FLARE the flagler review
FLARE the flagler review
Volume 25 Issue 2
ÂŠ 2015, FLARE: The Flagler Review, a publication of Flagler College. Visit www.theflaglerreview.com for subscription information and submission guidelines.
Volume 25, Issue 2 Spring 2015
Staff Editor Laura Henning
Senior Managing Editors Ari Corsetti Michael MacDonald
Assistant Managing Editors Dana Pederson Rose Rossi
Fiction Editors William Evan Davies Jean Hernandez Daniel McMillian Arialexya Pijuan
Poetry Editors Caitlyn McCrea Terell Robinson Sierra Shahan Libby Svenson
Art Directors Michelle Henning Matthew Quann
Marketing Manager Lynnsay Baxter
Social Media/Web Editors Hannah Porter Briana Ramirez
Non-Fiction Editors Caroline Havens Kevin Ip Kalel Leonard
Advisor Brian Thompson
Ever since FLARE became student-produced in Spring 2012, our covers have featured an individual figure–from the mythical Artemis the Huntress (Spring 2012) to a “Shadow Person” (Fall 2013) rendered gesturally in charcoal–a motif which continues with this issue’s cover. The moment I saw our cover piece, however, I was not thinking about our running theme of “the individual.” Instead, I was struck by how gorgeous this girl was and how, in some nebulous way, I could relate to the complicated emotion behind her gaze. She is not making direct eye contact with us, and yet she imparts such feeling; she is looking beyond herself toward greater things. This semester my gaze, too, has turned outward, widening to fit ever-expanding horizons. I have experienced so many conflicting emotions during my last semester as editor, including, but not limited to: sadness, relief, frustration, and profound nostalgia for the smallest things. Perhaps this is why I relate so deeply to the girl on our cover. There is a complexity to her that cannot be uncovered by a quick glance, or even a closer second look. Her expression is one that is timeless, and consequently takes an eternity to unpack. If I have learned anything from my final full semester at Flagler, it is that we do not spend enough time in our daily lives just thinking, just looking, just being. We’re always onto the next thing, rushing here and there, scrambling to meet deadlines and make meetings. We need to find “the area of pause,” as Charles Bukowski mentions in his poem by the same name, before we “become unalive / because [we] are unable to / pause / undo [ourselves] / unthink / unsee / unlearn / roll clear.” I hope this issue of FLARE encourages you to find that quiet space within. Our world is a crazy one, but luckily for us, literature and art have the ability to calm the blur.
NON-FICTION Stu Pierce Five Years 7 Will George The Diary of a Garden Thief 10 Nick LaRocca Shaving the Dog 22 Dawn Cunningham Whopperjawed 27
POETRY George Bishop Roads 37 Liz Dolan A Rising Rugby Star 38 Dies in a Slurry Pit My In-laws Perfect 40 the Sweet Science Planting Season 41 Deborah Gang eBay Has Apologized for 46 Sale of Holocaust Objects Joe Kraus Three Stories about My Body 47 Richard King Perkins II Evil Sun in Black Boots 48 Gary Pierluigi Brown Skinned Girl 49 Travis Truax Kansas, 1959 50 Charles Rafferty Backyard Wolves 52
FICTION Charles Calia Corn Maze 54
ART Catherine Pinyot Light Blue Cover Katie Evans Perpendicular 6 Dr. Ernest Williamson III The Spring of Summerâ€™s Flair 36 Catherine Pinyot Tangerine 43 Memory II 44 Tobias Oggenfuss Curved Circus 53
Perpendicular Katie Evans 22” X 30” - Pencil on Paper
My cat died back in 2005. We had him for 20 years. He had been a constant companion in my life and we had been through a lot together. He’d seen me through the good times and the not so good times. When he died 8 years ago it hit me unexpectedly hard. So, I did what any normal, grieving person would do in a similar situation. I froze him. Well, I’m not sure everyone would do that, but that’s the route I took. I froze him, but before I did I put him in an air tight vacuum sealed bag—actually five of them. I’d put him in a bag and seal it and then repeat the process. And inside each consecutive bag I put those little packets designed to absorb moisture—the kind you find in bags of food. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Anything that would keep moisture out was considered to be a good thing. I couldn’t find a place to buy those moisture packets wholesale, so I decided the most cost effective way to obtain them was from bags of beef jerky. I considered many other options as I walked up and down the food aisles at Wal-Mart, but after I did a cost benefit analysis, beef jerky seemed like the most economical option. I must’ve bought $60-70 of beef jerky just to get what I thought was enough moisture packets. After all these vacuum sealed bags were tightly layered on top of my recently departed loved one it quickly became clear to me that there was a couple of clear cut problems with this whole situation. None of which were the very obvious psychological issues inherent in my behavior. One of the problems I saw was that if I did put my cat in the freezer as it was then if (on the rare occasion) I had guests over I had to either keep them out of my freezer (which could give rise to any number of awkward moments) or I would live in constant fear of them helping themselves to some ice. I couldn’t have that either. No. Some added measure had to be taken to prevent it from being so clearly visible should any prying eyes find their way into my freezer. Solution—a plastic box I had seen at Wal-Mart. It was blue and not at all see through. It also seemed like the perfect size to house my longterm companion, but not too big either. So, I transferred my friend yet again (only taking him out of the freezer in brief spurts). I got him into his box (his “casket” if you will).
I considered sealing the box in an air tight bag as well, but its sheer size precluded it. Enter another solution: two rolls of Saran Wrap. I wrapped and wrapped and wrapped. After it was all said and done it probably added two inches to the container’s actual size. After doing all this—going to such great lengths—it became clear that this thing would never fit into the modest freezer I had gotten through campus housing. So, I did the only thing I could think of late on a Tuesday night—I bought a deep freeze. It seemed only logical. Well, a mini deep freeze, but still. I drove to Wal-Mart at 2 in the morning and spent hundreds of dollars “honoring” the memory of a cat who was, by all accounts, senile for the last six years of his life. Getting it out to my car was difficult, but actually getting it in the trunk of my 1992 Ford Tempo proved to be impossible. It just wouldn’t fit. It was simple physics. It was weird too because I thought my measurements were spot on. I did get an A in high school geometry, you know. So, here I am, standing in the Wal-Mart parking lot at an ungodly hour with a deep freeze that I just dropped a sizable chunk of money on that I couldn’t fit into my trunk and on top of that I had a frozen cat at home depending on me. This, ladies and gentleman, is a crazy man’s dilemma. Then this random guy passed by in the parking lot and took pity on me. He got a rope out of the bed of his truck and helped me get it wedged as far as it would go into the trunk of my car and then fastened it down with the rope. The whole time it felt like we were doing something illegal. It had all the makings of a Sopranos episode. We both agreed that if I went slow and avoided major potholes that I should probably be fine. So, I drove home exhausted and proceeded to take this behemoth into my apartment. And as I caught a glimpse of my own reflection in a moon lit puddle of water, I couldn’t help but be reminded of some deranged sociopath I had learned about on a news program. Names like Dahmer...Gacy...Bundy...all flashed through my mind. Was I headed down that same path? I eventually lugged my freezer into my apartment and got it all unpacked and running. I justified the purchase to my friends as an impulse buy, nothing more. I just had to have it I told them. They never questioned it. It seemed believable to them. They would come into my apartment from time to time—little did they know what was just a few feet away. I found myself forgetting about it as well. It just became ordinary to me.
I kept my friend frozen in there for 5 years. Perfectly preserved and pristine. The way everything we love should be. But that isn’t always the case—not in the real world. Love is a vulnerable and tenuous thing. I now see the insanity of my behavior, but love can make us do crazy things. It can sometimes even make us act irrationally...and that’s OK. Everyone is entitled to a little irrational behavior when it comes to the things we love—I just happen to draw the line at freezing your cat.
The Diary of a Garden Thief Will George May 22 As I pulled a rusty pipe up from the ground, a voice like sandpaper barked over the waist-high fence. “What are you doing over there?” I looked up and noticed a guy watering down a parking lot behind a small apartment complex. “I am going to grow a garden.” The guy lit up with a smile. “That’s great!” Dressed in work clothes and a blue ball cap that read “Faith Factor—Jesus,” my backyard neighbor, Charlie, introduced himself. He told me the backyard had been a mess for years and the neighborhood was worse. He pointed to the road above us. “Years ago they had a meth lab over there, beyond that green house —they condemned the property, but the owner didn’t want to lose it, so they cleaned it up. And that house over there—used to be full of hookers. Bond Street had a really bad reputation, but it’s much better now. Sometimes I trim the weeds up and down 2nd Street and Bond just to make it look better. Do you have any tools?” “Not really.” “Do you need a weed whacker?” “Sure.” Charlie walked towards the fence. “Great. I’ll lend you mine. What are you going to grow?” “Oh,” I scratched under my hat and said, “Peppers, lettuce, maybe carrots.” “That’s super. You can grow anything you want. It’s going to be a hot summer, a real hot one. I am going to grow some tomatoes as big as baseballs. I am going to have corn, pumpkins, strawberries. It’s going to be a great summer. Now what time you coming over tomorrow for that weed eater?” I paused. It was my day off and I always slept in on my day off. “10:30 ish.” “Super. I’ll put in some new string, put in some gas and oil and you’ll be all set to go. Then we can get you a rototiller from Hauers. You can rent one for a day. You got a truck?”
“No.” “I’ll give you a lift.” “Thanks Charlie, I really appreciate all your help.” “This one is on Jesus, my friend. It’s all on Jesus.” I roll my eyes and wonder if I’ll have a successful garden this summer, something that has always eluded me. June 1 I walked out to the garden and heard Charlie yell from his window. “Hey Will, I’m calling your house right now buddy. Are you ready?” “I am ready to till Charlie.” Charlie cackled a laugh. “Great, I’ll be right out.” I’ve lived in Astoria, Oregon, for a year now and Charlie was the first neighbor I’ve met beyond the apartment complex. Charlie grabbed the truck from the local mission on Bond Street because his truck broke down. He volunteered there as a chaplain with the homeless and people looking for better opportunities than drugs or bad relationships. We drove over to Hauers, a lawn mower repair shop and picked up the rototiller. Last week I whacked the heck out of the weeds, lots of common horsetail and lots of bind weed, white flowered plants. I’ve never rototilled a day in my life so Charlie showed me how to turn it on in the parking lot. I gave him my camera and he took three shots of me playing farmer Bob decked out in my blue flannel shirt, leather garden gloves with a fishing hat. He took off to do some errands and left me to plow my field of dreams. The rototiller occasionally got caught up in the soil—pure, thick, clay. Huge clumps of it. Charlie saw it otherwise, “It’s good soil, it’ll grow anything.” I think this backyard used to be a dump from the previous landowner. Like some horror movie, every time it rained, new things erupted from the soil, broken glass, pieces of blue ceramic wear, a sandal, a glass shampoo bottle. I finished early and, since Charlie was busy, I walked the rototiller down Marine Avenue back to Hauers by the Astoria Bridge. A rototiller in the off position does not roll the best on cement sidewalk. When I got there Charlie pulled in behind me with his truck and yelled. “Everything go alright?” “Great, I got it all done, although I forgot to put some gas in it.” “Oh, I’ll get that. I’ll bring some gas by later today. You don’t have to worry about that. I’ll take care of it.” Charlie, the life saver.
