Sarah Allegra, We Are All Undead
BURNER issue 05
the photography of SARAH ALLEGRA
an excerpt from NATHANIEL G. MOORE’s forthcoming book, the chelsea papers
do the vega: a photo essay by ALEX BROWNE
author of amphetamine heart, LIZ WORTH
SARA HAROWITZ’s falling for scandinavia
Photography and visual art from...
Poetry from... Sabeen Abbas Jeff Blackman Elyse Brownell Eric Cipriani Dan Corjescu Sasha Debevec-McKenney Eva Folks William Wright Harris Theodosia Henney Drea Kato Nicole Lindler Mercedes Lucero Louis McKee Samira Mohyeddin Christine Reilly Cara Schiff John Stocks Steve Subrizi Suzanne Sutherland Rachael Vinyard
Sarah Allegra Morgan Booth Alex Browne Leanne Davies LeDor Sarah Estime Eva Folks Jackie Hall Tiffany Heath Miki Kraus Peter McNestry Karen Preston Annie Terrazzo Kailey Zitaner
Prose and short fiction from... David E. Burga Ryan Frawley Saylor Jones Nathaniel G. Moore Angela Readman Glyn Rebl Sandra Gail Teichmann-Hillesheim Liz Worth
Dear Burner Babes,
The snake goddess on our fifth issueâ€™s cover is as ancient as Phoenicia and Egypt, where her magic and mystery ruled. Itâ€™s as ancient as the cracked, red desert in the heart of Australia where her Aboriginal peoples paint her in pointillism. Venus. Aphrodite. Fertility. Her archetype uncoils through time, shedding her skin through the ages. We live at the end of an era whereby Reason built a cage to keep the snake goddess in. We have blinded the eye of the Sun God, which was once her role. Terrified of the mystery. Afraid of the dark and unwilling to follow the moon. The Light of Reason has brought us far, found many useful tools and rules along the way. But it has lost as many tools and rules, those of the intangible, improbable worlds understood by those Reason determined had nothing to offer,
photos by Alex Browne
only much to take. Today, it justifies burnt women, debt crises, child soldiers, urban ghettos, warlords, land grabs. We are nearing the end of this era. Occupy Everything indicates everything, as does our growing understanding of the quantic nature of matter, the subjective nature of objectivity. Working together, light and dark, masculine and feminine, head and heart, we will find better ways. Enjoy this issue of Burner. Savour its dark corners and magic moments, as much as you do its warmth and light. xxx.
Leah & Sarah
Sarah Allegra, Donâ€™t Feed Me Scraps From Your Bed
by Nathaniel G. Moore
“Earth’s temperature is a wonderful 40 degrees on the surface!” Benjamin said, running downstairs from the bedroom with the delicacy of a dieting bull. The kitchen was full of activities: Chelsea splashes and chopping, bouncing and smoking sipping and twitching. She blew her hair from her face, never taking the time to tie it up or anything. She cut through vegetables. She cut through fresh fruit. “I had the most intense dream last night. About a guy, who I assume was you, and you wanted to kill a shark by cutting its belly with a dagger,” Chelsea said, not looking up from her culinary incisions. “My own belly?” Benjamin said in staccato. “No Benjamin,” Chelsea said. "I said its belly, the belly of the --" "Right. Sorry, I misspoke." “He, or you rather, had a bunch of people holding the shark upside down by the tail from the edge of a boat.” “The Shark would be dead then. Tummy tuck or not.” “He was psyching himself up - squatting and breathing and looking intense.” Benjamin put his hands around Chelsea's waist, inhaled her and lightly dragged his lips across the nape of her neck. She continued to speak softly, making little noises of approval as he kissed her. “I had a dream that I was pushing your head down in the water with my foot. We were swimming and I wouldn’t let you out of the pool.” "Sorry about that."
“Then it switched back to the shark again, and one of the people holding the shark was a young woman, blond, with hair tied back. sort of demure. She was wearing a black wet suit with yellow stripes down the arms.” Benjamin thought: How long was this fucking dream? “He sank the knife into the shark's belly, making a small slit, about eight inches long. The shark was not moving.” “Eight inches?” “Yes.” “You sure?” “YES!” Chelsea went on and on about this shark belly moment, how she looked up from the dock and saw that the shark was bending itself out of the water, towards the people and its face was terrifying. “There was another drastic scene change and in the next moment I was seeing the woman in the wet suit with her head in the shark's mouth, hanging there, by her face. She was still. She was dead.” “Dead?" "Then I saw the shark’s face very close, its teeth, and its jaw clamping and clamping again, its remorseless eye.” “Just wait ‘til we go to sleep tonight. It’s going to rain. The house is going to fill with water and outside the window too! And then they’re going to come and get us!” She would take a bath.
She would still feel unsafe. She knew it drove Benjamin -The water poured. The bath was her coffin. Benjamin sat in the kitchen; a half-naked roommate walked by to get some water and muttered Hello. Some mornings Chelsea would cry uncontrollably. Or turn her back to him while sitting on the edge of the bed talking to herself: Yes…Yes…All right I will. “Who are you talking to?” Benjamin would ask, sometimes through a closed door.
“Ghosts.” Chelsea would say. “I’m saying alien prayers to my friends. They visit me.”
Nathaniel G. Moore is a Toronto-born author, editor and journalist. His last novel Wrong Bar (Tightrope Books, 2009) was a finalist for the Relit Award for Best Novel. Of Wrong Bar, The Globe & Mail said: "If, through a combination of science and psychedelia, Hunter S. Thompson and William S. Burroughs made a baby, the product of their union would go by the name Nathaniel G. Moore." Moore is the co-editor of Toronto Noir, and has written for This Magazine, Verbicide, Rabble, Open Book: Toronto, The National Post, The Globe & Mail, and the short film Sahara Sahara (2011). His other books include Bowlbrawl, a satirical look at bowling as a contact sport, and Let's Pretend We Never Met, a novel in poems about the late Roman poet Catullus. Moore’s forthcoming novel, The Chelsea Papers, will be published by Burner Books in March 2012.
Kailey Zitaner, untitled
Dear Adolescence by Nicole Lindler
I am infatuated with the cause of my youth I documented it all. Endless pages following rivers of thoughts Contemplating those new boys, Their reactions to those new breasts, And learning to find myself beautiful Somewhere in between a locked diary I was extraordinary— Perfectionist, idealist, and twelve— Twenty-some collages filled my room, All smiling girls, attractive and Above my age, under my weight. Glued together, in what I titled “DREAMS”. I never ripped them down once, but one by one They fell into my book. Even now, with my diary retired Collages gone, and insecurities so precise They did not die in vain.
DO THE VEGA A PHOTO ESSAY
BY ALEX BROWNE Do The Vega captures the community and personalities of the Collingwood Elvis Festival.
Morgan Booth, painting 1480
The Bodies of Tuna by Sabeen Abbas
A school swims through deep ocean, tasting sun through layers of water. A giant caught by a hook has his brain smashed on the shipâ€™s deck to stop the flow of oxygen to his watermelon red flesh.
In Tsukiji Market, tuna bodies lie beheaded on concrete seas. Electric saws cut through barrel shaped bodies separating flesh into fillets of akami, chutoro, otoro.
Caught off the coast of Russia The supply chain kicks in: degutting, freezing, packaging, shipping.
Chunks of tuna fit nicely in cans weighing 85-185g. Priced on sale at a $1.17.
Note: Five out of eight tuna species are at risk of extinction according to biologists at Simon Fraser University.
The Worldâ€™s First Kiss Was The Ocean Kissing A Rock by Steve Subrizi
Whenever I imagine kissing somebody for the first time, I always imagine us in a kitchenâ€” and of course the sun is about to go down and the window is open and some sweet bread that needs a lot of time just went into the oven, even though, in my life, most kisses in kitchens occur at house parties and are bourbon stale and overdone. I was daydreaming on the 66 bus, wet groceries hammocking my feet, when an old man with small glasses and no neck told a girl with thick sunglasses across the aisle that she looked very good today, and that he hoped she had a good day. He was smiling like someone who has never heard of pornography. By the trees at Brighton and Cambridge the pigeons were chasing each other and I watched one of them fly away, as steady as the first bubble from the bottom of a pot.
Mikaela Kraus, untitled 2
What Makes You Sad Isnâ€™t Supposed to Make You Sad by Christine Reilly You missed the song before you even heard it. The day you finally heard it, you ate an entire container of Raisinets because you didn't know what else to do with your mouth. You could have spoke, or sang. You even could have listened with your mouth. This type of listening is sometimes confused as kissing.
The song made you think of your biggest weakness: spelling. After you heard the lyrics, you wrote all sorts of challenging words down on napkins. You wrote down chemotherapy, and malicious. You wrote down sleep with me, song but misspelled it smurf with me, lung. You could not help your thought-glitches. You could not prevent your hiccuping fingers. You were born with them, and pressed to endure them.
Your biggest weakness is actually being neutral in times of passion. Everybody knows this except for you. Your emotional blind spot bit you during the snarled part of the song which fooled you as harmony.
