They bought the house on Ethel. It was old even then but it was what an enlisted man returning from the war could afford, and they were proud to have it. Not long after they set up housekeeping, Clarence announced he was digging a cellar. “What ‘n the world for?” Sabetha asked. “Because woman, you make the best bread and butter pickles I ever tasted. The whole time I was freezing to death over there I promised myself that if I made it back home I was going to marry you, and you would feed me all the pickles I could stand,” he nuzzled her neck, “so now that I’m home, I’m digging a cellar and you’re going to fill it.” Laughing, she wrapped her arms around him and kissed his cheek, “All right then, you dig a hole, and I’ll fill it with more pickles than you can stand.” Clarence shook his head at the young man he had been. Just like the Fool on those cards his Grandma used to tell fortunes with, Clarence proceeded to happily dig his horror up one shovel-full at a time. The dreams began that night. He thought he was dreaming of Korea. Cold winds were shrieking down off the mountains, numbing his face and hands. No matter how many wool socks the Army issued, it wasn’t page 18 • bohemia • november 2011
Photos by Steven Ruud
enough. Metal ringing on metal ricocheted in his ears and a dry wind blew in his face. It smelled of earth and cinnamon and some dry, sweet smell he couldn’t identify. The shrieks sounded more like screams when he woke bathed in sweat with Sabetha sleeping peacefully by his side. Reaching for her in the darkness, he drifted into troubled sleep.
Descending into the pit, the air suddenly grew cold. The skin on his back and legs prickled. Looking at the back wall, his knees buckled. Embedded in the earth was an iron door. Nearly four feet wide and as tall as the hole he had dug, it had billet heads big as his thumbs. Despite himself, Clarence let that door pull him forward on hands and knees, tears streaming down his face. On the threshold lay a key.
He woke before the sun rose, hoping to get the rest of the cellar opened before the heat of the day. The dreams from the night before weighed on him, making each step heavy.
He reached for it, retching, as it touched his skin. His throat burned with the acid of bile. Trembling, he clutched it, the metal biting into his skin with frozen, needle teeth.
He didn’t want to touch it, God help him, but he couldn’t let it go. Sabetha called from the house. He turned toward her and the key fell from his hand. Clarence crab-crawled backwards from his cellar. Emerging, he grimly snatched up his shovel and began throwing dirt back in. An hour later, she came from the house to ask what he was doing. Bathed in sweat, he growled, “Filling it in.” She took a step back, uncertain. He hated himself for speaking to her so roughly but he continued shoveling dirt into the hole until it was full. Crawling into bed that night, Clarence huddled next to his wife, praying he would not dream. It was fear that woke him. His belly had a cold stone in its pit, and he was bathed in sweat. It’s back, he thought. No, it never really left. He stumbled from the bed and charged outside into madness. The cellar, the door, even the key were pale in the morning light. Grabbing the pick-axe, he rushed it with an anguished roar. Sparks flew, the iron ringing with a heavy, echoing gong! The jolt of pain reverberated up his arm, racing along his nerve endings. Swinging wildly, he began stabbing the earth around the door, seeking edges. I’ll dig around the thing, he vowed. Thunder growled behind him. Clarence stopped when the light outside changed to a strange, muted hue. Black clouds towered on the southern horizon . Lightning flashed, illuminating his hole, reflecting off the key. It mocked him. Grasping it, he hurled it at the accursed door. A small strangled whine caught in his throat as the key disappeared through it. There was a scream on the other side as the key shot back through, striking him on the temple. He slipped, hitting his head on his own shovel. Horrified, he watched a shadow slither from under the door and hover over him. Clarence panted, “Oh heavenly father, who art in heaven-” page 19 • bohemia • november 2011
The iron door opened and a mighty wind blew up from the darkness behind it. The air was stale and dry, the tang of cinnamon and death riding high. He lie there, watching shadows shift and twist on the wind. Howls tore the air and day turned to night. Clarence cried out to God to forgive him for unleashing something he never meant to discover as shapes he would sooner not name writhed on the wind. The storm plucked him up then, his body suspended in the stale air. Just as quickly, he was tossed aside, unworthy of whatever the darkness was seeking. A thousand voices roared above his cellar and the light diffused. Screams and shrieking metal hurtled past while Clarence was forced to lie on the floor, bearing witness to the storm he had unleashed. Cowering, he slipped into blessed darkness.
When he awoke, the door was gone. He staggered from the hole, surrounded by devastation. Neighborhoods were destroyed, downtown businesses in ruin. People were wandering the streets, some bleeding, all suffering from shock. His home was gone, and with it, Sabetha. He searched all night and into the next day but she was gone. Forever ‘missing’. In 2005 the city put a plaque on the square commemorating the “Great Tornado of 1953”. Clarence stood at the back of the crowd as the mayor said a few nice words. In his hand was a key. After all these years, it was still cold. Clarence listened politely, even clapped when the mayor was done. It was a nice talk about folks coming together and good things coming from bad. But then, bad was just a word, and he still wasn’t sure which side of the door it was on.
Do you have what it takes to make this wall attractive?
Mural Art Contest
Artwork Guidelines: The mural should depict a journey, preferably with runners involved, through Downtown Waco. The mural should include items that represent important Waco landmarks such as: Cameron Park, Brazos River, Suspension Bridge, Alico Building, Dr. Pepper Museum, TX Ranger Museum, and Baylor University. We hope that the mural will become as iconic as the items included in the artwork. General Guidelines: The artist submitting the entry must be able to perform the work on the building “as is”. Cost of material and equipment required for installation of the artwork will be covered. All artwork will have to meet all city codes and ordinances. Deadline: January 15, 2012 A panel of judges including, but not limited to, representatives of On The Run, Bohemia Magazine, Keep Waco Beautiful and the City of Waco, will make the final determination of the winning entry. The winning entry will receive a feature in Bohemia Magazine. For more information, please call or visit Todd Millerd at: On The Run 808 Austin Ave. Waco, TX 254-755-7620 page 20 • bohemia • november 2011
True Love by Erica Speegle Maggie realized that if she read one more paper by a quasi-literate ninth grader, she would hang herself. She chewed her pen cap, wondering if she had any rope, and got up to get her ice cream from the freezer. The good thing about living alone was that no one judged the way she lived her life. The bad thing was that on certain nights, when she felt fat and the papers were dreadful and she was painfully lonely, a little judgment might be welcome in exchange for company. She took an audacious bite of Clusterfluff as if challenging it to stop her. As with most nights like this, she thought about Pete. It was such a nauseating cliché- it embarrassed her, but she couldn’t help it. Thinking about her old flame still made her heart thud and gave her something resembling hope. She compulsively glanced at the phone. It had been a few years since she called him, and she knew it was crazy. He had probably forgotten her… but she was drunk with old love, and scenes from The Notebook kept running through her head. Quite suddenly, Maggie longed to be the heroine of her own great romance. Logic was absent. She grabbed the phone. In the breath between the line picking up and the first words spoken, Maggie felt a rush of thrill and hope so strong she thought she would burst. This was it! This was the moment of truth! Then she heard, “Hello?”
Photo by Steven Ruud
It all came crashing down, through her stomach, through the floor, down into Hell. With a dry mouth, she forced herself to say, “Hello? I-is this the residence of Peter Carr?” “It is,” the woman said, “This is his wife. May I ask who’s calling?” “United Airways with a special promotion!” Maggie blurted. “Could I ask you a few questions about your most recent vacatio—“ “No, thank you, and please take us off your calling list,” Mrs. Carr said coolly. Click. Quite some time passed before Maggie could pry the receiver off of her cheek, but when she did she was stoic. That was that, then. She picked up her red pen and the next paper. It was all right. This was her life, after all. She settled back in her chair to read. This wasn’t so bad. She could forget him, of course. She’d done it before. She’d do it again. It was a familiar process that she knew she was getting too old for. In Arthurian legend, the theme of unrequited love is powerfully portrayed in the tale of Lancelot and Elaine. Although Lancelot will never love her, she devotes herself to him completely. Eventually this unrequited passion, which Elaine considers true love, leads to her demise. Meanwhile Lancelot’s adoration of Guinevere causes his eventual madness. What this reflects about love in general is unsettling at best.
The trees sway as my body craves something bigger, and better in every way.
I’m fading and this life feels it’s’ a wasting. I’m loosing it you see, If only you knew what it was like to be me.
I tiptoe towards a fallen star. In this dark I feel its pulse beat,
One eye opens so big and so bright, for this will be the only sight I guess I’ll have for tonight. I find myself lying face up to the sky
The star so beautiful and so bright, It steals my sight as I go blind for the night.
I feel life weighed against me like a knife to my side. I see spirits sway above me, so black and so white, I feel hope knock on the door to my heart.
Painting by Tirzah Reilly
As I Close My Eyes by Autumn Mercy As I close my eyes and settle in for the night, I lay wondering why there are holes in my eyes. I imagine… I swing my head to the beats playing around me, I’m caught up in this twilight tonight. The skyline is nowhere to be found, a profound feeling bubbles inside of me. The cycle of death has frozen. I do not age not one single bit.
Listening for the winds to guide me, in no way do they try and find me. I need help. I feel vibrations leading me to a soft and wiry place, I try and hide my face as I feel every struggle I’ve ever faced. Running with emotions thrown every which way, fighting with my past, feeling like trash. I embraced the chaos like a new born baby. I fight each creature not even touching one, their feelings I feel weighed against me in every form. They crawl to me, a slow creeping mode of locomotion on hands and knees, as I beg to them to please leave me be. I feel their bodies and hear them getting closer to me. I start to dance and sway, these vibrations putting every creature in a haze. I’m indestructible tonight. I feel a hand on my back guiding my way back…I trust. Thrown back to the ground my trust is gone as I feel a thrust against me I begin singing a song.
My ear to the ground I hear earth’s heart beat, I hear voices yelling at me to go. Music plays as I run through the woods, my hips they sway as I stamp from wood to wood. I heard feet marching and trumpets they played as I ran from my past in this fogy haze. A brick wall I hit as the feeling of hope passed. A breeze, embraced me as I fell, I called out for help but no one came. A blankness begins to fall over me. A light I see so big and so bright, I try to make out what it is but nobody around, I wake to a familiar sound --A tap on my window as I jolt out of bed… Its just a tree whisking across the glass as I realize it was all just in my head. A loving breeze drifts though my room and tucks me in, guess that’s all for this little nature woman.
In this dark I feel a pulse, a pulse deeper than any human being has felt before, I’m labeled with a marquee tonight I’m embarking on this new journey. The wind is dancing through me, a fogy haze is all I see. As this feeling brews, my heart is fused to nature dancing around me. My heart it burns, nature dancing, enchanting. The stars, the moon, they smile down on me tonight as I dance my warrior dance in this trance, the twilight surges through my veins, in no way can I explain, Its beauty as a crane‘s stance, this beautiful feeling one craves. I’m not alone tonight, these shadows dance with me, them only I can see. We barley escape the gallows, as we slip into the holy hallows.
page 21 • bohemia • november 2011
Photo by Josh Schnizer
Hidden Treasure By: Brittany Price
Lush cornfields stretch to the horizon and farther. Sammie races back and forth within the crisp cornfield alongside Boomer, knowing that the spry bird-dog will always win. The race is fun enough for now. As Sammie sprints deeper into the gleaming forest, she spots a sparkle much different than the gilded shine of the corn. Scuffing the dirt, she drops to her knees and grasps the object, tugging firmly. The object free, Sammie shakes the dark soil off of her new prize, eyes widening, she holds it up to catch the gleam of the Kansas sun. “A necklace just like mamma’s!” Pulling the golden chain over her wild curls, Sammie looks down to admire her treasure, playing with the pure white pearl dangling from the end. “Boomer, we should go show Sarah Beth my new princess necklace!” Pulling her bicycle off the front lawn, Sammie and Boomer race towards the sheriff’s office to ask if Sheriff Hamilton has seen his daughter. Sprinting into the office, Sammie nearly runs smack into the Sheriff. He is lounging in a chair propped against the wall, in the center of the one-room building. He seems to have struck a comfortable distance between the safety of his desk and those housed in the four jail-cells composing the right wing of the office. “Sheriff Hamilton!” Sammie keels over and grips her knees, out of breath from both the ride to the office and the thrill of new treasure. Chuckling at the young girl’s overexcitement, the page 22 • bohemia • november 2011
Photos by Jolien Van Onna
Sheriff stands up, dusting ashes off of his Wranglers. “What can I do for ya today Miss Samantha?” “Have you seen Sarah Beth, Sheriff?” “Well don’t think she’s been much in town today Sammie. I think her mamma’s got her back home helpin’ with the cannin.’ Just picked a fresh bushel of blackberries. Gotta get ‘em saved before they go bad.” “Ok thanks Sheriff Hamilton! Is it alright if i run over there?” “‘Course it is honey. I’m sure they’d appreciate some company.” Sammie turns and gallops giddily towards the door. As she drags open the heavy door, the late afternoon sunset catches on the necklace, enlivening its golden glimmer. “Girl! Girl! My necklace...Come here! That’s mine!” The little girl starts and knocks her shoulder on the door in surprise.
