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W/C VOL TWO


WRITERS’ COMMUNITY CHAPBOOK SERIES: VOLUME TWO Copyright © 2013 (Electronic) / © 2013 (Print) All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of the contributors. DESIGNED BY TYLER FIELDS In collaboration with Lone Empire (www.loneempire.com)

L O N E

E M P I R E

MEDIA PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION


This book is for every lover of words.


The Writers’ Community would like to thank each of the contributors for their pieces, creativity, and continued support. Thanks so much to the Writers’ Community advisor, Todd McKinney, for all of his time and patience. Thanks to the Ball State University English Department and printing presses for their services and commitment. Thanks to local Muncie venues, especially Be Here Now and Village Green Records, for always opening their doors to the writing community and other local arts. And finally, thanks to officers Elysia Smith, Ben Rogers, and Tyler Fields for their tireless work on this book, in the community, and as writers.


The Writers’ Community is a collective of writers, readers, and general lovers of words based out of Ball State University in Munice, IN. This book highlights the creative writing of several of the Community’s members.


The Dog’s Meow Kevin Brown

02

City Corner in Havana J. Scott Bugher

14

A History in Dust John Carter

18

The Lightness of Water Between Us T.D. Fields

24

Sarah

Camille Isis Germain

26

I Have Seen Grown Men Cry Camille Isis Germain

30

Hold to the Earth Like Roots Brent Holden

34

Jennifer Brent Holden

38

A Fortune Cookie Cam Kaminski

40


Little Cousin Cam Kaminski

44

A Thought Experiment Cam Kaminski

48

After Patrick Mike Knoll

52

Winter is Coming Mike Knoll

54

November Mike Knoll

56

What Rhymes With Necrophilia? Blake Mellencamp

58

“If you want to get laid, be a musician” Brent Smith

60

Something About Peace Brent Smith

62

Loop: Before Dawn Elysia Smith

64

Janga

Elysia Smith

Contributors’ Note

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W/C VOL T WO


02


Kevin Brown

We named our St. Bernard Tiger because the spots on his fur looked like stripes. That was the only reason. Even as a puppy, Tiger kept to himself and didn’t bark. “We’ve never seen anything quite like this,” the lady at the shelter had said. “Must have been abused, wherever he came from. There’s no way a dog would turn out like this naturally.” It wasn’t until we got him home that it started. Mom heard it first. Meeow. “I think Tiger’s a cat,” she said. “I know it doesn’t make any sense but... I just get this feeling.” “Don’t confuse the kids,” I remember Dad saying. “He’s a dog. Look at him.” But as time passed, we all heard it. Meeow. Meeow. There was no mistaking it. High-pitched squeaks slid from Tiger’s lips as he laid beside his food and water bowls. “He doesn’t want it,” my sister and I said, prepared to share our Spaghetti-O’s. “Well he’s gonna have to learn to like it,” Dad said. Late at night, Mom would dump Tiger’s food down the 03


garbage disposal and give him a bowl of warm milk. “Daddy doesn’t need to know,” she told me one night when I caught her in the act. “He’s always wanted a big dog.” And Tiger grew into a big dog, but never acted one. He lounged about, ears drooped, staring out the window. Sometimes, he let us pet him. Other times, he’d dash off, climb the furniture and Meeow. We went through three couches that year. Cleanliness was never an issue as Tiger was always grooming himself, but he couldn’t be housebroken. He relieved himself in the Zen garden Mom kept on the patio, and though he tried to bury his crimes, he couldn’t bury the stink. Mom never got mad at Tiger the way the rest of us did. She’d clean up the mess and then let him curl up on her lap while she read out loud to him, the short stories she wrote in college. “Won’t you at least read him some Jack London?” Dad would ask. “Teach him something.” I remember all those nights, Dad would sit him down in front of the TV to watch Old Yeller. With a hardy pat to the back of the head, he’d say, “See that, boy? That’s how a dog behaves.”