Mikaela Kraus, untitled
Definitions by Liz Worth
excerpted from Amphetamine Heart (Guernica Editions)
We shared cigarettes swapped in time with the circular motions of cats about to pounce with backs up like blades, protecting against plagiarized emotions. With our hair teased into tufts of fur we ensured we were not vulnerable against Substanceâ€™s rape of youth. We wanted to be oblivious to it, hoarding our confidence, imagining our arrogance to be drawn from the energy of our ritual sacrifices: spiked heels chipping at concrete, knees grating at the base of a toilet bowl. A chandelier of winter hunger began to reverberate inside of us, churning globules of acidity. Logic vacated the space behind our foreheads. We crawled over each other, creating fender benders that made our teeth knock together. We leaned over heaped plates and binged on pearls, smooth white stones with properties to take the appetite away. Their luxury was too heavy, made the abdomen cave in. From then on everything went close-cropped, the mind only capable of capturing the illusion of an image, but not its essence. We considered this to be our most brilliant moment.
Corpses In Orbit: A Pop Quiz for You, First Love by Theodosia Henney
True or False: You have 3 minutes to complete section 1. Please mark each statement as either “true” or “false.” Begin: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8)
I thought you were gay the first time we met (he really was your roommate). Your mother's house is decorated entirely in black and white. You refuse to have sex in asymmetrical positions. The air mattress you bought deflated each night so that we woke with our backs on linoleum. I genuinely enjoyed the peanut butter and muenster cheese sandwiches you made. You dabbed the tears from my face with your sleeve (I could never cry in front of men before you). All of the plants in your mother's house are fake (the cats are not). Ladies' night discriminates against you on the basis of your gender.
tiffany heath, untitled
Multiple Choice: You have 5 minutes to complete section 2. Please circle the statement that best completes the sentence. Begin: 1) The only time you read my poetry you:
a. offered grammar suggestions (you objected to my love-affair with the semi-colon) b. smiled blithely and said you liked it c. smiled genuinely and said you liked it (you're not that good a liar) d. glanced at it and shrugged, saying “I find poems that don't rhyme hard to read” e. you have never read my poetry 2) My favorite memory of us is:
a. when our flight to Sarasota was cancelled and we were put up at the Comfort Inn in Cincinnati, leaving bed only to buy tomato soup and crackers with our meal vouchers (you taught me to play backgammon on your phone) b. falling asleep on your bed, knowing you would wake me up in time for the news c. the spring night it rained so hard the way home became water; you carried me so that my boots stayed dry d. you, wandering our house in the green skirt, railing against the colorlessness of mens' fashion (you own salmon-pink dress pants) e. all of the above 3) When I asked what you would do if I got pregnant and decided to keep the baby,
you answered without blinking: a. “I'd have to think about it” (for “it” see: what I am worth) b. “but you've got an IUD” c. “she would have your eyes” (blue is recessive) d. “I'll send you child support” e. “I'd leave you” 4) We barely saw one another the month before I left you because:
a. I moved out and you felt the 15 minute bus ride was inconvenient b. the time we did spend together felt more precious (I wrote letters, you wrote e-mails) c. I was desperate to avoid having sex d. you are an inconsiderate drunk (I waited until 2am) e. you were busy studying (Fallout 3, Pabst Blue Ribbon, the girl from your stats class) Short Answer: Please read the entire prompt carefully before you begin writing
Peter McNestry, Love Lost in Communist Times
Explain why fingering a woman who is blackout drunk at a party constitutes rape under Massachusetts state law. Connect this with your own experience of sexually assaulting an intoxicated woman at a party in a non-fiction essay format. Please remember to adhere firmly to the truth, and do not reference irrelevant events (you feeling underappreciated for the surprise birthday party you threw me, my insistence that telling me about the party you were going to throw me dampened the surprise). If, however, you would like to include any instances in which you harassed, pressured (“Do it for me?”), or guilted someone in a sexual manner, feel free to do so. Statutory rape (“she's mature for her age”) is also an acceptable topic to integrate. Please conclude with the outline of a plan for forgiveness (tell me to remember how we loved, or how I thought we did). Note: If forgiveness is not applicable/possible, provide an outline for compassion (tell me how to walk away kindly). The acts of forgetting and trusting should not be covered (they are dead, corpses in orbit, drifting through air neither of us can breathe). Extra Credit: list the definition(s) of consent and give examples. You have 15 minutes to complete section 3. Begin:
Stop Breaking Down by Eric Cipriani
I have become almost incapable of sustaining a conversation for just a few moments. Pen on paper is almost good enough. I’m obsessed by Facebook notifications. I’m haunted by empty inboxes. I cherish my 0s and 1s like love letters. Pen on paper isn’t quite good enough when you’re constantly stumbling upon Chaos/Complexity. Well-fed science makes for starving poetry. That situation should not be made worse. Relations are close to the breaking point. Pen on paper is almost good enough. Now my hands won’t stop shaking. Oh God. Relax this is a perfectly good notebook. See my handwriting. Putting the pen on the paper is almost good enough. I dream of Luddites and ice cream socials. Quit beeping at me please. You all have such beautiful voices. Who am I kidding? Pen on paper will never be good enough.
r o f g allin
a i v a n i d n by Sara Harowitz
Here at Burner we have fallen in love with Scandinavia. I was recently in Europe and had the chance to visit Copenhagen, Denmark and Stockholm, Sweden, both of which left me charmed and wanting more. Thereâ€™s something about this part of Europe that leaves you breathless; the people are just incredibly, for lack of a better word, cool, and the landscape is stunning. The culture that comes out of the Scandinavian countries continuously impresses my editors and me. Weâ€™ve come to realize that we love Scandinavia, what it produces (both in terms of products and people) and what it represents. So we decided to delve deeper and see what was out there. And just like that, before our eyes, we had a huge list of revolutionaries from various countries in Scandinavia that we wanted to share with you, our Burner babes. We managed to whittle that list down to a few key characters in each category: art, music, fashion, and design. In the first of a two-part in-depth look at Scandinavia and some of its most interesting minds, we take you to Sweden and Iceland. Read, enjoy, and fall in love.
Åsa Jungnelius occupation: DESIGN/artist, glasswork LOCATION: Stockholm/Smaland The work of Åsa Jungnelius is its own breed of creativity and expression. Using glass as her language, she asks questions, pokes fun, and forces honesty out of her subjects. Whether it is a glass lipstick made for your household display or a large, glass monster on exhibition at a gallery, Jungnelius is able to capture sensitivity and curiosity in her work and in doing so, invoke both of those things in her audience. With topics such as gender identity, hierarchy, consumerism, and why we do the things we do, Jungnelius’ art work is both beautiful and disturbing. What appears at first glance to be flawless and gorgeous glass actually has a much deeper and darker meaning to it. Her work is, aesthetically speaking, gorgeous. But there’s more to each piece than that. It’s sitting right in front of you – all you have to do is let yourself see it. What made you decide to start making glasswork as your living? I had always been interested in the questions that I’m working with to look at how you project the social constructive of gender or how you value an object, or stereotypes and attributes or how they become the stereotypes and attributes and how you can change that. And I wanted to express myself in material and sneak into people’s homes so you have the questions there. I made a small candle holder looking like a small vagina so you can talk about this stuff in your everyday life.
What was it about glasswork that drew you in? I think it’s the material itself that fascinates me in that way that makes everyone think it’s so beautiful. If you take a piece of glass that is trash people say, ‘Wow, it’s so beautiful,’ because it has this glittering, sensitive [feeling] and that fits into my questions that I was interested in expressing. But also I mean I love the everyday life of being in this studio with really heavy work, and it’s dark, and it’s a lot of people working together, and I do my stuff. I think it’s a good way of spending a day.
There is such a level of patience needed for glasswork. Is that something you had to work on? I love to do stuff quickly and don’t pay much attention but when you work with glass you have to be very concentrated and have a lot of patience with the material itself ... But sometimes when you do dirty stuff with the glass, like not treat the material well because you want it to be ready fast, it can also give an expression to the object. Where do you get your inspiration? To live your life and try to enjoy life I think is a big inspiration, and to travel and to meet different people. How would you describe your art to someone who had never seen it before? I guess for me it starts with this question to kind of criticize different power structures and hierarchies and how you construct your identity ... So it’s very much different stereotype symbols that I use over and over again, and I work also very much with the body as a reference; maybe the surface can be skin or the hole can look like an opening of the body. It’s very important for me that you can feel yourself that this object in glass actually smells like a sweaty body or something.