“Sammie girl! You alright honey?” The Sheriff strides over to the little girl to make sure she is not too spooked. “Boy! What are you doin’? You know you’re not ‘supposed ta be talkin’ to anyone.” “Sheriff, that man said my necklace is his! But it’s mine and I found it, I promise Sir! I didn’t take any necklace,” Sammie looks at the Sheriff while simultaneously keeping an eye on the cell in the corner from which the voice is emitting. “Sir, I don’t mean to be causin’ trouble or nothin’ but please hear me! That there necklace is mine. I bought it with my own dollars an’ hard work. It was a present. I bought it in Simpson, walked all the way there and back to get it. Please Mr. Sheriff you gotta gimmie my necklace back!” As the young prisoner entreated the Sheriff to hear his story, Sammie regained just enough spunk to quietly slink towards the cell, trying to get a good look at the liar wanting to take her prize. With back pressed to the opposing cell, Sammie slid just close enough that the
light from the tiny window illuminated the man’s face. “Hey! I know you! Weren’t you one of the field hands we hired in the spring? I ‘member seein’ you around! So engrossed in validating himself to the Sheriff, the man does not notice Sammie’s stealthy approach and jumps back from the bars at her address. Catching his breath, the young man and little girl silently observe one another. Finally breaking the seemingly endless stillness, the prisoner sighs and his eyes take on a stormy blue sadness. “You look just like your mamma. You got her stubborn chin. An’ seems like the attitude comes along with the chin,” He dolefully chuckles, “Yeah, I did work your fields.”
from my parents?” “Miss Sammie, I didn’t take nothin’ from your mamma. I can promise you that. An’ I sure never stole that necklace!” “What’re you talkin’ bout, this necklace? This here is my princess necklace. I found it in our cornfield and it’s mine,” Sammie cries, fingers entwined in the treasure around her neck. “Honey, can I see it for just a minute?” The Sheriff gingerly lifts the necklace over Sammie’s head and it only takes a moment of inspection before the Sheriff’s quick intake of breath inform both Sammie and William of his realization.
“Then what are you doin’ all locked up here?”
“William, he said that you’d taken this and pawned it over in Miltonvale...how did it end up in that field?”
“Apparently, I gone and stole somethin’. At least that’s what they say.”
“I told you Sheriff, I could not tell you if I wanted to. I never stole that necklace!”
“Well, what’d you steal?” The Sheriff cuts in, “Sammie, he stole somethin’ from your mamma and daddy. That’s why he’s in here instead of workin’ your fields. We’re keepin’ good folk like your parents from dealin’ with this lot! An’ Will here is bein’ made an example of. These shenanigans ain’t gonna be happenin’ in Glasco. No ma’am they ain’t!” “I never took nothin from your daddy,” Will mutters under his breath, only loud enough for Sammie to catch. “What’d you say Mister? What’d you take
page 23 • bohemia • november 2011
“Then why would Mr. McPhearson tell me you stole his most prized possession?” “Sheriff Hamilton, that necklace never belonged to Mr. McPhearson.” “William, why would he tell me you stole something valuable from him then? That makes no sense.” “I never stole nothin’ from Mrs. McPhearson, but I guess you could say I did take somethin’ real valuable from Mr. McPhearson.” The necklace sits on the Sheriff’s desk, glittering as a wink.
Emerging Poet:: Sydeaka Poisson Discovering the downside of becoming lovers is that the other pieces of pain Get hidden away to be dealt with on another day For a day that never comes until one day We wake up together, but alone Regretting that the only thing that kept us was … well… you know… That thing you do… And that thing i do… Until we realized we screwed ourselves out of something that could Photo by Steve Ruud
have been great
And I hate speaking to you now
He likes to sleep ice cold with the ceiling fan on
I hate that the calls that used to be far and few between
When it rains, he likes to listen to the rain fall
Now come a lot more frequently
The sound that it makes when it bounces off the roof tiles
That words I thought you’d never even privately say
Makes him sigh to himself and smile
Are now displayed in public lines of poetry
Meanwhile, he’s an even bigger law and order fan than I am
But woe is me
Knows all the plot twists and minor characters from previous seasons
I’m not a woman scorned
And if you give him a reason
I’m a woman who mourns the death of a love that was never born
He can find humor in anything
So now I’m torn between the thought of moving on,
And he’s spiritual… composing lyrical lines that define
Finally facing what it would feel like if you were really gone
His yearn for a closer relationship with the divine.
And the thought of trying it once again
But in his spare time, he writes love poems addressed to women unknown
And trying to know you as a friend
Expressing feelings I never knew he was capable of showing
You’re just like this poem
I’m trying to figure out how to end it
It’s funny what you learn years later…
You’re just like my heart
Years later, trying to piece together a friendship that we never had
I wish i knew how to mend it
In an effort to salvage… something
And if this friendless kinship was rekindled
But back then, one thing always lead to another
And nurtured the way it was meant to
Like passion under covers
I wonder if I could get to
I wonder what it would have felt like to have you as my best friend
Know you like your real friends do.
page 24 • bohemia • november 2011
Hair Sonnet # 1
And unable to free himself from me
My dark and lovely kinky curls are not
“Your hair’s uptight... it just needs to relax.
The kind that he can run his fingers through
Some creamy crack will give it peace of mind.”
Hard lesson learned the day that he forgot
Did not know those words would provoke attack
What foot in mouth remarks can do to you
Hands freed... but severed fingers left behind.
He pulled me close with kisses... warm embrace
His calls and kisses ceased. I shed no tear...
His hands... my head he held with urgency
His lost fingers became my souvenir.
He pulled away, but found his fingers laced
Picture by Amanda Rebholz
10 Obscure Facts About Sydeaka Poisson 1. I have weird dreams where I’m eating meat (although I’ve been a vegetarian for about 2 years now). 2. I crashed a car through the front windows of a Blockbuster Video store at age 17 or so. 3. I was a foster child. I had at least 3 different foster families. 4. I spent time in a juvenile detention center.
7. In hard times (as a kid), I have eaten mayonnaise sandwiches, sugar sandwiches, and syrup sandwiches. 8. I used to have a crush on the Billy (the Blue Ranger) from “The Power Rangers”. The fact that he wore glasses may have played a part in it. I also had a crush on Rick Moranis (after seeing him and his glasses in Ghostbusters).
5. I haven’t brushed my hair in about 3 and a half years.
9. In junior high, I used to cry on the last day of school. I loved school just that much.
6. I graduated from high school when I was 16 years old. I started kindergarten when I was 3.
10. I wouldn’t mind having a “househusband” who cooks, cleans, and takes care of the kids full time.
page 25 • bohemia • november 2011
Subscribe. And never miss an issue.
Industrial Woman: Courtney Woodliff
Photo by Steve Ruud
By: Kayla Hawk The best part about my Saturday evening was spending the better part of an hour getting to know a little bit about Courtney Woodliff. The petite brunette is a bubbly artist who has let out her creative energy painting and working on woodcuts and photography. Hailing from Waco, she graduated from Midway HS before cutting her artistic chops at both MCC and UMHB, where she earned her degree in Fine Arts. Her exceptional work has been a part of juried shows in Texas and New York. Now, she calls Gatesville home where she lives with her husband, a dog, and two cats. Her work is inspired by her feelings and perceptions of life. The ideas range from the abstract to the literal, like the future and evolution and the human figure. How we adapt to our environments and the idea of striving for a utopian society are also subjects that pique her curiosity. Another influence for Courtney is the style of the 20s era, which I completely saw after coming across a few pieces of her work on a series of robotic-style paintings. The women often have retro hairstyles and make-up. Even the rustic, industrial colors and the watercolor-esque shading feel like a different era. The best way I could describe it to her was referencing the visual art of ‘steam punk’ genre covers of young adult novels, to which, she laughed and said she had heard that take on it before. I found her woodcuts interesting; they hold a theme of “lost children” with depictions of infants connected to machinery. Likewise, in the robotics paintings, Courtney shows women hooked up to
page 26 • bohemia • november 2011
different kinds of wiring and equipment. I looked at the use of machinery as a way of reflecting the cold, calculating nature of some people that can make them seem to lack a full dose of humanity. To connect the two mediums, one could muse that the baby is the precursor to the women, presenting the inhumane nature as more of a genetic disposition or likely origin. As far as the woodcutting, I had never heard of the printmaking style before, so I was in for a lesson. For those like me who do not know, the artist carves their chosen image along the grain of the surface of a block of wood, rolls ink onto the block and presses it onto paper to make prints. It is an effective means of making multiple copies of your art, although Courtney divulges that she hasn’t made them in a while. It is hard for her since the print shop is not readily accessible, geographically. She came across the medium at UMHB and confesses to keeping a few of her blocks, while some others were destroyed. College also spawned a love of photography, although her main muse in that realm is herself. She continues the love of all things industrial by donning crazy, wiry outfits and apparatuses. The photos earned positive interest from her schoolmates, which drove her further. As for her current work, Courtney is focusing more on her oil paintings, listening to music while she works. She is sending submissions for shows at this time and hopes to have a solo exhibit in the near future. Courtney’s work is printed in Bohemia, but she also has a website: www.courtneywoodliff.com and some of her woodcut prints are for sale at the Croft Art Gallery in downtown Waco.
Above: Ballerina Woodcut Below: Hamburgler Girl Woodcut
Above: Falling Star Below: Bipedal Locomotion Above: Glaciers Below: Automatic Thoughts
page 27 â€˘ bohemia â€˘ november 2011
Heather Sincavage at Croft Art Gallery by Jim McKeown
In many cities around the country, first Friday means gallery open houses showcasing new exhibits. Waco is no exception. Croft Art Gallery at 712 Austin Avenue in Waco, has become the jewel of a downtown revival featuring restaurants, shops, and a coffee shop. The last few first Fridays have taken me out of town, so I was determined not to miss this show.
This gallery recently featured Heather Sincavage, a Pennsylvania artist. Her interesting and mesmerizing pieces fall two major types. The larger pieces include acrylics on vellum, tea-stained, with sugar, and pencil lines. The paper is distorted and held in place by small pieces of poplar. The wood seems to support the photo, while the shape of the paper gives the impression it is trying to break the bonds of a scaffold.
Above: Letting Go Below: Finding Home
The second group includes small photos on vellum – again with interesting tea stains – framed. Some have graphite lines and some have stitching adding texture and a sense of mystery as to what lies beneath. A few medium sized portraits are also included. Katie Croft, the owner of Croft Art Gallery, has added a really nice gift shop at the entrance offering books, jewelry, ceramics, prints, and some exotic teas. A nice crowd, with a steady flow of visitors, attests to the popularity of Croft, as well as evidence of good support for this fine gallery here in Waco. Croft Art Gallery is open Monday to Friday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. First Friday hours extend to 9:00 PM. For further information, call 254714-1740 or visit their website at: www.croftartgallery.com.
page 28 • bohemia • november 2011
page 29 â€˘ bohemia â€˘ november 2011
BoHo Threads: Ghost Town The BoHo crew swung by the ghost town in The Grove, Texas to model some of their favorite clothes. Photography by Cyndi Wheeler
1. I have an intense and irrational love of pie. 2. I’ve never broken a bone. 3. Cyrano De Bergerac is my perfect man. 4. I hate mint/mint flavoring. 5. I never leave home without a book. Literally. The jeans I am wearing are my favorite. I have worn them so often and for so long that they have conformed to my movements. Everyone has that one pair of pants that fit them like an old friend. My top was comfortable yet elegant. I actually borrowed it from another model, Amy. She obviously has good taste. My favorite part of the outfit, however, was my socks. The color complemented the rustic browns of the top, while at the same time drawing the eye and adding and off-kilter charm. page 30 • bohemia • november 2011
Whitney Van Laningham Funny Facts:
1. I can sing “Play That Funky Music White Boy” and “Roller Coaster of Love” in sign language. 2. Every time I eat ice cream, I blow on it first even though I understand that its not hot. 3. I write stand-up comedy in the shower every morning.
fell in love with the puffy-sleeved Alice in Wonderland look that the dress gives. It has these delicate little white rose-shaped buttons on the arm, and the length and style is classic stylish vintage. The fringed leather vest was my mom’s in the ‘70’s. She found it in her closet when I was thirteen and gave it to me. There are all these pictures of her at 13 wearing it in my grandmother’s old photo albums, and we look identical.
5. I hate Andrew Jackson.
I love the Harley Davidson shirt because it is comfortable, cute, and goes over really well with the guys. My best friend Cassy in California gave it to me last time I was home visiting her. It used to be her mom’s.
The blue and white striped dress is actually from the 1940’s. I found it in an Austin thrift shop on SoCo that labels which decade each piece of clothing is from, and I instantly
The purple American Apparel skirt is super comfy, and stretchy enough to cover my Kim-Kardashian/Jennifer-Lopez-esque behind.
4. I talk to strange dogs as though they are my dogs.
1. I can only sneeze (at most) three times. 2. I’ve listened to Seth Rogen’s laugh for 30 straight minutes on YouTube. 3. Mozzarella cheese makes me do unspeakable things. 4. I would rather have steak than cake. 5. I know every Adventure Time song by heart.
Serena Teakell I love 60’s fashion, that’s why I chose the dresses. The sleeveless one reminds me of something from the night of the living dead. I also liked the knitted babydoll dress I was wearing; it’s really comfy. 1. I collect X-Men comics, but only ones with Rogue on the cover. I dress as her every chance i get. 2. I’m allergic to mandarin oranges, but not any other oranges. 3. I have a level 7 D&D (Dungeons & Dragons) character named Seredheil, which is my name in elven. 4. Both of my dogs are named after harry potter characters, Lupin and Ollivander. 5. I have an obsession for apple soda.