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Kevin Brown

Tiger looked him in the eye and said Meow. Those same nights, Dad was always up late by himself, drinking whiskey and listening to old country records. Willie Nelson, Chet Atkins, Hank Williams, or Patsy Cline, and Waylon Jennings every once in a while. We never understood why Tiger upset him so much. “It’s because your father’s a Catholic,” Mom explained once. “He doesn’t believe in gray areas.” The TV sessions carried on. They watched Homeward Bound, the Fox and the Hound, Cujo and Balto and My Dog Skip, All Dogs go to Heaven, 101 Dalmatians, Lady and the Tramp, Turner and Hooch, Beethoven 1, Beethoven 2, Air Bud, and every sequel there was, but Tiger wouldn’t sit through the Truth about Cats and Dogs. Finally, after Rin Tin Tin an all night Lassie binge, it happened. Wwwuuff. The bark heard round the house. Was it a miracle? Was Dad right all along? Thus cued off the dog days of summer, where he peed outside and ate from his bowl. He even howled at the moon, when it was full.

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Dad was so proud, he took Tiger down to the dog park as soon as he could. Mom had a look in her eyes that I didn’t understand at the time but I’ll never forget. We just thought she was sad that she didn’t have anyone to read her stories to anymore. But Tiger didn’t play well with the other dogs. Whenever even the smallest one approached him, he ran to the nearest tree and scratched desperately, whining and whimpering. He wanted to climb but was far too big. He got looks from the other owners, and even the other dogs. My sisters and I laughed but Dad didn’t even smile. He’d throw a tennis ball, shouting “go get it, boy!” Tiger sauntered in the general direction but when an old German Shepard intercepted the throw, our little St. Bernard just let it be. The other dog was well-behaved, trained by a retired army lieutenant. He brought the ball back and sat while we pet his camouflaged fur. Dad just stared at Tiger and Tiger stared back, as if to say, “You got your ball, one way or another. Isn’t that what you wanted?” Three times a week for two years, Dad brought Tiger to the park, but it was never any different. He brooded through the winter, prowled after butterflies in the spring, napped through the summer, and clung to Dad’s side come fall. 06


Kevin Brown

* “Don’t you want to run and play like the other dogs?” Dad asked Tiger and Tiger tilted his head. Our dog wasn’t happy, anyone could see that. We just didn’t know where to begin. Whenever we tried to play, he’d just glance our way and say Wwwuuuff. Mom found an animal psychologist on the west side of town, but at first mention, Dad snapped. “He doesn’t need a shrink. He’s a big dog. He just needs a bigger yard.” But we couldn’t afford to move, so we convinced Mom to let Tiger roam free. He’d wander all day and find his way home, until one August night, we stayed up waiting. Days went by and Tiger never showed. “Fuck you,” Mom’s voice came from behind their locked bedroom door. “This is your fault! He ran away from you!” Willie Nelson played a lot while Tiger was gone, just the same old songs every night. Then we got a call from Mrs. Draper, the old cat lady from down the street.

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“Keep your monster away from my babies or I’ll call animal control,” she threatened. Her voice always sounded like she was gargling water, but Dad always told us not to mention it. We went over to Mrs. Draper’s house and sure enough, found Tiger crouched beside the old lady’s back porch. He growled and barked into the darkness beneath the boards. Rrrrrrrrwwwuuuff Wwwuuff. Speckled tiny eyes shone from the shadow under the porch, and from them came a choir of squeaks. Mew Mew Mew and one loud Hisssss. Tiger tried to dig his way to the terrified creatures, but Dad and I grabbed him and dragged him all the way home, whining and howling the whole way. We took him to the pet shrink and the pet shrink said, “Cats are social creatures. He’s looking for a friend.” We never took him to that pet shrink again. My sister and I were starting school, Mom and Dad were sleeping in different rooms, and Tiger hardly moved from his spot beneath the window. He didn’t bark, didn’t howl, didn’t eat or meow. On his side, he watched the sun as the clouds and seasons passed it by. He watched the wind wave through the trees, 08