What do you think it is about Scandinavia that makes it so unique and revolutionary and forwardthinking? This is only one theory but people spend a lot of time in their houses because of the long winters. People are obsessed with renovating and making their houses nice. And I guess that’s universal and you do that in many different countries, but sometimes in Sweden I feel like it’s what people live for, how their home looks and what they are wearing. And of course that can happen in a boring way or in an interesting way, but what I mean is that it’s very common that you are obsessed with material, the interior material that you have around you in your everyday life. It’s a very big interest for Swedes. And if there’s a big common interest I think also then it develops avant-garde or develops a more experimental way of thinking because that’s a big question and a big issue. How would you define success for yourself? Right now I’m very happy that I can make my living on what I love to do. Success is like the sun. Sometimes you are in the sunshine and sometimes you have a cloud in the way of the sun. And I think you should be happy if the sun shines on you for a while because that means you can keep on doing your art as a profession. But the cloud comes and goes. I’m happy I can do what I like most to do and right now it’s working very well. But I think it’s always important that you keep on doing stuff that you’re a bit afraid of or have never done before to develop yourself. It’s always good to be a little bit scared and stressed. I think you work best. You have to put yourself in that kind of situation and not relax just because it’s working right now ... Even if you have a successful company I think it’s good to always put yourself or
force yourself in directions where you are a bit insecure because then you always keep on developing things and making things better. I don’t think it’s good to feel like, ‘Okay, everything is good now, I’m safe, I can relax.’ You have to jump from the highest roof. What do you love about art? I think I love that I can understand what the other person means without that person saying anything
to me. I’m just looking at that person’s art work. I think it’s fantastic when it’s bigger than words. I’m not a good talker all the time, I’m better at doing my material work; that’s my language, that’s how I express myself. And I think it’s wonderful when you understand another person and you get a complex picture of that person’s feelings. And I think that’s also why it’s important that art exists; it expresses something that’s hard to put words on or hard to describe with words.
For more about Åsa and her work, visit her on the web:
Anton Sandqvist occupation: FASHION/ owner, Sandqvist LOCATION: Stockholm, Sweden Sandqvist is the definition of simplicity. A Sandqvist product is concise, laid-back, quiet; it doesn’t scream for your attention and it might even take a second to grab it, but once it has you it won’t let you go. The company’s founder, Anton Sandqvist, is 40-years-old. He began designing bags back in 2004 and has since watched Sandqvist grow into a full-fledged, high-quality accessory company. Sandqvist bags are made to last. They’re your companions. They’re meant to grow old with you, and they will. What made you decide to start your company? I think it was mainly because I had the wrong job and I didn’t like it that much. After many years I kind of realized that I wanted to work with creative stuff instead of just engineering stuff which I worked with. You know after quite a few years in the same career you get a little bit lazy and a good salary and a good situation and therefore I decided quite late to start my own business and do the things I wanted to. So you used to be an engineer? Yeah I’m a mechanical engineer, which is good. Bag design is kind of mechanical engineering
because it’s very basic and you know how to make drawings and make people who manufacture things understand how they should do it. And those are really kind of key things when you design. I’m happy for that background. Were you scared to change professions? Yeah, of course. I mean, Stockholm is an expensive city to live in ... To buy an apartment here is really expensive and when I finally took the step to quit my other job and work with my own brand I basically cut my salary in half. And still you need to pay the bills for rent and stuff
like that ... So definitely, I was a bit worried ... But it has gone really good. I read that this whole company really came about because you couldn’t find a nice laptop bag. Yeah, that’s true, yeah ... I was very bored that there weren’t any laptop bags ... And I was carrying a laptop every day to work and when I travelled and so on and I couldn’t find something that I liked, and the ones that I liked didn’t have anywhere to put the laptop inside. So that’s why I made the first bag. Basically I bought an industrial sewing machine and I ordered some materials from some local suppliers and stitched one bag. It took me 26 hours or something awful. Since then I don’t stitch any whole bags. It was really difficult. Did you ever see Sandqvist becoming as successful as it has already? Yeah. I mean, I don’t know, it’s difficult to say. Now we’re growing really fast actually and it’s extremely busy and extremely fun. But I think I understood that after a few years of having the kind of hobby company that, ‘Wow, this can have good potential.’
I don’t know. But Americans, at least, tend to have a more outgoing and bold attitude in general about things. And Swedes and maybe Fins even more have a much more opposite attitude and that probably shows in the products ... We don’t brag about things that much and also then our products don’t brag about themselves. There’s no bling. What do you love about fashion and design? I like the creativity that is behind it, that’s probably what I like, in that you can express something that you feel or that shows your personality with accessories or bags, and the same with clothing. I think it’s a mirror of your personality somehow. How would you define success for your company? The classic Swedish definition of success is: food on the table and having a good time. That’s the way I want to define it.
On your website it says that you recycle history as you know it. What do you mean by this? [laughs] It’s a nice way of saying that we are copying old bags, maybe. I’m very much into old things in general. I like old furniture, old cars, old houses, and so on. And if I find a bag that’s old that I like, I try to make my own interpretation of it. So that’s how we kind of recycle history in our own way. Because many of our bag styles are things that we have seen in old photos or we have bought in vintage stores and have made our version out of it. Not all of them, of course some of them are totally new, but there’s a strong influence from old stuff in our collection. How hard is it to design a bag that appeals to both men and women? We do discuss that a lot and we want the bags to be as unisex a style as possible. And we want the user to define by themselves if they think it’s a bag for a woman or for a man or whatever. Why is functionality so important to you in your designs? Because I don’t see any reason for carrying a bag if it’s not functional. I wouldn’t carry a bag just for the looks of it, not me personally. What do you think it is about Scandinavia that is so appealing and different?
For more about Sandqvist, visit:
Ragna Róbertsdóttir occupation: ART/painter LOCATION: Reykjavik, Iceland
Ragna Róbertsdóttir’s work is as vast and breathtaking as the volcanoes she takes inspiration from. Often taking up entire walls or even entire rooms, her paintings are luscious, deep and emotional. Róbertsdóttir’s art gives off an immense sense of power and wonderment; you feel the fascination and passion for nature that the artist does. Focusing on the incredible scenery in Iceland, Róbertsdóttir, 66, uses her craft as her voice. Digging deeper into art and its connection with nature, Róbertsdóttir glues actual objects such as volcano pumice and rocks right onto her paintings. This creates a fuller viewing experience, often making people feel more like a part of the landscape than an observer of it. Róbertsdóttir’s work is about the growth, not the result. She’s not so much trying to dissect the natural world as she is trying to understand it and connect with it. We’re just lucky she’s willing to share what she discovers.
When did you know that you wanted to pursue art as a career? I have somehow known it all the time. I went to art school when I was 18-years-old and somehow nothing else was on my mind.
As the glue dries maybe in half an hour, I have to do it very quickly. I have to [work] until it’s finished. So it could take maybe half a day or a whole day just to do the throwing because the glue can’t dry because then the pumice doesn’t stick to the wall. So I have to be quick. So it’s hard work.
How has Iceland been an influence on your work?
Why do you choose to make your pieces so big?
I have been living here all my life and it’s what I know best. Of course the landscape is so overwhelming. I got it into my heart when I was a little girl. I was always driving around the country with my parents in the highlands and somehow it’s there, the landscape is in my heart in my brain.
I always think about the architecture and for me it’s what fits into the architecture. I sometimes think it should be the whole room. And it’s much more powerful if it’s big then if it’s small because it’s just like the lava fields, they are big. They are so big. And I like those works much better big but it depends on the architecture, I always first of all think of it when I come into a place and decide what to do ... So I never know exactly what I’m going to do until I’m in the place.
What made you decide to start applying solid objects onto your pieces? Before I had been working with heavy lava stones, sculptures and I was a little bit tired. It was heavy and very physical work. I was trying to find something lighter to work with but [still] in the same area. So it came very easily somehow. I saw this material, and it’s the story of Iceland in the material and you have everything. I have a very good friend of mine who said that I have always had the volcano on my mind. So somehow I have been fascinated by volcanoes. What is it about nature that is so fascinating to you? It’s the power, this power. You cannot do anything about it, you can just look at it and it’s beautiful but it’s frightening at the same time. It’s this power. How difficult is it to work with a material like lava? For me it’s not hard because I go out to the landscape and collect it myself, and that’s a big part of it. It’s very nice to go out to the lava fields alone, stay there for a few days and collect the lava. But then I have to go to town and I have to wash it, sieve it. It has to be cleaned because I throw it to the wall so it’s a big process. And of course when I am throwing it onto the wall it’s a lot of work but this is somehow also like therapy. You literally throw the lava onto the painting? Yes, I do that. I throw it. I mark the outline with paint and then I put glue on the wall and then I throw the lava pumice to the wall. And then some of it stays and sticks to the wall. I have to finish it the same day because the glue can dry if I’m too late. Your works are large, often taking up entire walls or even entire rooms. How long does something like that take to put together?
You take a simple concept – applying natural stones to a wall – and make it something so beautiful and simple yet intricate and unique. Why do you think your work resonates with so many people? When a work is on the wall you can see many, many things in it. Although it’s so simple I think people like to see [that] it’s honest; they see the landscape on the wall, the landscape itself, and then they can feel it somehow. It’s the material that is interesting for many people. And when they are very big people somehow feel physical, it’s like you are maybe in it, inside [the work]. What do you try to represent in your art work? The story of Iceland and the stories in the material itself. For example, when I’m doing a work which I call “Hekla,” which is the most famous volcano in Iceland, then perhaps I am doing a painting or a work of Hekla but I am working with the material itself. And it’s not a painting of the place, it’s the place itself. What do you think sets Scandinavia apart from the rest of the world when it comes to art and culture? What I like is that it’s often somehow simpler. I mean clean, maybe it’s the air or, I don’t know, it’s often simple and clean. What do you love about art? You couldn’t live without art, I think. It’s necessary. It’s so necessary to have art. You have to look and look and look, you have to educate yourself by looking at art all the time. It doesn’t come to you; I mean you have to find it yourself ... I am not good at expressing myself. I have never been. I express myself in my artworks.