June 12 I got some starter plants from my boss at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park where I work as a park ranger. She gave me a dozen lettuce plugs, a zucchini plant, some mint (my favorite), sage, a tomato plant, and a great smelling herb called lemon vervain. She told me zucchini needs lots of space. Another boss gave me a packet of carrot seeds. I also picked up some marigolds, some more zucchini plants and more mint at a local Farm and Garden store along with a couple bags of organic soil. With potted plants all over the garden, I sat on the ground and read the seed packet directions. The smell of soil and plants filled the air. As I dug small holes, Charlie yelled across the parking lot, “What are you planting now Will?” “More carrots.” “That’s great.” Charlie strolled over in a pair of jeans that looked like a car with white paint on its tires rolled over them. “I’ve got something for ya.” He went back to his house and grabbed a small sprinkler and handed it over the fence. He said, “Now you are going to want to water this garden every day for about a half-hour, loosen up the soil and let that organic soil work its way down. You’re building it up from top down. Just keep watering it.” A gray cat walked by with white feet and I asked Charlie where it came from. “Oh he came with the house. Three girls did a midnight run and moved out in ‘97 and left three cats. This one adopted me. His name is Socks.” Charlie has taken on lots of stray cats in his time. June 14 Charlie asked me to help him move a jack from across town. We jumped into Bob’s truck, Charlie’s downstairs neighbor. Bob is 81, a retired sailor. Someone smashed Bob’s truck during the ice storm of 2008 and Charlie was getting the jack so he could put on a new door. The old truck handled well as Charlie accelerated through the curves near the town dump. This area reminded Charlie of his home state, Montana, where his father used to be a miner. “Will, anywhere there was a hole we’d live. We’d stay there for a while and then move on. We always had a garden though, wherever we were, we had a beautiful garden. My mom used to throw everything into that garden, egg shells, potato peels, everything. No chemicals, just a pure natural garden. We canned and used to eat from our garden year round.”
June 25 I hung some Tibetan prayer flags from the laurel tree to the fence. They looked good, flapping out the prayers of the green Goddess Tara. Weeded tonight. Last night I forgot to water. I think the carrots forgave me. Some of the tomato plants were so big they were falling over so I had to add some stakes. I offered my upstairs neighbor, Bill, a philosophy instructor and a soccer coach, a section of the garden a few days ago. He was ecstatic. He went to the Sunday market and picked up a couple of tomato plants, some zucchini, and lettuce. After they were in the ground for a few days, he said, “I’m just happy to see these plants grow. There’s some buds and they are blooming, that’s enough. It doesn’t matter if I get food or not.” Not everyone was enthusiastic about the garden project. On my way to water I ran into Dave who was running the barbecue in back of the apartments. He was cooking a steak and some red peppers on the grill and kicked back with a beer. Dave lived upstairs across from Bill. I’ve waved hello on the way to work but never had a chance to meet him. He pulled the ear buds out of his ears, paused his ipod and we shook hands. I introduced my community garden and said, “Would you like a section to grow something this summer?” He said, “Sure I’d like to, but I just don’t know if I’ll have the time. I am pretty busy.” I rephrased the question. “It’s a pretty small plot. You could grow peppers instead of buying them at Costco.” “No, I just don’t think I’ll be able to keep up on it.” “I’ll water it for you. It will be easy.” He opened the grill and moved his peppers around. “No, I have a landscape business on top of my Costco job so I don’t think I could do it.” The other tenant in the quadruplex served in the Coast Guard. He shipped out to sea about every other month and got seasick every time he went out. I don’t think he would be a good garden prospect either, but I will leave one section bare just in case he quits. July 1 I went out to garden tonight and saw Stefanie sitting in her garden, directly across the fence from my little patch. Stef and I have worked on a project together through work, but we did not know we were both neighbors until Charlie told me she was planting a ton of vegetables on their side of the fence. As I pulled weeds, mostly shiny geraniums, Stef planted beans. She worked in the Peace Corps in Gahna, giving people tips on how
to keep their chickens healthy. She also worked on a Community Supported Agriculture farm for a while. “So Stef, you are putting all this time into this garden, do you expect to make any money from it, like saving on your grocery bill?” She smiled and her brown straight hair moved back and forth in a “no.” “It makes me feel good,” she said. “It’s just good to be out here. I love vegetables. I love plants. I have some hanging plants in the house. Charlie bought me an African Violet.” In late August when all of her food will be ready to harvest, she will move to Eugene to enter grad school in urban planning. Stef just purchased some gnomes for her garden from the market and pointed them out. I put one in a week ago. It faced west with a glint in its eye, keeping an eye on Stef’s, Bob’s and Charlie’s garden. I mentioned Charlie and we both smiled. We agreed he made everything happen around the neighborhood. From our gardens to arranging for a woman to get a new set of teeth, he had a presence. “He keeps trying to get me to go church with him,” said Stef. “No kidding. What did you tell him?” “I keep thinking of excuses. I would think he would notice my Hindu statues all over my apartment, but he doesn’t, instead he keeps buying me owls.” “Why owls?” “He saw my welcome mat someone gave to me as a house warming gift and he thought I was an owl collector. Every time he sees something to do with owls, he buys one for me. My apartment is full of owls now.” “That’s Charlie.” July 4 Charlie threw a block party for everyone in the neighborhood. In the middle of the apartment complex parking lot he set up some lawn chairs and card tables with some plastic picnic cloths. He bought a huge slab of ribs for the barbecue and a bucket of chicken. He made a ton of beans and German potato salad, from scratch. He made egg salad, too. There was more than enough food for everyone and Charlie yelled out an invitation to three guys walking by on Bond Street. They reluctantly came over to inspect the food. One guy said, “Nobody gives away free food. What did you do to it? Did you poison this?” Charlie just laughed and said, “I’ll show you. I’ll eat some first.” He took a bite of some beans and said, “There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s perfectly good food.” They dug in.
Stef added some peas from her garden to a pasta salad. Her garden was doing well. Really well. The corn grew straight up, squash was everywhere. It was a paradise garden. Me, I had green tomatoes, lots of green ones and my carrots were slow and the zucchini, it took a nap. I asked Charlie for his secret. In a low voice he said, “I put 10 bags of organic chicken crap into the soil before we planted. That’s the best stuff. Expensive, but it does the trick. That corn, you can watch it grow right in front of your eyes. I am telling you Will. It’s unbelievable. I’ll drop a bag of chicken manure over the fence for ya.” “I’ll pay you for it, Charlie.” “Don’t worry about it my friend. We want to keep that garden alive.” It grew dark and eventually the small crowd wandered away, full and happy. Each carried a heavy plate of leftover egg salad, beans and some kind of marshmallow salad. July 14 At 10:30 p.m. I put my headlamp on and went out back to water the garden. I heard Charlie’s voice coming through his side window, “Is that the late night garden thief?” “Yeah, I’m’ stealing lettuce.” “You know, if you don’t water that lettuce, it’s going to turn sour.” I look up and the light of my lamp flooded Charlie’s window. “Really?” “Yeah, it’s the truth. Just try watering some and not some others and you’ll taste the difference.” “Okay, I’ll take note on that tip. Thanks Charlie.” “Good night my friend.” August 1 Around 4:30 p.m., I heard a light knock at my door. It was Bill, he just got back from refereeing a soccer match and stopped by the garden to see how it was doing. In his hand, he held a cucumber sized zucchini and a small head of lettuce. “I just wanted to stop by to show you my celebration. This is my first harvest. The first time in 25 years I’ve eaten something from my own garden. This garden experience is a major paradigm shift, since it has been so long since I’ve planted anything.” “That’s great,” I said. “Congratulations.” (I water the garden, weed the whole thing, and all I have to show are baby pickle zucchinis and lots of green tomatoes.) He said, “This is an epiphany I am telling you.” “Did you snip the lettuce or pull it?” I said.
“I just pulled it.” “Oh, that’s too bad. You should have snipped it, you’d get more later in the season.” “There’s still a root base there,” said Bill. “Good. Good,” I said. “Well, I just wanted to show you my first harvest.” “Later Bill.” August 3 In the late afternoon I walked out to the garden and dropped my compost bucket. I couldn’t believe it. My garden! Hit by vandals! Someone ripped out my marigolds. Lettuce heads were all over the place, zucchini plants toppled. Then I saw a pattern of little hand prints all over the mud. Raccoons! The lettuce bed was like soup. It had been dry and hadn’t rained, where did all the water come from? I should have checked my phone messages. “Hey, Will, buddy it’s Charlie, if you go out of town just let me know. I’ll water that garden. I haven’t seen you in a few days so I watered your part of it. Anyway, I’ll talk you to later.” It was over watered. Charlie watered during the day, and then I watered at night. All that water brought the worms to the surface and the raccoons had a feast. Of course the raccoons didn’t touch Bill’s section. Charlie didn’t water his section. If those little monkeys wanted worms, I would have given them worms, a whole bucket of worms. They just didn’t need to uproot my lettuce. I moved all of my shell shocked lettuce to the drier Coast Guard section which became the lettuce bed recovery section. August 4 I came home around 11:30 from a late night hike and plopped down my backpack in the kitchen and then ran out back to see if I could catch a raccoon sneaking into the garden. Something small broke into a run and I chased it. I clapped my hands together to scare it as it dove under the fence. It stopped on the other side; it was Socks the cat. It stared at me like, “What’s your problem?” I looked at the garden and noticed the over watered section was still a muddy pig puddle. At least the marigolds were upright and the zucchini was stable. I saw Charlie earlier and asked why he watered.