Kris Ann 1. I can not go two months without changing my hair color. 2. My favorite food is jalapenos. 3. I can pair wine with anything. 4. Shoes are sexy, but i prefer to have bare feet. 5. My favorite vocalist is and will always be Johnny Whitney My outfit is head to toe thrifted, which is the only way I really condone shopping these days.
page 31 • bohemia • november 2011
Coronary Wilderness By Cody Brown Your heart is a ghost town, too lonely for loners; it was inevitable, a matter of time. This will not be remembered as “the great fire of....” and this was not a statistic; this was a shame. The field reached to the bridges, the bridges did what they were built to do. Guilt burnt, grief burnt, but what was left of love was too far gone to feel it. The sun doesn’t rise here anymore, it can’t even drag itself out of bed. The sky is black and full of smoke, the wind smells like you’d expect it to.
A Cardinal In The Heart Of Winter By Cody Brown
In a twisted heap of disbelief and tangled emotions, I saw my plans change. It was the most beautiful car crash; the kind you see in movies where no one dies, they just act like they did; suspended, suddenly grateful for the things they’d spent years ready and willing to give away. I’ve often heard the body referred to as a temple, and while I’ve never been one to worship, I was born a superstitious captive of guilt. My heart, once more comfortable in the company of disappointment than love, touched more by dust than the light, an altar now home to more than just wishful thinking. page 32 • bohemia • november 2011
BOHO THREADS The Manifest By Cody Brown
I’ve thought long and hard about this; how destiny doesn’t always mean destined for great things, and for every dream not crumbling in vain, Atlas shrugs. I can no longer clench my meager hands in fists, raising them to the sky in a tired mantra to get me through the day. I saw God last night, in company with the devil and a few other movers and shakers. Comfort in the company of strangers.
page 33 • bohemia • november 2011
Imagine Thoreau in Texas By Anne McCrady greeting the snakes and grackles as the sweet buttermilk of morning spills from mesquite tips and slips down white chalk slopes to spread across the hill country, the sun’s reflection like a biscuit on the surface of a cattle tank as dear to its rancher as Walden Pond. Watch the hermit realize the freedom he sought in New England wilderness has always been right outside Kerrville, where it’s every man for himself, ‘less you call real loud for help. As the day warms, see Thoreau slip into the stirrup of a pen between fingertips, see him ride his thoughts across a low water bridge of sparkling new ideas past the old homestead of stubborn memories, along the fence line of routine and back around to the corral of experience. Listen to him breathe wide open spaces into meter, rhythm with words laid down, one by one: stones around a well, posts along a draw, peach trees on the hill, seeds in a row. Watch him pause, as the caress of crane shadow or hummingbird whirr carries his phrasing into a finished poem that glints
in the sunset reflected by his shining, final line.
page 34 • bohemia • november 2011
A Pleasant Ladies’ Game by Cynthia Barrios
Illustration by Renny Quintero
The man finished the job at sundown, patting his little mound carefully with the back of the shovel. The trees around him had begun to cast deep brown shadows on the forest floor, and he realized he was no longer sure which of them marked the path out of the woods. So he walked. A few hours later he noticed a difference in the darkness. Through the branches and tiny swarms of gnats he saw a light, small and yellow, coming from the window of a cabin a few hundred feet away. Before walking out into to clearing, the man took a moment to straighten his shirt and run a hand through his greasy hair. The shovel he leaned against a tree. As he stepped toward the cabin, a deep bark startled him in the dark. It echoed from the trees and made it impossible for him to tell its origin, so he stood frozen, wishing he still held the shovel. “Who the hell is out there?” A woman’s voice. “Hello? Ma’am! Sorry to startle you – I’m lost!” “What the hell’re you doing out here?” “Uh…don’t mean to be here. I got lost and I saw your light and I figured I’d stop and ask for the way out.” Cli-click. “Get into the light, asshole.” He watched her eyes run up and down his blue flannel shirt, frayed jeans, dirty shoes and swollen face. He had bruises across the left side of his face, purple and darker than they ought to be in the harsh yellow light. His hands were empty, and he showed them in surrender. She stayed silent, considering. “You look like shit. I could help you get back to the main road. You play checkers?” “I beg pardon?” “I asked if you played checkers.” “Yes ma’am, I suppose I do.” “Good. Get inside.” The cabin was red, choked with the smells page 35 • bohemia • november 2011
of smoke and meat and onion. A few rabbits and a deer hung from the ceiling, swaying softly in the draft of the open door. The bark must have come from the gray dog lying by the fireplace with green eyes and a rumbling growl. “Sit,” she ordered. “Water?” He nodded. She returned with cold water pulled from the ground, spinning with dark angry bits of Alabama soil. He downed it gratefully. She wrapped up a few pieces of ice and tossed them on the table. “Hurt yourself?” “Yes ma’am, I did.” The man closed his eyes and leaned back against the chair, holding the ice firm against his face. He tried to reconjure the events of the day and failed, his thoughts empty of all but the chill night air, and the red-haired woman silently moving about on the other side of his closed lids. “Alright.” He opened his eyes. The woman had arranged a checkerboard of red and white pieces and sat across from him, smiling. “Your move.” They played. He told her his name was Thomas, and she was silent. A few times she chuckled, but only before she jumped his pieces, and just before she won. They played again, and again, she won with ease. “Goodnight,” she said, and disappeared into her room. The next morning he awoke beside a cold fireplace and the gray dog staring into his face. On the table he found a piece of paper with instructions to the main road. He took
it and walked out without telling the woman. It wasn’t until he had found his car in the ditch on the side of the road where he’d left it that he noticed he no longer had his wallet, or his keys. She sat at the table holding the wallet. His credit cards, ID, ticket stubs, and loose change were scattered around the table like a storm. “You said your name was Thomas.” “I did.” “Let’s play then, Charles Whitely.” This time, she was not silent. She seemed to respect his deception, liked him for it. She told him the history of the game, how the ladies of France used to play le jeu plaisant de dames, and challenge their countrymen to private games in their bedchambers. The ladies very often won. One in particular, a beautiful countess rumored to have come originally from Hungary, whose rise to nobility was due in large part to her ability to beguile Frenchmen, asked a young man to play with her one evening at a Paris restaurant. She lost. She had never before lost to a man, and would certainly not lose to a Frenchman. She played him again and again under the stars by the lapping Seine, declaring finally that he could not be defeated. With a grin he agreed, should anyone play perfectly against him, the game would end in a draw. Angry at his hubris and consumed by her injured pride, she urged him to tell her more as they walked around the city, her hand resting comfortably in the crook of his arm. Évariste was a mathematician, and had learned the game by watching the lovely French women under their umbrellas playing in the park. After a few practice games, he could see what the outcome of any series
of moves would be, and he knew he would never lose. “You know you will never lose? I am sorry, mon chou. You will.” She plunged the tip of her umbrella into the spine between his shoulder blades, feeling the bones crack and the French wunderkind buckle at her side. She leaned over the edge of the Seine where they had been standing, and watched his eyes widen in the moonlight as his limp body fell into the dark river. For the rest of her life, the countess won easily against most anyone, but on occasion would lose an infuriating game, never knowing if her drowned mathematician had been right. Charles lost again. His red pieces bled off the game board, leaving more than a few white kings to taunt him in his defeat. “Have you ever lost?” “Not since I was a child,” she admitted. “One day I got it, and that was it.” They played a few hours more, until at last a game ended in a draw. For a while they both stared quietly at one another. “Do you know how you did that?” “Yes ma’am, I do.” “You’re a fast learner.” “I am.” “Would you…like some wine, Charles?” She smiled at him. “No ma’am, I would not.” The man then reached over and grabbed a poker from the fireplace and swung it into the side of her skull. The gray dog barked in sudden panic. She might have lived, had she allowed him to remain Thomas. Fatal move, imperfect game play. At least she had shown him how to think, how to eliminate the right pieces at the right time—knowing that, he would not be defeated. This new thing, this pleasure that came with realizing one’s invincibility, had erased completely the terror of yesterday when he had accidentally killed a man in a convenience store. He headed for the door, but then suddenly he turned and took the poker and sunk it into the gray dog. Eliminating a piece where the opportunity presented itself was obligatory. It was in the rules. *** page 36 • bohemia • november 2011
Photo by Joshua Schnizer
20 Obscure Facts About Cynthia Barrios
1. I don’t like beans. Or ketchup.
2. Mayonnaise is the worst. It is a wretched substance that renders potato salad and ham sandwiches inedible. It is nearly flavorless, but what flavor it does have contributes entirely to its wretchedness. 3. If I’d been born a boy, my name would have been Antonio. 4. When I was small enough for this to be hard, I played basketball in the shower with my loofah and the towel rack. If the loofah stayed on the rack, I scored a point. 5. I grew up Catholic. Before I had my First Communion, a careless priest accidentally gave me a consecrated host. I didn’t eat it. Instead, I took it home, put it in a Ziploc bag, hid it in a drawer, and ate it after my First Communion. 6. Show me any purebred dog, and I can tell you what breed it is. Try me. 7. My favorite flavor of ice cream is Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey. 8. When I was two, my parents took me to Disney World. Apparently, I could care less about Cinderella’s Castle and cried when Minnie Mouse hugged me, but I loved the science and geography themed EPCOT Center. Typical. 9. I am an incurable optimist. I enjoy cynicism for its novelty. Case in point. 10. The last time I made a fort out of blankets and pillows was this July.
11. I am not a native Texan; I moved from Florida when I was 8 and still remember teaching myself to say “y’all” instead of “you guys.” 12. The only sport I am remotely good at is basketball (see #4). I am downright terrible at the rest. 13. I’ve been kicked off of a train. 14. I’ve also almost been kicked off of a train, ridden a train illegally without getting caught or kicked off, been caught in a train strike, accidentally walked in on a drug sting in a parked caboose in the middle of the night, watched Murder on the Orient Express on a train in Arkansas, and ridden on the Orient Express. 15. I like trains. 16. I hate cars. The idea that any idiot over 16 is allowed to propel thousands of pounds of metal forward at 70+ miles per hour terrifies me. 17. In Europe, I opened coconuts by putting them in bags and throwing them out of my fourth story window. I then had the children I took care of go down and retrieve them. 18. I must have at least one Pumpkin Spice Latte between the months of September and November. 19. Two more facts, really? 20. The only thing that scares me almost as much as driving is the fact that Yellowstone National Park could explode at any moment. Thanks, Discovery Channel.
Magic in the Roses By: Kayla Hawk Once upon a time there lived a beautiful princess whose parents ruled a thriving, happy kingdom. So loved was young Adeline that gifts were brought from the ends of the Earth to appease her and a plethora of visitors lined the castle walls to meet her. One day a cloaked stranger presented himself to the King as a possible suitor. Upon removing his outward attire, he showed his partially disfigured face to the horror of both Majesties. Enraged by the idea of his own daughter marrying the man, the King ordered his guards to seize the repulsive youth. “I will leave peacefully of my own will.” The stranger bowed low with a hand extending accross his back. Standing upright, he presented a finger and a thumb before him, pressing upon each other so that no air existed between. “A present to reflect your hospitality.” He dropped his clamped fingers and a bouquet of black roses appeared in the air. He grabbed the base of the arrangement and set the fresh flowers on a banister newel post near the entrance to the great hall. After he left, the King and his Queen inspected the foreign gift, each picking out a favorite and drawing it away from the others. Immediately, the royals fell ill. The princess was rushed by a handful of soldiers down a marked path leading into the nearby wilderness in an effort to find her a safe haven. The caravan of horses had just crossed the Northern border when the cloaked stranger appeared before them on horseback. Cold gusts of wind whipped the man’s cape as the first winter snow drifted quietly to the frozen ground. With one flip of both wrists, the warlock channeled the powerful wind to the soldiers, knocking the protectors from their horses. Taking another fatal rose from inside his loose shirt, he crunched the tiny petals in his palms and blew them towards the carriage, setting the wooden ride aflame. The scarred man turned his horse and left the wagon, its contents, and guards to their death. The fire sputtered cinders despite the cold, icy air, and clusters of snow fell thicker with each fading hoof beat. ~~~ Some years later and a few kingdoms to the west, a young, dashing prince named Phillip was spending the last days before page 37 • bohemia • november 2011
Photo by Cindy Parker
winter atop his faithful horse. Normally at this time, he would be hunting deer with his friends and brothers, but this day, he was out to find a person. The steed pounded the hard, unforgiving path of the forest in stride, jumping gracefully over fallen trees and easily maneuvering through the toughest of brush. The trees along either side stood waiting for the coming snow with dark postures and bare arms. Every once in a while, Phillip would see a forest creature in the distance, but most—he knew—were already in their cozy dens. Suddenly, the prince was thrown roughly from his saddle to the cold ground. After a moment’s breath, he stood—dazed and sore—before brandishing his sword. He seized the reins of the spooked steed and tried to calm the beast while scanning the surrounding area for the source of his newfound troubles. A disfigured stranger stepped out from the shelter of a nearby cluster of trees and presented himself weaponless to the youth. Prince Phillip raised his sword to arrest the foe for the sickness his forbidden magic had caused. But, out of the baggy sleeve of his shirt, the man produced a rose as blue as the evening sky. He tossed the vengeful flower into the air between them and the young prince was sent back to the ground, hitting his head on a jagged rock. The last thing he saw was a barefoot maiden clutching a crossbow and mumbling the same strange language of the stranger. ~~~
The prince woke a morning later with a sudden flinch from dreaming of the attack he had experienced. The young woman, who he had last seen in a haze because his vision was dying, was seated next to his cot with a cloth and bowl of water to attend to his forehead, which stung with every touch. “The warlock must have injured your family too.” Her delicate voice and milky features were that of royalty, but Phillip couldn’t believe a princess would live in the wilderness in such a dilapidated excuse for a cottage. She had patched holes in the walls and ceilings. “How do you know what he’s done?” The prince did not attempt to hide the wonder in his tone. Adeline ripped a small strip of cotton from the underpinning of her skirt and took to wrapping it around his torn head. “My family is still sick from his devices. I’ve tracked him to three other courts, but I’m afraid I’ve been unable to prevent his evil.” “I’m sorry.” Phillip remembered his own parents and siblings who were sick back home. After sitting up to a slight wooziness, he touched his forehead and tried to stand. “What did he fight me with? I feel so poorly.” “Magic.” The prince did not believe in such things. Surely, she was joking. “It can’t be.” “I’ve injured him; I know it.” Adeline produced her crossbow and two arrows. “So, you tell me how he escapes death?”