Conceptual by Angela Readman
Sarah Allegra, Dreamer Unmarked
We lived as conceptual artists. It’s what we were. If anyone wanted to know who we were they had only to look. On special occasions my family cut their clothes from paintings. Mom wore Botticelli. My sister wore Ophelia’s drowning dress, and Dad was the king the woman in a medieval painting swept round. I wore a smock from a haystack. Kids called me Yoko Weirdo.
Mom invited the kids to my birthday party. She shook hands with other parents from behind a canvas. We cut cake to throw at billboards. I blew out a candle and wished we could have normal parties. I wanted to wear Nike or Burberry like every one else. But when the guests left, and it was just us, we were happy. Never bored, we spent winter evenings catching the moon in a bucket a hundred times. School was something else. The teacher gave my art homework an F. My canvas was blank with a small hole in the centre. I brought it home and Mom hung it over the window. We sat in front of it like a TV, watching the sun make the white yellow then pink, then a star fit through the hole. Mom said it was the best painting she ever saw. She attached my hair from the brush to her wall and added my sister’s freckles to the chart. Every summer vacation on my sister’s face was counted like commemorative coins of hot days. Sometimes we got notices from The Residents Association about the canvas in the yard with the leftovers of our meals on it. Kids pushed me in the dirt and told me to count every grain. I’d go home angry, ready to lecture my family on the advantages of being boring. But, there was my sister carrying a bag of peas under her arm, leaving one wherever she went. From the window I saw little green dots everywhere. Birds spread their wings everywhere she’d been. There was too much to see to stay stay angry. I looked at a cloud and asked it to carry how I felt. Then things changed. Mom gave Dad a Valentines of skin she shed in the past year. He flew a photo of her up to sky and let go of the strings. There was nothing conceptual about the woman he left us for. She owned a paper shop. It was nowhere near as exciting as it sounds. It wasn’t a shop built of paper the wind moved where it was needed, it just sold stationary and magazines. Dad used to go in there with a scalpel, cutting ads out of magazines to replace with instructions for origami butterflies. He was always an artist, but his talent was a sad burden. His biggest project was realised. He dreamed of living in a house that was a giant sledge. When the city denied his building application he sent all his mail with pictures of his face on instead of a stamp. Black ink etched his brow with worry lines. Only this could show him how he really felt. When this wasn’t enough, he gave up the life and moved onto a new project of living with the most ordinary woman in the world.
Art continued without him; it was all we knew. Mom was an idea machine, picking up the slack for them both. In his absence, she made a list of everything that needed to be done in the house, then, went into bed till every one had been done. The next stage of the project was to stay in bed till we came looking. When she got up she hung the sheets from the bed round the room like a tent, still unwashed. She looked out at the tree dad planted and wept tiny stones. Next, she started working on learning how she really smelt. She didn’t wash or change her clothes. Her skin was a project growing over each day like thin tissue. Art was everywhere all the time.
Mom took a photo of the woman in the paper shop and made it into a canvas. We threw cookies at it before bed. Then, she reprinted the photo, cut it into sections and sent pieces of it to everyone she knew. The newspaper shop woman received her own mouth in the post. The police came to our house. The word ‘harassment’ punched Mom in the chest. She tried to explain, how she just wanted to give people something to carry with them all day, show them parts of themselves they didn’t understand. The police looked around the house and saw the canvas of Dad’s mistress covered in chocolate and crumbs. Child Protection came and typed reports about the dirty sheets and the peas all over the floor. They promised to return. Mom had to stop her art until my sister and I were eighteen, or we’d be placed in a less artistic home. Our neighbours threw stuff over the fence. Someone sprayed ‘LEAVE’ on our canvas of Western waste. ‘Why won’t they leave us alone?’ Mom said. She wished she could make her body a canvas clothed only by whatever people passing her drew on it, but she loved us too much to try. She cleaned the house and cut her hair. One by one my sister and I carried Mom’s art to the basement. Mom couldn’t show people anything or find out how she felt without it. She bought a tracksuit and wore it. Me and my sister got winter coats. It was only then I understood what any of our art ever did. Dressed in nylon, a sandwich in my bag instead of a slice of the moon, my mother dropped me at school like everyone else. And all I could think about was finding a stone the same size and shape as me, ground down into fine powder. I wanted to donate it to everyone every time I was called to crack a smile I didn’t mean.
It’s how we found each other dancing on railroad tracks with pennies in our pockets, pieces of dreams decaying in caves beneath our skin shadows from bordering trees trembling under our feet, our bodies so young this forest was a kind of ghost story we weren’t afraid of anymore the thunder of a locomotive whistle so loud our ears pulsed like hearts our hands reaching into our pockets finding what they feel like empty because we forgot our mothers can’t afford pockets without holes the train coming closer towards us the growing light, an angry finger pointing at us, with quivering hands we run to pick up the fallen pennies scattered along the tracks the ground shaking with purpose our fingers wrapping themselves around pieces of copper, the dead of night looming, the train light piercing the nerves in our eyes our fists full of pennies, the screaming whistle sounding louder and louder one by one we lay them down
Impact by Mercedes Lucero
Sarah Allegra, Mourning for Things Lost
Change of State by Suzanne Sutherland
Your back. You were laid out diagonal across your bed (with its borrowed frame), Matter exists in three distinct states: solid, liquid and gas. on top of the covers with a pillow over your head, The process whereby a solid becomes a liquid is known as liquefaction. still wearing the red socks I bought you for Christmas, The process whereby a gas becomes a liquid is known as condensation. prepared to sleep until after noon while I got dressed for work. The process whereby a liquid becomes a gas is known as evaporation. You squirmed when I kissed the back of your neck to say goodbye, The process whereby a gas becomes a solid is known as sublimation. and held you, inhaling your sweet, musty scent. The process whereby a liquid becomes a solid is known as solidification. But it wasn't enough to get you out of bed. I'll never see your back again. The state of a given set of matter can change depending on temperature and pressure.
n Nightmare #37 by Christine Reilly
I live for the bed. I live for the private, the closed doors; your pajamas I beg to wash in my mouth and never return. The rules of the bed are no more secrets, no more clothes, and then no more rules which means at any moment the bed may become a water taxi and take us to a place where there are strangers, accessories, shirts laced with fear. Outside the bed there are jokes. Jokes are human and clothe fears. Jokes are a way to survive in public. One morning I awake: the pillows are waterlogged and I am a joke. You are wearing a suit and a tie. You hand me a cane, no longer a dandy. I am a cripple. A snail holds its bed on its back. A hermit holds her lover's pajamas in her mouth. A water taxi charges the same fare to the public: every body is the same. No parts private. I cannot recognize your human parts in a sea of shoes and pants and knock-knock, who is there, fireman's suspenders. Christine who? I unswallow your pajamas and wave them around like a blue and white flag. They are the same color as your iris and white. Which you open and close to try to get us to the place we were before we both fell asleep and the cab opened its blankets to hold every privacy we've ever shared.
(AN EXCERPT) by Ryan Frawley “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” It is the feast day of Saint Moninne,1 born AD 432, died AD 518; converted, they say, by St Patrick himself. The watery sun ripples on the church’s white roof. If you looked at this scene objectively, like some celestial being descended from the cold reaches of space with no points of reference to tell you what was going on here, you wouldn’t think these people were grieving. You’d think they were embarrassed, or maybe waiting for something, like a bus or a line to move.
St Moninne retired at the end of her life to Killeavy and established a convent. She was buried there, beneath a granite slab. On the slopes of Slieve Gullion there is a well that bears her name, said to cure eye trouble. “For this reason we never become discouraged. Even though our physical being is gradually decaying, yet our spiritual being is renewed day after day.” The priest sleepwalks through the too-familiar words, a letter from a maniac to a bunch of confused Jews no one remembers anymore2. You can trace it, even in Acts, the eclipsing of the man Jesus with the deity Christ. It’s all there, in the letters, the names of people we can now only theorize about, the rival churches scattered across the Mediterranean, each clinging on to a different prophet, a different Messiah, a different Law. The sun setting on Slieve Gullion, shading the church built on top of the saint’s grave, sparkling briefly in the water of the holy well3. The same water – help me, Fiona, you know this so much better than me – that fooled the hero Finn McCool and reduced him to a wizened old man, his famed golden hair dwindling to a shadowy grey. The same mountain, we must believe, where the witch Milucra hid in a fairy mound and the warriors of the Fianna laboured for three days to dig her out and avenge their enchanted leader. “For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever.” But there’s something here, a door to another life, just as the mounds, the sidhe, are the entrance to the Otherworld. I can feel the wind on the mountain, the mist gathering on the lower slopes as the rain sweeps in from the West, the ancient tombs casting vast shadows across the grass. The mounds were not graves, repositories for moulding bones; they were gateways to another world; a perilous one, to be sure, but a place of rebirth, where the creative force of all the worlds issues from.