Kevin Brown

and breeze painted leaves down the empty street. A few years later, Aunt Mia and her friend, Becky, drove up from LA to help Mom move out. We introduced them to Tiger and they loved him right away. Mia brushed his fluff and Becky kissed his snout. “You know what?” Aunt Mia said to Mom. “You should bring him down for a visit. He’d have a blast with the cats.” “I don’t know,” Mom said. “That hasn’t worked out so well in the past.” “Well you don’t know Lillium,” Becky chimed in. “She’s a wild thing. She’ll play with cats and dogs, especially big dogs like Tiger, here.” When Dad came home, we told him the plan. He looked up at Mom “So this is your plan to make him normal?” he sneered with a sarcasm we’d all gotten used to. “Send him to live with the dikes?” Mom didn’t say anything back. She wasn’t asking his permission. We all spent that summer with Mom and Mia and Becky in Topanga Canyon. The day that Tiger met Lillium, there were fireworks. The pair explored the canyon all day and didn’t wander back 09


until after dark. My sister and I like to watch them sleep, Lillium curled up inside Tiger’s legs. “Do you think they’re in love?” my sister asked me. I didn’t know if it was really possible for dogs and cats to be in love, but I told her yes anyway. In their second day together, Lillium seemed irritated to share her milk and cat food, and resentful of the way Tiger prowled around the house with her and the other cats. We really noticed something was off when it came time for sleep and instead of curling up with Tiger, she went into the backyard and climbed up into a sycamore tree. Aunt Mia gave Becky that look; the same look mom has when Dad took Tiger out to the park. I knew then that Lillium wasn’t coming down, at least not for Tiger. She eventually came down and found a pit bull down the street. She’d chase him as he fetched sticks, circle him as he gnawed them apart, frolic away when he got rambunctious, and revel in how he put the other cats on edge. After a long day, she’d climb back into her tree. For the rest of the summer, Lillium and that pit bull were inseparable.

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Kevin Brown

When autumn came, Mom stayed in the canyon, but Tiger went back to live with dad. One winter night has always stood out in my mind. After midnight, Willie was singing about slow dancing, a little louder than usual. I crept downstairs, into the dark, where I found my dad, strung out in his easy chair with a glass of whiskey in his hand. Tiger sat beside him, lapping at a bowl of milk. Dad scratched Tiger behind his ears. He had some kinda love in his eyes. “You stupid dog,” he muttered under a sigh. “You can’t let em get under your skin like that. It ain’t about cats or dogs, it’s just women.” They drank. “Women...” We didn’t see Tiger too often from those days on. Every other weekend we’d drive up to stay with Dad, and those old boys were usually in the same place, drinking to fill their broken hearts and howling along to old country songs. * Time only made Tiger lay around more. We all saw the signs. The pet shrink and the veterinarian agreed. Friends and family tried to sugar-coat it best they could, “That dog’s long overdue to be put out of his misery.” “There’s nothing wrong with Tiger,” Dad slurred back. “It’s society that’s fucked up. Everything’s shoved into a cate11


gory these days. God damn liberals gotta regulate everything until they’ve taken all our freedom.” He’d trained Tiger to growl at the word “liberal”, but in the those days, it was more of a disgruntled wheeze. I don’t think Tiger ever wanted whiskers or sharp almond eyes. He was a St. Bernard, and he seemed fond of his droopy cheeks, proud of the way he rattled the whole house when he lumbered down the stairs. He knew who he was, probably better than anyone I’ve ever known. We were with Mom when Tiger finally went in to the vet’s office, but to this day, Dad can’t tell the story without breaking down. He tells it like Tiger found some kind of peace in that veterinarian’s office. Before they put him to rest, they gave Dad a minute. He held Tiger’s big old paw and scratched behind his ears like any other day. “Gotta hand it to you, boy,” he said. “You really turned me into a cat person.” Dad says the vets were put off by his goodbye, but Tiger understood just fine. He looked back at Dad, right in the eyes and said Meeow.