Over a small dinner of venison, the two conspired to join forces against the stranger. They spent several days working on their weapons and tracking the next possible court to be stricken—a family of royals Phillip knew well.
offer to consider the stranger? What if he just wants a bride and family of his own? What say you?”
The prince overcame his disbelief in magic, and the princess taught him a bit of counter magic. He followed her regimen of drinking a certain potion to lessen the warlock’s effects, and he began carrying the sack of herbs she had put together to help with injuries.
The next day, the cloaked stranger arrived at the palace and was ushered into the throne room for an audience. He removed the ragged cape and bowed before requesting to be a possible suitor to one of the King’s beloved daughters.
A month after their chance meeting, the two arrived at the kingdom of the target they believed to be next. The two were welcomed as friends to the court and were received for dinner with the ever-generous King and Queen and their two daughters. After the long, but pleasant party, Phillip took his young cohort aside and asked, “I wonder if our thinking on the matter is misplaced? What if the King simply accepts the
Having spent two years chasing the foe, Adeline saw the brighter option. “Maybe we should give it a try.”
ber with a sweet fragrance and each member of the court enjoyed a personal flower. A feast was presented in the dining room and fiddlers played for the evening dance. As it happened, the King’s youngest daughter proved a perfect infatuation for the new friend and the two ended the night with the hope of marriage—the warlock proving himself to be of a strong, decent character.
The wise King, having understood Phillip’s advice, accepted that the man might one day be his son and invited him to stay a few days at the castle.
Phillip and Adeline returned to their healthy, respective kingdoms, as the sickness had been broken with the humble acceptance. The two were heralded as saviors and celebrated for their courage and wisdom. They met often in the span of the year that followed and became joyfully engaged thereafter.
After the initial shock of finally being considered agreeable by the monarch, the warlock bid a humble thanks to the Majesties. With a swoop of his finger and thumb, the youth produced a bouquet of red and yellow roses. The pleasant offering filled the cham-
Never again did a king turn away a man who thought himself worthy of the throne simply because his outward appearance was not of the normal idea. A sharp intellect and strong, modest character were now seen as the most important aspects a person could hold.
20 Obscure Facts About Kayla Hawk
From Greenwood, AR, with a population of about 8500 people
Related to President Andrew Jackson by marriage
A member of the Cherokee Nation
Three family members survived the Trail of Tears
Grew up playing Softball and Volleyball
Has “monkey toes” (can pick things up with them)
Has three tattoos
Can make three rolls in tongue at the same time
HUGE fan of baseball
10. Is an honorary member of Mother’s sorority in Arkansas 11. Uses the pen name “Scarlett Reed” on some writings 12. Has two nieces and a nephew 13. Swallowed a quarter as a child and had to have surgery to remove it 14. Doesn’t have tonsils or an appendix 15. Has yet to break a bone (Xfingers crossedX) 16. Is VERY scared of spiders 17. Dances with girl dogs, Marlee and Keeley, at every possible chance 18. Collects antique cameras 19. Plays sudoku, loves word searches, and sucks at scrabble Photo by Joshua Schnizer
page 38 • bohemia • november 2011
20. LOVES to make sweet breads (fave being Applesauce Bread)
By Michael Bracken
“Pushing Coal” first appeared in Specters in Coal Dust (Woodland Press, 2010). Copyright 2010 by Michael Bracken. When the Montrose Coal Mine collapsed in the summer of 1957, I was just two months out of high school, working as an apprentice typesetter for the weekly Montrose County Record. I didn’t realize it the moment the Methodist church’s bells pealed and I ran with half the town up the gravel road to the mine entrance, but I was related, in one way or another, to all thirty-seven men remaining underground. My older sister, Alma Lee Graham, found me among the townsfolk waiting for news of the missing miners, and I knew then that her husband of three months was among them. “Why ain’t you down the mine?” my sister accused, her bloodshot eyes glaring at me. Ever since the mid-1800s, when coal was discovered under the mountains of Montrose County, the men in my family have mined it. As the first in my family to complete twelfth grade and the only man not to descend into the bowels of hell, I had gone to work for Ernie Ledbetter at the newspaper. I started there when I was a mere slip of a boy, sweeping his shop floor and running errands, and the old man had promised me a full-time job if I completed my education and learned good outlander English. He’d been true to his word because I started sorting type the Monday following graduation. I didn’t respond to Alma Lee’s outburst. Instead, I asked why she appeared so sickly. “I’m with child,” she said. “Cole don’t know.” Morning sickness had laid her up most of the day and projectile vomiting had burst some of the blood vessels in her eyes. “I was going to tell him tonight.” Before I could ask further about her condition, Mr. Ledbetter laid one of his gnarled hands on my shoulder. He had climbed the hill fast as he could, but his cane didn’t agree with the loose gravel and he had arrived later than most. He pulled a thin notebook from page 39 • bohemia • november 2011
Photo by Steve Ruud
his hip pocket, looked at me over the top of his half-glasses, and asked what I knew. “Nothing much, yet,” I told him. “There’re thirty-seven men they can’t account for.” We remained through the night, my sister and me, but Mr. Ledbetter handed me his notebook and the stub end of his pencil and told me to report anything that happened. My father and the other men who had been offshift when the mine collapsed went down the mine to help with the rescue efforts. Momma brought shuck beans and corn bread enough to feed the three of us while we waited for news, but dawn arrived with nothing more significant than a list of the missing men’s names tacked to the wall outside the mine’s office building. I copied the list of names into Mr. Ledbetter’s notebook and hurried down the hill to the Montrose County Record office. Mr. Ledbetter lived in two rooms upstairs, but I found him sitting in his office, stacks of old newspapers on his desk. He told me what he had learned. Men die in the mines every year, but this was only the second major disaster in the en-
tire history of the Montrose Coal Mine. The first had occurred forty years earlier—long before child labor laws prevented sending children down in the mine and two years before Mr. Ledbetter had bought the newspaper from the previous owner—when a dozen young boys had died, the oldest only fourteen. “There’re some mine owners don’t give a whit for their men,” Mr. Ledbetter said. He showed me a list he’d made of all the mining deaths up and down the Appalachians for the previous year. “Not the Montroses. They’ve always done right by their employees.” Today the collapse of a mine that left thirty-seven men unaccounted for would have round-the-clock coverage on several cable news networks. Back then it didn’t even rate a visit by an Associated Press stringer. The Montrose County Record was the only paper covering the rescue efforts, and Mr. Ledbetter was in no condition to trudge up and down the mountain. He gave me the newspaper’s camera—a battered Speed Graphic with a tripod and a flash attachment that he had taught me to use three months
community, much as we had assimilated Cole when his daddy died of black lung and his momma ran off with a smooth-talking ’shiner. As names disappeared from the list, the families whose prayers had been answered—though not in the way they had hoped—drifted away from their vigil, leaving only my sister, my mother, and me waiting at the mine’s entrance seven days after the mine’s collapse. Every time the mine train brought out a body, I noted the dead man’s name in Mr. Ledbetter’s notebook. I lost two uncles; some first, second, and third cousins; and several men who weren’t blood but who were married to female cousins. As I noted the names and traced the family trees, I realized that Cole Graham, my sister’s husband, was the last of his line to work the mine and, because I had an education and a newspaper job, my father was likely to be the last of our line. Only if my sister birthed a boy might that change. The flame of hope for my brother-in-law’s survival was all but extinguished by the time Bertram Montrose scratched the thirty-sixth name off the list, and we were holding on only in the hope of recovering Cole’s body for proper Christian burial. My sister, when she wasn’t wracked with morning sickness, sat with Momma’s arms wrapped around her thin shoulders.
Photo by Steve Ruud
earlier so that I could take a picture of Cole and Alma Lee on their wedding day—and sent me back up the hill. I found Alma Lee holding that picture when I returned to the mine entrance. Momma had fetched it for her when she’d gone down the hill for supper. I didn’t look at it, but I knew it well enough. Cole—a young man not yet fully developed despite his age in years looked more like Alma Lee’s little brother than her groom, all trussed up in a too-large suit borrowed from the preacher for their special day, and my rail-thin sister wearing Momma’s hand-me-down wedding dress page 40 • bohemia • november 2011
and towering over her new husband. And I remember us—all five of us—returning home after the wedding to a house too small for four, and me having to sit outside on the porch that night while the marriage was consummated. The rescue teams started pulling bodies out of the mine two days later. One by one the names on the list tacked to the wall of the mine’s office building were scratched off, providing a steady flow of work for the town’s lone undertaker and leaving widows and orphans to be assimilated into the
I took half-a-dozen photographs during that week—of the families awaiting word of their loved ones, of the dog-tired rescue crews returning to the surface for a meal and a few hours of sleep, and of the Methodist preacher praying over the dead. The undeveloped film awaited processing while I remained with the camera at the mine’s entrance anticipating word that the last body had been recovered or that the rescue efforts had been terminated. At the end of the seventh day, just as the last tendrils of sunlight slipped behind the mountain, we heard the mine train coming to the surface. It wasn’t time for a shift change so we knew it meant only one thing: The last body had been recovered. My sister clung to Momma and the three of us stared at the mineshaft opening. The first faces we saw, men who had risen from the ground thirty-six times before with grim expressions of defeat painted in coal dust on their faces, were actually smiling. And we saw, in the second car, my sister’s husband being held upright by our father. As
soon as the train stopped, Alma Lee ran to her husband and wrapped her arms around him and laughed and cried and took his dirty face between her hands and kissed him again and again and again. “How—?” she asked. No other words could escape between kisses. “I heard the explosion ahead of me,” Cole said. His voice wasn’t much more than a harsh whisper as he told us that the men had just ended their shift and were walking single file on their way up. “I was hit with a powerful blast of cold air and dozens of hands pushed me into the number eight shaft.” Some distance behind me my father told my mother, “Cole’s not right in the head. He’s been down there in the dark with no food, no water, and no fresh air. He’s been taking about them hands since we found him, but there wasn’t no cold air and we didn’t find no body close enough to have pushed him into number eight.”
He looked at me and I looked at him. “God’s will is all it was,” I said. “My sister praying that her baby would have a daddy.” I took the exposed 4” x 5” film from the Speed Graphic into the dark room and developed the seven photographs I had taken that week. I didn’t see anything unusual until I developed the final negative and was washing it with water. Surrounding Cole stood twelve smiling, grime-faced boys, some of them holding my brother-in-law upright. I stared at the negative image of Cole and the young boys, realized what I was seeing, and a moment later burst from the dark room with the half-washed negative in my hand. I shouted Mr. Ledbetter’s name as I ran into the print shop, and I found him holding a stick in one hand, carefully picking type out of the chase as he set the headline for that week’s newspaper. He stared at me over the top of his half-glasses.
“Cole,” I said. “Let me take your picture for the paper before you go home.”
“Look at this.” I shoved the negative under his nose.
Alma Lee helped her husband over to where I had the Speed Graphic waiting on its tripod. Once I inserted the film sheet and focused the camera, she stepped away. I thought Cole would collapse before I had a chance to cock the shutter, but a chill wind swept up from the mineshaft and washed over the two of us. As Cole straightened, I pressed the shutter. The brilliant flash nearly blinded us all.
He glanced at it and then returned his attention to me. “It’s a fine photograph, son.”
My parents and my sister took Cole home, where they could tend to him and await the arrival of the company doctor, who had returned home on the fourth day when he saw only bodies coming out of the mine. I disassembled the camera and carried it to the Montrose County Record office before returning home myself. Once there I sat with my father in the kitchen while the women tended to Cole. Daddy told me that the shaft where they had found my brother-in-law had been abandoned for years. “There wasn’t no body near him,” he insisted. I told Mr. Ledbetter everything the next day, and he showed me an old newspaper article about the closing of the number eight shaft where Cole had been found. He stabbed a gnarled finger at the newspaper page. “That’s where them boys died in ’17.” page 41 • bohemia • november 2011
“But, don’t you see—?” I looked at the negative again, saw only my brother-in-law, and closed my mouth. Cole spent the rest of his life working the mine, never again discussing what happened to him during the Montrose Coal Mine collapse of ’57, and succumbing to black lung disease in his early fifties, just as Daddy had years earlier. The cancer took Momma, and my sister’s living down in Charleston with her oldest, a college professor at the university. Alma Lee and Cole had three more boys, and all of them went to college, moved out of the county, and never stepped foot in a coalmine. I bought the paper from Mr. Ledbetter in 1968, and published it every week until long past its usefulness to the community, finally closing it down last year when I just couldn’t continue any longer. I made a single print from that negative, put it in a frame, and kept it on my desk at the Montrose County Record to remind me that some stories never get told. After I closed the newspaper, I brought that photo home and put it on the mantel. Some days, when the light strikes the photo
Support Cultural Literacy in Waco. Sponsor a Bohemian. advertising@
just so, I think I can still see the boys stand-
ing next to Cole.