July 6th. Moninne is a typical early Irish saint, in that it is impossible to establish the fact of her existence. According to hagiographers, she worked closely with St Bridgid, a well-known pagan deity masquerading as a saint, which might indicate that Moninne is also a euhemerisation of some prehistoric god. The truth, however, is lost in the myth. 2 St Paul, 2Corinthians4. It would seem appropriate at this point to observe that this passage must relate to Dermot’s father’s funeral, and so, if the text is arranged in chronological order, this should be near the start. However, I have chosen instead to locate it here. It was written rather later than many of Dermot’s notes, and in it we may see him finally attempting to confront his grief at the loss of his father by writing about something he previously could not; the funeral itself. Thematically, therefore, it is of a piece with the later chapters, and so I have chosen to let it remain in its current position. 3 There it is again, the well, that universal mythological symbol. Is Dermot deliberately and consciously using these symbols in his story, or is it more profound – the unconscious manifestation of universal archetypes?
Be with me now, Father, when I feel so close to something so ancient and vast and true. Something catches in my throat as the walls of the tiny church fall away on all sides and I stand naked in the wind. Take me back, back into the mist, back into the sea, back into the unknowing, unconscious state of being we knew before we ever knew this terrible world. Fall together with me, flesh and spirit, back into the womb of the earth, back to the beginning, the very beginning, and leave this illusion behind. There’s a taste like bleeding metal in my mouth. My teeth are on edge. You must understand. You must understand. There is something here beyond any of this, something that will explain me and my father and my country, and more than that, more than my madness, more than my life, more than my death or my father’s or the death of a nation at the hands of a machine; you must understand. This thing, out there – no, in here, in here with us, massive and unseen, eternal, Paul’s wild claim realized, but far older than that – this thing that words break against like waves, a force here, in my chest, a bubble swelling up to burst behind a tangle of knotted language, so strange and so familiar. Do you understand? There’s no time, I’m on the edge of it, I know, but the priest is bringing the mass to a close, the coffin is being lifted up by strangers, they are carrying my father away, and I am frozen to the spot, because to move I have to turn away from this thing I need and can’t understand, and if I look away even for an instant I may never see it again, and everything depends on me chasing this feeling back to the beginning. Stay with me, Father, just a little longer, because I think you saw this thing too, this monstrous beauty just around the next corner, disappearing into the mist. Stay with me, Dad; you must understand. Your death, and my life, and this land that echoes behind my eyes in a way I can’t explain, are all somehow tied up in this one thing, the way there’d be no rain without the sea. Stay with me, Dad, I can almost touch it – “Go, the Mass is ended.”
Ryan Frawley is a Vancouver-based writer whose short stories have appeared in subTerrain, WordWorks and The Fiddlehead magazines. Born and raised in Coventry, England, he has lived in Vancouver since 2003. First prize winner of the Vancouver International Writers and Literary Writes short story competitions respectively, Scar is Frawleyâ€™s full-length literary debut. Scar is currently available for purchase in paperback through Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca and www.ryanfrawley.com, and in e-book format through Smashwords.
LeDor, Keep on Rockinâ€™
Zombie by Jeff Blackman
The friend who fixes your computer charges.
Truth & Knowledge by Eric Cipriani
I was watching the annals of history play out on the walls of my bathroom when I realized that I may or may not be covered in piss.
Your Hair by Drea Kato
Your hair is a mess. It is a flock of birds caught in a net. It is mixed fruit & dirt & strawberry patches. It is yesterday, and it is the way you wake up in the morning perfectly, in a huge mess on the floor. Your hair is a nest for me, with all the tornadoes I could ever need.
Your hair is in my mouth. It is like raspberries covered in dust, fire in smoke, babies in buckets of blades. Your hair is a danger sign, a smoke alarm, my house on fire. Your hair is in my mouth.
It is bilingual and it masquerades as something that knows nothing at parties. It is delirious and smells like mold in the morning. Sometimes it looks like spiderwebs after a storm, but it is its own storm. Sometimes it lights itself on fire.
Your hair is a hangover. It is a dozen rainbows in hell. It is the reason I know how to scream. I am sure it is a million reasons for someone else now.
Your hair is like a massacre of dead plums, red-purple skin rotting. Your skin is a heroin-bomb dropped on me, leaving me in worldthirst.
Your hair is all the drugs I need to take to go to sleep.
Your hair is the harvest of fall. Your hair is all the stars falling from the sky.
Your hair is the wound of an animal, licking at it like bloody berries.
It is the used furniture I own, with all the blood on it. It is the picture of a birthday cake of someone who is dead.
Annie Terrazzo, from the Power Lines series
Annie Terrazzo, from the Power Lines series
THE INTERNATIONALIST by glyn rebl
We’re sitting in a herna bar in Vršovice after midnight. “I want to mix with your countrymen,” I said to Martina earlier. “The common people!” “Alright,” she sighed. In Czech Republic, herna bars are twentyfour hour drinking and gambling establishments. The atmosphere is caliginous and smoky like the Prague skyline in October. Weather-beaten old men weep into their beers, salivate over slot machines. Stoic barmaids have grown skin so thick they don’t feel the lascivious stares groping their breasts. There is no shortage of hernas – three per block in most neighbourhoods. Only two other customers tonight – both men. They’re leaning against the bar, bellowing a guttural Czech that is all cigarette butts and slivovitz. “What’re they saying?” “A lot of swearing. Vole is like saying fuck – you can use it after every word, almost.” One stands precariously, spills beer as he gesticulates like an octopus; he is communicating information of the utmost importance. A political discussion, perhaps? “He just told his friend if he was gay, he’d give him a blowjob.” His friend – bloated, yellowed like an old newspaper, bald-headed – sits and slaps the tabletop, suffers fits of debilitating hyena-
laughter. He chokes on his beer, careens unsteadily, holds on for dear life. The octopus turns to us– pupils dilated, eyes bulging, tentacles waving. He struggles with a cigarette that won’t stay in his mouth, and feverishly explains something to Martina. His companion is comatose on the bar. I get up to piss, and when I return, he’s flopped onto the floor like road-kill. The octopus ignores him – “You, from Canada, she is Czech, you’re an international couple!” A foghorn sounds from the floor. “I will be ambassador to you for the Czech nation!” he exclaims, smacking my back. “I like to meet people from far places. I hate to say,” and he moves in closer, “But a lot of Czechs are racist! They never left the country, seen anything – no open mind!” “Right there,” he says, pointing to the swollen toad at our feet, “He’s never been outside Czech Republic, but he’s an internationalist! A brilliant man!” The bilious barmaid is trying to rouse the brilliant man drooling on the ground. He orders us all Becherovka – “Ah, don’t worry about him! To internationalism and to you! Nadrazi!” The internationalist, still lying prostrate and motionless, begins to sing off-key; the octopus joins in passionately. Martina and I cease to exist in their herna musical. “What’re they singing?” “The Czech national anthem.”
Morgan Booth, painting 1550
São Paulo by Elyse Brownell
We took a trip to São Paulo to watch your bestfriend marry As we greeted your friend's family, I wasn't sure if I should add a third kiss to the left cheek to admit I'll never have you Women wore formal dresses made from red carpets You wore a smile I'd never seen before when you danced with the bride drunk from too many Caipirinhas At 4 AM you bent me over the bathroom sink, in our hostel named The Girl from Ipanema You covered my mouth with community hand towels You ordered us fresh mango juice I tried to mimic the movements of your mouth
'suco da manga,,' I learned after we left At clothing shops, I said "Tchau" back You continued in full sentences causing the locals to follow me around the mannequins, pointing to things "You try?" "Não, Obrigada," you answered for me You befriended dogs and panhandlers gave into children begging for cans of milk You told me not to tease the laughing gulls and caught me admiring our foot prints in the sand On our flight home, my mouth was able to move without yours I ordered you a Ginger Ale with two ice cubes and at Customs, we had nothing more to claim.
Morgan Booth, painting 1484
Sonora Desert Blues My crew and I stood before a waist high fence. It would be the first time our geophysical survey crossed onto private property. A tractor was tilling the fields in the distance. The dry Mexican soil looked incapable of supporting much life but it seemed the people were forced to squeeze what little they could from it. We hopped the fence and as soon as we had set up to take the first reading I heard a loud BOOM! As if signaled by a starter’s pistol my two workers raced past me and leapt over the fence. The shot rang out across the countryside and its echo mixed with the sound of quick, dusty footsteps fading behind me. I wish I could say that my dedication to the job at hand and protecting the company’s $50,000 piece of equipment slung around my shoulder was what kept me put, but the truth was that I was afraid. A frail farmer, who looked as if old age and famine were racing to see which would claim him first, approached slowly. The shotgun he leveled at me shook as he tried to keep it steady. “What do you think you’re doing?”
by David e. burga
“We’re working. Weren’t you contacted that we’d be crossing on your property?”
“No. Nobody talked to me.”
In Canada, it was standard practice to seek a property owner’s permission before crossing onto their private property. In Mexico, things were a little less formal. As the company’s sole Spanish speaking employee, I supposed I should’ve talked to landowners myself before trespassing. Particularly since some were armed. “What kind of work are you doing?” he said in a gravelly voice. I was lucky that geophysics translated easily to “geofisica.” “What’s that? What I needed to convey was the principle of induced polarization – the concept that certain bodies, primarily metallic, can take an electric charge. We had a worker operating an AC generator at the truck. The generator fed electricity into electrodes we buried in the ground about two kilometers apart. The alternating
Jackie Hall, Head In The Clouds
current turned off and switched directions fifty fifty times per second. We walked between the electrodes taking readings. If there was no metal then the signal disappeared, like turning off a light switch, and we got no reading. If there was metal under the ground the induced charge dissipated like a fading ember and we picked up a signal. The only problem was I wasnâ€™t sure how to
explain that in my incredibly nontechnical Spanish. I moved to Canada when I was a young boy and the majority of my Spanish consisted of words used in conversations between a mother and her son. Oddly enough, my mother never had to use the terms electrode, induced polarization or alternating current in raising me and thus I was caught a bit off guard by the question.