“Will, I just didn’t want to see your garden go tits up, you know. Your flowers were looking a little wilted.” Then he recommended I put moth balls all around the garden to keep the raccoons out. I thanked him for his advice and concern, but said, “I will let you know when I go out of town.” August 12 As I pulled up some shiny geranium weeds and threw them into the brush pile, I asked Stef if she ever talked to her plants. “I talk to my plants,” said Stef. “Really?” “Sure.” I looked at her garden. It was as if the green man himself had blessed it with his best chants and potions. The nasturtium flowers were bright red. Her corn grew above my shoulders. Her squash ran over the fence. I didn’t tell her how often I came out to the garden, at night, before I watered, and just stood with my plants, in the quiet, and watched them grow. Sometimes I stood for a half-hour and listened to the wind sift through the trees. I picked mint, crushed it and breathed it in. I loved that smell. But I didn’t talk to my plants, I listened to them. Bill walked into the garden with his usual smile, “I thought I heard some people back here.” He looked down at his sprawling tomato plants. “My section of the garden is out of control. Better not tell the Democrats or they’ll put lots of controls and regulations on it.” I stood up from weeding and brushed my knees off. “Bill, you sound like a libertarian.” “No, I’m more of Marxist Leninist.” “Really, that sounds so utilitarian, like the zucchini plants, dominating and taking over everything.” “No, really, I’m more of a Marxist socialist at heart.” He pulled a large leaf back. “This zucchini is so phallic. Look at this? Can you see this?” “Yep,” I said. “Just like Pan.” “Yeah,” said Stef, “I can see it from here Bill.” “Should I pick this?” “Yeah, I’d pick it,” I said. He picked it and sorted through his tomatoes. “My tomatoes are splitting, but they are so red. Everyone told me only cherry tomatoes would grow here, but look at this. I proved I could do it.” His plants are one foot from mine and yet, they are a world apart.
“Yes,” I said, “your section is growing the best of all the sections.” With a smirk he said, “Yeah, and I am not doing anything to it.” That’s it, I thought, I am not picking any weeds in his section anymore. August 15 Charlie dropped a bag of organic chicken manure on my side of the fence. He said after I apply it, if I water for three days, I will see my plants shoot up like there’s no tomorrow. “You know, Charlie, I haven’t seen any raccoons for a while.” “Will, I’ve been praying for your garden.” “Really?” “Yeah, every night, I pray for your garden and mine.” “Well, thanks Charlie.” August 20 Raccoons struck again last night; they threw a head of lettuce aside and dug deeper for some fat worms. They have removed all of my lettuce from the original lettuce bed. Luckily they didn’t bother my zucchini patch this time around. I picked my first zucchini; it looked like a football. I added some chicken manure to the carrots, the lettuce and the squash. Charlie invited Stef, Bob and me over for some fried Filipino zucchini. He also gave me a couple of zucchinis from his garden to make some zucchini bread. August 21 When I walked into Charlie’s house with a fresh loaf of bread, Stef was already at the stove. The oil bubbled away at the perfect temperature, no smoke. She put the pieces into the batter, rolled them in the bread crumbs and politely placed them in the skillet. Each zucchini slice turned golden brown. She acquired the skill from cooking over an open fire night after night in Ghana. The music was compliments of Bob with his ipod. Old jazz standards and a little guitar music by Les Paul and Chet Atkins. Bob taped all of his LPs onto his ipod. He said, “I get a lot of static on my recordings when Charlie is on the cell phone in the apartment above. As a matter of fact, I can tell when he is going to call me. My music fills with static and then my phone rings.” As we sat down Charlie slathered butter on his zucchini bread and said, “Will, buddy you hit a home run with this bread. You really did.” He took a bite and crumbs fell onto his Hawaiian shirt.
“I’d make some more Charlie, but I need the pan back.” Charlie reached down to the oven drawer and a loud metal creak rang through the kitchen as he pulled it open. “You need bread pans; I’ve got bread pans.” He pulled out three and handed them over. “You can have them.” “Oh no, I’ll bring them back with more bread.” Then Charlie took a bite of the fried zucchini. “Stef, you really know how to cook.” “Well Charlie,” said Stef. “You did all the work.” “Honey, you made it happen. Anybody can mix the ingredients; it’s the cook that makes it happen.” Bob took another sip of his beer and smiled. The dinner party wound down and Charlie told a story about a past tenant. As the caretaker, he welcomed every tenant with a cake. Charlie wanted to find a way to greet the new renter who worked at a local furniture store. Not letting the tradition go because she was never home, Charlie, Stef and Bob decided to follow her to work and present a decorated cake. The happy trio walked into the furniture store and she was nowhere to be seen. They left the cake and the woman did a midnight move shortly thereafter, skipping out on two month’s rent. “She moved an entire apartment worth of furniture,” said Charlie, “and nobody ever saw her or heard a thing. I can’t figure out how she did it. She must have had a lot of experience on being on the run. I knew she was a bad apple from the moment I met her, but that happens.” Charlie’s philosophical about problems. He said, “There is a lot of pollution in this world. It will take God’s mighty hand to flush the giant turd out of the toilet bowl.” September 10 The rich scent of hot fresh bread filled the apartment as I baked more zucchini bread with gargantuan garden zucchinis. I gave a loaf to the new tenant upstairs across from Bill who said she loves bread. I dropped a couple of loaves off to Bob and Charlie. Bob said, “This is very kind of you. How will I ever repay you? Your bread is so good.” “You don’t. It’s the neighborly thing to do.” He turned to the garden on his side of the fence and offered me Stef’s peas. She left the garden to Charlie and Bob. I popped one into my mouth and bit down. I closed my eyes as the fresh succulent watery taste of the pea pod burst through my mouth. “This is payment. We are even.” And we both laughed. September 21 For the equinox I watched a shadow of the laurel tree pass over
one side of the garden, first the tomatoes, then the carrots, and finally the mint. The sun created a warm, gold autumn day. My prayer flags flapped in the breeze as a trolley bell rang from below. A white butterfly flitted above the purple flowers from the mint. The garden stillness reigned. My mint was wild, growing everywhere. I’ve been throwing it into my salads along with the fresh lettuce. My carrots were growing out instead of down and looked like beets. They were variety carrots that came in purple, yellow, white and orange. Some of them looked like octopi, with little arms in all directions, and a few looked like, well, carrots, but the taste—far, far, better than anything from the store. September 22 I took some compost out to the garden and ran into Charlie. He was talking to a couple in the parking lot. There was a gentleman dressed in nice dress pants and shirt. I looked at him and thought—minister. Charlie introduced him as the pastor from Portland that “brought him to the Lord in 1995.” That was the same year Judge Nelson in Astoria gave Charlie a second chance and decided not to send him to jail. The pastor and Charlie were admiring a spaghetti squash in a tree. The squash was a discard from Charlie’s compost pile. It grew out of the pile, crawled along the fence, jumped to the tree and came out eight feet above the parking lot between two branches. “Praise God, it’s a miracle. Do you see that, Will? It’s a miracle. It’s God’s work. Don’t you think?” I paused and everyone waited for me to speak. “It’s a mystery,” I said. Then Bob came out and looked the tree over, smiled and said, “It’s a squash tree.” Everyone laughed. October 2 Another creature visited my garden. My squash plants and a few zucchini were hit by a deer. The hoof prints went in and around the plants. It ate the tops clean off. Charlie said, “It was the biggest doe I ever saw. Bob took about a dozen pictures.” “Charlie,” I said, “didn’t you tell it to get out of the garden?” “We got close to it, but it just kept on grazing. Eventually it moved off to the side and then it came back again and kept eating your garden.” “Charlie, if I’d been out here I would have taken two metal pot lids and smashed them together and it would have run to the top of the Astoria Column.”
Of course Bill’s section was not even touched. I walked back to the apartment thinking, Deer. Damn Deer. Everyone thinks they are so cute until they fly through your windshield at 65 miles per hour. We need more wolves and mountain lions. October 9 Stef’s garden was out of control. Nasturtiums were growing out of the garden and onto the black top and stretching out a good six feet. Her broccoli was exploding and stood shoulder high. The peas were hanging off the fence and ready to pick. Peas, beans squash. Everything was going crazy. My side looked good too. My tomatoes were like a Christmas tree full of red bulbs. My carrots were pushing themselves out of the ground. The Dr. Grow and the organic chicken crap worked. Later that night, the only sound came from a large light humming above the parking lot. I took a colander over to Stef’s former garden and started to pick nasturtiums, peas, beans, and broccoli. It felt weird to pick someone else’s hard earned effort. A serious voice came booming across the parking lot. “What are you doing over there?” “I am picking your flowers.” Charlie laughed. “Good for you. Pick all you want. Take as much as you need.” I filled my colander to the top with red flowers and greenery. Combined with my tomatoes, mint and weird shaped carrots, I enjoyed the most colorful and finest salad.