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/

Kevin Brown


14


J. Scott Bugher

It’s early evening. The sky over a suburb in Havana is a newborn’s eye dulled by ash. Perhaps it was a summer day at noon as de Kooning saw it. The melancholy mustard seed earth with diagonal strokes of mud should flex my body, but all I see are tears. I see tears at the horizon, where the sky overlaps the earth, a union the color of sewage. Sometimes all it takes to mourn— a crooked look at nature. There is no sky over the city corner because there is no need. Nobody looks up when clocks hang and lights protect the sidewalks. The little sky that breaks through— it’s white, the city’s wedding day. Is it a parody when viewing cities in color while they’re made of concrete?

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City Corner in Havana

Are we to believe city-dwellers are full of joy or full of hurt? We are sinking. The vertical strokes of mud are like amusement park slides. It’s a pleasure to fall sometimes.

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/

J. Scott Bugher


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John Carter

The broom bristles whisper, rustle across the smooth barn boards. Creaking and sighing, the boards bend and shift beneath my feet. Together, the broom and I move slowly, waltzing from one end of the barn to the other, kicking up dust, stirring the chaff in our wake. Yellowed sunlight shines through cracks in the siding, catching the dusty swirls and spirals, illuminating them as they drift from the broom’s shifting ballet. Above my head, barn swallows dart and dash through the old rafters, their short chirps burst back and forth as they rush through warm sunbeams. From the wide barn door a breeze blows in, making the motes dance with sudden activity. The wind carries the smells of summer—sticky-fallen pears, fresh-cut grass, new-turned soil, perfumed-blooming blossoms, and the clean smell of warm air on a June day. Shish-Shwish Shish-Shwish The dust and hay chaff flies away as the broom swishes it to the side, revealing a past, a history beneath my boots. The grain of wood bends in long crescents, turning, arcing like a thumbprint stamped on each board. Knots and whorls in the timber stand out, marking once-upon-atime branches. As more of the dust is swept to the side, more of these marks—these signs of identity—emerge. The barn has been in our family since it was first built more than a hundred years ago. The boards that I’m sweeping are old, worn down, smoothed over, and beat up from a past tied to our past. When I sweep them, I see small dings, pieces of wood missing, heads of nails pol19


ished silver, new wood patching holes—all signs of my family. Each injury to the boards was created by our influence, and, because of this connection, we have made them all unique. Without us, they would simply be dull, lifeless wood without a story, but our interactions have given them life. Each chipped edge, dented surface, and replaced nail adds to their history, and ties inextricably into our own. Shish-Shwish Shish-Shwish The hay chaff tumbles and twists away from the broom’s back draft. The bits of hay and fragments of straw fall from the broom and I, piling beside the wall of the barn like a mottled snowdrift. Each broken twig and torn strand of grass connects my family to our land. Like twisting roots, the chaff ties us to our ground. The chaff is made up of hay and straw from all different years, some good and some bad. There are green pieces from the years that were just right, and darker pieces from the years that were either too dry or too wet. Each field has a connection to the chaff, pieces of tough chicory—dried blue flowers still attached—from the Hay Field, small yellow-flowered trefoil from the Pasture-onthe-West-Side-of-the-Road, and deep, green clover from the AI Lot. Each piece of chaff has a connection to a piece of our land, and they are all here in this barn together—all of our land is here on this floor. Shish-Shwish Shish-Shwish