The Scent Of Ages Past by Nick Vigil
On bygone days defunct I dwell, some beyond recall; lying in the dreaded dust, and sleeping where I fall; I perch before my parchment, by the candle-fire blink; with great purpose pondering, my fingers stained with ink. Amidst the sullen smoke I brood, and cry out to a ghost; bathed in amber armor to her reflection I play host, and for the muted memories that weather in collection, I nurture and I nourish with inconceivable protection. Cloaked in dreams I do delight when thinking of her rays, but in conscious continuance my regrets are ablaze, I miss her whiplash whisper, how it made me turn and die; her surpassing of the sun that made me start to cry. How she alleged and announced the place that she now stood, and I was metal magnetized, she would not be withstood; to capture countenance so fair, and in her eyes yet dance; conquered, cornered into roses by her sweet romance. I still smell your perfume well, and hear your laughter like a bell; In this cottage made of stone, when I’m weeping all alone.
Illustration by Taylor Smith We over-turned our ocean, while remaining in our raft
Seeing her, with haloed hair, I would begin to sing;
and their eerie eyes were tearless, beaming as they laughed;
into my dreary dreams at night her kisses she would bring,
so now I suffer sore the night, while bleeding at my desk;
in those dreams we’d sit and stare into the bright blue sky;
miming in my mirror, grand apologies grotesque.
and in that dream our dream would be to never say goodbye. Our excess feeling in the fog, atop the shadowed waves;
I still smell your perfume well, and hear your laughter like a bell;
delightfully delirious among the growing graves, days insipid, icy, she would breathe a melting heat;
In this cottage made of stone,
with compelling kisses both forceful and discreet.
when I’m weeping all alone.
But one day our hallowed hands, so joined in bold defiance;
And as your fragrance fills the air,
were wildly wounded by the masses cursing our alliance,
causing sugar-sweet despair;
so that thread on which we thrived, was severed stitch by stitch;
I will pen a passion poem,
love-rife fortune repossessed making the beggars rich.
hallucinating all alone...
page 42 • bohemia • november 2011
fingerprints left behind, the lovely small hands of an angelic star,
by Nick Vigil
that now is gone, disappeared into the heavens.
This used to be your desk,
Next to me sits, no one
and there you sat comfortably;
and I also am now...no one.
like a ruby on a velvet pillow.
Please, please, please,
Next to me, causing butterflies and smiles,
come back and sit next to me again!
whispers in my mind.
A year has passed,
My world revolved around you, in circles,
carpet floors, new teacher
like the hands of the clock that I constantly watched;
waiting for the hour we’d enter the classroom...
empty, sad, alone, unoccupied
and take our seats.
as is my very soul;
You at your desk, right next to me!
The sound of metal chair legs scratching the floor;
Epitome of my perfect day.
At the sound of the bell
I’d watch your eyes as they glanced in mine...
we all wash out the door like an array of seashells
lingering for a few moments,
carried with a mighty wave that is stronger than us all;
then your lips would curl a smile,
into the halls, amongst the others;
my soul would tremble,
Tomorrow I will cry, when I see what used to be...
your voice would speak-
your desk, next to mine-
and my heart would bow.
This classroom so cold,
To me, it will always be
white tile floor, powdered in dirt;
fluorescent lights, unflattering,
had no effect on your goddess skin. Or the hypnotic radiance of your hair falling on your lovely face like a veil; I loved you. What better words formed by mortal lips to express the unspeakable? You loved me too. Not in my mind alone, but in your secret thoughts so pure, neither of us could express for fear of a force so mighty and strange; at that age, courage is scarce in matters of the heart... Now your desk sits abandoned like a weathered carriage in the middle of a fieldChipped paint, desecrated by vandals in the middle of the nightdried gum, scratches, dents;
page 43 • bohemia • november 2011
Illustration by Tanner Freeman
had exited. In a daze, he pushed the button for his floor. A faint odor of perfume hung in the elevator, but the ventilator fan blew it away too quickly to catch. He stared at his fuzzy image in the brushed steel of the elevator doors. Again? Another opportunity? Could this one turn out differently? Why not? Maybe. Probably not. That night, he sat with his head back, feet up, TV on, but his mind drifted dreamlike to the lobby. He stared at the elevator, waited for those doors to open again. He wanted her to walk towards him. Questions crowded in and around him. *** Frank next saw her one morning about a week later. Still half asleep from another night of wondering about the blue-gray-eyed woman, the elevator stopped on its usually uninterrupted drop to the lobby. The door opened on the second floor, and there she stood. This time she carried a brief case and wore a nicely tailored suit and sun glasses. He smiled, and she smiled.
Frank and Ellen by Jim McKeown
Frank first saw Ellen on the third day in his new apartment building. He frequently moved early and often before becoming entangled in relationships which made him uncomfortable. The mid-level high rise on East 50th Street became his fourth residence in the last five years. Each day, he took in all the sights and sounds of his new surroundings. He began with the lobby. While waiting for the elevator, he thought, Too many plants. He wondered if the well-maintained planters hid holes in the walls or floor. Every apartment manager had secrets. So did every apartment dweller. The faint paths, most often walked by his neighbors, divided the carpet into separate fields. Not quite old enough to show wear, the earth colors of the functional furniture gently whispered “Come sit, come sit.” This comfortable lobby obviously invited lingering. So, Frank never hesitated to spend some odd moments in the lobby watching his new neighbors come and go. Soft, homey, and page 44 • bohemia • november 2011
Artwork by Renny Quintero
pleasant sounds -- the whirr of the elevator, the occasional bell at the concierge’s desk, and the faint hum of Manhattan traffic just outside the front door – provided the city music he loved. One sensation of all, however, intrigued Frank the most -- the fresh, citrus smell of the wood polish on the dark, cherry wainscoting. This pleasant odor overpowered the smells of city life and traffic that slipped in like a wave every time the door opened. Fortunately, the orange oil exuding from the walls fought back and almost always turned away unpleasant things, even thoughts. One day, patiently waiting for the elevator, enjoying his surroundings, wondering what could make it better, the doors opened, and he first noticed her eyes – blue-gray, large, and expressive of all the things a woman can say with her lids, her lashes. Everything stopped. She glanced his way, gave the absolute slightest of smiles and passed by him to the front door. Frank tried to save the memory of those eyes by concentrating as hard as he could. The elevator doors began to close, but he stepped in just in time to open them again. Frank turned and looked at the revolving door she
No wedding band, but some sort of gold ring highlighted her left hand. Straight, dark, red hair without curls carried the scent of her perfume. In vain, he tried to identify the brand. Words formed in his mind, but they seemed terribly juvenile and trite. Nice day. What brings you here? Luckily, no sound came from his suddenly dry mouth. It happens every time. The elevator doors opened, and they walked to the entrance together. Time slowed as he realized how close to him she walked. What an opportunity! He bit his lip in frustration. Frank followed her in the next quarter of the slowly turning door. Outside, she turned to him, smiled and nodded, then turned right. Frank stood frozen for a moment. He slowly gathered his wits and turned left. All day long the encounter played in his mind during an endless, pointless game of solitaire on his PC. Fortunately, every manuscript with a deadline was “done and finished,” as he liked to say. In addition to the apartment, the job was also new. He seemed headed nowhere in his last job with a big publishing house, but Palmyra was new. He liked the laid-back atmosphere, the simple dress code, which only required a jacket and dress slacks when meeting authors. The slender employee manual proclaimed, “Comfort: the first consideration.” Today he wore his favorite jeans and a blue, checkered, buttondown shirt.
But he could not concentrate on the cards. The queens seemed eerily familiar, but he weakly resisted making any connections. But her eyes. They interrupted every thought, every conversation that day. He saw her as the queen of diamonds. Could she be the queen of my heart? Such a woman! Really way too good for me. She seemed about the right age, but something sacred defined her face, which he could only compare to the Renoirs he so admired – innocent, pure, but also intense. Her steady walk spoke of a confident woman. Frank saw her as the gray-eyed goddess. Like a sixteen-year-old plotting another encounter, he decided to roll the dice and see what would happen. Maybe I finally found the right job. Maybe I finally found the right apartment. Maybe… *** The concierge, a talkative type, suddenly became quiet. Bernie, never too friendly -- a plus when Frank went apartment hunting -did learn the resident’s names quickly, and always seemed in a good mood. “Ellen? Yea, she lives on the secon’ floor.” Bernie eyed the new resident with a slight squint that hinted at some idea of suspicion. “Strange woman. Why?”
evator together. I hope you don’t mind, but I was intrigued by your perfume. I am terrible at picking out those things, especially with the orange oil smell everywhere. Would you mind telling me the name? –Frank” Two long, slow days passed with nothing. Then, one evening, he found a note taped to his door. “D’Ivoire by Balman. – Ellen, 202.” He read it over and over looking for some hidden message that seemed always to elude him. Frank had one semi-positive thought: her apartment number. It must mean she wanted me to come and see her. Or did it? Why didn’t she knock on my door and tell me in person? Now what?” He wrote a response, which took him four hours. “I have heard of it. But I never knew anyone who wore it. I remember reading one of those sophisticated ads in The New Yorker. Didn’t it say something like ‘A different scent on every woman who wears it’? Please don’t think I am stalking you or anything, but I am a writer. I notice those things and store them away. --Frank, 404.” Frank slipped it into her mailbox the next morning.
Bernie’s tongue pushed his cheek out. Frank knew Bernie had decided in his favor.
When Frank returned from the office, he worried that the note was too obvious, too silly, too inexperienced. He toyed with the idea of retrieving it. He collected his mail and found an envelope with “Frank 404” written on the outside. Could I, at long last have found some luck?
“Never any visitors, never goes anywhere but out, always comes home alone. I never heard her speak more than a few words at a time.” He stared at Frank with slight lines around his eyes and a small smile on his lips. He knew. He had been around a lot of front doors in New York and had seen it all before. He actually took pleasure in watching the residents meet, fall in and out of love, watching the turns in their lives along with the revolving door he carefully guarded. Not much help, but something. Only one person with a first initial “E” owned a mailbox, so he decided to write her a note, which consumed most of the evening. For years he had scanned what others wrote, correcting errors, righting inconsistencies. I must do this. For once I must not follow my instincts. Every word had to be absolutely perfect, every comma in exactly the right spot – he could not leave a chance anything might distract from his message. He wrote: “We haven’t met; I am Frank and I live in 404. I have seen you around the building a couple of times, and yesterday we rode the elpage 45 • bohemia • november 2011
The sluggish elevator carried Frank clutching the mail in his hand. The apartment key had somehow failed to end up in its assigned pocket. He put down his briefcase. A bag of bagels dropped to the floor, but not the mail, not the note. Finally he managed to open the door, and the letters, circulars, and magazines went to their regular spot in the center of the kitchen table. He deliberately made sure the envelope ended up on the bottom of the pile. He looked around the apartment and reminded himself he needed a plan to unpack the boxes scattered around the rooms. This apartment had promise. So did the new job. Maybe this was the time and place to put an end to his nomadic lifestyle. Frank sorted the usual stuff into neat piles before he opened anything. That further delayed reaching the bottom. The principle function of his kitchen was for the sorting of mail. Frozen dinners, ice tea, chips, and snacks did not take much time to gather on
the way to his reading/TV chair. But the “ritual of the mail” had become something Frank actually relished as a way to unwind from the day. He had complete control over the piles, what to open first, what to discard, and what to open last. Circulars and ads right into the trash, bills to his left in a neat pile by his checkbook and ledger, then letters, cards, catalogues, and the unidentified to the right at opposite ends of the square, sturdy, maple wood table. Finally, he reached it. Frank stared at the handwriting for a moment. Not quite ready, he grabbed some iced tea and headed for the worn, leather chair that had traveled with him as a faithful companion through all his moves. He lowered himself gently, and the cushion sighed a long, slow, breath as it accepted his weight. Slowly, he examined the envelope, felt the paper but resisted the urge to smell it before opening. He slid a finger under one end, trying not to damage the flap. He pulled out the one-page letter written with a fountain pen. Nice touch. “Frank: Odd you noticed the perfume. I just started wearing it, one of the women at the station wore it, and I asked her the same question. You are right, it is different on every woman. You are also right about the ad – clever man! I started reading The New Yorker when I was in high school. I moved here from Charleston – the South Carolina one – a couple of years ago. I was recruited as a researcher for Channel 11, my name never gets in the credits, but you may have heard some of my work.” Frank immediately switched on Channel 11, a station he never watched. “I really love it so far. I just have to manage my time better than I ever thought I could. It was hard at first. I mean coming from SC to NYC – but I got used to the mobs, I think. Sometimes I get a bit crowded in. Strangers don’t seem to want to talk much. I like that, a little -- even though I remember every one in Charleston did, anyway. What do you like to do in the city? Where are you from? Where do you work? Too many questions, right? I am not a stalker either! I like to read – occupational hazard for an English major who is trying to be a journalist!” Frank looked up and stared as if the note had revealed some fateful truth. She majored in English, too. He could hardly believe it. Ellen had drawn a smiley face with three
Are you an Artist, Photographer
your work to
strokes of her pen. Frank smiled as he saw her face, her eyes on the page.
vented his following through, and eventually, forced him to move.