Shaving the Dog
Because my wife’s the breadwinner by roughly an order of magnitude, I stay out of financial decisions unless they make it above two thousand dollars. Anything below that is her domain, and I consider it an honor if she bothers to mention her plans. She’s frugal, don’t get me wrong. In certain ways, she’s cheaper than I am. She loves a bargain, and she hates shopping. I apologize. That was inaccurate. She despairs in the face of shopping. You have to force her to shop—like you have to force a child to swallow communion. I end up buying her socks, once a year, at Christmas, like you do for your father. I’m just about to the point where I’m going to gift her ties. A bowling ball. A tool chest. She is one of those rare beauties who keeps getting prettier and has achieved an icy, cougar-ish status she advertises with caprice, which allows me to mention it here without sounding chauvinistic—if she weren’t beautiful, hers would be a problem of role and identity. But she’s so lovely in other ways, these masculine brushstrokes add to her feminine appeal. Look, I’m biased, but I should be, right? I’m saying this not because she’s a spendthrift, which she’s accused me of being. In fact, she taught me the word during her initial prosecution—and talk about double-jeopardy. I hear it over and over, and I’ve already been found guilty. She’s the only prosecutor in history who, having achieved the verdict she sought, goes back and retries for giggles. And she might be right about me being a spendthrift, except I’ve inherited what she doesn’t want to the point where I’m one step away from cross-dressing. I use her old tablet—and I had to win a debate to get my hands on the charger that goes with it. I use her old phone—on which the only functioning button turns the volume down. What this means is, I can make sounds as quiet as I want, but I can never turn them back up! I drive her old Honda, which lacks a driver’s side visor—in Florida. I commute an hour and fifteen minutes each way to work. When I arrive, I smell like the armpit of a point guard. For some reason, we got this car painted. So I’ll rewrite that: I step out of a shiny, metallic-blue Honda, smelling like the armpit of a point guard… and with a headache like I stared into an eclipse. Sure, I spend needlessly, but not by much, and always with a certain panache that makes me the feminine one. She’s a doctor. And like most doctors, she is incapable of doing much besides being
a doctor because everything besides doctoring is torturously pedantic. If it isn’t going to grow on you, infest you, expand you, waste you, slow you, speed you, or murder you, it’s not worth the time. “Where do you want to eat tonight, honey?” Shrug. “What do you think about replacing every major appliance—in all the homes in the neighborhood?” Eye roll; statement of support. “I’ve climbed Mount Everest, walking backwards.” Vaguely bored opening of a magazine called, I kid you not, The Annals of Internal Medicine (wherein the writing isn’t half bad, by the way). Doctors are important, so they name their magazines “Annals.” I’m a writer and a professor. We name our magazines “reviews,” as in, “Here, it would be an honor if you would review this and tell me how much I suck.” I’m afraid she’ll stop going to the bathroom one of these days. “It’s a waste of time,” she’ll argue. “And it’s soooo boring!” She’ll procure a medical device that removes the offensive matter from her while she performs procedures upon a condition and supports, over her shoulder, an amputated, gangrenous leg as a specimen for what they call “noon conference.” See what I mean about important? At noon, doctors confer. At noon, professors lament. At noon, writers drink. Her significance suggests an irreproachability I’ve come to rely on yet have come to learn is a figment of my own suppositions. For my wife can insist on a few needless ways to spend our money, just like me. And chief among these is the shaving of our dog. Have you ever been to one of these torture chambers? First of all, you can’t even enter the Dog Grooming Area if your canine isn’t upto-date on her rabies vaccinations. This is because when dogs rebel against the grooming process, they eat whatever they see. Once we’ve proven our dog is not ripe for a killing spree, we’re granted entrance. They take our shaking, freaked-out thingamajig-ofa-mutt into their arms. And that’s when the fun begins. We have two dogs. My dog is a god among mortals, a sphinx, a beautiful black Lab with some Great Dane thrown in for fun. Imagine this monarch, sunning himself on the patio, huffy, with a stern countenance. A dog like that is not to be bothered. He doesn’t walk; he skulks. He doesn’t run; he gallops. He’s the fastest dog I’ve ever seen and is a beautiful boy around people. He adores people because he thinks he is one. And for that reason, he detests animals. He finds them low and base. So Guinness would go on a killing spree at the groomer’s—and I wouldn’t blame him—because he’s not the kind of dog you groom. Back when I first brought him into my home, he ran out the front door. He ran right into the street and was hit by a van. He rolled ten feet, got up, looked around, and went running off about four thousand miles. When I finally found him, lying in the grass in
someone’s yard the next town north, he was licking himself. I took him to the vet, absolutely freaked, sure he was halfwaydead. He had a scratch on his belly. That was it. From being hit by a van. So I’m beginning to think there are only two breeds of dog: dogs, which is the kind he is, rough and tumble, offering a canine’s best; and thingamajigs, which is our other dog. The other dog is a mutt, as well. She’s what they call a “terrier mix.” But, see, that’s what they tell you at the shelter when they don’t know what the dog is. You point and go, “What the heck is that?” The caretakers glance at each other, remember their training, and announce, “That is a terrier mix!” It’s an answer that can get you out of trouble. Next time I call one of my students into my office for an oral exam he’s ripe to fail, I’m going to give him an A if he answers, “Terrier mix.” Next time I’m caught speeding, and the officer asks me, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” I’m going to guess, “Terrier mix?” If you’re ever contemplating a dinner invite, when you ask what’s on the menu and your potential host says, “Terrier mix,” go—just to see what it’s all about. This terrier mix is a real basket case. I love her the way you love a toilet—she’s necessary and smelly. Unlike a toilet, though, she’s deranged. Let’s say you have three kids. One of them is an athlete, another is bookish, and the third is the one you’re watching. You’ve learned fast, there’s something wrong upstairs. You’re not entirely sure she won’t cannibalize the other two. You might just have a citizen on your hands, if you make sure to never leave her alone until she’s twentythree. And her cynicism grows into bitterness that is only relieved— and even then, temporarily—by your affection and confidence in her. That kid is a “terrier mix.” This dog’s name is Amstel. I should have named her “Dirty Martini.” At the groomer’s, she’s a disaster. She doesn’t want to walk through the door. She gets low, collapsing into this splayed half-lie, her legs sliding out in all four directions from under her bulbous body. And my little darling is all body. All trunk. She has a tiny head, about the size of a woman’s fist. Her legs are the length of my middle finger. The other twenty-five pounds are located in her midriff, which is a cylinder of mass like a can filled with mud. So when those legs spread out from under her, they can only spread so far before her chubby belly hits the tile. She lowers her eyes and waits, like a child afraid to confront a closet’s shadows. We pick her up. We hand her over to the young woman behind the
counter. We depart. But we always stop to look back through the window. We can see the entire grooming area from that window, eight groomers at work before raised platforms like baby-changing stations. Over each of these platforms, there stands an ominous pole. To this pool, a leash is clamped like a gallows. The other end of the leash is locked to little Amstel’s neck so that she cannot move. She is stuck on her feet, this mud-can of a dog, trembling as the groomer expertly works shears over her body. My wife and I watch. We feel terrible for her. But we also get a kick out of it. Amstel has made our home her toilet. When you let her outside, she tries to go on the pool deck. She doesn’t like to go in the alwayswet grass of Florida because she does not like to get her backend dewy, and I have to pick her up and carry her there, fearing the entire time that she’ll let loose in my arms. When I walk her, she stops every three seconds to fake going to the bathroom. When I try to feed her, she gets a running start and jumps at me, crashing violently into my thigh over and over. I’m waiting on an ACL tear. At five in the morning, she comes running into our room and jumps at the bed like a lunatic, pawing the bedside, and yelps like a train screeching to a halt. She’s my dear. All these quirks make her Amstel, these little behaviors, these characteristics. We love these quirks. They’re what we love most. We wish they weren’t so, but we would miss them if they were gone. Yet just like any parents, we’re irritated by them at five in the morning. So every now and again, we appreciate some cheap vengeance. We have to stand at the window and giggle. We watch her on the groomer’s table, leashed and scared, because we know she has nothing to be scared of. We put our arms around each other. Revenge is sweet. I’m sure we’ll be this way about our daughter one day, too. She’ll call, and we’ll suffer through the melodramatic conversation. We may love her for such calls, in fact. But when we get off the phone, my wife will go, “Jesus Christ, with her histrionics.” We’ll love her so much it won’t really matter, but it’ll be a fun conversation, to complain about her in the home where all her life she grew up causing us so much trouble. When the time comes to pick up Amstel, we sign her out, talking with the groomer about how adorable and great she is. They always put a pink bandana around her neck. Like lipstick on a pig, it reminds us how ridiculously ill-bred Amstel is. Right there in sight are purebred miniature poodles and sophisticated malteses who would wear such an accessory naturally, while all the bandana does for Amstel is create
a dividing line between her tiny head and the mud-can of her body. She’s all smiles. It’s because she’s back with us, but we tell ourselves it’s because she’s been pampered. She is the unhappy daughter who went for a makeover at the mall and thinks she’s beautiful now. We love her more for that, because she’s not beautiful, except to us. So we keep the bandana on her as long as we can—until she starts chewing it, coughing up pieces all over the house.
Whopperjawed Dawn Cunningham Dear Sally Saucer I use to hear your name every day; you sitting in your spaceship, not coming out. Were you weeping behind closed hatches or smirking at the pleas of little girls wanting to know you? I thought you were only an imaginary spacewoman, like Space Ghost or Underdog. As it turned out, you were in the mind of every little girl; you were every little girl that was an outcast, every little girl who hid because their ears were too big, or were caught not being lady like. Sitting. Sitting, sitting in your saucer; or do I misunderstand the little rhyme? Were you sitting in a saucer that was to be filled with milk? Were you hungry? Didn’t your mother feed you? Please answer me soon, Miss All Grown Up _________________ I’m a Selfish Mom I’m told this every week, every week when my daughter drops off her children. “You’re SELFISH!” Hell! Why don’t she just drop off her house too! I don’t mind taking care of my grandchildren, but I’m not her nanny. When I refuse, “You never do anything for me.” Why do I always pay attention to other people’s pain and not my own? During the summer, the grandchildren and me have a blast; I hardly refuse then. My daughter thinks she is paying me back for not being there for her. Hmmmm– where’d she get that idea? _________________
Here’s Abandonment I’ve realized my loneliness stems from the pain of loss. I can’t get involved completely or passionately involved with anything or anyone; while I do get involved passionately and love passionately for a bit, I back off after a time, closing in on myself, pitying myself, agonizing over the fact that my daughters will not be happy, nor share in my happiness or their happiness with me. I want to share with them; I want . . . I want them to share with me. Not only is it the loss of my daughters that brings about this inability to have passion beyond a couple of weeks, there are those incidents that occurred during the marriage that brings about this as well. Is it all abandonment? An abandonment I felt in the marriage? _________________ I worked and went to school, hoping to have better, only to keep a decent home – a DECENT HOME, not elaborate – food on the table, clothes on our backs, and a few luxuries: computer, DVDs, bikes, and the likes, and her little things she enjoyed, plus things for her siblings. Most of the time I didn’t get my little joys; my guilt kept me from buying books or paints; though, I made sure I had my paper, pen, ink – the writing utensils. Any guilt I had after I bought these items disappeared after using them. Some weekends, between her activities and her siblings’, I would hide at a coffee shop to get work done. There were those weekends, when she or her siblings didn’t have any activities, I would leave the house by 11 that morning and return by about 7 or 8 just to study, write, and read. There was some punishment in there; the house wouldn’t be clean, the dishes left from the day, and the screams of hunger. _________________ Of course, there is Vincent’s death as well. But how much does his death play in this inability? I realize this inability began before Vincent’s cancer, before my daughters walked away from me. The collective incidents over many years have brought me to this point, which
I must change to be sane and happy. Through the divorce, people said I abandoned my daughters because I left their father. I saw the point—it was how my daughters felt; however, my son David did not feel the same. _________________ I remember the first time she asked why her daddy wouldn’t come to see her play baseball, why he wouldn’t come to the church to listen to her sing or come to the school to watch her play basketball. I would make some lame excuse – “He’s very tired.” “He’s not feeling well.” “He needs to get up extra early tomorrow for overtime.” When I asked him to go, when I pleaded for him to go, he would reply, “I don’t want to.” “I don’t get into that.” “I don’t have the time.” “I have things to do here.” I would say… just something, so he wouldn’t look bad in her eyes. I admit, I should have never done that. I guess she realized what I did: give up. My actual dream to have a job where I wrote and her dad went to work, where I didn’t have to leave the house unless I wanted to, and when I left the house it would be for research, sometimes travelling to do so. Here is where she should know I gave it up. Maybe forever. _________________ Today, I sit . . . and write about this, realizing I felt abandoned by them because they could not love me for me, love me just because I am their mom, love me as I love them, regardless of what they are or who they become. This isn’t about being in love with another; it’s about just loving. Where did the idea come from that leaving their father
meant not loving them? Is that the reason? _________________ Now, my time raising her is done; her children are not mine. Why such anger with me when I say no, when I get angry at her for just coming by to drop off her children, never checking to see what I have to do. All that comes out of her mouth is “you were never there for me. You are never never there for me.” Never? Am I not allowed a life? _________________ These are adult children; however, two are mildly retarded. Those are the two that would have the trouble, I thought . . . but Jess, the oldest with no disability? She should know, right? When I look at what happened, I see my girls deciding to walk away from me. I did call them. I did ask them to do things with me. Of course Jess had decided long ago, before things went sour between her father and me that she had to keep a distance between her and me. She never let me in as a friend. I recall her saying, “You don’t ask me to do anything with you; I feel like a black sheep, like you don’t love me.” I found this odd, knowing how much time I took to be involved with her activities, to talk to her, to talk to her friends, to create situations, to do things together… I stopped asking her to do things when she was in high school because she made it clear that I wasn’t to be part of her life. Even as a friend. She moved out of the house and into her grandparents’. I let it go. I let her go. I wanted our relationship to turn into friendship. It didn’t matter. She wasn’t going to allow it. I was still in the same place; she knew where to reach me. Was I supposed to chase her? Some years after Brianna was born, she accused her father and me of not wanting her when she became pregnant with Brianna, and that we didn’t love Brianna. All of this was
due to her father and me agreeing that her boyfriend couldn’t move in due to Ginny being very young and impressionable. There were other children to think about; there wasn’t Jessica alone.