The Hay Field was the first field that I baled hay in, the first field I realized just how much work went into the tightly bound bales. I remember the scratches and cuts on my forearms from the dried grass and weeds, the ache in my fingers from the stiff wires, and the exhausted heaviness of my body after stacking the wagons with bales. I remember being a child, standing in the Pasture-onthe-West-Side-of-the-Road watching my mother ride her horse around and around in the makeshift arena of mowed grass. The thistles spotting the pasture around me felt tall, like green skyscrapers topped with round violet flowers and drooping, needled leaves. The AI Lot was the first place I saw sheep. I remember being afraid of the old ewes in the small barn that sits in its corner. They were loud, and at the time, felt gigantic. On the far side of the pasture sits the interstate, and I’ll always remember the first time I stood there and realized how much I hated the constant static noise of the semi-trucks and commuting cars. Shish-Shwish Shish-Shwish The dust swirls, tumbles around me as I sweep. Each particle of dirt, each dancing mote, came from somewhere. They are fragmented, individual, and yet, they are not wholly different from one another. Each holds a similar appearance, drifting with familiar randomness, and glowing in the sunlight with the same standard brightness.


I look to the side, hanging on the wall are old halters, old tools, old brushes, old ropes, and old hay. I can feel the roughness of the broom handle in my hands, the swaying rhythm of sweeping moving me forward. The dust could have come from anywhere or everywhere in this barn, decaying wood, decaying tools, decaying hay—a decaying way of life. It is in this dust and chaff I sweep off the floor, that I can see my history. As morbid of a thought as it is, my family is here too. Within the smallness of these specks, there’s an infinity of possibilities. In the innumerable bits of dust and particles, there could be bits of my family, remnant cells from my great-grandfather, or great-great-grandfather. Around me could be swirling Urba Carter, or even W.E., anything is possible. With each pass of the broom, I throw the dust into the air, dust made from the farm, the tools, the people who’ve farmed it—all trapped in time. With each shushing brush of the broom, more of my history is thrown before me, swirls around me, spirals close to me, and dances in the sunlight.


/


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A midnight storm. The water understands where it comes from and as the distance grows cold, it solidifies into the great descent, into the rolling world where the heat is nestled into the friction between our hands. Each rolling wave, where the rain collects and becomes its own mother, is capped with the glowing reflection of the moon. The countless points of light are a convex reflection of the sky and my eyes grow wide in the dark indistinguishability of where the sky never ends; where the world never begins. The water collects in the palms of our clenched hands and is warm and grows and is berthed between the small places in our fingers where we can’t hold tight enough. There’s no going back now. We are so drenched in the black water, born of the shimmering body beneath us. Predictably, the morning. The sun cuts through the sky to ignite a new day and I am all of a sudden aware of the humming, ancient machine under our bodies. It twists into the burning heart above us and the heat is quick. Sweat pools into the palms of our pulsing hands. We let go. Around us, the water exhales enormous clouds of gray moisture and the water of our bodies lifts into the expanding heat and kisses the cracks in our skin. Beneath our feet, the earth rolls us into the beaming of the sun and it is so bright, we close our eyes and listen to the rise and fall surrounding us.

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Remember that time I stopped my car in the middle of a back road without a word, to pet a donkey? It was then you learned I am unpredictable. Like the time I choked you until you passed out? I guess you shouldn’t have punched me in the face. I drove off, leaving you on the ground. I learned then that I shouldn’t have to hurt the ones I love. Do you remember that time you and Mike got into a fist fight? I tried to break it up, but he threw me to the wall where the corner was sharp against my head, I tumbled down like useless confetti. He stomped on your chest with steel-toed boots and yanked out clumps of your hair. Do you have any memory of that day I huffed too much air duster and passed out at the steering wheel? I woke up sideways 27


Sarah

with you dangling above me, I crawled out over you and then back in to remove my keys from the ignition, my shoes gone, ground littered in glass. Remember how that pole missed our heads by two inches? How about that time I thought I was dying from taking too much ecstasy? You got tired of giving me head, so you had Matt switch you places and I had no idea. Hey, remember when you tried to slit your wrists? I pinned you down and cleaned you up, and bandaged your cuts, but this enraged you. You punched me in the face so I cried on the phone to Blake who told me to knock you out. So I got on top of you again and punched you right back. You weren’t very happy when you woke up, and aimed for my left eye. After you went home, I cried for hours, scrubbing your blood from my floor and walls. 28


And do you realize that to this day, I have yet to fall in love again?