“I like southern fiction a lot; it keeps me connected to home. Do you know Kaye Gibbons? She’s my favorite. Oprah’s first book club pick was Gibbons’ Ellen Foster, did you read it? I can lend you my copy if you like. I also like biographies of writers – Iris Murdoch, William Faulkner, people like that.”
For three nights, he sat down to write her an answer. Sometimes, Frank wrote pages, other times he could barely squeeze out words. The pile of discarded attempts found the crevices in and around the unpacked cartons of books, dishes, and knick knacks. Finally, he gave up trying to write to Ellen. He knew he needed a plan.
Unbelievable! Two out of three! My favorites, too! Frank began making mental notes for a list to send on his next message. He liked to read, too -- the solitariness of it, the escape.
Each day and every night, he considered the possibilities, his options. I like this apartment, the doorman, the lobby. I don’t want to move so soon. I cannot afford to continue losing deposits. I could stay. I could write to her. I could tell her how much I like Iris Murdoch and The Sound and the Fury. What would she think? Pretence? A pick-up line from a gigolo? I had better include something about The Bell, my favorite Murdoch novel.
“Well, I better go, my lunch is over -- coffee and pecan pie, just like home! Back to the grind! Later, Ellen 202” Done and finished! But not Frank. Twice more the words and phrases floated before him like silk scarves at a magic show. *** Around 3:00 AM, Frank fell asleep in his chair still clutching the note, dreaming of the elevator, the perfume, those eyes. He woke with a convulsion which caused a partial crumpling of the page. He rubbed his eyes and straightened out the paper. It was 6:30. He showered, dressed, and left for a day of reading manuscripts, wondering, and in his mind, drafting his response. No solitaire today. Frank could see those eyes anytime, anyplace by simply closing his. Wild thoughts bounced in and out of his consciousness. She’s lonely and desperate. The letter means nothing. She doesn’t know me, and if she did, she wouldn’t write anymore. He had experienced all this before. Frank was not Brad Pitt, -- no rugged good looks, and certainly not that Hollywood charm -- but he was good looking enough for most women. His friendly, warm, and comfortable features, his frame -- with only a slight trace of the junk food he ate a bit too often -- inspired interest, but something he did, something he said would sour potential relationships. He managed to escape before what he considered inevitable rejections occurred. If he only knew the whispers that followed him through the lobbies, the questions posed to the doormen, the thoughts of him which often floated through the buildings he inhabited, he would not have moved so often. At some level, Frank sensed – more than once -- he teetered on the edge of a close warm relationship, but lack of certainty pre-
page 46 • bohemia • november 2011
He began to lose heart as memories of women he met crept into the deliberation. I could move. To heck with the deposit. I would only need a day to repack. I wonder about available apartments closer to Palmyra House. Maybe if I found something nice, it would be a sign. Maybe I will let The Times classified decide for me. On Friday, a long hard week behind, Frank settled into his chair, and opened the paper to the real estate section, and began, once again, scanning “Apartments for Rent.” Then a knock at the door interrupted his search. Frozen into his chair, Frank could not imagine who might stand on the other side of the door. The sloppily folded paper dropped to the floor. He rose and hesitated for only a moment. He took three steps toward the door. As he reached for the knob, he debated whether he should ask who had knocked. Maybe Bernie with a package. Possibly the elderly man across the hall needing some favor necessitated by his arthritic hands. As he turned the knob, reality never occurred to him. Frank opened the door and Ellen stood there with a book, a flower, and a bottle of Bordeaux. “It’s Friday! We should celebrate!” She shifted from one foot to the other. Frank bit his lip. “Absolutely! Come in. Pardon the mess.” Suddenly, Frank knew his nomadic ways had finally taken him to a different place. He tread on the classified section as he followed her to the living room..
Cuddaboutte Pass By Amanda Hixson The train never stopped on Cuddaboutte Pass. The hanging cliffs of ice and snow were treacherous, and there were warnings about these tracks needing repair; too much weight could prove deadly. The train never stopped. What reason would there be to stop? Charles could drive these tracks in his sleep, and the trance he often entered resembled such a state. He was known to knock back a few now and then, too—a nip to speed the time. But the drink offered more sometimes. Tucked inside their suites, the passengers slept—a nightly ritual Charles missed, for his burden was that he slept during the day… less and less though, it seemed. He mentally prepared for his long night with a sigh. Suddenly, the train twisted with centrifugal weight. That particular curve always jolted him awake no matter how fixed he was in a day-dream, night-dream, or whatever you want to call it. The train trudged forward. Outward he looked. There was eeriness about this neck of the trip. He stared and scrutinized the path. Astonishingly, there seemed to be something out there, far across the tracks. The image aroused in his memory prompted an unconscious reach for his flask. “There’s nothing out there ’cept ice and snow,” he thought, sucking the whiskey dry and wiping his eyes. Another flash out in the emptiness of Cuddaboutte sent off sirens in his ears. His pulse raced. He thought he saw… but how could it be? “You blithering idiot, don’t be stupid. There’s nothing out there. You’re having a page 47 • bohemia • november 2011
Photo by Steve Ruud
flashback,” a dark figure whispered in his ear with a searing certainty and conceit.
lief through each lurch, sweating profusely and wiping his brow until, finally, a halt.
“Get back! Who’s there? I’ll stop this train,” the engineer warned.
There wasn’t a sound in the mountain as this steel monster, this beast of the rail industry, tottered precariously on the peak like an unsure circus high-wire performer. This was the utmost ridge of Cuddaboutte, the zenith.
The dark figure laughed. “I think we should go faster…” And the train lunged. The speed of the train was shocking; the jutting mountains should have prevented such swiftness. Something was taking over, something that Charles needed to stop. And the more he peered, long and hard, horrorstricken, the more he became sure that he saw a family, almost the same as all those years ago in the accident. He saw a car, trapped on the track, just like before. Only this time, he could prevent it. He sees them ahead… ahead… far enough ahead… in time to stop. The dark figure danced about the compartment. “Onward, onward, the train goes. We can’t stop because I say so…” Charles swiped at him. The ethereal man vanished without a trace.
“Charles, what the hell? What the hell is going on it there?” The conductor’s shouting came through louder and louder like echoes in a tunnel—ringing. “Charles, what the hell?” His voice was horse. How long had he been screaming? He was crying, too, and there was pandemonium beyond the secured door. The tracks were clearly faltering. The beams were splitting. The train would fall, certainly.
“You can’t stop, Charles,” the cloaked figure The banks of snow beneath the bridge glis- whispered as it funneled down and disaptened in the moonlight. Charles’ mind was peared into an empty whiskey bottle. “You momentarily as calm and clear as that field. can’t stop a train on Cuddaboutte Pass.” He knew what he must do; immediately the Artwork by Renny Quintero train slowed down. It felt supernatural. He engaged in the necessary steps, the procedures to stop. He knew he could make it. He wouldn’t let it happen again. This act would clear his conscience, finally. The train screeched as it wound down. Charles gasped in re-
page 48 â€˘ bohemia â€˘ november 2011
Boho Portraits by Steven Ruud My family moved from Littleton, Colorado, in the summer of 1985, leaving the gorgeous Rocky mountains behind, only to find reverse osmosis filtered water and corporal punishment in school on the desolate Permian Basin plains of Midland, Texas. After fumbling my way through cotillion classes and fanatical football culture (complete with 5 ft long homecoming mums), we relocated to a state that really is bigger than Texas, the last frontier, Alaska. This nomadic yet rewarding way of life would continue for the next ten years, with stops along the way in Plano, Texas (where I graduated in 1993), Albuquerque, New Mexico, a brief stint in Canada, back to Alaska, and then onto Houston and Huntsville, Texas, where I began studying Journalism and Photography at Sam Houston State in 1995. Before I left for college, I borrowed my Mother’s 35mm camera, loaded it with Ilford Delta 100/400 black and white film, and during Spring Break of ‘96 or ‘97, shot my first roll of film at the X-Games in Corpus Christi. During the contest, I tried desperately with my camera to capture my skateboarding heroes Eric Koston, Ray Barbee, Lance Mountain, and other legends doing tricks I had previously only seen on a video or in a magazine. I came back from the trip, and like a mad scientist, headed straight for the laboratory. This was it. Had I used the right aperture, shutter speed, ISO and composition to permanently write these images of light onto a black and white film print? The elation was palpable, and for those next few hours amidst the pungent aromas of the darkroom, I experienced the magic of watching the images come to life. Unfortunately, I was less than serious with my studies, and spent the next fourteen years enrolled in the school of hard knocks, page 49 • bohemia • november 2011
getting “hip” to a degree that you can’t get in college. I moved to Waco nearly three years ago, having spent nine years in Austin, and enrolled in the Media Communications program at Texas State Technical College. Graduating with a 4.0 this past April, even at a two year college, was an accomplishment I am proud of. My time in school helped me to start gaining some insight into the complex digital world of photography, and exposed me to the vast wealth of information that was previously guarded by the film fanatics of the recent past. The influence of the masters, Ansel Adams, Strand, Weston, Man-Ray, and Jerry Ulesman were now mixed with Steve McCurry, Joel Grimes, and Dave Hill. I have had some recognition in international contests, been commissioned for specific print sets, and was recently published in “The Best of College Photography 2011” by Serbin Communications. I joined the Professional Photographers Association last year after attending a four day convention, and belong to a local Waco chapter called The Heart of Texas Professional Photographers. I am currently pursuing weddings, engaged couples, and families for portraits. I have begun work on a book of photos and essays with the working title, “This is Waco” with the hope of exposing some cultural aspects that are ignored or relatively new here in the city. I am constantly investing in education, and travel all over Texas for workshops and seminars. Ultimately, it’s not about me! I am an emerging professional, not a seasoned vet with a massive portfolio ready for showcasing at print competitions. I want to meet new people, make-up artists, local legends, models, capoeira fighters and other creative souls looking to collaborate on projects and explore new ideas. I basically am reminded every day of how little I know about this beautifully diverse and seemingly limitless art form that I will most likely go insane trying to pursue! Most of my work is on my online gallery, balance firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Please contact me for more information and let’s create something together, and have fun doing it!
Art With a Pulse
Photos by Lindsey Parker
by Whitney Van Laningham The suburban strip of beige apartments and coffee nooks on E 6th Street in Austin, TX, is the last place you would expect to find a tattoo parlor. Innocuously placed alongside a post office, a school, and the bland living spaces inhabited by Austin singles, Ladybird Tattoo is located in the last place you would think to get inked. The tattoo industry has come a long way from the mentality that tattoos are only for leather-clad biker dudes and stringy-haired guitarists in Pink Floyd cover bands. It has shifted from a taboo lifestyle choice to a real art form that is recognized and celebrated among steady-handed artists with unique styles and visions for their work. These artists have made the switch from canvas to flesh, breathing a pulse and new life into artwork that once hung unsold in an empty gallery. Now, the starving artist has a paycheck in his hand. John Garner, 31, is no exception. As a Texas State Technical College graduate with a degree in commercial art and advertising, Garner found that most of the art had been siphoned out of his first job out of college. Between prepping his tattoo machine and making sure his customer is comfortable, Garner says, “I was drawing less and advertising more.” So, he switched from adverpage 50 • bohemia • november 2011
tising to painting, hoping to make money doing something that involved more actual art. “I was trying to sell my art to galleries so that people could see them. Unfortunately, I only sold two paintings my entire painting career. It was at that point that I was really bitter about art. I wasn’t really pursuing it that much until I started tattooing.”