I still don’t understand. _________________
Writing this makes me feel even more abandoned, knowing I explained this all to her when her father and me made our decision. Also, knowing that I was the parent that participated with them by being involved with the activities they chose to do while their father wouldn’t attend the activities or functions—such as band competitions, school programs, church programs, even confirmations or baptisms. The one confirmation Garry attended was David’s. Garry’s scowling face engrained into my memory. I’m living with Jessica to help care for Vincent. Garry decided to come over to see Vincent (at least that was what he said he was doing). Garry is only at the trailer briefly before I’m told he wants to talk to Jessica and me in Vincent’s bedroom. I didn’t know why but figured that he wanted to say something about our separation. What I walked into wasn’t about the separation, it was about revenge. I don’t recall the beginning of the discussion, if that is what it can be called. I do remember these words clearly as he made the matterof-fact facial expression: “Your mother beat me.” I was floored; my heart pounded; I couldn’t think of a thing except how; I tried to think of some incident that even came close to me beating him. If Jessica had been looking for a reason to put all of her troubles on me, looking for a reason to blame another for her life that she wasn’t happy with, she now had it. I’m recalling this all again for the hundredth time and I still get emotional—angry, sad, disappointed (disappointed in a man I thought wouldn’t want to hurt his children in order to get his way). This wasn’t the way to “fix” what was wrong. If he thought he had a snowball of a chance of me coming back, it wasn’t happening now. I stood in my son’s room with Jessica looking at me with disgust, me only forming the word “what,” and Garry’s evil smug smirk, and the words from years ago echoing in my head—“IF you ever leave me, I’ll take the children and you’ll never see them again.” I saw myself at that kitchen sink, again, in the New Haven home, him standing behind me to the right—with something in his hands, the children playing in various rooms, and the television noise sounding away in the living room where no one was watching it. That same feeling came back, the same image of being alone and having no one
to love and no one to love me. An image of my children lost, wondering if I had ran away from them, forsaken them after loving them. He had beaten me down in a way much worse than my hand striking him, as he claimed. He was going to do it. He was going to rip my heart from me. He was going to take a mother from her children. He was going to make the children motherless. However, my children are adults; how could he do it, how? It took me a week, maybe two weeks to remember the incident that he was playing on: I had walked into the bedroom as he lit up a whole cigarette. He had told me and the doctor he had quit smoking. His breathing from the emphysema was terrible. At night I thought he would stop breathing. During the day, he could barely move about without losing his breath. I found a whole pack of cigarettes on the lower shelf of the end table, where he thought the cloth dangled plenty to cover them. Upon seeing this, knowing he had lied to me, knowing that the next step of this disease was . . . worse than now. . . . At this point, I thought there was no marriage to possibly salvage, and I still had some feelings for him. Then, as I started to yell in anger, he laughed at me, made it a joke: “How do you always know when I’m going to light up, come walking in on me.” He had been smoking the entire time, and David was buying the mother f***ers for him! What the hell was he holding over David! I walked over, slapped his shoulder, where he began to laugh more and laugh harder, turning his back to me; I then lost it, bitch slapping him from his lower back to the top of his head and back down again, at least twice, maybe three times. I knew at that point, Garry didn’t give a flying rat’s ass, and I wasn’t going to give a f*** either. He couldn’t even figure out how serious it was hearing me use the f*** word aloud, a word I would rarely use or write. I left him, saying, “I’m done.” When I tried to explain to Jessica what her father was talking about, she wouldn’t listen. She just said over and over again, there was no excuse for what I did. There wasn’t an excuse for what her father did either. And why the hell was I trying to defend myself. I should have known, right then, when she wouldn’t listen to me, that I would be her loophole for everything wrong in her life. She never spoke to me after that without being condescending. Now, I’m condemned for breaking the wedding vows. Hadn’t her father broken those vows, as well, by lying to me? Hadn’t he broke those vows by his unwillingness to see my unhappiness as I went to counseling for years, counseling sessions I asked him to attend with me because it was about us, just not me, because I fought to love him? He never listened to those words, never. I take the blame for my part. My fault wasn’t leaving the day after he threatened me, taking the children
and those items I could just fit into the station wagon. He had won; he had done exactly what he had set out to do; Jessica was gone, and I kept fighting for an adult that knew the game all too well, from her own experience with an ex. I hadn’t lost Ginet yet; David was still calling me; Vincent . . . really didn’t know what was going on. I am thankful that my son David knew how to “honor” his parents and not to choose, regardless of the divorce. One day, as we were heading back to Fort Wayne, I asked him why he didn’t treat me like his sister and why he hadn’t taken his father’s side. David, even with his disability, understood honoring parents. I remember him saying, “During Confirmation classes, Pastor Kip would say, ‘No matter how your parents feel about each other, each still love you; they will always be your parents,’” and then David referred to “Honor thy Father and thy Mother.” It wasn’t long after, as we were out taking care of banking, bills, and shopping together—to save gas—when his father called being nosey. We were in the Wal-Mart parking lot in the Jefferson Point area. David paced outside the car. I overheard him say, “If you don’t stop, I’m going to choose and it won’t be you.” I also heard him tell his father it was no longer his business what I did and where I went. My boy had defended me. His father hadn’t managed to poison him. This is an adult with a disability seeing through the game. I thank you Pastor Kip for your wonderful input. It is true that Jessica has fully abandoned me. Ginny only ignores me. People have told me it is my responsibility to reach out, while others say not to. How many times must I or should I reach out? I stopped reaching out after I handed Jess a small booklet that she made for Vincent when she and Nolan took him to an IU game in Bloomington. Her look of hatred and the way she grabbed it from my hand was the last time she would “dish it out” to me. As I shared these connecting events with my fiancé, and as sad and hard it is to say and do, I concluded, after our conversation that my daughter is no longer my child. She is no more than a person on the street that I pass everyday. This is not to say . . . I will not sit down to talk with her if and when she wants to speak to me civilly to ask and clarify. I am dead to her, as she said, and with that comes having no birth. I will continue to be part of my grandchildren’s lives as much as I can and possibility be; however, Jessica is only Jessica, is only a person I see on the street; my daughter is now dead, I do not know her because this is not a child that I raised. _________________
Dear Sally Saucer, Thank you for answering my letter; I was really hoping you would remember that children’s game; chanting and moving in a linked circle with one little girl alone in the middle. Why did I want to be you? Are you sure you were hiding? I thought about it, didn’t you choose another to be you so you could escape? Wasn’t it a popularity game? I remember being you once in all the times I played. It was a thrill to be chosen. A thrill to choose – everyone saying me, me, me, and looking pleadingly at you, me in control of that very moment, me being the most important! Didn’t you feel it as well? Please reply again, Miss All Grown Up _________________ It seems as if I have gone off topic. No? The happenings over the years has led me to the point of not being able to keep passion and to not fully love. I’ve learned to not rely on anyone, and when I have to, to expect disappointment. Trust is a great issue. I’m the only person who can fix it. If I’m to love passionately and to trust another, I have to let go of those who consistently create negativity within me. Those people are those who judge me to make themselves feel better. I am not a scapegoat. I feel abandoned by my girls. I’m judged because I had to find me and find happiness without pleasing others. I’m judged because I don’t make them happy. I wanted them to… judge their father; I fought the urge for vengeances. When I felt their father was doing this, I would walk away. When they would ask the question, “What did Dad do to you,” I would start and realize after a few sentences that my words would be an attack, and this would fuel the anger in them. I would not fall to that level, nor would I help give them fuel to use against me. Oh, how I wanted to say all those nasty things! A child’s place is not to be wedged between his or her parents. If I ever did fail in keeping my mouth shut, I ask forgiveness. While I was searching for the real me, there was one thing I knew
about me, I wouldn’t attack in revenge, even if it was defending myself. If a question was asked, and my child couldn’t accept the answer in a yes or no form, or listen to my view of a situation, then what; how much worse could it be? I wouldn’t tell them how I thought their father did this or that wrong; I wouldn’t tell them how often I had to fight myself in keeping my mouth shut to not skew their view; I never told them that their father threatened me. I haven’t told them that I stayed married because of the threat. _________________ Dear Miss All Grown Up, You may have been thrilled, but I never escaped. You made me remember too much! I was the one who took the burden, you see. All of you made my feet big, my eyes squinty, my lips deformed, and my teeth broken and – whopperjawed. I carried all that pain, just like you said in the first letter. Please, please, please don’t remember me, and never write again. Never again to be heard… Miss Silly Sally Saucer P.S. Do Not tell your GROWN UP FRIENDS!