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30


In the early hours of no sleep, where dawn is arguing with the night as I am in my mind with running away but instead my arms wrap your head to my chest, I let you cry as though I am your mother, you, who are eleven years my senior fucked me, on acid and covered my face as you got off. In the room that smells of sickness I watch my father cover his face as I walk to him still alive at fifteen. The pills were rough sliding down my throat, one by one until I hit sixty. But they were not as rough as his fingers around my neck. And all I want is to die. I did not think it would hurt this much to see a grown man cry. In my living room, we get drunk on whiskey some boy I dated left behind. Before he ended the ordeal he made me feel safe. I wanted to die. You came to me instead of him, 31


now I sit here and watch you tell me a story about your friend who was murdered. Is this what happens after the army? Do you find comfort of a woman, nine years younger? Unlike these men, the boys do not cry. They instead tell me how I am different than most women, they like that. I have a brain, I am different. Not boring. I am different. They like that. Unlike these men, the boys run away whenever I want to die.

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34


Brent Holden

I thought about that first concert we went to, the one called on account of weather. We didn’t leave. There were hundreds of us sitting through that storm. Lightning arced between black smoke clouds and the rain fell like gravel. We took off our shirts and slid down the hill on our bellies. Hid from the wind under wet blankets. Smiled and kissed and held each other’s hands until the thunder stopped rolling. Then the guy came out, played a few songs for those of us that stuck around. Yelled with us. We slopped back the mile and a half to the car, stuffed everything into the trunk of her old Camry.

35


Went back home where we folded into bed. We ruined that hill. Left nothing but mud and Budweiser bottles. Footprints five or six inches deep. But that grass grew back just fine, I bet. Thick and full as it ever was.

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/

Brent Holden


38


Brent Holden

“I love this time of day,” the street lamps, warm against the sky, cooling to black. “It’s just beautiful,” and it was, like steady flames on oil. I thought we had shared something in that stairwell. Something more than paper cup earl grey and fingers stained with pizza grease. We headed back off with walk and talk stargazing, a rarity for the eyes of Muncie.

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40


“Glory can be reached by many different roads� I have not experienced glory, Like those Roman gladiators Or my own Greek ancestors Lucky enough to have tendons Named after them. I have not found Glory In the conquests of liquor And women, Or the advent of epitaphs Pleading to appeal to the reader. Glory then, To my wriggling machine of rationalization Held together only by crossed fingers Candy bars and latex. Glory to all the cats In a whiskered apocalypse Of getting curious And running out of the bag. Glory to the Higgs Boson, And the realization that The closer we look The more we can quantify Exactly how much of nothing Is inside of something. 41


A Fortune Cookie

Glory then to the fake orgasms, And the air-conditioned sighs of Was it good for you too? Glory to the Greeks, Who honed their gods in their own image And allowed the notion of Dionysus and Aphrodite. Glory to Zeus Who simply became the animal, When he felt like being an animal. The swan or the bull. The maiden by the shore. Glory can be reached by many different roads, For while Rome Fell long ago, A road is just as willing To lead you lost Than it is to lead you home.

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44


What do I tell you, little cousin. Of college, Of being old, as you say. Of you who only in a few years, Will spend penance Snuggled in PG-13 movies Necking your sweetheart puppy love. And I imagine after, You’ll drive her around A hometown soon to be lost For a college town, Until the tiny reunions In clubs and bars years later, In everyone’s sexy sweaty gyrating attempt To be somebody brand new. What do I say of the night life? The stroll home on cobble concrete Smoking to walk straight. Or perhaps you’d like to hear About the women you’ll see Racy in the strobe lights, screaming Teach me how to dougie With their shoelaces untied, bra straps unslung, Hell we just survived the apocalypse, Here’s to now.