Garner was inspired to begin tattooing after viewing a video that motivated him to take his art away from the rejection of the gallery world and into the realm of tattoo design. He realized that with tattooing, he would actually be able to sell some of his artwork-- something that had proved to be incredibly difficult as a painter. He began an apprenticeship with Grasshopper, owner of Art & Sol Tattoo in Waco, two years ago. “I worked my way up from $20 tattoos to $20 an hour, and then I became pro,” he says, pausing the machine to be heard over the dull buzzing coming from the tip of the needle. Becoming a professional tattoo artist is something that many young artists strive for, but Garner warns that tattoo art is not an industry for everyone. Because there are no formal classes to take in order to learn how to transpose artwork onto the human body, an apprenticeship is the only legitimate way for an artist to exchange his paintbrush for a needle. “You have to go out there and harass a shop and show them that you really want to tattoo, and be persistent,” he advises. Becoming a tattoo artist is a delicate balance between the mechanical and the artistic parts of the brain. Garner explains that there are certain physical requirements that a tattoo apprentice must meet before becoming a professional. He holds up the tattoo machine, and it becomes obvious that it isn’t exactly feather-light. “The physical requirements are the weight of your machine and building the strength in your hand to be able to make clean lines. My teacher told me to
buy a machine and stick a regular pencil inside the vice grip and trace certain pieces of art so my hand would get used to the weight displacement.” The human epidermis is nothing like the typical canvas used by an artist. Skin is not nearly as durable as a sheet of matte board, or marble, or the screen of a graphic designer’s computer. There is no way to erase a mistake made in permanent ink on the body, and every individual skin type is completely different. “Some people have skin that will soak up any kind of ink no matter how hard you put into it, while some people you have to really work at it because their skin rejects ink,” Garner explains. Skin can only take so much abuse, and unlike a painting, you cannot go over your strokes countless times to enhance the piece. Patrons can try to make their tattoo experience better by drinking plenty of water to hydrate their flesh and promote better absorbency, but the tattoo is always accepted differently according to an individual’s unique skin type. Garner exercises great caution when it comes to the health and safety of his customers. In addition to being hydrated, he recommends that all of his patrons grab a bite to eat while he is setting up so that they won’t be tattooed on an empty stomach. “If you’re hungry,” Garner explains, “your blood thins out because [your blood sugars] are not at the right level.” Many tattoo shops also have a policy against tattooing anyone who appears drunk or hung over. Ladybird is no exception, and Garner cares about both his artwork and the customer enough to refuse to tattoo anyone who has been consuming alcohol. Alcohol can dehydrate the skin, and the artwork may page 51 • bohemia • november 2011
not turn out the way that the artist intended it. The main health concern when tattooing, however, begins with the cleanliness of the artist’s tools. Crosscontamination is a big risk, and clean, sterile tools are a must. While AIDS and herpes are a major concern for anyone who uses needles in their line of work, hepatitis is the most easily spread disease. Hepatitis can live outside the body for up to six weeks. This type of health-consciousness is something that Garner learned during his apprenticeship. “The most important thing about tattooing is being clean,” he stresses.
first place. All five of his tattoos, (including the one he inked himself with his first tattoo machine, fondly nicknamed “Eleanor”) are in the neo-traditional style. The combination of old-school bold lines mixed with comicbook style art make up most of Garner’s neo-traditional pieces. He seeks out other neo-traditional tattoo artists, because “it’s a kindred-ness between me and the artist.”
Garner pauses, and his customer sits up, looking down at the outline of a bat that is now inked upon his calf.
Tattooing has given artists like John Garner the chance to breathe life into their work, as well as the opportunity to make a good living. This industry is perfect for the artist who wants to spread his artwork to the community, create and design…and pay his rent on time.
“How’s mine doing, man?” he asks. Garner grins, “It’s lookin’ terrible, man.” It’s clear that Garner has a passion and a dedication to his customers and his work. His interest in art piqued when he was a young child, exploring the pages of comic books. “My favorite was Wolverine,” recalls Garner. Sam Keith, the artist who drew Wolverine and the Maxx comics in the 1990s was Garner’s inspiration to begin drawing. Today, the comic-book style art is something that Garner still incorporates into his tattoo design. He describes his style as somewhat neo-traditional, combining some of the old-school tattoo designs (think Sailor Jerry, bigbusted hula girls, and allAmerican patriot designs) as well as some of the new-school, comic-esque artwork that inspired him to begin drawing in the
The tattoo industry has rapidly evolved into a world of creativity and professionalism. Tattoos have allowed artists to move beyond paint on canvas to a challenging realm of flesh and nerve-endings. It offers a new dimension to their craft: the ability to connect with a customer and place a permanent piece of artwork on their skin. The biggest struggle most artists face is the harsh reality of being unable to pay the bills with their talents and imagination. Creating art for monetary compensation is a taxing journey that many find difficult but worthwhile.
Truck Driver Diaries by Lisa Hathaway
Photos by Lisa Bassett Hathaway
“You can go down a mountain too slow as many times as you want to, but you can only go down a mountain too fast once.” Those were the words of wisdom offered by my trainer as he closed the curtain to the sleeper birth, just as we finished the climb to the top of the “Grape Vine” on Interstate 5 North in California. 1992 was a long, long time ago. I was a young. Twenty-two, afraid of the world, and with no sense of direction. I mean that literally: we didn’t have cell phones back then – and definitely no GPS. Just a map, a pay phone, and a dispatcher.
was that I didn’t really love traveling or being away from home. Not the best ingredients for a successful career.
I remember calling my dispatcher one evening to receive my next haul information and directions. This is part of the conversation.
Diary Entry #1:
Dispatch: “Take 401 East to the Mississauga Road exit and go North.” Me: “Is that a left or a right?” If you’re not aware, that was a dumb question. I had this brilliant idea to become a truck driver in order to better myself. The problem page 52 • bohemia • november 2011
I was living in Romulus, MI, and had decided to become a truck driver, mostly because my roommate did it. At this point I was hauling freight into Ontario and Quebec, driving for J.B. Hunt Transport: one of the most hated companies among Canadian truck drivers. I imagine that was because they felt I took their job. I spoke absolutely no French – not even slang French. Guess what they speak in Quebec.
I have a very lingering, vivid memory of an incident that happened to me one pitch black morning on the 401 just east of the Tilbury, Ontario service plaza. As I watched the Windsor city lights disappear in my mirror, I noticed one headlight close in on me until it disappeared. I knew it was right behind me and I kept looking but couldn’t see anyone. Tailgater. Ugh. Definitely nothing new to most drivers, but at this point I only had
three weeks under my belt as a solo driver. So just then I heard a voice speaking to me through the CB radio: “Hey, JB. You have a two-wheeler [motorcycle] right on your bumper.” I replied, “Yeah, he’s been on my ass since Windsor.” So this other driver, the guy who told me about the tailgater, started passing me and wanted me to inform him if the motorcycle started to do the same to him. Sure enough, it did. As soon as the driver’s trailer tailgate cleared mine, I saw the single light jump over into to the passing lane. I notified the other driver. As the other truck driver passed me he, said, “Watch this. I’ll fix him. Gonna scare him a bit.” I knew immediately what he was going to do. The other truck driver tapped his brake pedal, and suddenly it happened: the motorcyclist went down. I will remember this visual, as if it were yesterday, for the rest of my life. The bike slid across the lane. The motorcyclist didn’t. He bounced on the pavement like a rag doll, not once, but several times. I thought to myself, “This man is dead.” Then suddenly his limp body was in front of my truck.
truck. I CANNOT believe this man just rode away as though nothing happened. I notified the other truck driver that all was well and he said he would stay until the police arrived. I decided to roll on to the next service plaza and call my dispatch to let them know what happened. I was still shaken up, and a little angry. I almost ran over some damned drunk fool!
I braked as hard as I could, just barely managing to avoid him. When I finally came to a stop, I jumped down from my rig, leaving it in the lane with the four-way flashers on. I ran toward the man lying on the pavement, but to my amazement, he stood up as though nothing happened. I just sort of watched as he walked over and hugged me. “Man, that hurt,” he said. I couldn’t reply. He’d just bounced down the highway, and now he was cracking jokes. I just stood still for a moment and measured in my mind the distance between where he had been lying and the front bumper my truck. I began to shake. It was sinking in just how close I was to running him over. The motorcyclist told me he was tailgating the other driver because he was running low on gas and the trailer blocked the wind for him. I notified him that the other truck driver called the police and that we should wait. He said, “I have to go. I’ve been drinking.” Then he walked over to his bike and rode away. Just left me standing out in the middle of the highway. I still can’t believe any of this happened. I can’t believe this guy is alive. I can’t believe I didn’t run over him. I can’t believe he stood there and told me he was drinking. I can’t believe his motorcycle was even road worthy after smashing into the back of a page 53 • bohemia • november 2011
As I continued to truck on to the next plaza, I drove by an OPP car with a motorcyclist pulled over. I thought to myself, “It’s that idiot again!” I pulled over, grabbed my flashlight, and started walking the long quarter-mile stretch between myself and the police. By this time I was extremely tired, stressed out, and highly pissed off at this motorcyclist. I was about to let the air out of his sails. When I arrived at the police car, there are two officers standing there. They had that same motorcyclist in the back seat of the squad car. When the cyclist saw me, his facial expression looked like he’d just seen a ghost. I said to the officer, “I see you caught him.” There was definite approval in my voice. “Caught who? What are you talking about?” responded the officer. “The guy that wrecked his bike!” The officer went on to tell me that he pulled the motorcyclist over for tailgating yet another truck! I was furious. I told the officer everything. I told him that the guy admitted to me that he had been drinking. I wanted to be sure this guy stayed off the road for a good, long while.
Diary Entry #2:
It was an early, windy morning at the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Cornwall, Ontario. My roommate (let’s call her “Callie”) and I had left the
General Motors plant in Boisbriandt the evening before with a load of empty automotive parts racks. We drove separate rigs, thank God, because we would have probably killed each other if we’d been forced to live together AND drive together. Callie took the lighter of the loads and quickly put some distance between her rig and my neutered truck. A “neutered” truck is one that has a speed governor on it. Mine would only go 60 MPH (57 with the cruise control set). So it offered little power to me, especially on takeoff. I had just entered the highway, against killer headwinds with a neutered truck and the heavier load. It took me quite a while to catch up to Callie. When I did, she was in the passing lane, about to round a curve. Just as she passed out of sight, I noticed a pretty big puff of dust rise up. I thought she must’ve taken the curve too fast and drifted off a bit onto the shoulder. “Took that curve a little fast, didn’t you?” I radioed ahead sarcastically. No response. That was a bit odd for Callie; she usually had something to say right back. As I rounded the curve, though, my stomach dropped. I came face-to-face with the unthinkable. There, jackknife in the ditch against a sheer rock cliff was Callie’s truck. I brought my rig to a screeching halt and ran back to her truck. I never even noticed the red car resting against the median guardrail, let alone
the passengers inside. I could only focus on Callie. As I ran toward the truck I was terrified at the thought of what I would find. I nearly tripped over her JVC stereo that lay on the berm of the road. It must have been thrown from the wreckage upon impact. I crawled up the steps of the rig and steadied myself. I took a deep breath and looked through the window. There she was. Her lifeless body was slumped over the steering wheel. Desperately, I clung to the rig with one hand on the side handle with another hand tugging at the door. I couldn’t get it open. I fell off the truck. I wasn’t sure what to do. “Is she dead?” I thought to myself. “Is her neck broken?” A story I’d heard from a friend kept running through my mind: a story about another truck driver who’d wrecked and passed away due to a broken neck. Suddenly I could smell it. I could smell leaking diesel fuel. I used to watch a lot of television before I began driving for a living. Every program I have ever seen with a car or semi truck leaking fuel always explodes. So you can imagine the thoughts running through my head. Funny thing was, I was the weaker out of the two of us. I normally played the role of the “damsel in distress”. Hard to imagine nowadays, but true nonetheless. So there I was, trying to figure out how to be the hero. I knew I had to get her out of the truck before it exploded. But how much time did I have? The three girls from the car ran across the highway to me and asked if everything was alright. “I don’t know,” I answered. “She’s not responding.” I warned the girls away from the area, telling them the truck was going to explode. I then climbed back up onto the truck and kept talking to Callie, just hoping I could wake her up. I told her the truck was leaking fuel; that she needed to wake up and get out. Finally – finally! – she started moving. Sat up, looked toward the sound of my voice, and gradually regained her bearings. “You have to get out!” I was saying. She tried to open the door but it was jammed from her side as well. No problem. With a grunt and a thud, she jumped out the window. The police officer who soon arrived on the scene assured me that the probability of a truck exploding is very low. Diesel doesn’t ignite as easily as gasoline. I certainly felt like an idiot after finding that out. So much for my big hero moment. page 54 • bohemia • november 2011
Photo by Noelle Argubright
10 Obscure Facts About Lisa Hathaway 1. My favorite food is mashed potatoes with gravy.
5. Now... I am terrified of snakes.
2. My favorite color is blue.
7. I don’t like reading. I’d rather watch the movie.
3. As a drummer I played “Hail to the Chief” for President Reagan while in High School marching band, during his “Whistle Stop Tour” through Deshler, Ohio.
I often think about including that on my resume.
4. When I was a child I caught a small snake, put it in a huge jar and hid it in my room. My Mom made me turn it loose in the ditch.
2311 LaSalle, Waco 254-753-1665
Open Sunday-Thursday 9 am -11 pm Friday & Saturday 9 am-3:30am Barbacoa, Al Pastor, Asada, Bistec, Carnitas, Chicken & Beef Fajita,& More!
6. I am a very inconsistent pool player.
8. I enjoy making people laugh. Sometimes it’s my goal to pick out a certain individual and make them laugh. 9. I’ve always wanted to be a super hero. Unfortunately, I still haven’t managed to save anyone, but I did rescue a homeless cat out of a tree. 10. I am a very nervous, shy, and unique individual.