“Geophysics? It’s a scientific survey. We’re looking for an extension of the mine, or maybe a new one.” He nodded his head slowly. “Tell me something, why do you speak Spanish so funny? Where are you from?” “I’m from Canada.” He stared up at the sky and thought hard about this, the beads of sweat that ran down his face left deposits of dirt in the wrinkles on his face and penciled his features like a comic book character. “Is that in Mexico?” I supposed that all he needed to know of the earth was there in the ground beneath his feet. “Canada? No, it’s north of the United States.” “Oh. Do all the people there look like us?” I liked the sound of that, ‘us.’ “No. I was born in Peru.”
“So why do you look like us?” I contemplated explaining how people from Asia migrated during the last ice age and became the natives of North America, the Mayans and Aztecs of Mexico, and the Incas of Peru. I wasn’t sure if I was being condescending when I asked, “do you know who Hernan Cortez is?” “Claro, señor. Yo soy Mexicano.” “Okay, then you know that a little less than five hundred years ago, Hernan Cortez, sailed to Mexico and conquered the Aztecs, who welcomed him as a God, by capturing their king, Montezuma. Do you know who Fracisco Pizarro is?” He thought for a moment. “No, señor.” “He was Cortez’ cousin. Cortez and Pizarro talked about his conquest and methods, and Pizarro sailed to Peru. He did the same thing as Cortez, he captured the Inca king, and toppled the Inca empire.”
“Is that in Mexico?” “No, it’s in South America.” “Are there lots of Mexicanos in Peru?” “No, not really.”
The hard creases in his face softened and a smile crossed his lips. “Hmph.” The gold in his front tooth may very well have come out of the mine beyond the town. Its shiny luxury was contrasted with the poverty suggested by the void left in the
adjacent, black space; a seeming yin and yang of desired wealth and empty reality. In that moment we understood the connection between us – that in us both was mixed the blood of great kings and great scoundrels, of great conquerors and the noble spirits they conquered. In that understanding there was a trust that came with it because we seemed the same. The farmer lowered the shotgun, said, “carry on,” and then turned and walked back towards his tractor.
Jackie Hall, Winter Veins
I turned around and saw my workers peering over the top of a low ridge. I waved them over and we continued with the survey. As we made our way across the farmer’s field I thought about how the conquistadors came and took what they wanted from the people and the land. Then I thought about the work we were doing and the gold I was looking for and where that wealth would go and I wondered how much had changed in fivehundred years.
Dear Brigadier by Sasha Debevec-McKenney
My type has always been Ulysses S. Grant, big Midwestern boys with full beards and a flare for alcoholism and leadership skills. My first kiss came well after pubertyâ€™s fuzzy mustache phase, with the kind of man who might one day drop his x-box controller and grab the reins of a horse, tear off his graphic tee and show me the silver buttons of his army uniform.
Leanne Davies, Swallow
Leanne Davies, Sow
I like the kind of man who knows what it’s like to disappoint an entire nation, who’ll fall into our bed, put his hand up my shirt and say to himself: “Well she took a nap instead of playing video games with me, but at least it’s not as bad as April 1862— men drowning on the battlefield while their lungs filled with raindrops.” I’ll love him no matter how uncomfortable he looks at a desk, shifting the inkwell or the Macbook back and forth to make space for his sweaty forehead. I’ll wake up from my nap two hours later and tell him, you’re the only person in the world I would go to Ohio for.
Annie Terrazzo, from the Power Lines series
Notes to Self by Saylor Jones
Do not order duck feet. Webbed feet years ago on a bed that pulled out like a drawer with Playboy magazines tucked inside. Not like the duck feet you ordered at a Chinese restaurant while trying to show off, food that smelled and chewed like red rubber washers. Patrick’s toes were fused, more like glass art. Then one honeymoon some baby ducks innocently followed their mother along the highway’s dividing line, yellow feathers ruffled by 70 mph vehicles on either side. You knew they would not make it but they waddle through your nights and days. The future is your cherry clam. Eaten raw on the upper west side where seafood is a mandala on ice in a picture window. That was the visit when Keith took you to see the David Letterman show and you read a New Yorker magazine the entire time. Nice. It was a protest on how you didn’t think the guy was funny except to all aged frat boys. Though you were impressed how ‘on’ Mr. Letterman was during the show and then at commercial breaks the way he went completely inward like a brushed anemone. Remember how the studio felt aquarium thick and we were forced to applaud when a sign told us? Do not complain about age. I guess the positive part is that doing so allows one to connect with their same-age tribe. But then we go into the script: I don’t feel old! And then another has to say, we’re all one age inside we still think we are 25. And another pipes up to say getting old sucks and then the next one over says, yeah but it beats the alternative and then we all chuckle like it’s the first time we’ve ever fucking heard it. We laugh like spotted hens instead of offering something new like let’s make capitalism fun! Check hazelnut tree. Like two-fisted bowlers at the threshold’s aisle, double husks wait in shadow holes. Invisible barbs sting as dogs pant across your sandaled feet all stuck out in the sun. Lift the branches like Scarlett’s skirts to see a thin rough waist. Spiders will run along ruffles of leaves whose edges curl like toes from movies and songs. Wasn’t there one by Elton John, who you saw at age eleven armed with a baggy of ten-dollar weed purchased from Paul Someone? Just eat the nutmeat so sweet and fresh that it creates an anxiety of perfection.
LeDor, Carved in Plastic
All Kinds by William Wright Harris
Have you ever been so alone you shouted into an abandoned well just to hear your voice echo back? Or held the door open for a group of people just to feel them walk by; just to have another person close to you? An old woman hording cats, trying to build friendships. The old man feeding pigeons, enjoying the feeling of being wanted. Needed. Tommy Lee Jones in Coal Miner's Daughter, saying, "There's all kinds of lonely people in the world" into a cold telephone.
LeDor, Weegees World
Only sobriety makes a control freak. Its opponent mellows me, Making me happier if I look hard Over organized society and its blade, Past the rust that threatens me to a cause When real heroes boast less of a purpose Than a bum rants theirs. All hail the social-sick dilemma! Forced laws to prevent pain, promote briefcases Because someone elected a king, The-chief-of-right-and-wrong, to bark: â€œStay in this world, not out!â€? Still, I prefer my serum and my stool.
Social Mechanic by Nicole Linder
Teacher by Louis McKee
“The centre cannot hold.” Is that any better, really, than “the shit hit the fan--” which to write, I wonder, to an old friend, a former teacher, who lives not far from where a student went to school with a gun, held teachers and students hostage, the police at bay, and then took his own life? I thought, at once, of Yeats, the roiling years I spent in the grumbling classroom trying to hold it all together, but more and more I felt it slipping from my hands. Then dropped – “Oh, shit!” The fan? Hyperbole, but not to say it doesn’t fit.
v One Day by John Stocks
One day you will rise and know How beautiful you are, Why heads turn when you walk in the room And male eyes gaze, entranced. One day you will realise How your soul can glow, Bloom with mystery; Then draw from a well of wishes A dazzle of ecstatic bliss.
One day you will yearn for something Scarcely known or understood, Then ache with torment; transient sorrows, Feel the first ice of terrible regret Of losing joy, too beautiful to own. One day you will learn That all good things must end, That change must craft the shape of lives With forces beyond the reach of reason. And one day you will understand love Be sure of this.
Green Scheme by Samira Mohyeddin
Shall I compare thee to a Catholic theocracy? NO You have your own peculiarities and pathologies Torquemada’s and Torquemortazavi’s At your disposal your automatons with electric batons Trying to beat the truth off of people When we all know that gravity is what holds our skin together And now your representatives are re-presenting themselves a new recycling program: where ex Executionaires vie to become Excellencies re duce re use re cycle GO GREEN Are we to clean up the mess you left us with? So that you can return to your north Your cabarets and discos There isn’t enough water in the Caspian to do so Even the sturgeon are leaving you What were you thinking?
Were you thinking? As you played games of ‘we’ and ‘they’ As Rudyard Kipling liked to say And now Some of you Tenured Uncle Toms Secured and citizenised Susies Tell us to let it run its course As you spin in your tautological circles Dizzying the rest of us With your jargon Talks Symposiums Conferences Round tables With cheap wooden paneling Teeth chattering and pockets clamouring Moderated by experts - expats Who natter on about our inalienable right To eat yellow cake
i Karen Preston, Louie
Morgan Booth, painting 1488
Cultivating a Garden in the 21st Century by Sandra Gail Teichmann-Hillesheim
I'm leaving this message because I've been calling . . . Okay, so you have softball and work and art sales and gallery openings, fashion, a fast car and friends and girlfriend and exams and tennis and cell phones and voice mail you don't answer and lunches and meetings, water skiing, and Tour de France to watch and parties to which I'd never be invited, and you really don't have time to talk to me. Fine. But what about when I'm alone, completely alone, and when I can retire and want to move from this fucking-ass cow town to a city or somewhere other than Texas and have a garden around a little house for the fifteen or so years I'll have left close to the only person, being you, who might matter. Will you still have no time for me, no time to plant a tulip or take a walk along the river?