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You may find yourself At my age, sloshing your hips With a woman you love, Until the tempo shifts The tremble and bang Thumping of speakers, genitals So loud you’ll have to yell in her ear When you’re getting dizzy. I know now little cousin, That girls are gross. But in time you’ll see. You’ll want to kiss them On their lips And you’ll run and run On the skin on skin Biting nipples And looking up at them With our family’s blue eyes. So go on little cousin Maybe in your years You won’t need to pretend To be comfortable in a king-sized bed When she reaches for you. Maybe if you study hard enough, You won’t have to slap yourself To stay awake at a bar, Or ever hear Sorry, you can’t buy beer on Sundays. 46


But more importantly, little cousin Please, before you grow up Never stop driving that car On Christmas holiday, Around the kitchen and between our feet Never forget the gift of playing pretend. For on your knees, driving in a figure 8 You’re closer than you’ve ever been To answering your own question.

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48


A false measurement, In bed Kissing your shoulder The morning after. A thought experiment, In the 1940’s men invented The screwdriver By using one To stir their vodka into orange juice. But I am not my grandfather. And we’re no Supposed primordial nuclides, Expected to slam into each other Strike sparks and Explode into something As equally tragic as it is beautiful. An epiphany Or what ever you might call it We paint the rain on our faces in tragedy The universe is for us Injecting war paint. Let’s ignore the implication of being unhappy. A superposition, The universe is for us Stuffing ourselves through The hips of our mothers. 49


A Thought Experiment

A confession, I cannot make the bed since you left I consider cave paintings For inspiration on how to act. A thought experiment, You forgot your shoes And I’ve been standing in them since. A connotation, Tossed on a telephone wire Signifies ecstacy. Signifies A woman of the night I am afraid of that definition. A miasma, We mash posies into our masks To ward off what we don’t understand.

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/


52


Our youth no longer promised immortality. The reckless abandon we once adhered to had gone. We were thrust squalling into the harsh winds, our faces scored by howling sorrow. The freest spirit cut down. He had left the cave and showed us the shadow farce by never returning.

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54


As the earth tilts away from the sun streets empty of the living. My companions are the dead, crackling under foot like forgotten fires dying in the moonlight. The chill catches my breath like Pan’s shadow, snarled in the nanny dog’s teeth, before locked in a drawer in a child’s nursery. Why should I wear a coat when the cold is coming from inside of me?

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56


Time runs against me like a blade against the grain of a wooden rocking horse. an eternal chase on my birch black stallion. I am thankful because the ache means I am alive Three-day shadow lingers on me like the scent of rum and whiskey. The mighty Kraken sits empty, beached and capped with a ready made gravestone. I am thankful because Whispered vows of Freedom Forever echo into the night with the ashes of parliament and America’s understanding of what day they are actually celebrating I am thankful

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58


The couple kissing in the cemetery know the way to go about it. Their mothers always told them that in the company of crosses was the best place to find good love. We laugh on top of gravestones, pretense on our brow, dried out soil on our feet. We’ve been digging graves now and robbing coffins underneath. At the time of the eulogy scholars of the holy bibliography praised in vain to warm the still body of a vanished art of euphony in a higher place, or buried in a box. If you might be so kind to point a boy born in the soy to the nearest bibliotheque? However, it is all a waste. The greats have put away their pens and the couple kissing in the cemetery have drawn their spades.