The Spring of Summer’s Flair Dr. Ernest Williamson III 20” x 40” Ink, oil and acrylic
Shadowed in the early hours, a late spring morning begins to surface, just something we can’t explain at first, the same answers. Appetites step out of the cedars, disobey some small evolutionary footnote—fear tip-toes over the instinct a deer has set aside. The dark knows what it’s doing, says close enough to the stars, closer to the moon, sets the usual dares adrift in the air. I’m doing 85 down the hollow of this highway tonight, not one intuitive muscle moving in me, a different kind of hunger already feeding out in the open of my impatience. Our faces pass at the speed of death, survival arriving too late. Nothing happens. Our shadows come crawling back. Codes of color join hands with each escape as they slow down, carefully covering the fresh trails of dead ends. The signs were all there. The signs are always there, shadowed in early hours.
A Rising Rugby Star Dies in a Slurry Pit Liz Dolan Hillsborough, County Down, September 15, 2012 He must have thought it another bloody rough and tumble scrum, a bone crushing brawl heads bashing, the thud of bodies, skin burning, eyes mud-blinded arms and legs slipping through his fingers. Sin-binned. But he was on his farm. Sweet-scented breezes slipped down from Slievenamon. The Holsteins lowed in the upper pasture as twilight flooded his fields, a buzz saw snap from where he first played in Ballynahinch. And from my motherâ€™s grassy-knolled farm where on summer nights a hundred couples quickstepped under a canopy like one wild whirlwind and I, spun by powerful men like him who radiated such heat, I thought they had sprung whole from loamy peat. Bejesus he must have said to himself. Holy s***.
At the last, memories looked back at him with greedy eyes: pricking his tiny fingers picking blueberries, running the leather with his brother and his Da. He must have extended his hand to them. Up the field, boys, his sister swore she heard him say when she went out to call them to supper. And then the full press, the kick, the thrill of rushing them all home.
My In-laws Perfect the Sweet Science Liz Dolan Joe and Lois should have sensed they were poorly matched should have postponed the wedding forever. After the church bell, words flew like fists. Except for a few bare-knuckled street brawls they never took off the gloves. He had a glass jaw, she led with her chin. He was a southpaw, she never could fathom where the haymakers came from. Always an upper cut ready to strike neither willing to bob and weave. Fifteen years and three sons in, both punch drunk they split the purse by unanimous decision. Your mother always said he was her sweetest son. He liked to whine and be waited on, said you. Their boys? They never had a chance to count.
Planting Season Liz Dolan From the larder he watched her plant the spuds in the back garden. Kneeling she raked the small plot. Often she stopped and stared ahead as if she saw something only she could see. When the sun slid behind a cloud, she zipped up her sweater, wiped her hands on her apron and unpinned the white sheets flapping in the breeze and folded them into small gifts. Chilled? he asks at the flat slap of the screen door behind her. “The season’s running ahead of me,” she says. Bending over to secure the lace of his boot, he says, We must decide today. Today. “You decide. You who’s so quick with decisions.” We’ve been at this for years, he said. “At what? At what?” The boy, his shrinking brain. From the basket she lifts the crisp cotton and presses it against her lips. “For nine years I’ve held him, washed his body. I can’t. I cannot.” Nine years of suffering. Enough, I say. “He has filled every waking hour.” As the husband touches her arm, she brushes it away. You think I’ve no feelings, he says.
“It’s hard…weakness. Your only son.” I love as strongly as ever you do. “Dear Lord, what will become of me?” As always you will go to your God. You’ll go to your God and keep me out. Reclaiming the landscape, the late afternoon sun creeps up the side of the barn. “How can I think on a day when the hills are so sharply etched against the sky?” she asks. But you, you’ll make this decision then decide which color to paint the barn as if they weighed equally.” As he grabs his tweed cap from the hook. he begs, Let me help you. She turns and carries on her hip the basket she wove from weeds. Down the splintered steps she stumbles and collects herself under the copper beech where the dove repeats its five beats over and over again…
Tangerine Catherine Pinyot 30” x 40” Oil on canvas
Memory II Catherine Pinyot 36” x 48” Oil on canvas
Featured Artist Micro Interview Catherine Pinyot Q. How would you describe your aesthetic? Are there any artists or art movements that have significantly influenced you? A. My work is very colorful these days. I am influenced by Expressionism, artists like Joan Mitchell and Vincent Van Gogh, who observed their surroundings and then painted them in a subjective way that was fused with emotion. I am obsessed with finding color in everything I see and feel and then exaggerating that in my work. Q. What is your favorite medium to work with, and why? A. I am drawn to oil paint because of the freedom it allows me when working with it. Oil paint takes several days to dry and I like being able to go back into paintings while they are still wet and rework them. These days I find myself working on large canvases with large brushes. Oil paint allows me to do that because I can mix it with some paint thinner and it covers more surface area than acrylic would. Q. Where do you typically find inspiration? A. My work is really influenced by the environment I’m in and my own personal interpretation of that environment. Everywhere I go, I am constantly looking at what’s around me. Sometimes I’ll see a set of colors in a sunset or a reflection and immediately have a desire to recreate those colors in a painting. When I’m experiencing creative block, I tend to go outside, take a walk or a run, and observe my surroundings—I almost always end up with an idea afterwards. Q. What advice would you give to aspiring artists? A. Make a lot of work. The more work you make, the more confident you will be in your style. Don’t be afraid to make bad or imperfect work either, because you will learn from it and it will lead you to what you should be making. Also have an open mind and don’t hesitate to go in a completely new direction if your work seems to be leading you that way.
eBay Has Apologized for Sale of Holocaust Objects Deborah Gang Shoes. A matched pair, not orphans. Survived the boxcar transport? Or camp issued? Can seller verify provenance? Samuel Bok’s suitcase. Brown leather with metal corners, two straps, grommets and matching metal trim intact. His name and defining Star scratched into the hide. Two sets of numbers carved below. Opening bid $800, though sure to fetch much higher. My grandfather’s name is Samuel. Concentration camp toothbrushes starting at $300. I didn’t know there were camp toothbrushes. Brought with or assigned? How many to one toothbrush? Yellow Star of David armbands. They were so plentiful, how much could one be worth? Worn-out grey striped uniform of a Polish baker who finished his one brief life at Auschwitz. The last Polish baker born a Jew? A similar uniform sold for $17,900, the seller brags.
Three Stories about My Body Joe Kraus I. We were walking through the arboretum when a chunk of my tongue fell off. The surgeon had warned me to expect it, and he assured me it was part of the healing, but he hadn’t said what I should do with the flesh. It felt like the butt of a chewed cigar, wet and the size of the last knuckle on my thumb. I cupped it in my palm for a few minutes, unsure how I would explain if any of the others noticed. When I had a moment, I slipped it into the pond by the side of the willow. It sank and then, when it reached a foot below the surface, it began to shimmy, turned on its side, and seemed suddenly a fish. I watched until it swam beneath the foot bridge we were about to cross. II. I had to sit in the left field bleachers to get a good look at Richie because Marsha, the bitch, had the restraining order on again that month and she was sitting behind first base. That meant I couldn’t see so good, but I knew even from out there that the Butler kid’s pitch was going to nail him. Richie went down like when the cue breaks up a tight rack of billiard balls. That night, when I took my pants off for bed, I had a black and blue mark on my thigh the size of an orange. When I looked at it close, I could see the shadow of the stitches of a baseball. III. I asked the artist to put it near the top of my right shoulder; that way I could wear blouses to hide it from my grandmother who insisted Jewish people should never get tattoos. I gave him a photograph of my favorite butterfly, the Spring Azure, and asked him to keep it small, no more than an inch and a half across the wings. It took three weeks for the swelling and then the itching to go away. Sometime after, when I was admiring it in the mirror, it started to flap its wings. I knew it wasn’t going to fly away, but I knew – I just knew – it wanted me to know it could leave me any time it changed its mind.
Evil Sun in Black Boots Richard King Perkins II
Abstract listening, your words fill every sky though I fade like an evil sun in black boots. We often imagined what imagination could be likeâ€” extruding oceans and the empty hunger of purple hyperactivity. You sing to me in left-handed waves, engaged in a battle of tactile spaces and the brazen stillness of your victory declaration. Even a moonrise is brightened by your proud reasoning; petrichor under a yellow constant safeguards against all things sinister and bleak.
Brown Skinned Girl Gary Pierluigi
Chameleon brown skinned girl smiles as leaves flash a dark magenta. She gazes joyfully up at the latticework, multiples of greens and sun washing red clouds from the sky, gentle breezes ruffling the canopy, home to the male Howler monkey. Immune from the constant whine of cicadas she breathes deep the hothouse and puts a scented orchid in her long black hair. Softly, joyfully, her heart rises skyward as enormous as the sphinx moth probing the purple and violet Bromeliad, as colorful and exciting as the wings of the morphed butterfly. Purple passion flowers thrive. Small insects dance in beams of broken sunlight punctuated by the squawk of yellow headed parrots, violet eared hummingbirds. She looks up at the trail of exhaust left by the animal gods, and squeals with delight as the Howler monkeys point frantically skyward.
The tough brick-street town by the river delivered a thousand obscure loves disguised as mud. A reclaimed factory, once a church, is now a school. You can bet on a housewife’s sorrow as sure as the crowded Friday football games. All the moths in droves dying in the lights. Only the mill to the south stays lit past ten. The bars are small and dim. You enter around the back through a door that says HOME AIN’T HERE— BUT WE’LL LISTEN. Men break their backs all night, prospering toward morning coffees and maybe a game of catch. The children know silence, like a sidewalk, and wish for a less tired land. Without any help the wind adjusts the cottonwoods. The river is as slow as the old gas pumps, and the summers seem to last all year. In December, winter does. A sheen of black ice shines beneath the streetlamps of Main. You pray for the miles you must walk.
Your shoes become the color of your life, mud-black or rock-grey, they drive with each step the dirt into small, dry graves. At noon the aging drunks awaken and make their way to the store for more mash under the same old remorseless glares of farmers. The river counts on you to say its name twice a week. The fast trains forget to stop. You cheat the local grocer a dollar and go to sleep guilty. The best reasons to leave disappeared years go. Your patience is gnawed away by the soft wind-slant of grass that bends west toward the mountains. And when you look eastâ€” past the weather you can see where worry ends. In a dry gulch, where sullied leaves spend years molding themselves to the flow of the land your best plans are becoming frostâ€” silent as the coldest night moving across the plains.