Will you not want me to be in your city? And if I'm there, will you see the bloom of the iris in my back garden? Stop by? Answer your phone? No. Of course you won't. You don't want a mother. Well, of course you wouldn't. Neither did I. You don't want family edging in on you, do you? Don't want the knowledge of blossom and leaf fall. Don’t want a spring picnic under the budding oaks. Neither did I. So, I'll make other plans, and you know I will, and my plans will be the most elegant, exquisite, and unstudied. Your life, I know is most important, and I . . . , I know, I have more or less used mine up, know I need to suffer, have needed to for a long time, suffer for the ugliness, the weediness, the indifference I have spewed out, suffer for the pleasures I have taken, but I thought, just thought, there might be something, a seed, a connection, space yet for me in the tangle of over-and-under growth we call life. But no, fuck no. You can't find time for a half hour on a garden bench or a phone call from that swishy new coffee house on that new eight-hundred dollar cell with camera with which, if you would just come here, you could photo the Iceland Poppies in glorious bloom, but that's all okay. Sure that's fucking okay. You're young, think you're it, think your existence matters in the immensity of this universe and this expanse of say fifty years that you might yet have to live. You think life is about you, don't you? Think it will have meaning if you use what you have left for yourself exclusively, and you're right, fucking right. Sure you are. You have to live, live fast and cool and seamlessly, unconnected, unburdened, untouched, and you must sever connections with nature and the past, soar above the earth and moss, concentrate on your present, grow the possibilities for your future. You have to have no tolerance for lilacs or old people and their penchant for saying fuck and getting fucked up and sick and full of cancer and toxins and rot. That is, by the way, what I was calling to tell you, tell you the very beauty and natural breakdown of it all. You will, of course, be something, though, won't you, be something and more while I continue to say fuck all I want and to anyone I want: nurses, doctors, mothers, sons, brothers, plumbers, mail clerks, stock brokers, floor layers, daughter-in-laws, waiters, store clerks, floor companies, bosses, garden guys, editors, politicians, neighbors, students, lawyers, and preachers, and they can put me in prison, fucking prison, and so what? Fuck. And, oh, and by the way, and excuse me, I have to now go to the garden to transplant the rue. But first I want you to understand that when and if you should listen to this message, I know exactly your response: I expect an apology, Mother, and now! And so, . . .as I have answered for you, and you need not call back. I will be busy enriching the soil.
You struggle to hold on to the cigar ashes of Caesar You pathetic fool You've come late to the party The palace is in ruins and you look astounded Harlequin with your prick out so s/mall so ridiculously inhuman You're late to all the French freak shows You struggle to speak the last sixty years of hermeneutic seances through a wooden mouth lipsticked with all the chic phrases You pathetic fool you were locked up and now you lick those rusting busted locks as if they were the sweetest cunts Get up off the floor wipe the muck and the dirt and the shit off your face Get off fuck someone forget the West And bring your broadly broken shoulders from the city of the dead Forward and Flaming
Forget the West by Dan Corjescu
Leanne Davies, Guignol
White Flag by Eva Folks
there is no better time to give you these wilted flowers and tell you – they are me it was no great love, after all compared to the blueness of the sky just an exhale the worlds and mine a shift in the molecules of you and I but the stars are still turning and dissipating on their axes of eternity can you feel their breath – or mine – as we speak these rhythms?
Impressed by Rachael Vinyard
Jackie Hall, To The Edge
Huddled next to me at a dusty table, far from the blaring speakers and crowd, you have on a plaid button-up shirt that I find extremely appealing. I tell you this and you laugh shyly, take a drink. My rum is strong and your beer is cold, exactly how we like it. By the window, we find an old magazine venerating the Oklahoma music scene through indie bands and Willie Nelson. Page by page we decry the lack of editing in the reviews, the defunct grammar, the intermittent spelling mistake. More drinks, and we laugh at how the writers canâ€™t make their writing flow, how seriously they take their paltry subjects, how ridiculous it all seems in comparison. We contain vibrant multitudes; we know we can do it better. At the pool table, someone scratches and the eight ball comes bouncing our way. Amid our visionary paper-child, we hear celebratory cheers and see champagne. Imprinted, we resound through the midnight blue, writing lines as we walk and waiting for skylines to carry us home.
Imperative by Cara Schiff Don’t touch my pages. Don’t run your damp fingertips over my words. Don’t dart your tongue into the arches and swoops of my letters. You suck my K’s. You choke my C’s. You penetrate my P’s. My periods stop. My apostrophes fall. My exclamations slip. The subject, vowel, object ceases to be subjective. The paragraphs melt into one. Ideas sizzle and burn to ashes in your hands.
Jackie Hall, Obstruction
LeDor, A Different Meridionale
A Productive Life by Sabeen Abbas
I use verbs and simple sentences to capture and annotate, reference, execute.
I have a passion for checkmarks.
Increments of time stack up like piles of laundry like dirty dishes like unwatched episodes of Dancing with the Stars.
virginitea by jenny bravo
My mother’s pet name for a vagina is a tea kettle. I’ve never bothered to ask her how this applies, but it stuck with me all the same. I’m 25 and I’m going to have sex for the first time. The boy knows what he is doing, and has told me that soon I will know too. He is toned and I am thinking about my thin layer of flab that he might notice once my clothes are off. Will he be able to tell that I am new at this? The boy stands before me now, naked and tan. He waits for me to strip down too, but no male has ever seen me in such vulnerability and I wonder if it is inappropriate to ask him to close his eyes. Maybe I am doing the wrong thing. I’m not married and I barely know him and I’m not sure if he remembers my name. But I am 25 and soon no one will want me anymore if no one has had me before. “Are you ready?” he asks. My mother and sister and aunt sit in the corner of
the room at a small table, sipping on Earl Grey from my mom’s wedding china. I can’t hear him over their private conversation. “This is a mistake,” my mother says, “Panties off, respect gone, I always say. Sex is meant for married persons alone.” My sister scoffs. “Mom. That’s an ancient notion that parents invented to keep their teenagers from getting knocked up. This will be good for her, just watch.” “I’d rather you not,” I say. My mother nods. He clears his throat. I am wasting his time. “This way, dear,” my aunt waves me to their table, and I oblige. “Drink up.” I sip at the Earl Grey but it runs like a boiled egg down my throat. Handing it back, I ask, “Will I regret this?” My mother tries to step in but my sister interjects, “No. In and out, a little blood, a little moaning, and it’s over. Once you’re past the first time, it only gets better.”
I don’t know if I should believe her. Where is the emotion? Where is the connection? “If you let him into you, he will never leave you,” my mother claims, “Sex cements a bond. Do you want that with a man you don’t know?” I leave them and let my clothes fall around me in a circle. He smiles. We fall onto the bed, shadowed by blankets and my relatives’ chatter. “Make sure he takes it slow.” “Where is your hand going?” “Oh, you should arch your back now.” The sensation pulses through me and my body shakes and everything inside of me pumps and rushes and whirls. A stream of tea heats through to my skin and in the last moment I explode in puffs of steam and I sing out in ecstasy. I heave in satisfaction as I fall asleep to the sound of my family clinking spoons against teacups.