Barnett’s Pub An Atmosphere of Irish Charm Mixed Drinks • European Beers Friendly Bartenders • Free Wifi Delicious Irish Food
for Weekly Specials and Updates 420 Franklin Ave • Waco
page 55 â€˘ bohemia â€˘ november 2011
Boho Contributors Noelle Argubright, a native of the 254, hails from beautiful Lake Whitney, Texas. She re-
of poems. Tanner Freeman was born in Fort Worth, TX however has spent the majority of his life in Waco. He recently graduated from Abilene Christian University with a Graphic Design degree and just finished an internship with a web design outfit called Ride For the Brand in the Fort Worth Stockyards. Most of his interests are rooted in a real love for getting outside and seeing the world, such as driving to Austin for the afternoon or teaching ESL courses in Mexico City. He is influenced by the past. He has a fascination with the Americana of the sixties and seventies, which comes out in his work. Freeman and a friend, Taylor Smith, have started a design company here in Waco called Deuxtone. The company will ideally consist of a design studio downtown that would offer the Waco community an opportunity to exhibit work in a gallery setting.
a degree in education and is seeking an MA in creative writing. She has been published in the Baylor Lariat, The Stone Circle, The City Review, and Bohemia. She lives in Waco with her husband, PS3, and Nintendo Wii. Jesse Jefferis “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he”- Proverbs Aftrofrigiolisticale. The word makes no sense but its pronunciation thrills the mind with various meanings. I see the structure of words; when I use them, the ocean is clear in my sight and meadows with their bed of daffodils spread out through my view. Words offer me an escape, a quiet brook to fall asleep by. They also give voice to reason in the fiber of my being. Writing awoke something in me only God knew was there. This bio tells not what I’ve written, but why I write. Isis Lee A musician and prolific writer, was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco and is proud of her Aztec
Michael Alan Gill calls Waco his home.
Photo by Lindsey Parker
turned from Georgia back in September after six years of Art Schoolin’ and Life Livin’. She paints, writes, and rides bikes. She’s lived on the road, in the forest, and in paradise. She can kill chickens. She welds, eats cow brains, speaks German, and knows way more about Southeastern Vernacular Masonry Tactics than anyone should know. She is pleased to find Waco surging with a Creative Culture poised to blow everybody’s mind Leonard Blevins was born in Waco, TX in 1992. Growing up, his mother continuously kept him busy with art projects. These days, he still sketches, paints, and writes. In 2007, a fictional short story called Cryptochip was published. Since then, he has had art works and music released as well. Michael Bracken. Even though he is the author of several books--including the young adult romance Just in Time for Love and the hard-boiled private eye novel All White Girls--Michael Bracken is better known as the author of almost 900 short stories published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Fantastic, Flesh & Blood: Guilty as Sin, Hot Blood: Strange Bedfellows, Midnight, New Texas, Specters in Coal Dust, True Story, and many other anthologies and magazines. Additionally, Bracken has edited five crime fiction anthologies, including the three-volume Fedora series. Learn more at www.CrimeFictionWriter. com and CrimeFictionWriter.blogspot.com. Cody Brown is a 23 year old native and current resident of Waco. A 2007 graduate of Midway High School, he has spent the last few years pursuing music and writing full-time. Cody is currently playing guitar for local rock band Cordial Roy, while continuing work on a short collection
page 56 • bohemia • november 2011
Photo by Joshua Schnizer
Photo by Joshua Schnizer
Born far from what most would consider humble beginnings, he have gone from living in great wealth, to being a homeless musician. He has always had a passion for music, poetry, and writing. From a very young age he has been a bold person, unafraid to ask questions. To quote one of the most influential men in his life, John Locke, “I attribute the little I know to my not having been ashamed to ask for information, and to my rule of conversing with all descriptions of men on those topics that form their own peculiar professions and pursuits.” He’s taken this quote very personally for a long time, and made an effort to ask personal questions to everyone he meets so that, in his interrogation, he may gain knowledge about the person that may produce a better respect for the person, as well as the alteration of one or many incorrect opinions. Amanda Hixson likes to make papers. And magazines. And diaries. And journals. And blogs. And websites. She attended Baylor, MCC, and The University of Texas at Arlington. She has
roots. She is currently studying psychology at MCC and also plans to pursue degrees in music and writing. She thanks her father for sharing with her his passion for words and for finding the ability to convey the human experience through self expression and the arts. She lives with her mother, Iris, her boyfriend, Kevin, their four cats and dog. Her influences include Salvador Dali, H.R. Geiger, Edgar Allen Poe, Betty Page, and George Carlin. Lois Lee, a native of Sayre, OK, is a mother and grandmother, who lives in Oklahoma City. She studies professional writing at the University of Oklahoma, creative writing at Oscar Rose Junior College, and play writing at Central State University. She has published articles in Presbyterian Journal. Autumn Mercy Rapson was born January 31, 1994. She enjoys creating makeup face designs and exploring photography. She
Photo by Joshua Schnizer
loves hooping and hopes to one day be a part of a fire hooping community. Autumn likes traveling, singing, slam poetry, and writing. Autumn says, “Nobody understood me before I found the art community in Waco, my style is well… Autumn, nothing more nothing less. And now, the dog days are so over and I’m just living my life.” Anne McCrady has poetry and prose that appear in literary journals, magazines, anthologies, online and in her own award-winning print and audio collections, Along Greathouse Road and Under a Blameless Moon. A councilor for the Poetry Society of Texas and past editor for Diverse-city and GinBender, in addition to her writing, Anne is a frequent storyteller, inspirational speaker and workshop presenter. The founder of InSpiritry -- Putting Words to Work for a Better World, Anne is an advocate for education, peace and social justice. Anne lives in East Texas with her husband, Mike, and welcomes visitors to her website, www.InSpiritry.com. Jim McKeown has an MA in Literature from Baylor University and an MFA in creative writing
Photo by Joshua Schnizer
from National University. He teaches literature, creative writing, and composition at McLennan Community College. He lives in Waco with his wife, his son Chris, two cats, and their faithful lab, Marcy.
broken when this is attempted. She hopes to one day live abroad and spend her days writing. It seems that a language barrier is incredibly conducive to the productivity of her writing as is the absence of Modern Family and Mad Men. Lauren “Renny” Quintero is a local Wacoan, born and raised. She has never been too far away from Waco, nor has she once left the United States. Renny paints far too much in her free time, and dumps all her paintings to sell on her favorite Burger/Coffee joint, Beatnix. She also enjoys fiddling with Photoshop and dabbing in photography. She loves the Beatles and watches way too many cartoons. She often claims that random passers-by are her boyfriends/husbands.
Autumn Shelley is a native of Southwest Missouri now residing in Central Texas. For years she has been fascinated with all things paranormal and unexplained. She finds Waco and Central Texas to be a fascinating source of inspiration and material. Joshua Schnizer is originally from Brazoria, TX. He moved from the gulf coast to Waco in 1994
Amanda Rebholz has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil, and has been published with the Waco Tribune Herald, American Horrors, Bloody Disgusting, Fangirltastic.com, Pretty Scary, Morbid Curiousity, as well as worked as a photographer, music promoter, press liason, screenwriter, voice actress, and an emcee for multiple horror film festivals. Deena McKeown Richardson lives in Lorena with her husband and their two kids. She’s been shooting photos for about 10 years. A native Texan, Deena typically focuses on Texas scenes — rodeos, football games, wildflowers, windmills and beautiful sunsets. Her favorite photography subject is people, especially children. Deena prefers informal photo shoots that allow her to capture the everyday moments that make life special. Her goal is to make you feel like you were there when the photo was taken. To see more of Deena’s photography, including some of her wedding and high school senior photos, visit her website at www.deenasphotos.com. Robbi Rodrigurz debuted in 2005 with Image Comic’s Hero Camp and later when on other Image titles which include Night Club, 24seven vol.2 and Hazed. His Current work includes Stephen Colbert’s Tek Jansen and the Harveynominated series Maintenance, published by Oni Press. robbirodriguez.blogspot.com
Cindy Parker was born at James Connally AFB in Waco, TX. and has lived there all of her life. She has been married to Doug Parker for 38 years. She has 3 daughters, Aubrey, Lindsey and Shea. Her oldest grandson Cade, is Lindsey’s son and her other grandson Jonas is Aubrey’s son. Her hobbies are genealogy (family history), Civil War history, photography, reading, and spending time with the grandkids. She particularly enjoys taking pictures of landscapes and flowers and of course the grandkids!
Steven Ruud I was born the bastard son of a murderous drug fueled Hell’s Angel. My mamma tried, but between her trips to the asylum and my childhood spent following the Grateful Dead, I managed to develop what psychologists would later call a “mild personality disorder”. Oh, I forgot this is supposed to be serious. Ahem (audible sound of a throat being cleared)..”And now for something completely different!” I want to be stereotyped, I want to be classified.. I am an artist who uses photography as a way to communicate and make sense of this small part of the world. Buy a ticket and enjoy the ride!
Brittany Price is a proud Atlanta, Georgia native, but happily calls Waco her current home. She is studying Professional Writing at Baylor. Books, friends, and good conversation are three things that she is incredibly passionate about. She has yet to discover how to enjoy all three at the same time; unfortunately, too much proper etiquette is
Michael Shapcott born June 6, 1982 in Hartford, Connecticut is a Central Connecticut-based painter, known for his daring color palette and emotionally charged portraits. His work deals with highly detailed graphite underdrawings which he then paints with colorful washes in oil and acrylic paints. In addition to painting, Shapcott creates
page 57 • bohemia • november 2011
art videos that track the process of painting a painting and show his unique style of working. www.michael-shapcott.com
to be closer to family. He is currently a full-time student at TSTC-Waco, pursuing an Associate’s degree in Media Communications & Information. He is an artist in the mediums of graphite/realism and photography, as well as a published poet. He shares a home in Waco with his girlfriend and their three dogs. Heather Sincavage earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia, and her Master of Fine Arts Degree from the School of Art at University of Washington in Seattle. Throughout her career, Heather has received numerous awards, commissions, and residencies. In 2009, she was proud to accept a full fellowship awarded by Artix Creativo Espacio in Zaragoza, Spain, where a selected amount of work now resides under Artix management. Heather’s studio can be found at the esteemed Banana Factory Community Art Center in Bethlehem, PA. www.heathersincavage.com Taylor Smith is a Waco native and 2010 Baylor graduate in Graphic Design. He was raised by a scrapbooker, which is reflected in a lot of his handmade collage work. His love of vintage culture and style also plays a big role in his art. Playing in a band (Loafers), and working at Domino’s Pizza in his spare time keeps him busy and productive. As of last week he is even starting a design company (Deuxtone) with longtime friend Tanner Freeman.
Erica Speegle was born in Waco, Texas and a resident of the town for her first eighteen years.
Photo by Joshua Schnizer
In 2009 Erica moved to Ohio to spend the first year and a half of college as a theater major. Deciding that she didn’t like snow and wanted a change of pace, she made the decision to leave over Thanksgiving break. By the following semester Erica was a social work major at Baylor University, but that didn’t stick either. In the last year she’s contemplated being a teacher, a youth pastor, a journalist, a social activist, a sociologist and a french pastry chef (which she hasn’t given up on yet). Consistent throughout these changing phases has been her passion for writing. Currently she’s taking Creative Writing courses at Baylor and trying to figure out what comes next in her story, excited about the day to day adventure of being alive.
ago. Since then, she has taught herself about photographing, editing, posing etc. She gets her inspiration from dreams, music, magazines, and Flickr, a great website for photographers! www. flickr.com/photos/jolienvanonna/ Nick Vigil was born in San Antonio, TX and grew up in Lake Whitney, TX. Poetry is his love, his passion, and the only craft that makes him feel confident, alive, and content. He discovered the art of poetry at around the age of 16 when he learned about Edgar Allan Poe. Also at this time, he listened to the band Bush, and found their lyrics greatly poetic and open to interpretation. His favorite song “Swallowed” states: “In the middle of a world on a fishhook, you’re the wave, you’re the wave, you’re the wave.” It inexplicably sparked his desire to write poetry, and he hasn’t stopped since. Cyndi Wheeler is a Waco native and mother of two. She writes, paints, and does graphic design.
Bradley T. Turner is a Christian and seventhgeneration Wacoan with degrees in environmental studies, history, and political science. He works as an instructor in Environmental Science, World Geography, and American History at McLennan Community College and is the editor of Lust, Violence, Religion: Life in Historic Waco and also the author of Cotton Bales, Goatmen, and Witches: Legends from the Heart of Texas. He lives in Hewitt, Texas, with his wife, Andrea, and expects their first child in November. Charles D. “Charlie” Turner is a Christian and native Wacoan. He has been married to his wife, Brenda, and expects their first grandchild in November. Charlie lives in Hewitt and serves as the current Mayor Pro-Tem and has also served as either Mayor, a Hewitt City Councilman, or on the Board of Adjustment for almost three decades. Nicknamed the “Paparazzi Papa,” Charlie enjoys spending time playing percussion and taking pictures. Whitney Van Laningham says that as a native to Los Angeles, California, the adjustment to Waco and Texas life in general has been quite an adventure. She is a Communication Specialist major with a minor in Creative Writing at Baylor University. She loves puppies, rock n’ roll, yoga, the 1920’s, and anything covered in teriyaki sauce. Jolien Van Onna is 22 years old and lives in Holland. She started photographing about a year
page 58 • bohemia • november 2011
Her true love is photography. She has been a volunteer for Waco Center For Youth for four years. Courtney Woodliff graduated from the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor with a degree in Studio Art. Her wood block prints have been published by Cannon Ball Press in Brooklyn, NY. Aside from printmaking, she also works with mixed media, oil paint, and photography. Her subject matter includes the female form, extreme perspectives, and futuristic decay. Most of her art narrates a story created from her imagination, with fictional characters in imaginary places. Courtney’s work has been shown in New York, Virginia, Michigan, Illinois, and all throughout Texas. She is inspired by technology, history, the female form, and her cat. www.courtneywoodliff. com
page 59 â€˘ bohemia â€˘ november 2011
page 60 â€˘ bohemia â€˘ november 2011