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60


Brent Smith

I wrote this poem so you’d fall in love with me Catch a minor glimpse of the way I see the world But my eyes were rotted meat in the mouths of stray dog couplets Ugly and bombed out brownish reclusive mirrors plunged from leaking mid Aprils Only scared you away at how I perceive beauty to be something so surreal and distant and fake

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62


Brent Smith

He threatens to float to heaven. Okay, okay. Just do it. It’s not easy for me At 23 I’m still just a boy watching his dad wither with atrophy. Wondering if I could ever be half the man despite it all. Dementia sets He speaks of God and his no doubt, gigantic dick. Continents wide he says. His semen could fill canyons the great book says Dad always believed in something more. As the worms crowded in preparation to eat his spotted black flesh

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64


You stand under the black currants under the dark blood clots cracking berries between your thumb and forefinger, watching. When I climb free of my own circular tongue, the parts are still slick and I am new-born. You crush berries under my eyes. Under your eyes. But, we do not expect to see any better than before. We have not been any wiser for the trees, the sun rising every day, lifting its brow above the clouds heavy with rain.

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66


because I am the compact disc in your microwave hands, America. Your radioactive walls are built of sex negative rhetoric reflecting static hum of secret orgasms. Stop telling me I can only have two eyes when my hands work just the same. Stop lifting my skirt in public with your beer and bicycle. You make me feel like wearing sunglasses in the dark. How much is a good time like a tree falling in the silent woods? Why do I cover my breasts in newspaper? I will tell you the bad things I have done, in exchange for your friendship. Janga because I made the sack cloth myself and I forgot to wear it.

67


Kevin Brown hails from the Lilac Village just outside the city of Chicago. He later moved to Indianapolis to study at Nativity Catholic School, where he learned everything from proper penmanship to the evils of premarital sex. At the age of 18, Kevin Brown met the devil at a crossroads. She installed Celtx on his macbook and taught him how to love. The rest is history. J. Scott Bugher is a writer, session musician and painter living in Indianapolis. His is the 2013 recipient of the Barry Wright Memorial Scholarship for Poetry and has been published in Literary Orphans, LitBomb, and elsewhere. When he’s not indulging in his own art, he is editing his online literary journal Split Lip Magazine. For more, visit www.jscottbugher.com or www.splitlipmagazine.com. John Carter, an aspiring connoisseur of awkward moments, alcoholic cider, and serif typefaces, is a writer of what he knows: family, farming, and Place. He is co-editor and designer of a small literary magazine, Embodied Effigies, and loves reading brutally honest nonfiction. He is serious about many things in life, two of which are whistling and free ballpoint pens. Tyler Fields hates the idea of definitives. Or does he? Camille Germain I usually talk about cats in these. - Contributor’s Note Brent Holden did not contribute a contributor’s note.


Cam Kaminski is an avid fan of Modest Mouse, cold beer, and Nuclear physics. He currently spends his time as a “student” at Ball State University, where he specializes in barely-coherent lyrical prose, feministic screenplays about sex robots, and learning how to talk about environmental concerns in Spanish, as per his Creative Writing Major’s requirement. He plans on sneaking into grad school to get his MFA (or whatever they call it) and repay the karmic debt his previous English professors paid to him. If that goes top-side, then he plans on finding a nice old rich woman to marry, upon which he will live off of the inheritance when she passes. That, or live on a boat, despite his fear of whales. Live dangerous. Mike Knoll is a writer of fiction, poetry, and screen. He currently resides in Muncie, IN. Blake Mellencamp loves cats. If you have a cat that you don’t want, go ahead and send it his way. Elysia Smith listens to trance music, eats smoked salmon, and has too many cats. She doesn’t know what that makes her, but is fairly certain you’ll come up with something. Brent Smith is is Brent is is Brent Smith is is Brent is Brent Smith admittedly Brent is roast beef.


Kevin Brown J. Scott Bugher John Carter T.D. Fields Camille Isis Germain Brent Holden Cam Kaminski Mike Knoll Blake Mellencamp Brent Smith Elysia Smith

Writers' Community Chapbook Series: Volume Two  

This is volume two in the Ball State University Writers' Community chapbook series. This book highlights several pieces by members of the Co...

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