Sarah Estime, Miriam
Sabeen Abbas blogs at abbassabeen.wordpress.com. She lives and works in Brampton, Ontario. She wishes she had the ability to write catchy bios but unfortunately she does not. Sarah Allegra is a conceptual, fine art photographer and self portrait artist. Her work reflects themes of fairy tales, mystery and emotion. Jeff Blackman co-founded The Moose & Pussy with his partner Kate Maxfield, and award-winning writers Jeremy Hanson-Finger and Rachael Simpson. Jeff was recently featured at VERSeFest, Ottawa's trans-genre poetry bash. A selection of his Mario 3 poems, â€œBack To My Old Self,â€? are forthcoming with Odourless Press. Morgan Booth blends the chaotic, and expressionistic use of colour, with the order of concept based drawings to create cohesive pieces, seeking to explore the relationship between the dualities of rivaling powers, from urban vs natural, tangible vs intangible, and concept vs interpretation." Alex Browne is a University of Windsor Visual Arts graduate who now applies himself as a photographer. Born and raised in Toronto, he has worked with numerous clients throughout Canada representing different businesses, magazines, musicians, and promotional companies. His scrupulous use of lighting, colour, and raw finishing techniques are very distinguishable, and that's why he is now a part of the Burner team. www.alexbrowne.ca Elyse Brownell is a proud Yooper living and working in Seattle. She tends to binge on people, places, and things, occasionally going into hibernation mode taking with her life's only essentials:
pen, paper, and whiskey. Her poetry has appeared in Line Zero, Your Hands Your Mouth, and Fishladder. David Burga (@davideburga) is a geologist and has travelled the world in search of gold, silver, copper and diamonds. His debut novel, The Devil's Gold, is loosely based on his experiences in Mexico and is set to be released in the winter of 2012 by In Our Words. Eric Cipriani is an undergraduate at West Virginia University where he studies English and comparative dumpster diving. His poetry and prose has previously appeared in Xenith, NAP, and The Adroit Journal. Dan Corjescu is a world-wondering poet attempting to give witness to present burning. He no longer believes in and is desperately trying to open up the human door. He practices breathing and would love to serendipitously meet a dolphin interested in inter-galactic poetry. Leanne Davies has shown in the Netherlands, France, the UK and Canada with her silky portraits and otherworldly landscapes which draw from surrealism, pop romanticism and personal memory. She has traveled to Marnay-sur-Seine and Vermont for artist residencies, and continues to produce work that fits in between reality and somewhere else. www.leannedavies.com Sasha Debevec-McKenney was born and raised in Connecticut but now resides in the Midwest. She spent the summer of 2011 researching lesser-known 19th Century Presidents. You can follow her on Twitter @sashadm
LeDor is, in her way, a photo surrealist. Her photographs bend and mold fantasy and reality together to reflect her unique view of the world. More about her and her work can be found at http://ledorphoto.webs.com Sarah Estime is a photographer from Western Connecticut. She was granted South Florida's Arts for the Future Scholarship specializing in photography in 2010. She is also featured in the Aperture Academy Photo-of-the-Day Gallery. She is currently working on a series of short films and compilations of photography called "Evacuation Instructions" found on Vimeo.com and Tumblr. She is available throughout the Tri-State area capturing New Yorkers and Connecticutians. Eva Folks is trying her damnedest to become a modern-day Renaissance woman and thus evade what she fears most in life: monotony. She is presently focusing her child-like attention span on photography and illustration, but remains faithful to her first love, her great one, writing. She plans to continue writing until her hands shrivel off. See it all for yourself: http://ragged-claws.tumblr.com Digital and film photographer Jackie Hall of Escape Photography uses light and atmosphere to create surreal and unique imagery. Born and raised in the Prairies, Jackie recently made the move to Ontario after earning her diploma in Photography. She intends to pursue greater things with her trusty plastic camera at her side. Sara Harowitz (@sarowitz) is a Ryerson journalism student who dreams being a feature writer. She hopes to write about real people and the experiences that connect us, that make us human. Above all she believes in the power of raw emotion and its importance in getting all you can out of life. Her work has previously appeared in such publications as Off The Map, Sticky
Magazine and andPOP. She's thrilled to add Burner to the list and be able to call herself a Burner Babe. William Wright Harris is a student at the University of Tennessee- Knoxville; where he studies Literature, Creative Writing and Film. He has been in literary jounals, anthologies, and online publications as well as in five countries. He believes that Art is the essence of all humanity and Poetry to be the essence of all Art. Tiffany Heath lives out her simple life in Texas. Most days she tries to be grateful, loud, silly, gracious and observant. If you found her in Texas, she would most likely be singing made up songs with her kids or walking her dog. On some days Tiffany can be seen reading, writing, and taking pictures. Every day she daydreams of being a shrimp boat captain and living in a lighthouse with her family off the coast of Maine. Theodosia Henney is a queer lady from a conservative state who wishes she could spend the night in the library. She enjoys goat cheese on almost anything, and knows all you really need to survive a rainstorm is a decent poncho. Saylor Jones is a writer and an illustrator who lives in the Pacific Northwest. She has published various art reviews, humor essays and feature articles for newspapers. She holds a MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Andrea [Drea] Jane Kato was born in the great state of California and was raised Buddhist by a gypsy-like artist mother and a Japanese farmer who currently grows pineapples in Hawaii. She is a Capricorn, Dragon, INTJ, HSP, Atheist, singer/songwriter, abstract painter/artist, iPhone photographer
who likes yoga, fasting, andthe beach. She has been published in magazines such as The Blue Jew Yorker, The Beat, Ditch, Pomegranate, ReadThis, Otis Nebula. Miki Kraus is seventeen and is currently attending the coolest alternative school in Toronto. Her life was seemingly ordinary until her world was warped by rock â€˜nâ€™ roll, substances, and people who completely altered her perspective on society. She is now pursuing several blossoming passions including, art, film, journalism, and photography. Mercedes Lucero is currently a senior at Missouri Western State University. She enjoys having Harry Potter movie marathons and finding old treasures in dusty antique stores. Her work has previously been published Canvas and North Central Review. Louis McKee has poems recently or forthcoming in APR, Paterson Poetry Review, 5 A.M., and Verse Wisconsin, among others. A collection of newer work, NEAR OCCASIONS OF SIN, appeared from Cynic Press; and NO MATTER, first published in 1986, was republished by Seven Kitchens Press in late 2011. Peter McNestry was born in Dublin Ireland in 1982. He moved to Canada in 1986. Peter currently is based outside Brisbane Australia, where he is pursuing a Masters Degree in Primary Education. Peter enjoys taking photographs that project a feeling of psychedelic surrealism. Samira Mohyeddin is an Iranian born, Toronto based, provocateur, writer, restaurateur, and trained Shakespearean actor. She has a Masters Degree in Modern Middle Eastern History and Women and Gender Studies from the University of Toronto. Her work has been published in
numerous newspapers, magazines, poetry anthologies, and academic journals. Karen Preston has always felt that art is magic. There is such an excitement that comes with creating something from nothing. One moment you have a blank space, and the next, there's a new world in front of you. Some come easily, while others take much longer. Like many artists, she feels the ones that come easy are sent from somewhere else. Wherever it is, she is grateful for the glimpse inside. Angela Readman writes in England, and doesn't recommend this. She won Inkspill magazine's short story competition. Her stories have appeared in Pank, Metazen, Southword and Crannog. Her poetry book, Strip, is with Salt publishing. Her poetry has been commended in The Arvon International Poetry Competition. Her stories are largely a secret. Glyn Rebl is originally from the foggy coasts of Cascadia, but currently resides in Prague, Czech Republic, where he's enjoying the pivo, terrorizing the locals, and working on the Great Bacchanalian Novel. Christine Reilly is an MFA student at Sarah Lawrence College. Her chapbook of poetry was named a university contest finalist. She has been published in The Salzburg Review and 28 other journals. She was named Breadcrumb Scabs' Editor's Pick. She is currently writing a novel in New York. Her website is www.christinejessicamargaretreilly.com Cara Schiff was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. Currently, she is a student in the undergraduate writing program at Metropolitan State University in Denver. Most recently, she was published in the online magazine, Carcinogenic. She is the 2011
recipient of the Candy Lee Osgood Scholarship for Creative Writing. John Stocks is a widely published and anthologised writer from the UK. Recent credits include an appearance in ‘Soul Feathers’ a poetry anthology, alongside Maya Angelou, the English poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Rimbaud and Verlaine. This anthology was the second best selling poetry anthology in the UK in January, is raising money for cancer care, and can be ordered online from Waterstones UK. He also features in ‘This island City’, the first ever poetry anthology of poetry about Portsmouth, also available from Waterstones. In 2012 John will be launching a collaborative novel, ‘Beer, Balls and the Belgian Mafia’, inspired by three of his primary interests. Steve Subrizi, a New Englander, has performed his work at bars and universities across America. His poems have appeared in such places as The Scrambler, NAP, Muzzle, and Monday Night. His e-chapbook, Newly Wild Hedgehog, is available for free from NAP. He plays in a band called The Crazy Exes from Hell. Suzanne Sutherland is a Toronto-based writer, editor and book-seller. Her work has previously appeared in Descant, Steel Bananas and on CBC.ca. She is the editor of GutLit.com, and is the founder, and a former member, of the Toronto Zine Library. More of her writing can be found at suzannesutherland.blogspot.com Sandra Gail Teichmann-Hillesheim’s books include Slow Mud, Killing Daddy, and Woman of the Plains. She is also a playwright with Mockernut Street recently produced. Her poetry, fiction, essays, translations, and paintings appear in numerous literary journals and anthologies. More about Sandra Gail at her website: www.sandragailteichmannhillesheim.com
Annie Terrazzo, a Los Angeles based artist, has been creating trash portraiture for almost 10 years and has sold over 400 works in that time. In the early years of her career her work, which she called “Art IS Trash”, was focused around found object and mixed media based portraits. Her latest series, “Power Lines”, was completed in the summer of 2011. “Power Lines” consists of art portraits exploring high voltage electricity, words and connection, violence and reality. She is inspired by the likes of Ralph Steadman, strippers that don't speak English, box tape and expensive champagne. Rachael Vinyard is an ambitious poet, thinker and political activist with a BA in English from Oklahoma State University. Most recently, her poems have appeared in Counterexample Poetics and OK Review. She plans to escape Oklahoma soon and wants to change the world with her ideas. Liz Worth is the author of two books, Amphetamine Heart and Treat Me Like Dirt: An Oral History of Punk in Toronto and Beyond. She has also published three chapbooks, Eleven: Eleven, Manifestations, and Arik's Dream. www.lizworth.com Kailey Zitaner is a high school senior living in New York. She will begin university next year with a double major in creative writing and visual art. Her poetry has been published several times, but this is her first time publishing photography. She thanks Burner Magazine for being so awesome.
*** Burner would like to extend a very special thank you to our tireless and vivacious intern, Merle Alexandra Clarkson.
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