They were goofy and well-mannered, and you wouldn’t think twice about scratching their scruffy necks. But every few days, the pickedover carcass of someone’s son turned up in the bushes beside the river. Before that there would always be a search party, and the people of the town learned to look by the river last because they wanted the boy to be alive — to climb down from the hayloft where he’d taken a nap, to hook back the bra of the girl he’d made love to at a hillside picnic, to return from another town’s baseball diamond, where he had been cheered and delayed for feats of prowess and ruthlessness. The wolves, of course, continued to ham it up. They could be seen rolling on their backs while grandmothers rubbed their bellies, or toying with the playground kids as they kept their ball just out of reach. Finally, a man called out the wolves. He insisted on searching by the river first, and he was scorned forever — even after the boy was found in the bushes, even though the muzzles of the wolves were bloody, even as they tried to wash him down as they gulped at the greenness of river. It was the same river that plodded unswervingly to an undrinkable sea — a sea that was vast and that swallowed a sun at the end of every day.
Curved Circus Tobias Oggenfuss Conceptual/kinetic photography
“Just don’t be late,” said Telly’s mom. “Dinner’s at six. I’ll pick you boys up by five. That should give you plenty of time.” She looked at the dashboard clock. Two hours. “They’ll be harvesting this corn tomorrow–” We jumped out of the car, the four of us: Leber, Telly, Pea, and yours truly. More than half of our starting infield with less than a fraction of the team’s common sense combined, or so Telly’s mom always told us. “–but be careful, please.” It was weeks after Halloween and the corn maze had wilted, turning a dull brown, but the stalks were strong and high, well over our heads. A few weeks earlier the place was madness, hundreds of kids every weekend, but now it was empty, just one guy manning the tickets. The cold, November air felt like my father’s aftershave, brisk and stinging at first, or maybe that was only the razor that went across my lip. I had never shaved before and at twelve I was just about the last of my friends to try shaving, except for Pea–Pea was last at everything. The man in the booth, whose thin and vanishing hair had probably seen better days, was watching a football game when we came up. There was a wire that ran from the TV to his truck and back again, powering everything, and it looked pretty iffy whether the truck would start. But then again, the truck was big. “A couple of rules first,” he said from the booth. “We close at five so that means I want you out by 4:45. You got a watch?” Telly did. He always has a watch, thanks to his mom who got this stuff on discount where she works. “It’ll be getting dark around then so take this–” He reached for something below and handed over a flashlight. “–and this.” A big white flag set on a long pole. Leber asked what that was for. “So I can find you if you get lost.” “Who says we’ll get lost?” asked Leber. “Doesn’t look like much to me.” “You’ll get lost, kid, guaranteed. It’s over ten acres with corn twice your height. I cut it myself using a tractor, the template was made by a guy in New York. One of the best puzzle designers in the country. So,
yeah you’re bound to get lost.” Leber just laughed. He was a Boy Scout, good with the compass he always brought along, and the best hitter on our team. Leber thought he could do anything and he usually could, like the time he parked one out on the street with two on, but not before telling us first. “Don’t make me go in and get you,” said the man. “Anyway the record is fifty minutes there and back. Good luck with that.” Leber synchronized his watch. It was going to be a piece of cake. “One other thing and this is important. Don’t stop.” “Don’t stop,” said Leber, his voice mocking. Of course when we did enter the maze he was the first one to stop, hardly more than a dozen steps along the path. “Like what will happen? The corn will swallow us up?” Leber snickered and looked around at us, unsure at the same time. The day was overcast with low slung clouds, dark and frazzled, like it wanted to snow or maybe the sky was angry, I’m not sure. We walked as we did to the bus stop together, joking, fooling around. There was Telly, our stocky catcher, who ate all the time, and he was manning the white flag, holding it like a lance, jabbing it into the sky. The flag wasn’t to be waved high, over our heads, except in an emergency, the man said, so he carried it as a knight would, thrusting it here and there. Telly even dropped it once or twice, probably for effect, even spearing it in the corn, a stunt that made Pea, the kid we would eventually lose, nervous. “Hey, we may need that,” said Pea looking at the flag, “so keep it handy.” Telly laughed, called him chicken or something, and stabbed him just for fun. Everyone cracked up except for Pea who wasn’t sure about this, walking into the maze, but Telly’s mom thought it was okay. I reminded everyone we had to hoof it, because of the record. “You and your records, Chazz.” But Leber agreed. “This maze isn’t hard. We’ll be sucking soda in an hour.” The maze was a sprawling figure you could see for miles, if you were flying. Otherwise it looked like any other cornfield in these parts, although there was a kiosk set up by the farmer who built it and now collected admission. Usually, during Halloween, he hired college kids to man it, and play creepy music too. Some nights they would have a haunting with college jerks dressing up as ghouls and zombies and breaking through the corn to scare the bejesus out of kids. Becky told me about it. She said she and two friends screamed for an entire hour. Me, I’m not interested in screaming.
“Why do you think we’re not supposed to stop?” asked Pea. Leber slowed to a crawl then froze—again. “It’s the corn,” he said in a creepy voice. “You stop and the corn will take you.” Telly giggled, while I rolled my eyes. “Get out,“ Pea said. “It’s the truth. I swear it’ll get you. Suck you like a straw.” Then Leber pushed Pea into the corn and Pea fell backwards, his butt sliding. I have to admit it was pretty funny and not nice, but not malicious either, Leber was just trying to toughen him up. Pea lived with his grandma, his dad and mom had split, both left when he was a boy. His grandmother did everything for him. She dressed him up in nice clothes and bought him the best glove on the team, though Pea used it. He was a regular vacuum cleaner at short. “Come on,” I said, “Let’s beat the record.” We really started walking, taking this turn and that, but every turn looked the same–just stalks and gray light. Not that we were worried. Telly calculated that a guy could walk ten acres in about twenty minutes, end to end, so we started to goof off some. We told jokes, we played shoot with fallen ears. The corn stalks were thick with corn, now shriveled and hard. We picked up some of the ears, those broken and cut by the tractor, and began to have a fight, corn dodge ball. Leber, our third baseman, threw to kill, nailing me in the back, even though I was halfway around a turn and escaping. “You’re dead, Chazz. Curl up.” I curled up all right, wounded. It hurt. Soon Telly was targeted and was hit, too, but not Pea. He ran. Pea didn’t like pain and avoided it the best he could, all the wrestling and the games of trap that we played which plunked shoulders, and the football, too. Pea was always the kicker. One kick and he was off the field. “Get Pea,” I said, sore and gasping from pain. Leber gave chase. Telly did as well, without the flag, which he dropped. After a few minutes of deliberation I ran as well, thinking they were right around the bend, but the bend split into three paths, three tunnels of corn that went nowhere or rather, just into another wall of corn. Maybe it was the finish line or another turn. Who could tell? Ten minutes later I was still on my own, and a strange thought came to me. This is like a dream. I had dreams like this, usually before a big test or the night before I pitched, when I was walking in a dark city somewhere, the streets empty and abandoned. It was usually raining or the roads were wet, and not a soul was around me, only darkness.
Already it had gotten darker from when we started. I carried the flashlight so I had that going for me, the ability to go on, but the more I walked, the more I heard something—rustling. A slight breeze kicked up. I heard my own heartbeat and began to yell, though it was hopeless: I knew no one would be able to hear my cries, but the guys beside me, we were too far out. The farmer could be anywhere and with his TV up, he wouldn’t hear a thing. But I did. Behind me. Footsteps. It was Telly. “Where’s Leber?” he asked, out of breath. “Isn’t he with you?” “I took a turn, shoot. You got that flag?” He was the one who ditched it and he knew. “You think we need it?” I asked the question knowing I didn’t have to. Of course we would need it. Every piece of corn looked identical. One turn became another, one bend the same, sometimes in circles. Not having the flag wasn’t cowardly, like calling your mom for help; it was plain stupid. “I could get us out of here,” said Telly, “if we had some sun.” But there was nothing but clouds. “What direction are we facing?” he asked pointing. There was no way to tell, there was only sky, just sky; no stars were in sight yet. “Okay, this way.” His confidence was false, I knew that, but it was better than nothing, better than mine–I had no confidence at all. “But let’s stay close together, just in case.” There was an odd tone to Telly’s voice, one that I never heard before. He wasn’t so sure about any of this. Usually Telly had a certain poise–he was good at math, like he wasn’t even trying, and as a catcher he knew how to call a game. He could tell when I had the heat or when I had nothing, and he could plan accordingly, mix in my junk and curves, keep the ball outside. Not now. This wasn’t spinning a basketball on his fingertip for three minutes like he’d actually done or reciting the starting lineups of every National League team; this was real life. In the reality of things, we were cold, hungry and lost. We turned down one of the many bends and jogged through six more changes in corn. I had the idea, from television, of making a path in the dirt with a stick I had found, in case we needed to backtrack. It was a good idea, but someone had it first. Pea did. We found his sweater. Brown, with his nametag inside. Only Pea wore sweaters; the rest us lived in tatters, old sweatshirts and football jerseys. Today he had it tied around his waist. “Pea lost it while running,” Telly said. “Or maybe it’s a trailmark. A clue.”
Sure enough we found a second article of clothing. Pea’s belt. When we saw one of his Converse hanging on the edge of a dead cornstalk, we began to get really frightened. “He loves those shoes,” I said. Telly agreed. This meant that Pea was scared or worse. He was lost and mindless, and tossing off signs for someone to heed. A second shoe made us stop. Then a sock, and two. Soon we had most of his clothes and finally, Pea himself. He was sitting on the ground, down to his underwear. But seeing us made him jump up. “You’ve found me.” He told us the story, how he kept running, first from Leber and then just to run until he began to wonder: am I going in circles? “So I used my clothes,” he said. “Markers.” Telly was relieved. “Good thing we came. You’d be naked.” I tossed the pile back to him and heard from behind the corn Leber calling for us. “Stay here,” I said to Pea. “Don’t move.” “But–” “Just stay put.” It only took Telly and I a few minutes to find Leber who was glad to see us. He noticed that he was going around in circles too. “This isn’t a maze, it’s a mousetrap. And we’re the mice,” said Leber. “You find Pea?” “Back there,” I said. But when we returned he was gone. Only his clothes were left. “I told him to stay–” Now Leber was scared. “The farmer said not to stop. He stopped.” “Well, you don’t think–?” “Ghosts? I don’t know what to think.” We huddled together and searched for our friend, staying close. Then I did it. I walked into the corn itself, just five or six steps but that was enough. The deeper you went, the scarier it got. And darker. If I didn’t have the flashlight, I wouldn’t have been able to back out a foot. My voice turned to authority then, the voice of a pitcher struggling for control. “We need to get out of here. Now. Let’s get help.” Leber pulled out his compass and pointed us in the direction from where all this had started, at the beginning. When we finally emerged with a pile of Pea’s clothes, the farmer asked me what was wrong. “We lost him.” The farmer called two other men and they went out in the corn, in opposite directions, using ATVs. Soon the police was there and by dinner thirty volunteers began cutting their way through the maze–
with search dogs and lights. They formed a long line and moved like one long arm, using sticks and loudspeakers. More volunteers came, and then the TV station as well. In an hour the corn maze had been flattened, and now there were more volunteers in the fields. The police were stumped. “He must have left the maze,” I heard one of them say. “We searched another hundred acres of corn, Jerry.” Now there were calls around the area. Roadblocks were set up and cars were searched. The new thinking was that Pea had left the fields, found a road. Maybe he hitchhiked a ride home. It didn’t make any sense. “He would wait for us,” Leber said. “He always does.” Telly nodded a gloomy affirmation. “Maybe he was kidnapped.” He voiced what the police couldn’t. “Creeps,” he said. But I just shook my head. “–then what? Ghosts?” “He wanted to leave,” I said. And then I explained it. Pea hated his house. He grew up next door from Leber in a row house whose walls were so thin that you could hear the yelling next door. And there was some yelling, said Leber. Many nights Pea got the strap for something, then the presents would arrive. The grandmother. “One minute she’s angry, then she buys him stuff.” He told me once that he was going to leave. “They’ll never know where I am, trust me. I’ll find my father maybe.” Pea had money and clothes hidden, he said. But the worst part wasn’t the leaving. It was leaving his friends. “–but we’ll meet again.” The boys couldn’t buy it. They said Pea was too chicken. But I heard the words, his prediction. If I just disappear someday, Chazz, you’ll know. I looked at them. That someday was now. The police never found our friend. They searched for three days after, and then sent out posters, reports. Nothing came up. Months went by. Soon Telly, Leber, and I were back to our old lives, baseball in summer, playing fall football. Then one day I heard it. There was a small kid kicking for the Knights, a town over. Telly and I took a bus to their practice. It was only the second time he missed dinner and not worth it. The kid was just a kid.
George Bishop’s work has appeared in Carolina Quarterly and New Plains Review. Forthcoming work will be featured in the Lindenwood Review, and his latest chapbook, Short Lives & Solitudes, was recently published by Toadlilly Press. Bishop won the 2013 Peter Meinke Prize at YellowJacket Press for his sixth chapbook, Following Myself Home and was a 2014 Pushcart nominee. He attended Rutgers University and lives and writes in Saint Cloud, Florida. Charles Calia is the author of two books: The Unspeakable: a novel (Morrow) and The Stargazing Year (Penguin). His work has recently appeared in issues of Cape Rock, Big Muddy, Penumbra and Earth’s Daughter’s, among others. Dawn Cunningham is working on an experimental creative nonfiction novel dealing with a child’s cancer and death, and a divorce that took place among the child’s cancer. “Whopperjawed” is part of the book. While she likes to dabble in experimental fiction, her main study is poetry, an art that has helped her survive many trials. Cunningham graduated from IPFW (Indiana U Purdue U Fort Wayne) with a BGS and MA. She is, for the most part, a life-long resident of Fort Wayne, Indiana, having moved twice during her life — once to New Haven (in Indiana) for six years, and then in later years to Gas City for six months. Something always takes her back to Fort Wayne and the same street. She hasn’t figured out why yet. While she raised four children, she claims others as hers, as well as their children, making her a grandmother of nine. Not a great quantity, though; however, it’s plenty to keep her busy. Liz Dolan’s poetry manuscript, A Secret of Long Life, nominated for the Robert McGovern Prize, will soon be published by Cave Moon Press. Her first poetry collection, They Abide, was published by March Street. A six-time Pushcart nominee and winner of Best of the Web, she was a finalist for Best of the Net 2014. She has received fellowships from the Delaware Division of the Arts, The Atlantic Center for the Arts and Martha’s Vineyard. She serves on the poetry board of Philadelphia Stories. She is most grateful for her ten grandchildren who pepper her life. Katie Evans is an artist and designer living in Northeast Florida. She received her BA for Fine Art in 2014 at Flagler College and is planning to complete her BFA in the fall of 2015. The drawings she has been creating use large amounts of white space and only a few lines to create quiet meditative interior spaces. In these spaces, individu-
als connect spiritually with an object—be it a teapot or piece of cloth. These objects, like all things, have a metaphysical weight that can be heightened after the passing of their owner. Deborah Gang is originally from Washington, D.C., but moved to Kalamazoo to attend grad school and remained there, both for her work as a psychotherapist and the huge freshwater ocean to the west. Her research is published in Education & Treatment of Children, and her creative non-fiction and poems are in Literary Mama and The Driftless Review. Her poems are also seen in Arsenic Lobster, The Michigan Poet, J Journal/CUNY, The Healing Muse/SUNY, and Encore. Will George has fired historical cannons, led swamp walks, and guided canoe trips for seven National Park Service units. In the literary world, he has penned essays for North Coast Squid, Hip Fish, Rain, Prick of the Spindle, and Blood Lotus. He was awarded an Oregon Literary Fellowship from Literary Arts in nonfiction for his manuscript River Soul: A Political and Spiritual Journey along the Arkansas River. He holds an M.F.A. in creative nonfiction writing from Goddard College, for which he is forever grateful and will be forever indebted. Joe Kraus teaches creative writing and American literature at the University of Scranton where he also directs the honors program. He is the co-author of An Accidental Anarchist (Academy Chicago, 2000), and he’s published his creative work in, among other places, The American Scholar, Oleander Review, Riverteeth, and Birkensnake. He won a 2004 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial poetry prize, the 2008 Moment Magazine/Karma Foundation Prize for short fiction, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2010 by Southern Humanities Review. Nick LaRocca’s stories have recently been featured in Per Contra, Outside In Magazine, the Steel Toe Review, South85, and the Milo Review, as well as Rush Hour: Bad Boys (Delacorte Press), Mason’s Road, and the Beloit Fiction Journal. His short story, “Gestures” (Lowestoft Chronicle), was nominated for a 2014 Pushcart Prize for Fiction. He is the recipient of the Robert Wright Prize for Writing Excellence and is an Associate Professor of English at Palm Beach State College. LaRocca lives in Delray Beach, Florida, with his wonderful wife and two dogs. Tobias Oggenfuss is a Swiss-American Conceptual/Kinetic Pho-
tographer. After attending art schools in three countries and studying 3D-design, furniture design, drawing/painting, he returned to Zurich Switzerland and indulged in his true passion, experimental photography, and from 2000-2012 worked as a freelance photographer. From 2008-2012 he developed a new lens technology, which got patent pending status in the beginning of 2013, shortly after his move from Zurich to Los Angeles. The new product technology has strong ties to the type of images Oggenfuss captures. He photographs and supplies images to publishers, art magazines, and journals. He also does some curating for Viewbug.com, an online photo community. Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, with his wife, Vickie, and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee whose work has appeared in hundreds of publications including The Louisiana Review, Bluestem, Emrys Journal, Sierra Nevada Review, Roanoke Review, The Red Cedar Review, and The William and Mary Review. He has poems forthcoming in Sobotka Literary Magazine, The Alembic, Old Red Kimono, and Milkfist. He was a recent finalist in The Rash Awards, Sharkpack Alchemy, Writer’s Digest, and Bacopa Literary Review poetry contests. Stu Pierce lives in Mooringsport, LA. When he is not writing, you can find him at the local coffeehouse caffeinating himself into a philosophical stupor. Gary Pierluigi was first published in Quills, and since has been published in numerous poetry journals, including CV2, Queen’s Quarterly, On Spec, Filling Station, The Dalhousie Review, The Nashwaak Review, Grain, and Misunderstandings Magazine. He was short-listed for the CBC 2006 Literary Awards in the poetry category, a finalist in the Lit Pop Awards, and received an honorable mention in The Ontario Poetry Society’s “Open Heart” series. His poetry book, Over the Edge, was published by Serengeti Press. Catherine Pinyot is a painter and a Florida native. She is currently studying art at Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL. Her work explores what it means to be human and the moods, feelings, and thoughts we experience on a daily basis. She is intensely interested in the study of color and its relationship to us as human beings: how it permeates our memories, makes us feel, and arouses the senses. Her oil paintings serve as devices to communicate this to her audience. Catherine’s paintings are largely influenced by nature, and when not in her studio,
she can usually be found outside, being inspired. Charles Rafferty’s tenth book of poetry is The Unleashable Dog (2014, Steel Toe Books). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Oprah Magazine, The Southern Review, and Prairie Schooner. His collection of short fiction is Saturday Night at Magellan’s (2013, Fomite Press). Currently, he directs the MFA program at Albertus Magnus College. Travis Truax earned his bachelor’s degree in English from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 2010. His poems have appeared in The New Plains Review, Blue Lake Review, Marathon Literary Review, and Flyover Country. He’s spent several years working seasonally in various national parks out west and spent time in southern Florida working as a writing tutor for Miami-Dade College. Currently, he is happy to be back among the plains of Oklahoma. Dr. Ernest Williamson III has published creative work in over 550 journals, including poetry in journals such as The Oklahoma Review, Review Americana: A Creative Writing Journal, and The Copperfield Review. Some of his visual artwork has appeared in journals such as The Columbia Review, The GW Review, and Fiction Fix. Many of his works have been published in journals representing over 50 colleges and universities around the world. Dr. Williamson is an Assistant Professor of English at Allen University and his poetry has been nominated three times for the Best of the Net Anthology. Williamson holds a B.A. and an M.A. in English/Creative Writing/Literature from the University of Memphis and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership from Seton Hall University.
To Our Supporters and Benefactors, This issue of FLARE: The Flagler Review would not have been possible without the generous support of the following Flagler College departments, organizations and individuals. Thanks for your ongoing assistance. President William T. Abare, Jr. Dean Alan Woolfolk Douglas McFarland Darien Andreu Lisa Baird Kim Bradley Judith Burdan Stephen Kampa Liz Robbins Connie St. Clair-Andrews Jay Szczepanski Department of English Department of Art & Design Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Society Ink Slingers Creative Writing Club A special thank-you to Laura Smith, Jim Wilson, Carl Horner, and all those who have directed The Flagler Review in years past.
Non-Fiction Come listen to Sally Saucer and other voices that will leave you “whopperjawed”;
Poetry Watch a chunk of tongue fall off in an arboretum;
Fiction Get swept up in the mystery of a corn maze; …and much more
Cover Art “Light Blue” by Catherine Pinyot